Phil Felton, Penn Relays masters coordinator, deserves thanks

Dave Ortman, second in this 4x4 shot, wrote about race below.

Dave Ortman, second in this 4×4 shot, wrote about Penn. See below.

The Rev. Dick Camp, an M75 sprinter who ran the featured masters 100 at Penn on Saturday, penned a nice note to Phil Felton, who coordinates masters events. Dick shared his email, a model for how we might thank the unsung officials of masters track. Dick wrote Phil: “Thank you for your outstanding leadership in the masters division of Penn Relays. You have encouraged and enabled many of us to participate in this superb track meet. I appreciate your including me in the 75 and older competition in spite of my limitations. Parkinson’s Disease is crippling my body and draining my strength, but sprinting has helped maintain my mobility. I took a huge risk in running at Penn and was humbled by my poor time. Nevertheless, the thrill of being part of this great event is one I will long remember. It was a delight to run against several old friends with whom I competed in my healthier days. Our prayer is that one day soon a cure may be found for this debilitating disease. Who knows, but one day I may be back!”

Meanwhile, my M60 friend Dave Ortman sent along this report from Penn:

Came back with a 2nd place medal in the M60+ 4x400m relay; 3rd in the M60+ 4x100m relay and also came in 4th in the M60-64 100m.

I ran for Pacific Coast Track Club and I ran lead-off for both the M60+ 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

This was the 120th Penn Relays.  1020 high schools and 252 colleges from eight countries taking part over five days. Saturday’s afternoon crowd was something like 50,000.

Friday’s crowd, when the masters 50+ ran, was more sparse, but there was sun, although somewhat cool. 

I started with the M60-64 100m at around 3:00 PM. Despite what the official results may say, we all agreed that we ran into a headwind.  I took 4th place (they only give medals to the top three). My time of 13.23 would have placed third last year.

I had a bit of a rest to get ready for the 4x100m Relay around 5:30 pm or so.  One oddity is that the Penn Relays doesn’t allow starting blocks. It was still OK weather when we ran and we wound up with a 3rd place medal at 52.10  (the results online list both the men and women, so we were 3rd, even though we are listed at 4th. [Note: You already listed these results] 

By the time we got ready for the 4×400 relay, it had really clouded up, and just as the sent us in to the stadium to get in line, it had started to rain and by 7:30 pm it was getting really dark.

In the Penn Relays, the don’t mess around, so they ran EIGHTEEN (18) mile relay teams AT ONCE on the track. They ran both the M50+ and M60+ and one M70+ relay team all together.   Incredible!!

No starting blocks. They used a “waterfall start,” (like you see in the 800m or mile run) where they just line you all up on the track, you run in whatever lane you are in around the first curve and then cut in.  By the time I cut in, I could barely see from all the rain coming down.  By this time I think there were about 300 people left in the stands.  

Then as I rounded the corner and headed back for the starting line all I saw was a mass of runners (the M50+ being ahead of me) trying to make a baton exchange.  I couldn’t even see Horace Hudson, our second runner!  

I just kind of shoved through, saw Horace and pushed the baton at him and off he went.  I immediately headed for under the stadium and had no idea if we had even finished.   We managed to hang on for a 2nd place medal of the M60+ bunch. 

M60+   4x400m Relay
(Note: Teams 9, 10, 11, 14. 16, 17 were the M60+ teams.  The rest (except for 18 the M70+ team) were all M50+ teams)  Don’t know why team 9 (Houston Elite, the M60+ winner) doesn’t have the team names or splits listed). 

So I either ran the fastest or second fastest opening leg of the M60+ teams).

SW Sprinters TC
Paul Brown (59.68), Bill SHelton (57.82), Mareus Shute (54.97), James Lawson (53.76)

Greater Philadelphia TC A
Ray Parker (58.17), Daryl Johnson (57.67), Dave Richard (56.88), Scott Landis (53.96)

SoCal TC
James Chinn (58.36), Gladstone Jones (55.87), Val Barnwell (1:00.29), Chris Faulknor (55.07)

Sprint Force America
Courtney8 Muihammad (1:02.02), Sal Allah (54.97), Ben James (56.98), Corey Moody (57.60)

2nd Wind TC A
Jim Reilly (56.77), Silas Murray (58.04), Jimmy Parr (1:01.69), Donald Archer (59.17)

Shore AC A
Rick Lapp (1:03.06), Tony Plaster (59.26), Spyder Rossite (58.01), Harry Noun (58.15)

Mass Velocity TC A
Dave Neumann (58.45), Roy Charette (1:00.52), Steven Gorriaran (1:01.04), Bill Kinahan (59.15)

Greater Philadelphia TC B
John Patterson (1:05.97), Carl Stocking (1:00.87), Jeff Robinson (59.88), Bruce Rash (59.12)

Houston Elite TC M60

Pacific Coast TC M60
David Ortman (1:02.81), Horace Hudson (1:07.72), AnthonynBaker (1:08.29), Ralph Peterson (1:07.22)

Mass Velocity TC M60A
Jim Schoffman (1:05.23), Tucker Taft (1:03.95), Charlie Kelley (1:02.22), Steve Chase (1:15.91)

Mass Velocity TC B
Steven Snow (1:06.51), Patrick Detscher (1:05.49), Tom Gillen (1:12.23), Chris McConnell (1:06.27)

Saracens TC
Michael Briddell (1:01.90), Bruce Becker (1:08.38), David Jones (1:05.35), Regi Huc (1:16.06)

Shore AC M60

2nd Wind TC B
Rober Lemke , William Vaughn, Lloyd Nadel , Stephen Gould

Greater Philadelphia TC M60
Steve Rook, Fred Cassaday, Fred Dedrick (1:10.33), Steve Sawyer (3:58.27)

CPTC New Balance M60
Frank Handelman, Sid Howard , Hank Schiefman, Hal Lieberman

Philadelphia Masters M70
Burr Daly (1:46.01), Dave Marovich (1:39.87), Lou Coppems (1:26.70), Curtis Morgan (1:24.39)

On Saturday, I got up and went back to the track to watch the 400m hurdles and then from 9:30 am to noon or so, watched something like 250 high school teams run mile relays, one heat  after another. 

They would run 12 teams in one heat (again, no starting blocks, the waterfall start and then they would all bunch together trying to hand off the baton after the first lap.  Wild.  There would be falls and dropped batons at the start. 

As soon as the last runner cleared the finish line, the next heat would be off and running.  I also saw the 4x100m Olympic events for the M/W, but had to leave to catch my plane before the Olympic 4x400m races.  Apparently, the US team’s fourth leg screwed up the handoff and grabbed the Bahama’s baton by mistake.  At least we didn’t do that. Pretty impressive meet all in all.


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April 29, 2014

13 Responses

  1. Cheryl - April 29, 2014

    Yes, thanks to Phil. It was fun helping out at the Master’s table and seeing all the runners come by. Really enjoying Penn, I can watch my son run and not embarrass him too much by running myself.

  2. Anthony Treacher - April 29, 2014

    I admire Rev. Dick Camp in continuing to compete. One often meets athletes who do not do so well. But that does not matter. All have their own story. And all have a place with us.

  3. Stephen R Gould - April 30, 2014

    Adding to David Ortman’s article – he said “Despite what the official results may say, we all agreed that we ran into a headwind.”

    Something is decidedly fishy here – in M55 we all thought we were running into a headwind, and you look at the 100 times in all the heats and they were slow given the sprinters’ normal times. So yes, I don’t believe the official wind results.

    Meanwhile my own anecdote on the 4×400 – I was running anchor leg for 2nd Wind B, and I knew we were low down in the placings. The only person I could see in front of me when I got the baton was about 70m ahead so at first didn’t think of catching him. After about 150m, though, I thought I might manage it – so accelerated, and heard the crowd respond. I ran him down, blew past him on the home straight, and, feeling very pleased with myself, crossed the line – to discover he was only on his team’s 3rd leg…

  4. al cestero - April 30, 2014

    i’ve always maintained that no matter what the time or distance/height a non champion caliber masters athlete is capable of..the mere fact that they are at the starting line makes them a champion …and to stephen …no doubt the emotions you felt running down the fellow in front of you while the crowd cheered were precious..that alone is tantamount to a medal…congratulations to all…!!

  5. Tom Tinsman - May 1, 2014

    Well said Al Cestero couldn’t agree more. I admire all Masters Athletes.

  6. Stephen R. Gould - May 1, 2014

    (Thanks Al!)

    More on the wind issue – I just saw a video of my 100m and you can clearly tell from the flags that there’s a fair headwind. This bears investigating.

  7. David E. Ortman (M61), Seattle, WA - May 1, 2014

    To add to the above photo caption of the combined M50+, M60+, and M70+ 4×4 relay (18 teams total!) what you see are the teams on the outside of the waterfall start of the first leg. There are another 10-12 runners (mostly the M50+) thundering around the inner lanes. Our outside group cuts in after the first turn.

    Leading this pack is Rick Lapp (#U) who was running leadoff for the M50+ Shore AC A (which broke 4 minutes). Last year, Rick also had the World’s leading Long Jump for M60-64.

    I’m next (#B) running for the M60+ Pacific Coast Track Club.

    Third is Jim Schoffman (in the red), from MN, running for the M60+ Mass Velocity TC M60A. Jim won the M60 800m at last year’s National Senior Games in Berea, OH.

    Can’t tell who the fourth or fifth runners are.

    There are no masters events at the Texas Relays or Kansas Relays (although I did run the 440 yd Hurdles at the KU Relays while in college). The Drake Relays usually sticks to a masters 800m race. So the Penn Relays remains not only the largest relay race around but continues to offer events for masters (100m and the 4×1 and 4×4).

    So yes, a big thanks to Phil Felton for helping promote T&F as a lifetime sport.

  8. Cornell - May 1, 2014

    No doubt, The Penn Relays is simply an amazing event for masters! The only masters’ events that I place higher are the WMG and WMA. The atmosphere cannot be replicated anywhere else on the planet for us older folks.

  9. Nate Sickerson - May 2, 2014

    Many thanks to Phil Felton and anyone else involved for having these great Masters Events at the Penn Relays. I live in the Des Moines area and with only 1 master race (800 a little to far for me)at Drake, I will continue to come to Penn, I am sold. As far as the wind goes, many of us (various age groups) were discussing before the race how we wouldn’t be setting PR’s into a headwind. Surprised to see that it registered as a tail wind as well. The flags at the top of the stadium were clearly a headwind for the M40 race as well. Swirling winds around the device maybe? I admit I don’t know exactly how those guages work. Regardless it was a lot of fun. Thanks again.

  10. Bill Bittner - May 2, 2014

    It was great meeting and competing with Dick Camp and Larry Colbert again like we did many times in the past. Best wishes to Dick and hope we meet again in the future.

  11. David Neumann - May 3, 2014

    NOTHING compares to the Penn Relays. I would run
    there in a blizzard! Thank you to Dave Johnson, Phil Felton etc for keeping this dream alive every year.

  12. Roger Pierce - May 6, 2014

    The M75+ 100m was, as usual a joy to watch. Bill Bittner is an amazing sprinter for his age, as are all the entrants in this race. I want to say to my friends Dick Camp and Larry Colbert how proud I was to watch them compete in this race. Dick, I know Parkinsons has greatly affected your life and you must know that those of us who know you were all cheering for you in the stands, and so happy to see you in this race…I thought you ran well…Good on ya mate..
    Larry Colbert..old friend…I was so pleased to see you competing.( I have heard you were ill but have had no solid news about it) Both you and Dick ran well…stay at it my friends…Love you guys!!!

  13. Donna L - May 7, 2014

    A Big Thank You to Phil and Pete Taylor on behalf of the W40+ sprinters … more women have been included and are able to compete at Penn! I love it!

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