Spokane was laid-back, friendly host to masters nationals
This was my 11th masters outdoor nationals since 1995, and I haven’t been to one with more helpful, friendly, kind, cheerful and courteous meet management, led by Marla Emde of the Spokane Sports Commission and USATF’s Jim Flanik of the Games Committee. Other nationals featured some truly officious officials, who liked to throw their weight around. Not here.
In the runs, jumps and throws, the officials went about their jobs with confidence and modesty. When I misplaced my competition number (for a day), the folks in the clerk’s tent simply wrote my number on the back of another. Nobody hassled me when I sat on the track taking hundreds of pictures as sprinters rushed by me (after finishing) in lanes 4 and 5.
Of course, all was not perfection. The meet ran late the first few days. Pentathletes on the hot Thursday opening day waited and waited under the bright sun for their events to begin. The clerk’s tent was overwhelmed with some scrambled heats, running the M50 prelims in a sprint race before the M55s one day, for example. And the awards ceremonies on Sunday were Grand Central Station as athletes clamored to get their medals and ribbons and get to the airport on time.
And the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place ribbons at Spokane featured the black bear logo from Orono 2007.
Yet many American and world records were set, Peter Taylor called a thousand races with usual mix of excitement and hype, and USATF media maven Tom Surber — who turned 50 over the weekend — churned out press releases for posting on the USATF Web site, including this Day 4 account.
My wife, Chis, and I took some SPECTACULAR action shots at the meet, including series of falls at the finish line. Those will be posted in time.
And me? I ran post-ACL PRs in the 100 and 200 — and got some training tips from Rob Duncanson for coming back stronger and faster next year. Rob knows something about strength. He ran the 1500, 400 hurdles and relays n the final day — after a bunch of other events in the preceding three.
Now my vacation continues for another week. So blogging may be sporadic.
Stay tuned for some great coverage.