‘Mr. Marathon’ Tracy Sundlun owed $160K by firm he co-founded

Tracy also helps run 50K race walks near his Santee home.

M60 marathon business legend Tracy Sundlun was laid off by San Diego-based Competitor Group Inc. last July — days before leaving for Rio and his gig as U.S. men’s track team manager. I wrote about his firing. Now he shares a scarier story — that his old employer, CGI, which he built into an international powerhouse, has denied him severance pay and won’t reimburse all his business expenses. They won’t even return all his personal office items. Why? Tracy says CGI blames my November 2016 Times of San Diego story as containing “disparaging” remarks in violation of his separation agreement. Tracy tells me that ain’t so. (So I’m not feeling guilty.) But Tracy is taking on his old company by sharing a bunch of documents on his case. See my latest story. So that explains why I’ve been quiet past couple days. (I have a lot of info on records set and payments made at Sierra Gold meet. Stay tuned.)

May 24, 2017  No Comments

M45 Whiteman lowers 800 WR to aw, you’ll never believe it anyway

AW was the subject of a 2016 article in AW.

Who would be the first M45 to run sub-1:54 in the outdoor 800? That was answered several weeks ago, when British Olympian Anthony Whiteman scorched two laps in 1:53.40 and shattered Sal Allah’s 2005 mark of 1:54.18. Then came: Who could go sub-1:53? Whiteman replied with a 1:51.3 — breaking the 1:52 barrier as well. Now what do we make of Anthony’s outing Sunday at the Loughborough International? Competing in a heat won in 1:48.68, AW lowered his season best to a head-smacking 1:50.52 — only 2 seconds off the listed M40 WR of 1:48.22 (by Anthony, of course). If Anthony had run 1:50.52 early in the 20th century, he would have been the world record holder going into the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. (Fellow Brit Tommy Hampson was the first to go sub-1:50 when he won gold at L.A. in 1:49.8.) Another way to look at 1:50.52 — he would have made the semifinals of the M45 400 at Perth worlds with just one of his back-to-back 55.26s. Unbelievable. Now let’s see him run some other distances. The listed WRs are 49.69 (but 49.12 awaiting ratification), 3:51.22 (1500) and 4:16.09 (mile). See Tony (in yellow top) battle the kiddies:

May 22, 2017  3 Comments

Baltic Open Championships in Estonia set for August; Yanks, too?

A week after the Eurovets hold their WMA regional in Aarhus, Denmark, the Estonians (no relation) plan an open masters meet in Pärnu. The event is August 12-13, and info is here. “This will be a good possibility to improve the results in less formal atmosphere – have good food and beer after competition, walk in warm summer nights on sandy Pärnu beach, have a disco dancing in the Saturday evening and meet friends and competitors once again,” the Eurovets say of the Baltic Open Championships. “Pärnu is a nice resort city 125 km from Tallinn and about 200 km from Riga. All information about competition you will find in our web-page kjveteranid.ee.” LOC is Estonian Masters Athletics, or EstMA. (In Estonian, it’s Eesti.) Spelled out, it’s esti Kergejõustikuveteranide Assotsiatsioon. Maybe some Yanks can infiltrate the meet and report back.

Pärnu (population 40,000) might be an exotic locale for a summer track trip.

May 21, 2017  6 Comments

Where is Robin Williams as French mocker when we need him?

A month ago, I noted how the German track federation was rejecting any records set at the Auckland World Masters Games because — horrors! — satanic dope-fiend Russian masters were allowed to compete. I summoned the Soup Nazi from “Seinfeld” to illustrate the inanity of that stand. So who do I recruit for comment on the news that the French are shunning results from the WMG and the European Masters Games? Yes, the contagion has spread. According to Alfred Hermes’ German masters site: “The French national commission for seniors’ athletics (CNAM) announces that Fédération Française d’Athlétisme (FFA)’s results obtained from European Masters Games and World Masters Games are not included in their publications and record lists. Both events are organized by a private organization, which is not recognized by IAAF, WMA, AEA or EMA. Therefore, there will be no advertising for these events on CNAM and FFA websites.” OK, now you’re getting it, you Jerry Lewis-loving snail-eaters! How about a leetle Robin Williams?

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May 20, 2017  No Comments

‘Superman’ Dan Bulkley at finish line of masters career: 100 at 100

Last October, I wrote about Dan Bulkley of Oregon being entered at the Huntsman World Senior Games. At 99, he was set to run sprints and do discus and javelin. He didn’t make it to the meet. But thank goodness he made it to 100 (on May 4). In one of the greatest masters profiles I’ve seen, his local paper shows him running 100 (to the movie theme of “Superman”). His exact time wasn’t recorded. But his form was great. Tim Trower’s story in the Mail Tribune had a lot of revelations, including a sad one: Dan may be hanging up his spikes. But “he plans to run [100] again this Saturday, when a birthday party of some 200 guests — family and friends are another thing Bulkley has collected over these many years — commences at RoxyAnn Winery.” Also notable: “The [alternating lead leg] hurdle technique he adopted years earlier in college boded well. For 15 years and through three age groups, 70 to 84, he was unbeaten in the intermediates.” (Using “intermediates” brands the writer as a track savvy guy.) Also loved hearing Dan’s motto: “You don’t slow down because you’re getting old. You get old because you slow down.” Dan’s last official meet was a year ago in Bend, running the 50 and 100, the paper says. He’s already a Masters Hall of Famer. Legend is his legacy.

Dan gets sendoff in his last track 100 at Oregon college where he coached.

May 19, 2017  No Comments

Irene Obera vows comeback for 2019; expect W85 WR rewrite

Mark your calendars for 2019. That’s when W85 world records will drop like pins on the PBA tour. That’s when Irene Obera is coming back. The Masters Hall of Famer periodically emerges from her Bay Area habitat to rewrite the record books. After winning 2016 Top Female Athlete of the Year Honors, she’s biding her time till she turns 85 in December 2018. The unlikely source of this news is the Moroccan-based track site Om Riyadat, which helpfully runs in English as well as Arabic. “Upon returning home [from Daegu worlds], Obera — as she has throughout her long association with track and field — opted to step away from the sport … at least for a while,” says the profile, quoting her: “I decided to take a break, but that doesn’t mean that I’m sitting around doing nothing.” She underwent cataract surgery on both eyes April 20, and she says: “I’m glad I did it; there was nothing to it.”

Irene in Perth, winning one of her six golds. Photo by Rob Jerome

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May 18, 2017  5 Comments

Chinese runner’s goal: Guinness world record for most gold medals

Chen Xuhua likes to show off her track medals.

The Malaysian-based Star2 website posted a story about China’s Chen Xuhua of Jinan, Shandong province. “At the Perth 2016 World Masters Athletics Championships… Chen won the 5,000m and 2,000m steeplechase for women in the 75-79 age group,” it notes. (Her times: 25:56.79 for 5K and 11:30.55 for 2K steeple.) She also was fifth in the 400 (1:35.51) and second in the 10K (56:06.57). The retired kindergarten teacher who taught singing and dancing has a goal I’ve never seen uttered before: “My three sons also like sports, partly because of our influence. I will continue running. And try to realise another dream – applying to Guinness World Records for the most gold medals won by an amateur runner.” That’ll be hard to prove. But it’s great fodder for chatter. How many golds have y’all won? (She says she has 119.)

May 17, 2017  7 Comments

W80 Christa Bortignon closing in on Irene Obera WRs in 100, 200

Christa has been setting sprint records for years.

Christa Bortignon of Vancouver, British Columbia, continued her world record tear a couple weekends ago, claiming a W80 triple jump WR at the Dylan Armstrong meet in Kamloops. (See results here.) She spanned a legal 7.16 (23-6), destroying the listed WR of 6.55 (21-6) by Sweden’s Elsa Enarsson in 2010. But she’s still short of her recent indoor TJ of 7.42 (24-4 1/4). So what excited me in the results? Christa is breathing down Irene Obera’s neck in the 1 and 2. At the same meet, Christa ran Canadian records 17.14 for 100 and 37.00 for 200 — just off Irene’s listed WRs of 16.81 and 36.80 at 2014 Winston-Salem nationals. She tells me she’s taking a break until BC Masters Championships next month. Should be a doozy.

May 16, 2017  8 Comments

Roald Bradstock as Babe Ruth — calling his M55 world record stick

Zak Vince taped Roald Bradstock’s M55 WR in the javelin, which shows him saying: “Six-six 12 — world record right here” — where the listed WR is 66.11. (Babe Ruth didn’t throw javelin, but legend has it he also called his shot.) The video also depicts the official calling out all three throwers’ names, the steel tape measurement and the official shot of the measurement and the official call. “Just trying to make sure all the stuff is there with the propoer documentation,” RB told me in a Facebook chat.

May 15, 2017  4 Comments

M45 Anthony Whiteman wipes out own WR, screams 800 in 1:51.3!

Anthony deserves a rest this week.

What a loser. The 10th-place finisher in the B heat of the British Milers Club meet Saturday at Solihull had an 800 PR of 1:45.81 but managed to run only 1:51.3. His club, Shaftesbury Barnet, must be hanging its head in shame. But wait! What’s that? The runner is 45 years old? Oops, never mind. Just another world age-group record for sub-4 masters miler Anthony Whiteman, who lowered his own pending M45 WR of 1:53.40 from a week earlier. (See results here.) That mark in turn bettered the 12-year-old listed WR of 1:54.18 by American Sal Allah. So yowza, y’all! Anthony’s mark ranks among the best in masters track. On the Age-Graded Tables, his mark is equivalent to a stupendous 1:41.07. David Rudisha’s real WR is 1:40.91. Anthony’s 1:51.3 would have been an elite WR as recently as 1928.

May 14, 2017  10 Comments