ARs: M60 Rodney Atherton (hep), W35 Julie Williams-Tinkham (WT)

Julie was honored last summer, too.

Besides the Sonja Friend-Uhl sub-5 mile AR, two other American records were set last weekend — in the M60 hep at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and W35 weight throw at Providence Career and Technical Academy in Rhode Island. At the master hep nationals, Rodney Atherton of Florida scored 5519 points to beat the listed AR of 5393 by Doug Osland three years ago. His marks were 8.78 in the 60, 5.11 (16-9 1/4) in the long jump, 11.53 (37-10) in the shot, 1.57 (5-1 3/4) in the high jump, 10.02 in the 60 hurdles, 3.40 (11-1 3/4) in the vault and 4:00.65 (1000 meters). At the New England USATF Masters indoor meet, Julie Williams-Tinkham threw 15.51 (50-10 3/4) to beat the listed weight throw AR of 15.35 (50-4) by Marilyn Coleman in 2014 at Budapest worlds. “She also competed in the shot put and super weight throw. In 2017, Williams-Tinkham was named the August Athlete of the Month after breaking the American Record in the 35-39 age division for the super weight throw,” said New England USATF. Here are the men’s hep results and women’s hep results. Here are the New England results. Rob Jerome took his usual incredible photos at Kenosha.

January 30, 2018  20 Comments

Sonja Friend-Uhl, at almost 47, cracks 5 in mile for American record

Nineteen months ago, W45 Sonja Friend-Uhl withdrew from a masters exhibition at the 2016 Olympic Trials. Now the middle-distance superstar is recovered from a strained hamstring and plantar fasciitis in her right foot. How recovered? How about becoming the oldest American woman to run a sub-5 mile indoors? On Facebook, Sonja posted news of her 4:59.99 Sunday at the KMC Invite in Birmingham, Alabama. That beats the listed AR of 5:04.02 set by Alisa Harvey in 2011. (The outdoor AR is 4:56.28 by Kris Paaso in 2016.) Sonja turns 47 in March, so this is an amazing mark. At the same meet, Sonja also ran the 400 in 62.39. Sh wrote: “Man, those girls are fast! I really need to learn how to use starting blocks! I felt a bit rusty and I have much work to do regarding my speed and power, but it was a solid opener to the season and I’m grateful for it!” Sonja’ all-time indoor mile best is 4:39.72 — when she was 28. So she’s lost an average of 1.12 seconds a year for 18 years. Incredible.

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January 29, 2018  6 Comments

USATF President Lananna mentions masters in his report to board

Vin Lananna visited San Diego on listening tour.

USATF President Vin Lananna made a report to the board at the Ohio annual meeting, and he even used the M-word six times! But don’t look for revelations or a vision. He’s basically checking boxes. Here’s what he said: “Masters Athletics continues to expand in both participation and in level of performance. As USA Track & Field celebrated the 50th anniversary of the USA Masters Championships this past summer in Baton Rouge, it was easy to see why Team USA performs so well at the international level. We all value the hard work and dedication our masters athletes display as they represent our sport. Equipping our masters teams in official USATF team gear and having staff support the team was a huge step forward. I see this type of service as an attractive way to generate new members for USATF and I hope Rex Harvey, Master’s Track & Field Committee Chair, and his team can continue to find ways to better support masters in the future.” Fortunately, Rex is plowing through his to-do list, including shaking up committees, naming new chairs.

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January 25, 2018  2 Comments

Gary Snyder: How about holding an all-comers meet at worlds?

Gary fires first shot in WMA prez race.

Gary Snyder has issued a “vision” statement in his race for WMA president at Malaga worlds. Creative stuff. He’s thinking beyond the current lets-put-on-a-track-meet-and-raise-money-for-travel-junkets mind-set of WMA leadership. One idea is holding a low-key meet concurrently with worlds. (Cheaper entry fees and less pressure for rookies, I imagine.) “Add a low key competition category for ‘participants’ – no medals – no records – just compete,” Gary writes. “This would attract new athletes not only for the championships but lifetime members for local clubs etc.” He’s running against a German lady not admired in some German circles. (I’m not aware of a third candidate.) So it looks as if Gary and Margit Jungmann will be going mano-a-mano. Eventually, I’ll shoot both of them a set of smarmy questions. If you have topics I should cover, post your queries here or shoot me email.

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January 23, 2018  10 Comments

Masters invited to sprint/hurdles camp at JDL Fast Track in N.C.

Our friend Steve McGill, a hurdles expert and author of a Rod Milburn biography, is offering another sprint/hurdles camp. He says: “I did one in November and one masters athlete came, and she really enjoyed it and really learned a lot.” So Steve is inviting masters to his next one at JDL Fast Track in North Carolina. It’s 9 a.m to 4 p.m. March 31 – April 1. Steve will coach, along with Hector Cotto and Jenna Pepe. Cost is $250 or three or more athletes $230 each. “We teach sprinters and hurdlers efficient mechanics and technique,” the camp website says. “Our ability to teach and explain and to provide individualized attention as needed is what sets us apart.”

Inaugural Speed and Hurdle camp was held at JDL Fast Track in November.

January 22, 2018  3 Comments

WR rampage by M65 Ritte, W75 Lafayette-Boyd, W55 Matheson

Carol is keeping ahead of Wolfgang in her jump.

Germany’s Wolfgang Ritte, dubbed the Masters Bubka by Bubba Sparks, broke the M65 indoor world record in the vault twice on Jan. 19, ending at 3.95 meters (12-11 1/2). Wölfie turned 65 on Jan. 7. He bettered the listed WR of American John Altendorf — 3.86 (12-8) at the Reno Pole Vault Summit in 2013. In Edmonton, Alberta, over the weekend, Canada, W75 Carol Lafayette-Boyd reportedly smashed world indoor WRs in the long jump and triple jump. She long jumped 3.97 (13-0 1/4) to better Christiane Schmalbruch’s record of 3.71 (12-2). She triple jumped 8.46 (27-9 1/4) to cream Christiane’s record of 7.87 (25-10). Loretta Amerongen also reports Carol broke Canadian records in the 60 – 9.66 (Kathy Bergen’s world record is 9.49) and she also broke the Canadian record in the 200 — 33.45 (Kathy’s world record is 33.06). Awaiting results here. Finally, the UK’s Bridget Cushen reports on the WMA site: “Competing in the Scottish Masters 3000m Indoor Championships on 4 January (actually Jan. 7), 56-year-old Fiona Matheson broke her own W55 10.21.52 sec record set almost a year to the day in the same stadium. The 2014 WMA W50 Indoor 1500/3000m silver medallist in Budapest in 2014 was running in a mixed-age category when she lowered her own record by almost 3 seconds to establish a new W55 world record of 10:18.87 sec.

January 21, 2018  2 Comments

Shocker for track world: Track & Field News folds print edition

The last print edition of T&FN featured high jumper Mutaz Barshim.

This really hurts: Track & Field News on Tuesday announced that it has mailed its last print edition. (Only online from now on.) I’m preparing a story for Times of San Diego. If you have a “Bible of the Sport” story to tell, please post a comment or shoot me a note. I’ve been a subscriber since 1970, when I was a sophomore in high school and first saw the magazine (black and white at time) at an Orange County invitational pro-level meet. (John Carlos was there.) I was a listed contributor in the late 1970s and 1980s, covering Jim Ryun’s retirement press conference at KU and doing the first (and maybe only) non-staff-written Q&A interview (with Al Oerter around 1979). I was rough on editor Garry Hill for his infamous “nobody gives a rat’s ass about masters track” comment of 20 years ago. But I was a fan of the mag. This is the end of an era to end all eras.

January 16, 2018  16 Comments

Ontario Masters meets pioneering mixed-sex 4×400 relay records

Mixed-sex relays run in any order.

Last April, the IAAF held a mixed-sex 4×400 relay, reporting thusly: “The beauty of the mixed relay is its anarchy, the absence of a set running order of sexes allowing for final legs like the one we witnessed here.” To Duncan Greenshields of Ontario Masters Athletics, the beauty is the record-setting opportunity. As OMA records czar, Duncan is thrilled to announce his province will soon have a bunch of new records. “Your opportunity to set an Ontario Masters relay record just DOUBLED!” he writes. “Did you know the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will have a mixed Men/Women’s 4x400m relay? Yes it will! And we’re starting here in Ontario, too…. We are beginning with Mini Meet #2 (Jan 21st) with a 4×400 relay!” He concludes: “But don’t run only for the record. Run because a relay is fantastic fun. And you will be part of making history.” Nice. Masters meets have experimented with mixed 4x100s, but to me the beauty is it makes possible for more people to run relays. Easier to get two guys and two gals together in a given age group than four guys or four gals. Best of luck, Duncan!

January 15, 2018  2 Comments

M75-plus, W70-plus sprinters sought for ABQ exhibitions Feb. 18

New Mexico is good for sprinters.

On Sunday, Feb. 18, masters exhibition 200-meter races are being held at USATF open indoor nationals in Albuquerque. Joy Upshaw is in charge of putting fields together in W70-plus and M75-plus. But the Status of Entries page shows nobody registered. Uh oh. The time standards are sub-30 for men and sub-34 for women. I suspect those will ease if need be. A Facebook post says: “Each field will have six athletes and the races will be run in prime time. … Contact Joy Upshaw ( for details.” Joy also is looking ahead to a long-jump-centric meet. Her local paper says: “Joy and [Olympian sister] Grace, along with their other siblings Chip and Merry, plan to honor their father with a Monte Upshaw Long Jump Festival to be held at Edwards Stadium…. The event is being planned to coincide with the Brutus Hamilton Invitational meet on April 27-28. Proceeds will go to benefit the UC Berkeley track program. The venue is appropriate, since the long jump pit at the stadium is memorialized with a plaque in Monte’s name. Monte and Grace Upshaw are the first father/daughter pair inducted to the UC Berkeley track and field Hall of Fame.”

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January 10, 2018  22 Comments

Eurovets president, secretary accused of drug-positive cover-up

Portugal’s Helena stands accused of sweeping drug case under the rug.

How could M50 Ukrainian high jumper Oleg Kramar compete at 2016 outdoor and 2017 indoor worlds despite having tested positive for banned stuff at the EMA indoor championships March 29-April 3, 2016? A European wondered the same. This person tapped contacts at IAAF and FIDAL (the Italian track federation) as well as EMA leakers to learn something stunning. Oleg was never told about the drug-positive. The folks in charge of the Ancona indoor meet, where Oleg was found with Stanozolol in his system, covered up the test for months. “The doping delegate of EMA was [Portugal’s] Helena Maria da Silva Pires de Carvalho at the same time she was indoor manager in Ancona and EMA secretary,” this source told me, noting that “at the end of May, the [NADO testing] laboratory [had] sent out a list with all sample codes. These sample codes are in the hand of the doping delegate, in this case … Helena Carvalho. The doping delegate must act if there is a positive case.” My source went on: “The main responsible person in Ancona was Kurt Kaschke, president of EMA. … In one sentence: Helena … did a small part of her duties and forgot to inform IAAF as well as the Ukrainian federation about the case.” My source also noted controversies over the new EMA Constitution at the July-August 2017 European masters outdoor meet in Aarhus, Denmark (where Oleg also jumped).

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January 9, 2018  3 Comments