FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – It was a monumental weekend at the Randal Tyson Track Center culminating in a world record in the 4×400-meter relay by USA athletes Kerron Clement, Wallace Spearmon, Darold Williamson and Jeremy Wariner when they ran 3:01.96 at the Tyson Invitational.
The team broke the seven-year-old record of the U.S. national team (3:02.83) by nearly a full second as they powered their way around the track and to a check of $25,000 presented to them by Tyson Food’s senior vice president and CMO Bob Corscaden.
“Yesterday was a challenge. Today was just like icing on the cake,” Spearmon said following his second world record in as many days. “With guys like this you really don’t have a choice but to break a world record. Darold and Jeremy have done it for the last four years. We had Kerron on the team, he was a great guy to add. So I was the weakest link. It kind of felt like I was along for the ride.”
The world record was the second set at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the weekend and the third in the building’s seven-year history. Spearmon set the 300-meter record just 19 hours earlier when he ran 31.88 to break Robson da Silva’s mark of 32.19 and Clement broke the indoor 400-meter record in 2005 at the NCAA Championships.
Leading off with Clement, the U.S. team got off to a fast start as the former Florida star was well ahead of the field at the break. Moving to the inside lane, Clement cruised down the back stretch and held on to a four step lead against the field before handing off to Spearmon in 46.1.
Fresh from his world record from Friday night, Spearmon charged around the first turn to the cheers of his howetown crowd and opened up a sizeable lead on the field throught the opening 200 meters. Continuing to press his advantage, Spearmon, the novice 400-meter runner of the group, split 45.94 before handing to Williamson.
A veteran on the US national team’s 4×400 relay, Williamson took the handoff and extended his team’s advantage around the track as well as its run of negative splits. He clocked a split of 45.18 before the 400-meter gold medalist, Wariner, took the baton for the final two laps.
Wariner came around the first turn like he had been shot out of a cannon and never looked back as he rounded the track to the ovation of the nearly 2,500 fans in attendance. Coming around the final bend the clock read 2:55 and it was a race against the clock. Splitting 44.74, Wariner and company shattered the old record.
“They set me up with a great time,” Wariner said. “They gave me enough time to work with it. I just ran my usual race that I usually do. Coach (Clyde) Hart was telling me before the race to not try and force it and to run my own race. He said enjoy myself. I wasn’t trying to force the record. If it came it came. If it didn’t, oh well we are young we can do it another year. I was just out there to run my race and see what I could do right now.”
When asked about his feeling coming down the final stretch with the world record in sight, Wariner said “That is usually how I run my races. I have a good kick at the end. My training has been great so far, so I came out a little stronger than I thought I was going to be able to. I was just worried about keeping my form the rest of the race.”