The measure of a runner is always set by hours, minutes and seconds
By Bob Cawood
Sep 11, 2019 | 1:52 PM
Among its many attributes, running a race is a simple equation: X person runs Y distance for Z time. In other words, it’s the measurement of a person running a prescribed distance over a set course against a clock. There are no shortcuts or work arounds.
Nowhere is this more on display in its purest sense than on a track where most, if not all, variables such as terrain or course conditions are taken away. It is the person and the track against the clock.
Many of the records are well known: the first person to go under a 4-minute mile (Roger Bannister, 1954, 3:59.4), fastest mile (men: Hicham El Guerrouj, 1999, 3:43:13; women: Sifan Hassan, 2019, 4:12:33), fastest marathon on both the road and a track (men: Eliud Kipchoge, 2017 on a track in 2:00:25 and in 2018 2:01:39 in Berlin; women: Paula Radcliffe, 2003, 2:15:21).
Around these parts, members of the Baltimore Road Runners Club set a record of running the fastest 100-mile relay race back in 1981. Each runner (all male at the time) ran one mile (a little over four laps) on the Towson State track until 100 separate runners had done the lap.
In what must have been an amazing sight, each runner averaged 4:43 a mile with the fastest mile at 4:16 and the “slowest” at 5:32 (the next slowest was 5:15). Remarkably, 87 of the runners went under a 5-minute mile, and more impressively some of the expected relay runners didn’t show up so runners just witnessing the event as spectators were recruited to run a mile.
That is how Maryland came to be home to the world’s fastest “100 Man-100 Mile” relay record at the time: 7 hours, 53 minutes, 51.21 seconds.
Now a new running record has been set that ranks right up there on the lists of great ones. It is the fastest 100-mile run set by Zach Bitter of Phoenix, Arizona on August 24, 2019.
At the Milwaukee’s Pettit National Ice Center, Bitter − a native of Manitowoc, Wisconsin −finished 100 miles in 11 hours and 19 minutes, going around the track 378 times. That is a staggering 6 minute, 48 second mile for 100 miles – the approximate distance from the Anne Arundel County side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Ocean City using Route 50.
To put that into runner perspective, that is a 21:08 5K pace (for 32 ½ 5Ks), and a 2:58:17 marathon pace, which would have put him in fifth place at the B&A Marathon. Even more perspective is the 10-mile pace, a 1:08. At that pace, Bitter would have placed 72nd at this year’s Annapolis 10 Mile Run against a competitive field.
And what, you may ask, is the women’s record for 100 miles? Camille Herron owns the fastest 100-mile run by a woman with 12:42:39 set in 2017 at the Tunnel Hill 100 in Vienna Illinois.
It is not every day that records such as Bitter’s are set and extrapolating those times over 100 miles brings the impressiveness of Bitter’s effort and determination into focus.
The real proof of the pudding for all local runners who set out to real their personal goals is just what Bitter and Herron accomplished: train yourself up, put your head down and use your determination to reach your goal at that moment in time.
In other words, the end result is determined by your effort and planning – with a little luck thrown in. And that is one reason why goals in running are important.
Upcoming Events: Looking for something athletic for your kids to do in Severna Park? The Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails is hosting the Karen Stevens Memorial Kids’ Triathlon and Race to Remember for Saturday, September 21.
All world record holders start somewhere and maybe the next star of the triathlon world will get his or her start at this race. All proceeds from the event will go towards provide free swim lessons for children with special needs, and there are several events to choose from for children 14 and under.
Start time for the Kids' Triathlon is 7:30 a.m. Children age 11 through 14 are eligible to participate. The 400-meter (16 lengths) swim portion will take place at the Severna Park Community Center pool, while 4-mile bike ride and 1 ½-mile run portions will be held along the B&A Trail.
This event can also be done as a relay with 2-3 person teams. Since the bike portion is on the B&A with a 15 MPH speed limit, that leg is not timed.
For children 10 and under, the event is a 200-meter swim, with a 2-mile bike ride and ¾-mile run. And for the “Junior Tri-It” division – designed for first time triathletes age 8 and under – it is a 50-meter swim, with a 1/8-mile bike ride and 1/10-mile run.
The course will be held on the Severna Park Community Center grounds. The Junior Tri-IT is an opportunity for younger participants to develop their triathlon skills while enjoying a fun morning.
Start time for the Race to Remember is 11 a.m. This race, also held on the B&A Trail, is open to all and is an opportunity to race for the memory of a loved one. For more information, please go to https://kskidstri.wordpress.com.