Four WRs at Striders Meet of Champions

The annual Southern California Striders Meet of Champions certainly lived up to its name this year. In perfect conditions (low 70s, mostly sunny skies) at Long Beach State University, two men and two women today set world age-group records — Willie Gault in the M45 200, Bud Held in the M75 pole vault, Kathy Bergen in the W65 high jump and Gerry Davidson in the W85 3,000-meter run. The official results should be posted before long, but I can share the highlights here.


I went to the meet to compete, and not take notes, so I may have missed some outstanding performances. But here’s what I heard or saw:
Willie Gault, 45, chose not to run hurdles today, which were contested around 11 a.m. He’d been on a plane from Boston to L.A. the day before, he told me.
Despite jet lag and lack of rest, he gave a wake-up call in his first event — the 100-meter dash — by clocking 10.80 with a maximum-legal wind of 2.0 meters per second (about 4.5 mph) out of Lane 1. That’s just off the 10.79 he ran at Occidental College the previous week. He had competition in the 100 from Matt Bruno, the California state 100/200 champion in 2002. Matt ran about 10.74.
Two hours later, Willie flew out of Lane 3 in the 200, and despite Long Beach State’s notoriously squishy-slow track became the oldest man to break 22 seconds. With a legal wind of 1.3 mps, Willie clocked 21.91 to lower his own M45 world record of 22.08 from February, which had beaten the listed M45 WR of 22.13 by Kevin Morning in 2002.
On the 2006 Age-Graded Tables, Willie’s 21.91 is equivalent to an open (20-30) performance of 19.58.
Earlier, Bud Held, 78, raised his own M75 world record in the vault, clearing 2.97 meters (9-9), bettering his own 2.96 set at the Decatur masters nationals in 2004. Bud cleared on his second try and had the bar raised to 3.05 (10-0) but missed three times. He vowed to nail 10 feet later this season.
The Age-Graded Tables call 2.97 equivalent to an open mark of 5.88 (19-3 1/2).
Kathy Bergen, a champion sprinter over the years, has found another niche in the high jump. Today she flopped over 1.35 (4-5) on her second try to better the listed W65 world record of 1.34 by Holland’s Rietje Dijkman in 2004. The age-graded open equivalent? 2.12 meters — or 6-11 1/2!
And Gerry Davidson, capitalizing on her new (W85) age group, ran the 3,000 meters (about 200 meters short of two miles) in just a little over 24 minutes. I didn’t get the exact time, but she beat the listed WR of 24:08.62 by the late Ivy Granstrom, the blind Canadian distance legend.
Only one fly in the ointment: The running records (especially Gerry’s 3000) might be negated because the track lacked a rail inside Lane 1. (Long Beach State has a metail rail, but it wasn’t plugged in.) Considering the fact that automatic timing and a wind guage were used, it would be heartbreaking to see these records go unratified for lack of dang rail. (This is what ultimately did in the M80 mile record application of John Keston.)
Dave Clingan has promised to propose a change in masters rules — one that removes the rail as a consideration in age-group records.
In other highlights today:
Nolan Shaheed, two months shy of turning 57, was grateful to run under sunny skies (his recent efforts, including the Drake Relays, have been in the rain.) His fun run today was the 1500 — which he completed in 4:23.17 — not far off his own M55 American Record of 4:20.76 set in 2004.
— M40 Getulio Echeandia ran the 400 hurdles in 55.5 and the flat 400 several hours later in 51.24, I was told. Running for Portugal, (5/21/ correction: actually, Puerto Rico. I mistook PUR abbreviation in world results, sorry) Getulio took second behind Kip Janvrin in the 400H at the 2005 World Masters Championships in San Sebastian.
— Three-time Olympian Amy Acuff, 30, showed up at the high jump and impressed a small but awed crowd with a 1.91 clearance (6-3 1/4).
Just another day at the track in SoCal. Congratulations to Striders President Brenda Matthews, veep Eric Dixon and the Long Beach State crew for putting on another smashing event. (Nice T-shirts, too!)

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May 20, 2006

5 Responses

  1. Getulio Echeandia - May 21, 2006

    Thank you for the mention in this Blog. My name is Getulio Echeandia, sometimes known as Tony or Junior and I did take second to Kip in the 2005 World Championships in San Sebastian but I run for Puerto Rico not Portugal. I ran 55.5ht for the 400mIH here at the meet of Champions and I ‘m not sure why their was no electronic time for this race. No big deal. Again thank you for the mention!

  2. Mark Cleary - May 21, 2006

    One of my SoCal/FleetFeet teamates Linda Cohn broke her own American record in the w-55 Javelin by 4 ft–way to go Linda–lots of good performances at the meet yesterday–Mark

  3. Bud Held - May 21, 2006

    Willie Gualt had a fine performance at the Striders Meet of Champions Saturday, but on an age graded percentage basis (2006 tables) the women had him beat. Willie’s percentage was 98.67. Cathy Bergen’s high jump (1.35m) was 101.50%. Nadine O’Connor’s 200m (29.31) was 100.41%, and her pole vault (2.90m) was 108.61%. Also of note, my pole vault (2.97m) was 102.77%.

  4. Richard Rizzo - May 24, 2006

    I beg to differ with you Mr. Held but Willie Gaults 21.91 to break his own World Record and become the first man over 45 years of age to ever run that time is more than a fine performance! It is astronomical in terms of sprint races.
    Congrads to you on your pole vault of 2.97 & 102.77% And to all the other fine athletes mentioned in your comment !!
    Rich Rizzo
    N.Y. Pioneer Club

  5. Bob Elliott-The Athletic Connection - May 25, 2006

    Gerry Davidson time in the W3000 was 24.00.33 for a new age-group world record (W85).

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