Masters Age Records online, but still worthless junk

I was stoked. Giddy with anticipation. Hyper with hope. I saw this bombshell blurb on Page 5 of the November edition of National Masters News: “Masters Single Age Records Coming Soon. Peter Mundle has done and continues to do so many great things for masters track and field, running and race walking. Among his many contributions is his compilation of the records for each age in each event for 35 years and up. Soon, these single age records will be available on the National Masters News website.” So I wrote to NMN Publisher Randy Sturgeon, asking when we could expect to see Pete’s work posted. Randy replied: “They are up and . . . will be updated later in the year or early next year when I get the new files from Peter.” Hooray! Pete has joined the 21st century, I thought. Then I found the records online and went: Crap! Same old garbage.

Longtime readers of this blog can recite my rant by heart:
Pete Mundle did heroic statwork in the early years, but for the past dozen his Masters Age Records have been chock-full-of-errors, omissions and self-indulgent nods to Pete’s old bests at 3 and 6 miles (bettered by athletes running the 5K and 10K).
In my naivete, I thought that if Pete put his records online, he’d be sure to update them, taking my specific critiques into account. Not so. Using his old, broken data, he just prepared a series of Word Perfect documents in Lucida Sans Typewriter font, saved them as HTML files and shipped the lot to Randy.
The resulting pages — which carry no date or time stamp and which include no records set in 2008 — are simply the same old GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) that characterized his annual booklet. Literally hundreds of errors.
Remember my going apeshit last year over Jim Sorensen’s M40 world records at 800 and 1500? His name doesn’t appear once in the single-age track records file. (I even typed in Sorenson, since Pete mistypes names like Merlene Ottey as “Marlene” Ottey.)
Dozens of Pete’s marks are listed as “pending” — even if they’re 25 years old! After that much time, Pete, either list the record or pull the plug.
In February 2007, after asking Pete’s permission and hearing no objections, I posted a PDF version of his Masters Age Records booklet on this site. My hope at that time was that a Wiki I had created would allow athletes to update the single-age records. Sadly, that’s proved to be a fantasy. Few have added to the Wiki.
Why should we care about this record nonsense?
Because athletes care — especially older folks who carry their copies of Pete’s booklet like a Bible. They train to beat one of the “records” listed therein — and then crow (via local newspaper articles) that they own a world record. I see this all the time in my Google News Alerts. Athletes will claim single-age records, but a basic Web search will reveal that someone has a better performance.
What harm is done by letting a few geezers taste some ill-founded glory? Ask the ladies and gents whose true single-age records aren’t listed by Peter Mundle. Where’s the fairness to them?
Has Pete even seen the amazing masters stat site of Austria’s Martin Gasselsberger? If so, why are Martin’s marks so different from Pete’s? In Pete’s universe, the IAAF seasonal top lists don’t even exist.
Another reason for caring: Online errors multiply exponentially.
When some sportswriter in Podunk Falls, South Dakota, goes to look up a single-age sprint record and comes across the NMN site (or my PDF), they take it as gospel. And when the sportswriter’s report goes online — with the bogus mark — it acts like a virus, spreading to other people’s work. Such a shame.
Why can’t we get this right from the start?
Randy, don’t be an enabler.
Demand that Pete fix his records. Or don’t post them at all.

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November 12, 2008

3 Responses

  1. Christian Salas - November 12, 2008

    Yea, I’m pretty annoyed that a record from 24 years is still on there for my age bracket in the shot put:
    38 72’9 3/4 22.19 Brian Oldfield(CA) 5-26-84
    Oh, wait…;)

  2. Jeff Davison - November 12, 2008

    To: Randy and Peter,
    Thank you for placing the Single-Age Records on-line.
    -Jeff Davison

  3. Jeff Davison - January 18, 2019

    1972 to 2006 Age Records now online at

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