Don ‘Boomer’ McCrea tells bipolar battle in accepting national award

Boomer and his plaque.

Boomer and his plaque.

A month ago, M75 multi-eventer Don “Boomer” 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. It’s kind of like the Senior Olympic circuit, except all ages compete. Boomer beat out 33 other state nominees, so it’s a notable honor. But even more praiseworthy is Boomer’s acceptance speech, which includes this revelation: “I knew I had problems early on, but I hid it until I was 50 years old, when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t chosen sports instead of drugs and alcohol as many others have done. We didn’t talk about mental illness in the 1940s and ’50s, but I’m talking now and I’ve survived thanks to sports.” Bully for Boomer!

Read the rest of this post »

October 24, 2016  3 Comments

Out-of-competition drug tests due, but don’t expect knock on door

Perth WMA General Assembly handbook (PDF)

Perth WMA General Assembly handbook (PDF)

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: “WMA 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.” In the kiddie world, elites register for a testing pool. (See IAAF guide.) Unless you’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.

Read the rest of this post »

October 23, 2016  10 Comments

Free entries for elites at 50th annual Hartshorne Masters Mile

Elite M40 finish in 2010: Nick Berra (left) nips Tracy Lokken.

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. “The $20 race entry fee will be waived for elite runners,” Charlie writes. “On 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.” 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:

Read the rest of this post »

October 22, 2016  No Comments

Daegu 2017 world indoor meet entry deadline is January 24, 2017

If your wallet isn’t already empty from 2016, here’s another track trip for you: Daegu. South Korea is hosting WMA indoor worlds in late March 2017. Online registration doesn’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 4×200 — one team per country per age group — is free. Entry deadline is Jan. 24, 2017 — 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: “I am physically and mentally fit to compete in the WMACi safely and without causing injury to myself or other participants in the WMACi.” Sigh. That counts me out. Check out this video, but don’t expect the 2011 IAAF crowds at the 2017 WMA meet.

October 21, 2016  3 Comments

Nolan Shaheed runs 1500, 800 in possibly his first meet of 2016

Nolan at Glendale on Sunday.

Nolan ran twice Sunday at Glendale.

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 — 4:57.05 and 2:31.54 — but far off his usual world-leading standards. The best M65 800 this season is 2:22.72 by Holland’s Hans Smeets. His age group’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. He’s not entered at Perth worlds. Some photos from the Glendale meet — called the Self Transcendence Masters Games — 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)!

October 20, 2016  8 Comments

Brian Pilcher’s day of records wins him USATF Athlete of the Week

Brian has run middle distances in past.

Brian has run middle distances in past.

USATF named our sometimes-tracko friend Brian Pilcher as Athlete of the Week on Tuesday for his amazing race in Chicago. “All I can say is holy crap,” Brian reacted on Facebook. “I never expected this in this lifetime and I am totally grateful for the recognition and otherwise speechless.” Indy reported: “Brian 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, Pilcher’s 1:16:54 was 1 second under Norm Green’s 1993 record and his 25 km time of 1:31:41 destroyed Alex Ratelle’s 1:36:20 mark set back in 1989. At 30 km, his 1:50:53 was almost 8 1/2 minutes under Patrick Devine’s record of 1:59:22, also set in 1989. Finally, his gun time of 2:42:44 tied Clive Davies’s 37-year-old marathon record. Pilcher’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.” Just goes to show. It ain’t over till Bluto says it’s over.

October 18, 2016  4 Comments

Ed Whitlock wallops M85 marathon record with sub-4 in Toronto

OK, get real. Men who are 85 don’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 Sunday’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 “ran in a 30-year-old singlet and 15-year-old Brooks shoes … going through the halfway mark at 1:54:34,” say Canadian media. “He says that he went out a bit too hard but still maintained an overall average pace of 5:36 per kilometre.” That’s 9:02 a mile. The listed M90 mile world record is 10:30.9. Who thinks Ed won’t shatter that as well in 2021?

October 16, 2016  8 Comments

Masters track hack attack: George Mathews’ TUE data made public

Hackers take fancy to masters tracksters.

Russian hackers take fancy to masters tracksters.

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 USADA’s database had been hacked by Fancy Bears, “and 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.” I searched that site and also WikiLeaks, but didn’t find George’s info. “Hey, “I don’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,” 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?

October 15, 2016  No Comments

2-year age groups for 60-plus road miles in north San Diego County

Race organizers north of San Diego are going back to the future. In the late 1960s, “masters miles” 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 — 60 and over. Could be a first. “The inaugural Tri-City Medical Center Festival of Senior Miles is also a BBTM Featured Event, showcasing America’s best Mile races throughout the year,” 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.

Read the rest of this post »

October 14, 2016  One Comment

Dave Ortman’s Serbian sojourn: IX Olympiad for the Third Age

U.S. team certificate

U.S. team certificate

My masters at Nemean Games post prompted our Seattle multi-eventer friend Dave Ortman to share his own recent European adventures — 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 – Oct. 4. Dave writes: “They 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.”

Dave (with shirt) and fellow members of the U.S. team at Serbian event.

Dave (with shirt) and fellow members of the U.S. team at Serbian event.

Read the rest of this post »

October 13, 2016  No Comments