USATF battles over board as Anaheim annual convention nears

Stephanie is my pen pal.

In recent weeks, a war has erupted over proposed changes in the USATF board of directors. Masters T&F lost its direct representation in 2008, when committee chairs including our Gary Snyder were kicked off the board and replaced by Willie Banks, who did double duty, representing Associations and Masters. I’m not sure how the latest debate affects masters, but I’ve been drawn into it. That’s cuz USATF President Stephanie Hightower (whom I interviewed six years ago) sent email Monday to “USATF Thought Leaders.” Me included. Her only reference to masters comes in an article she appended by Alan Abrahamson. Alan quotes USATF CEO Max Siegel as saying: “It is my job to bring in the revenues that fund the programs that grow our sport, from grass roots to professional athletes to masters athletes. Without the funds, and without the business, the programs and the sport don’t grow. We are now at a point that our efforts and results are speaking for themselves. Now that we have a track record of success, we are in a position to talk about what we can do, together as an organization, including our constituent groups, committees, officials, coaches and volunteers. As much as we have done, we have far more to accomplish and much more growth ahead of us.”

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November 25, 2014  No Comments

National Senior Games beat Sochi for Best Multi-Sport Event

I guess we know how to put on a show. According to a recent release by the NSGA, “The 2013 National Senior Games Presented by Humana has been voted ‘Best Multi-
Sport or Multi-Discipline Event’ in a prestigious annual awards poll hosted by SportsTravel magazine. … Online voting was open to membership and the public. 2013 National Senior Games, Cleveland OH, earned top honors under the Amateur Sporting Event category for multi-sport events in a field of five that included the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.” Well, I understand Sochi had issues. So no wonder they don’t top the travel charts. But congrats to NSGA. Hope you deliver next summer as well. Here’s a view of the track venue. Nice setting.

November 24, 2014  No Comments

California Dreamin': 4 San Diego summer all-comers revealed

This is dedicated to our frozen East Coast friends. Paul Greer of the San Diego TC writes: “The 2015 Summer Nights Track and Field Series Schedule has been finalized…. Again our mission is to promote track and field to our wonderful community and my hope is this series of events held during the summer season will attract a lot of athletes and coaches…. The 2015 Summer Nights Series first event will be Wednesday, June 10, at University City High School followed by Clairemont High School hosting the second event on Wednesday, June 24. The third event will be hosted by San Diego State University on July 8 and our last of these four events is slated for Wednesday, July 22, at Sweetwater High School. We sincerely hope to see you and your athletes at any or all of these meets.” Click on the dates to see fliers describing these $5 or $7 mini-meets. Also: This 2015 flier notes June 27 date for the Chuck McMahon masters meet — but no site listed. It’s been at Cal State San Marcos for years.


November 23, 2014  No Comments

Junior Olympics vs. masters nationals: Who will have juice in Jax?

Masters will warm up track for munchkins in July.

The day after 2015 masters nationals end in Jacksonville in July, the National Junior Olympics begin. Oughta be interesting to compare our times! But the big news is that masters and munchkins will share in a $125,000 windfall. The local paper says: “To aid the effort, the Duval County Tourist Development Council on Thursday awarded grants totaling $125,000 for the USA Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championship, scheduled July 23-26, and for the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships, scheduled July 27-Aug. 2. Both competitions will be at Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida.” I’d be curious to learn whether the money is split 50-50 and how it will be spent. Hope it’s for lots of water and keeping the officials comfy. While mulling that, how about a little wager? USATF Masters and Youth committees bet something over who will have the best marks — the gold-medal times and distances — in all the events we both contest. In other words, our M35s and M40s against their oldest kidlets. Lay your bets.

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November 22, 2014  14 Comments

Susan Kassey’s masters moment is Hartford Courant’s failure

Susan is living her long-delayed long jump dream.

Here’s a lovely story about a Connecticut police officer making a track comeback after 35 years. Her career was cut short at age 15, when her dad died. But Susan Kassey, the subject of a Hartford Courant report, deserved better. The story is full of mistakes and overstatements. Count ‘em in just one paragraph: “Masters competition is for people who are 39 and older. So far, Kassey, who lives in New Britain, has competed in two meets. Her results have been good enough to qualify for the National Masters Track and Field Championship games next summer. According to rankings by USA Track and Field, which organizes these events, Kassey is ranked fifth nationally in her age group in the 55-meter dash, based on her performance in the USA Track and Field Connecticut Open Indoor Track and Field Championships in February. Kassey then went to the Nutmeg State Games in July and did well enough in the long-jump to be ranked eleventh nationally.” Oy vey and OMG.

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November 21, 2014  5 Comments

So what has Lavinia Petrie done lately? Try W70 WR at 3000m

Lavinia is on a WR tear.

Lavinia is WR machine.

Only days before getting her WMA World Best Masters Athlete award in Monaco, Lavinia Petrie of Australia added to her record-setting legend. At a Bendigo meet Tuesday night, she ran 3000 meters (a half-lap short of 2 miles) in 12:52.03. That makes her the oldest woman to go sub-13 and beats her own listed W70 world record of 13:07.79. Yowza! By comparison, the American record is 14:41.60 by our friend Mary Harada. The local paper said: “The 71-year-old from Kilsyth achieved 102.73% in age gradings. Petrie was the only competitor to surpass 100 [percent] in the age gradings at this competition. There were 40 starters in the 3km event.” The WMA records page shows her as owning WRs in the 3000, 5000 and 10K. It’s a long time to Lyon worlds. If she enters, she’ll be running on fumes.

November 20, 2014  6 Comments

David Pain accepts lifetime service award from San Diego TC

David Pain, our Columbus, was honored Sunday by the San Diego Track Club with a lifetime service award. He and pioneer female road runner Donna Gookin were applauded by 200 people at the San Diego Hall of Champions, a sports museum in Balboa Park. ran a story about the awards, named for legendary San Diego streak runner Dale Larabee. “SDTC presented the first award to Donna …, known as the “godmother of women’s long-distance running” in San Diego. Gookin ran the 1972 Boston marathon, the first year women were officially allowed to participate. … After starting the first-ever women’s running division at the Mission Bay Marathon, she won 10 of the 40 women’s divisions she competed in the races that followed.” Coach Paul Greer said: “Both Donna Gookin and David Pain are truly great living examples of why this award was initiated since their lifetime service to the sport of running has spanned over the last 50 years. Many of the programs they introduced to the San Diego running community and worldwide still exist today.” You bet.

November 19, 2014  4 Comments

Track world finally notes WMA World Best Athletes of the Year

Lavinia set 3K and 10K world records on same day in January 2014.

Lavinia set 3K and 10K world records on same day in January 2014.

A week before the World Athletics Gala in Monte Carlo, the IAAF itself and British track mag Athletics Weekly have noted the winners of WMA World Best Masters awards — Guido Muller and Lavinia Petrie. (We had the news nearly two months ago.) WMA posted their credits. (Click on their names above.) I learned a few things about the German legend and Aussie distance star. For example, Guido barely missed making the 1964 Olympics in the 400-meter hurdles. And Lavinia is a “Briton-turned-Australian” who now holds eight world records or world best performances from the W50 to W70 age groups. Guido is quoted as saying: “I regard this recognition not only as an honour for myself, but also as an honour for the masters track and field movement in general. I hope that the Lord will give me the necessary health in the future that I may continue my good results.” Us too, GM. Have fun in Monaco (again).

November 18, 2014  One Comment

Willie Banks sees doubling or tripling in masters track budget

Willie put on a show at Striders dinner. Click for photo gallery.

Look for the USATF Masters T&F Committee budget to double or triple in the next two or three years. That’s the prediction of Olympian and former world record holder Willie Banks, a member of the USATF Board of Directors since 2009. He made the forecast Saturday night as the featured speaker at the annual awards banquet of the Southern California Striders. The club met at the Park Ave restaurant in the Orange County town of Stanton. Since our 2014 budget is $132,000, we might be around $300,000 in 2016-2017. Where does the moolah come from? Willie’s theory is the Nike’s longterm $500 million deal with USATF will lead to more exposure of the elites (via expanded televised meets) and there greater awareness of our sport, which somehow will trickle down to masters. He says such efforts could make track “again the premiere sport in the United States.”

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November 17, 2014  No Comments

Olympic shot champ hints comeback if Eugene snags IAAF meet

Adam Nelson would be 44 at 2019 IAAF worlds.

Olympian Adam Nelson, the 2004 shot gold medalist and 2000 silver medalist, has tweeted: “If eugene gets world championships, I’d consider coming out of retirement for a chance to represent the U.S. In the US.” He refers to the Hayward Field bid to host the 2019 IAAF world outdoor championships. Adam would be 44 at the time of 2019 worlds. The qualifying standard for 2019 hasn’t been set, but it will probably be close to that of 2013: 20.60 (for A standard) and 20.10 for B. That’s 67-7 and 65-11, respectively. The listed M40 world record is Brian Oldfield’s legendary 21.41 (70-3) of 1985. But it would take at least that far to medal in 2019. Hope Adam gets his shot (and considers sticking around for masters)!

November 16, 2014  No Comments