They cheated! This Canadian 4-by-100 team got a ringer for the relay. IAAF Best Masters Athlete Christa Bortignon of British Columbia, 78, dropped down to the W60 age group to help the Greyhounds Masters Track Clubset a national record. Competing on April 26 at Oregon‚Äôs famed Hayward Field in Eugene, the team of Deborah Lee, Christa, Urith Hayley and Elaine Whidden clocked a 1:03.74. This breaks the listed Canadian W60 record of 1:04.60 by Team Canada at 2011 Sacramento worlds. (The listed WR is 55.77 by Germany.) Their coach is the famed masters long sprinter/hurdler Harold Morioka. So can anyone beat Christa for dropping down three age groups?
Craig Godwin photo shows (from left) Elaine Whidden, Deborah Lee, ‚ÄúBill Bowerman,‚ÄĚ Christa Bortignon and Urith Hayley.(But I don‚Äôt see grey.)
You didn‚Äôt see her run, but former masters champion Rose Monday played a key role over the weekend at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas. Rose was coach of the U.S. women‚Äôs team that set a world record in the distance medley relay. Same for Britain‚Äôs Alan Bell. He was one of the elite IAAF starters in those races. He‚Äôs also the guy who cheerfully ‚Äúturned his head‚ÄĚ when he saw me throw my baton into the air (which I caught) after anchoring the M55 4-by-100 at 2009 Lahti worlds. (A DQ was possible.) Alan also plans to be a starter at Lyon worlds. We learn from the Interwebs: ‚ÄúBell, who had the responsibility of having to disqualify Usain Bolt during the World Championships in Daegu in 2011, will miss out on this year‚Äôs championships in Beijing but has a date in Lyon, France, for the World Masters Championships in August.‚ÄĚ Also: M35 Chris Brown ran a 44.17 anchor leg for the silver medal Bahamas 4-by-400 team.
Sydney vaulter Gay is my kind of ‚Äúraving idiot.‚ÄĚ
Albert Gay set an M70 Australian record in the vault a couple weeks ago at his nationals, and he‚Äôs profiled in the Daily Telegraph. His jump of 3.00 meters (9-10) is a foot under the listed WR of 3.31, but not bad considering 1) He started vaulting at age 62, and 2). He‚Äôs had an ‚Äúaggressive form of prostate cancer.‚ÄĚ He‚Äôs also quotable: ‚Äú[Vaulting] tests your bravery,‚ÄĚ he says. ‚ÄúYou‚Äôve got to be a little bit of an idiot to do it.‚ÄĚ And: ‚ÄúIf you get one thing wrong your jump will fail. If you get two things wrong you‚Äôll end up in a real mess.‚ÄĚ Mest of all: He gained entry to ‚Äúa very elite world club of raving idiots over 70‚ÄĚ who have cleared 3 meters. Makes you want to be a raving idiot, don‚Äôt he?
I saw a Netflix movie Saturday night about Nicky Vreeland, the grandson of Vogue‚Äôs Diana Vreeland. Nicky became a Buddhist and eventually an abbot of an Indian monastery (the Dalai Lama promoted him with giggles.). Nicky first became a monk at Dharamshala, in northern India. This was the site of India‚Äôs masters nationals, under the MAFI affiliate. It ended two weeks ago. So I decided: Let‚Äôs check out the results. I visited the MAFI website and saw none. Only this scrolling note:‚ÄĚ36th National Masters Athletic Championship concluded successfully at Dharamshala in which about 2500 athletes from 18 states participated. | With a total of 209 medals, Haryana secured 1st position while Punjab stood 2nd with a total of 170 medals. The host team of Himachal Pradesh secured 7th spot with a total of 33 medals.‚ÄĚ OK, fine. Be that way. Shed your selfish attachments to results and performances. But we‚Äôre not all Tibetan Buddhists. Some would like to know how your athletes are doing!
As of May 2, 2015, the WMA affiliate in India shows no results from Dharamshala masters nationals that began April 16.
A week ago Friday, the 4-by-100 shuttle hurdle relay team of Kerry Sloan, Keith McQuitters, Darnell Gatling and Damon Blakemore beat two other M50 quartets to win the first masters shuttles race ever contested at the Penn Relays. Their time of 1:02.04 (averaging 15.51) bettered the listed American record of 1:03.15 in 2013. (But a pending mark of 1:01.81 with Kerry and Darnell in the mix is pending from Winston-Salem nationals in 2014.) In any case, the video below is amazing. It shows an exciting race with USA Red in the lead from the start, but not certain until the final leg. The time was icing, but the cake was competition. Look for Penn to repeat the event.
Belated congrats to our Canadian pals John Hawkins and Doug ‚ÄúShaggy for Good Reason‚ÄĚ Smith, named to¬†the Canadian Masters Athletics Hall of Fame for 2015. We learn: ‚ÄúJohn Hawkins began competing as a sub-master in 1984, after a career as a high jumper which included a 9th place finish in the 1972 Olympics and the first jump over 7 feet by a Canadian. John has competed in 12 Canadian Masters Championships, winning 36 gold, 11 silver and 6 bronze medals. As well as the high jump, he has competed in throws, pole vault, long jump, hurdles and combined events. He has broken Canadian Masters records 36 times. ‚Ä¶ Doug Smith is the face of Ontario Masters Athletics to the country and the World. He has served on the Board of the OMA and its predecessor since 1991, and has been the President since 1994, serving as the Ontario Director on the CMA Board.‚ÄĚ
Chris ‚ÄėWhy Won‚Äôt They Ratify My M35 400 WR‚Äô Brown ran an amazing 44.76 last weekend at Drake, but that‚Äôs still not the best age-group 400 under his belt. The Bahamas veteran clocked 44.59 last year, says IAAF Top Lists. (The listed WR is a pedestrian 45.76 by Ibrahima Wade in 2004.) This weekend, Chris will be focusing on teamwork, since he‚Äôs running in the IAAF/BTC Bahamas World Relays. ‚ÄúThe Bahamian national record holder ran the world‚Äôs fifth-fastest time so far this year when he got third in a stacked field in the men‚Äôs 400 metre dash Beijing World Championship Preview Final on Friday at the Drake Relays,‚ÄĚ his local paper said. ‚ÄúFor Brown, who is still looking for his first individual medal at both the Olympics and the World Championships, it‚Äôs been such a long time that he‚Äôs had such a fast season opener that he can‚Äôt even remember.‚ÄĚ
Middle-distance star Nick Berra deserves a break. And he‚Äôs taking one after this season, he reports. His latest exertions include winning the 800 at Drake and running a relay at Penn the next day (Saturday). He did the masters double five years ago, you‚Äôll recall. Videos of Penn races are online, but Flocast charges for them. In any case, the real news is contained in the second sentence of his report (that I demanded, of course). Nick writes: ‚ÄúI was able to make it to both meets again this past weekend. I am treating this year as sort of a ‚Äėsunset‚Äô tour, trying to hit a handful meets that have been special over the years and really trying to enjoy the experience instead of focusing exclusively on the race itself. The Drake Relays have always been one of my favorite events so making it this year after missing the 2014 race was important.‚ÄĚ Here‚Äôs a masters video:
Running in front of your kids is no rarity for masters tracksters. But winning the Drake Relays masters 800 with your hurdler daughter in the house? Priceless. That‚Äôs what I learned when I wrote Virginia‚Äôs Alisa Harvey. At age 49, she‚Äôs still kicking butt (in 2:22.61). She forgave me for erringly posting the wrong winner the other day. Alisa writes: ‚ÄúThe weather conditions were a bit of a focus for most of us on Saturday.¬†We warmed up in a beautiful indoor facility that sits adjacent to the outdoor Drake Relays stadium.¬†By race time it was approximately 47 degrees, heavy overcast, breezy and wet.The rain had just let up, so the track was wet. It was a bit challenging trying to decide on how much gear we should race in ‚ÄĒ gloves, long-sleeves, arm-warmers, etc. I raced in my usual gear with knee-high compression socks.‚ÄĚ
Justin Gatlin and William Anthony at 2015 Penn Relays.
William Anthony has posted hundreds of shots of masters at the Penn Relays. See his SmugMug gallery. A professional photographer in northeastern North Carolina, he writes on Google+, ‚ÄúI mostly specialize in sports photography. ‚Ä¶ I travel quite a bit up and down the East Coast. I work with National Masters News magazine on occasion and have been privileged to cover the annual Penn Relays in Philadelphia the past two years. ‚Ä¶ My lifetime goal is to get hired by a national wire service or one of the major magazines.‚ÄĚ He‚Äôs got our vote! Meanwhile, post your Penn memories here, including news of any records set (even if they‚Äôre season or age-group PRs).
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...]