Michigan nationals Day 4: Woodard tops Dussett in electrifying 4×4

Storm system passed north and south of us.

Storm system passed north and south of us.

Official results don’t show it, but the most exciting moment of Day 4 at Michigan nationals was an unexpected showdown between two of the best fortysomething quarter-milers in the world. Allen Woodard, 47, and Antwon Dussett, 40, didn’t know until just before the 4×4 relay they would be their teams’ respective anchors. As fate would have it, they took batons about even on a day of extreme winds. They battled each other and a tremendous headwind on the back stretch. I haven’t heard their splits, but Allen prevailed by about the same margin he did in winning his 400 to Antwon’s 400 — 49.32 to 49.88. USATF covered other highlights. I’ll have more to say in coming days, but I thought the facility was fantastic and treatment of athletes better than most meets (no anal half-hour deadline on declaring for a race). I saw a guy pouring ice water into a big Gatorade dispenser with only hours left in the meet. But online results are still a mess. (Tip: In Google Chrome, do a right-click on a specific event and select Open Link in New Tab.) In coming days, I’ll upload hundreds of photos to my Google Drive — for printing, Facebook sharing and use by your local paper. First up: Shuttle hurdle relays.
Allen reaches finish line ahead of Antwon in a sizzling relay on a day that dodged rain bullet.

Allen reaches finish line ahead of Antwon on a day that dodged a rain bullet.

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July 17, 2016  4 Comments

Michigan nationals Day 3: Jump records, Leake upsets Peyton

Oscar and Damien savored their close contest.

Oscar and Damien savored their close contest.

While I was napping under the Striders tent, two American records fell Saturday at Michigan nationals. USATF reports: Antonio Palacios (Bloomington, Indiana) set a M50 American record in the men’s long jump, leaping 6.48m/21-3 on his final attempt to break the current mark of 6.42m/21-0.75 by Shirley Davisson in 1980. Palacios, the M45-49 indoor long jump World record holder had the winning jump going into his final attempt, and used the crowd’s energy to soar past yet another record. ‘This is the hardest I have ever had to work to pull this one out, and I really had to rely on the crowd to do it,’ Palacios said of the exuberant crowd. ‘When I got to the [long jump] board it was just give it everything for everybody. It’s really an honor.’” David Montieth (Ridgefield, Connecticut) set a M70 American record in the men’s high jump, clearing a mark of 1.58m/5-2.25 Saturday. The current record of 1.57m/5-1.75 was set by John Dobroth at the 2011 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships. Monteith’s field series was clean until his first attempt at the winning height, where he nicked the bar on his way down. Monteith easily cleared his second attempt at 1.58m, thus setting the M70 American record.” Notable on Day 3 was Damien Leake of the Southern California Striders handing Oscar Peyton a rare defeat in the M60 100. (Oscar concedes he had a poor standing start.) Damien won 12.26 to 12.32 into a 3.4 mps wind. (The later 200s were turned around, mainly run with aiding wind.)

Damien (white jersey) battles to hold off Oscar in M60 100 showdown.

Damien (white jersey) battles to hold off Oscar in M60 100 showdown.

July 16, 2016  6 Comments

Michigan nationals Day 2: More records, masters chairman race on

USATF Masters T&F Vice Chairman Robert Thomas says tells athletes party he'll run for national masters chair.

USATF Masters T&F Vice Chairman Robert Thomas tells athletes party he’ll run for masters chair.

USATF’s account of Day 2 at masters nationals will suffice for now, including several big records. Just got back from the annual Athletes Banquet. Big news is that long sprinter Robert Thomas of Indiana announced he’ll run for national masters T&F chairman to succeed Gary Snyder. Longtime WMA executive Rex Harvey says he’ll also seek that office if his recovery continues from cancer surgery. About 250 people attended the dinner at the Double Tree by Hilton in Grand Rapids. The most touching moment was when Mary Trotto called on all members of the USATF Masters Hall of Fame to form a welcome line for three of the latest inductees — thrower/administrator George Mathews, sprinter Oscar Peyton and thrower Phil Brusca. I shot video. High-resolution photos of other award-winners are here.

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July 15, 2016  3 Comments

Michigan nationals Day 1: Hunter, Bernhard and Krug set ARs

Late Thursday night, the USATF site for Michigan nationals had spotty and glitchy results — not even listing Gary Hunter’s M60 American record in the pole vault. But Indy sent Amber Brooks, its top Olympic Trials media maven, to Grand Valley State University to report his and two other ARs. She wrote: “The first American record of the day was broken in the M65-69 5000m when Tom Bernhard broke the listed National record of 18:07.04 set by Joe King back in 1991. Bernhard (Castro Valley, California) bested the 25-year-old record with a time of 17:44.83. … Another American record fell when Gloria Krug (New Oxford, Pennsylvania) entered the hammer throw circle, as she surpassed the listed W85-89 American record on each of her six throws, with her final throw of 18.55m/60-10 taking the record. The listed record of 15.03m/49-03.00 was set by Helen Beauchamp in 2007.” Weather was puffy cloud gorgeous in the 70s, but a steady cross wind bugged sprinters but blew behind jumpers, including vaulters.

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July 14, 2016  6 Comments

How would you deal with track lockout? Help out Steve Morris

M65 vaulter and 2011 world champion Steve Morris writes: “For the past 30 years in early June when school lets out for the summer, I like to spend a few days with my family in the Palm Desert area. I enjoy escaping June Gloom that hangs around my city, chilling by a swimming pool and going out to eat at many excellent area restaurants. I also like to get up early (before it gets too hot) and work out at the local high school. However, this year was different. Please read the letter I sent to The Desert Sun, the local newspaper.” How do you deal with these issues in your town? Jump the fence and fuhgettaboutit?

Steve displays his pique on a plate outside track where's locked out.

Visiting Steve displays his pique on a plate outside track where he’s locked out.

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July 13, 2016  23 Comments

First American sub-7 miler over 80 won’t be eligible for U.S. record

James Eklund, 81, ran a mile at a Bay Area all-comers meet July 7. It wasn’t USATF-sanctioned, just a typical summer event. But his time was exceptional: 6:59.38, faster than the listed American M80 record of 7:09.60 by Joseph King in 2008. (The listed WR is 6:26.6 by Aussie David Carr.) The meet at Chabot (Shah-BOW) College in Hayward hadn’t posted results by Monday night, but it doesn’t matter for records. Lack of sanction doomed it. James isn’t entered at Grand Rapids, so who knows when he’ll enter a record-eligible race?

James tops a short list of milers in his age group, but what a time!

James tops a short list of milers in his age group, but what a time!

July 12, 2016  2 Comments

Masters LDR offers Perth travel grants to nonstadia athletes

Three months ago, we reported how the USATF Masters T&F Committee was offering travel grants to help cut costs for medal-potential Americans headed for Perth worlds starting in late October. Now the Masters LDR Committee is jumping on the bandwagon. Here are details. (But it wasn’t immediately clear whether LDR will match the $5,000 overall budget of MTF.) “Travel assistance is only for those athletes who have achieved a recent performance(s) in a USATF LDR championship that exceeded a medal performance in the 2015 WMA Outdoor Championships in Lyon, France,” LDR says. “The application is due July 24th. Decisions to be made by August 1, 2016.” You have to be entered in one or more of the non‐stadia events — the 8K cross country, half‐marathon, marathon or 10K or 20K walks. (Application is here.) Apparently, this news didn’t break until the weekend, with Paul Carlin among the first to post.

July 11, 2016  One Comment

Melitta Nagel’s W85 world record in 5K highlights German nationals

Melitta was pictured on Alfred Hermes site.

Melitta was pictured on Alfred Hermes’ site.

Italy and Germany wrapped up their masters nationals Sunday, with expected turnouts of 1,300 and 2,000, respectively. (USATF nationals are just over 1,000. Go figure.) At least one world record is reported: Germany’s Melitta Cerwenka Nagel on Friday ran 5000 meters in 32:29.94 to crush the listed W85 WR of 32:51.05 by Russia’s Nina Naumenko in 2011. A German site quoted her as saying: “Unfortunately, I am approached too quickly. 60 seconds the first 200 meters, which has nearly cost me the record. Since I had to get out to take pace. Luckily I was able to accelerate the last three laps again. I’m happy but exhausted.” She bypassed a shot Saturday at the 1500 record due to muscular problems, we’re told. Here are results from Leinefelde.

July 10, 2016  5 Comments

Bernard Lagat’s unbelievable last lap sends him to Rio in 5000

At 2015 Jacksonville nationals, Andre Millar took silver in the M40 400 in 52.92. He wouldn’t have made the final at Lyon worlds, but still not bad. How do we break it to him that a 41-year-old runner ran a faster last lap in a 5,000-meter race Saturday? Such was the amazing kick of Bernard “Kip” Lagat, who won the Olympic Trials 5K Saturday with a final 400 of 52.82. Breathtaking. His 13:35.50 was not elite speedy. (His M40 WR, set at Eugene, is 13:14.97.) But wow! He made his fifth Olympic team. So now we have Kip joining M40 Kim Collins (9.93 WR in 100) as geezers with potential to make Rio finals. USATF noted: “Lagat (41) will be the oldest running event Olympian in American history when he toes the line in Rio. The oldest track & field Olympian is John Deni, who was 49 years, 75 days when he competed in the 50km race walk in 1952.”

Bernard shocked the Oregon crowd and probably himself with mad-sprint kick.

Bernard shocked the Oregon crowd and probably himself with mad-sprint kick.

July 9, 2016  3 Comments

Yup, a 50-year-old man is throwing 16-pound hammer 255 feet

Oleksandr  (or Alexander) was 34th at 2012 Games.

Oleksandr (or Alexander) at 2012 Games.

A friend saw it and didn’t believe it. Moscow-born Oleksandr Dryhol (or Drygol), a Ukrainian now throwing for Israel, spun the 16-pound hammer 77.70 meters in June — 254-11. It’s the 10th-best mark in the world this season, in fact. Not a surprise, since he threw at the London Games. The shocker: He turned 50 in April. And the IAAF doesn’t list marks with masters implements. So his incredible throw would be a slam dunk for an M50 world record, right? Not so. He didn’t throw the 6-kilo ball, which is what Jud Logan used for his listed M50 WR 71.71 (235-3) in 2009. Wikipedia says: “(Dryhol) achieved the selection as the top hammer thrower from the highly competitive country of Ukraine during the 2012 season that saw him improve his personal best in the event out to 79.42 at a meet in Jablonec, Czech Republic, four days after his 46th birthday. At the time, it had been the #2 throw in the world that year. His previous personal best of 77.86 was set almost 22 years earlier in 1990, when he was the 22nd ranked hammer thrower in the world while competing for the Soviet Union. That mark improved his standing world record in the age group by over 4 metres (13 feet). This was not a fluke throw, throughout the 2012 season Dryhol has had several competitions beyond the 77 meter range. Throughout the 2011 season.” What’s your guess on how far OD can throw a 6-kilo today? Three hundred feet?

July 8, 2016  5 Comments