Irene Obera’s hurdle debut: 2 WRs for W80 at Pride Meet

No time like 80 to start running hurdles! Go Irene!

No time like 80 to start running hurdles! Go Irene!

Irene Obera ran hurdles in competition for the first time Saturday. Crash and burn? How about two world records? As a W80, she runs 80- and 200-meter hurdles. Proper, 27-inch sticks were used at the Pride Meet at Chabot (pronounced Shah-BOW) College in Hayward (south of Oakland and north of San Jose). Her friend Alan Kolling reports that the marks are her sixth and seventh WRs this year. “The meet is USATF sanctioned and Irene Herman was the meet referee (and did a really great job too),” Alan says. “Irene first ran 19.62 in the 80m hurdles into a 1.5 mps wind. This is a 4.72-second improvement on Johnnye Valien’s 24.34 record from the 2005 worlds. Irene then followed this with a 48.27 in the 200 hurdles, with a 1.1 wind reading, hacking off 14.43 seconds off the previous record set in 2011 by Japan’s Michiko Yamane. In between the two hurdles races, Irene logged a 17.26 hundred meter dash, no wind reading available. The time is surpassed on the all-time list only by her runs of 16.91 and 17.07 this year.”

My source adds:

 Irene and I were acutely aware that the two previous marks could be considered “soft” (even for the 80-84 age group) but I do think she should get credit for bringing the records down to truly respectable levels. By comparison, last year’s best U.S. marks for both races for the W75-79 age group were Christel Donley’s 20.29 and Flo Meiler’s 52.03, respectively.

Irene is especially grateful to meet director Andrew Bundy and Leroy Milam for finding and furnishing the appropriate size hurdle for the records (27″).  Without them, we would not be celebrating another great performance from Irene today.

Results weren’t posted Sunday night, but they’ll be here eventually.

Irene should lower these at nationals, where Flo also is entered. Can’t wait.

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July 14, 2014

3 Responses

  1. Peter Taylor - July 14, 2014

    Congratulations again to Irene. Yes, she will be something special at nationals this week.

    Speaking of records, the USATF Web site does not list the American marks for the 200-m hurdles, making it rather hard to keep current with the records in that event (which will be contested in Winston-Salem).

    In terms of Irene’s 100- and 200-m dash times earlier this year, not one of them has made “pending” on the USATF Web site. For example, if you go to the site you will find Marjorie Fitzgerald as the W80 record holder at 18.76, with no mention of any pending marks.

    Thus, at nationals we will get into the old “that’s a record, but it’s not a record” problem. Irene will destroy numerous listed records at Winston-Salem, I believe, and if she has an earlier mark that is superior, it seems appropriate to announce that. But without the support of the USATF Web site it is hard to make that sound legitimate.

    This can be a problem, of course, in trying to explain just what happened at the meet to North Carolina-based reporters who are unfamiliar with masters T&F.

  2. yves - July 14, 2014

    Don’t know if it is a great idea to start hurdle at 80
    Maybe a little too risky

  3. Alan Kolling - July 23, 2014

    Appreciate the concern about someone over 80 trying the hurdles for the first time, but in her two attempts over the 80 hurdles and her two attempts over the 200 hurdles, Irene broke the current world records three times. Her 200 hurdle mark at Wake Forest was over 20 seconds better than the listed record and 8 seconds up on an “experienced” hurdler. Maybe that’s what makes Irene a special athlete.

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