Jim Selby, shy of 85, makes comeback from open-heart surgery

Jim Selby motors down the track at Cal State San Marcos an hour northeast of San Diego.

Jim Selby motors down the track at Cal State San Marcos.

Our friend Jim Selby, a perennial nominee for the Masters Track Hall of Fame, is better known as the ironman of SoCal masters track. In his heyday of the 1990s and 2000s, as a middle-distance record-setter, he’d often enter a half-dozen running events at any given meet. But a year ago, he underwent open-heart surgery. On Saturday, in his first meet back, he showed he still has game — and Guts — winning golds in three M80 sprints — 50, 100 and 200 — at the Chuck McMahon Memorial Masters Meet, which also serves as the San Diego-Imperial USATF Association masters championships. See results here. The meet drew top age-groupers from other regions, including Joy Upshaw of the Bay Area and Dr. Richard Watson of Arizona. Otis Burrell and NFL legends James Lofton and Phil McConkey also competed. Meanwhile, I put on a show myself — running my first 400-meter hurdle race in about eight years. Meet director Steve Kleinstuber set up three lanes of hurdles even though I ran solo. I was touched by the cheers I heard around the track as I stutter-stepped my way to a sub-mediocre 1:32.99 (but still No. 3 on the seasonal list). It was a test to see if I could negotiate 10 33-inch hurdles on my ACL-reconstructed left knee. Yes, I can! I’m ready for Olathe.

You probably heard my grunts a little before 11:30 Pacific time Saturday as I willed myself over the last couple hurdles in the 400s.

You probably heard my grunts a little before 11:30 Pacific time Saturday as I willed myself over the last couple hurdles in the 400s — at 59 years and 11 days perhaps the oldest quarter-mile hurdler in the country this season.

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June 30, 2013

13 Responses

  1. Fidel - June 30, 2013

    Awesome! Yay for ACL reconstruction.

  2. Warren Graff - July 1, 2013

    Ken – you have less than a year to look forward to only 300 meters, and seven 30″ hurdles – you will feel reborn!

  3. Milan Jamrich - July 1, 2013

    looking good!

  4. Mary Harada - July 1, 2013

    welcome back Jim and Ken –
    tough to get back in shape after long lay-offs for reasons and health or injury – you inspire me to get going a little harder.

  5. Kay Glynn - July 1, 2013

    Great to hear! You guys give everyone hope. Good Luck!

  6. Levasseur - July 1, 2013

    Not bad for a young boy

  7. Marcelos França - July 1, 2013

    Sou um atleta master brasileiro e achei ótimo o seu site. Parabéns!!!!!

  8. Peter Taylor - July 1, 2013

    Jim Selby was always ready to rumble; I’m glad to see he is back at it. Looking at his posture in the photo you would never guess him for 84. Let me check his age at Spokane, where he and his daughter Debbie were kind enough to give me a ride back from the track.

    Jim competed as an 80-year-old in Spokane (2008), and so 84, but very close to 85, must be right. Quite the athlete, to say the least.

  9. Courtland Gray - July 2, 2013

    Ken, there is nothing sweeter than knowing you just ran your LAST 400 hurdle race, and you never have to suffer that long again, ever.

    I remember mine in Eugene in 2003. You can look forward to nationals with at least that thought.

  10. Jeff Davison - July 2, 2013

    Congrads to Selby and Stone.
    Icons of San Diego.

  11. Michael Daniels - July 2, 2013

    Ken you will be ready for the 300 Hurdles at age 60 next year, but you will miss me I will be 65.

    I time in the 400′s shows you will have what it takes to get a good time.

  12. Don Cheek - July 3, 2013

    Welcome back, Jim and Debbie–truly my heroes–you both represent the true spirit of Masters Track—we missed you and love you–time for me to to get ready for some real competition in the 80′s group.

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