Kip Lagat (briefly) wins bronze in 5000; Ruth Beitia keeps her gold

Ruth's 1.97 winner would have beaten the Lyon W35 champion by nearly a foot.

Ruth’s 1.97 winner would have beaten the Lyon worlds W35 champion by nearly a foot.

Wow, what a crazy night in Rio! The W35 Spanish high jumper wins a low-height contest on misses, and M40 Bernard Lagat takes sixth in the 5000, then is moved to third because of three DQs, then is moved to fifth after appeals. The IAAF noted: “As it was, Lagat finished fifth in 13:06.78 and became the oldest ever 5000m finalist, adding to his own statistic from London four years ago.” (And lowering his own age-group WR from 13:14.97!) But don’t forget Chris Brown, 37, who had an incredible anchor in the 4×400 to help the Bahamas win bronze. In the HJ, “Ruth Beitia … became the oldest ever jumps champion in Olympic history as a flawless record up to and including 1.97m secured Spanish gold for the 37-year-old,” IAAF noted.

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August 20, 2016  8 Comments

M40 Belarussian wins silver in Rio hammer, but has doping past

Ivan Tsikhan hopes he'll test negative to keep his silver.

Ivan hopes he’ll test negative to keep medal.

M40 hammer thrower Ivan Tsikhan of Belarus took silver in Rio, hitting 77.79 (255-2 1/2) on Friday. (The listed M40 WR is 82.23 by Igor Astapkovich.) Hope he tests clean this time. He’s had two positives in the past. It’ll be hard for another geezer to beat Ivan’s medal. But fellow fortysomethings Bernard Lagat and Meb Keflezighi will try this weekend in the 5000 and marathon, respectively. Too many 35-plusers are in the Games to count, but we’ll be cheering for 37-year-old Ruth Beitia of Spain in the high jump (against our submasters hero Chaunte Lowe, profiled in The New York Times.) And a shout-out to John Nunn, 38, for surviving the 50K walk despite cramps, where nearly half the field didn’t finish. “Nunn was on personal-record pace through 30K when cramps set in that he couldn’t shake,” USATF reported. “Nunn struggled to maintain form and focus over the latter stages of the race, but stayed in it until the end, crossing in 4:16:12.” Who are your favorite masters-age Olympians?

August 19, 2016  2 Comments

Taxpayers group rips World Masters Games $30,000 ‘junket’ to Rio

Jo Holmes is critical of Ri "junket."

Jo Holmes slams “junket.”

Auckland is hosting the 2017 World Masters Games, but that doesn’t mean New Zealand government-watchers are letting the LOC do anything it wants. Especially not wasteful spending. On Friday, Radio New Zealand reported how a press release slammed two managers from an Auckland Council agency for being on a weeklong trip to the Olympic Games – at a cost of $30,000. “The trip has been criticised by the Ratepayers Alliance lobby group, with its spokesperson Jo Holmes calling it a ‘junket,'” said the radio website. ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development agency) defended the trip, saying the general manager of visitor and external relations was in Rio to promote the World Masters’ Games. It said the second manager in Rio was also responsible for international sporting relationships.

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August 18, 2016  One Comment

Is Seb Coe feeding at the Kiwi World Masters Games trough?

Seb Coe

Seb has splaining to do.

In the olden days, WMA had a rule against promoting the rival World Masters Games, whose big meets were held in the same odd-numbered years. Now that WMA worlds are even-numbered years, it’s not as big a deal. But it’s still startling to learn that IAAF Prez Sebastian Coe is one of several Olympian ambassadors in Rio hyping the 2017 World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand. Inside the Games focused on the marketing of masters to current and recent Olympians. But I’m curious what WMA poobahs think of Lord Coe working for the Dark Side. (IAAF and WMA have a long and tight relationship.) Methinks the Olympic middle-distance champ is being paid for his coziness. What’s he doing for WMA?

August 17, 2016  No Comments

Ed Whitlock the Fearless Competitor: 800 was his first in many years

Ed during 10K WR at nationals. Photo by Doug Smith

Ed during 10K WR.

Who runs marathons at world-class levels and then challenges the world-record holder at 800 meters? Insane question, right? Well, it’s just another day at the office for M85 superhuman Ed Whitlock. In response to queries after his double WR weekend, Ed graciously satisfied my shameless curiosity on his half-mile: “It was my first 800m race in many years,” he said. “I did run a 800m leg of a 4X800m relay two or three years ago in around 3 minutes. For Sunday’s race, I was hoping to stay close to Earl Fee and have a good race with him on the finishing straight, but he gained a substantial gap on me in the first 100, which then remained substantially the same for the remainder of the race. He won by about 6 seconds in 3:21.”

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August 16, 2016  2 Comments

M85 Ed Whitlock notches 2 more WRs at Canadian nationals

Ed at 2007 USA masters nationals.

Ed flows at 2007 Orono masters nationals.

Two weeks ago, M85 distance god Ed Whitlock ran a world-record 5000 meters in 24:03.99 at the Ontario Masters Championships but missed the 1500 WR a few hours later by less than a second. Over the weekend at Canadian nationals (see results), Ed got it easily. He ran the metric mile in a stunning 6:38.23 (age-graded at 3:23.94, or 101.01 percent), beating the listed WR of 6:51.32 by Yoshimitsu Miyauchi in 2009. In the track 10K Friday morning, Ed ran 51:07.53 (age-graded 27:25.74) to lower German Max Raschke’s listed WR of 52:50.80 by a crazy 1 minute, 43 seconds. In a rarity, Marathon Ed lost a race — over 800 meters. But don’t feel bad, since it was Earl Fee winning Sunday afternoon 3:21.36 to 3:27.19. (Earl holds the WR at 3:09.10.) Going into this season, Ed had 17 world track records. He also holds a slew of road WRs.

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August 15, 2016  No Comments

Rio champion’s mom is Belgian masters heptathlon standout

Masters mom gives Olympic champ a kiss.

Masters mom gives Olympic hep champ a smooch.

At 2015 Lyon worlds, Danièle Denisty of Belgium was a DNF in the W45 heptathlon, doing the Day 1 events but not Day 2. Whatever disappointment she felt was nothing compared to the joy of watching her daughter win gold in the same event – at the Rio Olympic Games. As IAAF noted: Nafissathou Thiam’s mother “is an accomplished heptathlete and competes internationally in the event at masters level. She has claimed European titles both indoors and outdoors in her age group, and has set multiple Belgian records.” Danièle even rated a mention as a masters standout in the old site. On a Belgian site, Danièle, now 50, said she had tears in her eyes, watching her 21-year-old daughter finish the 800. “It’s a dream … Even in my dreams, I dared not expect that,” Danièle told channel VTM. “I’m so happy. I guess Nafi will be many now taken, it will not be my little chick, I’m going to share a little … But I’m so happy. The 800 meters was super nice.” Thanks to Peter Van Aken for bringing this item to my attention.

August 14, 2016  One Comment

2 years of National Masters News added to archive; photos coming

The 300th issue of National Masters News — September 2003.

The 300th issue of National Masters News — August 2003.

Some good news and great news: Saturday I added 22 issues of National Masters News to — our USATF-subsidized online museum. The issues are from 2003 and 2004 — all except the December editions. (I have them somewhere.) So now we have 338 issues of NMN online from 1977 to 2006. Also coming soon: thousands of original photos from NMN. They’ve been scanned as PDFs, many with the original caption information attached. The idea is to make them searchable. (This means Google will list them.) I’m uploading the images soon to a photo archiving service attached to the history site, and you’ll be able to download the images to your desktop or mobile device. A gallery has been a longtime dream of the USATF Masters Historical Archive Committee led by Jeff Davison. Click photo below to see example of a month’s worth from August 1992.

The great Walt Butler leads a race in one of the photo PDFs coming to SmugMug.

Walt Butler leads a race in one of the photo PDFs coming to

August 13, 2016  3 Comments

Myrle Mensey named USATF Athlete of the Week for two ARs

Myrle's medals.

Myrle and her medals.

W65 thrower Myrle Mensey, with the good fortune of competing the week before Olympic track begins (when U.S. elite track is on hiatus), was named USATF Athlete of the Week on Thursday. USATF’s news release had errors, but got the major stuff right. USATF wrote: “The legendary Myrle Mensey (St. Louis, Missouri) threw the meet to new heights and set two records this past weekend at the USATF Masters Throws Championships. She improved her personal record of 5,822 in the ultra pentathlon and shattered the American record by a whopping 1,790 points. The Masters Throws Championships brought forth many records and spectacular competition and was held in Lisle, Illinois at Benedictine University. The events ranged from men and women aged 30 to 89 years old. Mensey had the unique honor to compete with her coach Jessica Becker and chiropractor at the meet, who encouraged her to perform her best. “I knew what I needed to break the record and I knew that I could break the ultra pentathlon.”

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August 12, 2016  2 Comments

Why anonymous comments are allowed on

Liz Palmer, shown at 2015 Pasadena Senior Games, triggered latest debate.

Liz Palmer, shown at 2015 Pasadena Senior Games, triggered latest drugs debate.

My hurdler friend Bill Pontius is the latest to ask: Why do you allow anonymous comments? I’m well aware of the arguments for and against, having dealt with truly vicious trolls at for seven years (the website of The San Diego Union-Tribune). But this blog is less prone to really ugly comments. I start with the assumption that we’re all adults and can take grown-up debate. I reserve the right to zap comments and ban individual commenters (and I have). But the vast majority of fake-namers contribute to the conversation (usually about doping). Some pseudonyms belong to well-known masters officials and athletes, and I don’t want to lose their wisdom. (I see their underlying email addresses.)

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August 11, 2016  21 Comments