Renee Shepherd, Anselm LeBourne picked for IAAF Beijing races

Renee has long been on world stage, such as 2009 Lahti worlds. She holds ARs in several sprints.

The letters went out Tuesday morning, and the news was great for Anselm LeBourne and Renee Shepherd: You’re going to Beijing! Both have confirmed they were chosen by World Masters Athletics for the masters men’s 800 exhibition and women’s 400 exhibition at the IAAF world meet in late August at the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium. WMA has yet to release the names of the other 50-plus runners. Lemme know if you’re one of them! Renee, a 100-200 specialist, wrote me: “I wanted to see China more than I hate the 400…. so I am going to be rewriting my training plans to be able to run a 400 without embarrassing the USA.” I’m sure she’ll do fine. Anselm has a good shot at breaking the M55 world record (unless he does it first at an earlier race). One thing fersure: No question it would be ratified!

Read the rest of this post »

May 12, 2015  14 Comments

Anselm LeBourne opens outdoor record onslaught with 1500 AR

Anselm took selfie after Monday race.

Anselm took selfie after Monday race.

Competing against collegians, Anselm LeBourne on Monday crushed the American record in the M55 1500 meters in his first outdoor race this season, clocking 4:12.54 — and just missing Aussie Keith Bateman’s listed world record of 4:12.35. The race was at a Swarthmore College “last chance” meet in Pennsylvania, and video has been posted on runnerspace. The listed M55 AR is 4:17.80 by Richard Burns in 2010. Fellow masters miler (and M50 blogger) Kevin Forde finished in 4:30.64, beating a kid from Harverford College. In March, Hall of Famer Anselm told me he was shooting for outdoor world age-group records in the 800, 1500, mile and possibly 3000. He’ll have more shots at the 1500, no doubt. (The other listed WRs stand at 2:03.7, 4:35.04 and 8:56.80.)

Anselm mixes it up with the kidlets Monday.

Anselm mixes it up with the kidlets at a rare Monday meet. Photo via Facebook

Read the rest of this post »

May 11, 2015  6 Comments

Weia Reinboud wrangles latest high jump WR — this time in W65

When it comes to the hoogspringen, few masters are better than flopper Weia Reinboud. That’s high jump in Dutch, where Weia has been a star for decades. On Friday, at age 65, she cleared 1.38 meters (4-6 1/4). That beats the listed age-group WR of 1.37 by Germany’s Ursula Stelling in 2006. I queried Weia on the conditions. She replied: “The weather was fine, but this has been my heaviest week regarding training since I entered the sport nearly 20 years ago. So I wasn’t really fresh. Goal of the workouts: world record attempt heptathlon at the end of May in Stendal (Germany, near Berlin). From now on, only quality training leading to a peak in three weeks. I hope.” On the jump series, she says: “I did 1.30 in two attempts, 1.35 in three attempts (national record, it was 1.34 held by Rietje Dijkman and [Southern California’s] Annelies Steekelenburg), 1.38 in one try. Several centimeters room, but at 1.40 (4-7) it was a mess. The season is long enough! In theory, about 1.42 (4-7 3/4) is possible, but it has to be done.” What this means is Weia gives herself more work, since she maintains stat pages on high jump absolute records — nobody of a certain age has done better. (She also holds the listed W60 WR at 1.47 or 49 3/4.)

Weia's record was set among other jumpers in other age groups.

Weia’s record was set among other jumpers in other age groups at this meet.

May 10, 2015  7 Comments

[Correction] Zambian classmate confirms Douglas Kalembo age

Douglas sent me this passport image in 2010.

Five years ago, I posted a series of stories about Douglas Kalembo, a Zambia Olympian who claimed to have set M45 and M50 world records in the 400. But the marks were never ratified. Too many documents turned up saying he was born in 1970, not 1960 as claimed. I left it there. But Saturday came this comment: “My name is Newton Chabala. I was born on 22nd October 1964. We grew up together with Douglas in Chingola. He even used to stay with us at times at home. We were in the same class from Form 1 to Form 5. I.e 1979 to 1983. I completed for 5 at the age of 19 in 1983. Douglas used to be 4 yrs older [then]. Now what’s this story that he was born in 1970? If you want to verify my story ask the young man Samuel [Matete] the former WC 400MTRS hurdles or any other Zambia from Chingola.” Wow! First I checked Newton’s IP address to see if it was Zambian (it was). So I sent a note to Douglas’ old email address. It bounced. I did a Google search and found him working for Zambia’s track federation. I’ve written them. Stay tuned for the latest chapter on this soap opera.

May 9, 2015  9 Comments

Anyone have a longer sub-5 mile streak than this gent? 37 years!

Hey, Nolan! What’s your sub-5 mile streak?

A blogger for the Dallas Morning News tells the story of William Moore, 53, who says he’s run a sub-5-minute mile 37 consecutive years. Cool. “The Dallas pediatrician hopes to extend that streak to 38 at the upcoming Luke’s Locker All-Comers Meets. The seven-week series of meets are held in Dallas and Fort Worth,” writes Debbie Fetterman. “His streak began in 1978 when he ran a 4:39 as a sophomore at Dallas Jesuit. He improved his times at Rice University and post-collegiately. He ran his personal best, 4:10, in 1983. Moore said he still enjoys training with the same intensity that he had when he was much younger. ‘It feels the same, but the times on the watch are different,’ he said. ‘It’s hard to accept.'” So I’m thinking: Can’t we come up with a longer streak? We know the likes of Nolan Shaheed and Anselm LeBourne have run the mile that long. But every year?

May 8, 2015  5 Comments

Beer Mile World Classic should see its share of masters in August

As I reported on Times of San Diego, the beer mile is moving away from its viral-video roots. On Aug. 22, San Francisco’s Pier 70 will host the first Beer Mile World Classic. It will offer prize money and a chance to race on a quarter-mile loop of Pier 70, says James Nielsen, 35, who became the first man to break the 5-minute barrier after quaffing a 12-ounce can of suds before each of four laps. “I will race and I will certainly be in shape to break the record,” Nielsen told me. “Last year I trained specifically to break 5 minutes. This year I’m going to make sure I’m in shape to run much faster.” So at least we can count on an M35 beer mile record. Registration has opened. Anyone planning to attend? This video has been seen 1.4 million times:

May 7, 2015  5 Comments

Author’s TED Talk on Olga Kotelko keeps her legacy, lessons alive

Olga Kotelko, the late W95 superlegend, has been gone almost a year, but she’ll never be forgotten. Two days ago, Bruce Grierson’s TED talk on his book subject was posted on YouTube. He seems to go beyond what he wrote in “What Makes Olga Run?” by saying the key to her success had more to do with what went on above the neck than below. She simply had the “youth prime” that let her live with youthful mind. This talk was given Feb. 27, 2015, at Penn State University. You’ll see yourself in it.

May 6, 2015  7 Comments

WR for dropping down in age groups for national record relay?

They cheated! This Canadian 4-by-100 team got a ringer for the relay. IAAF Best Masters Athlete Christa Bortignon of British Columbia, 78, dropped down to the W60 age group to help the Greyhounds Masters Track Club set a national record. Competing on April 26 at Oregon’s famed Hayward Field in Eugene, the team of Deborah Lee, Christa, Urith Hayley and Elaine Whidden clocked a 1:03.74. This breaks the listed Canadian W60 record of 1:04.60 by Team Canada at 2011 Sacramento worlds. (The listed WR is 55.77 by Germany.) Their coach is the famed masters long sprinter/hurdler Harold Morioka. So can anyone beat Christa for dropping down three age groups?

Craig Godwin photo shows (from left) Elaine Whidden, Deborah Lee, “Bill Bowerman,” Christa Bortignon and Urith Hayley.

Craig Godwin photo shows (from left) Elaine Whidden, Deborah Lee, “Bill Bowerman,” Christa Bortignon and Urith Hayley.(But I don’t see grey.)

May 5, 2015  One Comment

Masters officials played key roles in IAAF World Relays in Bahamas

You didn’t see her run, but former masters champion Rose Monday played a key role over the weekend at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas. Rose was coach of the U.S. women’s team that set a world record in the distance medley relay. Same for Britain’s Alan Bell. He was one of the elite IAAF starters in those races. He’s also the guy who cheerfully “turned his head” when he saw me throw my baton into the air (which I caught) after anchoring the M55 4-by-100 at 2009 Lahti worlds. (A DQ was possible.) Alan also plans to be a starter at Lyon worlds. We learn from the Interwebs: “Bell, who had the responsibility of having to disqualify Usain Bolt during the World Championships in Daegu in 2011, will miss out on this year’s championships in Beijing but has a date in Lyon, France, for the World Masters Championships in August.” Also: M35 Chris Brown ran a 44.17 anchor leg for the silver medal Bahamas 4-by-400 team.

Rose Monday won the 2004 Olympic Trials masters 800 exhibition in 2:16.42.

May 4, 2015  No Comments

From prostate cancer to M70 pole vaulter: Aussie star Albert Gay

Gay is my kind of

Sydney vaulter Gay is my kind of “raving idiot.”

Albert Gay set an M70 Australian record in the vault a couple weeks ago at his nationals, and he’s profiled in the Daily Telegraph. His jump of 3.00 meters (9-10) is a foot under the listed WR of 3.31, but not bad considering 1) He started vaulting at age 62, and 2). He’s had an “aggressive form of prostate cancer.” He’s also quotable: “[Vaulting] tests your bravery,” he says. “You’ve got to be a little bit of an idiot to do it.” And: “If you get one thing wrong your jump will fail. If you get two things wrong you’ll end up in a real mess.” Mest of all: He gained entry to “a very elite world club of raving idiots over 70” who have cleared 3 meters. Makes you want to be a raving idiot, don’t he?

May 3, 2015  5 Comments