By Paul Snyder
February 14, 2017
The members of the HOKA One One New Jersey-New York Track Club have enjoyed an exciting start to 2017. Between the announcement of a new title sponsor, the unveiling of some attractive new racing kits and the addition of athletes like Olympian Donn Cabral and 2013 world championship qualifier Ashley Higginson, it’s a good time to be a Frank Gagliano-coached, Westchester County-based middle-distance runner.
Well, this Friday, four of the club’s faster boys will line up at The Armory, in an attempt to dollop some icing onto the cake that is their 2017 thus far. Cabral, Ford Palmer, Kyle Merber, and Colby Alexander, will — in that order — square off against a cadre of local city colleges and clubs and essentially attempt to time trial their way to a new indoor 4 x mile world record.
The current mark to beat is 16:16.67, set in 1993 by a New York Athletic Club squad of Brad Horton (4:07.2), Jeff Smith (4:07.3), Brad Schlapak (4:02.8) and Bill Burke (3:59.4). Every member of the NJ-NY relay squad has run a mark superior to this NYAC group’s fastest leg, so in theory, the record should be toast.
Cabral’s run 3:40.03 for the 1,500m; Palmer’s gone 3:55.60 for the full mile outdoors. Merber boasts a 3:54.57 outdoor best and Alexander brings a 3:54.94 outdoor mile PB to the anchor leg. So in a vacuum of hypotheticals, they could be looking at a 15:40, or so.
Needless to say, that each man will split a time equal to their fastest ever seems highly unlikely, but it looks like the decades-old world record is in a position to fall. The question is: by how much?
Without rabbits or the fanfare of a major meet (the attempt is taking place this Friday at 7:30pm as part of a low-key meet), it’s entirely up to the ability of these athletes to solo a fast mile.
Cabral’s leg for sure, and perhaps part of Palmer’s too, will be at least lightly contested. Most of the teams they’re likely to face will able to muster up a lead leg in the vicinity of 4:00, so Merber (I know…you’re writing about that guy again! We promise that we’ll try and go a week without mentioning him starting on Saturday) stands a chance of receiving the baton at around the 8:00 mark with a sizeable cushion.
Alexander is set to anchor and if they do manage to set a record, then he’ll have a great photo to frame one day and tell his kids about. If for some reason, they need to pick up the pace to make up for time, his 1,500/mile race style is more suited for that than a kicker.
Update: Alexander has scratched due to illness and has been replaced by Graham Crawford.
Citius Mag will have at least one warm body on-site, so you can follow the world record attempt on our Twitter feed (@CitiusMag).
Meme-disparager, avid jogger, MS Paint artist, friend of Scott Olberding, Citius Mag staff writer based in Flagstaff. Supplying baseless opinions, lukewarm takes, and vaguely running-related content. Once witnessed televison's Michael Rapaport cut a line of 30 people to get a slice of pizza at John's on Bleeker at 4am. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @DanielDingus.