A Dramatic Finish in Eugene!

June 26th, 2011 in Articles by 16 Comments

Thanks to everyone who has written/texted/Facebook-posted everything from congratulations to condolences over the final outcome of my Masters 1,500-meter race at the USATFs in Eugene. After clocking a very exciting 4:01.7, my performance was negated by an official’s disqualification. Understand that officials at any race anywhere — even the biggest races — are analyzing hundreds of data points about dozens of athletes in real time. I abide by the official’s decision, but let’s not let it overshadow a very exciting race.

If you haven’t seen it already, you can watch the race footage yourself at RunnerSpace:


Thanks again to everyone for your support. I’m very happy with my performance in the race. I ran faster than I thought I could among some great Masters athletes, and the performance bodes well for a great summer season.

Author: Rick Miller



I’ve watched the replay at least 5 times now and the issue in question seems to occur around 3:35 right when the camera comes back from the high jump.

Berra appears to make a move and in doing so runs into you from behind.

The officials call it a “bump.”

It is so unfair that this DQ’d you as the contact is obviously incidental.

Your statement/response to this shows great maturity, class and respect for the event and your competition, but I for one am left very confused by their rationale/decision.

I heard you have filed a protest and basically they stood by their “decision” without reviewing the tape?

Rest assured the world now knows Mark Gomes is a world-class athlete and the best is yet to come.

Let this race get you even more hungry for the outdoor national championships in the 800m in Cleveland in late July!

Congrats on an amazing race! You’ve inspired and proved nothing is impossible if you work hard!

I encourage everyone to watch the race replay and comment on what you think happened.


Bryan Huberty


Watched it twice. I still don’t see the problem. Maybe I am just a little biased.

It appears that you are well in front and he speeds up after you got by him. He ran into you at that point.

If the official was in front he would have seen that. If he was in back he wouldn’t have been able to judge the response of the runner you passed.

Don Bernier


The video isn’t coming up…is it posted anywhere else???



I’m in transit, but I guess the video is also available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v561IqI9N8w



if i’m seeing it correctly, it looks like you’re about to cut in right when they go to the high jump, so that might have been where they saw an infraction. afterwards, it looks like nick tries to pass you inside on the turn–a dangerous gambit on his part–and you move inside and cut him off. not sure that’s an infraction since you didn’t actually change lanes, but that may also be where they saw an infraction. either way, you are a force to reckon with as a master, and there will be other hopefully even faster races. with all this fuss, maybe it’s a good sign that anyone actually gives a $#!+ about masters running.

your fan from the back,
christian cushing-murray

christian cushing-murray



I don’t understand the grounds for the disqualification. The way you are handling this reinforces you as a great sportsman and gentleman. I watched the clip half a dozen times and don’t understand the infraction. You should contest the decision as it appears you made a move and Nick tripped while trying to pass you. You had the right of way. You didn’t change lanes to prevent him from passing. Very confusing.

Great race. Showed a lot of heart. You looked strong. Seams like the training is paying dividends. Keep up the training and good luck at the World and National Championships.

John Cormier


Haha. Great post Christian! Your analysis is spot on. I never left the first lane, but I did defend it when I felt him on the inside. I guess the question is whether 1) they didn’t like that or 2) they didn’t like the initial pass. Either way, we were all part of an awesome experience on a legendary track. If people are checking out the video and getting fired up over watching us race, that’s a fantastic bonus : )

It was great meeting such a great group of guys…and as a 800M guy, I look forward to NOT facing you in the 1500M again!



It is clear to me that marc cut off the guy in first and in the process elbowed him in the chest the officals made the right call in dqing him. You need to have a full stride length ahead of someone before you can cut in. By him cutting that guy off and elbowing you almost coast him getting passed by someone else.

Your Name


I hate people who comment but yet afraid to leave their name.

Kevin Carberry



Guys: Don’t be afraid to put these comments up on this discussion board on Lets Run.com!

Coach @


Hey Mark, congrats on a fast time. Long way from a year ago, huh? I wonder if there is some Zapruder film out there, since most people don’t see an infraction worthy of a DQ in the Runnerspace cut. Does the vid capture the whole thing or was there another bit that we’re missing (if you know/remember?). In total, seems the outcome would be the same, so enjoy and get motivated by this new rivalry. As I understand, this was an exhibition 1500 and the “real” National Champs in in July, but not too many people are signed up so I’m not sure what to make of that. Hope to see you in Sac and/or Cleveland. Should be a scorchah!

Brian Culley


Mark I like the way you are handling it too. Too tough to call. What happens to the medals? Since I saw the award ceremony, and it looked like you got the 1st place medal before they dqed you. Weird that they would DQ you after the award ceremony.

Your Name


In many sports a simple review is to get the call right and not to cast blame. It is not to knock nick’s effort as well. The fact that USTF stood by the decision not to review is unfortunate. We are fortunate to have the technology this day in age to be allowed the benefits of making the correct call. especially in such a big meet.

One anonymous post stated that there was a bump in the chest and cutting off. That must have occurred on the video that was elsewhereat the meet, because I did not see it.

It is a true testament to Mark’s character to address this with so many that are interested and a bit bumbfounded by the results. You have many friends and fans by yourside.
I know that he has some unfinished business and am looking forward to the next few weeks. I hope to see the times and results continue on course.

Stay strong, focussed and ready, my brother.

Christopher Simpson


[…] Poor comments from competing athletes concerning track officials flood news feeds after last weekend’s national championships. And those don’t even include our own… […]

Fantastic race, Mark…

DQ’s are never fun, and they always seem to take something away from the overall experience, but your pride, effort and ethic will stay with you for however long you demand it. Great work and all the best luck for your next battle.

Leave it all on the track.

Liam Nee



If that isn’t a win in every sense of the word, something is wrong with the sport. You clearly had more stamina, more commitment to the win and more ability to get the job done. Surely strategy and defense are an intregal part of competition running.

Someone much smarter than me once said ‘Little people generally stand in the way of great achievements’.

You’re goal now is to win again against this guy as many times as you can.

Keep up the good work.



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