Strange brew: British hammer thrower also ran marathons

Peter Barber

Peter is a cut above.

Much is being made of James Harris of Florida State, a 45.23 quarter-miler who won an NCAA indoor high jump title at 2.32 (7-7 1/4). Well, masters tracksters are often wont to combine disparate events. One was the focus of a British newspaper. We learned of Peter Barber, now 81, who in his 60s was a hammer-throw record-setter and marathon runner. Kentonline quoted him: “Each year I say ‘I think I’ve done my share of athletics and I’m going to retire’ but then I meet up with a couple of friends and they say ‘no you’ve got to keep going and keep fit. Don’t keep going to break records, just do it for your own personal bests.’” Of course. And at age 17, he said after winning a cross country race: “From then on I said ‘Football? Forget it.’ Athletics and running is your game.” Gotta love it. He’s still got game. So what are your “odd” combo events?
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May 20, 2014

5 Responses

  1. Mike May - May 20, 2014

    I came across someone who combined Hammer and High Jump a few years ago, and I know more than one middle distance runner that does triple jump too.

  2. David E. Ortman (M61), Seattle, WA - May 20, 2014

    All Combined (Multi) Events (Deca/Hept/Pent) are odd combo events. However, T&F schedules can generate its own strange sequence of events, often with little recovery. At the South Dakota State Track Meet, the 180 yd Low Hurdles was run right after the 440 yd. Dash. Not much time for recovery there although I placed third in both.

    Masters meets offer their own challenges. More and more masters Outdoor and Indoor Championship meets are shoving events into the first day reserved for the Pentathlon. I understand that at one of our recent national masters meets, a Pentathaloner had to interrupt the Pent to go run the preliminaries of either the 400 or 800. Nothing like having to run six events in one day!

    In 1998, at the Orono National Masters Outdoor Meet, the schedule was such that I ran the M45 400m Hurdles (for 2nd) and immediately after finishing trotted over to the Long Jump event where I was told it was the sixth round (last jumps) and I was up. So I took off down the runway with a jump good enough for 3rd.

    At both the 2009 Landover, MD and 2014 Boston National Masters Indoor Meets I needed to interrupt the Triple Jump competition to go run a heat of the 200m. (Seemed to work in Boston with a 2nd in the TJ and 3rd in the 200m.)

    But the worst conflict to date was 2013 Porto Alegre, Brazil where the M60 300m Hurdles were in one stadium at the same time the High Jump was in another stadium a half hour cab ride away. Picking a poor time to stutterstep I finished 4th in the hurdles, grabbed my stuff, headed for the street, hailed a cab and sat for the half hour ride to the High Jump venue. I arrived just as the bar was being set to my opening height. Without any practice attempts, I managed to make it and the next three heights without a miss, ultimately settling for 2nd place. But I figured I did jump the highest of any of the competitors who had just run the 300m Hurdles and sat in a cab for a half hour.

    But the all time “odd” combo events record must be held by Brian Oldfield who could high jump over 7 feet AND throw the shot put 75 feet. Out of this world.

    [Also note that he clocked a 9.5 for 100 yds.]

  3. Stefan Waltermann - May 21, 2014

    I’m going to Holland for a double decathlon, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, 3000, 5000, 10000 m; 100, 200, 400 m hurdles, 2000 m steeple chase; high, long, triple jump & pole vault; shot, discus, hammper, javelin… all in two days. And compete in the pentathlon @ US Nationals and end the year with a marathon. I’m leaving the M 60 age group in style; sanity will return with my entry into the M 65. Maybe.

  4. Matthew - May 21, 2014

    Stefan, good luck! That sounds awesome. We’re supposed to be getting a Double Deca here in California sometime later this year. I’m training for it.

    At the Pacific Open Champs June 1, I plan to run the 10,000m, then throw the hammer, then later run the 400IH. All for the first time in competition, so three PRs (almost) guaranteed.

  5. Jerry Bookin-Weiner - May 22, 2014

    Bob Osterhoudt (M70) from Arizona is both a top flight hammer thrower (and all around thrower, but best in the hammer) and a top flight (pardon the pun) short hurdler. Regularly places in both at national meets.

    Ditto Mary Hartzler (W65) an excellent thrower (former American record holder in the throws pent) and a pretty good 800m runner.

    Neither of these are combined event athletes (unless you want to count the throws pent).

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