On September 25, 2010, Brian Harvey and Ben Schmeckpeper took it to the track to settle a bet. The Level didn’t even exist back then, so we’ll leave it up to the competitors to tell the story here.
Ben Schmeckpeper: I wasn’t running much at all for the first few months after my first son, Nate, was born. But, being a competitive guy and having developed a co-dependent gambling addiction with Harvey, we came up with a bet to see who could run a faster 400. Since I was out of shape I demanded a headstart and we polled our friends to see what that advantage should be. We got 16 serious submissions, then threw out the fastest and slowest predictions and averaged the remaining 14. The result was 5.47 seconds which, by rule, was rounded down to 5 seconds.
I was feeling good on race day, I had been disguising some of my training and really felt that I had gotten inside of Brian’s head. My plan was to get out as hard as I could, hoping that Brian would be demoralized by the gap and start doubting his ability to catch me. It seemed to be working well, I hit 300m and was sure I was going to win. I made the mistake of trying too hard at that point, though, and tied up very badly over the final 50m. I still believe that if I hadn’t tried to force with 100m to go I would have been able to hold him off.
I wound up running 58.x (I didn’t think I’d break 60) and Harvey ran 53.x.
Brian will probably deny every being worried about losing, but I know that with 250m to go he thought the gap was too big to overcome.
Brian Harvey: Coming off the first turn, Shmk’s lead looked almost insurmountable, especially since the wind was kind of bad. Even at 200, I wasn’t confident I had enough time to get him. At 300, I noticed his form starting to break down but I still had a significant gap to close. At 350m, he started locking up and I was able to sneak by him. I’ll give the Shmk-papa credit though, pretty impressive for someone with essentially no time to run.
1. Brian Harvey (CMU Alumni) 53.4
2. Ben Schmeckpeper (MIT Alumni) 58.5 (5 second head start)
Thanks to Carly Shea for providing the footage from that epic race. Have stuff like this of your own that’s just collecting dust? Let us know, it could be very Level-worthy.