Need relays, poles at LSU nationals? USATF pair have you covered

Aiming to improve the mid-July Baton Rouge nationals, USATF officials Jeff Brower and Bill Murray are working hard behind the scenes. Jeff sends word that he’s created this online tool for people looking to join a 4×100, 4×400 or 4×800 at LSU. Also the shuttle hurdles. (You can form an “ad hoc” foursome if you don’t have a club.) “Your email address IS protected from spam-mining software,” Jeff says. “Don’t fill this out unless you want your contact information available for others to contact you.” He says he’ll delete the contact data after nationals. Bill, the record-setting decathlete now on the Games Committee, writes: “Masters Track now has over 30 poles that will be available at all the Masters National T&F Championships, starting in Baton Rouge, LA. The pole list is available here. We are still accepting tax-deductible donations. We have raised over $5,000 to date but still need about $3,000 more. If you are feeling generous, make your check payable to Masters Pole Vault Program and mail it to: Carroll DeWeese, MTF Treasurer, 932 Purdy, Birmingham, MI (yes, Michigan) 48009.”

USATF masters-branded poles will be shipped around the country as needed.

June 23, 2017  One Comment

Meet Todd Straka, threat to beat Nolan Shaheed’s M50 mile WR

Dave Albo photo of Todd at Music City Distance Carnival.

Buried in the open mile results of the Music City Distance Carnival nearly two weeks ago is a fifth-place 4:26.39 by Todd Straka. The Nashville results don’t reveal two key things: Todd is 50, and his time is less than 2 seconds off Nolan Shaheed’s listed world record of 4:25.04 from 2001. So yowza! I had to learn more. Recently I connected with Todd, and was stunned to learn something else: He didn’t run in high school or college, “although I did run about 6:02 for the mile in junior high for the President’s Fitness Test and 12:02 for the 2-mile in a college time trial for a jogging class.” What kept him from becoming a middle-distance star? He played that sport with a strange-looking ball on a field with horizontal stripes. “Yeah, I played football for my first two years,” he wrote. “Since we had to run for football and it was usually part of training or punishment, I didn’t really think much about it after that. I may have even thought to myself as I noticed friends in cross country, why would they want to go through that punishment?”

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June 22, 2017  One Comment

USA Masters Games boasts big names, return of M60 Greg Pizza

(From left in red) Striders teammates Joe Ruggless, Greg Pizza and Damien Leake are all entered in Masters Games sprints.

The USA Masters Games come to UC San Diego on Saturday and Sunday, and the entry list is slim. But major names are entered, including M70 Steve Robbins (a former San Diegan) in the 100 and 200, M80 sprint gods Bob Lida and Bobby Whilden, M70 distance great Gary Patton (entered in the 8, 15 and 5k), M65 shot champion Doug Torbert and M60 TJ legend Willie Banks (doing only the high jump). On the women’s side, W75 Kathy Bergen will dominate the 100, 200 and high jump and do well in the discus and javelin. Also notable is M60 sprinter Greg Pizza, eligible after a 20-month doping suspension. At first, I couldn’t find the meet on USATF calendar (I searched for San Diego; it was listed as La Jolla, I learned.) So it’s USATF-sanctioned. The Chuck McMahon Masters Meet — canceled at Cal State San Marcos because of same-weekend conflict — is hosting the meet.

June 22, 2017  Comments Closed

2 birthdays, 2 WRs: M85 David Carr and W50 Nicole Weiling-Dissel

Nicole of Team Thuijs has a history of world titles.

Setting a world record is special. Setting a WR on your birthday is incredible. So what do we make of this? Back-to-back WRs while aging up! On June 15, many time world champion David Carr of Western Australia ran 1500 meters in 6:27.3 on his 85th birthday at the Ern Clark Athletics Centre. That beat the listed WR of 6:38.23 by the late Ed Whitlock of Canada last August. The next day, on her 50th birthday, Holland’s Nicole Weiling-Dissel ran the 800 in 2:13.04 at a meet in Soest, shattering the listed WR of 2:16.05 by Australia’s Jeanette Flynn in 2005. Weia Reinboud reports that Nicole’s coach is the one who guided Ellen van Langen to Olympic gold at 800 at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Superstar David shows off hardware from several of his WMA world meets.

June 21, 2017  No Comments

Kevin Castille crushes one of the oldest masters WRs on the books

In 1982, French Olympian Lucien Rault set the M45 world record in the 5000 of 14:23.6. It wasn’t a surprise. He’d run the 10K in the 1976 Olympics in 29:40.76 at age 40. But the shocker is that Lucien’s time would hold up as the WR for 35 years. Now we have Kevin Castille claiming the M45 WR with his incredible 14:11.09 at the Music City Distance Carnival in Nashville two weekends ago. An earlier mark of 14:22.55 is still being reviewed, according to Jeff Brower’s list of pending marks. No mention of the 14:11, however. Kevin’s times have been under a cloud for years, though, since he’s a former admitted cocaine dealer. But as Charles Bethea details in his amazing 2014 profile of Kevin, the doping doubts have been addressed: “The more records he breaks, the more he’s been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs. (He has never failed a test.) The LetsRun message boards are full of anonymous suspicion. Even Hop’s friends openly wonder: How did this guy seem to come out of nowhere and suddenly start winning so much? It must be that he’s juicing. Kevin thinks it’s funny, in a way, given that he handled crack cocaine for a decade and never used the stuff. People, he says, think he came out of nowhere, but they don’t know about Acadiana, or ULL, or his decade off, or how hard he works now.” He also slept in an altitude tent set at 10,000 feet. I know people who won’t accept Kevin’s marks as unjuiced. But I have no evidence. All I know is he beat Pete Magill’s listed AR of 14:34.27 and Lucien’s 14:23 — at least twice. Let’s see what Jeff has to say — if the 14:11 is submitted.

Highlight of day one @runmcdc 5k masters 45 WR. Kevin Castille. #amazingrace

A post shared by Dave Albo (@davealbo) on

June 20, 2017  3 Comments

No discus records for M50, M60, but Grimes, Gault fast at West L.A.

Mickey Grimes ran 9.99 back in the day.

Results of the June 10 Wine Country Games in Santa Rosa show that M50 Cameron Bolles and M60 Ralph Fruguglietti fell short of their American record goals in the discus. But they both threw pretty damn far — 57.85 (189-9) for Cameron and 54.59 (179-1) for Ralph. Not sure of the conditions, which matter in that event. But I’m pretty sure Willie Gault and Mickey Grimes would have gone faster on Day 1 of the USATF West Region Masters Championships at West Los Angeles College had they not be running into a stiff wind. Willie at 56 clocked 11.77 into a 2.7 mps wind (off his own WR of 11.30), and newbie M40 Mickey Grimes, a former elite world champ relayist, ran 11.32 into the same wind. Also notable was Nolan Shaheed clocking a 5:28.54 mile at age 67. Results are here.

June 17, 2017  2 Comments

Ken’s moment of Zen: How the Dalai Lama played with my head

In journalism, you tell stories. Sometimes you become one. Friday at UC San Diego, wife Chris and I were covering His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the M80 Tibetan Buddhist monk and Nobel Peace Prize winner. He arrived for a press conference and started shaking hands with reporters in the front row. Since Chris and I had gotten up at 4:45 a.m. to have a shot at good seats, I was ready for a hearty grasp. Instead he asked my permission to touch my bald spot — similar to his own. The rest is Minor Media History. I posted photos, video and this first-person report at Times of San Diego. Bon appetit.

The Dalai Lama moves to trace a circle in my scalp — for sake of fun and frolic. Photo by Chris Stone

June 16, 2017  4 Comments

Record gals Sabra Harvey, Jeanne Daprano plan more 2017 races

Jeanne was pictured in Atlanta TC magazine.

W65 Sabra Harvey and W80 Jeanne Daprano, recent record-setters at 3000 and mile, respectively, sent responses to my shameless interrogations. First Sabra: “Yes, WR was the ultimate goal, sub-12 being the expectation for at least the U.S. record. Conditions were wet, raining a bit, but temps were near perfect actually. Running with the younger ladies helped, especially in the beginning. The adrenaline rush with all those fast ladies surrounding me pulled me much faster than I’d anticipated, so I had extra in the bank for sub-12 from the beginning. However, that fast pace took its toll a bit by lap 6, so had lots of work to do on the bell lap for WR. I’d hoped to be at 10:11 at that point, but was somewhere around 10:20, still under the sub-12:00 pace but off WR pace. I knew I could lay down a 1:27 or better from recent training, so just went for it with encouragement of Susan Hay (running as rabbit). Portland Track Festival is a great meet. Joanna Harper does a good job of recruiting ladies for the 3000 and was very helpful in making the opportunity to try for the record possible.”

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June 15, 2017  5 Comments

Carol Lafayette-Boyd eyes more records: Toronto 2017 and 2020

Ray Nixdorf’s recent shot of Carol raises Q: She’s older than 30?

If you’re a W75 sprinter or horizontal jumper set for WMA regionals in Toronto, better get cracking’ on your training. Carol Lafayette-Boyd is coming. The new claimant to five world records says she’s planning to compete at that August meet, telling me: “I will be there. I am taking my granddaughter home to Ontario at that time, and I have family in Toronto.” So the resident of Regina, Saskatchewan, is indeed in play for WMA Female Athlete of the Year. I wrote her after her stunning outing last weekend, and she graciously replied. The biggest revelation was how considerate of others she was in not taking her full complement of jumps — because of the time officials needed to measure her records. (Don’t be so unselfish at Toronto, Carol. Take all your jumps.) I asked her: Any events in which you think you could have done better? “I plan to do better in all three jumps in Toronto,” she replied. Well, that answers that.

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June 14, 2017  No Comments

W75 Carol Lafayette-Boyd claims 5 world records in Saskatchewan

World champion Carol Lafayette-Boyd turned 75 in May. Over the weekend, she stamped herself as a favorite for IAAF/WMA Masters Athlete of the Year. At the 2017 Scotiabank Saskatchewan Provincial Championships in Regina Canada Games Park, Carol smashed five world age-group records over two days — in the 100, 200, high jump, long jump and triple jump. (She also ran the 50-meter dash.) In the 100, her 15.15 beat the listed WR of 15.31 by Kathy Bergen at the 2015 Mt. SAC Relays. In the 200, Carol clocked 32.83 to beat Kathy’s listed WR of 33.79 at Lyon worlds. Carol high-jumped 1.23 (4-0 1/2) to beat Kathy and Rietje Dijkman’s 1.22s. She long-jumped 3.81 and 3.85 (12-7 1/2) (into a wind) to twice beat Paula Schneiderhan’s listed WR of 3.77 (12-4 1/2). And she triple-jumped 8.19 (26-10 1/2) to beat Christa Bortignon’s listed WR of 8.11 (26-7 1/4). Whew! Whew! Whew! Yowza! Yowza! (See results here.) Her story is well-told here and in a Facebook post by her alma mater.

Carol needs to compete in WMA regional meet in Toronto in August to be eligible for WMA year-end honors.

June 12, 2017  11 Comments