WMA has a year to create 105-and-over age group — or else

M100 isn’t what she used to be. Hidekichi “Golden Bolt” Miyazaki, 103, of Japan is challenging Usain Bolt to a race in 2015 and planning an assault on the record books. Only one problem: WMA affords him no opportunity to set records when he’s 105. As I’ve noted, WMA age groups end at M100 and W100. In other words, 113-year-olds are lumped with their spring-chicken centenarian cousins. But in this otherwise delightful story, we’re told: “Having become the planet’s fastest centenarian in 2010, he now has his sights on another milestone in the unlikely 105-109 age group category. ‘That’s what I’m training for,’ said Miyazaki, who loses valuable seconds at the start of races because he can’t hear the gun go off. ‘It’s my birthday next month and that’s my next goal.’ He need only cross the finish line to set the new world record as no official mark exists in that age class.” So listen up, Japanese affiliate, get a request in for a WMA rule change that creates a 105-and-over age group. Or you’ll have to answer to the Golden Bolt.

Hidekichi is gunning for a showdown with Bolt and a nonexistent record.

Hidekichi is gunning for a showdown with Bolt and a nonexistent record.

September 2, 2014  One Comment

Joe Johnston went high at Rocky Mountain Masters Games

Joe (left) and Jerry with RMMG award.  Janet Johnston photo

Joe (left) and Jerry with RMMG award. Janet Johnston photo

Sue Norton graciously shared results of the USATF Colorado Association, Mid-America Region Championships and Rocky Mountain Masters Games, held August 23-24 at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. See the results PDF, which includes ages. Sue, prez of the Colorado Masters Track & Field Club, writes: “We had a great meet — 26 Mid-America and 22 RMMG records were broken.” Top award went to M70 jumper/hurdler Joe Johnston,   reports Christel Donley: “Colorado Masters Track & Field “Jerry Donley” pole vault award was presented to Joe for the highest [Age-Graded] percentage men or women. Five more awards were given, a tradition at that meet.” Jerry is Christel’s hubby, a longtime athlete and masters official. Joe jumped 2.90 (9-6) in the vault, and also excelled at the 100 (15.65), 80 hurdles (14.45), high jump (1.31), discus (27.55) and javelin (28.78).

September 1, 2014  3 Comments

Gia Lewis-Smallwood sets discus AR at 35; masters snub next?

Check out Gia’s interview after USA nationals.

Can there be any doubt that Gia Lewis-Smallwood holds the W35 American record in the discus? If other mammoth heaves since turning 35 in April weren’t proof enough, she did us all a favor Saturday in Valence, France. As reported by her alma mater, Gia “set a new American record in the discus at the French-sanctioned DecaNation meet. The Champaign, Illinois, native won the event with a throw of 69.17 meters (226-11), besting the field by over 6 meters. [Her] toss surpasses the previous American record of 67.74 meters, set by Stephanie Brown-Trafton in the spring of 2012.” Her previous PR was 67.59 at the Glasgow Diamond League earlier this year. Gia is expected to compete in Marrakech, Morocco, on Sept. 13-14. Next goal would be the W35 world record of 69.60 (228-4) by Russian Olympic champ Faina Myelnik. Since age-group ARs set at North Carolina nationals are listed as pending, it’s only fair that Gia get her name in the masters record books as well.

August 31, 2014  7 Comments

W85 Rachel Hanssens of Belgium may be next Olga Kotelko

Rachel added many medals at Eurovets meet.

Rachel Hanssens is no stranger to world records, but in the past two months, she’s outdone herself — and even the legendary Olga Kotelko. Belgium’s Rachel beat the listed Olga record in the throws pentathlon — twice. First was in early July and again (but lower score) at the Eurovets meet in Turkey. According to the possibly error-ridden record tally, Rachel set eight W85 WRs at Euro WMA regionals. (But her pent score in July was 4,926 points, vs. the 4846 at Eurovets.) Both crushed Olga’s listed WR of 4211. So now Rachel is in the running for IAAF World Best Masters Athlete. In July, she reportedly set three WRs. Rachel deserves consideration despite the WMA prejudice against the oldest age groups because “they don’t have much competition in their age group.” Bull-puckey. WRs still count. Soft records are rare.

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August 30, 2014  One Comment

USATF nominates Bill Collins, Joy Upshaw for IAAF Best Masters

Joy, in Costa Rican hurdles, also starred at Budapest indoor worlds.

Joy, in Costa Rican hurdles, also starred at 2014 Budapest indoor worlds. Rob Jerome photo

Mary Trotto has tallied votes of her USATF Masters Awards Committee (including mine) and announced that Bill Collins and Joy Upshaw will be America’s nominees for IAAF World Best Masters honors at the end of the year. The WMA Council chooses from among WMA regional picks for the top spots, who get all-expenses-paid trips to the IAAF Gala in November. So what about Flo Meiler and Irene Obera? Don’t think too hard. This is WMA, remember. According to their rules, the 2014 track season consists of two meets — WMA indoor worlds and any of the WMA regional meets. If you don’t run WMA, you don’t count for the Gala gig. To their credit, several members of Mary’s committee rebelled at this. But she patiently reminded them that WMA makes the rules, and her hands are tied. My idea? As a protest, don’t nominate anyone. In fact, USATF and Canada should unite to back posthumous recognition of Olga Kotelko, who went bonkers at Budapest. BTW, if Bill eventually wins the best male award, he’d be the first double American winner (fixed after comment below). He won in 2006.

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August 29, 2014  12 Comments

Dethroned recordman Phil Fehlen reacts to new M65 HJ WR

Phil held M65 record for 14 years.

Former Marine Phil Fehlen, whose 1.66 world record in the M65 high jump had lasted since 2000 Eugene nationals, was a trooper Wednesday when I informed him of the new WR of 1.67 (5-5 3/4) by Dusan Prezelj of Slovenia at the Eurovets meet in Turkey. Phil, a fellow San Diego County resident, wrote me: “I would have taken a strong second. Thanks for passing this on.” Charlie Rader, who along with N.C. nationals champion Jim Sauers have been targeting the record this year, responded to the news: “I know him well; he is a good jumper. I will pick up the pace for the Huntsman Games! I may see him next year in Lyon, France.” Our favorite Dutch correspondent (and high jump expert) Weia Reinboud, notes that Dusan is a flopper who won in Budapest also. “His wife, Stanka Prezelj, is a straddler. … Their son is a flopper: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rožle_Prezelj with a PB of 2.32. Dusan is a high jump coach. Dusan was Yugoslavian champion decathlon in 1976 (7047 points) and Stanka high jump champion in 1981 (1.79).” Phil is a straddler, so the floppers are ascendant. Here’s Dusan from several years ago:

August 28, 2014  5 Comments

Jo Pavey wins 10K European gold, then faces laundry chores

Hope she doesn’t have to wash the flag as well.

Jo Pavey is Supermom. In a wonderful column for The Telegraph in Britain, Jo couldn’t be more down-to-earth if she ate dirt. She writes: “We’ve been away a lot recently, first in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games and then in Zurich for the European Championships, where I won Gold in the 10,000m. You should see the mountain of laundry we’ve brought back with us. We didn’t have access to any washing machines in Zurich so I had to hand-wash the children’s clothes and dry them on the windowsill.” Gotta love it. Also: “I find it rather amusing that it’s taken me until the age of 40 to win my first gold medal. I only stopped breastfeeding Emily in April, so I thought it was highly unlikely that I’d even qualify for the championships this year. I didn’t compete last season because I was pregnant, and when I started training back in December my body was still in breastfeeding mode and my times on the track were slow.” Not unusual for a mom to be world-class, but a W40 is something to celebrate.

August 27, 2014  2 Comments

Germans dominate WMA Eurovets, year’s biggest masters meet

Squirrel! While distracted by Costa Rica regionals, I’ve neglected the biggest masters meet of 2014 — the European WMA regionals in Turkey. Results have been posted for four days at this neato-keeno site. I’m hoping y’all visit your age groups and events and report here the best marks you see. World records are being tallied on this page. But take them with a grain of salt. Listed as setting a W80 WR in the 100 is Hildegund Buerkle of Germany, who clocked 18.16 into a 1 mps wind. I guess Turkey doesn’t have Internet, or they might have heard of Irene Obera, who has at least four faster times this year, topped by a 16.40. As usual, the Germans dominate the medal tables. They have 109 so far, including 50 golds. The Brits are a distant second after four days, with 57 total medals. In the M60 category (the best, as everyone knows), Steve Peters of Britain won the 100 in 12.01.

August 26, 2014  6 Comments

6 golds apiece to Carter, Upshaw, Black at WMA Costa Rica

Ann Carter in pentathlon hurdles at WMA regionals.

Ann Carter in pentathlon hurdles at WMA regionals.

Rob Jerome writes from San Jose, Costa Rica, and WMA regionals: “The competition is over. … Ann Carter and Ivan Black ended up being among the most decorated female and male American participants in the competition. Ann won six W70 gold medals (pentathlon, long jump, high jump, triple jump, 100 meters, 200 meters), a silver medal in the discus and a bronze in the 4×100 relay. Ivan won six M65 gold medals (2000 meter steeplechase, long jump, triple jump, 100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles, 4×400 relay) and two silver medals (high jump and 4×100 relay). Joy Upshaw was another standout with six gold medals. All in all, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves here and whatever technical difficulties there were didn’t overshadow the proceedings.” With only 600 entrants, medals were not superhard to get, but being in shape for that many events makes them superstars in my book. Here’s a shot of Team USA Rob took and shared with some.

Hawaii's Ron Pate led Ivan Black at a water jump at this point of 2K steeple in Costa Rica. Photos by Rob Jerome

Hawaii’s Ron Pate led Ivan Black at a water jump at this point of 2K steeple in Costa Rica. Photos by Rob Jerome

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August 25, 2014  5 Comments

Toronto, Cardiff, Barcelona among bidders for 2018 WMA worlds

Athletics Weekly reported Saturday: “Britain is to bid to host the World Masters Track and Field Championships in Cardiff in 2018. British Masters Athletic Federation (BMAF) honorary secretary Bridget Cushen said Cardiff had been chosen after internal UK competition. Cardiff City, Welsh Athletics, Run4Wales and Cardiff University are all keen to help with the bid. … The tracks at Barry and Cardiff University track are also planned to be used and both are going to be upgraded. The university is also making over 5,000 hall of residence rooms available for the use of competitors from around the world.”

Cardiff International Sports Stadium would be the main Welsh venue.

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August 24, 2014  No Comments