Hall of Famer Irene Obera comes out of retirement at 75!
In the May issue of National Masters News, buried in a story on page 15, is some monumental news — worthy of Page One: “For the women on the track (at the Bay Area Senior Games at Stanford), Irene Obera, 75, ran a 16.79 into a headwind to win the W75 100.” That’s it. One sentence. But what a revelation! Back in August 2005, Irene told a newspaper reporter up in the San Francisco Bay Area that San Sebastian worlds would be her final meet. In fact, her last listing on mastersrankings.com was for worlds, when she ran 15.12 and 33.65 to top the W70 lists. Guess she’s stoked by the 2009 National Senior Games coming to the Bay Area. She couldn’t stay away from the sport that gave her national fame (in SI’s Faces in the Crowd) as long ago as 1962. Welcome back, Irene!
BTW, if Irene’s 16.79 is properly documented and submitted, it’s a potential American record, beating the listed USATF age-group recod of 16.87 by Polly Clarke in August 1985. The listed W75 world record is 15.91 by Germany’s Paula Schneiderhan in 1997.
At the moment, Irene isn’t listed in the 2008 outdoor rankings for “O.”
Also FYI: John Freeman Todd has posted several dozen photos from the mid-March Bay Area Senior Games, including dozens of track and field. Great stuff.