Introducing Dave Burton, your new M45 decathlon record-holder

Dave is CTO of this site.

Dave is CTO of this site. Raise money for masters?

Dave Burton isn’t new to the dec, it turns out. After posting news of how he broke Rex Harvey’s 24-year-old American record, I sought more details. He graciously responded. He ran at CSU Northridge as a freshman and sophomore and then CSU Chico as a junior, and then trained at the University of Texas under legendary coach Dan Pfaff for a year “before injury took me out,” he says. His decathlon PR is 7102 at the 1993 Division II nationals, which he won as a senior. He was a three time All-American (third as frosh, sixth as a junior “when I failed badly at the vault.”) He’s the chief technical officer for the crowd-funding site FanAngel. “Prior to FanAngel, I was a director at IntercontinentalExchange — the company that bought the New York Stock Exchange. Was with them since early, so that was a fun ride.”

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October 8, 2015  No Comments

Dave Burton breaks Rex Harvey’s ancient M45 dec American record

Dave with his 2014 golds from N.C. nationals.

Dave with his 2014 golds from N.C.

Last year at Wake Forest nationals, David Burton of Morro Bay, California, won four events at age 44 — the 110 hurdles in 15.86, pole vault at 4.27 (14-0), javelin at 45.25 (148-5) and long jump at 5.92 (19-5). You thinking what I’m thinking? Yup, he’s a decathlon beast. He turned 45 last October and at Mt SAC in late May he tore an MCL during a dec (with 39-inch hurdles). But he still scored 7650 points age-graded (see results here) — 37 points shy of the listed world record by Russia’s Viktor Grouzenkin in 1997. But the listed American record is Rex Harvey’s legendary 7421 of 1991 — the oldest mark on the books. Dave says he wasn’t able to get Mt. SAC to submit paperwork for an AR. And he was too injured for Lyon worlds. But in late September he did another dec — at Seth Brower’s Texas vs. The World meet in San Marcos, Texas. He scored 7624 and will apply for AR status. (It was USATF-sanctioned.) “I ended up getting the U.S. record finally,” he writes. “Disappointed I didn’t get the WR, but I can’t really complain. The meet was ‘solid’ — 10 ‘OK’ marks. No great marks, but all OK. And that’s what decathlon is really about — putting 10 marks together at 90 percent — at least that’s what I tell my athletes.”

Third from left, Dave holds off the kiddies at Texas decathlon.

Fourth from left, Dave holds off the kiddies at Texas decathlon 100-meter dash.

October 7, 2015  4 Comments

Distance giant Miki Gorman dies at 80; Hall of Famer, world champ

Miki at 5 feet tall and 89 pounds was a giant of the sport.

Miki at 5 feet tall and 89 pounds was the class of WAVA’s 1979 Hanover worlds.

Miki Gorman, a member of the inaugural 1996 Class of the USATF Masters Hall of Fame, died Sept. 19 in Bellingham, Washington, her daughter reported Tuesday in a blog post. She was 80. Miki is being remembered as a pioneering female marathoner — and world-record holder. But she also was a giant on the track, sweeping gold medals at the second and third masters world championships — in 1977 (Sweden) and 1979 (Germany). In a 1977 profile in People magazine, Miki said: “I wonder myself how long I’ll be competing. I would like to go back and just run for fun and health. I know I’m going to keep at it forever — because it feels good.” Runner’s World magazine reported how the Japanese-born American “won the Boston and New York City marathons in the mid-1970s, playing an important role in keeping American runners and races at the forefront of the newly established women’s marathon. She set the world’s fastest time by a woman in a certified marathon race in 1973 (2:46:36), and a world best for the half marathon in 1978 (1:15:58). In 1976, she also ran what was then history’s second-fastest marathon time, 2:39:11, which was her personal record. … In 1963, at age 28, she moved to the United States, working and attending college in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She married businessman Michael Gorman, and moved with him to Los Angeles. There she became probably the only person ever to take up running in order to gain weight. ‘I was embarrassed that I was so small [5 feet, 87 pounds]. My husband helped me go to the gym where he was a member, and I began to run,’ she said in 2010.” She ran 1500s and miles (a 5:12.81 at age 43) and crushed the W40 fields at 1979 Hanover worlds in the 5K (17:39.2), 10K (36:21.9) and marathon.

Here's how Miki was described in National Masters News at HOF induction.

Here’s how Miki was described in National Masters News at HOF induction.

October 6, 2015  2 Comments

What does NCCWMA region do? How does Sandy Pashkin lead?

Oregon’s Sandy Pashkin was elected president of the North and Central America & Caribbean WMA Region the morning of Aug. 10, 2012, in Room 326, Hazen Hall, at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. A WMA regional meet was being held there. “There were approximately twenty voting members present, along with a handful of guest observers,” according to posted minutes. What has she done lately for the region? Apparently, she oversaw a vote that picked a Mexican racewalker with no world records as the NCCWMA region’s male nominee for WMA Masters Athlete of the Year. After days of seeking details on why Anselm LeBourne wasn’t the pick, I’ve gotten two notes — one from former region prez Brian Keaveney (see his note below) and another from American Mary Rosado, who on Sunday morning said via email: “I believe a response should come from president.” But no word from Sandy as of Monday night.

WMA website shows this blank page where regional reports should be. Aw c'mon!

WMA shows this blank page where regional reports should be. Aw c’mon!

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October 5, 2015  6 Comments

Time for masters throwers to recruit stars from Scottish Games?

Beth lets fly in Scottish Games.

Beth lets fly at Scot’sh Highland Games. Victoria Wechte photo

W40 Beth Burton is a former track All-American at Cal State Northridge and has coached at Chico State and a high school. But she doesn’t appear to be throwing her old discus and shot. Instead she heaves trees and rocks. That’s the deal for the Scottish Highland Games, where she recently won a world title in St. Louis. A great story by Dan Reidel for the Chico Enterprise-Record notes: “Burton got involved in Scottish Highland games heavy throwing about five years ago when she went to an event with her brother that showcased the sport’s nine events in Southern California. Usually all nine events are done in one day which makes it like competing in a decathlon. ‘I saw the heavy athletics and well, I thought I should be doing this,’ Burton said in her classroom at Pleasant Valley High School. ‘This is right in my wheelhouse of experience.’” So I wonder: Why isn’t she throwing hammer and weight in masters track? You can wear your kilt, Beth!

October 4, 2015  5 Comments

Don Pellmann may be oldest to appear in SI’s Faces in the Crowd

Age before beauty

Don tops the list.

Michelle Xiao was a Nebraska state Junior Olympic 200-meter hurdles champion who attended my archrival high school in Omaha (Westside). I went to Burke my senior year. Now she’s a soccer midfielder as a Stanford freshman. But she’ll never forget this week’s honor — appearing next to 100-year-old Don Pellmann in Faces in the Crowd. That’s the Sports Illustrated feature masters get into every blue moon. (In December 2006, Bill Collins made the 50-year anniversary issue. In August 2009, Lisa Valle made it for Lahti worlds, and M95 Leland McPhie made it. In July 2010, it was Mary Harada. And in September 2011, it was Anselm LeBourne.) I’m checking with SI to see if Don is the oldest in FITC history — yet another record for the Santa Clara superstar.

Don tops the list for FITC in the Oct. 5 issue of Sports Illustrated.

Photo of Don was by Chris Stone for Times of San Diego. Her credit is itsy-bitsy.

October 3, 2015  2 Comments

Anselm LeBourne spills the beans on his track career in video Q&A

“We were so poor, we dropped the OR. Just po … but we had three square meals,” M55 WR-man Anselm LeBourne recalls about growing up in Trinidad and Tobago. In a 30-minute interview posted Friday, he talks about stretching, being a vegetarian and his first 5K race, which he easily won. “When they finished, they gave me a trophy,” he says. “I whispered: When do I bring it back?” because that’s how soccer awards were circulated. He dropped soccer. He came to USA on the Fourth of July 1977. He was zoned to attend Brooklyn’s South Shore High School, but wanted to attend the track school Boys and Girls HS. He lied about his address and went to Boys and Girls, getting down to 1:53 in the 880 and earning a scholarship to Seton Hall, where his best time was indoors: 1:51.1. He also ran a 4:10 mile. He talks a lot about his first world masters meet — Gateshead 1999 — where he roomed with “the Great Sid Howard.” Great tales. Meanwhile, nobody has answered my queries on why Anselm isn’t the WMA region’s nominee for IAAF Best Masters Athlete of the Year. Did Mexico bribe Sandy Pashkin? Stay tuned.

October 2, 2015  5 Comments

Americans McClung, Gant compete in Singapore masters meet

Last weekend, at least two Americans competed at Toa Payoh Stadium in Singapore. That island nation’s open masters meet posted these results. Also a bunch of videos. The Yanks were M60 Jeff McClung and M60 Keith Gant. Jeff apparently lives over there, since he hasn’t entered stateside meets for a while. I’m not familiar with Keith. But way to have fun, guys! Here’s one of many clips.

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October 1, 2015  No Comments

Alfred Hermes’ German masters site shares newsy news of nation

If it’s news, it’s news to me. Especially German masters news. On Wednesday, I learned of a German masters track website, whose title translates as “magazine for senior athletics.” Use the Chrome browser to see it translated into English. The gent behind it is 69-year-old Alfred Hermes, who excels in sprints and middle distances. He reports German deaths and keeps an eye on Eurovets. He shared news that European Masters Athletics is compiling all-time Eurovets top-10 lists by event and age group. Thanks for the heads up, Alfred! The site’s first posts are from 2013. My previous go-to German site was that of Robert and Annette Koop, on hiatus since 2011.

Alfred has been posting to this site for about two years. Lots of good stuff.

Alfred has been posting to this site since December 2013. Lots of good stuff.

September 30, 2015  2 Comments

IAAF Portland 2016 worlds should host M105 sprinters showdown!

Kudos to NBC Sports for correcting its earlier, erroneous report that the 105-year-old Japanese gent was the fastest and oldest M105 sprinter on earth. In this post, writer Nick Zaccardi says: “Hidekichi Miyazaki may have been presented with a Guinness World Record as the world’s oldest competitive sprinter on Wednesday, but another man deserves the title. Poland’s Stanislaw Kowalski ran the 100m at age 105 in June (and in a faster time, 34.50 seconds to Miyazaki’s 42.22). Kowalski turned 105 in April. Miyazaki turned 105 on Sept. 22, one day before his Guinness World Record sprint.” They took my advice and contacted WMA, which set NBC straight. In fact, a Guinness WR rep wrote me: “If Mr. Kowalski or his family wish to get in touch to dispute the record and/or submit proof of age, they are welcome to do so here on our website.” What I’d really like to see is some deep-pockets entity bring Stan, Hidekichi and Usain Bolt together for a match race. Are you listening, IAAF? How about 2016 Portland world indoors? The 60-meter race still lacks an M105 record. Want coverage? Here you go. You’re welcome.

Let's see Hidekichi (left) and Stanislaw race 60 meters at IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland for M105 bragging rights.

Let’s see Hidekichi (left) and Stanislaw race 60 meters at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland for M105 bragging rights.

September 29, 2015  6 Comments