Germany’s Roland Gröger claims M50 world record for 400 meters

Germany’s Roland Gröger on Sunday posted a video to his YouTube channel claiming to show him running 400 meters in 51.02 at age 52 — beating the listed M50 world record of 51.39 by American Fred Sowerby in 1999. Roland won the 400 at Lyon worlds (and took silver in 200 and bronze in the 100), so his claim is plausible. A German report said he ran 51.42 at the Charlottenburg Mittsommernachts Sports Festival on June 24 in Berlin. That day, he almost caught the the 13-year-old M50 Eurovets record of 51.41 by Britain’s Stephen Peters. I’ll try to learn more about the sensational 51.02.

August 28, 2016  3 Comments

Hey, Vancouver AMG, try emulating Paris IAAF on results posting

Nippy” Nihal Gil is shooting for W100 WR in 100.

“Nippy” Nihal Gil is shooting for W100 WR in 100.

Trackos at the AMG are being teased. An email from organizers says: “Please follow the links to the last results of the Athletics competition at the Americas Masters Games 2016 in Vancouver [Racewalk] and [10K] Run.” (But no other events.) Elsewhere, the IAAF Diamond League meet in Paris is the gold standard for how to share results. They had an all-French masters men’s 800 there Saturday, won by 43-year-old Joël Gomez in 1:56.35. Also a masters women’s 200. The results show dates of birth. Hey, Vancouver! Where can we see track and field results? The AMG Twitter feed is no help. (But I found a link to a story about an M100 entrant who is targeting the 100-meter world record in a race with two over-100s entrants.)

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August 28, 2016  7 Comments

Mastersrankings.com on more solid ground; Seto posts survey

John's site has more than 1,000 paid users.

John’s site has more than 1,000 paid users.

Fourteen months ago, I rattled folks with the headline “Future of mastersrankings.com in doubt — with funding an issue.” Now it appears the partial paywall is working. “Contributions since memberships have started have enabled the site to continue by paying most of the recent and some of the deferred operating costs,” says operator John Seto. Of 2,365 registered users, 1,039 have paid at least $25 for annual memberships, he says. But in seeking to improve the site, John has posted a survey. “People do not need to be registered to take the survey or access most of the site,” he says. “Registrations make it easier to submit performances, complete forms like the survey and use other (current and future features). I suspect some people are not getting emails, so those who use the Contact & Report Error forms can now see the response by clicking on a link right below the greeting. Other features will be added and depend on knowing who is using. … The site will improve and evolve based on your feedback.”

August 27, 2016  2 Comments

Fei-Mei Chou dies at 81; beloved sprinter, jumper, friend of many

Fei-Mei at Olathe.

Fei-Mei at Olathe.

Fei-Mei Chou of Sunnyvale, California, has lost her fight with stomach cancer, I’m very sad to report. Her daughter, Ri-Chee, writes that “she fought a valiant battle for 8 months, but sadly, she passed away last night (August 25.). Please share this with the Masters community. That was such an important part of her life.” Indeed. She competed in many masters nationals and worlds, as recently as Lyon and Jacksonville last year in W80. She sprints in this 2015 indoor nationals 60-meter dash, losing only to Irene Obera. I wrote about her cancer fight in January. I’ll share funeral details and a longer obituary when I get info. Meantime, all our prayers to her friends and family. She’ll be missed.

August 26, 2016  6 Comments

Americas Masters Games meet begins Saturday with dec, hep

W75 superstar Christa Bortignon is skipping Vancouver meet.

W75 superstar Christa Bortignon is skipping Vancouver meet after illness, injury.

About 500 people are entered in the five-day track meet at the Americas Masters Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, according to this list.Lots of U.S. stars are in the mix, including Colleen Barney, Joy Upshaw, Kathy Bergen, Don Drummond, Chip Crowl, Tecumseh Peete and James Chinn. Sadly, Canadian star (and local) Christa Bortignon won’t be joining them. Her local paper reported: “Bortignon’s training went off-track after she was hospitalized for pneumonia and then injured her hamstring doing the triple jump at the B.C. Athletics Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Kelowna last month…. However, the West Vancouver resident is back training and hoping to participate in the B.C. Seniors Games in Coquitlam next month.” (See video there too.) Get well soon, Christa! Meanwhile, best of luck to tracksters in BC. The meet begins Saturday (see schedule) with the decathlon and heptathlon.

August 26, 2016  No Comments

Tony Echeandia running for Team USA at Perth, shunning P.R.

Tony at 2006 nationals.

After many years wearing Puerto Rican colors at world masters meets, M50 Getulio “Tony” Echeandia of Queens, New York, will compete for Team USA at Perth, according to the entrants list. That means he can help America win 4×4 gold down under. He’s a U.S. citizen, of course. Last year, Tony explained: “I run for Puerto Rico because I did when I was younger on the national team, and I felt it would be hypocritical to run for the U.S. as a masters athlete because I never ran for the U.S. when I was younger.” Now he’s made the switch, thank goodness, and we’re thrilled to have him. At Lyon, he won the long hurdles (57.53) and took bronze in the 400 (52.98). Our German masters friend Alfred Hermes notes his country’s relay pool. Looks tough. But the Aussies will be favored in many events, just becuz.

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August 25, 2016  One Comment

Pete Magill’s ‘Born Again Runner’ book offers masters motivation

Pete, who turned 55 in June, wrote a page-turner.

Masters 5K legend Pete Magill has published a new book, “The Born Again Runner,” which gave me reason to interview the South Pasadena author. Among other things, he explains his skepticism of “shiny objects” — digital devices marketed to runners. I also pinned him down on doping. He told me: “Runners should definitely take medicines their doctors prescribe to protect their quality of life. But they should also understand that drugs that function as PEDs don’t give a little boost. They give a huge boost that is unattainable to someone not using those PEDs.” I was very impressed with the dozen mini-profiles in the book, including one of his Speedrunner partner, coach Eric Dixon. It’s heartbreaking. Eric saw his dad shoot his mother dead. But buy the book for the rest of the story.

Masters are profiled in Pete’s first book since “Build Your Running Body.”

August 24, 2016  6 Comments

Club West Masters Meet back after 3 years — at Westmont College

Nadine O'Connor and Jeff Davison battled at 2007 Club West meet.

Nadine O’Connor and Jeff Davison battled at 2007 Club West meet at UC Santa Barbara.

Three years after its last edition, the fabled Club West Masters Track Meet is back. Long held at ocean-overlooking Santa Barbara City College and then UC Santa Barbara and Moorpark College, the event went dormant in 2014 and 2015 “as we sought a good venue at a reasonable cost,” says Robin Paulsen, Club West interim president. This year’s meet will be Sunday, Oct. 30, at Westmont College in Santa Barbara.  “They have done an incredible job with their facility,” Robin said. “It is truly state of the art. … We have added a standing long jump event for athletes over 60. And we are opening our meet to athletes with a physical handicap. Notice the steeplechase doesn’t have a distance. We have been running a 2000 steeple for 60+ year olds because those were the only competitors. If we get some who wish to run a 3000, we will include both distances.” For meet info, schedule of events, registration info, go to directathletics.com. Here are photos from 2007 Club West meet.
 

August 23, 2016  5 Comments

Belated praise for Jo Pavey: W40 WR 10K during Rio Games

Joanne "Jo" Pavey kicked in during Rio 10,000

Joanne “Jo” Pavey kicked in during Rio 10,000

Britain’s Jo Pavey was lapped early in the WR 10K at the Rio Games, but her 15th-place time of 31:33.44 was historic as well — a WMA W40 world record. Jo turns 43 in September. How good was her mark? It would have beaten the men’s world record in 1884, also by a Briton (Walter George). Jo beat the listed W40 WR of 31:40.97 by Russia’s Alla Zhilyayeva in 2009. (The winner’s time of 29:17.45 would have been a men’s WR — in Emil Zátopek era — as recently as August 1950.) Jo said of the Almaz Ayana mark: “When I heard the times, I just couldn’t believe it. It’s so much faster than you could ever imagine anyone could run. I was aware how soon they lapped us. You hope not to get lapped at all, but to get lapped so early is really shocking. It was almost confusing. Everyone was running so fast you didn’t know who was in which lap.”

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August 22, 2016  5 Comments

Masters history site adds thousands of original NMN color photos

Antwon Dussett was only 30 in 2006, when he won the 200 and 400 at Charlotte nationals.

Antwon Dussett was only 30 in 2006, when he won the 200 and 400 at Charlotte nationals.

The late Randy Sturgeon was publisher of National Masters News for eight years, and he honored the monthly’s history by safeguarding its treasured storehouse of photos. These images graced its pages (usually in black-and-white) for decades. Now many can be seen in their original full-color glory. Sunday night, I uploaded to mastershistory.org 108 PDFs representing many months of NMN. Most are searchable via Google. It means people looking for photos of grandma in her track heyday are in luck. Among the most recent shots by former publisher Suzy Hess and hubby-to-be Jerry Wojcik were of the infamous 2006 Charlotte nationals — hampered by heat and lightning storms. Many months of NMN photos remain to be scanned and posted, but that should be soon. In the meantime, check out the NMN archive and savor these shots for the first time, starting in 1989.

NMN Publisher Suzy Hess caught a campus cop at UNC Charlotte in 2006 informing massage folks that nationals was being shut down for the day due to heat emergency.

NMN Publisher Suzy Hess caught a campus cop at UNC Charlotte in 2006 informing folks that nationals was being shut down for the day due to heat.

August 21, 2016  One Comment