One Big Collision

Which one of the following events should be added to track & field meets in Montana?

Tom Derderian was the man who single-handedly managed to ruin the 1981 Portsmouth (NH) Marketplace 10K by sending thousands of hapless runners into total chaos and confusion. (This story is a Running Times exclusive, as Tom has kept his dark and horrible sin a secret for 18 years and is only now revealing the truth to clear his conscience once and for all.)

It all began innocently enough as the gun went off and several thousand runners headed through the winding streets of the old seaport town. They were led by two sub-30-minute guys who, along with the lead vehicle, promptly disappeared out of sight of the chase pack. Tom was happily in third place, leading a pack of several dozen men running about 31- to 32-minute pace, with several hundred more runners strung out behind.

Well into the race, the chase group came to a confusing intersection with no course markers. The lead runners were nowhere to be seen, so Tom—knowing the town quite well—led the huge pack in the direction of what he thought was the finish line. Unfortunately, he took a detour, adding about two minutes to their time. Far worse, however, he and the several hundred runners who followed him now were heading toward the finish line from the wrong direction. And—you guessed it—the next contingent of runners, plus everyone else behind them, had gone the correct way and was now heading toward the finish from the right direction, but about to run into those errant souls who’d made the mistake of following Tom.

The top two guys finished the race. After a minute or so, the race officials began to wonder why no one else was showing up. Then, to their horror, they saw the second pack, led by Tom, approaching the finish from the wrong direction! Thinking quickly, they turned the finish-line banner around. No sooner had they done so, though, when the next pack of runners came into view running top speed in the other direction.

Imagine, if you will, several hundred runners all sprinting at once toward the finish line from opposite directions. It was, in Tom’s words, "like knights at a jousting match, crashing into each other and bodies being tossed in every direction." Without a word, Tom escaped to sit on a nearby hillside and witness the ensuing carnage.

We thank Tom for his story and congratulate him on his award, which comes with an all-expenses paid trip to the Bermuda Triangle 10K.


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2000 Meter Steeplechase
3000 Meter Racewalk
5,000 Meter Run
4 x 800 Meter Relay
Weight Throw
Don't add any events

Place your vote NOW!


Current Results (As of November 15, 2006, 10:51 pm MST):

20.2% 2000 Meter Steeplechase

4.0% 3000 Meter Racewalk

11.2% 5,000 Meter Run

22.7% 4 x 800 Meter Relay

37.2% Weight Throw

4.7% Don't add any events


Total Votes: 277