Record Almost Falls at Gateway Track Mile
BY DON AND TAMMY SLUSSER
MONROEVILLE, PA--The 19th edition of the Gateway Mile offered a new twist. $50 was offered to anyone who could break Mike Dianos 2003 overall record of 4:29.83 or Tammy Slussers 1996 overall female record of 4:58.91. Also, $20 was offered for anyone who could break age-group records in the most competitive categories of Male 40-49, Female 40-49, Male 50-59, Male Under 19, or Female Under 19.
In the fast heat, A.J. Saravica (27) of Mt. Lebanon made a serious run for the record. He had company the first two laps, as 17-year-old Fred Thompason of Woodland Hills High School stayed with him through laps 66 at 440 and 2:14 at 880. In the third lap Saravica pulled away for good and sprinted in to just miss the record by .58 of a second. His time of 4:30.41 ranks as second on the all-time list. Thompson held on for second place in 4:50.32, which moved him into fifth place on the all-time under-19 Male list. John Brockenbrough, 50, of Murrysville, PA smashed the old 50-59 Male record of 5:04.79 set by Carl Hubel in 2007. His 4:52.46 was good enough for third place overall in the Fast Heat, just ahead of Brian Caskeys fourth place 4:53.56. Brockenbrough turned out to be the lone cash winner of the day. Carl Hubel lost his record but still ran a fine 5:06.30 in sixth place, good enough for third on the all-time 50-59 list.
In the second heat, Michael Pankowski (22) won by six seconds in 5:25, just ahead of female winner Jessica Winters (25) of Squirrel Hill in 5:25.42. Michelle Corkum (24) was the second female in 5:29.84, with Tammy Slusser first 40-49 female in 5:38.60 (moving to fourth all-time best on the 40-49 female list).
In the third and final heat of the day, Bill Somogyi (48) won in 5:55.63. Roger Brockenborough (74), Johns father, established a 70-and-over male record of 7:08.39 breaking John Harwicks 2003 record of 8:45.28. Race-walker Lee Strough (27) turned in a 9:17.33 to move into the fourth all-time race-walk list.
A total of 41 runners and race walkers competed in the three heats, the second highest turnout in Gateway Mile history, just missing the 46 total from 2001. The Gateway Track Mile has always been a no-entry-fee event, designed as a fun way for local runners to get the rare opportunity to run a competitive mile race. Awards are a box of homemade candy, and light snacks and beverages are provided, all for no entry fee. The tentative date for the 20th running of the Gateway Track Mile is Thursday, June 3, 2010.