Should masters be allowed to take testosterone under a TUE?

This is what's T-ing everyone off.

This is what’s T-ing everyone off.

USATF Masters T&F national Chairman Gary Snyder replied Friday to my query on the Greg Pizza HRT case. Gary wrote: “After reading NMN, Times and MTF, it once again becomes apparent there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding regarding banned ‘stuff.’ I would support a change, but any change must be across the board for all sports — not just T&F — and must be at the WADA level, not just USADA. Way past my grade level. If someone wants to champion the cause, which would take years, I’d support them as best I could.” Gary nails the problem. USADA takes its cues from WADA (the way USATF masters has to toe the WMA line). So making masters an exception to anti-doping protocols is a heavy lift. But Greg would like sanity in the TUE process. He likely wouldn’t have gotten a TUE for testosterone before or after the fact. But recreational TUEs need to be better defined. Meanwhile, take our poll:

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January 29, 2016  49 Comments

Masters trackster of Malta went from Euro 35th to Lyon fourths

Malta's

Rachid says: “If you coach sprints and you’ve never been a sprinter, I don’t think you will be successful.”

M40 sprinter Rachid Chouhal of Malta had a busy year in 2015. He competed in the European Indoor Athletics Championships (the open meet) and also Lyon worlds. He didn’t do so hot against the pups in Prague, taking 35th of 37 in the 60-meter dash (7.06 seconds). But he managed fourth in the Lyon 100 and 200 finals despite cramps in his 100 warmup. (Times were 11.35 and 22.71.) But here’s the crazy part (as we learn from Times of Malta): “Chouhal has even found time to pick up a new event, the hammer throw. … ‘I started practising hammer the year I started coaching my wife. She is the national record holder in hammer, discus and shot put. My aim was to practise, understand and gain more experience in hammer throwing.’ It looks as if he has achieved that ambition. ‘I managed to break the hammer record four times.’ Wow! Whatta switch. Explosive events both, I guess.

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January 28, 2016  No Comments

Facing 4-year ban, Greg Pizza makes call to arms: Fight USADA

My Striders teammate Greg Pizza, 62, reveals in National Masters News that he’s facing a four-year drug ban after testing positive for testosterone at Jacksonville nationals in July. (He was tapped after taking third in the 100.) In a Times of San Diego article posted Wednesday night, I added the NMN piece as well as his responses to other questions. I’m still awaiting a reply from USADA to Greg’s call for giving masters athletes a break. I also wrote USATF Masters Chairman Gary Snyder for comment. I salute NMN publisher Amanda Scotti for featuring this controversial topic. Greg is her boyfriend, but she exposes him to potentially harsh judgment. So sad that the year masters outdoor nationals is skedded for Michigan, a native of that state won’t compete in Grand Rapids.

Greg Pizza, in the shades, sprints with red-wearing Striders teammates at a recent meet. Photo by Ken Stone

Greg, in the shades, sprints with red-wearing Striders teammates.

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January 27, 2016  64 Comments

M70 Glyn Sutton adds indoor 60 best to his 200 WR from Lyon

Glyn and his world golds.

Glyn and his world golds.

Glyn Sutton ran an amazing 200 to win one of his three M70 golds at Lyon. He clocked 26.47 (a time I haven’t seen since about age 44.) On Saturday, he notched another WR, this time at a meet in Cardiff. “Delighted to announce another world record,” Glyn posted on Facebook. “This time breaking the indoor M70 60m world record with a time of 8.18 secs. Many thanks to Welsh Athletics for accommodating us at their GP Event and allowing us older athletes to show what can be achieved.” Results are here. Actually, he tied the 60 WR, also listed as 8.18 by American Kenton Brown last March at Winston-Salem nationals. Can’t wait to see these two gents go spike-to-spike.

Phototimer shot of Glyn's 8.18 at a meet Jan. 23 in Cardiff, Wales.

Phototimer shot of Glyn’s 8.18 at a meet Jan. 23 in Cardiff, Wales.

January 26, 2016  3 Comments

USA Masters Games in North Carolina: latest USATF challenger

Flier for USAMG track meet

Flier for USA Masters Games track meet

Hooboy. On top of the National Senior Games, the World Masters Games and other regional meets like the Americas Masters Games 2016 in Vancouver, add another upstart: the USA Masters Games. I wasn’t aware of this until Monday night. Saw it on the T&FN homepage. This 20-sport event (including track and field for age 21 and up) “is slated to be a biennial games with the inaugural edition July 21-31, 2016, in Greensboro, North Carolina,” the site says. “Our goal … is an enjoyable and rewarding Games experience that leaves everyone looking forward to the 2018 edition.” Here’s the track info. And here’s what’s really weird: “Participants must be active members of USA Track and Field or the comparable organization in their home country. Athletes who are not members of USA Track and Field should become a member before registering for the USA Masters Games.” Say what? It’s a USATF-sanctioned event competing with masters nationals a week earlier in Grand Rapids. (It’s on the USATF calendar.) The games were publicized last April, but I missed it. Anyone have an interest in this?

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January 26, 2016  7 Comments

Bill Collins after WR: ‘I will never fully recover’ from Guillain-Barre

My favorite photo of Bill, since I'm miraculously in the frame at left.

My favorite photo of Bill running 200 (in Sacto), since I’m miraculously in the frame at left.

Bill Collins didn’t expect to break his friend and Houston Elite teammate’s indoor world record for 200 meters a couple weekends ago. But Charles Allie’s M65 mark fell anyway at Texas A&M — in 25.25 seconds out of lane 2. “This was a practice meet for us, and I had no idea we would run this fast,” Bill told me via email Sunday. It also was his first race since turning 65 in late November. Amazing. Even more incredible is that he doesn’t consider himself fully recovered from his frightening bout five years ago with Guillain-Barre syndrome. This I learned in a quickie Q&A with Bill, gracious in again putting up with my interrogations.

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January 25, 2016  6 Comments

Mark Williams runs away from Hartshorne M40 elite mile field

Lapping a runner on the last of eight circuits, Mark Williams conquered a storm-weakened field Saturday to win the M40 elite race of the 49th Hartshorne Masters Mile at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Clocking 4:33.04, Mark, 43, stretched out his lead every lap as Peter Taylor narrated the race. See results for all races and lap splits courtesy Leone Timing. James Derick won M50 in 4:46.73. But the top age-graded male time was superblogger Kevin Forde’s 4:47.27 at age 52 (90 percent age-graded). Kevin described in gruesome detail his ordeal getting from Philadelphia to Upstate New York. He was a lucky one. Some entrants didn’t make it to the starting line. “We lost about six-eight competitors due to the big snow storm that came through the states just to the south of us,” said meet director Tom Hartshorne. Winners of the W40 and W50 elite races were Sascha Scott (4:54.55) and evergreen Alisa Harvey (5:14.25) — not far off the AR of 5:08.5. (WR is 5:07.32.) But Coreen Steinbach, 64, won the age-graded title with her 6:20.08 — a 95.7 percent age-graded score. Mazel tov to all. Hope y’all made it home OK.

January 24, 2016  9 Comments

Back to being Bill Collins: Legend blasts M65 WR at indoor 200

Masters Hall of Famer Bill Collins quietly turned 65 in late November. But he made a big noise on Jan. 16 at a Texas A&M indoor meet, lowering the world record for 200 meters held by his friend Charles Allie. The listed WR is 25.41. Bill clocked 25.25, which age-grades to 19.68 as an open mark. The actual indoor WR is 19.92 by Frank Fredricks. Charles holds the M65 outdoor WR at 24.65, so that’s in jeopardy in this world meet year. Unfortunately, Bill’s incredible race got lost in the commotion over a freshman kid named Donovan Brazier, who ran an 800 at the same meet in 1:45.93, and got named USATF Athlete of the Week. Donavan’s first 200 was 25.20. Bill would have beaten that had he not eased up at the end. Welcome back to the WR scene, Bill.

January 23, 2016  24 Comments

Backwards mile milestone — first sub-6 goes to a submaster

Aaron Yoder once ran the equivalent of a 4:13 mile at Fort Hays State, but didn’t really attain four-lap glory until this week, when he posted a video of a mile he ran in 5:54.25. Backwards. At age 30, on Nov. 23, he broke the backwards mile best of 6:02.35 set by D. Joseph James in 2002. Think about that. He averaged 88.5 a quarter-mile, or 44.2 for 220. Try it. Not easy. More details at Runner’s World. Saturday morning, running forward, dozens of masters will test themselves at the Hartshorne Masters Mile in Ithaca, New York. Thankfully indoors. Meet director Tom Hartshorne writes: “We lost five or six from our elite races due to the storm coming across the country and hitting lower Pennsylvania and Virginia. New York State has been spared the brunt of this storm. … Nolan Shaheed called in tonight to wish us well. We miss you here in Ithaca, Nolan, and hope to see you soon in warmer venues.” All the best to those braving the weather, especially Alisa Harvey, now 50. Time for some records.

January 22, 2016  4 Comments

Trautmann, LeBourne indoor WR miles fall through the cracks

As Peter Taylor noted in comments, John Trautmann’s M45 indoor mile of a year ago is listed as an American record but not a world record. But M55 Anselm LeBourne, who also beat a listed WR indoor mile (twice), isn’t listed for any record. What’s up with that? A clue is Jeff Brower’s Google Doc of 2015 record applications. Anselm ran 4:37.08 on Jan. 16, 2015. He ran a 4:34.79 on March 10. The first mark is denoted “surpassed.” The second is “waiting,” pending submission of a zero-control test, or ZCT. But why wasn’t the 4:37.08 approved? It crushes the listed WR of 4:42.89 by our friend Nolan Shaheed. But Jeff’s list of masters records submitted for approval at the annual meeting includes the 4:34.79. So Houston, we have a snafu. Stay tuned.

Here's the list of indoor mile WRs as of Jan. 21, 2016.  Missing some marks.

Here’s the list of indoor mile WRs as of Jan. 21, 2016. Missing some marks.

January 21, 2016  3 Comments