— New York Road Runners (@nyrr) March 20, 2018
A half-marathon just wasn’t enough for Brooklyn runner Tim Decker.
Earlier this week, we reported on a bizarre (and world record-setting) indoor marathon that took place at the famed Armoury Track in New York City. Coincidentally, it was one of two running events taking place in New York that day. The other was the significantly bigger (yet shorter) NYC Half.
Local runner and coach Tim Decker decided to run both. The 48-year-old completed the half, which started at 7:30 am local time, in 1:35:12. He had time to take the train home to change before heading over to the Fort Washington Ave. Armory, where he was slated to start running at 11:30. He finished in 3:58:35.
It’s not the first time Decker tucked in a couple of races in a single day. According to a blog post from the Central Park Track Club archives, back in 2004, Decker once did something much crazier. He ran the first 13K of the New York City Marathon, then jumped in his car and drove upstate to Westchester, where he competed in a local 10K (finishing in an impressive 38:05). He then drove himself back to the city, and jumped in the marathon, still ongoing, at the exact same spot he’d left off. He finished the 42.2K run in 8:27:32. That’s impressive, considering it takes about an hour each way on a Sunday morning to get to Westchester from Brooklyn. So, in theory, he ran 52K in about 6:30.
“I’ve actually experimented a lot with double-headers,” says Dexter. “In September I did a 100-miler and left twice to do two different 5Ks. I look for long races with enough clock time to allow me to make it back before the cutoff.”
This was Decker’s first indoor marathon, which, at the Armory, involves 211 laps around a 200m banked track. For most people, the thought of 211 repetitions is mind-numbing, but Decker claims boredom wasn’t a problem. “There’s a big screen at one end, and two more digital boards at eye level on the sides, so the numbers are changing all the time and you get constant feedback.” He also found his mind more than occupied by the numerous relay teams on the track, and listening to a mix of pop and rock on his MP3. Surprisingly, runners did not change direction during the race.
Decker trains with the New York Flyers Running Club. He also coaches runners trying to qualify for Boston, which he has run 23 years in a row. Is he planning on breaking the record, which is 50? “That would be very cool,” says Decker, “but I’d be 76 years old, so we’ll see.”