Let’s honor 50th anniversary of masters track at 2016 indoor worlds!

USATF shared big news today — that the IAAF had chosen Portland, Oregon, to host the World Indoor Track & Field Championships in 2016. Of course, my one-track brain automatically thought “masters exhibitions!” So I mulled what event might be good for WMA and USATF to push. No contest: a masters mile! Turns out that 2016 will be the 50th anniversary of the first Masters Mile exhibition organized by David Pain — the Big Bang of our sport. He persuaded organizers of the San Diego Invitational to include an over-40 mile at Balboa Stadium on June 11, 1966. (Winning time: 4:47 by 44-year-old Jim Gorrell.) David will be 93 when IAAF indoor worlds are held in March 2016 at Portland’s Oregon Convention Center, so why not get him to shoot the gun? WMA could also use the IAAF meet to promote Perth worlds later that year. In any case, this is a perfect opportunity to get folks like Bernard Lagat, who will be 41, and other stars, such as Tony Young, Brad Barton and Nolan Shaheed. I also nominate Dave Clingan to be the miler wrangler. He has contact info for everyone and operates his own Masters Mile at the Portland Track Classic. Any other masters events suitable for 2016?

David Pain, shown at 2011 Sacramento worlds with his wife, Linda, would be 93 at 2016 IAAF indoor worlds in Portland, Oregon.

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November 15, 2013

16 Responses

  1. Suzy Hess Wojcik - November 15, 2013

    How about a weight throw for a change, in honor of Lance Deal??

  2. Ken Stone - November 15, 2013

    Yeah, we could get Ed Burke and other celebs out there. Make it coed, too!

  3. Renee H. - November 15, 2013

    How bout a 60m? (Won’t take up too much time lol!)

  4. Mark Cleary - November 15, 2013

    With all due respect Ken. I would be the person putting the field together-if they allow us to have one. World Championships and dealing with IAAF is quite different then our National Open Championships. Our National governing body may not have much to say about whether we have an exhibition event there or not. I will certainly try and it is a fabulous opportunity.

  5. Paul Oakes - November 15, 2013

    Forget the weight throw, stick with an event where the spectators can ‘understand’ the excellence of the performance.

  6. Ken Stone - November 15, 2013

    Any help is appreciated, Mark. Let WMA know of your availability.

  7. Kevin Paulk - November 16, 2013

    This is fantastic news. I’m raising my hand to help my original Masters Mentor Dave Clingan and whatever I can do with a swoosh on my business card.


  8. Suzy Hess Wojcik - November 16, 2013

    Indoor track and field fans understand the technique required for the weight throw just like the shot put. It would be good to feature something else besides running events. It’s track and FIELD after all!

  9. Mark Cleary - November 16, 2013

    Suzy, this point has been made several times during my 14 years of the Invitational Program. USATF at the Indoor and Outdoor Nationals will not give us the time nor the officials to conduct a throwing event. The Indoor meet in New Mexico has had a Masters Pole-vault the last few times, but they really don’t go through USATF -they went through there Association folks. It is also very political two of the guys that
    compete in that event are local politicians from what I am told-so there is always the chance of an exception, but it is never the rule. I doubt very much if the folks with IAAF will even entertain the idea of having a Masters event in a World Championship. It has been a battle just to keep those events in our National Championships. Many of the people at the National office don’t feel we belong in the Open Championships in any capacity. I will see what can be done, but based on past experience not sure if we will be successful.

  10. Suzy Hess Wojcik - November 16, 2013

    Thanks Mark! I appreciate your explanation. Since it is Olympian Lance Deal’s back yard it would be nice to see one of his events featured for masters competitors, but I certainly understand the complications!

  11. Peter Taylor - November 17, 2013

    Having an exhibition masters event at the 2016 World Indoors would be nice, but how about aiming much higher? Consider this lineup for our national indoor masters champs:

    2014 Boston (in place)
    2015 Winston-Salem (in place)
    2016 Portland, Oregon

    Schedule our championships either one week before or one week after the World Indoors. Excellent facility, the virtual certainty of a very good turnout, and ready access through Portland International Airport. What’s not to like?

  12. tOnY yOuNg - November 18, 2013

    would love to lace them up and welcome Bernard to the old folks as long as he knows that when he laps me, instinctively the elbows come out.

    work your magic – if you can – Mark

  13. Brad Barton - November 19, 2013

    I’m in! I’m in! What a thrill it would be to be part of the World Championships. To race against the likes of Young, Lagat and Shaheed would be amazing. The only regret for me is the fact that I won’t turn 50 yrs old until a few days later, April 3, 2016.
    Sure hope we can sell this race to the powers that be. Perhaps the idea of getting multiple world record holders all on the same starting line would generate sufficient interest.

  14. Mary Harada - November 20, 2013

    Having a masters exhibition at the World Championship would be splendid – but don’t get your hopes up. It is difficult enough to have this happen at the USATF National Championship meets. OTOH – having the World indoors in Portland, OR – would be fabulous. And Peter’s suggestion of this venue for the USATF Masters Indoor meet – also great – as the facility would be world class.

  15. Annie Compton - November 28, 2013

    Perhaps 50th anniversary of first masters mile that was organized by David Pain, but “50th anniversary of masters track” as stated in the headline might not be accurate. For example at the inaugural ‘Stawell Gift’
    (an athletics carnival still held today over the Easter weekend in Stawell, Victoria, Australia with a very large prize list) in 1878 there was an ‘Old Man’s Race’ and the prize was a pig. I am sure there are other examples around the world as well.

  16. Ken Stone - December 2, 2013

    Good points, Annie. I’m familiar with the old-men track and field competitions around the world before 1968 and noted them in the book I edited (and co-wrote): http://bit.ly/1gyWP9M

    But “masters track” as a circuit and worldwide movement began with David Pain and his European and Oceania track tours. Hence the anniversary.

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