|Decathlon 1500m war story
|Historical 1500 m|
|I don't know what Robert Baker's PR is for 1500 meters, except that he had the 3:58.7 at the end of the decathlon.
I've looked for his statistics on line before and I couldn't find anything. I wonder if he ever ran a faster open 1500.
I have talked to him before (March 1982), but I don't remember asking him if he had ever run faster.
I know MOST decathletes don't like to run 1500s, except when they have to!
Our decathlon coach (Dr. Bruce Drummond) at Sacramento State used to take us down to Santa Barbara once a year for competition, usually in March.
Well, in March 1981, we went down for another decathlon, after I had just set the Division II National Record for the decathlon 1500 of 4:14.07 (The old record was 4:19.1 and the meet record still stands today, as of Mar 2010) at the NCAA Championships the year before.
There was another decathlete that trained at UCSB, and lived in the area (Ed Dumas). There were a couple of heats of the 1500 and we were both put in the same heat. I had competed there before and so had Ed, and the fastest time I'd ever seen Ed run was low to mid 4:20s. So I thought having run a 4:14 last year, and being in about the same condition, I should no problem winning the heat.
The gun went off and I went right into the lead, and stayed there for the first 3 laps with Ed trailing right behind me. As we came into the gun lap, he bolted pass me, and I started to chase him! I let him go, figuring I'd wait until we got down to about the 1350-1400 mark and then I'd make my move and go blowing past him for the win!
Well, when I got to the 1350 mark... and took off HARD! Only problem was, he took off even HARDER and just left me in the dust! He put 3 seconds between us in the last 150, won the heat and ran 4:13 to my 4:16! So much for that strategy. He clearly had much more speed than me.
That was my last year of college eligibility, but I continued to compete and work out with the Sacramento State track team. When the meet came around again (Mar 82), the coach wanted to know if I wanted go down with the other Sac State decathletes to compete. SURE I did!
So we headed back down to Santa Barbara for the meet. It turns out Ed was competing again, and I'm wondering whether I'll get a chance to redeem myself. Well we go through the whole 2 days of competition, and after finishing 9 events and I was putting together a decent score for myself, so I was fairly motivated to run a good 1500. So then Ed and I get in the same heat again!
I had just run a 4:08 a few weeks earlier, so I figured I would get a chance to redeem myself for sure this time. I was hoping that he was only in 4:13 shape again, but I didn't know what kind of 1500 shape he was in.
Well this time, Ed takes off and HE is leading for the first 3 laps! I stayed right on his tail, like he had done to me the last time. We were about 4:15 pace with one lap to go. I knew if I didn't take off at the gun, and try to get some serious space between us before the last 100, he was probably going to outsprint me again.
So we hit the 1100 mark and the gun went off! I bolted pass him and started to quickly pull away. My coach told me that I had put about 25-30 meters on him with 200 to go! Then he started to come after me.
He was making up some serious ground in the last 100 meters and starting to close the gap. Luckily, he never caught me! I finished in 4:06.2 and he finished in 4:07.1, I believe! We both PRed and I ended up running a 59 on the last lap, which is the fastest lap I've ever run in a 1500 to this day!
Robert Baker (World & Collegiate Record Holder Decathlon 1500), who was helping officiate at the meet and timing me, thought I had broken his collegiate record of 4:06.3! He congratulated me for the breaking his Collegiate record by ONE tenth of a second, but found out it was still his, because my eligibility had ended the last year!
|A historical photo
|Historical 1500 m|
|Here's a picture of the race where I ran my fastest 1500 of my life (3:58.6). I'm the guy leading, and I'm pretty sure this was the 1st lap.
It's kind of blurry because it was taken with a lousy camera and I zoomed in on the race.
This was run in an open 1500 meter race in Berkeley, California in March 1985 about 2 or 3 weeks before I ran the 4:01.4 in the Sacramento, CA decathlon.
I had splits of 61, 66 (slowed down after I heard that 61 split), 63, 48 (Last 300 meters was 28 (200) / 20 (100)!!) My friend was taking the split times at 1400 mark.
I started my kick a little too soon after passing the 1200 mark, and did the next 200 in 28 seconds! With 75-100 meters to go, I felt my legs start to tighten up and by the time I got 50 meters from the finish line, I started to crawl!
I had almost come to a complete stop at the finish line! I was headed for about 3:53-:54, if I would have gone a little slower after going past the 1200. I should've gone 29/14-15, instead of 28/20. I did end up winning the heat though!
It was the WORST I've EVER felt after finishing a race to this day! I had a headache for about an hour or two, after finishing that race.
The 4:01.4 felt a LOT harder during the race, because I was fatigued from 2 days of competition and heat, but I felt fine after finishing the race. Probably because I still had some energy left after crossing the finish line. My splits from the 4:01.4 were about 65, 66, 65, 45.
That's the ONLY picture I have that I KNOW is a picture of a PR!