Started running 4 years ago at 57 and a mere 3 years later holds mulitple TSO medals, 10 National Championships and a WORLD RECORD!
I started running 4 years ago at age 57. I was introduced to track through the TN SR OLYMPICS the following year and due the level of professionalism among the Staff and the incredible support from fellow athletes, lead me to
10 National Championships and a WORLD RECORD a mere three years later.
David Schmanski & 3 other World class Champions Just broke the American and World Records in the 4 x 800m World Record (23 year old record) at the USATF National Championships in Jacksonville, FL. David Schmanski's team included World Class Champions and World Record Holders: George Haywood, Horace Grant, & Steve Chantry. At this event, David Also won the 2015 National 800m title, and beat his teammate and current indoor World Record Holder, Horace Grant.
The Road to a World Record.
In a recent article by WR holder George Haywood titled "It is far harder to get to the starting line, than it is to the finish line", A reality check brought this into focus as David Schmanski, a twenty year Nashville native, boarded a plane to the Potomac Valley Track club in Alexandria, VA. in a bid to break the World Record for the 4-man 800 meter relay race, on June 27, 2015. The race hosted runners of all ages and included David and his three teammates who were competing in the 60-64 age group.
The nearly quarter of a century World Record Time of 9:33.95 has been held by the Netherlands since 1992. While breaking such a long- standing record seems astonishing, Schmanski may be the man to help his team do this, having recently broken a 28-year- old state record for his age group for the 400m at the KY Bluegrass State Games in Danville, KY. David dashed onto the track scene in his first ever National competition when he won the 2014 Outdoor Masters Championships in the 400m, 800m,1500m, 4 x 400m and 4 x 800m. He bested the Former World Champion and current World Record holder, Nolan Shaheed, in the 800m & 1500m . Schmanski is also a 13 time USATF All-American in the 50m,100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m and 1 mile. In 2014 he was also a 14 time State champion in those same events in KY, TN, and IN. In March of this year, Schmanski won the National Indoor Championship for the 800m.
Schmanski expressed confidence in the ability of his teammates, all World Class Masters' level competitors. Two of them George Haywood and Horace Grant, both race together and against one another with their team, Houston Elite. Haywood met Schmanski at the 2014 Nationals Masters' Championships in Winston-Salem NC, and asked him to join their team. Their fourth member, Steve Chantry, also pursued by Haywood, agreed, and the relay was in play.
The competition near Washington DC, since not a national competition, required a great deal of preparation for a World Record Attempt with proper accreditations and approvals to meet the USATF requirements.
The stage was set, the applications were in and approved and the plane tickets purchased. The rest is simple... just have four 60+ year olds, who are world class runners, show up at the same place, at the same time, and remain healthy until the gun goes off. Well, this may be why the record is 23+ years old. The morning of the race, while Schmanski was suiting up 23+ for the big event, reaching down to lace his racing spikes, his back gave out and he ending up on the floor moaning in pain. It was over, no amount of massaging, no amount of aspirin, no amount of pleading could make the race happen. His teammates being not only world class runners, but world class gentlemen as well, knew all too well, these things happen. Each of Davids'
teammates have been running for over 40 years. "The understanding and true genuine concern was overwhelming and incredibility motivating and inspiring," said David Schmanski who was determined not to let his teammates down a second time.
The next attempt would be at the Masters' National Championships in Jacksonville, FL July 23 -27. A much easier venue, since no additional paperwork, or authorizations would be necessary at a meet of this level.
Although getting back in shape to a World Class level in less than three weeks from a lower back disk injury seemed insurmountable, David was determined to give it his all. He consulted Nashville friend and National Champion, Daniel Smithhisler, and convinced him to help. David, who normally trains at the track 1 day a week, was pushed to 3 days a week and combined with physical therapy, chiropractic care, and TENS therapy, molded his running form back into shape.
The day of the meet arrived and David was questionable at best. Again two of his teammates were flying in solely for the 4 x 800m WR attempt. Sleeping with ice and a heating pad the night before the event did not leave one with great expectations. David gave up the 400M and 1500m events with the hopes his back could hold up for the WR attempt. He did want to test his ability and decided to attempt the individual 800m event, which was 3 full days before the 4 x 800m relay. Horace Grant, the current indoor World Record holder, and teammate would provide David with a great gauge as George was also running the 800m event. On that misty Thursday morning as the starting gun when off, David ran side by side with Horace the entire race, and opened up a 3 sec lead on the final 100m to win the National 800m Title with a time of 2:21 to Grant's 2:24.
Sunday Morning arrived. Schmanski, wearing his trademark knee braces and newly acquired back brace, lined up for the first leg of the four man relay.
Doubts arose when the event was greeted with 14MPH head winds on the back straight-away. Schmanski delivered a blistering 2:18, Haywood followed with a 2:26, Chantry also delivered a 2:25, and Horace Grant drove it home with a 2:21. eclipsing the old World Record by over 3 sec at 9:30.92.
Schmanski, born in 1954, started running in 2011 and began his track competition in 2013 with the TN Sr Olympics, which he often says was one of the best decisions he has ever made. When asked how he can compete on a National level with so little experience, he jokingly compares himself to a
1954 Chevy that has been garaged for 58 years. "All the other guys have a lot more wear and tear. I look forward to absorbing the wealth of experience that these great athletes are so generous to share. I cannot say enough great things about the USATF and the wonderful Men and Women who compete."
David Added, "If you want to really enjoy the competition, you should only compete against yourself. When you compare yourself to others, you are only bragging or complaining"
David has decided not to attend the World Masters competition in Lyon, France, which he was scheduled to compete in. He said there is always another day and always another race. He just needs to heal and enjoy his World Record and National Title.
David Schmanski - 3 year participant Submitted August 2015
I ws 52 and had not run track since 1975 at the Ohio High School state championships.
Four years ago the State Finals were held at Battle Ground Academy High School and I lived about 2 miles away. I was 52 and had not run track since 1975 at the Ohio High School state championships. I went to the event, took my stop watch, and got an idea of what it would take to be competitive. I started that July and worked all winter and spring to get into shape and to develop some speed. I am a sprinter that does the 100, 200, 400 m races. I was ready to qualify at the regionals and the Nashville flood showed up and we were cancelled and automatically qualified into the State Finals. That was great, but I had no times on the books. So, I went to a race in Kentucky on a lousy wet cold day and ran a couple of races to get a baseline. With that done, I could plan my training accordingly. I ran well at the first State Finals and have been in three. I have won 5 golds and 3 silvers in 3 years.
Jackie Allen submitted August 2012
The week of Finals I was not going to attend. I started asking friends and Family to pray for these legs. :) I finally decided to make the trip to Franklin and allow the legs to either tell or stop the story. On Friday I walked the track at Battle Ground praying and praising. On Saturday,. I found myself slightly intimidated as I observed the competitions long swift strides and unsure of how my hamstring would react. Well as I told everyone that would listen, I was going to give my hamstring all it could take and let what happens happen. The track events found my hamstring in God's hand as I managed to qualify for Nationals in all 5 events.
I was awarded 2 Silvers and 3 Bronze.
(TRY THESE 3 WORDS) FAITH, PRAYER AND WORK! GOD IS AWESOME!
Eleanor Pendergraft - Submitted July 20, 2011 - 3 year participant
Barbara D Wunner, 8 yr participant - Submitted July 2011
Ray Cherry, submitted September 2010
Now, at age 50, I finally get to participate in the swimming events!
I've been looking forward to the Senior Olympics for the past 5 years. Now, at age 50, I finally get to participate in the swimming events! I have had to train alone since no one in my county or district competes in swimming events. However, after all of those long and lonely hours in the pool, I will get to share my love of swimming with other lively seniors from across the state. I can't wait until the July competition!
Debbie Frey, Adamsville, TN - 1st year participant
Joyce G. Manis, Kingsport, TN - 16 year participant - Submitted July, 2008
A couple of years ago I was on the operating table with open heart surgery on the District qualifying date.
A couple of years ago I was on the operating table with open heart surgery on the District qualifying date. Naturally, I didn't get to qualify for the State Finals. So I just attended with my wife, Jane, who did qualify and participated. Some old Coots moving around getting ready. One said: "Hey, Wade, we missed you at District. Where ya been?" Well, I told them, "I had three bypasses with open heart surgery." Somebody in the group said, "Heck!I had 5 bypasses and a new hip put in, where's the discus?" I didn't even get to have a pity party. Go getum old Coots.
Wade Odom, Baxter, TN - 10 year participant - Submitted June, 2008