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January 1, 2012

A Special Day: American Record In 4 X 1600 Meter Relay

Filed under: Running News — Dr. Cathy Utzschneider @ 6:28 am
Dr. Cathy Utzschneider

There’s at least one story behind every race, and there were many stories behind the last race at yesterday’s Boston University Mini-Meet. It was one of the busiest days there ever in terms of entrants (more than 400 runners from age 3 to 70 plus).

The last race was the 4 X 1600 Meter Relay. Liberty Athletic Club 60s members , 65, Regina Wright, 69, Leni Webber, 64, and Jan Holmquist, 67, drove from the north, south, and west of Boston to challenge the American Record of 29:32 for women 60 to 69. They waited almost two hours longer than expected, with this relay last on the docket. We weren’t sure they could break the record, but there was a chance and the fun of going for it.

And they did it! They secured the American Record, with Jan anchoring and passing the finish line in 28:57 – despite the fact that their ages add up to 25 years over 60…..

All four runners met or surpassed her goal, with Regina surpassing hers by more than a minute. But no relay is about individual victory. Like all relays, it was about a team. Sue, Regina, Leni, and Jan were invested in each other’s success. Liberty Athletic Club members on the sidelines were inspired – whether they were cheering at the event, like Joan Miller and Cathy Gibson — or at home sending positive vibes and waiting to hear the results.

There are many positive thoughts their success inspires, including these few….

• The race brought out their best.
• It’s never too late.
• Why pass up an event, even on a busy holiday?
• It’s worth the wait. They stood around for two hours waiting for the delayed start of their race.
• What’s better than individual and team success? There are all kinds of relays from sprints to distance events – why not check out relays for your teams?


  1. Leni Webber

    Having been part of this team I can say that running in a relay as part of a team adds another dimension to competing.
    Running a race tends to be a solitary event but when you are part of a relay, you are really running for more than just an individual time or PR…it’s a group endeavor with each person contributing her best. It’s a fantastic feeling. This time the stakes were high and we all ran some of our best times ever. The result couldn’t be more satisfying! Leni.

    Comment by Leni Webber — January 1, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  2. I joined Liberty a year ago after taking a few years off of competitive running. I was inspired by several members of the club and wanted to be part of a fun running group. I ended my first year of Liberty membership by running the Lou’s 4×1600 relay in the club’s 60-69 team. We had a fun day, an awesome time and set an American record – a great way to end the year.

    Comment by Jan Holmquist — January 2, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  3. One of the things that’s always been most important to me about Liberty, is the sense of being a team. When you’re on a team, everybody wins. Even if you don’t have an official team in the field, the sense of club members pulling together–even while you’re competing with each other–is a bond that’s not like anything else.
    At Lou’s, we were a team pulled together at the last minute, not sure almost to the day we would even have one or who would be on it. Then there were the logistics: 2 1/2 hours delay, watching our well-timed warmup slip away, jogging and doing leg swings to stay ready, watching the minutes creep toward other things needed to be done.
    The reason we nailed it anyway was because everyone showed up 150% and ran more than they were capable of. And because all we were thinking about was not letting the team down. When life gets stressful, you get overwhelmed, you haven’t been to practice enough or raced enough, confidence starts to slip, you forget sometimes that you don’t have to worry about all that; you just have to do it and not let the person beside you down, and that’s worth all of it.

    Comment by Susan Gustafson — January 2, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

  4. As someone still in my 40s, I find the 4 Liberty relay runners totally inspiring & my role-models. I recall that when I was 38 years old, I thought I was getting too old to run (too tight, too slow, too tired). Yet running with Liberty runners who are 20-30 years older than me reminds me that the opportunities are there and going into my 50s- I’ll be just beginning again! I can look forward to aging as I’m so fortunate to be on a team with such great support, coaching, with gals with guts. Thanks all!

    Comment by Pam Linov — January 3, 2012 @ 7:13 am

  5. Congratulations and thank you for the inspiration!

    Comment by Ocean — January 15, 2012 @ 7:52 am

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