Jen Rhines rocks American record in 5000 at Payton Jordan meet

Jen Rhines made the 2008 Olympic 5K final.

Jen Rhines made the 2008 Olympic 5K final.

Thanks to Nat Larson’s comment, we’ve learned about three-time Olympian (and 5X NCAA champion) Jen Rhines crushing the W40 American record at Stanford University on Sunday. At the same Payton Jordan meet where Bernard Lagat went sub-28 in the 10K at 41, Jen went sub-16 in the 5K at the same age. She clocked an amazing 15:45.94 — not far off her PR of 14:54.29. (See results here.) The listed American record is 16:02.27 by Carmen Troncoso in 1999. The listed WR is 15:04.87 by Britain’s great Joanne Pavey in 2014. Nice run, Jen! You’re only 21 seconds away from the automatic qualifying standard for the Olympic Trials.

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May 3, 2016  No Comments

Kip Lagat steps up to 10K — Bingo! WR in first attempt at distance

Kip kicked! His last of 25 laps was sub-59.

Kip kicked! His last of 25 laps was sub-59.

Bernard “Kip” Lagat at 41, looking for new worlds to conquer, raced a 10K Sunday at the Payton Jordan Invitational. Stanford reported: “The meet peaked when … Lagat provided the night’s signature moment after winning the 10,000 in a U.S.-leading time and Olympic qualifier, setting a world masters record of 27:49.35 in the process. The Payton Jordan crowd, which always appreciates a good 10,000, was on its feet to honor the five-time world champion in his debut track 10K, and Lagat responded in turn by saluting and applauding the crowd in gratitude.” (See results here.) The listed M40 WR is 28:30.88 by Finnish great Martti Vainio. Shaving 40 seconds is huge. His time age-grades to 26:51.

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May 2, 2016  2 Comments

W100 Ida Keeling gets world’s attention with 100 WR at Penn

It was near 100 degrees last September when Don Pellmann crushed the M100 WR in the 100-meter dash at the San Diego Senior Games. He had a dozen fans in the stands and several dozen watching from the infield. Flash forward to Saturday at the Penn Relays. Temps in the low 60s and Ida Keeling in Lane 3. With a standing start, and a wobbly gait (followed at first by an irksome camera crew), 100-year-old Ida manages to stay in her lane and finish 100 in 1:17.33. (But it’s not a “new world record,” since we never had an old one.) She became the first woman on earth to record a time at her age (two weeks short of 101). Oh, and her race into her daughter’s arms was witnessed by 44,469 people. Also, world media. (And social media, where Ida has her own FB page.) In coming days, more people will post video of the historic race. But here are some of my favorite clips. Check out this one, and then this one.

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May 1, 2016  One Comment

Sex or track? Italian jumper’s provisional suspension raises issue

He's honest about why he takes DHEA and testosterone:  Better whoopee.

Giorgio is honest about why he uses DHEA and testosterone: Better whoopee.

Italy’s Giorgio Maria Bortolozzi, a retired gynecologist almost 80, is a world champion masters long and triple jumper who competes in many events. But at his indoor nationals, he tested positive for DHEA and testosterone — after neglecting to apply for a TUE. News accounts of a month ago say he’s under provisional suspension, but I’m not sure what his current status is. In any case, he’s pushing back against the system — and defends his use of the banned drugs because it helps his health and sex life. In one report, he’s quoted as saying: “Three or four times a month could do it, after 75 years in fact I lost a bit ‘of brilliance.’ You know how [many] old people after age 80 have sex? 20% according to statistics. In exchange, the 30% of the fifties without Viagra can not do it… I do not know, but there is no reason to consider doping: if present in physiological quantities is good. I speak also for my opponents on stage. After this event they are calling me from all over Italy.” This confirms one of my theories of masters drug use: Older men will sooner give up track than sex. So they take the stuff that keeps it up.

April 30, 2016  One Comment

Unbreakable Bill Collins back at Penn: wins 4×1 relay and M65 100

Competing at Penn for the first time since 2013, Bill Collins was in his element Friday at Franklin Field, again anchoring a winning 4×100 in 50.37 and taking the M65 100 in 12.57. Most other 100s were run as well (sometimes into a wind), with winners being: M40 Jeff Mack of DrivePhaze (gottalove club name) in 11.07, M45 Reggie Pendland of Southwest Sprinters in 11.33, M50 Lonnie Hooker of ITS in 11.75, M55 Don McGee of ITS in 12.03, M60 Oscar Peyton (unattached) in 12.10, M70 Ty Brown (unattached) in 14.06 and W40-45 Latricia Dendy of Southwest Sprinters in 13.15. For all masters results, see this page. Up Saturday: M99 Champion Goldy vs. W100 Ida Keeling. Friday was 800 day at Drake Relays, too. And check out Pete Magill’s 5K comeback in Irvine!

Bill Collins wore a speed suit to stay warm at Penn in M60-plus 4x100.

Bill Collins wore a speed suit to stay warm at Penn in the M60-plus 4×100.

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April 29, 2016  8 Comments

Ed Whitlock runs 8:27 mile at 85 — again and again 13.1 times

I have trouble fathoming stellar distance marks. But Runner’s World helpfully noted that M85 Ed Whitlock’s latest world record — a half-marathon in 1:50:47 — averaged 8:27 per mile. He broke the listed WR of 2:00:05 by Germany’s Georg Gabriel by 9:18. “Each new birthday has brought a chance for Whitlock to destroy a new set of records,” RW noted. “Shortly after he turned 85 in March, Whitlock set world indoor records in the 1500 meters and 3,000 meters for 85–89-year-olds. Whitlock has struggled off and on with injuries over the past couple of years, but his recent racing suggests he has hardly missed a beat. Whitlock indicated post-race that he had hoped for an even faster time. ‘I expected to run a little faster than I did today,’ Whitlock told CTV News after the race. ‘It still was a record, so I’ll be content with that I guess.’ In the half marathon alone, Whitlock now owns 10 single-age records ranging from his 1:20:33 at age 68 to [the April 26] run.” Nice run, Ed. Now get back on the track.

April 28, 2016  2 Comments

The New York Times discovers Yale prof’s Age-Declining Tables

Yale Prof. Ray Fair

Yale Prof. Ray Fair

You’ve heard of the Age-Graded Tables, right? Now The New York Times writes about the converse — Professor Ray Fair’s Age-Declining Tables. That’s what I call them, at least. In a story headlined: “Aging Runners Find Help for a Question: How Slow Will I Get?” our old runner friend Gina Kolata talks about Ray, “a professor in the economics department at Yale, who was inspired to find the patterns of slowdowns when his own running performance began to decline. The result is a table. You can put in your best time ever for an event, say a 10-kilometer race, and how old you were when you ran it. The table then shows how fast you could have run it when you were younger and how fast you should be able to run it now and as you grow even older.” She quotes Ray as saying: “Some say the site changed their life. They know they will slow down as they grow older, but as long as they slow down as much as the site says they will, they are fine.” Here’s the table for men’s sprints, which starts at 35 and goes to 100 (as all his tables do). Methinks he could have saved time by somehow flipping the Age Grading Factors. It turns out Ray cites the AGT when he wrote this 1994 paper: “How Fast Do Old Men Slow Down?”

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April 27, 2016  7 Comments

Butch Reynolds renews vow he’d like M50 world record in 400

In December 2014, Butch Reynolds confirmed he was shooting for a masters comeback in the 400 — and a world record in M50. But he didn’t record a time in 2015. Now a new profile of the Ohio coach shows he still has WR dreams. He told a Columbus paper recently: “I’ve been dealing with a strained Achilles (tendon) that has kept me from competing, but [Fred Sowerby’s listed WR of 51.39 is] something I’ve got in my sights.” Frank Zubovich, his old Ohio State coach and still a mentor, said: “You wouldn’t know he was in his 50s. His body is built just like a runner in his 20s. If he can get healthy and stay healthy, it wouldn’t surprise me if he broke another world record.” Butch’s PR is the former WR of 43.29, you’ll recall. Hope he can get back on track, safely.

Butch's main goal now is becoming as good a coach as he was a long sprinter.

Butch’s main goal now is becoming as good a coach as he was a long sprinter. Photo at Ohio Dominican University by Chris Russell

April 26, 2016  6 Comments

Help Alex Rotas win Imagery of the Year Award for masters photos

Irene Obera is among Alex's recent subjects.

Irene Obera is among Alex’s recent subjects.

A Bristol, England, paper reports that masters photographer Alex Rotas is a finalist in the Be a Game Changer Awards for the Women’s Sport Trust’s “Imagery of the Year” category. You can help by taking the survey that includes her category. (Find it here.) “The awards celebrate individuals and companies who have helped progress women’s sport,” says the paper. Alex captures images of women in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s participating in athletics. “Her photographs shift the preconceptions around what it means to grow old.” Voting continues until May 1, and winners will be announced May 12.

April 25, 2016  No Comments

Wall Street Journal nails down quiet change in masters doping rules

Greg Pizza hired Howard Jacobs, who helped Marion Jones beat an EPO rap in 2006.

The WSJ noted Greg Pizza case in its TUE story

Many people sent me the link to Friday’s Wall Street Journal story about TUEs and masters athletes. I knew (back in January) that “recreational” (non-elite) masters could get therapeutic use exemptions for medications that include testosterone, but I buried that element in my Greg Pizza reports. The WSJ made a big deal of it, however: “USADA isn’t broadcasting the news. But it has created a new exemption for masters and amateur athletes who are prescribed banned drugs. Called a Recreational Competitor Therapeutic Use Exemption, it allows masters and amateur athletes to compete in low-level competitions while taking banned substances. An athlete must prove to USADA that he or she is unlikely to actually win one of these amateur races, in addition to proving a medical need for an illicit chemical.” In a statement to the WSJ, USADA said: “Out of fairness to those non-competitive athletes, we put in place a process that allows for them to compete while still requiring a fair and reasonable review of each recreational athlete’s medical situation.”

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April 24, 2016  No Comments