Bill Collins’ stunning comeback from illiness: indoor WR in 60 at 61

My fave shot of Bill Collins.

Only months ago, Bill Collins was worried about his career, having been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Now his main concern is where to hang his latest national gold medal. At Bloomington today, Bill at 61 ran 60 meters in 7.58 seconds to shatter the listed M60 world indoor record of 7.66 by Vladimir Vybostok in 2007. That age-grades to a time of 6.22 seconds. The real IAAF world record is 6.39 by Mo Greene. So this is stunning. Also amazing was the 7:13.51 mile by Georgia’s Jeanne Daprano — which demolishes the listed W75 WR of 8:05.93 by Canada’s Helly Visser in 2011. Mary Harada’s AR of 8:21.50 also fell. How good is 7:13.52 for a 75-year-old woman? Try 4:08.9 on the Age-Graded Tables. The real WR is 4:17.14 by Doina Melinte. Other records were set as well. And a great M90 race was won by John Means in 11.90 — ahead of Ralph Maxwell and Orville Rogers. You guys blow me away!

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March 17, 2012

16 Responses

  1. Susan Wiemer - March 17, 2012

    Amazing, inspiring comeback!! You rock! By the way, my step-daughter had Guillain-Barre syndrome last summer. It developed out of a case of Mono. She became completely paralyzed except for her eyes and one hand. She is now training for a half-marathon. (not bad for someone who nearly died from lung failure) Anyway, your recovery is truly inspiring and shows your courage.

  2. Pino Pilotto - March 18, 2012

    Great comeback! Congratulations Bill, You are inspiring!

  3. Jerry Smartt - March 18, 2012

    “Harah” Harada! I was pulling for you, kid. Awesome Jeanne, Bill, et al. Smartty

  4. Ocean - March 18, 2012

    Thanks Ken fort his report on some many wonderful athletes is inspiring.Congratulations to Bill’s healthy and amazing come back! Mary Harada, is one talented athlete who never ceases to amaze.

  5. Ken Stone - March 18, 2012

    USATF press release on Saturday:,-Daprano-shine-during-second-day-of-Master.aspx

    Quotes Bill Collins:

    “Ten months ago I couldn’t even walk,” he said. “It’s just so great being back among my masters family. This is truly a blessing.”

    Shortly following the Masters Indoor Championships in 2011 Collins contracted GBS, which attacks the nervous system. When GBS works its way into the upper extremities of a human most are left paralyzed. Although left very ill, Collins was fortunate only his lower extremities were affected.

    “There were days when I prayed just to walk,” he said. “It was tough because no one knew what was wrong. It’s a tough syndrome. They know little about it and they can’t really treat it. The doctors said that I was lucky.”

  6. Mike Sullivan - March 18, 2012

    Mr. Collins,
    Inspirational on all levels!

  7. Tom Phillips - March 18, 2012

    Fabulous, Bill. Best wishes and congratulations from your British friends.

  8. Burr Daly - March 18, 2012

    Congratulations Bill. A truly amazing comeback. I had the privilege of competing with your high school coach at Mt Vernon High School at a meet in Punta Gorda, FL . He was concerned about your health and I told him that you were entered in the National Championship this week. He wished you well.
    He also reflected on the great reunion of coach and athlete in the nationals in Maine in 2009 when you both competed.

  9. Bill Collins - March 18, 2012

    I want to thank everyone that didn’t make to the indoor nationals, I would have love to thank each of you face to face for all your prayers and kinds words for my return. Ken thanks for the postings and keeping everyone up to date on all the great master athletes world wide. If been a long process and I hope to see all of you during the outdoor season.

  10. Kevin Morning - March 18, 2012

    What a testimony, Bill! Count your blessings every single day.

  11. marie Kay - March 19, 2012

    A huge congrats Bill on your awesome performances at indoor Nationals… i was so happy to hear of your recovery and your performances show that you are still a true champion, looking forward to see you in action in Finland.

  12. Lesley Richardson - March 19, 2012

    Well done Bill great that your back on so good to hear that you ran so well.

  13. Joseph Burleson - March 19, 2012

    Congratulations, Bill! You have always been such an amazing athlete, but you are an even more amazing, kind-hearted human being. It has always seemed that you spend as much time encouraging, advising, and just flattering the rest of us with your humble presence as you do practicing and competing. You personify the very best in Masters T&F, above and beyond all of your other-worldy performances on the track. Welcome back!

  14. Francois Boda - March 19, 2012

    Mr. Collins was as amazing as usual and am for one is no longer surprised by his accomplishments. He must be superman! Congratulation Mr. Collins and thanks for also being so humble. You are a great man.

  15. Larry Jessee - March 20, 2012

    Great Bill, glad your ok and back on top!

  16. Karla Del Grande - March 21, 2012

    As Joseph says, Bill is not only an amazing athlete, but a genuine, all-around, lovely human being! He not only inspires us all, but gives back to our sport on a personal level by connecting one-on-one with other athletes to encourage and advise us. I’m so glad that you’re back and in such fine form, Bill!

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