Oh brother! Spencer looks to smash a Butterfield record
Primary school mile record holder Spencer Butterfield has his sights on beating another record time in the popular KPMG Front Street race . . . the senior school boys mark held by his brother Tyler.
And Spencer, back running seriously these days after many years away from the sport, has his younger brother’s encouragement as he attempts to get under the 4:27.3 time Tyler set in 1999.
Along with Spencer’s own record time of 5:14.7 set 20 years ago in 1993 in the primary boys category, the Butterfield family hold the two oldest records in the Invitational Mile.
Getting below Tyler’s mark is motivation for Spencer as he attempts the Triangle Half Challenge for the second straight year. Last year he was eighth in both the 10K and Half-Marathon with times of 37.44 and 1:25.19 respectively.
He needs to shave about 19 seconds off his time last year to get close to Tyler’s high school mile record.
“‘Ty’ actually has a record on Front Street that I didn’t know about so there is a little banter between us to see if I can do it with a few years difference in the age when he did it and when I’m now trying to do it,” said Butterfield, now 31.
“I have a target to get after his time, though I’m not sure I’ll get down to where he set the record but that’s the target. I only discovered that when he was here (back home) about six week ago.
“The training hasn’t been what it might need to be to get down there but we’ll see. Being that I have the primary boys record, when I found out about his record in the secondary school which I wasn’t aware of, the older brother ego kicked in and I said ‘let me get after that’.
”When we sit down at the dinner table it’s about who’s got the fastest record. It’s the shorter distances where I can compete with him. The 5:14.7 is my claim to fame. He was very encouraging when he was here and was the one who got me very excited about his time, ‘yeah you should do it, I think you can get to that time’, so without his motivation I probably wouldn’t have aspired to go for it.”
As the sons of well known runners Jim and Debbie Butterfield, Spencer and Tyler grew up with running in their blood, but while Tyler gained in prominence and eventually branched out into cycling and triathlons where he represented Bermuda in the Olympics, Spencer faded from the scene for many years. Now he’s back, thanks to his wife Cary’s encouragement, and has had some top 10 finishes in local races, including a fourth-place finish in the recent Fairmont to Fairmont race, albeit in a field missing some of the top runners.
But he cautions that he just wants to have fun and enjoy running again.
“My wife has been excited about running recently so that’s what’s motivated me to get out there and it’s something we can do together,” said the father-of-two who has been married five years. “I don’t know if it is all that serious, it’s really just to keep fit.
“Since we’ve had kids it was a way for her to get fit and that’s what’s got me doing some training. The recent races have been fun and I’m excited about Race Weekend. I’ll never be able to touch him (Tyler) in a marathon or half-marathon but there is one event, the mile time, and that’s my goal for this weekend.”
Butterfield said it never bothered him living under his younger brother’s shadow, even though he was once an accomplished athlete himself. “When I said the brother ego, it was only a joke because I’m one of his biggest fans, I have a lot of admiration for what he does and the time and energy he puts into it,” he stated.
“I guess I don’t have the same passion he does for the sport so I enjoy it at a much more casual level and have no problem being his brother. I enjoy his successes with him and I’m excited about everything he’s doing.
“I stopped running in high school when I had other passions, so I’m just picking it back up since high school in the last year or so. We’re usually in church on Sunday mornings and that’s why we don’t compete. Here and there we’ll fit in a race between church. It’s a great running community and it’s been fun to be back out and involved.”