Meet Ruben Whitney, saying farewell to his M35 USA 100 record

Ruben is shown in September 1980 issue of National Masters News.

In response to an email, Ruben Whitney gave me a call Monday morning. Yes, THE Ruben Whitney — holder since 1980 of the M35 American record of 10.3 seconds for 100 meters. By inattention, ignorance and incompetence, at least seven Yanks besides Justin Gatlin who ran sub-10.3 have failed to get credit for beating Ruben’s record. Until this season (and Saturday, when Justin ran 9.92 at IAAF London worlds), the fastest American M35 apparently was Darvis “Doc” Patton, who clocked 10.07 in May 2013. In my Times of San Diego story, I quote USATF masters records czar Jeff Brower as saying: “It’s a difficult issue.” He notes some of the issues, including the fact that older elites don’t apply for records. I note the fact that USATF Rules recommend a “Recorder of Records” at every meet. But few meets take this admonition seriously. But with London IAAF being among the meets where any official mark is eligible for slam-dunk record status, we now have no excuse but to see Justin’s 9.92 displacing Ruben’s hand-timed 10.3. I asked Ruben for his message to Justin. “Well, congratulations, and it’s a long time coming. A long time coming.” Ruben’s story is sad, too. Check it out.

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August 7, 2017

2 Responses

  1. Doug Spencer - August 8, 2017

    I ran against Ruben in the 70’s , always seeing his back, great runner , it was a shame when he went out with injury, so glad to read this article and know he’s doing well at 72, hope you do try a comeback Ruben !

  2. Carl Belle - August 10, 2017

    Cool article about Mr. Whitney, I hope that he considers Toronto 2020…50 years since he played CFL football here, he will not need to wear pads or helmet to run the 200m.

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