World Champs Mixed 4×4 — A World Record Debut

Michael Cherry ran down Justyna Święty-Ersetic on the way to history’s fastest time, 3:09.34. (KEVIN MORRIS)

TO MANY, the nascent mixed-sex 4×4 is still more a novelty than full-fledged event, but a World Record by the United States in its first World Championships appearance did much to enhance the prestige of the race. Since ’15, when it debuted on the schedule at the World Youth Championships, the relay has been high on Seb Coe’s menu for reinventing the sport. In Doha, a top-notch American foursome took the race under its first major barrier.

Do the math. Two men running 45-second legs and two women running 50s—both benchmarks for world-class running—will yield a 3:10. In the finals, the U.S. foursome of Wil London, Allyson Felix, Courtney Okolo and Michael Cherry blistered a solid 3:09.34. Behind them, four other squads broke the WR that had been set the day before in the heats by an entirely different U.S. quartet.

In the recordsetting heat Tyrell Richard led off at 45.1, handing a solid lead to Jessica Beard (50.6). Jasmine Blocker (51.27) and Obi Igbokwe (45.44) finished off the 3:12.42, which broke the old best of 3:13.20 that had been set by the winning Philadelphia team at the TrackTown Summer Series finale in Eugene in ’16. Three other nations also went under the old mark: Jamaica (3:12.73), Bahrain (3:12.74) and Great Britain (3:12.80). The second heat was taken by Poland in a much more pedestrian 3:15.47.

For the next day’s final, the U.S. brought out its heavier hitters, yet Poland was at or near the front most of the distance by dint of being unique in opening with 2 men whereas everybody else went M-W-W-M. London led off at 44.9, a tad ahead of the 45.1 that Jamaica’s Nathon Allen reeled off. Felix’s 50.4 found her handing off to Okolo far behind the Poles. The Texas alum blasted a 49.9 while behind her Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser burned a 49.2, the fastest women’s split of the race. On the anchor it was up to Michael Cherry to run down Poland’s Justyna Święty-Ersetic. His 44.1 did just that, capping the barrier-busting time.

“I really just wanted to get out well and make sure to catch the person in front of me for my teammates,” said Cherry. “The medal was on the line and also we wanted the World Record. So I just went out and pushed and then tried to hold on as best I can.” For Felix, less than a year after giving birth, it was a record WC gold No. 12, surpassing the record set by Jamaica’s legendary Usain Bolt.

Jamaica (3:11.78) and Bahrain (3:11.82) tumbled across the line together for the remaining medals. Great Britain (3:12.27) also got the better of the gamble by the 5th-placed Poles (3:12.33). The top 5 all broke the day-old WR. However, London, Felix, Okolo and Cherry have assured that the days of easy records in this event are over.

The jury seems to be still out on whether the majority of fans like the event, at least run the way it is, with no fixed rules on which order the sexes run in. Some also feel that its presence had a negative impact on long-sprint scheduling.


WC MIXED-SEX 4×4 RESULTS

FINAL

(September 28) (temperature 75F/24C; humidity 71%)

1. United States 3:09.34 WR, AR (old records 3:12.62 United States in heats)

(Wil London 44.9, Allyson Felix 50.4, Courtney Okolo 49.9, Michael Cherry 44.1);

2. Jamaica 3:11.78 NR (2W)

(Nathon Allen 45.1, Roneisha McGregor 51.2, Tiffany James 50.5, Javon Francis 45.0);

3. Bahrain 3:11.82 NR (3W)

(Musa Isah 46.1, Aminat Jamal 52.4, Salwa Eid Naser 49.1, Abbas Abbas 44.2);

4. Great Britain 3:12.27 NR (4W)

(Rabah Yousif 45.9, Zoey Clark 51.3, Emily Diamond 50.3, Martyn Rooney 44.8);

5. Poland 3:12.33 NR (5W)

(Wiktor Suwara 46.3, Rafał Omelko 44.8, Iga Baumgart-Witan 51.1, Justyna Święty-Ersetic 50.1);

6. Belgium 3:14.22 NR (10W)

(Dylan Borlée 46.0, Hanna Claes 52.0, Camille Laus 51.2, Kevin Borlée 45.0);

7. India 3:15.77

(Yahiya Anas 45.6, Velluva Vismaya 52.4, Jisna Matthew 53.0, Noah Tom 44.8);

8. Brazil 3:16.22

(Lucas Carvalho 46.1, Tiffany Marinho 51.5, Geisa Coutinho 52.5, Alexander Russo 46.1).

Lanes: 2. Belgium; 3. Great Britain; 4. Jamaica; 5. United States; 6. Brazil; 7. Poland; 8. India; 9. Bahrain.
Reaction times: 0.156 Great Britain; 0.158 Belgium; 0.159 Poland; 0.164 Jamaica; 0.165 Brazil; 0.173 United States; 0.194 Bahrain; 0.243 India.

HEATS

(September 27)

I–1. United States 3:12.42 WR, AR (old records 3:13.20 TrackTown Philadelphia ’16) (Tyrell Richard 45.1, Jessica Beard 50.6, Jasmine Blocker 51.27, Obi Igbokwe 45.44);

2. Jamaica 3:12.73 NR (McGregor 51.1, Francis 44.8); 3. Bahrain 3:12.74 NR (Naser 50.0, Abbas 44.2); 4. Great Britain 3:12.80 NR (Diamond 50.9, Rooney 45.1);

5. Canada 3:16.76 NR (Price 51.8, Osei 46.8); 6. France 3:17.17 NR (Raharolahy 53.1, Jordier 45.8); 7. Ukraine 3:17.50; 8. Czech Republic 3:18.01.

II–1. Poland 3:15.47 (Hołub-Kowalik 51,9, Omelko 46.7); 2. Brazil 3:16.12 NR (Coutinho 52.7, Carvalho 45.7); 3. India 3:16.14 (Mathew 51.9, Tom 46.3); 4. Belgium 3:16.16 NR (Vervaet 52.4, D. Borlée 46.0);

5. Italy 3:16.52 (Lukodo 51.2, Lopez 46.6); 6. Kenya 3:17.09 (Moraa 52.1, Sampao 45.6); 7. Germany 3:17.85 (Pahlitzsch 52.3, Sanders 45.9); 8. Japan 3:18.77 NR (Tamura 46.4, Takashima 53.5).

— Order By Leg —
Leg 1
1. United States 44.9; 2. Jamaica 45.5; 3. India 45.6; 4. Great Britain 45.9; 5. Belgium 46.0; 6. tie, Bahrain & Brazil 46.1; 8. Poland 46.3
Leg 2
1. Poland 1:31.1; 2. United States 1:35.3; 3. Jamaica 1:36.3; 4. Great Britain 1:37.2; 5. Brazil 1:37.6; 6. Belgium & India 1:38.0; 8. Bahrain 1:38.5
Leg 3
1. Poland 2:22.3; 2. United States 2:25.3; 3. Jamaica 2:26.9; 4. Great Britain 2:27.5; 5. Bahrain 2:27.6; 6. Belgium 2:29.2; 7. Brazil 2:30.1; 8. India 2:31.0

Subscription Options

Monthly Subscription
(Digital Only)

  • Access to Current Articles
  • Access to Current Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach

$7.95 every month (recurring)

Annual Subscription
(Digital Only)

  • Access to Current Articles
  • Access to Current Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach

$79.00 every year (recurring)

Monthly Premium Archive
(Digital Only)

  • Unlimited Articles
  • Access to Archived Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach

$12.95 every month (recurring)

Annual Premium Archive
(Digital Only)

  • Unlimited Articles
  • Access to Archived Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach

$128.00 every year (recurring)

Annual Subscription
(Digital + Print)

  • Access to Current Articles
  • Access to Current Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach
  • 12 Monthly Print Issues

$109.00 USA every year (recurring)
$157.00 Canada every year (recurring)
$207.00 Foreign every year (recurring)

Annual Premium Archive
(Digital + Print)

  • Unlimited Articles
  • Access to Archived Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach
  • 12 Monthly Print Issues

$158.00 USA every year (recurring)
$206.00 Canada every year (recurring)
$256.00 Foreign every year (recurring)

Annual Subscription
(Print Only)

  • 12 Monthly Print Issues
  • Does not include online access or eTrack Results Newsletter

$79.00 USA every year (recurring)
$127.00 Canada every year (recurring)
$177.00 Foreign every year (recurring)

Track Coach
(Digital Only)

  • Track Coach Quarterly Technique Journal
  • Access to Track Coach Archived Issues

Note: Track Coach is included with all Track & Field News digital subscriptions. If you are a current T&FN subscriber, purchase of a Track Coach subscription will terminate your existing T&FN subscription and change your access level to Track Coach content only. Track & Field News print only subscribers will need to upgrade to a T&FN subscription level that includes digital access to read Track Coach issues and articles online.

$19.95 every year (recurring)