Penns Valley’s Brooker a member of world-record relay team

gbrunski@centredaily.comApril 26, 2008 

By Gordon Brunskill gbrunski@centredaily.com WINGATE — Jane Brooker was happily trotting around the track at Bald Eagle Area High School on Saturday morning, shouting encouragement to her athletes. She may be a world record-holder, but there was still no big-timing the Penns Valley runners. Less than 20 hours earlier, she was on the track at historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia at the Penn Relays, teaming up with three other women to run in the Masters 4x400-meter relay. The four women, all over the age of 40, merely covered the distance in 3 minutes, 56.27 seconds, breaking by about two seconds the world record previously set by a quartet from Australia about a decade ago. Years ago Brooker had run in the U.S. Olympic Trials, but had never been good enough to make the team. Now, her name is next to a world record. “The record was really fun last night,” she said. “It was worth it.” Brooker is an assistant coach with the Rams, is the wife of boys’ head coach Scott Brooker and the mother of the team’s top distance runner, Matt. She was at Franklin Field planning just to run in the masters 200 meters, for which she had qualified over the winter. She also had been communicating with a friend who was a part of the relay team, and in an offhand remark she mentioned she was available if a fourth was needed for the team. As it turns out, the friend got injured and Brooker was needed. She knew only Jearl Miles-Clark, the U.S. record-holder in the 800, who ran the anchor leg, and did not know Charmaine Roberts or Renee Henderson, who ran the first two legs, until Friday. “We met up that day,” Brooker said. “We never did any handoffs except a couple right before the race and we were off.” With a packed schedule all day at Franklin Field, the masters 4x400 race is croweded, with 21 teams of both men and women lining up for the start. Only three teams, all men, finished ahead of the East Coast Masters team, who then put on a victory lap to celebrate their record. Following more celebrating at dinner, Brooker finally got home at 1 a.m. and was on hand for the Rams at the meet’s first gun at just past 11 a.m. Brooker was smiling all day. “There was no way I was ever going to get an American record, let alone a world record,” Brooker said. “This was really fun for me.”

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