A new world record | TheUnion.com

A new world record

Nevada City Judge John Darlington was profiled in The Union back in the winter of 2003, outlining his plans to shoot for National Class status in his age group in several track events when he turned 60 at the end of 2004.

He still has those personal track goals in sight, but has gone beyond National Class along with his relay teammates at the National Master’s Indoor Track & Field Championships at Boise, Idaho over the weekend.

John joined with the Southern California Track Club as the final piece of a four-man 60-69 age group relay team. His teammates are from Reno, Chico and Pasadena.

On Saturday, they ran the 3,200-meter relay and broke the meet record.

Keep in mind that this was on a banked track, eight laps to a mile, indoors, with questionable air quality (if you’ve ever run indoors, you know what I mean).

So, there are more turns per mile, and that slows runners down.

You can run faster in a straight line than going around corners.

But John and his teammates weren’t content to rest on their accomplishments with the National meet record.


On Sunday, the next day, they ran the 1,600 relay.

The first leg was 64.8 seconds. John turned in a fast second leg in 64.2. The third runner clocked 65 seconds and then came their ace, who finished in a blazing 59 seconds.

Remember, these runners are all 60 or older …

What did they do?

They ran a combined time of 4:14 and broke the 60-69 age group world record by a whopping 11 seconds.

John called me on his way home from the meet on Sunday afternoon, justifiably excited after eclipsing a record that had stood since 1989.

After all, he’s bringing one quarter of an age group world record back to Nevada City. And this is after he dealt with a potentially life-threatening physical problem at the end of last year.

Absolutely amazing!

Congratulations, John. We couldn’t be more proud of you.


Meanwhile, back on the home front at the St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Sacramento at Raley Field on Sunday, six Record Connection employees plus two wives and two of their children completed the race.

For eight of the 10, it was their first race at any distance.

The pre-race environment was a bit of a madhouse with significant traffic congestion getting off the highway (along with an entirely unexpected rainstorm on the drive down. Where did that come from?).

Overall the experience was a positive one and local races coming up will be a breeze in comparison.

The first one is always the most daunting and now they’ve all got the big one filed under experience.

Shawn Ryley, who was profiled in The Union two weeks ago, ran less than 20 seconds off his best time (run last month) on a tougher course, finishing 26th overall out of 658 finishers.

The race directors decided to have a 20-39 age group rather than the 5-year age groups in big races. Shawn would have been fourth in the 35-39 age group if there had been one. He ran a fast sub-7 minutes per mile pace, despite the hillier course.

Matt Burns, in his first race, ran a respectable 23:38, more than 20 seconds better than his prior fastest time, good enough to put him in the top 10 percent of the race and top third of the 20-29 age group.

Amber Tierney, who had run two races in her life, a marathon and half-marathon, completed her first 5K in 24:33, the 17th fastest woman out of 434, putting her in the top 4 percent of the women overall. She was 11th out of 202 women in the 20-39 age group, and 75th in the entire race, men included. If there had been a 25-29 age group, Amber would have been fourth. A very impressive first 5K effort.

Charles Frizzell, in his first race, ran 26:33, almost a full minute faster than he’d ever run before.

Raphael Torres, another first time racer, ran 27:44, good for 146th place and the top half of his tough 20-39 age group.

Mike Newsom, in his first race, ran 29:31, which almost put him in the top half of the 20-39 age group.

His wife, Jen, ran with their 7-year-old daughter, Preslie, who finished in 47:25, with only one other 7-year-old ahead of her and none younger. A fine first race.

Shawn’s wife, Dawn, ran/walked with their 5-year-old daughter, Cassidy, who completed her first 5K. Cassidy, along with two other 5-year-olds (one boy and one girl) were the youngest competitors at the event. And Cassidy was the first 5-year-old across the finish line.

Congratulations to all who came, saw and conquered what they never had before.


Steve Bond also ran the St. Patrick’s Day 5K, finishing 15th overall and 3rd in the 40-49 age group in 19:42.7. Bond, a competitive runner who lives in Grass Valley, writes columns and feature stories about running for The Union. He may be reached via e-mail at stillrunning5@sbcglobal.net.

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