Nolan Shaheed, Alisa Harvey top age-graded miles at Hartshorne

Peter Brady was the fastest man at Cornell.

Tom Hartshorne reports a “best ever” turnout at Saturday’s 50th running of the Hartshorne Memorial Masters Miles at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. But world record attempts by M65 Nolan Shaheed and W50 Alisa Harvey fell short, although Tom (son of the meet’s namesake) said the pair “were on pace to break records through the 800 meters but fell off the pace by a bit.” Results are here. They show Nolan’s 5:15.91 at age 67 was the top men’s age-graded mark at 93.3 percent. Alisa’s 5:16.27 was the top women’s age-graded mile at 95.7 percent. The times they were shooting for were 5:11.43 and 5:07.32, respectively. The fastest miles Saturday were recorded by M45 Peter Brady (4:30.09) and W40 Sascha Scott (4:58.47) — the only woman to go sub-5. Twenty women and 42 men competed. Congrats to all, especially Tom for reaching the half-century mark.

January 21, 2017  2 Comments

Geraldine Finnegan back to worlds, 6 years after doping nightmare

Geraldine will throw jav at Daegu worlds, too.

W50 multi-eventer Geraldine Finnegan of Ireland, a 2013 hep champion at Porto Alegre, is returning to indoor worlds in March for the first time since 2010 Kamloops. She’s promising herself not to buy any over-the-counter drugs in Daegu. The last time she did, at the British Columbia meet, she netted a two-month doping sanction for having ephedrine in her system. I wrote about it back in 2010. She’s entered in seven events at indoor worlds — 400, 60 hurdles, high jump, pole vault, triple jump, javelin throw and pentathlon. (Whew! I like to say.) She had to give up two medals at Kamloops, but could win many more in Daegu. The meet list of entries is slim in many events. And I note, so far, the oldest age group is 90–94, with just two entrants — James Sinclair of Australia and Suet-Ling Cheung of Hong Kong. (Usually, we have folks in their late 90s at worlds.) But it’s a long way for Americans and Europeans to travel. The craziest entry is Gudman Chala of Ecuador, whose M35 high jump mark is “180.00m” (or 590-6). Guess he meant 1.80 (5-10 3/4).

January 20, 2017  One Comment

Running is good for knees, says study quoted by New York Times

Generic old runner used on Huffington Post story.

Next thing we’ll learn is triple jumping is balm for the knees. Gretchen Reynolds of The New York Times on Wednesday brought to our attention a study of runners’ knees. She writes: “In my many decades as a runner, I have frequently been told by fellow runners and nonrunners alike that I am putting my knees at risk. The widespread argument generally follows the lines that running will slowly wear away the cartilage that cushions the bones in the joint and cause arthritis. But there is little evidence to support the idea, and a growing body of research that suggests the reverse. Epidemiological studies of long-term runners show that they generally are less likely to develop osteoarthritis in the knees than people of the same age who do not run.” She later noted how the study of under-30 folks found that “sitting for 30 minutes also changed the knee, … which [was] not expected. Sitting seemed to make the knee biochemically more vulnerable to later disease.” So now we need someone to study geezers — to see if the same conclusions apply. But don’t ask me to resume triple jumping at 62 (even if one writer calls the event the most “Olympian.”)

January 19, 2017  9 Comments

3 Kenyan gold medalists at Perth stand to earn nearly $10,000 each

Kenyan 1,000-shilling note is worth $9.62.

Kenya won 10 medals at Perth, and now it looks as if they’re worth real money. According to Nairobi-based Mediamax Network, the mostly distance-runner group will be “considered in the government reward scheme that awards Kenyan achievers in international and continental championships.” That means world M40 half-marathon champion Francis Komu, M50 10K winner Paul Kibet Yego and M45 10K victor Joshua Kipchumba are in line for 1 million Kenyan shillings each. That’s $9,620 in U.S. dollars. Silver and bronze winners would get $7,215 and $4,810. Such a deal. I just hope they make a currency exchange or buy something fast. Kenyan inflation is above 6 percent a year.

Ministry of Sports Director of Administration Haron Komen (left) receives flag from Kenya’s team in Perth. Photo by David Ndolo.

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January 18, 2017  2 Comments

Nolan Shaheed, Alisa Harvey calling their world-record-mile shots?

Nolan at 67 can still beat elites in their 50s.

If weather and air travel cooperate, this weekend’s 50th running of the Hartshorne Memorial Mile at Cornell University will be a humdinger. The local paper suggests M65 Nolan Shaheed and W50 Alisa Harvey will try to set world indoor records. Both have plenty of record experience, so it’s not a stretch. But Nolan lost a chunk of last season to injury. Hope he’s recovered and good to go. The Ithaca Journal says: Alisa “will attempt to set the American indoor mile record for the 50-54 age group (5:08.65). The world indoor record (5:07.32) may also be in reach.” Also: Nolan is “going after the world record (5:11.43) for men ages 65-69. Nolan set the indoor world record in the 60-64 age bracket (4:50.95) at the Hartshorne Mile in 2012.”

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January 17, 2017  4 Comments

New Year’s resolution for WMA, USATF: Update your records ASAP!

USATF indoor vault records as of 1/16/2017.

The mess known as USATF and WMA masters records began decades ago. It’s about time to end it. The latest example involves the M70 indoor vault record. By all rights, Art Parry is the world recordman. His 3.35 (10-11 3/4) was ratified at the Orlando meeting last year. But Don Isett’s 3.25 (10-8) from 2013 is still listed on USATF and WMA record pages. The issue arose over the weekend when social media reported Hall of Famer John Altendorf clearing 10-8 at the National Pole Vault Summit in Reno. It was called a world record. Actually, he made 3.27 (10-8 3/4). He described his sequence below. In a quickie Q&A, I asked him the all-important question: Have you changed your helmet in recent years or used the same one? He replied: “No. Still the red one. But I have been thinking it is time for a new one for safety reasons.” In any case, WMA and USATF need to post ratified records immediately — and pending records as soon as applications come in.

World Masters Athletics indoor vault records as of Jan. 16, 2017.

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January 16, 2017  9 Comments

Gérard Dumas defies doctor again, vaults for the 70th year in row

In March 2007, I interviewed Gérard Dumas, the pole vault historian who claims the world record for most consecutive years jumping with a stick. I asked him: “How many more years of vaulting do you have left in you?” He replied: “I would like to jump another five years, but the legs are crying mercy and the performances are getting ridiculous. I also had a shoulder operation a year ago which slowed me down, and I had to vault under an assumed names seven months after the operation so that the surgeon would not shoot me.” Well, don’t tell Gerard’s doctor, but he’s still playing with poles. At the National Pole Vault Summit on Saturday, he cleared 1.82 (5-11 1/2) at age 81. He’s now got his butt over a bar 70 years in a row. Dozens of other masters also jumped, with Hall of Famer John Altendorf reportedly tying the M70 indoor WR of 3.25 (10-8). I’m seeking details. He still wears a fire-engine red crash helmet. Thanks to Becca Gillespy Peter for her geezer coverage in Reno.

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January 15, 2017  4 Comments

Harold Morioka, born in WWII internment camp, enters hall of fame

Harold won his first world masters title in 1989.

M70 coach Harold Morioka is the subject of a great profile in his British Columbia newspaper after being inducted into the B.C. Athletics Hall of Fame. It told me something I didn’t know — that he was born in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. I wasn’t aware the Canadians followed FDR’s lead: “Following the attacks on Pearl Harbour in 1941, the federal government enacted the War Measures Act and Morioka’s father was sent to live in an internment camp in the Slocan Valley with all boys and men of Japanese heritage, despite having lived in Surrey since 1924. Eventually he was joined by his wife and three children, and Harold was born in 1943. Memories of his time in Slocan and the treatment of his parents and siblings are topics he would prefer not to focus on.” Lots of other revelations about gent I’ve known for about 20 years.

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January 14, 2017  9 Comments

Rocketman Rhodes first out of blocks for USATF masters exhibitions

JPL’s Jason ran at Perth.

Mark Cleary, who oversees the masters invitational program of USATF exhibition at the open meets, has posted details on two events — the indoor nationals in ABQ and the outdoor nationals in Sacto. If you’re a long sprinter, you’re in luck — men will run the 400 at both meets, and the women will run 400 outdoors and 1,000 indoors. Anyone 40 and over may apply to get in the races. So far, only one entrant is listed — M40 Jason Rhodes of SoCal TC (Mark’s club). The JPL scientist posted a seed time of 52.66 — a mark from Perth worlds — for both races. The indoor standards are 56.0 for men and 2:34.00 (800) and 5:20.00 (1500) for women. The outdoor standards are 56.0 for men and 1:10 for women. I suspect other masters exhibitions are still to be revealed. Here’s an interview I did with Jason in 2010 after an M35 relay record.

January 13, 2017  5 Comments

New All-American standards debut— in three grades for 1st time

The All-American Standards, a longtime revenue stream for National Masters News, are being updated. For the first time, the AAs come in three flavors — Gold, Silver and Bronze. The first batch — for running events only — was posted last weekend on usatfmasters.org. “The standards are now based on the Age-Graded tables,” says Jeff Brower, chair of the AA Standards Committee. “An age-graded percentage has been set for each level (Gold, Silver and Bronze) in each event and the performance required to meet each level has been calculated.” I had other questions, for Jeff and NMN publisher Amanda Scotti, and Jeff graciously provided details. Amanda declined to share info on how much money the AAs mean to the monthly. (See what they sell.)

NMN advertises the AA standards and awards program at top of its homepage.

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January 12, 2017  5 Comments