A month ago, M75 multi-eventer Don â€śBoomerâ€ť McCrea traveled from his Oregon home to Atlantic City, New Jersey, to accept a major geezer sports award: Male Adult Athlete of the Year for the National Congress of State Games. Itâ€™s kind of like the Senior Olympic circuit, except all ages compete. Boomer beat out 33 other state nominees, so itâ€™s a notable honor. But even more praiseworthy is Boomerâ€™s acceptance speech, which includes this revelation: â€śI knew I had problems early on, but I hid it until I was 50 years old, when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I wouldnâ€™t be here today if I hadnâ€™t chosen sports instead of drugs and alcohol as many others have done. We didnâ€™t talk about mental illness in the 1940s and â€™50s, but Iâ€™m talking now and Iâ€™ve survived thanks to sports.â€ť Bully for Boomer!
As previously noted, WMA is taking the leap into out-of-competition drug testing, a masters first. In his official report to the Perth General Assembly, President Stan Perkins says: â€śWMA now has approved out of competition testing and will increase its targeting testing to ensure that athletes adhere to the rules of our sport. The adaptation of the IAAF Medical Handbook to specifically cater to Masters competitions needs to be completed to provide effective guidelines to future WMA Championship hosts and for use within the WMA Regions.â€ť In the kiddie world, elites register for a testing pool. (See IAAF guide.) Unless youâ€™re world-class, your chance of being tested at home are akin to being struck by lightning while riding an alligator at the North Pole. And given the expense of testing, I doubt many will be done. A suggestion: Test only athletes 90 and over. A suspension for any other age group is worthless. Folks can come back two or three years later.
Elite M40 finish in 2010: Nick Berra (left) nips Tracy Lokken in 4:24.74.
Meet directors Tom Hartshorne and Charlie Fay say star milers can race for free at the 50th annual Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile in late January. â€śThe $20 race entry fee will be waived for elite runners,â€ť Charlie writes. â€śOn the Webscorer registration site, enter ELITE in the Discount Code field. Once you click the Calculate button, the entry fee will be deducted from the total fee due.â€ť Deadline for entering the January 21 meet in Ithaca, New York, is January 7. Tom, son of race founder James, also wrote a touching mile memoir:
If your wallet isnâ€™t already empty from 2016, hereâ€™s another track trip for you: Daegu. South Korea is hosting WMA indoor worlds in late March 2017. Online registration doesnâ€™t appear to be working on this page. But buried is a PDF entry form you can print and mail to your affiliate (USATF, etc.). Entering one event and buying nothing else will cost you $100. (Adding a results book, athletes party, guests are extra.) Entering the 4Ă—200 â€” one team per country per age group â€” is free. Entry deadline is Jan. 24, 2017 â€” just three months away if you build in time for processing. My only gripe with Daegu is the absurdly high qualifying standards. You have to attest to: â€śI am physically and mentally fit to compete in the WMACi safely and without causing injury to myself or other participants in the WMACi.â€ť Sigh. That counts me out. Check out this video, but donâ€™t expect the 2011 IAAF crowds at the 2017 WMA meet.
Seven months after scratching from the 800-meter exhibition at IAAF Portland worlds, Masters Hall of Famer Nolan Shaheed is back on the track, apparently recovered from injury. Now 67, he ran the 1500 and then the 800 at a low-key meet Sunday in Glendale. See results here. His times are top-notch â€” 4:57.05 and 2:31.54 â€” but far off his usual world-leading standards. The best M65 800 this season is 2:22.72 by Hollandâ€™s Hans Smeets. His age groupâ€™s best 1500 is 4:47.25 by American Tom Bernhard at Michigan nationals. Nolan ranks 4th in the world in the 15 and 19th in the 8. Heâ€™s not entered at Perth worlds. Some photos from the Glendale meet â€” called the Self Transcendence Masters Games â€” are posted here. The meet itself (once named Sri Chinmoy) is making a comeback. In any case, welcome back, Nolan (who still holds at least eight world records)!
USATF named our sometimes-tracko friend Brian Pilcher as Athlete of the Week on Tuesday for his amazing race in Chicago. â€śAll I can say is holy crap,â€ť Brian reacted on Facebook. â€śI never expected this in this lifetime and I am totally grateful for the recognition and otherwise speechless.â€ť Indy reported: â€śBrian Pilcher (Ross, California) ran the fastest half marathon by an American over 60 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, breaking an unprecedented four American records in a single race. According to the USATF Pacific Association, Pilcherâ€™s 1:16:54 was 1 second under Norm Greenâ€™s 1993 record and his 25 km time of 1:31:41 destroyed Alex Ratelleâ€™s 1:36:20 mark set back in 1989. At 30 km, his 1:50:53 was almost 8 1/2 minutes under Patrick Devineâ€™s record of 1:59:22, also set in 1989. Finally, his gun time of 2:42:44 tied Clive Daviesâ€™s 37-year-old marathon record. Pilcherâ€™s astonishing performance came one week after breaking a 5k age division US record at the Syracuse Festival of Races with an overall time of 16:38 and 5:21 pace. This marked a triumphant comeback for the USATF Masters athlete after dealing with injuries for much of 2014 and 2015.â€ť Just goes to show. It ainâ€™t over till Bluto says itâ€™s over.
OK, get real. Men who are 85 donâ€™t run a mile in 7:18.55 or marathons in under 4 hours. So what do we make of Ed Whitlock, who did both this year? At Sundayâ€™s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Ed ran 26.2 miles in 3:56:33, crushing the listed M85 world record of 4:34:55 by Aussie Robert Horman in 2004. Ed â€śran in a 30-year-old singlet and 15-year-old Brooks shoes â€¦ going through the halfway mark at 1:54:34,â€ť say Canadian media. â€śHe says that he went out a bit too hard but still maintained an overall average pace of 5:36 per kilometre.â€ť Thatâ€™s 9:02 a mile. The listed M90 mile world record is 10:30.9. Who thinks Ed wonâ€™t shatter that as well in 2021?
In September, the shadowy Russian hacking group Fancy Bears made public the TUEs (therapeutic use exemptions) of Olympic gymnasts Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez and many others. The WADA database was invaded. Last week, Masters Hall of Famer George Mathews wrote me that he had been notified by USADA CEO Travis Tygart that USADAâ€™s database had been hacked by Fancy Bears, â€śand my confidential information on the TUE is apparently on Fancy Bears website or however they disseminated the information on all Americans who got a TUE in 2015.â€ť I searched that site and also WikiLeaks, but didnâ€™t find Georgeâ€™s info. â€śHey, â€śI donâ€™t mind sharing what is known to the world [about] my 2015 TUE for prednisone, which I need to take sporadically for acute and chronic sinusitis,â€ť George says. I immediately wrote to USADA, asking how many masters track TUEs were likewise revealed. No response. Anyone else contacted by USADA about your TUE being posted?
Race organizers north of San Diego are going back to the future. In the late 1960s, â€śmasters milesâ€ť in elite invitationals led the way to masters track. Now the folks at Bring Back the Mile are touting a November road mile for seniors only â€” 60 and over. Could be a first. â€śThe inaugural Tri-City Medical Center Festival of Senior Miles is also a BBTM Featured Event, showcasing Americaâ€™s best Mile races throughout the year,â€ť organizers say. Another rarity: The sixtysomethings will race in two-year age groups. According to Running USA, the number of 55-plus U.S. road race finishers has grown by 600,000 since 2010. In 2015, 12 percent of finishers (2.05 million vs. 17.1 million overall) were over 55. Kathy Kinane is the mastermind behind this new Senior Mile, which will be a weekday, oddly: Wednesday, November 23. The cost is $30. Entrants get a T-shirt, backpack, custom Trot medal and Senior Mile neck ribbon.
My masters at Nemean Games post prompted our Seattle multi-eventer friend Dave Ortman to share his own recent European adventures â€” in Serbia. Dave, 63, was part of a five person 60+ U.S. team in the IX Olympiad of Sport, Health, and Culture for the Third Age in Vrnjacka Banja, Serbia. The event was Sept. 30 â€“ Oct. 4. Dave writes: â€śThey were invited by Djordje Maricic, a Serbian who graduated from Bethel College (Kansas) in 2007. He returned to Belgrade and is a deputy of the board president of the Olympiad. While at Bethel, Mr. Maricic became acquainted with a number of (my) relatives in my hometown of Freeman, South Dakota. As a Bethel College graduate (1975) who set several school relay and hurdle records and is a member of the Bethel College Athletic Hall of Fame, (I) agreed to serve as team captain for the U.S. team.â€ť
Dave (with shirt) and fellow members of the U.S. team at Serbian event.
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and web-master since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials, the last three as a blogger and Patch correspondent. [More...]