Bill Murray, Rita Hanscom are USATF Masters T&F Athletes of 2009

Mary at Oshkosh in full Bohemia TC regalia. (Photo by Ken Stone)

Dr. Mary Trotto of Kihei, Hawaii, has run up the Empire State Building, won teaching awards at C. W. Post Campus of Long Island University (where she was an exercise physiologist) and competed in many masters events over the past dozen years. But this winter she tackled the hardest assignment of all. She herded hyperactive cats, filling in for resigned chairman Dave Clingan of the USATF Masters T&F Awards Committee. But Mary’s mission is accomplished. This weekend in Boston, USATF will recognize the committee’s picks for 2009 Masters Athletes of the Year. No surprise about the top female — Rita Hanscom of San Diego, who won IAAF Top Masters Honors. The top male? Another from the 55-59 group — fellow multi-eventer Bill Murray of Birmingham, Alabama, who set an American record in the dec at Lahti worlds last summer.

In 2009, Rita (at Lahti) and Bill (at Oshkosh) were the queen and king of American multi-eventers. (Photos by Ken Stone)

And here are the winners by grouping (in no particular order):

M35-59: Robert Thomas, Jim Wetenhall, Bruce McBarnette, Mike Waller, Mark Landa and Bill Collins

W35-59: Renee Henderson, Oneithea “Neni” Lewis, Kathy Martin, Carol Finsrud, Latrica Dendy and Lisa Valle

M60-plus: Leland McPhie, Emil Pawlik, Robert Hewitt, Bob Ward, Denver Smith and Charles Allie

W60-plus: Becky Sisley, Nadine O’Connor, Johnnye Valien, Sumi Onodera-Leonard, Audrey Lary, Myrle Mensey and Phil Raschker

The other top honor — the David Pain Distinguished Service Award — went to Rex Harvey, who missed becoming the next president of World Masters Athletics by the slimmest possible margin. His work — mainly quiet and behind-the-scenes — has been immense in recent decades and up to the end. He’s a great example of selfless service.

Congratulations to all!

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March 23, 2010

9 Responses

  1. Liz Palmer - March 24, 2010

    Congratulations to everyone, and kudos to Bob Hewitt, another outstanding multi-event athlete and one of my favorite people in masters track.

  2. Tony Echeandia - March 24, 2010

    Congratulations to my Team mate Robert Thomas and everyone selected this year! Keep up the inspiration!!

  3. Ken Stone - March 24, 2010

    I noted with a smile the link blurb on Pete Magill’s site:

    “Bill Murray, Rita Hanscom are USATF Masters T&F Athletes of 2009 – no surprise that distance runners don’t make much of a splash on 2009’s lists of top age group athletes … it’s almost impossible for distance runners to match the age grades of our sprinting and field event peers, as we can set age group world records and still not even begin to approach 100% age grades … as an example, were this blogger to set the world record for M45-49 in the 5000 at his current age of 48, he’d score an age grade of 98% and change, an age grade matched in the 2010 indoor season by the third-ranked American 60 meter indoor sprinter in this blogger’s same age group … kind of hard to compete against those odds….”

    Of course, masters tracksters don’t earn weekly paychecks for road runs or get written up much in Runner’s World. So USATF kudos are the best we generally get.

    But masters roadies aren’t ignored totally by USATF.

    In the parallel awards program at convention time, Colleen De Reuck was USATF Masters Athlete of the Year, beating Rita!

  4. Mary Harada - March 24, 2010

    Congrats to all – and most especially to Rex Harvey – the man behind the scenes who for years has kept major meets going without notice from most athletes. Without Rex’s expertise many meets could have been disasters. And with his assistance – they went pretty darn smoothly. He deserves a thousand gold medals.
    Any chance of you coming back to competition Rex?

  5. Ken Stone - March 24, 2010

    I’m reminded by a friend:

    “There are separate Master LDR awards for the roadsters and they give an award out in each of the 5-year age groups for those events contested on the roads. There are also separate race walk and cross-country master awards. It would therefore be inappropriate for a MTF award to go to a roadster unless — as in the case of Kathy Martin — they also compete on the track. Kathy’s award from MTF was based on her track performance and not on her road running or XC performances.”

  6. al cestero - March 25, 2010

    congratulations to both, and best wishes this weekend..i’ll be rooting for you from here…

  7. Bubba Sparks - March 25, 2010

    I’m reminded every time that I see Bill and Rita that after a close survey of the All American Standards that I cannot reach that level in ANY event other than the pole vault. They are truly amazing athletes and people. Bubba

  8. Steve Kemp - March 25, 2010

    Don’t sell yourself short, man. I always have heard that pole vaulters are among the best athletes, period….(at least that’s what my vaulter friends tell me). So don’t tell me you can’t run a 6:10 mile…which is about what a 5:46 1500 amounts to in the deca.

  9. Bob Hewitt - March 29, 2010

    Congrats to all and a special “well done” to Bill Murray. Bob

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