Nine days after becoming the oldest man to run a sub-4:20 mile, Brad Barton moved his show from Chula Vista to North Carolina — and a shot at another historic race.
It was the metric mile this time — 1,500 meters — at the USATF National Masters Championships in Winston-Salem. With no pacing help, Barton attacked the U.S. age-group record of 3 minutes, 56.39 seconds — set in Durham, North Carolina — by 45-year-old John Hinton.
“I was in rough shape,” Barton said Friday after winning the M45 race by 11 seconds in 4:00.32. “I was feeling last week’s [4:17 mile] effort.”
Barton said his pace at Wake Forest’s Kentner Stadium was “right where I wanted to be” for the first two laps, but he slowed on the third.
He needed to run a 62-second final 400 to have a shot at the American record, but “there was no 62 in my legs,” he said. “So I kind of limped in.”
Nevertheless, no man older has run faster in the metric mile. The 48-year-old keynote speaker from Ogden, Utah, missed the 4-minute barrier by only feet.
According to all-time world lists at mastersathletics.net, only 10 men over 45 have ducked under 4 minutes in the 1500. And none was as old as Barton.
The record for a 48-year-old had been 4:05.53 by Great Britain’s Alan Bradford in 1987, according to an unofficial but authoritative compilation by Peter Mundle of California. The fastest American at 48 had been Albin Swenson at 4:08.23 in 1995.
“Booty lock” was what Barton called his feeling near the end of the race amid heat in the low 80s but with high humidity.
“I left it out there, though,” Barton said. “So head’s held high and my legs are dragging low.”