Sumi Onodera-Leonard dies at 88; small champ with biggest heart

Mark Cleary sends very sad news: “Sumi Onodera-Leonard passed away on Saturday, March 25, around 5:30pm. She was an active member of the SoCal Track Club since 2002. She set several age group American records (even world records as a W80) and won countless national titles as recently as 2016. Sumi was inducted into the Masters USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2006. Her memorial will be held on Sunday, April 9, at 5 p.m. at Nichiren Church, 2801 E. 4th St. Los Angeles, CA 90033.” She recovered from a nearly fatal auto 2003 accident in Arizona and specialized in the 4 and 8. Will add more later.

Sumi was short enough to relax in a hurdle, but never showed inferiority.

March 28, 2017  4 Comments

M70 Kent Brown takes handicap 200 at Bobby Lane Invite in Texas

Wayne Bennett reports from Texas on the latest edition of the 200-meter age-graded handicap exhibition at the Bobby Lane Invitational at UT Arlington. Wayne, now 80, won last year. On Saturday, the victor was Dr. Kent Brown, 72, who ran 145.3 meters in 19.47. Second was Matt Pace, 62, 154.6 in 20.60, then Marcus Santi, 45, 178.7 in 21.47. Fourth was Lindy Raney, 58, 163.2 in 21.61. Fifth was Reggie Garner, 56, 165.4 in 22.33, with Wayne in sixth — 127.1 in 22.46. Seventh was Gary Tannehill, 59, 162.1 in 23.92. “We think this is a great opportunity to show college athletes and their parents what older athletes can do and maybe encourage someone to join us,” Wayne writes. “Last year’s race encouraged Gary Tannehill to start competing in masters track. We really enjoy this race.”

Lucky seven who took part in annual Bobby Lane Invitational handicap 200 from left were: Marcus Santi, Reggie Garner, Gary Tannehill, Lindy Raney, Matt Pace, Kent Brownm and Wayne Bennett.

March 27, 2017  2 Comments

Watch for Daegu stories as 4,000 athletes return home, post videos

Roland and his latest 400 indoor WR in M50. Photo by Karl-Heinz Flucke

Folks are returning to their home countries after Daegu worids, and local media are cheering their achievements. Over the next few months, watch for many more. In Germany, the track federation celebrated M50 Roland Gröger and compatriots with records. “I did not enter the 60 meters to concentrate fully on the 400 meters,” said Gröger (M50, TopFit Berlin) after winning the final round of the second round on Sunday in Daegu. In this start-to-finish victory, he improved his own indoor world record from January 2017 from 51.92 seconds to 51.73 seconds,” said one report. We also learn: “At the end of the 7th World Championships for Senior Citizens, the Lord Mayor of Daegu thanked all athletes for their participation in the first World Championships for Senior Citizens in Asia. At the same time, thanks went to the many volunteers. For the many young volunteers there was as a small compensation for their work, and for the attending audience the concert a concert with the most famous and most famous singer and songwriter of South Korea, Hwang Chi Yeul. The President of the World Masters Athletic Association, Stan Perkins, thanked the world champions for their perfectly organized World Championship, which will leave a lasting impression on the more than 4,000 athletes.” Videos are popping up, too:

March 26, 2017  One Comment

USA’s Allie, Powell, Wilson and Collins crank out M65 4×2 WR

How do you do better than this for an M65 relay — Charles Allie, Charles Powell, Thad Wilson and Bill Collins? That dream team made four circuits of the Daegu track to set a 4×200 world record of 1:48.58 Saturday to slice the listed WR of 1:49.78 by a Guido Müller-anchored German team at 2004 Sindelfingen worlds. That’s an average of 27.15 per leg. Amazing. And three other Yank squads set American records on the final day of worlds — W55, M35 and M50. Masters media guru Bob Weiner did double duty at Daegu. He ran the M65 1500 (7:32.96), 3000 (DNF) and 8K cross country (48:49.00) all while overseeing publicity. Here’s his world meet wrap-up.

Yanks Collins, Powell, Wilson and Allie hear national anthem at their 4×2 medal ceremony. Photo via Jackie Thomas-Allie Facebook

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March 25, 2017  2 Comments

WRs drop like flies at Daegu: Kathy Martin, Bob Lida have 2 each

Bob Lida (center) posted this on Facebook with note:
“Medal ceremony for 200 meter, with my good friends Bob Cozens of USA and Tony Bowman of Great Britain. Ran 29.15, lowering the world record time I set at USATF Nationals couple of weeks ago. I’m pleased, but was hoping to go under 29 seconds. Need to wait until outdoor season.”

Kathy Martin on Saturday ran 1500 meters in 5:25.29 at Daegu worlds to crush the listed W65 WR of 5:36.88 by Britain’s Angela Copson. This means she now has WRs for 800, 1500, mile and 3000 this season. Also notching his second WR of the meet is M80 Bob Lida, whose 400 in 1:10.20 destroys the listed WR of 1:11.24 by Canadian legend Earl Fee in 2009. Earlier, Bob bounced his own 200 WR, clocking 29.15 — way better than his 29.84 from the recent ABQ nationals. Also setting records were Germany’s Roland Gröger, whose 51.73 lowered his own season best 51.92 and M50 WR for 400. And Aussie Jeanette Flynn (1:10.34) and Brit Caroline Marler (1:11.72) both broke the listed W65 WR of 1:11.89 by American Carolyn Cappetta back in 2001. Holland’s Hans Smeets became the oldest M70 to go sub-5 in the indoor 1500 (his 4:59.62 nipping the listed WR of 5:00.43 by France’s Jean Claude Demarque). The listed outdoor WR is 4:52.95. Canada’s Christa Bortignon improved her own WRs in the long jump and triple jump, with marks of 3.17 (10-4 3/4) and 7.09 (23-3 1/4). Brit Jane Horder’s 9.90 took down the listed W60 WR in the 60 hurdles of countrywoman Carole Ann Filer’s 9.96. Ukraine’s Oleg Fedorko cleared a WR 1.74 (5-8 1/2) to beat the listed M60 WR of 1.73 (5-8) by Finland’s Asko Pesonen and had three misses at 1.77 (5-9 3/4). Not least was the W75 WR of 14.34 (47-0 3/4) in the weight throw by Germany’s Gudrun Mellmann. I may have missed some records. (Been busy scooping the world on an FBI investigation of M40 congressman Duncan Hunter.)

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March 24, 2017  6 Comments

W65 Kathy Martin puts 3K WR outtasight with 11:35.98 at Daegu

Kathy dashes to WR. Photo by Rob Jerome

Kathy Martin established herself Wednesday as a front-runner for WMA Female Athlete of the Year by lowering her W65 PR in the indoor 3000. Of course, that means another world record. This time, she clocked an incredible 11:35.98. That beats her previous W65 best of 11:37.19 at the Armory and the listed WR of 11:49.53 by Britain’s Angela Copson.) (The listed outdoor 3K WR is Angela’s 11:48.2.) WMA requires you compete in one of their international meets to be considered for “best athlete,” and she’ll likely be nominated. She also set 800 and mile records earlier. In winning her race, Kathy beat Britain’s great Rosalind “Ros” Tabor by 52 seconds — lapping her. Peter Taylor wrote in a Daegu preview: “Martin, a member of the USATF Masters Hall of Fame, will compete on the track in the 800, 1500, and 3000. Perhaps to ensure that she gets sufficient aerobic training on her trip, she will also run the 8000 cross-country race and the half-marathon.” So stay tuned for more fireworks!

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March 22, 2017  7 Comments

Meb Keflezighi, WR holder Kim Collins signal ends of elite careers

Hoping graphic designer for Kim doesn’t retire.

Kim Collins will not be Bill Collins, we learned over the weekend. The St Kitts & Nevis M35 and M40 world-record holder at 100 (crazily faster at 40 than 35 — 9.93 to 9.96) says he is retiring after IAAF London worlds this summer. That means he won’t be challenging the 11.44 M55 WR by unrelated Bill of Houston. I’ve learned never to say never (about masters comebacks). But the elite professionals generally stay retired. (No money in geezer track.) Also announcing he’s hanging up his M40 running shoes is San Diego’s Meb Keflezighi, the famed Boston Marathon winner and Olympic silver medalist who says his last 26-milers will be Boston in April and New York City in November. “People say, ‘Why stop? You’re still at a high level.’ But it takes a lot out of you,” the four-time Olympian told The Associated Press. “Even when my family gets together, I’ve got to get my run in. I love the sport. I had the best job in the world for a long, long time. But I have to be fair to my wife and my three daughters.” Fair enough. But when the kids leave the house, well. See you at the all-comers meets!

March 21, 2017  No Comments

Woodard at 48 hopes for ‘fairness’ in getting latest 400 WR ratified

Allen beats Antwon Dussett at 2016 nationals.

Daegu coverage again delayed for latest details on Allen Woodard’s 400 WR. He reports that the race was run in 79-degree and windy conditions, and “coming home there was a good headwind. I’m happy to have run my fastest time so far in these conditions. … I am really looking forward to a great season in 2017.” He also confirms he’s 48 now. He goes on: “There is a lot involved [in] breaking a world record in the masters. Fortunately for me, I had Bill Collins there the first time I broke the world record in 2015 at Rice University in 2016. Thanks, Bill! It seems like our world record of 3:22 in the 4×4 did not qualify, and now my 49.32 I ran at the USA Masters nationals meet did not get ratified [as a world record]. I’m really confused about the national meet. Records show that the 400 meter world record is still 49.69, which I ran that time back in 2015. Since then, I’ve set new records. In 2016, I’ve ran 49.12 @ UIW, 49.17 @ Baylor, 49.38 in Atlanta, 49.17 @ Rice and 49.32 @ the National event. Again, those were all times I ran in 2016. All times documented. So far, this year in 2017, I have ran the times of 49.49 @ Trinity University and now the new record in the 400 meters is 49.09 that I ran this weekend at Texas Southern University Relays.” Here’s the 49.09, with Allen taking third.

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March 20, 2017  4 Comments

M45 Allen Woodard lowers own 400 WR to astounding 49.09

Last April, Allen Woodard of Houston was open about his 400-meter goal: sub-49 at age 46. A year later, he’s closer still. At Saturday’s Texas Southern University Relays, Allen clocked an incredible 49.09 against the kiddies to lower his own listed M45 outdoor American record of 49.32 at 2016 Grand Rapids nationals. (The listed WR is Allen’s 49.69. Go figure. And he also has an unratified 49.12 from last May.) On the Age-Graded Tables, 49.09 is worth an open time of 43.7. Allen’s all-time PR is 45.8 in an injury-shortened career. The season is young, and so is Allen. How much faster can he get? Here’s a video of Allen’s 49.12:

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March 19, 2017  6 Comments

Why is British team at Daegu worlds bigger than America’s?

Caroline Powell is a top medal contender in Daegu. Photo by Alan Ramage

Athletics Weekly reports that many of the nearly 600 Brits from their masters nationals are entered at Daegu worlds. Tom Phillips counted 109. This means a country a fifth the size in population of America has more entrants. I can only guess why. UK’ers take “athletics” more seriously. They have more disposable income. They have a much more developed club system with financial resources. Talk among yourselves. But there’s no question that the British version of Track & Field News kicks our butt on masters coverage. AW, as it’s known, has a great preview of Daegu. “Caroline Powell set a W60 400m world record when joining her age group a couple of years ago and – after competing in the three sprints in the British event – she heads the British women’s challenge in Daegu, alongside Carole Filer,” the story begins. “Powell will face Canadian Karla Del Grande, who is ranked just a fraction slower over 200m but looks favourite over 400m. Also in the W60 group, Filer goes in five jumps and hurdles as well as the pentathlon. Hurdlers Joe Appiah (M45) and Neil Tunstall (M55) add to British strength over the barriers, with Tunstall also taking in the 200m/400m double. Mensah Elliott, meanwhile, is down for the M40 hurdles.” So yeah, AW knows masters.

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March 18, 2017  4 Comments