Bill Collins after WR: ‘I will never fully recover’ from Guillain-Barre

My favorite photo of Bill, since I'm miraculously in the frame at left.

My favorite photo of Bill running 200 (in Sacto), since I’m miraculously in the frame at left.

Bill Collins didn’t expect to break his friend and Houston Elite teammate’s indoor world record for 200 meters a couple weekends ago. But Charles Allie’s M65 mark fell anyway at Texas A&M — in 25.25 seconds out of lane 2. “This was a practice meet for us, and I had no idea we would run this fast,” Bill told me via email Sunday. It also was his first race since turning 65 in late November. Amazing. Even more incredible is that he doesn’t consider himself fully recovered from his frightening bout five years ago with Guillain-Barre syndrome. This I learned in a quickie Q&A with Bill, gracious in again putting up with my interrogations. What are your competition plans this indoor season, outdoor season? Perth worlds? Michigan nationals?

Bill Collins: I’m still working to come back for a full year; hopefully the plans are to run the indoor nationals and see how the body feels after that. The plans are to do the nationals and then see about worlds.

When was the last time you set a WR — before the 25.25?

I would have to look that up, but I do think it was when I first returned from the GBS illness and ran the indoor championships in Indy, which was a mistake. The doctors had warned me [that] a too early return would have longer lasting problems.

How many WRs have you set in your masters career?

I haven’t really looked at those numbers as a whole due to the fact some records, like the 100 and 200, I lowered … in each of those races six times. One of the coaches at Rice University has a number of 67 he tells his athletes. I’m not sure.

Did anyone at the Texas A&M meet publicly recognize your WR?


Do you consider yourself 100 percent recovered from Guillain-Barre syndrome? Still feel any effects?

I will never fully recover, at best in my lower legs; some days I have about 60 percent muscle activity. Lots of cramping and other issues. Still working with my recovery specialist.

How did you train for your latest WR? Any changes in your training of younger masters years?

Training has been very low level — not a lot of speed work. But I have great training partners that give me great support — Horace Grant, Damon Blakemore, my wife Stephanie Collins, Bob Cozens, Dionne Bruff Jones. Along with all the team members in Houston.

Did you do a standing start or block start in 25.25?

No blocks, but I did get down.

Could you have gone faster in a middle lane?

Coach [Darryl] Anderson from TCU talked with me after the race and felt I would have run in the 24-second range from the middle lanes. I’m not sure if I would have.

How did the race go from your expectations?

Much greater than what I had expected at this stage.

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January 25, 2016

7 Responses

  1. Craig Simmons - January 25, 2016

    Obviously Bill has a ton of natural talent, a great work ethic, an excellent cardiovascular system and amazing speed stamina but knowing all of that it is still difficult to comprehend the numbers Bill puts up at his age after what he has been through and still going through. If it not for GBS what kind of times would he be running? Let’s just hope that Bill continues to recover and strengthen and have a long career. No matter what, he will always be an inspiration. Best of luck with good health, a great 2016, and a long career Bill. I wonder what Bill’s diet is and if it has changed over the years, and what his favorite shoes are and what his workout regime is like. We want to know more about one of the most amazing athletes ever.

  2. Bryan Pierce - January 25, 2016

    I had the pleasure of meeting him while warming up at Penn Relays one year. Truly a genuine and humble class act. Wishing nothing but the best for him.

  3. Ty Brown - January 25, 2016

    Congratulations, Bill on your WR. I hope to see you at the Nationals, where I can shake your hand.

  4. Mike Sullivan - January 26, 2016

    Great Job Mr. Collins!!!! Always interesting to see how athletes deal with adversity, some break, others like you Break Records!!!

    Hope to see you at outdoor nationals..


  5. Duncan Greenshields - January 27, 2016

    The Bill Collins story is always impressive, inspiring, and humbling to us mere mortals. And it gets better every day

  6. steph - January 28, 2016

    Hope to see you run!

  7. Kathy scroggins - October 27, 2016

    2 x survivor. The 2nd bout of it literally killed me but
    The doctors revived me back. The good
    Lord spared me. I’m truly blessed. Took
    Me a year in hospitals and more love
    Than I can describe. I pray you recover to yourself.
    But recovery to any degree is
    A blessing!!

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