M75 Bob Lida after IAAF Best Master season: Still aims for sub-27

After hearing that my fellow Jayhawk Bob Lida had been named IAAF Best Master, I shot him some questions, and one response stands out. He’s not satisfied with his speed, especially in the 200. He wrote me: “I think l left something in the tank last year. I have been feeling good and my training times are as good, and in some cases better, now as they were last year this time. I am still trying to get under 27.0 for the 200 again, can improve my 100 with some work on starts, and run a better 400 with more speed endurance training.” Oh my. A sub-27 at age 76? I haven’t run a sub-27 since I was in my mid-40s. But I won’t second-guess that goal. He’s already blown away all other expectations of a mid-70s sprinter. (This is when your turnover goes south fast, right?)

Bob gave his rivals a taste of his record-setting speed at Sacramento worlds.

In any case, here’s my interview with IAAF Best Master 2012 Bob Lida:

Masterstrack.com: How and when did you learn of your selection as IAAF Best Master?
Bob Lida: About a day before you did.  E-mail from Winston Thomas, followed up by a email letter from the WMA president

What was your reaction, and who have you told?  Their reactions?

As I replied to Winston:  I was stunned.  I had no idea I was even being considered, let alone win. There are so many great masters in the program — that I would be singled out as the best for the year is beyond person comprehension.

Part of this, I suppose, is that I wasn’t all that happy with my performances during the summer, after a great indoor season.

After my 27.03 and 8.35, I was hoping for a better Indoor Nationals and World.  Turns out, according to coaches and trainers I’ve talked to, the acceleration off the banked curves caused a neuromuscular problem, leading to a stumble as I sped up. 

Anyway, my times weren’t as good – but still better than I put up during outdoor. Plus, I caught something in Finland, and was out for about six weeks – two of them in bed – and never got back to my indoor fitness level.
Have told my family — and they were pleased, but numbed to any news because of my years in the sport. Also told the other coaches at the high school where I coach.  They appreciated the significance — and the kids on the cross country team seemed genuinely pleased for me.
Will you make the trip to Barcelona for IAF Gala?  What do you hope to see and do?

Wouldn’t miss the trip for anything. Especially this year — it is the 100th anniversary of the IAAF, and they plan a pretty big bash. They have invited back many of the past super stars – Peter Snell, John Landy, Dan O’Brien, etc. Plus, I hear that they are inviting all winners from the recent Olympic Games. Going to need my autograph book.

Pick out your favorite moment of 2012.  What was your best effort of 2012?
Other than hearing I won this award, the day I ran the 27.03 indoor on a 200 meter flat track. That told me I was still capable of running under 27.  Of course I’ve go to do It.

What made 2012 special?

Using my newly discovered sprinting mechanics to actually run faster that I have for years.

What can you do to top your records of 2012?  When do you turn 80?
I think l left something in the tank last year.  I have been feeling good and my training times are as good, and in some cases better, now as they were last year this time. I am still trying to get under 27.0 for the 200 again, can improve my 100 with some work on starts, and run a better 400 with more speed endurance training.
I turn 80 on November 11, 2016.

If you had your druthers, would you rather have made Olympic team or be No. 1 masters athlete?
Boy, now that’s a tough question.  Making a Olympic team, and representing our country, would really have been something.

But this isn’t bad.  In some respects it reflects a life time of work.  And I notice they still put a USA after my name.

What are your plans for 2013 — major races, goals?
Would like to improve on this years times. Think I can, for all the reason mentioned above. Need to stay healthy and train smart. 

Plan on National Indoor and Outdoor, National Senior Games and WMA championships in Brazil.

How long will you continue competing?
Will probably stay with it as long as mother nature lets me. The problem with our sport is that, due to health reasons, so many of the people who have become good friends can’t compete any more. I really miss seeing them.

Any other events you’d like to try?
Pretty happy with what I’m doing.  Like all 400 meter runners, I wonder about the 800 – but it is a different animal, and sprint training would take a hit. I would rather do a few event really well, than average in a whole bunch.

I don’t think the reward of masters track is in how many medals you win, but in how successful you are at cheating the age grading curve.

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October 1, 2012

6 Responses

  1. Tommy Aunan - October 1, 2012

    Bob sounds like a scholar and gentleman. Congratulations to him for being awarded the IAAF Master Athlete of The Year.

  2. Peter Taylor - October 2, 2012

    He looks younger than he should, runs younger, and puts up better times than many of the (nonwinning) younger sprinters and even some of the winners below him. For example, at Lisle, Bob’s 200 time would have made him an easy winner of M70.

    Indoors (Bloomington), Bob’s winning time in M75 of 27.86 in the 200 simply demolished the first-place time of the M70 group (30.22) despite the age disadvantage. He is amazing, to say the least.

  3. Weia Reinboud - October 2, 2012

    “cheating the age grading curve” that is a nice one Bob!

  4. Levasseur - October 3, 2012

    I am very impressed and can’t imagine how hard Bob training should be. Again Mr Lida , should i say Mr Bolt or Mr Greene. You are the best of this 2.

  5. wayne bennett - October 3, 2012

    Bob is without a doubt one of the greatest sprinters ever. It is always a pleasure to be around him and compete against him,(he gets my picture on your website). He just gets better and better while the rest of us in his age group are slowing down. My hat is off to this great athlete and human being.

  6. Ken Stone - October 5, 2012

    USATF notes Lida honors in latest news release:

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