June 09, 2009
Scott Hartley thought his running career was over. Then he discovered CrossFit at 44. Parker Morse tells how Hartley went from the sidelines to the finish line and became one of the fastest masters runners in the United States.
Scott Hartley is defying just about everything: the odds, conventional wisdom and his own running past.
Early in March, Hartley, from Nunn, Colorado, won the 800-meter and one-mile races at the 2009 U.S.A. Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships. In April, he won the masters mile at the Drake Relays, one of the biggest and oldest track meets in the United States. On a 200-meter indoor track, Hartley ran 1:57.89 for 800 meters—within four seconds of his all-time PR, which he set half a lifetime ago as a Division 2 collegiate athlete at the Colorado School of Mines.
Hartley’s system involves fewer than 20 miles per week and very little of the traditional high volume training developed by legendary coach Arthur Lydiard. A combination of middle-distance training and CrossFit has meant an extraordinarily low-mileage program, and Hartley is actually running between 20 and 40 percent of the miles run by other athletes at his level.
He’s working just as hard, though, because his training calendar is liberally sprinkled with names like Michael, Fran and Cindy.
“My weight hasn’t changed at all,” Hartley says. “My appearance has. It’s been nice not to have to give up strength in order to run.”