101 Americans are Daegu-bound, but no Dalmatian jokes

But headlines are fair game, Disney fans. In a news release set to go live Monday, Peter Taylor and Bob Weiner share highlights of Team USA set for Daegu worlds starting March 19. One revelation is W75 Marie-Louise Michelson is “making a comeback after being away from the action for a while.” I covered some of her records, and she’s a stud when healthy. [She’s still listed as having 15 American age-group records, indoors and out, including relays.]

Marie has range in the record chase — from 800 meters to upper distances.

Here’s the bulk of the press release:

On the heels of their world records at last month’s USA Masters Championships in Albuquerque, two superstars for the ages, Kathy Martin (65) of Northport, Long Island, NY, and Bob Lida (80), of Wichita, KS, will help lead a contingent of 101 US athletes scheduled to go to Daegu, South Korea, to compete in the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships later this month.

Martin and Lida are in new age groups, but hurdler Derek Pye, 49, though at the upper end of his age group, also set a world mark in Albuquerque and is competing in Daegu. The meet opens March 19 and concludes March 25.

Martin, who had no college career and who at age 30, by her own admission, could not run a lick, and Lida, who competed as a sprinter at the University of Kansas but then had a lengthy layoff before coming back to the sport, have in recent years put forth some of the most remarkable performances ever seen in track and field, not just in masters, anywhere in the world. In essence, they are redefining what is possible for people in their age groups.

On January 12th of this year, running in New York City’s famed Armory Track Center, Martin roared through 3000 meters in just 11 minutes, 37.19 seconds to shatter Angela Copson’s world indoor mark for 65-69 of 11:49.53 by an amazing 12.34 seconds. The following month, Martin and her coach (and husband) Chuck Gross flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the USATF indoor masters championships.

On the first day of the meet (February 17), Martin defied the mile-high altitude by blazing through the 3000 meters in 11:53.32, well under the listed American record of 12:03.78 but, un-derstandably, not as fast as she had run in New York City.

On the meet’s second day, Kathy took a shot at Ros Tabor’s world indoor record in the mile of 6:05.85, and it was no contest, as she roared to a 6:01.46. On Sunday, the meet’s final day, Kathy went to the line in the 800 with Lydia Ritter’s world indoor record of 2:47.75 representing the challenge. Even at a mile above sea level, Kathy took down the record, sprinting through the final 200 in 38.85 seconds to finish in 2:44.35. USA Track & Field certainly noticed these per-formances, as it named Kathy its athlete of the week.

Not content to rest on her laurels, on March 2 Kathy returned to the Armory Track Center in New York City and, as they say, put the indoor W65 mile record where no one else could find it. Yes, she ran 5:51.74, taking 14.11 seconds off Ros Tabor’s listed record and 9.72 seconds off her own 6:01.46 in Albuquerque, becoming the first woman 65 and over to break six minutes in-doors. In track circles, and now elsewhere in sport, this is called “Beamonesque.”

In Daegu, Martin, a member of the USATF Masters Hall of Fame, will compete on the track in the 800, 1500, and 3000. Perhaps to ensure that she gets sufficient aerobic training on her trip, she will also run the 8000 cross-country race and the half-marathon.

Bob Lida, for his part, can be compared to the legendary Payton Jordan in being able to “run young” at age 80. In 1997, Coach Jordan ran the 100 in 14.35 at that age, and around the world no one 80+ has ever beaten that time. Five years ago, Lida ran 13.49 in the 100 at age 75, and that remains the world standard for 75-79.

Now 80, at the recent US indoor masters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bob opened up on the meet’s first day by running 1:13.34 in the 400, well under the listed M80 American indoor record of 1:15.58.

On the meet’s final day, Lida took aim at the M80 world indoor record for the 200 meters of 31.23 seconds, established by the great American sprinter Harry Brown back in 2010. What did Bob run? How about becoming the first M80 under 30 seconds with 29.84. In Daegu, Lida will compete in all three sprints, the 60, 200, and 400.

Derek Pye: Long Beach, California, age 49. Currently, Derek is the world indoor record holder in the 60 hurdles for M45 at a riveting 8.16 seconds, and at indoor nationals last month he actually improved on that, blasting an 8.15 (More detail below in HURDLERS section).

II. A Few Standouts among the Men

The US team will have many standouts in Daegu, at least five of them hurdlers. This is in keep-ing with a US tradition that started way back in the 1920 of producing great hurdlers. The sections on outstanding athletes among the men and the women will be followed by a special section on hurdlers.

Antwon Dussett: Peoria, Illinois, age 41. Antwon has been stirring up spectators for years with his aggressive, courageous style, and more good things should come in Daegu, where he will run the 200 and 400.

It is hard to rank Dussett’s greatest races, as there have been so many. Surely his M35 wins at the 2011 Sacramento outdoor worlds must be near the top. There he ran 47.34 in the 400 and 21.57 (wind + 1.3) in the 200, both very good collegiate times, to go gold-gold. Two years later, at age 38, he won the 400 in the Brazil worlds with a wicked 47.37 (the silver medalist ran 50.35). Amazing.

Antwon holds the M40 American indoor mark for 400, 49.32 seconds, which he established in 2016. Last month, in the 2017 indoor masters at the same site, he ran 50.16 to win the 400 and 22.31 to lead the 200.


Robert Thomas: Indianapolis, Indiana, age 50. Robert personifies the dedicated track athlete who has been at the top level for so long that some people take his excellence for granted. Thomas has multiple world individual titles to his credit, but he also has been a part of numerous record teams in the sprint relays. In the future there is no doubt that he will be elected to the USATF Masters Hall of Fame.

In Daegu, Thomas is scheduled to do the 200 and 400 and can be expected to run on some gold-medal teams in the sprint relays. After all, just look at the record book for indoor relays. In 2006, Robert ran second leg on an M35 4 x 400 team that blazed a 3:22.03 in Boston; that is still a world record. In 2010, Thomas led off an M40 4 x 400, also in Boston, which ran 3:25.04 (51.26 per man), and that remains the world standard for M40. The next year, in Albuquerque, Robert ran on an M40 team that flew to a 1:31.05 time (22.76 per leg), and that is still the world record.

Last fall, at Perth outdoor worlds, Thomas ran second in the M50 200 (23.40, wind +3.2) and 400 (53.13) and took gold in the M50 4 x 100 (an exquisite 45.15) and 4 x 400, where he anchored his team to a 3:39.31.

Bruce McBarnette: Sterling, Virginia, age 59. Bruce has been a high priest in the masters high jump for quite some time, and the record book attests to that. Indoors. With nine world and 24 USA national titles in his specialty, will anyone bet against Bruce in Daegu, where the high jump will be his only event? This Masters Hall of Famer has the M50 American record at a prodigious 1.93 meters (6-4) and the world mark for M55 (1.88, 6-2). Outdoors, McBarnette has the American marks for both M50 (1.94, 6-4¼) and M55 (1.84, 6-0½).

Looking at the results of the biennial world masters indoors over the years gives excellent insight into Bruce’s motivation, willingness to travel long distances, and outstanding talent. In 2006, the meet was in Austria, and the results show McBarnette at the top of the M45 group with 1.96 meters (6-5). Two years later, the championships were in France, and there was Bruce in first again (M50, 1.90, 6-2¾).

In 2010 the championships were in Canada, and Bruce was the M50 winner once more (1.85, 6-0¾). In 2012 they held the meet in Finland, and 6 months before his 55th birthday, Bruce tied for second in M50 at 1.83 (6-0). Finally, at the most recent world indoors, in Hungary in 2014, it was McBarnette getting the gold for M55 at 1.74 meters (5-8½).

Bill Collins: Houston, Texas, age 66. Arguably the greatest male sprinter in the history of the American masters T&F program, Collins has been hampered in recent years by Guillain-Barré syndrome. Still, when he laces up the spikes the former Texas Christian University All-American is always a threat to set more records. Last year in Albuquerque, Bill became the first 65+ man ever to break the 25-second barrier indoors in the 200, blasting a 24.94. Earlier in the meet he had run 7.69 seconds in the 60 dash, another world record. In Daegu, Bill is scheduled to run all three sprints, the 60, 200, and 400.

George Mathews: Seattle, Washington, age 73. George Mathews, who has competed for quite a few years, is a great stylist who produces excellent results. Formerly the chair of USATF Masters, he has managed to reach the top of the list for several different throws.

Indoors, George has the US records in the M65 group for the weight throw (20 pounds) at 19.33 meters (63-5) and the superweight (44 pounds), which in 2009 he heaved a prodigious 10.51 meters (34-5). Outdoors, he has the American M65 standard in the superweight at a terrific 10.60 meters (34-9).

In Daegu, Mathews will compete in the shot put and weight throw indoors and go outside to throw the hammer.

Bob Lida, age 80. See the summary on Lida earlier in this report.

III. A Few Standouts among the Women

Susan Randall: Beavercreek, Ohio, age 42. Susan holds the American W40 racewalking records on the road for the 25,000 (2 hours, 12 minutes, 8 seconds), 35,000 (3:14:01), and 50,000 meters (4:42:34). The mark for 50,000 (31.07 miles) involved walking at an average of 9 minutes, 5.7 seconds per mile for almost 4¾ hours.

At the 2016 outdoor worlds in Perth, Susan took a bronze in the 5000 racewalk on the track in 26:23.67 and, on the road, finished second in the 10,000 (53:52) but won the 20,000 racewalk (1:51:40). In Daegu, Randall will be walking 3000 indoors and 10,000 on the road.

Maurelhena Walles: Jersey City, NJ, age 42. In Daegu, Maurelhena will compete in the 60, 200, and 400 and should do very well indeed. Without question, she will also run on one or more relay squads, and her prospective teammates will be happy about that. At the 2009 outdoor worlds in Finland, Walles ran on an American-record W35 team in the 4 x 100; the team’s (non-club) mark of 49.04 still stands.

In 2010 in Boston, Maurelhena joined three other women to run 4:06.97 indoors in the 4 x 400, that is still the world standard for W35. That same year, at outdoor nationals in Sacramento, Walles ran on a W35 4 x 400 team that finished in 3:52.85, still a nonclub American record.

Individually, Maurelhena has acquitted herself quite nicely, with the year 2014 standing out. That year at Boston indoor nationals, at age 39, she won the W35 400 in 1:00.51 and placed third in the 200 (27.52). At Budapest indoor worlds that year she finished sixth in the 400 in 1:00.84.

Charmaine Roberts: Beltsville, Maryland, age 49. An outstanding long sprinter from Jamaica who ran for Alabama A&M, Charmaine won the W40 400 in the 2009 outdoor worlds, requiring just 57.68 seconds to do so. Two years later, in California at the 2011 outdoor worlds, even though she was 44 and thus at the top of her age group, she took second in the 400 (57.76) and fourth in the 800 (2:18.18).

Competing at the 2014 world indoors in Budapest, Hungary, Charmaine showed again that she was more than a long sprinter, as she prevailed in the W45 800 final to win a tight battle with England’s Bernadine Pritchett, 2:26.61 to Pritchett’s 2:26.77.

Not surprisingly, Roberts won the 400 in Budapest, requiring 59.37 seconds to get the distance. In Korea, Charmaine will compete in her best events, the 400 and 800.

Lorraine Jasper: Birchrunville, PA, age 55. Jasper, long a middle-distance star, has successfully incorporated the 400 into her repertoire in the last year or so. At the indoor masters in Albuquer-que last month she handily outdistanced her competition to win the 400 in 1:06.79; the time bettered the American W55 record of 1:07.39 set 22 years ago by Hall of Famer Carolyn Cappetta.

At the WMA 2016 outdoor championships in Perth, Lorraine won the 800 in 2:32.14 and took second in the 400 (1:06.97) and 1500 (5:08.96). She also showed her speed by anchoring the US W55 squad to a third in the 4 x 100 (1:04.69) and a second in the 4 x 400 (4:48.86). In Daegu she will try for a 400-800-1500 triple.

Kathy Martin, age 65. See the discussion on Martin earlier in this report.
Coreen Steinbach: Pompey, New York, age 65.

In Daegu, Coreen will try a broad sweep of events, having entered the 400, 800, 1500, and 3000. Perhaps her peak achievement came in 2013, when she journeyed south to Brazil for the world outdoor masters and, at 62, came home with gold in the 1500 meters at a snappy 5:52.05. She also managed a fourth in the 800 (2:52.35).

The next year, while still 62, Coreen traveled to Europe for the world indoor masters in Buda-pest. She improved on both of her 2013 times, even though those were run outdoors, as she ran 2:46.72 for a silver in the 800 and 5:49.24 for a second in the 1500. In addition, she stretched out to the 3000, where she finished third in 12:20.48.

Marie-Louise Michelson: Stony Brook, NY. Age 75. Marie-Louise is making a comeback after being away from the action for a while, but her extremely strong resume means that she must be considered a threat in any race she enters. After all, she is the listed American record holder in numerous events, albeit all-time great Kathy Martin has eclipsed some of them.

On March 1, the USATF website showed Michelson as the W65 American indoor record holder in four different events: the 800 at 2:52.49; 1500, 5:52.1; 1 mile, 6:16.26; and 3000, 12:03.78, but this was all “pre-Kathy Martin.”

In W70, USATF listed Marie-Louise, a Masters Hall of Famer, as having the indoor American mark in the 800, 3:04.69; 1500, 6:14.56; and 1 mile, 6:45.8. Certainly, being in W75 offers her numerous opportunities to set new records. In Daegu she will run the 200, 400, 800, 1500, and 3000 on the track and the 8000 cross-country race.

Gloria Krug: New Oxford, Pennsylvania, age 85. A longtime standout in the throws, Gloria has recently branched out to the horizontal jumps. At the 2017 Albuquerque indoor nationals she broke two American W85 records and established three records where none existed.

In the shot put, Krug exceeded Hall of Famer Johnnye Valien’s record, which had held up for six years, by heaving the 2-kg spheroid 6.72 meters (22-0 1/2). In the weight throw (12 lbs), the rec-ord had been set way back in 2004 by Hall of Famer Betty Jarvis at 7.82 meters, but Gloria topped that by throwing 7.89 (25-10 ½). In the superweight (16 pounds), Krug established a record of 5.39 meters (17-8).

Gloria’s new marks in the jumps were 3.15 (10-4) in the triple jump and 1.51 (4-11.25) in the long jump. She will compete in both of those events in Daegu as well as the shot put and weight throw indoors and the discus, hammer, and javelin outdoors.

A Special Section on Hurdlers Going to Daegu

The five athletes mentioned below are among the current outstanding masters hurdlers in the US.

Jeferson Souza: Miami, Florida, age 42. Jeferson is a record-setting multi-eventer as well as a terrific hurdler, and this combination should not be a surprise, given the skills required in the combined events. At the 2017 indoor masters in Albuquerque, Souza won the pentathlon by a huge margin, scoring 3856 to the silver medalist’s 2893. Later, Jeferson roared through the 60 hurdles to win in 8.62 seconds, with the runner-up timed at 9.05.

Last year, at the outdoor worlds, Souza took the bronze in the decathlon with an excellent 7054 points. In Daegu, Jeferson will compete in the pentathlon as well as the 60 hurdles, and there is no doubt he will do well. After all, he holds the American indoor records in the pentathlon for M35 and the heptathlon for M40.

Derek Pye: Long Beach, California, age 49. Currently, Derek is the world indoor record holder in the 60 hurdles for M45 at a riveting 8.16 seconds, and at indoor nationals last month he actually improved on that, blasting an 8.15.

Derek also holds American records for M40 indoors at 8.09 seconds and M45 outdoors (110 hurdles) at 14.46. M40 and M45 athletes run hurdles set at 39 inches, while collegians run 42 inches. In Derek’s record race in the 110 hurdles, the wind was -0.7 meters per second (mps). Just how good was his 14.46? For comparison, in the 2016 US division II men’s outdoor national championships, the winner, a junior at Minnesota State, ran 13.76 (wind -0.3), and the hurdler finishing eighth, a junior at Virginia State, ran 14.48. Interesting.

In Daegu, Derek will restrict his individual events to the 60 hurdles, although he may run in a sprint relay as well.

Damon Blakemore: Houston, Texas, age 54. Blakemore, another excellent example of the versatile hurdler, will compete in the 200 dash and the 60 hurdles in Daegu. In 2013, at the out-door worlds in Brazil, Blakemore won the gold in the 100 hurdles for M50 (36”) at a blazing 14.58 (wind 0.0). In addition, he took second in the long jump, where he soared 5.84 meters (19 feet, 1 ¾ inches, wind +1.2).

Thad Wilson: Oxnard, California, age 66. Thad is an excellent hurdler-sprinter who also does well in the long jump. Wilson is inordinately quick in getting over the hurdles, and his results reflect that. Perhaps his best meet ever was the 2011 outdoor worlds in Sacramento, where, competing in M60, Thad spanked the 100-meter hurdle field (33”) in a sick 14.78 seconds (wind: -0.3) and flew through the 300 hurdles in 45.42 seconds to win that one as well. He took second in the 100 dash (12.59, wind -1.7) and fourth in the long jump.

In Daegu, in addition to the 60 hurdles, Thad will compete in the 60 and 200 dashes and the long jump.

SAVING ONE OF THE BEST FOR LAST: Joy Upshaw: Lafayette, California, age 56. The sister of US Olympic long jumper Grace Upshaw, Joy is very similar to Grace in combining great technique with considerable power.

Joy, a Masters Hall of Famer, had an excellent year in 2016. At indoor nationals she established a world W55 mark in the 60 hurdles, taking only 9.71 seconds to get the job done. In addition, she set American records in the 60 dash, running 8.48 seconds, and the 200, at 27.51.

Later in the year she flew to Australia for the outdoor worlds, and there she won three Golds: the 80 hurdles (13.05 seconds, wind +1.1), the 300 hurdles (50.65), and the long jump with 4.92 meters (16-1 ¾, wind +2.4). She also ran on silver-medal relay teams in the 4 x 100 (W50) and 4 x 400 (W55).

In Daegu, Joy is scheduled to compete in the 60, 200, 60 hurdles, long jump, and triple jump.

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March 12, 2017

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