Kathy Martin established herself Wednesday as a front-runner for WMA Female Athlete of the Year by lowering her W65 PR in the indoor 3000. Of course, that means another world record. This time, she clocked an incredible 11:35.98. That beats her previous W65 best of 11:37.19 at the Armory and the listed WR of 11:49.53 by Britain‚Äôs Angela Copson.) (The listed outdoor 3K WR is Angela‚Äôs 11:48.2.) WMA requires you compete in one of their international meets to be considered for ‚Äúbest athlete,‚ÄĚ and she‚Äôll likely be nominated. She also set 800 and mile records earlier. In winning her race, Kathy beat Britain‚Äôs great Rosalind ‚ÄúRos‚ÄĚ Tabor by 52 seconds ‚ÄĒ lapping her. Peter Taylor wrote in a Daegu preview: ‚ÄúMartin, a member of the USATF Masters Hall of Fame, will compete on the track in the 800, 1500, and 3000. Perhaps to ensure that she gets sufficient aerobic training on her trip, she will also run the 8000 cross-country race and the half-marathon.‚ÄĚ So stay tuned for more fireworks!
Kim Collins will not be Bill Collins, we learned over the weekend. The St Kitts & Nevis M35 and M40 world-record holder at 100 (crazily faster at 40 than 35 ‚ÄĒ 9.93 to 9.96) says he is retiringafter IAAF London worlds this summer. That means he won‚Äôt be challenging the 11.44 M55 WR by unrelated Bill of Houston. I‚Äôve learned never to say never (about masters comebacks). But the elite professionals generally stay retired. (No money in geezer track.) Also announcing he‚Äôs hanging up his M40 running shoes is San Diego‚Äôs Meb Keflezighi, the famed Boston Marathon winner and Olympic silver medalist who says his last 26-milers will be Boston in April and New York City in November. ‚ÄúPeople say, ‚ÄėWhy stop? You‚Äôre still at a high level.‚Äô But it takes a lot out of you,‚ÄĚ the four-time Olympian told The Associated Press. ‚ÄúEven when my family gets together, I‚Äôve got to get my run in. I love the sport. I had the best job in the world for a long, long time. But I have to be fair to my wife and my three daughters.‚ÄĚ Fair enough. But when the kids leave the house, well. See you at the all-comers meets!
Daegu coverage again delayed for latest details on Allen Woodard‚Äôs 400 WR. He reports that the race was run in 79-degree and windy conditions, and ‚Äúcoming home there was a good headwind. I‚Äôm happy to have run my fastest time so far in these conditions. ‚Ä¶ I am really looking forward to a great season in 2017.‚ÄĚ He also confirms he‚Äôs 48 now. He goes on: ‚ÄúThere is a lot involved [in] breaking a world record in the masters. Fortunately for me, I had Bill Collins there the first time I broke the world record in 2015 at Rice University in 2016. Thanks, Bill! It seems like our world record of 3:22 in the 4√ó4 did not qualify, and now my 49.32 I ran at the USA Masters nationals meet did not get ratified [as a world record]. I‚Äôm really confused about the national meet. Records show that the 400 meter world record is still 49.69, which I ran that time back in 2015. Since then, I‚Äôve set new records. In 2016, I‚Äôve ran 49.12 @ UIW, 49.17 @ Baylor, 49.38 in Atlanta, 49.17 @ Rice and 49.32 @ the National event. Again, those were all times I ran in 2016. All times documented. So far, this year in 2017, I have ran the times of 49.49 @ Trinity University and now the new record in the 400 meters is 49.09 that I ran this weekend at Texas Southern University Relays.‚ÄĚ Here‚Äôs the 49.09, with Allen taking third.
Last April, Allen Woodard of Houston was open about his 400-meter goal: sub-49 at age 46. A year later, he‚Äôs closer still. At Saturday‚Äôs Texas Southern University Relays, Allen clocked an incredible 49.09 against the kiddies to lower his own listed M45 outdoor American record of 49.32 at 2016 Grand Rapids nationals. (The listed WR is Allen‚Äôs 49.69. Go figure. And he also has an unratified 49.12 from last May.) On the Age-Graded Tables, 49.09 is worth an open time of 43.7. Allen‚Äôs all-time PR is 45.8 in an injury-shortened career. The season is young, and so is Allen. How much faster can he get? Here‚Äôs a video of Allen‚Äôs 49.12:
Caroline Powell is a top medal contender in Daegu. Photo by Alan Ramage
Athletics Weekly reports that many of the nearly 600 Brits from their masters nationals are entered at Daegu worlds. Tom Phillips counted 109. This means a country a fifth the size in population of America has more entrants. I can only guess why. UK‚Äôers take ‚Äúathletics‚ÄĚ more seriously. They have more disposable income. They have a much more developed club system with financial resources. Talk among yourselves. But there‚Äôs no question that the British version of Track & Field News kicks our butt on masters coverage. AW, as it‚Äôs known, has a great preview of Daegu. ‚ÄúCaroline Powell set a W60 400m world record when joining her age group a couple of years ago and ‚Äď after competing in the three sprints in the British event ‚Äď she heads the British women‚Äôs challenge in Daegu, alongside Carole Filer,‚ÄĚ the story begins. ‚ÄúPowell will face Canadian Karla Del Grande, who is ranked just a fraction slower over 200m but looks favourite over 400m. Also in the W60 group, Filer goes in five jumps and hurdles as well as the pentathlon. Hurdlers Joe Appiah (M45) and Neil Tunstall (M55) add to British strength over the barriers, with Tunstall also taking in the 200m/400m double. Mensah Elliott, meanwhile, is down for the M40 hurdles.‚ÄĚ So yeah, AW knows masters.
Christa with her top points award at Canadian nationals.
As Americans and old and new friends flood into Daegu for worlds this weekend, we should pause to appreciate last weekend‚Äôs Canadian masters nationals at Toronto Track & Field Centre at York University. Daegu-bound Christa Bortignon, who turned 80 in late January, set two world records as close to 260 entrants made it the largest indoor nationals up there in history. (See results here.) Christa long-jumped 3.02 meters (9-10 3/4) to beat the listed record of 2.92 (9-7) by Germany‚Äôs Rosemarie Kreiskott in 2011 and triple-jumped 6.91 (22-8) to extend the listed WR of 6.33 (20-9 1/4) by Sweden‚Äôs Elsa Enarsson in 2011. Christa won six golds for the four-member Greyhound Track Club of British Columbia. (She also tied for the most points among women.) Sorry I can‚Äôt join y‚Äôall in South Korea, but I‚Äôm enjoying my Facebook feed. Looks like so much fun, and they have Dunkin Donuts, too! Ea ‚Äėem up, Yanks, and I mean haul in the hardware. Daegu results will be here.
Pete Magill is the Bill Collins of distance comebacks. Let me explain. With his M55 American record Friday in the track 5K, Pete pulled off a 15:42.13 in the wake of fighting injuries from age 53 1/2 to 54 1/2, when ‚ÄúI wasn‚Äôt sure I‚Äôd ever come back strong,‚ÄĚ he says. In Bill‚Äôs case, his 2011 battle with Guillain-Barre syndrome led him to lose 41 pounds and an estimated 85 percent of his muscle mass. Then somehow Bill recovered and set sprint records several years later. All masters ride the roller coaster of rehab years and fit years. But Pete is a poster child for hurdling adversity. (Oughta try steeple, Pete!) I learned about the 5K AR on Facebook. (‚ÄúLegs were still tired from Brea 8K 12 days ago. Will try to better that time later this spring. But a FUN race!‚ÄĚ he wrote.) So after lowering Brian Pilcher‚Äôs listed record of 16:05.12 by 23 seconds, Pete got my usual shameless questions. He graciously replied with wonderful details, especially one worth cheering ‚ÄĒ that the Ben Brown meet at Cal State Fullerton had a designated official ‚ÄĒ the sainted Susan Harris ‚ÄĒ to handle record paperwork. Remember that Pete in 2011 famously swore off the paper chase. So how does he celebrate his latest 5K record? Pete praises his teammates.
Pete pushes to oldest sub-16 5K by an American. Photo by Diana Hernandez
Like a metric ton of bricks this hit. My inbox overflowed with the shocking news that Ed Whitlock, my email pal and Canadian track hero for years, had died at 86 of prostate cancer. A year ago, we were chatting about fetching M85 records in the 1500 and up. In the past eight years alone, I‚Äôve gotten 114 notes from him (via his shared ‚Äúewbw‚ÄĚ account with wife Brenda). He wasn‚Äôt a glory hog by any means. He was merely responding to my gazillion requests for details on his latest track record (and sometimes marathon, which he was wont to do.) Ed‚Äôs LDR feats are well-documented, including this obit by Runner‚Äôs World. But his track records are stunning as well. He‚Äôs the listed holder of 11 outdoor and 8 indoor world records. Mostly of the 1500/3000/5000/10,000 variety but also 4√ó4 relays. Today was going to be devoted to Pete Magill‚Äôs M55 American record in the 5K and Christa Bortignon‚Äôs two W80 WRs at Canadian indoor nationals. But that‚Äôs on pause as we mourn a true great.
Ed resisted being called a role model and inspiration. But tough. He was.
But headlines are fair game, Disney fans. In a news releaseset to go live Monday, Peter Taylor and Bob Weiner share highlights of Team USA set for Daegu worlds starting March 19. One revelation is W75 Marie-Louise Michelson is ‚Äúmaking a comeback after being away from the action for a while.‚ÄĚ I covered some of her records, and she‚Äôs a stud when healthy. [She‚Äôs still listed as having 15 American age-group records, indoors and out, including relays.]
Marie has range in the record chase ‚ÄĒ from 800 meters to upper distances.
Worst fears are realized. This reply came early Friday from WMA President Stan Perkins of Australia: ‚ÄúI have just received a formal notification from the Chinese Athletics Federation that the team who were to attend the WMA Indoors Championships to be held in Daegu have taken the decision to withdraw from the championships. This notification came in response to my inquiry as to whether reports that had been circulating advising a boycott was to be imposed was true or not. The notification specifically states that the decision was taken after ‚Äėmost athletes and their families expressed concerns and worries about their participation in the championships.‚Äô Put bluntly, there is nothing that can be done to change this situation.‚ÄĚ
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and web-master since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials, the last three as a blogger and Patch correspondent. [More...]