For years, as a high school athletics and cross-country coach, Harvey Weber has helped others break records. Now, he’s broken one of his own.
Weber broke the Saskatchewan record for the 1000 metre race with a time of 3:14.34 in the 50 to 54 age category at the Saskatoon Downtown Lions Indoor Track Meet Jan. 13 and 14.
“I looked up the Saskatchewan record for the 1000 metres for Masters Men for 50-plus and I thought I could beat this record,” he said.
The athlete usually runs five to 14 kilometre races, which he usually places within the top four. When he decided to go after the 1000 metre record, he had to change how he trained.
“What I did was train indoors one day a week just to get used to running that higher speed because a 1000 metre race, you actually run very differently than even a 5000.”
For a shorter race, the foot placement and general strategy is different than a longer race.
“Preceding the race I did two time trials and broke the record, so I knew I could probably accomplish it so long as I didn’t go out too fast,” Weber said.
To actually break the record, Weber had to attend a sanctioned track meet. He originally signed up for the senior level races – which is made up of university students, but decided to go down to the youth men 17-18 year olds as they ran closer to his pace.
Before he started the race, he ran into one of his former students and athletes, Kim Mitchell.
“She comes up to me and says, ‘there’s an error in the entry sheet. It says you are racing but it should be one of your athletes.’ I said, ‘actually, no. I’m racing.” She goes, ‘what? You’re racing this race? You’re racing my son.’”
Weber started to warm up, but he found his soleus muscles in his calf were tight from his training.
“When I started the race, they were tight to even begin with, so I was a little bit leery about how hard I should actually run,” he said. “As I progressed through the race, my goal was to run 39 seconds per lap.”
He completed the first two laps in 36.5 seconds and the third lap in 38.5 seconds. Then his soleus got tighter, so he decided to lower his pace. For the last two laps, he did them in 41 seconds.
Weber’s final time broke the record by 38 seconds.
For the first few minutes after the race, Weber spent the time recovering from light-headedness and nausea that comes with pushing oneself so hard.
“For the first few minutes after the race, I was basically trying to come back to reality. Then my brain started functioning better and I said I accomplished my goal.”
Weber said it was a happy feeling to break the record.
“That was the first time I ran the 1000 metre in 31 years,” he said. “The last time I would have raced that distance was in 1987 and at that time I was ranked top 20 among university runners in Canada for that distance and the 1500. My time on the weekend was 80 per cent of my speed 31 years ago.”
Weber is now considering an effort to break the 1500 metre record, which he expects might take a few years, as it’s pretty fast.
Weber wasn’t the only Tisdale runner at the meet. Ruben Paguia ran the master’s mile in seven minutes and 22 seconds to capture the silver medal. Austin Olson placed fourth in the bantam boys’ 60m. Holly Parker raced in the youth women’s 600m race.
Katiana Gilbert, the daughter of one of Weber’s first track athletes, is being coached by him and is competing for the Tisdale Track Club. She won both the bantam girl’s 60m and 150m races with huge personal bests.