Happy M75 birthday to Olympian Ed Burke, happy hammer warrior

Hall of Famer Edward Andrew Burke, unlike other Olympic legends, never quit. Besides breaking throws records almost every year, he inspires and mentors other weightfolk, encouraging them by word and example. Today is his 75th birthday. Say buh-bye to a bunch of WRs. But when I contacted Ed a few days ago, he was nonchalant: “Haven’t thought about it (record attempts and birthday plans). I have been spending all my time rebuilding my grandparents’ old 1940s cottage near the redwoods and beach of Santa Cruz. Should finish this month. Then some rehab, and maybe some throwing practice. I do not travel well, but Lyon is tempting. I rather like the idea of new personal records … and beating the younger Ed.” Join me in sharing bday greetings.

Ed has been a masters hero since the 1980s, when he made 3rd Olympic team.

March 4, 2015  2 Comments

Dave Albo’s art: Great images of Mid-America USATF Indoor meet

Dave Albo has posted sensational shots from Sunday’s Mid-America USATF Indoor Championships at the Air Force Academy, including the one below of Kathy Bergen en route to the first sub-10 60 in W75 history. See his gallery here. Results will be posted soon, probably on this page. Use the slide show function in full screen to appreciate these gorgeous images. (And on top of this, Dave ran the 400.)

Kathy in red takes steps toward her W75 world record 9.55 in the 60 at altitude.

Dave Albo photo of Kathy in red in W75 world record 9.55 in the 60 at altitude.

March 3, 2015  3 Comments

Kathy Bergen clears 4 feet at 75, becomes oldest to go sub-10 in 60

Kathy has been setting dash records for ages.

Hall of Famer Kathy Bergen turned 75 in late December and traveled with hubby Bert from SoCal to Colorado for Sunday’s Mid-America USATF Masters Indoor Championships at the Air Force Academy. Mission accomplished. She set two world indoor records — in the 60 and high jump — and is poised for a WR in the 200 as well. First she jumped 1.22 meters (4-0), padding her title as the oldest female 4-footer. The listed outdoor WR is 1.20 by Holland’s Rietje Dijkman. The listed indoor WR is 1.17 (3-10) by Germany’s Christiane Schmalbruch, but Rietje matched that recently. Kathy, trained by Peter Hlavin, might have gone higher. She had to stop to prepare for the 60-meter dash, where she broke another barrier: 10 seconds. Her time, according to my sources, was 9.55 — better than the listed indoor WR of 10.04 by Canadian great Christa Bortignon. Kathy also ran 200 in 35.70, short of the Christa’s listed WR of 34.53, but better than Jeanne Daprano’s AR of 36.29. But the track is oversized (268 meters) and ineligible for records. At least one other WR was set — in the W80 60-meter hurdles. Christel Donley apparently became the oldest female indoor hurdler with her time of 15.54 seconds. WMA short hurdle records end at W75. I’m awaiting results link for confirmation. Great job, Kathy and Christel!

March 2, 2015  19 Comments

Anselm LeBourne puts M55 indoor 1500 WR outtasight forever

Anselm was accorded kneel-by-sign honors.

Anselm was accorded kneel-by-sign honors.

Fred Profeta, upon learning that Anselm LeBourne had lowered his own M55 world indoor 1500 record by 6 seconds Sunday, posted on Anselm’s Facebook page: “Are you actually Benjamin Button?” No, he’s better. When Anselm gets younger, he keeps his good looks. As USATF reported, Anselm clocked 4:13.77 in the masters exhibition at Boston open nationals to lower his own pending WR of 4:19.80. (That’s equivalent to an open time of 3:31.2.) He took seventh in a race with men a decade or more younger. John Trautmann won in 3:59.47, falling just short of Tony Young’s listed M45 WR of 3:57.91. That makes four WRs for Anselm this season. Nice work. On her 40th birthday, Kathryn McManus won the masters 300 in 42.27 from a standing start and a super kick. In the kiddie events, 39-year-old Amy Acuff took second in the high jump, clearing 1.82 (5-11½), but short of the listed W35 indoor AR of 1.84 (6-0½) by Karol Ann Rovelto. And 36-year-old Alfred “A.G.” Kruger won the 35-pound weight throw at 23.41 (76-9¾), short of the listed M35 WR of 23.86 (78-3 1/2) by Lance Deal. In 13th was Timothy Morse at 19.83 (65-0¾), better known as Kyle and son of M50 thrower Tim Morse.

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March 1, 2015  10 Comments

IAAF Masters Commission meets in Monaco; show us the money

America’s Sandy Pashkin and other poobahs of World Masters Athletics went to Monaco a couple weeks ago as part of the annual meeting of the IAAF Masters Commission (which replaced the IAAF Masters Committee last year). IAAF reports: “The Commission’s discussion focused on four main themes: the merger of IAAF member federations and WMA affiliates in a country or territory; the World Masters Athletics Championships, World Masters Games and regional masters’ events; recognition within the IAAF family; and the rethinking of the World Masters’ Athletics Championships timetable with special reference to the daily competition schedule and length of programme.” Whatever all that means. Since any substantive change in WMA has to be approved at the biennial General Assembly, I’m not too worried about what these folks are plotting behind our backs. But as long as the masters enchiladas are enjoying an expenses-paid vacation to Monaco, they should say what’s in it for us, the athletes. I’ll write them and report back.

Sandy, second from left, is president of the North-Central American-Caribbean region of WMA (as well as being records czar).

Monaco-goers: Sandy, second from left, is president of the North-Central American-Caribbean region of WMA (as well as being records czar).

February 28, 2015  3 Comments

IAAF seeking Lyon volunteers on behalf of World Masters Athletics

WMAC-LyonSo now we know what the IAAF is good for — acting as a volunteers-wanted bulletin board. This week the Big Enchilada of world track posted an item headlined: VOLUNTEERS WANTED FOR 2015 WORLD MASTERS ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS IN LYON, FRANCE. (Hey! Tone it down, fellas! Yelling is so 1990s.) We learn: “The local organising committee is looking for about 500 volunteers who will be essential to make the championships a success. With more than 8,000 athletes coming from 100 countries, it will be one of the biggest sport events in France in 2015.” (See the formal flier.)

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February 27, 2015  No Comments

Amy Acuff app aims to take you higher with iPhone or iPad help

Amy Acuff doesn’t turn 40 until July, but she’s still the Bernard Lagat of American high jumping. On Sunday, she’ll compete in the USATF open indoor nationals. If she medals, she’ll be asked how she did it. She’ll likely mention her free sports video analysis app called iAnalyze. Amy shared info on the app, which proves that jumpers are some of the smartest athletes around. “You can even measure how fast you are running in meters per second over a given distance,” Amy told me recently. “Sometimes I put tape down on the track when I’m videoing. I coded all of this.” Last week, IAAF posted a great story on Amy and her app. Nice work, champ. Now go kick kiddie butt in Boston!

Amy's free app, the latest in her company's production line, is aimed at tech-savvy athletes and coaches.

Amy’s free app, called iAnalyze, is aimed at tech-savvy athletes and coaches.

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February 26, 2015  3 Comments

World records in 1500 could fall in M45 and M55 at open nationals

LaTrica Dendy is a favorite in the women's 300.

LaTrica Dendy is a favorite in the women’s 300.

Masters exhibition events at USATF open nationals are generally ho-hum affairs. Yes, races are exciting for a few moments. But they have no legs in historical terms. That could change this year. Middle-distance stars John Trautmann and Anselm LeBourne will be gunning for M45 and M55 records at Boston nationals Sunday, both in the 1500. Anselm claimed the M55 WR last month, going 4:19.80, and hopes to lower that. John should easily blast through the 4-minute barrier in M45. He set the mile WR of 4:12.33 a couple weeks ago, also in Boston. The listed M45 indoor best at 1500 is Tony Young’s 3:57.91 from 2009. The outdoor best is 3:52.43 by Spain’s Jesus Borrego. The masters women will run 300 meters. Since WMA doesn’t contest this event, no records are kept. (Here’s Status of Entries page.)

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February 25, 2015  7 Comments

Slovenian sensation adds M65 high jump indoor world record

One way of measuring a mark is how it rates on the “absolute records” scale. In terms of the high jump, that means nobody older has leaped higher. So now we have another entry: Slovenia’s Dusan Prezelj cleared 1.68 meters (5-6) over the weekend at the Balkan Veterans Indoor Championships in Istanbul. Not bad for a 66-year-old flopper. Dusan’s indoor mark sets an M65 world age-group record and also exceeds American Phil Fehlen’s listed M65 outdoor WR of 1.66 (5-5 1/4). (But Dusan has a better outdoor mark: an unratified 1.67.) At the Balkans meet, Dusan opened at 1.45 (4-9) and cleared his first four heights on his first try. He made 1.65 and 1.68 on second attempts before missing three times at 1.71 (5-7 1/4). The race continues for the oldest 6-foot jumper. Current title-holder is Thomas Zacharias at age 59. Here’s Dusan at 62:

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February 24, 2015  5 Comments

Mike Powell plans professional comeback, not masters track debut

Mike on SI cover after 1991 world record.

Mike on SI cover after 1991 worlds.

Mike Powell tells me his trip to New Zealand is twofold — get a masters record and make some money. In a Times of San Diego story, I share details of a 50-minute chat I had with Mr. 29-4 1/2 (aka Mr. 8.95WR). Among other things, he says: “I can’t jump for free. There’s value in my jumping. I’m trying to earn a living here. … My name is Mike Powell. There’s value in that.” He told me he could be jumping at age 75. But for now he’ll compete sparingly to preserve his economic value. He’s getting an appearance fee from organizers of the New Zealand national championships. He also thinks he can do 23 feet right now, despite not being in the best shape. (That would shatter the listed M50 record of 22-5 1/4.) He’ll even take off with his right leg (not the left, which he used in beating Carl Lewis at 1991 Tokyo worlds.) In New Zealand, he’ll also make a bunch of appearances as an IAAF ambassador for the Nestle Kids program. He’s down to 180 pounds, he says.

February 23, 2015  7 Comments