Nearly 80 Americans set for Toronto are world or national champs

Bob Weiner’s news release on WMA Toronto regionals includes a nifty chart by Mary Trotto noting the Yanks with current world or national titles — 77 by her count. “In addition to USA and Canada, nations represented at the meet include Mexico, Australia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Belize, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, UK, India, Ireland, Peru, Antigua and Barbuda, Guatemala, Indonesia, Virgin Islands, Brazil, Nicaragua, Barbados,” Bob writes.

York Lions Stadium hosted 2015 Pan Am Games and will be a 2020 worlds site.

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August 6, 2017  No Comments

Clock starts! When will the M35 records for 100 meters be updated?

The August 1980 issue of National Masters News carried this buried item on page 3: “Bill Seldon reports that on June 14 Ruben Whitney of San Antonio, Texas, tied the 35-39 world mark for the 100. Whitney’s 10.3 would break the existing American mark of 10.4. set by Mel Pender in 1973. It would tie the global best time set by Ed Jefferis of South Africa in 1971. National Records Chairman Pete Mundle is verifying the mark. Whitney ran 10.7 in Philadelphia (at AAU masters nationals at Penn) with what appeared to be a heavily taped hamstring.” Hey, Ruben. Someone broke your American record Saturday! Of course, I noted as early as 2006 that Ruben’s 10.3 was bettered by assorted M35s, including Jeff Laynes, Dennis Lewis, Kevin Braunskill and a cat named Carl Lewis. So thanks, Justin. Assuming you pass doping control and your birth certificate isn’t fake, your 9.92 at London IAAF worlds in the 100-meter final Saturday should be listed as the M35 American and world record. That beats Ruben’s 10.3, probably hand-timed, and all the others that never got AR recognition. The listed M35 WR is 9.96 by Kim Collins in 2014. Now let’s see how soon Jeff Brower and Sandy Pashkin reflect the Gatlin 9.92 on their lists. At least mark the mark as pending, ladies and gents.

August 5, 2017  4 Comments

Yanks outnumber Canucks at Toronto WMA regional championships

Entrants are posted here for Toronto’s North and Central America and Caribbean Region WMA Championships — aka the We Bailed Out Mexico Meet. From Katty Abran to Debbie Zinman, both Canadians, the list includes 948 athletes, including submasters like Olympian Walter Dix. The most interesting stat? Team USA accounts for 385 athletes — more than the host nation’s 374 (even with the meet doubling as Canadian masters nationals). But that means better competition at the Aug. 11-13 meet. (Heck, I run faster with 9-year-olds next to me.) I haven’t counted the nations involved, but a bunch are here, including Mexico (79 entrants) and Puerto Rico (33). The oldest athlete is 94-year-old Atter Singh Sekhon of Canada. America’s senior star is 92-year-old George Roudebush. Mexico sends 91-year-old jumper Victor Sanchez Mendoza. Here’s a nice summary video narrated by meet director Doug “Shaggy” Smith and a Spanish-speaking gent.

August 3, 2017  5 Comments

London schmondon; USATF masters throwers plan strong meet, too

Mary Roman is W80 star. Frank Poulin photo

More than 80 weightfolk are entered this weekend in the USATF Masters Throws Championships at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. Many big names are coming, including Ray Feick, Tim Morse, Tim Muller, Larry Rheams, Patrick Toland, Carol Finsrud, Neni Lewis, Gloria Krug, Myrle Mensey and Mary Roman. It’s basically a meet to decide the best all-around throwers in the Throws Pentathlon (Saturday) and the Ultra Weight Pentathlon / Superweight Championship (Sunday). Records can be set in individual events, and we expect a few from W60 Carol and W65 Myrle. Sadly, it’s not being live streamed. But another meet, starting Friday in London, can be viewed live on YouTube. The IAAF Kiddies meet (which includes assorted masters) will be on cable, too. Here’s the USATF release with the TV schedule. Best of luck to all, including the LOC Twilight Throwers.

August 2, 2017  7 Comments

Emil Pawlik gets early start on 2018 WMA worlds in Malaga, Spain

M75 multi-eventer Emil Pawlik, a 2004 Masters Hall of Famer, has good years and great years. He’s having a good one in 2017 — his 30th in our niche sport — and gearing up for a great one in 2018. His local paper reports his secret: “Pawlik, a self-described early riser, is on a high school track several mornings a week at daybreak during the summer months. Once the weather gets cold, he’ll move back indoors for weight training, short-distance running and cycling. His daughter, an avid tri-athlete, also has the track and field bug, and Pawlik cheers on his young grandsons as they play every sport they can take part in. And Pawlik’s wife travels with him to all of his track and field competitions, wherever they are.” He says: “In 2018 I’ll compete in the World Masters Athletics Championships in Spain and at U.S. venues in Ohio and North Carolina. I think it’s so important if you’re physically fit and without medical problems to stay in shape, to better yourself. It will really increase your quality of life in your later years.” He’s 78 now, and I’ve seen him run hurdles for ages. Sounds like I need to set my alarm earlier.

August 1, 2017  11 Comments

Tributes pour in for Monte Upshaw, Joy’s dad and track inspiration

Monte Upshaw was a star at Cal after his HS LJ record. He died last week at 81.

Joy Upshaw is a Masters Hall of Famer in large part because of her dad’s example and inspiration, not to mention his genes. Monte Upshaw in 1954 broke Jesse Owens’ high school long jump record. Joy, and her younger sister, Grace, went on to snap other long jump records in masters and college ranks. Grace was a two-time Olympian. So when Monte Upshaw died last week at 81, Joy’s Facebook feed was filled with tributes. Joy wrote: “Thank you Daddio for your love & support. ❤️ You taught us to be generous, thankful, humble and friendly. So many memories of family trips, track meets, father/daughter dances, CAL games, lunch dates, Sinatra singing, reservoir runs, etc. You have always been a great example for us all… a terrific father, grandfather, friend, athlete & positive person! You have left a legacy🌟❤️81 years of Wonderful Life🎼✨”

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July 30, 2017  9 Comments

Scott McPherson lays out theories on how he tested positive at ABQ

In my Times of San Diego story on M60 walker Scott McPherson and his four-year doping ban, I report that USADA found no other drug positives at Albuquerque indoor nationals. So that’s newsy news. The rest is Scott’s theories on how steroids entered his system. I also quote a USADA spokeswoman at length saying they did everything just right. Basically devolves into a he-said, she-said. My heart sank when he told me one other thing — he missed his flight home because of being stuck in drug control. Didn’t get back until midnight. Anyway, check out the yarn, and tell me what it weaves.

Scott McPherson sent a photo to USADA to help prove he wasn’t on steroids.

July 28, 2017  10 Comments

Denmark hosting strongest 2017 outdoor masters meet in the world

Aarhus on map.

Don’t look now, but the best masters track meet this summer has started in Denmark. It’s the European Masters Athletics Championships, aka WMA regionals. Well, do look. The folks in Aarhus are likely to be your competition at 2018 worlds in Malaga, Spain. The meet continues through Aug. 6, with the sked here. They have an Instagram account and a Facebook feed. Oh, did I forget something? Results are being posted here, including Day 1 of the decathlon featuring M90 Karri Wichmann of Finland — shooting for Ralph Maxwell’s WR of 7009 points.

Wide-angle shot of Ceres Park & Arena, the main stadium for Eurovets meet.

July 27, 2017  4 Comments

M60 Scott McPherson on USADA 4-year doping sanction: ‘I’m done’

Scott is a former “back-of-the-packer” 5K and 10K fun runner who quit because of knee problems.

Scott McPherson of Lubbock, Texas, called me Wednesday to talk about his 4-year doping ban by USADA. Yes, he’s the optometrist I found online. No, he’s not a drug cheat. He calls this case “comical” because he’s been race walking only a year as a hobby. Here’s what I learned in a 20-minute chat: He’s 5-4, 110 pounds “dripping wet” and a back-of-the-pack former roadie who insists he’s never taken steroids. He’s not sure how the drug got into his system, but he suspects it was the “goop” that he accidentally touched on a bleacher seat behind him at ABQ nationals — or a contaminated sample. He chose not to fight the USADA sanction because he didn’t want the expense of a lawyer. He said: “I’m done.” He has no idea why he was chosen for testing, but he said he saw chaos in the testing area where 7 or 8 other athletes also were giving urine samples — and where two unlabeled partial containers were combined in front of him and called his. He says he and his wife are deacons in a Lubbock church and when friends hear of his USADA case they just shake their heads and say, “”You got to be kidding!” I’m seeking comment from USADA HQ for the sake of a deeper story in Times of San Diego. Stay tuned.

July 26, 2017  18 Comments

Nick Symmonds offers Vegas plan to jumpstart pro track & field

Nick Symmonds, the great 800-meter man, is retired from pro track but not trying to fix the sport. He doesn’t turn 35 until the end of 2018, but maybe he’ll have ideas for masters as well. “If I could raise $2–3 million,” he writes, “I could put on the world’s greatest and most modern track and field meet. But first things first, it would have to be in Nevada because gambling is legal there, so ideally that means Las Vegas. The additional revenue from gate receipts, food and beer sales, and gambling proceeds would be key to making it work.”

Nick would even sacrifice the 800 for a better spectator meet experience.

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July 25, 2017  9 Comments