On Tuesday at the World Indoor Masters Championships in Torun, Poland, David Carra 90-year-old Australian masters runner pulled off the comeback of the year (maybe century) as he chases down Japan’s Hiroo Tanaka, 92, in the men’s M90+ 400m. This is a 400m race for the ages, and a lesson going out too hard.
Tanaka gets out to a quick start, passing through 200m at 40.64 seconds (3:20/km pace)–a remarkable pace for a 90-year-old. He seems to have a six- to seven-second lead on Carr as he takes his final lap. With 100 meters to go, Tanaka hits a lactic wall, and his pace dies off, but a surging Carr catches him at the finish to secure world M90 + 400m indoor gold in 1: 42.02.
The M90+ 200m record holder, Tanaka, was on world-record pace through 200m but couldn’t hold the speed on the final lap, closing in 61 seconds to finish second in 1:42.92. The M90+ 400m world record is held by Canada’s Earl Fee, 94, which he set at the 2019 North, Central American and Caribbean Masters Athletics Championships (NACAC) in Toronto when he ran 1:29.15.
Fee was supposed to contest Tanaka and Carr for the M90+ indoor medals in Torun, but he was listed as a did not start (DNS).
To put their time in perspective, both Carr and Tanaka averaged a speed of 14 km/h for the entire race as ninety-year-olds. These two are some of the world’s best masters runners, boasting over ten world age-group track records between them.
Last summer, Carr turned 90 and immediately broke five M90+ world records on the track. He ran a 1,500m race in 7:32.95, a 3,000m in 16:20.96, a 5,000m in 29:47.83, a 10,000m in 62:48.93 and a 2,000m steeplechase in 12:50.46. His age-graded 1,500m time works out to 3:16.00, 10 seconds faster than the current 1,500m world record is 3:26.00.
These master runners are in a league of their own.