WR for dropping down in age groups for national record relay?

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 Club set a national record. Competing on April 26 at Oregon’s 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, “Bill Bowerman,” Christa Bortignon and Urith Hayley.

Craig Godwin photo shows (from left) Elaine Whidden, Deborah Lee, “Bill Bowerman,” Christa Bortignon and Urith Hayley.(But I don’t see grey.)

May 5, 2015  One Comment

Masters officials played key roles in IAAF World Relays in Bahamas

You didn’t 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’s team that set a world record in the distance medley relay. Same for Britain’s Alan Bell. He was one of the elite IAAF starters in those races. He’s also the guy who cheerfully “turned his head” 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: “Bell, who had the responsibility of having to disqualify Usain Bolt during the World Championships in Daegu in 2011, will miss out on this year’s championships in Beijing but has a date in Lyon, France, for the World Masters Championships in August.” Also: M35 Chris Brown ran a 44.17 anchor leg for the silver medal Bahamas 4-by-400 team.

Rose Monday won the 2004 Olympic Trials masters 800 exhibition in 2:16.42.

May 4, 2015  No Comments

From prostate cancer to M70 pole vaulter: Aussie star Albert Gay

Gay is my kind of

Sydney vaulter Gay is my kind of “raving idiot.”

Albert Gay set an M70 Australian record in the vault a couple weeks ago at his nationals, and he’s 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’s had an “aggressive form of prostate cancer.” He’s also quotable: “[Vaulting] tests your bravery,” he says. “You’ve got to be a little bit of an idiot to do it.” And: “If you get one thing wrong your jump will fail. If you get two things wrong you’ll end up in a real mess.” Mest of all: He gained entry to “a very elite world club of raving idiots over 70” who have cleared 3 meters. Makes you want to be a raving idiot, don’t he?

May 3, 2015  3 Comments

MAFI national masters results still unknown — 2 weeks after meet

I saw a Netflix movie Saturday night about Nicky Vreeland, the grandson of Vogue’s 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’s masters nationals, under the MAFI affiliate. It ended two weeks ago. So I decided: Let’s check out the results. I visited the MAFI website and saw none. Only this scrolling note:”36th 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.” OK, fine. Be that way. Shed your selfish attachments to results and performances. But we’re 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 now results from its masters nationals.

As of May 2, 2015, the WMA affiliate in India shows no results from Dharamshala masters nationals that began April 16.

May 2, 2015  No Comments

Shuttle hurdle teams put on super masters show at Penn Relays

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.

May 1, 2015  7 Comments

Canadian Masters Hall of Fame adds Hawkins, ‘Shaggy’ Smith

John and Doug, two who have done it all.

Belated congrats to our Canadian pals John Hawkins and Doug “Shaggy for Good Reason” Smith, named to the Canadian Masters Athletics Hall of Fame for 2015. We learn: “John 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. … 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.”

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April 30, 2015  9 Comments

Chris Brown at 36 heading to IAAF World Relays to lift Bahamas

Chris is thinking relays first, records second.

Chris is thinking relays first, records second.

Chris ‘Why Won’t They Ratify My M35 400 WR’ Brown ran an amazing 44.76 last weekend at Drake, but that’s 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’s running in the IAAF/BTC Bahamas World Relays. “The Bahamian national record holder ran the world’s fifth-fastest time so far this year when he got third in a stacked field in the men’s 400 metre dash Beijing World Championship Preview Final on Friday at the Drake Relays,” his local paper said. “For Brown, who is still looking for his first individual medal at both the Olympics and the World Championships, it’s been such a long time that he’s had such a fast season opener that he can’t even remember.”

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April 29, 2015  One Comment

Nick Berra repeats Drake-Penn double, plans hiatus after season

Middle-distance star Nick Berra deserves a break. And he’s 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’ll 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: “I was able to make it to both meets again this past weekend. I am treating this year as sort of a ‘sunset’ 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.” Here’s a masters video:

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April 28, 2015  No Comments

Alisa Harvey had a special fan in stands at Drake Relays 800

Alisa’s daughter, Virginia.

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’s what I learned when I wrote Virginia’s Alisa Harvey. At age 49, she’s still kicking butt (in 2:22.61). She forgave me for erringly posting the wrong winner the other day. Alisa writes: “The 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 — gloves, long-sleeves, arm-warmers, etc. I raced in my usual gear with knee-high compression socks.”

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April 27, 2015  2 Comments

William Anthony freezes action, Penn Relays masters excitement

Justin Gatlin and William Anthony at 2015 Penn Relays.

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+, “I mostly specialize in sports photography. … 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. … My lifetime goal is to get hired by a national wire service or one of the major magazines.” He’s got our vote! Meanwhile, post your Penn memories here, including news of any records set (even if they’re season or age-group PRs).

April 26, 2015  3 Comments