Willie Banks knocks USATF board vote on IAAF rep reversal

Bob Hersh: on IAAF Council for 16 years.

M55 jumper and Hall of Famer Willie Banks was on the USATF Board of Directors for six years, representing masters and other committees. He saw a lot. He rarely spoke of his board tenure, and when I asked him, he was careful not to reveal too much. But when I queried him this week on what he thought of L’Affaire Hersh (the board’s reversal of a membership vote for Bob Hersh for IAAF rep), he let ‘em have it. Despite his diplomatic tone, Willie was clearly upset with his fellow directors. He told me: “I believe the best leaders provide enough information and rally public opinion to their side. Making decisions that are not transparent and well-vetted leads to distrust and anger. This is totally unforgivable for leaders of any organization.” Pow! My story for Times of San Diego details the issue, which involved USATF Prez Stephanie Hightower becoming IAAF Council nominee instead of Bob, who’s been on the council for 16 years.

Willie still jumps the jump decades after his WR and Olympic triple jump days.

February 17, 2015  3 Comments

M35 Kim Collins even faster! 6.47 WR for 60 meters at Lodz

Phototimer of Kim's 6.47.

Phototimer image of Kim’s 6.47.

Kim Collins, who twice ran 6.48 for M35 world records earlier this season, scorched 60 meters in 6.47 seconds today in Lodz, Poland. (See results.) It’s yet another PR for 39-year-old Kim, who must have found the Fountain of Youth somewhere back in St. Kitts. Here’s how the Pedro’s Cup website described the race: “Before the final race of men on the 60 meters at Atlas Arena overdue complete, absolute silence. And then we heard a shot starter and eight fastest 60 metrowców started. Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis did not disappoint the expectations of the audience. 39-year-old was the fastest and beat their personal best. His time is 6.47 seconds!” The listed age-group WR for 100 is 9.97 by Britain’s Linford Christie, but Kim ran 9.96 last year. How about his chances of beating Bolt in Beijing? That would be incredible. How low can Kim go?

February 17, 2015  5 Comments

Southwest Sprinters shatter M50 club American record in 4×4

M40 Southwest Sprinters also won at Millrose.

M40 Southwest Sprinters also won at Millrose.

With his incredible M40 WR, Bernard Lagat stole headlines from the Wanamaker Mile winner. He also took my eye off the Millrose masters relays ball. According to results, the Southwest Sprinters TC M50 4-by-400 team clocked 3:43.52. That smashes the listed American club record of 3:47.32 by New York Pioneer Club’s Ed Small, Robert Rizzo, Glen Shane and William Burrell way back in 1992. (The listed WR is a USA team’s 3:40.21 in 2003.) So mazel tov to Southwest, and to everyone who put on a show in three exhibition relays. Southwest’s M50 lead leg was Getulio “Tony” Echeandia of NYC and Puerto Rico, who ran 56.74. Later legs (with splits) were by Paul Brown of Atlanta (55.91), Bill Shelton of New York City (56.73) and David Jones of Houston (54.16). Video of relay (focusing on Greater Philly) was posted on Facebook.

Members of the Southwest M50 AR club record team are David Jones, Bill Shelton, Tony Echeandia and Paul Brown.

Members of the Southwest M50 AR club record team were (left to right) David Jones, Paul Brown, Tony Echeandia and Bill Shelton.

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February 16, 2015  3 Comments

Trautmann on WR: ‘[Barton] pushed me to set my goals higher’

Via Facebook, Olympian John Trautmann shared details of his M45 WR mile at Boston: “Thank you, everyone, for the kind words of congratulations! This record has been a goal of mine for the past 3 years and to finally see all the 80-90 mile weeks and torturous sessions on the track culminating in a world record has made every second of pain more than worthwhile. When I first started thinking about the record, it was 4:20, which I thought would be very tough but not something that would be an impossible feat. Then Brad Barton smashed that record by almost 4 seconds and ran 4:16.83. Without that performance from Brad I would have been very content running 4:19 or 4:18. Brad pushed me to set my goals higher and to push myself that much harder in training.” Here’s video of the 4:12.33 record run at Boston.

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February 15, 2015  5 Comments

Lagat crushes Coghlan world record in mile: 3:54.91 at Millrose

Bernard is No. 1 masters miler.

Well, that was easy. Bernard Lagat came from near the back of the pack in today’s Wanamaker Mile to conquer the historic 3:58.15 M40 mile world record by Eamonn Coghlan. Bernard, wearing “Kip” on his bib, clocked 3:54.91 in taking fourth at Millrose. Still awaiting his 1500-meter time, which no doubt will best the listed indoor WR of 3:44.12 by Britain’s Anthony Whiteman. Webcast of race indicated Bernard had a poor start, backing off while avoiding a jump apparently. But he carefully threaded his way to the lead of the second pack, letting Matt Centrowitz and Nick Willis battle down the stretch. Centro’s 3:51.35 was exceptional, but not an American record. The AR still belongs to Bernard at 3:49.89. Kip ran his first half in 1:57.87 and his second in 1:57.04. Perfect pacing! On the Age-Graded Tables, Bernard’s time is worth 3:42! Whattaday for masters milers!

Bernard is embraced by former WR man Eamonn Coghlan after  M40 mile record. See the USATF episode.

Bernard is embraced by former WR man Eamonn Coghlan after M40 mile record. Click to see the USATF episode. NFL Films quality!

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February 14, 2015  17 Comments

John Trautmann topples M45 mile world record by 4 seconds

John Trautmann took fifth in Section 6 of the mile at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University. But his time Saturday was stunning — 4:12.33. (See results here.) That broke the listed M45 world indoor record of 4:16.83 by Brad Barton as well as the oversized-track WR of 4:13.25 by Tony Young. It’s also the fastest M45 in the books, since the outdoor mark is Tony’s 4:16.09 in 2008. It’s even better than Svetlana Masterkova’s indoor WR of 4:12.56 in 1996. On the Age-Graded Tables, John’s time at age 46 is equivalent to an open (age 20-30) mark of 3:47.8. Hours later, Bernard Lagat lowered the M40 mile WR at Millrose.

John at New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. His new WR is perhaps the greatest of all time. Photo by Joe Navas of organicphotography.org for Level Renner.

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February 14, 2015  18 Comments

Amanda Scotti, Greg Pie-Za to mark first Valentine’s Day at meet

Amanda and Greg in FB portrait.

Amanda and Greg in Facebook portrait.

You go to Palm Springs for resorts, restaurants and shopping, right? Perfect for Valentine’s Day. But if you’re world-class masters, the real attraction Feb. 14 is the nearby senior meet. “We’re racing in the Palm Desert Senior Games on Valentine’s Day; seems like a great way to spend it,” say Amanda Scotti and Greg Pizza (pronounced Pie-Zah), whose coupledom was announced on Facebook. Amanda is, of course, the co-publisher of National Masters News and top-ranked W55 sprinter. Greg is a SoCal real-estate agent always in the mix for M60 national honors. Since I dig geezer love stories, I pestered the pair. They graciously gave in.

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February 13, 2015  3 Comments

Mile predictions: Lagat will run 3:56 Saturday, Trautmann 4:16

Bernard Lagat, unless he’s tripped or spiked, will run a mile in 3:56 Saturday at the Millrose Games in Manhattan. Fellow Olympian John Trautmann will run the same distance in 4:16 in Boston. Both will claim age-group world records in the process. Who sez? Me. But intensive coverage of both runners suggests I may be playing it safe. Today’s mail brought the March issue of Track & Field News, and the No. 1 item in its 2015 preview features a huge photo of Bernard winning the 2014 U.S. 5K title and the headline “How Much Life Is Left in Bernard Lagat’s Legs at 40?” John at 46 is featured in a wonderful RW profile, and the record he’s chasing is Brad Barton’s. And who is cheering him on? Brad Barton (via Facebook).

T&FN doesn't cover masters track — unless it's someone shooting for a 3:58.15 masters mile record.

T&FN doesn’t cover masters track — unless it’s someone shooting for M40 WR.

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February 12, 2015  4 Comments

Lonnie Hooker isn’t 6.92 fast, but still a force in masters sprints

Lonnie in the lead.

Lonnie is usually in the lead.

Several weeks ago, when a 60-meter time of 6.92 was reported for M50 Lonnie Hooker, people took notice. Yowza, a world record! Crushed Val Barnwell’s WR of 7.13 from Landover (the same site as Lonnie’s run)! Commenters noted this, too. Why no attention? So I wrote Lonnie, and alas: “The 6.92 is hand-timed,” he replied. “The meet posted the time; I did not.” But Lonnie has run 7.20 in recent years. He’s also a 2011 world medalist (bronze in the M45 100) and a Penn Relays M50 champ. So I asked for an interview and he graciously consented. His goal this season: “I plan to go to nationals, and if possible worlds. Would love to run a 4100 with Allan Tissenbaum and others with the hopes of setting a world record at worlds.”

Lonnie didn't run a 6.92 for 60, but he's certainly among top M50 sprinters.

Lonnie didn’t run a 6.92 for 60, but he’s certainly among top M50 sprinters.

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February 11, 2015  15 Comments

Russian Olympian claims M45 world records in 8, 15 and 3000

Russian record-setter VS.

According to sketchy news reports and message board postings, Russian Olympian Vyacheslav Shabunin (sometimes spelled Shavunin) has broken three M45 world indoor records in recent months — all held by Americans. Reports say VS ran 3000 in 8:23.78, 1500 in 3:52.31 and 800 in 1:55.64. Vyacheslav, who turned 45 in September, saw his M40 WR at 3000 fall to Bernard Lagat in Boston. “On Saturday, at the Moscow Champs, [Shabunin] set a new age 45 world indoor record by running 1:55.64 for 800. On Sunday, he got his second age-45 world indoor record by running 3:52.31 for 1500,” said one posting. “In his prime, Shabunin was a stud as he was a 3-time Olympian for Russia. He still is the country’s 1500 (3:32.38) and mile (3:49.83) record holder.” I’m still looking for results of all three races. But a German site reported: “Vyacheslav Shabunin, now 45 years old, put forward in the 800 meters world record a masters in age group 45 in 1:55.64 minutes.”

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February 10, 2015  4 Comments