If there’s one thing that Canadian track fans want to see more of, it’s races covered on Canadian television channels. Well, TSN sort of delivered on that recently, as the crew of the radio and television show OverDrive broke down a 200m track race. It wasn’t the type of race most track fans would hope to see covered, though, as it was a run between OverDrive host Jeff O’Neill and one of the show’s producers, a man known as Al’s Brother. While it would have been nice to see an elite race like the Sound Running Track Meet covered, this showdown was good for a laugh, and who knows, maybe TSN will broadcast more running events if this one got good ratings.
O’Neill and Al’s Brother didn’t race at the same time, and they instead used a time trial format to see who was the fastest. Not much is known about Al’s Brother and his athletic history, but O’Neill played in the NHL for 12 seasons, and while this race wasn’t on ice, his past in professional sport may have given him an advantage. The race was held on what looked to be a high school track, and the crew filmed the two men with a drone.
The footage was broadcast well after the race was said and done, and O’Neill and Al’s Brother watched it with Bryan Hayes and Jamie McLennan, the other hosts of OverDrive. Before it got started, they said how quickly they expected O’Neill (who went first) to run, and expectations weren’t too high, with bets of 68 and 77 seconds. O’Neill shattered those times, though, running 42 seconds. He even leaned forward at the line, jerking his head to stop the clock as soon as possible.
“It felt like I was cooking out there,” O’Neill said after the race.”[But] that looked like a guy walking in the forest on a Sunday afternoon. It was pathetic.” Although he was disappointed in his run, O’Neill surprised his co-hosts, and they adjusted their bets ahead of the sprint from Al’s Brother, deciding on 46 and 48 seconds.
For some reason, Al’s Brother ran in Lane 4 the entire way, but he at least started in the right spot, so he and O’Neill (who started in Lane 2) ran the same distance. Al’s Brother went out a bit too hot, and he faced a brutal final 100m, ultimately fading in the closing stretch. He crossed the line in 47.5 seconds, well behind O’Neill, who took the OverDrive 200m crown.