Don Pellman setting record for most records as an M90

Don Pellman lives south of San Francisco in Mountain View, California, and if you haven’t heard much about him, trust me, you will. Page 4 of the current issue of National Masters News features him with a story headlined “90-year-old breaks seven world records” and a first paragraph that represents something of a break with NMN policy — sticking its neck out by suggesting a peformance as the best ever.

NMN Editor Jerry Wojcik wrote:
“Athletes and spectators at the 25th annual Rocky Mountain Masters Games, Colorado St. U, Fort Collins, Sept. 3-4, may have witnessed the finest performance by an athlete in the history of masters track and field.”
For the record (with WR meaning world record and AR meaning American record), Pellman did this:
100 in 17.83 WR
High jump: 1.15 (3-9 1/4) WR
Pole vault 1.83 (6-0) WR
Long jump 3.26 (10-8 1/4) WR
Triple jump 6.44 (21-1 1/2) AR
Shot put 9.33 (30-7 1/2) WR
Discus 22.06 (72-4) WR
Javelin 22.71 (74-6 1/4) WR
So impressive was the high jump mark that the event’s premier statistician, Weia Reinboud of Holland, wrote:
“I had to update my site with absolute age records high jump because Donald Pellmann defined new lines in the graphs:”
Well, Pellman didn’t stop there.
This past week in St. George, Utah, Pellman won six gold medals (often against national champ Leland McPhie of San Diego). At Snow Canyon High School over the three-day meet, Pellman won the:
100 in 17.93 (legal wind)
High jump at 1.12 (3-8)
Long jump at 3.03 (9-11 1/4)
Discus at 27.31 (89-7 1/2) WR
Javelin at 20.40 (66-11)
Shot put at 9.04 (29-8)
Is this guy a wildman or what?
Answer: Wildman
Just before his 90th birthday in mid-August, he went sky diving.
Pellman hasn’t competed much on the USATF masters circuit, it seems, confining his efforts mainly to Senior Olympics and masters games, and the like. But he hasn’t escaped the notice of USATF brass. In 2001, he was named the M85 Outstanding Male Field Athlete of the Year. That summer he won five gold medals and a bronze at the National Senior Olympics.
In 2003, competing in Sacramento at the Pan Pacific Masters Games, Pellman was all over the place, winning M85 golds in nine events.
But he’s no late-bloomer, either. My old Masters T&F Home Page cites him as the No. 3 M80 sprinter in 1996.
Even though he hasn’t been on USATF’s radar this year, he deserves consideration for overall Masters Athlete of the Year for 2005.

Print Friendly

October 9, 2005

One Response

  1. Jim Pellmann - October 10, 2005

    Ken, thanks for the nice writeup on my father’s achievements. If you’d like to watch the local newscast about his skydiving (and also a bit about his track records), see:
    Don can be reached via e-mail at: (note the 2 n’s at the end)

Leave a Reply