George Hanson wins 3K at open nationals; Lagat trails open 5K

George Hanson, 40, won his second major masters exhibition race this month when he outdueled some big names at the masters 3,000 exhibition at USATF open nationals. Two weeks ago, George won the Portland Track Festival masters mile in 4:34. Sunday, he clocked 8:50.96. Minutes earlier, another 40-year-old, Bernard Lagat, took a disappointing 10th in the open 5,000 in 13:59.48 (where his 3K split would have been about 8:24). A month ago, also at Eugene, Kip ran a WR 13:14.97, destroying the listed M40 American record of 14:00.09 by Kevin Castille in 2012. (The WR had been 13:43.15 by France’s Mohammed Ezzher in 2000.) But that tactical 5K saw Galen Rupp (13:51.44) trail Ryan Hill (13:50.69) and Benjamin True. So it was a bad day for the favorites. Amy Acuff, who turns 40 in two weeks, took third (at 1.88/6-2) in the open high jump but needs a 1.94 (6-4 1/4) to jump in Beijing. She has until about Aug. 10 to get the mark.

Mark Williams (getting iced) posted shot of Eugene men's field on FB.

Mark Williams (getting iced) posted shot of Eugene men’s field on Facebook.

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June 28, 2015  5 Comments

Sonja Friend-Uhl takes 3K at Eugene; look for a record in 2016

Sonja and her well-earned gold in Eugene.

Sonja and her well-earned gold.

Sonja Friend-Uhl won the women’s exhibition 3,000 meters Saturday morning at the USA open nationals in Eugene, Oregon. Her time of 9:48.16 was short of Carmen Troncoso’s W40 American record 9:27.45. but Sonja turns 45 in March and is a good bet to challenge the listed AR of 9:57.27 by Monica Joyce in 2004. (The listed W45 WR is 9:17.27 by freak-of-nature Yekatarina Podkopayeva.). In eighth was Lesley Chaplin, whose 11:45.05 at age 57 also was notable. The masters men’s exhibition, also a 3000, is Sunday, and the field is very deep. Down in SoCal, Kathy Bergen blasted a 34.32 to claim the W75 American record in the 200 (beating Irene Obera’s 34.82 at 2011 Sacramento worlds). Kathy also had near misses at 1.23 meters (4-0 1/2) in the high jump, hoping to raise her own world record. In the men’s HJ at the Chuck McMahon meet in San Marcos, 6-foot jumpers Pete Hlavin and Willie Banks both went 1.70 (5-7) but had a jumpoff to determine the M55 winner. Both missed fourth attempts at 1.75 (5-8 3/4) before Pete won at 1.70. (Willie turns 60 in March.) Mitchell Zarders, 56, also went 1.70. Photos and video to come.

Our classy field at Hayward Field (Photos via Sonja's Facebook page)

Our classy field at Hayward Field. (Photos via Sonja’s Facebook page)

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June 27, 2015  5 Comments

Will Anne Sluder be denied her W40 U.S. pentathlon record?

Anne was a volleyball MVP a few years ago.

Anne was a volleyball MVP a few years ago. Good jump training.

Results have been posted for the big Southeastern Masters meet June 19-20. They confirm that M70 Ty Brown ran the 80-meter hurdles (not the 100s as printed) in a world record 12.69 seconds. That crushed the listed WR of 12.96 by Germany’s Arno Hamaekers in 2010. But a question mark hangs over a potential W40 pentathlon record. Anne Sluder of Pineville, North Carolina, scored 3727 points, just short of the listed WR of 3960 by Britain’s Jenny Brown. But she broke a U.S. record tie she had with Caryl Senn at 3529. (Caryl scored that in 2002, Anne in 2014.) But a witness writes: “Three women were listed to compete, and the meet was a USATF regional championship, but the other two women scratched. Anne did the whole pentathlon by herself, and thus will probably lose her record” based on the rule that three contestants must have started. I’m not sure about this. I’ve written to several experts. But if Anne loses the record because she had no female competition, it’s the height of absurdity.

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June 26, 2015  6 Comments

‘Super-Nicole’ in France claims four W55 dash WRs in one month

The French athletics site calls W55 sprinter Nicole Alexis “Super-Nicole.” That’s apt. She became the oldest woman to go sub-13 in the 100 and sub-27 in the 200 with several recent marks, topped by 12.80 on June 20 and 26.52 on June 21. The listed W55 world records are Phil Raschker’s 13.30 from 2002 and Marie Mathieu’s 27.16 in 2013. Here’s American Joy Upshaw beating Nicole in the W50 200 at 2014 Budapest indoor worlds. Nicole was third. Only Merlene Ottey seems able to join Nicole under 13 and 27, and we haven’t heard from her in several years. (She turned 55 on May 10.)

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June 25, 2015  6 Comments

Oregon’s Harvey Lewellen hammers M85 world record in Portland

Harvey after another record in 2014.

Harvey after another record in 2014.

M85 Harvey Lewellen of the Oregon Track Club Masters claimed a world record in the 3-kilo hammer over the weekend with a throw of 33.18 meters — 108-10. It beat the listed WR of 32.64 by Finland’s Leo Saarinen in 2014. (The listed M85 AR is 32.20 or 105-7 by Robert Chase in 2006.) Harvey, who set a bunch of ARs six years ago, highlighted a bunch of world-class marks at the Portland Masters Track Classic of June 20-21 at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. Hy-Tek results are here. But Linda Phillips, prez of PMTC, added men’s age group and women’s age group results. Bless her. Linda says temps were in the low 80s “with just a light breeze made for a wonderful two days of competition for the more than 220 athletes.”

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June 25, 2015  3 Comments

A year after Olga’s death, cheer those who keep her flame alive

W90 Nora is entered in six throws at Lyon. Rob Jerome  caught her at Lahti.

W90 Nora Kutti is entered in six throws at Lyon. Photographer Rob Jerome caught her at Lahti.

A year ago today, we lost Olga Kotelko — who at 95 seemed to be poised to rewrite that age group’s outdoor records (after claiming a slew of indoor bests). She is being remembered by British Columbia friends and others around the world. “We had our BC Masters Outdoor Championship/ Annual Pacific Invitational last weekend in Langley, BC,” writes Christa Bortignon. “It was there last year that she competed for the last time. Unfortunately, the weather was so bad last year that we both had decided not to run the 200m, it was 12 degrees, windy and raining on that Saturday. She never came back on the Sunday. when she was going to trying to break some more records for W95. We all miss her. She inspired and encouraged me to start track and field.”

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June 24, 2015  No Comments

Dr. Bruce Hedendal dies at 67; talented thrower, chiropractor

Bruce posted his track photo on Facebook.

Bruce posted his track photo on Facebook.

Masters throwers are mourning the loss of Bruce Eric Hedendal of Boca Raton, Florida, a coach and doctor of chiropractic who overcame the shame of a tax-evasion conviction. His obituary said he died Sunday and is survived by six children and a grandchild. “In July 2004, Hedendal pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion and agreed to pay at least $718,000 in restitution,” according to this site. “In October, he was ordered to pay that amount and was sentenced to three years of prison followed by three years of probation. He was released on May 15, 2006.” Bruce threw at 2010 Sacramento and 2013 Olathe nationals (see a video) and as recently as 2014 Winston-Salem nationals and was entered in this summer’s National Senior Games. He posted to his alternative medicine Facebook page as recently as two weeks ago. A memorial service is set for 2 p.m. Thursday, June 25, at Unity of Delray Beach church.

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June 23, 2015  54 Comments

W80 and W85 world records highlight West Coast meet action

Blanche Cummings of Yorba Linda went sub-11 for the mile at Cerritos.

Blanche Cummings of Yorba Linda went sub-11 for the mile at Cerritos College.

Irene Obera we know. Her latest world record is a lowering of her W80 best in the 80-meter hurdles to 19.34 seconds at San Francisco’s Pride Meet. Now meet Blanche Cummings, born in August 1929, who on Saturday broke the listed W85 mile world record of 11:03.11 by Gerry Davidson in 2006. Running at the same meet as Gerry — the USATF West Regional Masters Championships at Cerritos College in Norwalk (near L.A.) — Blanche became the oldest sub-11 miler with her 10:55.25. Andy Hecker has sent record paperwork to USATF records chair Jeff Brower, who speedily acknowledged receipt. Records also were reported at the Southeastern regionals, including a WR in the M70 short hurdles by Ty Brown. But I’m awaiting results for confirmation. At the Pride meet at San Francisco State University, W80 legend Irene had support from another Irene, says Alan Kolling: “Irene Herman did a wonderful job of working with all of the officials in advance, and Joy Upshaw helped to bring the correct hurdles from Los Gatos some 35 miles away, so it was truly a team effort, and fortunately Irene justified all the extra effort.”

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June 22, 2015  2 Comments

Future of mastersrankings.com in doubt — with funding an issue

Site earned Seto a David Pain Distinguished Service Award in 2009.

Milestone site earned Seto a David Pain Distinguished Service Award in 2009 from USATF.

Over the past month, visitors from 137 countries have checked out John Seto’s behemoth of a site — mastersrankings.com. “I’ve seen around 100 simultaneous visitors earlier this month and 9,000 unique visitors over a weekend,” he told me in response to queries. “There should be over 60,000 sessions and about 360,000 page views this month. There have been over 137,000 unique visitors in 190 countries over the past 10 months.” Trust me, that’s impressive. But truth is, the site he took over in 2007 (and expanded worldwide last year after I reported the demise of mastersathletics.net) is not guaranteed to last forever. Especially at this pace. John writes that he works between 60 and 85 hours a week on the site. “Almost every waking hour is spent on rankings-related stuff.” he says. “I am at my desk seven days a week around 7 a.m. and stop working between 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.” This sounds like a recipe for disaster. His rankings — actually seasonal lists — are crucial to our sport. But less than 7 percent of the data is input by athletes. The rest is stuff he harvests and uploads. So now’s a good time for a reality check.

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June 21, 2015  17 Comments

Britain’s David Heath ready for Beijing: M50 WR 1500 in 4:02.33

David turned 50 just in time for IAAF worlds.

David turned 50 just in time for IAAF worlds.

Anselm LeBourne’s IAAF challenge just got steeper. British media are reporting that David Heath smashed one of the oldest masters records on the books when he clocked 4:02.33 for 1500 at a French meet, lowering the listed WR of 4:05.2 by Australia’s Tom Roberts in 1984. A heart-attack survivor who turned 50 in May, David is likely the youngest entrant in the Beijing worlds exhibition 800. “As previously detailed in the Lynn News, at the start of the year the 50-year-old targeted the world records for 800, 1500 and 5000,” says the paper. “In March he ran 2:01.74 to secure one of the nine places for the 800m. He has since run 1:59.61 and is within a second of the world M50 record.” Yowza! Guy has game.

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June 20, 2015  12 Comments