Here's a story that I sent to National Master's News about the MMMM. For those of you who aren't familiar with the publication - it's sort of the old guys version of Track and Field News. It's devoted entirely to the master's scene.
It's hard to really convey the full story and the stories behind the stories. But, I wanted to make sure that the efforts or our Big Sky studs are properly recognized.
Montana Men’s Master’s Mile Recap
The brainchild of master’s athlete John Zombro of Bozeman, the 5th edition of the Montana Men’s Master’s Mile (MMMM) was held on Friday night, February 13th. In cooperation with Montana State University (Bozeman, MT), this year’s event was held as part of MSU’s Fleet Feet Sports Invitational meet. With a banked, 200-meter, mondo covered track and some of the best master’s runners in the state, conditions were ripe for some top level indoor racing.
Immediately after the national anthem, the 9-man field took the line in pursuit of Scott Creel’s record of 4:33.7. At the gun, Peter Dan Sullivan took on his familiar role as the front-runner and was followed closely by Ray Hunt and Chad Coley. This trio quickly separated themselves from a tightly bunched chase pack that was headed by Pat Judge. By halfway Sullivan and Hunt had separated themselves from Coley and split halfway at 2:18.
The order of Sullivan, Hunt, Coley (now about 20 meters back) and the Judge-headed chase pack stayed intact through about 1300 meters. At that point, Hunt swung wide and took off for home. Sullivan stayed in close pursuit; but, couldn’t close. Coming off the final turn, Hunt tightened ever so slightly; and, in the closing meters, Sullivan swung into lane 3 and was able to pull off a stirring win at the tape.
Coley gamely hung on in the no-man’s land between the leaders and the chase pack and finish a solid 3rd. Over the last lap, Kyle Strode made a big charge to get the 4th spot, while Steve Bruner and Pat Judge had a thrilling duel all the way to the line to round out the top 6 and the sub-5:00 finishers.
Not only was this the closest finish in the history of the MMMM, it also saw the fastest average finish time and the most sub-5:00 finishers. And, although he was second in the race on the track, Hunt won the title of “He Who Slows The Least”. (And, as master’s runners, we all know what a challenge it is to hold back Father Time.) Not only did Hunt run his fastest ever time at the MMMM, he was a whopping 15 seconds faster than his 2008 time.
As the race results show, the Big Sky Country has its fair share of “old guys” who still love to talk trash, hit the boards and bring their “A” game. Plans are already under way for year 6 and a race that’s bigger, better and faster than ever.
2009 Montana Men’s Master’s Mile
Elevation = 4,800’
Dan Sullivan Helena 44 4:40.2
Ray Hunt Deer Lodge 43 4:40.6
Chad Coley Bozeman 35 4:48.8
Kyle Strode Helena 44 4:56.0
Steve Bruner Bozeman 38 4:58.1
Pat Judge Helena 38 4:59.0
Mark Slater Bozeman 48 5:01.6
John Herring Missoula 44 5:03.5
Tim Dumas Bozeman 41 5:07.1