3 centenarians expected at Asian Masters Athletics Championships

Pin marks Rugao on map; 1,900-plus entered.

Africa, Europe and NCCWMA (us) have held WMA regional meets this year. Now it’s Asia’s turn. For the next five days, “more than 1,900 masters athletes from 20 countries and regions will gather in Rugao [China] to display their skills to the full” at the Asian Masters Athletics Championships, says an LOC press release. “Therein, the oldest and the youngest athletes are respectively 101 and 35 years old. Three centenarians from the host city Rugao will also be present at the competition. … As a well-known ‘Longevity County in the World,’ Rugao is now resided by 385 centenarians as a county (city) enjoying the most population of centenarians in China. This city has successfully hosted the 10th and 16th National Masters Athletics.” China already leads the medal standings (as if I care). But it’s hard to unearth results (which I care about, just in case an M60 sprinter exists in the world slower than moi.) Opening Ceremonies are Sunday at the Rugao Olympic Sports Center, “which enjoys topics of ‘Longevity’ and ‘Always in Happiness’ and embraces nearly 3,000 actors who are going to perform at the ceremony.” A cozy little gathering in the town of 1.5 million.

Site of Asian masters meet in Rugao, city with lots of M100/W100 folks.

September 23, 2017  No Comments

Puerto Rico catastrophe sparks memories of 1983, 2003 worlds

Hurricane Maria, destroying power to Puerto Rico for months, is a catastrophe for the island. It brings to mind the fifth and 15th World Masters Athletics Championships — held in San Juan and Carolina in 1983 and 2003. Forty world records were set in the first visit and 27 the second. Al Sheahen’s account of the 1983 disaster remains the most honest and courageous meet report in history. It spares nobody. But it also celebrates the resiliency of visiting officials who righted a sinking ship and the friendliness of the people (even with the reported muggings). Many masters athletes have friends and family in P.R., and who knows the status of stadiums where 400 mainland Americans competed in 1983 and many more 20 years later. We hope the Roberto Clemente Sports Complex in Carolina and Sixto Escobar Stadium in San Juan will someday see age-groupers again excel. For now, life down there is brutal. Hope we hear soon from y’all.

Jerry Wojcik covered 2003 Puerto Rico worlds, far better than the 1983 fiasco.

September 22, 2017  One Comment

W50 Geraldine Finnegan claims tetradecathlon (14 events) WR

Geraldine of Dundalk hurdles well at 52.

After claiming six individual medals at Daegu worlds and a handful more at the Auckland World Masters Games, W50 multi-eventer Geraldine Finnegan of Ireland was still hungry for more. How hungry? Try competing in 14 events over two days. Her local paper reports that she won her age group at a Belgian tetradecathlon, and set a world record as well: 10,250 points. (Events are shown in graphic below.) She beat the old listed record by 500 points, we’re told. “Geraldine claimed a clean sweep in all but one of the events. Unfortunately, she was beaten by one-tenth of a second in the 200m sprint,” the paper said. We forgive you, Geraldine. She’s been on our radar before, of course, having served a two-month doping suspension after taking a nasal decongestant with a banned substance at 2010 Kamloops indoor worlds. But her latest outing — August 26-27 in Turnhout, Belgium — is nothing to sneeze at.

The International Association of Ultra Multievents is in charge of records.

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September 21, 2017  2 Comments

Hold medal ceremonies at masters nationals? Most efficient way?

World-class W45 sprinter Emma McGowan posed a question on the USATF Masters Facebook page that deserves attention: “Who thinks it would be a great idea to have a podium ceremony at all indoor and outdoor Masters Championships? Great suggestion or not?” My reaction: “Many meets schedule awards ceremonies near the track, but not stopping competition. The problem is herding cats. It’s hard enough to find ways to allow all athletes to enter multiple events. Adding ceremonies — when athletes may already be competing — is a logistical nightmare. Having ceremonies after completion of all events is an option, but has its own downsides.” What’s your take? In any case, entries are now being accepted for 2018 Landover indoor nationals, which is becoming part of a regular rotation for our prime undercover meet. Here’s Emma, no stranger to podiums:

September 20, 2017  13 Comments

Sprinters, throwers shine at the 30th San Diego Senior Games

Stan Whitley worked 29.72 for his medal.

The San Diego Senior Games celebrated its 30th anniversary track meet Sunday at San Diego Mesa College, and Jim Waters graciously shared results, below. (I missed taking pictures, having gone to bed at 2 a.m. helping photojournalist wife prepare photo gallery of the local ritzy music festival.) Was impressed by the sub-30 200 by former KU long jumper Stan Whitley at age 72 and the 13.77 100 and 28.28 200 by W50 former world champ Colleen Barney. And one-time 400 world champ Jim Chinn burned a 12.77 100 at age 59. Linda Cohn, who turns 65 in December, threw the javelin 34.62 (113-7). The listed W65 WR is 32.02 (105-1) by Weia Reinboud. M60 Ralph Fruguglietti (another world champ) threw the discus 53.83 (176-7), with the AR being 59.52 (195-3). And M50 Cameron Bolles heaved the platter 59.96 (196-09). Al Oerter has the M50 AR of 62.74 (205-10).

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September 17, 2017  6 Comments

M45 starter gets credit for first sub-10 100-meter Japanese dash

Wataru Fukuoka re-enacts his starting pistol action the day after Japanese record.

On Sept. 9, Yoshihide Kiryu became the first Japanese sprinter to go sub-10 in the 100-meter dash. He’s 21, but that’s not the story. Yoshi’s 9.98 had an aiding wind of 1.8 mps — just under the legal limit of 2.0. And for that the starter is credited — an M45 masters athlete. The local paper reported: “Before firing the starting gun for Kiryu’s race, starter Wataru Fukuoka, 46, set about checking the wind speed carefully. … Upon looking at the indicator, he noticed that the wind flow seemed to be switching regularly between fast and slow. Picking up on this pattern, he decided to shout out ‘on your marks’ at a point where the wind was blowing quickly. The wind then died down, and Fukuoka started the race. He managed to time it perfectly.” Nice job, Wataru! That’s how to help the kiddies.

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September 16, 2017  No Comments

Mastershistory.org moves to WordPress platform: Now easy peasie

Nearly 10 years after launch, our online museum has moved to a WordPress platform. Underwritten by the USATF Masters T&F Committee, mastershistory.org boasts results, publications, photos and other material from our half-century-old sport. The new design is appreciably the same as the old one, but its ease of management is exponentially better. That means more additions faster. Pages can be updated via smartphone, for example. I’ve been the primary webmaster since the Masters Historical Archive Committee (chaired by hurdlemeister Jeff Davison and including fellow Californian Andy Hecker) started work in early 2008. Now I have the tools to quickly fix bad links and add content. The new, improved site now includes the Twitter feed of @USAMastersTrack. We’ll announce other big additions soon. Thanks for revisiting this incredible resource. (And a big shout-out to Scott Stewart, who installed a custom WordPress “theme” for us.)

The old logo now appears over new WordPress design, tweaked by Scott.

September 15, 2017  2 Comments

M50 Tom LeGan clocks mighty 4:32.80 mile at NorCal all-comers

Milers start race at Tuesday’s race in San Rafael.

The latest all-comers meet at Terra Linda High School in the Northern California town of San Rafael Track was special. On Tuesday, it was the scene of a great M50 mile. The listed WR is the fabled 4:25.04 by Nolan Shaheed in 2001. Franklin “Frank” Ruona picks up the story: “A few days prior to Tamalpa’s September Track Meet, I received an email from Carl Rose, coach of the Strawberry Canyon TC, asking if the track meet was going to take place on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, as he had a 51-year-old male runner who wanted to try to run a 4:30 mile in the meet. I told Carl that, yes, … and the mile would be the first race of the meet at 6:30 p.m. When Carl told me that Tom LeGan was going to try to run a 4:30 mile, I told him ‘Great,’ but I frankly had my doubts that any local 51-year-old male was going run a 4:30 mile. I was WRONG! Carl brought two fast young Strawberry Canyon TC open runners to pace Tom and, to my surprise, Tom was on pace to break 4:30 when he hit the three-quarter-mile mark in 3:20.46.”

Tom (in third) got pacing help in his 4:30 mile shot from a couple of youngsters.

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September 14, 2017  6 Comments

Decathlete Tom Thorne dies at 74; Kansas, Missouri coach, pastor

The Rev. Thomas “Tom” Thorne

Masters decathletes and others are mourning the passing of the Rev. Thomas “Tom” Thorne, 74, who died Sept. 9 in Joplin, Missouri, the city of his birth. According to mastersrankings.com, he last competed in 2011. Obituaries say he died at Freeman West Hospital following a short illness. “He spent his life serving others through the church, public education, sports and community service,” said one obit. “He has taught in Chanute, Lawrence and Eureka, Kansas, before returning to Neosho in 1981. He then taught in the East Newton School system, owned and operated the Coaches Locker Sporting Goods Store in Neosho; worked for the Newton County Juvenile Department and coached in area schools, including Carthage and most recently, Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School. He was ordained as pastor of the First Congregational Church in 1985, where he currently served. He was a recipient of the Neosho Exchange Club Golden Deeds award and he was an accomplished Master decathalete, competing both nationally and internationally.” Memorial services are 10 a.m. Saturday at the Calvary Baptist Church in Neosho.

Tom (left) was M50 silver medalist at the 1995 masters national decathlon meet behind Al Phillips (center) and ahead of Joe Johnson (right).

September 13, 2017  3 Comments

3 claim 9 American records in Oregon TC masters 3K and 25K meet

Laura Breuss, shown at earlier race, motored through more than 62 laps of McKenzie track.

Oregon Track Club Masters folks report some nifty marks at rarely run track distances. We learn: “Nine age-group American records were set at the USATF Oregon Track 3,000m and 25,000m championships. This event was held in smokey conditions Sunday morning at the McKenzie Community Track and Field facility in Blue River. The Oregon Track Club Masters was a major sponsor of the event. Laura Bruess of Boulder, Colorado, circled the track 62.5 times to set the women’s age 55-59 American record in the 25,000m race with a time of 1:54:05.7. She set four other American records along the way, breaking the 1 hour, 15,000m, 10 mile and 20,000m records. Laura also holds the 10,000m record which she set last year. Craig Godwin of Eugene set three American records in the men’s 50-54 age group. Returning to form after a major heart attack in 2011, he broke the 15,000m, 20,000m and 25,000m records. His 25,000m record of 1:30:28.9 was more than 8 minutes faster than the previous mark. Bill Aronson of Portland broke the men’s age 45-49 American record in the 25,000m with a time of 1:35:28.7. Eugene runners Mike Blackmore (M55 3,000m), Jason Roberts (M30 3,000) and Kevin Cave (M35 25,000m) all won Oregon championships.”

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September 12, 2017  No Comments