Amy Acuff jumps her height (6-2), secures spot in IAAF Beijing Trials

Five-time Olympian Amy Acuff, approaching her 40th birthday in July, is set to make a run for the IAAF Beijing world championships team after clearing 1.88 (6-2) Saturday at the Texas Relays. How confident was she after winning the event in her home state? She passed 1.91 and went straight for 1.94 (6-4 1/4). She missed all three. The listed W40 American record is 1.77 (5-9¾) set at 2013 Olathe nationals by Gwen Wentland, and the listed WR is 1.87 (6-1 1/2) by Ukraine’s Iryná Myhalchenko. But Bulgaria’s Venelina Veneva-Mateeva, who turns 41 in June, has already jumped 1.94 (6-4 1/4) indoors this year. The official qualifying standard for USATF open nationals is 1.90, but the field is set at 18. And with only six ladies going higher than 1.88 last year, Amy is a slam dunk to make the Eugene trials in late June.


March 28, 2015  One Comment

Special treat: First 23 years of National Masters News are online

After 18 months, the dream of posting all early issues of National Masters News is realized. On Friday, I added the years 1986 through 1999 to the searchable PDF archive on See it here. (I also uploaded the missing issue of October 1984.) The homepage of our historical record features a dedication to NMN staffers Suzy Hess, Jerry Wojcik and Angela Egremont, who under editor Al Sheahen (and later as publishers) were the heart of the monthly publication for decades. Also, many thanks to Bob Carroll of Carmel Business Systems for his superlative scanning work. And, of course, kudos to USATF Masters T&F Committee for underwriting costs of this project. The first 256 issues are now posted and searchable, or 23 years of the monthly. More years to come. But for now, enjoy a jog through memory lane!

Photo from April 1998 issue (page 7) shows Suzy Hess, Jerry Wojcik and Angela Egremont, who did much of the NMN grunt work for many years.

Photo from April 1998 issue (page 7) shows Suzy Hess, Jerry Wojcik and Angela Egremont, who did much of the NMN grunt work for many years.

March 28, 2015  One Comment

M50 star Roald Bradstock shows perfect form in standing javelin

M50 WR man Roald Bradstock handed his iPhone 6 to a Florida bystander this week and the result is below. He did a standing javelin throw. I wrote for details, and he graciously supplied some, including the distance, about 54 meters (or 177-2) with 800-gram spear). He adds: “In 2012, I threw 59.80m standing with the 800g and 68m with the 700g. So I should be good for about 61m / 200 ft with a 700g now. … Throwing this way allows me to still throw hard and not totally destroy my body.” He says he doesn’t know the WR for a standing throw, “but I doubt anyone has thrown further.” We used to have a standing long jump and high jump, so why not create a new event for stick-throwers?

March 27, 2015  No Comments

All hail Stanislaw Kowalski — oldest track athlete in human history

John Whittemore was oldest tracko until this week.

John Whittemore was six weeks short of 105 when I saw him set an M100 javelin record in Santa Barbara in 2004. Until this week, I considered him the oldest track athlete in history. No more. Stanislaw Kowalski has set a new standard, taking M100 golds in at least three events at the European Masters Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland. He’s three weeks shy of 105. (His DOB is April 14, 1910.) If he competes after the Ides of April, he’ll be the only M105 track athlete on Earth. (But WMA doesn’t have an M105 age group. Sigh.)

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March 26, 2015  6 Comments

Slam dunk for USATF Athlete of the Week: W80 Irene Obera

With no other major meet to distract USATF attention, the folks in Indy named Irene Obera as its Athlete of the Week “after her outstanding performance at the USATF Masters Indoor Championships Friday, March 20-22 at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Obera (Fremont, California) set multiple records including two world records and three American records. She became the first woman over 80 to complete an indoor pentathlon, recording 3,817 points for her first world record mark of the weekend. She set the next record in the 60-meter hurdles with her time of 13.76, and Obera’s three American records came in the long jump (2.72m/8-11.25), high jump (1.02m/3-4) and 800 meters (4:49.74).” She’s the third masters trackster so honored this year — after Anselm LeBourne and Mary Norckauer. Mazel tov, Irene!

Irene wins at Sacramento worlds — adding to legend to continue in Lyon.

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March 25, 2015  7 Comments

Masters athletics should join IAAF party with own world relays meet

Why not one for masters? We like islands, too!

Last year, the IAAF held its first World Relays Championships in the Bahamas. World Masters Athletics and national affiliates should follow suit. This could boost interest in our niche and give many more people a chance of setting a record — in many more events. This idea was sparked by a note Wednesday from world champion middle-distance runner Stephen Chantry. Steve writes: “After returning from indoor nationals at Winston-Salem this past weekend
I was thinking about all of the relay records that were set. After I ran the 3000 on Friday and the mile on Saturday, I joined a group Saturday afternoon and we went for the 4800 record for M60 but came up short. Still, just being able to compete again after my extensive Achilles surgery was wonderful. Anyway, the bottom line is that relays are fun. Everybody loves them.”

Sacramento worlds saw many great relays, which made golden memories.

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March 25, 2015  6 Comments

Yanks helped set turnout, meet records at Toronto nationals

Ben James had the track to himself in the M55 400. See Doug Smith's photo galleries.

Ben James had the track to himself in the M55 400. See Doug Smith’s photo galleries.

A week before North Carolina nationals, the Maitres Canadiens held their two-day indoor nationals in Toronto. Their showing was 235, not exceptional by American standards but still “the largest turnout at a Masters Indoor event in Canadian history,” said CMA. It helped that at least a half-dozen south of the border types took part, including M55 long sprinter Ben James, who won the 4 in a meet record 57.74. Some 19 Canadian records were set at the March 14-15 event, plus 98 meet records, detailed on this page. M30 American high jumper Richard White Jr. set an MR at 2.05 meters (6-8 3/4). M65 Yank Lewis Breese threw a MR in the shot of 10.82 (35-6) and M70 Yank John Kasperski claimed a weight throw MR of 14.87 (48-9 1/2). Results are here. (Other Americans competing Up There were M55 Rodney Wilson and the alliterative Horace Hudson in M60 and Phillip Pillin in M50.) Nice job, gents!

March 24, 2015  2 Comments

Near-record start to European Masters Championships in Poland

After Day 1 of the Eurovets meet in Torun, Poland, we’ve already seen some great marks. Britain’s Guy Bracken, 54, ran the 3000 in 8:52.38. The listed M50 WR is 8:49.37 by countryman Nigel Gates. In the M95 high jump, Emmerich Zensch of Austria cleared 0.95 meters (3-1 1/4), just short of American Leland McPhie’s listed WR of 0.96. Emmerich had three failed efforts at 0.97 (3-2 1/4). Results are being posted here. Here’s where you see the real competition for Lyon worlds. Here’s EZ doing the flop at 91:

March 23, 2015  19 Comments

N.C. indoor nationals boast 8 world records, 29 American records

W80 Christel Donley set a triple jump WR.

W80 Christel Donley set a triple jump AR.

Rob Jerome had a keen view of North Carolina nationals — behind a camera. And he gives the meet two thumbs up. “Everyone was very much in agreement that these nationals were exceptionally well-run,” he writes. “Events were on time and the officiating was great. Kudos to Mary Trotto, who made the suggestion, which was adopted, that the men’s and women’s pentathlon be divided into two groups each. This new approach certainly sped things along on Friday, and the lively pace continued for the next two days. The facility was excellent as well.” USATF counts eight world records and 29 American records at JDL Fast Track. Rob also writes: “Christel Donley had a busy morning — competing simultaneously in the high jump and triple jump. She also had a great result in the high jump at 1.05 meters.” Thanks for all his shots here and in recent days.

Irene Obera won all of her events and added to her W80 WRs by running the 800 in 4:49.74. Her old friend Alan Kolling displays a medal as well.

Irene Obera won all of her events and added to her W80 WRs by running the 800 in 4:49.74. Her old friend Alan Kolling displays a medal as well.

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March 22, 2015  3 Comments

Staying upright, Irene Obera sets 60-meter hurdles world record

Don Isett set M75 AR, topping a Bud Held mark.

Don Isett sets M75 AR, beating a Bud Held mark.

Hurdling at 80 is rare for men but almost unheard of for women. But Irene Obera upped the age limit to 81 Saturday at North Carolina masters nationals. After stumbling in her pentathlon race Friday, she stayed clean in the open 60 hurdles Saturday to finish in 13.76 seconds and adding the indoor WR to her outdoor ones from 2014. (Christel Donley’s silver-medal effort of 14.66 thus becomes the No. 2 mark all-time W80.) Rob Jerome, sharing photos again, also reports that Irene extended the listed American record in the long jump but didn’t jump as far as she did in the pentathlon. Rob adds: “Great anticipation during the day for the M90 Indoor 4200.  I got a nice shot of the 4 gentlemen BEFORE they were thronged by the media after their (inaugural WR) performance” of 5:40.82. And M75 Don Isett cleared 2.91 (9-6 1/2) on his first try to better Bud Held’s listed AR of 2.90. The listed WR is 3.00 (9-10) by Hungary’s Zoltan Kurenczi. Finally, W65 Myrle Mensey added to her national titles with a shot mark of 9.26 meters (better than her own listed AR of 9.25) but short of a 9.48 (31-1 1/4) she had recently.

Potomac Valley TC foursome of (from left) Orville Rogers, 97; Charles Boyle, 91; Roy Englert, 92; and Charles Ross, 92, became the first over-90 relay team in indoor history. Potomac Valley Track Club - A

Potomac Valley TC foursome of (from left) Orville Rogers,97; Charles Boyle, 91; Roy Englert, 92; and Charles Ross, 92 — first all-90 relay team in indoor history.

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March 21, 2015  5 Comments