7:51:14 hours This story was submitted by Steve Sievert
A group of 100 Houston-area men landed in the running record book, and it took a dramatic come-from-behind effort to get there. The team set a world record for the 100 x 1-mile relay event August 23 at the Rice University Track Stadium, posting a time of 7 hours, 51 minutes and 14 seconds to take more than 2 minutes off the old world standard. The previous record was 7:53:52, set by the Baltimore Road Runners in 1981.
The Houston men, competing in the St. Joseph Hospital Men's 100 x 1-Mile Relay, got off to a slow start as a steady downpour and lightning greeted participants at the 6:30 a.m. start time. Only nine of the first 25 runners were able to better the 4:44-per-mile pace that would be required to make a run at the record.
While a handful of impressive miles were turned in by team members who carried the baton in spots 25 through 75, the squad faced an uphill battle heading into the final 25 runners. Those runners needed to average 4:38 per mile to have a shot at the record, and they responded big time.
Teams of University of Houston and Rice University track and cross- country athletes made the difference, as they picked up the tempo for mile splits that included six sub-4:30s, including the day's fastest carry of 4:15 by former Rice runner Luis Armenteros. The final average mile pace was 4:43.
The event, organized by the Houston Area Road Runners Association, also featured Masters (40 and over), Veterans (50 and over) and All-Star teams. The Masters posted a time of 9:04:02 (5:26 pace), while the Veterans stopped the clock at 11:08:12 (6:41 pace).
The relay was sponsored by Sisters of Charity/St. Joseph Hospital, Runner Triathlete News, Martin Auto Park, Continental Emsco, Papa Johns Pizza, Dreyers Ice Cream, Brooks, RunSport, City Bagels, McDonald's, Ozarka, Etonic and PowerAde.