100 Mile Relay World Record (8 runners)  7:27:55.6 - June 16,1968 - Lockport Track Club

A Runner’s Personal Summary

by Jeffrey Watkins (written October 2010)

To my teammates: “I’m looking for a few men that don’t know it can’t be done”. 
-Henry Ford used those words to describe the men he sought to pioneer the auto industry.

That same statement may apply to why our coaches chose us to run the 100 mile relay, but the real question is, Why did we say yes?

Each of us in some way have our own thoughts on that, but it is quite remarkable to me that we all agreed to come together one fine day for an attempt at setting an unheralded track record, and were able to accomplish something we couldn’t imagine at the time.  That day was June 16, 1968.  Now, over forty years later, we are still amazed that we set a time of 7hrs. 27min. and 55.6 sec.( 4:28.2 pace), which remains the current 100 mile relay world record today.  
World Record Team
Top Row (left to right): Bob Brown, Brian Brooks, Jim Rycyna, Charles Quagliana
Bottom Row (left to right): Franklyn Pfeil, George Bickford, Jeff Watkins, Jeff Hulshoff

I’ve asked myself, What made it special?....

Did we do something worth remembering?...and if so, what part?

Beyond what our coaches expected of us and what we tried to accomplish, there was something exciting about facing 100 miles together as a relay team to see what we could do.  I don’t know who started so fast, or how we caught on to the quick pace, it just happened naturally.  In the beginning it felt fairly easy to me, like I would be able do it all day.  In the last few miles I particularly remember struggling to start running again after each rest cycle. Blisters, sun burned skin, raw emotions, and quite a bit of pain accompanied us all on that 100 mile journey, but we reached our goal in an amazing record time of 7:27:55.6. 

Details fade, years pass, records stand, or are broken and forgotten.  We each remember personally what it took to accomplish this record knowing we gave our best, and we can be proud this record has stood for over forty years…that is truly remarkable.   We accepted the challenge, we ran together and created a bond between us that has endured the test of time …that’s what makes it special for me.
Our coaches, John Chew, and the late Max Lederer were always there for us and we could not have done it without them.  We are indebted to them, and to John Montalbo and his father Rocco for timing and stats.
This remains the fastest 100 mile relay recorded by up to ten runners to date

Post script:
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.”   -TEDDY ROOSEVELT

“In conclusion I believe that we were all willing to sacrifice something of our own physical limits to discover something that could make us better as a team.  We found that inspiration as we ran, as we strove together to set a new record.” – Jeff Watkins

Record by the Numbes

The 100 mile relay world record was set in Lockport, New York by eight Lockport student athletes on June 16, 1968 in 7 hours 27 minutes and 55.6 seconds. These eight boys ran as members of the AAU Lockport Track Club.   
John Chew:  Lockport Track Club organizer & coach of the1968 Lockport 100 mile relay team.
Max Lederer: Coach of the 1967-1972 Lockport High School Cross Country Teams and co-coach of the 1968 Lockport Track Club.

Order of the eight relay runners:
    Name                     (Age)  Class
1. Frank Pfeil  ………(15)…Freshman
2. Jim Rycyna ………(17)…Senior
3. Jeff Watkins……   (14)…Freshman
4. Bob Brown  ……   (18)   Senior
5. Jeff Hulshoff…….. (15)   Freshman
6. Brian Brooks …….(17)    Junior
7. George Bickford …(15) ..Freshman
8. Charlie Quagliana..(17)...Senior

Each of the 8 runners completed 12.5 miles (50 laps on a 440 yards cinder track) passing a baton in continuous relay order by running in intervals of 220 yards and 110 yard sprints.  Each runner completed 22,000 yards.  All 8 runners combined ran a grand total of 176,000 yards (400 laps) totaling 100 miles.
Therefore, each runner ran a total of 100 x 110 yards, plus 50 x 220 yards for a total of 150 sprints each.  A grand total of 1,200 sprints were completed by the entire relay team: 800 sprints by 110 yards, plus 400 sprints by 220 yards, and 1,200 baton exchanges for the entire relay (less one for the first baton runner already holding).

Lockport Track Club
-    Colors: Navy Blue, Red & White
-    Shorts: Navy Blue with 1 red stripe between 2 white stripes down side seams.
-    Singlet: Navy Blue with a red bar & 2 white stripes (wrapped around torso).
-    Letters: LOCKPORT- in white caps stitched on front chest of red bar.

Notes from photos:  Most of us wore Adidas “Rom” flats, although Frank Pfeil changed to a Puma flat during the run at one point.  Bobby Brown and Brian Brooks wore Adidas “Tokyo” spikes.  We cannot identify Charlie’s shoes.  Many of the guys changed shirts or went shirtless as temps increased.  The baton appears to be blue aluminum from the movie film.

By the numbers: 8 Runners x (12.5 miles each ) = 100 miles

100 Mile Relay World Record Time: 7:27:55.6
4:28.2 per mile average pace
Total seconds: 26,875.6 
400 laps x 440 yards(cinder track) = 176,000 yards = 100 Miles /160.934 K
67.18  per 440 yard lap average
33.59  per 220 yard sprint average 
16.7    per 110 yard sprint average
13.42 miles per hour (average)

World class record Marathon time of 2:05:00 (26.2 miles)
4:46 per mile average pace
71.5    per 440 yard lap
35.75  per 220 yard lap
17.87  per 110 yard lap
12.5 miles per hour (average)
World class Half Marathon time of 1:00:00 (13.1 miles)
4:34 per mile average pace
68.5   per 440 yard lap
34.25 per 220 yard lap
17.12 per 110 yard lap
13.1 miles per hour (average)

These numbers do not equate these three events, but provide a gauge for the speed, pace, and effort demanded to complete each of these tasks.


There are many different formats that the relay could be run in consecutive order either by having 8 runners walk one position ahead after exchanges, or by staying in place without moving.  Each would alter the amount of 110 yard and 220 yard repeats per runner, but the total distance per runner would remain the same at 12.5 miles (50 laps).  Moving runners ahead one position on the track in a cycle could result in 75x220 yard, plus 50x110 yard repeats per runner with 1,000 total exchanges, or 50x220 yard, plus100x110 yard repeats per runner resulting in a total of 1,200 exchanges in 400 laps.  This later formula is what we did.

Another possible format in consecutive order with 8 runners remaining in place after each sprint would be 25x220 sprints, plus 150x110 sprints per runner totaling 175 exchanges per runner; a grand total of 1,400 exchanges.  Another would be 84x220 plus 32x110 sprints per runner totaling116 exchanges per runner, and a grand total of 928 exchanges in 400 laps on a 440 yard track.


 No matter how I try to figure out the key to what we did in the100 mile relay that day it is clear that we each extended our previously known limitations.    Without much forethought we took our chances to run as free and as fast as we could.....to feel what it would be like to go farther than we had ever gone before.  I don't recall if any of us checked splits....we put everything aside and just ran hard to the end.   Our team was made up of three seniors, one junior, and four freshmen, which created a bond between us that is quite unique.   This bond is something that is difficult to explain and remains for me one of the most intriguing elements to the chemistry of our relay team.  Let’s face it! 100 miles of sprints divided among 8 runners around a track all day long was not considered by most athletes or coaches to be very appealing.  In fact it may have been thought by some to be a bit risky.  Our coach John Chew recalls this concern and the necessity to have us insured under the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union), as a special event.    

We joined the AAU Lockport Track Club to compete and train through the summer in preparation for the upcoming cross country season.  Eager for some new competition we were brought together to run the 100 mile relay to get the record back from the Hamburg Track Club.  We were in amazing shape and getting better all the time….that was all that mattered; and we were ready to find out what we could do.  On a perfect day, June 16, 1968 our record was set at the Belknap Junior High cinder track, 7:27:55.6 for 100 miles. We are the runners and witnesses of that record, and it remains the fastest time recorded for 100 miles by any number of runners.   

Interesting Relay Facts

By the time our relay reached 80 miles each runner had completed 40 laps equaling 10 miles, which was accumulated by the athlete running 80x110’s and 40x220’s totaling 120 sprints and baton exchanges.  At the 80 mile mark, as a team we had completed 320 laps and a total of 960 sprints and baton exchanges.  With 20 miles remaining to complete 100 miles, each runner needed to contribute 2 ½ miles more, which was 10 laps broken into intervals of 20 x110’s plus 10 x 220’s.  8 runners, 10 laps each, 80 laps left to complete the 100 miles.  According to our finish time our average time for every 10 miles was just under 45 minutes (44:42), which is about 13.4 MPH.  No one has a record of our mile pace or time at this point in the relay, but the time can be estimated to be under 6 hours at 80 miles.  This was a critical point in our relay, because of the mutual fatigue we felt combined with the miles that remained ahead of us.  What we overcame in those last miles may be the real story of our relay success.  By maintaining an overall average mile pace of 4:28.8 for the entire 100 miles we recorded a time of 7:27:55.6 at the finish.

According to our relay order Charlie Quagliana was the finisher of our relay.  By Charlie’s finishing mark on the track it can be determined the distance that each runner completed for his last sprint.  Going in reverse from Charlie’s finish we can mark each runner’s final sprint on the track. 

Of the last 8 sprints, 2 were 220’s completed by the #3 & #6 runners (Jeff W. & Brian B.).  The other 6 sprints were all 110’s completed by #’s 1,2,4,5,7,8 runners (Frank, Jim, Bob, Jeff H., George, & Charlie).  The combined total distance of the last 8 sprints was 1,100 yards.  The last mile of the relay was scored in order by the last 12 exchanges by runners #5…..6……7…..8…(..1……2…..3…..4……5…..6…..7…..8..) with intervals in the following order: 220,110,110,220,(110,110,220,110,110,220,110,110).

As Franklyn recounts, “I had the best teammates that any man has ever found”.
1.Frank Pfeil, 2.Jim Rycyna, 3.Jeff Watkins, 4.Bobby Brown, 5.Jeff Hulshoff, 6.Brian Brooks, 7.George Bickford, 8.Charlie Quagliana.   Coaches, John Chew & Max Lederer.

It took the team 3 sprint exchanges in relay order to complete 440 yards on the track (220, 110,110).  It also took each individual runner 3 sprints to record 440 yards for himself, which was also run in a 220, 110, 110 format with the order of those intervals determined by his *starting position on the track.  After each sprint the runner walked ahead to the next position to receive the baton in his relay order.

Example: Runner #1 starting at the west side start/finish line of the track would run a 220.  After his 220 sprint he walked forward to the 330 mark on the north end curve of the track to await his next turn in order.  Runner #1’s next sprint of 110 yards was completed at the start/finish mark, he then walked across mid-field to the east side of the track to await his turn to run his next 110 sprint which would finish at the 330 mark on the north end curve and score for him one full 440 yard lap cycle.  He then walked ahead to his original position and waited to repeat the sequence again.  This sequence was repeated until the runner completed 50 full lap cycles.  When any runner finished his 110 at the start/finish mark (west side) he advanced by crossing mid-field to the east side to await his next 110, otherwise he just walked ahead on the track to the next position.

There were 3 starting positions on the track. The first group was at the start/finish line on the west side of the track to run a 220.  The second group was on the east side of the track at the 220 mark to run a 110.  The third group position was at the north end of the track at the 330 mark to run a 110.
Depending on the starting position of each runner around the track, and advancing one position after each of his exchanges he would have completed his 440 yards after 3 exchanges. Finishing a full 440 yards he then walked ahead to his original position to repeat the sequence until all 50 lap cycles were completed in the same manner. (3 baton exchanges x 50 lap cycles = 150 baton exchanges for each runner x 8 runners = 1200 total baton exchanges for the entire relay - So, each runner contributed (50) 220 sprints and (100) 110 sprints = 12.5 miles to the completed 100 mile record).

Starting with runner #1 at the start/finish line on the west side of the track you can put the runners in order at their starting positions around the track.         

1st position: Runners - 1, 4, & 7 started at the west side start/finish mark on the track (220 leg start) This would mean he finished his 3rd exchange to complete a 440 at the north end curve of the track and walked ahead one position to his original start mark to repeat the same sequence.

2nd position: Runners - 2, 5 & 8 started at the east side across from the start/finish on the track (110 leg start), This would mean he finished his 3rd exchange to complete a 440 at the start/finish mark on the track and walked across midfield to his original start mark on the east side to repeat the sequence.

3rd position: Runners – 3 & 6 started at the north end curve 330 mark on the track (110 leg start), This would mean he finished his 3rd exchange to complete a 440 at the east side track position and walked ahead one position to the north 330 curve to repeat the sequence at his original start mark.

Starting Positions with order of interval sequence:  
(First position)  #’s 1,4,7 runners ran a 220,110,110 order to complete each 440 yards.
(Second position) #’s 2,5,8 runners ran a 110,220,110 order to complete each 440 yards.
(Third position)  #’s 3 & 6 runners ran a 110,110,220 order to complete each 440 yards.  

Each relay mile took 4 x220 and 8x110 to complete, which would mean that 12 exchanges were needed to complete each mile.  The finish of the first mile would have been recorded by runner #4, the second mile by runner #8, then this format was repeated in that same order the entire relay.  So that #4 Bobby Brown, and #8 Charlie Quagliana alternated as the last leg of each mile. 

The start of every new mile began with the # 1 runner or the #5 runner, so #1Franklyn Pfeil, and #5 Jeff Hulshoff alternated as the first leg of each new mile.

So every odd numbered mile was started by the #1 runner and finished with the #4 runner.  And every even numbered mile was started by the #5 runner and finished with the #8 runner.

Every odd mile was scored in sequence with runners 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,1,2,3,4.
Every even mile was scored in sequence with runners 5,6,7,8,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.
220,110,110,220,110,110,220,110,110,220,110,110 = 1,760 yards = 1 mile.
(Sequence of intervals is in yards.  Each mile had 12 intervals).

2 Mile Cycle:
Every two miles each runner ran his 3 intervals completing 440 yards, which would score as 8 runners completing 8 laps.  So each runner scored 1 full lap of 440 yards every 2 miles.  This would complete the 8 man relay cycle and restart it in the exact same position on the track that each runner originally began as he continued to walk ahead to that position for his next exchange.

All this goes to prove that our coach, John Chew was, and still is a SUPER GENIUS! And maybe a little bit Wiley Coyote
Runners order#:
1.    Franklyn Pfeil
2.    Jim Rycyna
3.    Jeff Watkins
4.    Bob Brown
5.    Jeff Hulshoff
6.    Brian Brooks
7.    George Bickford
8.    Charlie Quagliana

Runner order per mile with distance covered:
  1…..2…..3…..4…..5…..6…..7……8…..1…..2…..3……4      (odd # mile runner order)
220,110,110,220,110,110,220,110,110,220,110,110    (distance covered = 1760 yards = 1 mile)
   5…..6…..7…..8……1….2…..3……4……5…..6…..7…..8     (even # mile runner order)
Every 2 miles each runner completed 440 yards (1-220 and 2-110’s)
Runners 1,2,4 ran 330 yards on odd# miles, and 110 yards on even# miles
Runners 5,6,8 ran 330 yards on even# miles, and 110 yards on odd# miles
Runners 3,7 ran 220 yards on both odd# and even# miles

Filed by Jeff Watkins Nov.8, 2014

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