Bob Lida claiming Jordan title as world’s greatest 80-plus sprinter

Bob is unpressed in ABQ 200 WR. USATF photo

Had World War II not intervened, Payton Jordan would have been a medal favorite in the 1940 and 1944 Games. But Payton became a legend anyway — as an Olympic and Stanford coach and a world-record sprinter into his early 80s. Twenty years ago, when I began covering masters and seeing Payton run, nobody could fathom anyone going faster than him at 80. Now we have Bob Lida, my Kansas Jayhawk buddy. And Payton has been beaten again. At ABQ nationals Sunday, Bob ran the 200 in an M80 indoor world record 29.84, beating even Payton’s outdoor AR of 30.89 from 1997. Bob’s a lock for the outdoor WR, which is listed as 29.54 by Japan’s Hisamitsu Hijiya. On Friday, Bob claimed the 400 indoor American record with his 1:13.34. (The listed WR is Earl Fee’s 1:11.24. The listed outdoor WR is Hisamitsu’s 70.01.) Bob now owns 10 outdoor and 10 indoor ARs, including relays. He holds four indoor WRs and three outdoor WRs. Even if the mile elevation cut down wind resistance, his sub-30 at 80 is astonishing. And in case you missed it, Kathy Martin set her second world record of the meet Saturday in the 800, clocking 2:44.35 five months after turning 65. USATF’s Ashlee Mitchell noted other records in her Day 3 release below.

Here’s Dave Albo shot of Bob at ABQ nationals, apparently near the 200 start.

USATF news for Day 3 at nationals:

ALBUQUERQUE – Stellar performances in the final events of USATF Masters Indoor Championships resulted in a total of 39 American and 10 World records to add to the history books.

Bob Lida (Wichita, Kansas) of Houston Elite sprinted the W80 200m in a world record setting time of 29.84. Last year’s M75 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year finished a full three seconds ahead of second place to earn his third medal of the weekend. Lida also set a [American] mark in the 400m (1:13.34) and earned silver in the 60m (9.21) earlier in the weekend.

Distance runner Kathy Martin (Northport, Long Island), in spite of the mile-high altitude, set a second world record in as many days with a W65 800m time of 2:44.35. Martin, in her first year competing in the W65 age group, set either an American or World record in every event she was entered in.

Longstanding champion female thrower Oneithea “Neni” Lewis (Queens, New York) broke the W55 weight throw world mark in 15.22m/49.11 on her third attempt. Also in the field events, 12-time world champion Bruce McBarnette (Sterling, Virginia) earned first place in the M55 high jump at 1.73m/5-08 after a jump off with Peter Hlavin of SC Striders Track Club.

Additional American records today included Jeanne Daprano (W80 800m), Gloria Krug (W85 triple jump), Kathy Bergen (W75 200m) and Southwest Sprinters (W40 4x400m relay). A full list of USATF Masters records to-date can be found here.

In the team competition, the top three men and women combined were So Cal Track Club, Southwest Sprinters Track Club, and Potomac Valley Track Club.

Many of this weekend’s champions and medalists will take part in the World Masters Association Championships in Daegu, South Korea, March 19-26. The next USATF Masters championship will be the 50th annual of the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships, July 13-16, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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February 19, 2017

5 Responses

  1. Peter L. Taylor - February 19, 2017

    Bob Lida is the youngest 80-year-old man in America, and I do enjoy saying that. He runs like a thoroughbred and makes us all proud. Can anyone imagine what it’s like to run 29.84 at age 80?

  2. Doug Smith - February 20, 2017

    A true legend, gentleman and, proud to say, good friend. Congrats, Bob!

  3. John Impson - February 20, 2017

    I brag to my friends that I run with world champions.

  4. Bill F. - February 20, 2017

    Once he left the blocks, he was moving at sub-4:00
    mile speed!! – not bad at 80, matching Roger Bannister’s pace….

  5. jimmy watson - June 3, 2018

    I hope to be in New Mexico next year, will never see another Bob Lida in my lifetime, I’ll be running 50/100 maybe 200 best I can hope for is 7.00 and 15.00 nothing compared to Lida

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