M90 relay WRs were years in the making, changed members

Champion Goldy Sr. reaches for Orville Rogers in first handoff of historic first M90 4×100.

By now, the world knows about B-Day at North Carolina nationals, when five members of the Greatest Generation united to handle batons in the first-ever world records in the M90 outdoor relays — 4×100, 4×400 and 4×800. ESPN’s SportsCenter featured Sunday’s events (and video). (Look for me in white backward ballcap taking pictures at finish line of 4×100.) But there’s way more to know. Lydia Woods, retired professor at Morehouse College and a prolific competitor at nationals, shares … the rest of the story. In an essay called “History in the Making: 4×90,” she tells how the WR bids were years in the making. Original members had to be replaced. Gotta love the mission and its execution. Something like D-Day. I covered it like Ed Murrow, and posted dozens of photos.

Men completing the 4×100 at nationals totaled 376 in age. Average leg: 35.6 seconds and 94 years old. Mission accomplished, gentlemen!

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July 23, 2014  2 Comments

WMA’s Rex Harvey details his ‘bump in the road’ — colon cancer

Rex (shown far left in 2008) is a stalwart of Games Committee, overseeing nationals.

Hall of Famer Rex Harvey was missing from North Carolina nationals, where he would have been a member of the green-shirted Games Committee. I knew why. Rex, our decathlon great and USATF/WMA go-to official, had been diagnosed with colon cancer. The good news is that he’s leveraging his incredible sense of humor. On Tuesday, he sent me email with “Bump in the road” in the subject line. He wrote: “So far, I have had no mental problems facing this. It is what it is and instead of wasting energy worrying about it, I would rather use that energy to deal with it. Possibly I am too dumb to worry.” He gave me permission to share a chronology that he prepared for a friend in Arizona.

Rex refills water jump at 2008 Spokane nationals. As a top official, he does what needs to be done, and will do the same with cancer.

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July 22, 2014  15 Comments

IAAF Council OKs masters exhibition events at 2015 Beijing worlds

Masters in the Bird’s Nest! How cool is that? Here’s how the IAAF reported a return of masters to outdoor worlds: “World Championships – Beijing, China – 22-30 August 2015. A recommendation by the Technical Delegates’ to organise Masters category exhibition events as part of IAAF World Championships was approved. Masters events (categories 50 years of age and over) will be held on one day – Saturday 29 August during the time frame of 17:00 – 18:00. Two events (one male and one female) during this time period – World Masters Athletics (WMA) to select events but not longer than 1500m and not more than 8 athletes per event.” The action came at a meeting of the IAAF Council on Sunday and Monday in Eugene, Oregon — site of the upcoming IAAF World Junior Championships. I hope to learn more details soon on the events and selection process. IAAF worlds take place a week after WMA worlds in Lyon. Unless travel expenses are covered, some athletes may have to choose one or the other.

Seven years after the Beijing Olympics, masters get to compete here.

July 21, 2014  3 Comments

Legendary masters 100 record falls (at last) to Kim Collins (9.96)

Ratification is another matter, but there’s little doubt that 38-year-old Kim Collins ran 100 meters in 9.96 seconds Sunday in London. That breaks the listed M35 world record of 9.97 by British Olympic champ Linford Christie in 1995. By contrast, Chris Ricketts won the M35 century at North Carolina nationals in 11.84 (into a 1 mps wind). Kim’s 9.96 is an all-time PR for him, BTW. So that will raise doping suspicions. But wow. Anyone running sub-10 at masters age deserves some credit.

July 21, 2014  One Comment

‘Treasure of masters track’ Carroll DeWeese shares gems in talk

Carroll at Lahti.

Some 300 people attended Saturday’s Athletes Banquet at North Carolina nationals, where 2013 awards were handed out. One went to longtime USATF and WMA official Carroll DeWeese, described as “the treasure of masters track and field” by Awards Committee chair Mary Trotto. Of course, Carroll is just happy to be anywhere, not just the recipient of the David Pain Distinguished Service Award. He’s in remission from cancer. But in 2013, he saved thousands of athletes from unneeded suffering when, as a safety officer at Porto Alegre worlds, he halted the meet amid a terrible storm. He also serves as treasurer of the USATF Masters Track & Field Committee and helps with record submissions. He applies his sharp mind to more than budgets and rules, however. Check out this video for his eloquent understanding of the value of our niche sport.

July 21, 2014  5 Comments

Party time follows record-setting day at North Carolina nationals

W60 shuttle hurdle relay AR team (from left) Brenda Matthews, Rita Hanscom, Linda Cohn and Linda Lowery.

W60 shuttle relay AR team (from left) Brenda Matthews, Rita Hanscom, Linda Cohn and Linda Lowery.

The shuttle hurdle relay came of age Saturday. Three age-group records were set at North Carolina nationals on a day when the weather was near perfect for all events. Rain early in the day and later in the afternoon kept things cool mostly. World records were set in several events, aptly detailed by USATF intern Tyler Stevenson (giving me a chance to focus on my 200. I broke 30 at 60, so I’m delighted.) I also had the privilege of meeting the next generation of masters star, including the M35 Ricketts twins, Brian and Chris, who ran the shuttle hurdle relay. I attended the Athletes Banquet at the site of the 2015 indoor nationals in Winston-Salem. About 300 had a great time, entertained at one point by meet director Noel Ruebel, who did a karaoke version of “Chantilly Lace.” I have video. Stay tuned. And David Pain Distinguished Service Award winner Carroll DeWeese made gave a wonderful acceptance speech noting how masters track is a social movement as well as a sport. I will post that video soon as well.

Rob Jerome got this great shot of Bruce McBarnette's M55 American record of 1.84 meters (a touch over 6 feet) on his third try Saturday.

Rob Jerome got this great shot of Bruce McBarnette’s M55 American record of 1.84 meters (a touch over 6 feet) on his third try Saturday.

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July 19, 2014  2 Comments

Masters dashers run 100 meters at Wake Forest, not 99.95

Oscar “Purple” Peyton beats Damien Leake in M60 100 final Saturday, 12.08 to 12.12.

Folks running the 100 at North Carolina nationals may have been surprised to find white tape instead of a painted line to put their hands behind. That’s because Wednesday, the day before the meet started, members of the Games Committee found a rare mismeasurement of the 100. Actually, they were tipped to the glitch when they started putting tape down for the 100-meter hurdles in the various age groups. Every time they checked, they found the 100 was actually 99.95 meters. Five centimeters (2 inches) needed to be added to the race. Hence the white tape. The track had been surveyed and certified years ago, but the 100-meter start (or finish) was wrong. So out came the tapes, I was told. They measured three times, including with a steel tape. Each time, they found the 99.95-meter dash. This raises questions for meet venue Wake Forest. How many records might be invalidated for being run on a short course? Here are my photos from Day 3.

An M35 field blasts off behind white tape, marking true 100-meter start at Wake Forest.

An M35 field blasts off from behind white tape, marking true 100-meter start.

July 19, 2014  3 Comments

Oh so close! Barton, Shaheed miss major barriers by whisker

Brad nears bell lap of solo 1500 at nationals.

Brad nears bell lap of solo 1500 at nationals.

Brad Barton almost went sub-4 in the 1500 and Nolan Shaheed missed setting a world record on his 65th birthday by only 1.5 seconds. So it went Friday on another lucky weather day at North Carolina nationals. At 48, Brad won the M45 15 by 11 seconds (beating middle-distance star Nick Berra) and clocked 4:00.32 in a solo effort. He was shooting for John Hinton’s American record of 3:56.39, set at age 45 in Durham, North Carolina. For more details on his race (and a video) see my Times of San Diego report. Nolan crushed the listed M65 steeple record, however, going 7:19.62. The previous AR was Ross Bolding’s 8:03.15 at Sacramento worlds. The listed WR is 7:18.10 by New Zealand’s Ron Robertson. Nolan was serenaded at the starting line with “Happy birthday” by other entrants. And Jim Wass sang the same tune from the announcer’s booth in the first 200 of the race. Other record-setters included M90 Roy Englert in the 5K, W60 Kathy Martin in the 2K steeple, W80 Irene Obera in the 400 (but not the 80 hurdles, where she has a better time this season) and W65 Sabra Harvey in the 5K. See the USATF report here. My Day 2 photo gallery is here.

Nolan crosses finish line in 2K steeple just off WR for M65.

On his 65th birthday, Nolan crosses finish line in 2K steeple just off WR.

July 18, 2014  6 Comments

Flo Meiler’s monster challenge (14 events) opens with pent WR

Flo-Go's hammer throw went for a W80 AR.

Flo-Go’s hammer throw went for a W80 AR.

Flo Meiler, aka the 80-year-old Energizer Bunny, was hesitant to promise me she’d vault today at nationals. She was still in the midst of the pentathlon when I quizzed her. But you know, Flo. The Vermonter can’t resist a challenge. She’s entered in 14 events at Wake Forest, and she won at least three on Day 1 — the pent, hammer and vault. Her point total in the 5-eventer was 4319, setting a first-ever world record for that age group. Her hammer was 22.30 meters (73-2) for an American record. (Old AR: 21.33 or 69-11 by Gloria Krug in 2011. And Flo vaulted 1.65 (5-5). She went 6-0 earlier this year. Photographer Rob Jerome (both shots here) is documenting her meet. He’s given her a nickname: Flo-Go. So go, Flo!

After finishing a WR pentathlon, Flo won the vault, beating listed WR (but not her recent PR).

After WR pentathlon, Flo won vault, beating listed WR (but not her recent best).

July 17, 2014  2 Comments

Sabra Harvey (800), Quenton Torbert (SP) set American records

Lesley was thrilled with 800 gold (after 10K bronze).

Day 1 of masters nationals saw at least two American records. At Wake Forest University, W65 Sabra Harvey gutted out an 800 in 2:42.14 to lower the listed AR of 2:44.43 by Jeanne Daprano in 2002. Jeanne, in the same race, won W75 in 3:32.23. Sabra was running just her second 800 of the season and was hoping for a WR, but the 2:41.81 by Canada’s Diane Palmason is safe for now. In the M60 shot, Quenton Torbert waited till his sixth and last throw to go 16.69 meters (54-9 1/4) to raise his own AR of 16.67 (54-8¼) from last year. But the happiest winner today may have been Lesley Chaplin, who took the W55 800 in 2:39.97 only hours after taking bronze in the 10K (in 44:06.54). Another ironwoman was SoCal’s Debbie Lee, who was second in the 10K and fourth in the same 800 as Lesley (2:54.56). Results are being posted here. More Day 1 photos are here.

Sabra ran basically solo in her 800 final at Winston-Salem nationals.

July 17, 2014  2 Comments