Peruvians welcome M90 champion ‘like a hero’ — how about you?

Anyone in Lyon would recognize this gent. Hugo Antonio Delgado Flores, 91, wore a big watch and bigger gray beard. It didn’t hurt his sprints apparently. Now we learn from his home country media that “he arrived last Wednesday night at the airport of his home town of Arequipa to proud family members and fans, after winning gold in the 100m sprint at the World Master Athletics 2015. He was received the night of last Wednesday like a hero.” Most champions returning home don’t get the hero treatment, but wouldn’t it be nice if everyone did? World titles don’t grow on trees. How did YOUR friends, family and work colleagues treat you upon arrival?

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August 21, 2015  No Comments

Nearly 1,000 videos of Lyon worlds on YouTube keep spirit alive

Lyon's LOC Prez Marcel Ferrari  watches Stan hand WMA flag to Perth's Robert Schickert .

Lyon’s LOC Prez Marcel Ferrari watches Stan hand WMA flag to Perth’s Robert Schickert .

M105 Polish sprinter Stansilaw Kowalski didn’t make it to Lyon. (I don’t know why.) So the oldest entrant at worlds was Brazil’s Frederico Fischer, 98, who ate up the attention. He told media folks that he was a decathlete in his youth and was a national champion 400-meter guy. “Sports are the best doctors you can have,” he says in the YouTube clip created by Pierre Coquelle for the Lyon LOC. “I have run just for fun because seeing so many people is wonderful.” It’s one of nearly 1,000 videos posted from worlds — gotta be a record. Many were by athletes and friends, including American Linda Carty, who told me: “Between me and my super-cameraman/editor/producer Clinton Aurelien, we got some good masters stuff.” (See her YouTube channel.) The Eurovets site posted a shot from closing ceremonies, where WMA President Stan Perkins handed the WMA flag to 2016 LOC chief Robert Schickert, who said: “I welcome you all to Perth – come and enjoy the hospitality of Australia!” See the Lyon farewell video as well.

August 20, 2015  2 Comments

Angela Jimenez raising funds for ‘Racing Age’ book via Kickstarter

Angela appears in video posted with Kickstarter drive.

Angela in video posted with Kickstarter drive.

As many have noted, Angela Jimenez of Minneapolis took her world-class eye to Lyon and captured amazing images for The New York Times. (See the gallery here.) It’s part of her ongoing “Racing Age” series on masters track (which I first wrote about five years ago). Now I’ve been informed that Angela is using Kickstarter in hopes of raising $25,000 for a book of her work on masters athletes of retirement age and older. See it here. As with all Kickstarter drives, you get something in return — from a personalized post card (for a $15 pledge) to having Angela herself come out and shoot you (or another athlete) with her Hasselblad (for $2,500). Many pledgers will get her book as well when it comes out in 2016. Angela — like Rob Jerome, Alex Rotas, Tom Phillips, Doug Smith and Lesley Richardson — is helping spread the gospel to a mass audience. Angela says: “Help keeps these athletes’ stories, and spirits, alive.” She deserves our help as well.

August 19, 2015  No Comments

Team USA final count at Lyon was 160 medals (57 of them gold)

At 81, Flo Meiler was the oldest female steeplechaser at Lyon. Photo by Rob Jerome

At 81, Flo Meiler was the oldest female steeplechaser at Lyon. Photo by Rob Jerome

Bob Weiner and Mary Trotto, apparently with little help from the LOC, crunched the numbers at Lyon worlds and came up with Team USA winning 160 medals, including 57 golds. Flo Meiler at 81 is taking 10 medals home to Vermont, including golds in 2K steeple, short relay, vault, triple jump and hep, where she raised the WR. The Lyon site promises a medal count, but the best it can do is a tally from Aug. 12. The meet ended Aug. 16. I’m still waiting, waiting for any sign of the new WMA Constitution, approved at the General Assembly last Thursday. (I’ve written to people.) Some may still be on vacation — as I note from my Facebook feed, with lots of folks posting their French tourist shots. (But results appear to be complete, and I combined all the PDFs into one). In any case, congrats to all the Yanks for soldiering through tough conditions.

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August 18, 2015  9 Comments

Don Pellmann turns M100, may try for more records this summer

Don (in red) with family and fans at Levi Stadium.

Don (in red) with family and fans at Levi Stadium.

Ten years ago, Don Pellmann of the S.F. Bay Area was rewriting the M90 record books. When I asked him about his future, he replied: “I see the really old guys (90s and over) that still try (and) do so miserably, that almost any effort can win. I feel it is time to ‘Hang them up’!” Well, guess what? Don turned 100 last week, and he’s still looking for records to conquer. He might compete this fall at the San Diego Senior Olympics or the Huntsman World Masters Games in Utah. On Wednesday, his big day, family members took him to a Giants game and he also got a tour of Levi’s Stadium, the new NFL home of the Niners. Don is still listed WR man in seven jumps and throws. It’d be great to see him add to his legend!

Giants mascot gave Don and his son Ned a ride at Aug. 12 game (S.F. lost to Astros 2-0.)

The S.F. Giants mascot gave Don and his son Ned a ride at Aug. 12 game.

August 17, 2015  One Comment

U.S. W80 teams shatter relay world records on Lyon’s final day

Brits celebrate W35 WR, bettering listed mark of 3:19.45 by U.S. team at Winston-Salem nationals

Brits celebrate W35 WR, bettering listed mark of 3:19.45 by U.S. team at Winston-Salem nationals. Photo by Tom Phillips

At least six world records were set in relays Sunday at Lyon worlds, including two by American 80-plus ladies in the 4-by-1 and 4-by-4. In the short relay, Christel Donley, Flo Meiler, Fei-Mei Chou and Irene Obera clocked 1:21.06 to demolish the listed WR of 1:49.15 by a Canadian team including Olga Kotelko in 2008. Even more incredible was the 8:39.32 for the 1600 relay by the same team (with Mary Harada taking Flo’s place). They shaved more than a minute off the listed WR of 9:49.43 by Brazil in 2006. WRs also were set in the W60 and W70 4-by-4 and W35 4-by-1 and M35 4-by-4 (Britain’s 3:17.82, not showing up in results. But see photo), an indication that the debut age group is attracting more elites. Athletics Weekly has a nice UK-centric roundup of relays and other events.

From left: Fei-Mei, Irene, Christel and Mary with their latest WR. Photo by Tom Phillips.

From left: Fei-Mei, Irene, Christel and Mary with WR. Photo by Tom Phillips.

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August 16, 2015  4 Comments

France, UK, Germany and USA to battle for Lyon relay dominance

British joy at Lahti worlds in M35 4×4.

Sunday in Lyon is Relays Day as the 21st World Masters Athletics Championships conclude. The medal count as of Aug. 12 showed this order overall: Germany, France, UK and USA. I’m looking for great things from the French women, who could be anchored by Super-Nicole” Alexis in W55 (or a younger group if needed.) Results indicated she set world records in the 1 or 2, but as usual they didn’t take into account her own marks from earlier this season. She set no WRs in Lyon (except for speed into a furnace headwind). I’m also seeing Facebook postings about athletes bemoaning relay picks. It’s a recurring issue, but at least the American selection system has been laid out plainly. (As is Australia’s.) It’s not as subjective as some might contend. Every two years, the world meet produces WR marks in the relays. Look for the same in Lyon. Best of luck to all the squads — and don’t do what I did at Lahti (heave the baton into the air out of joy. I caught it.) My bronze-medal team wasn’t DQ’d, but yours could be.

August 15, 2015  8 Comments

David Heath, Melitta Czerwenka-Nagel star with WRs in 1500

Ray and Anselm after another close race.

Ray and Anselm after another close race.

David Heath and Anselm LeBourne will meet in the IAAF Beijing 800 exhibition in two weeks, but it looks like David is a front-runner for gold. Friday in Lyon, the brilliant Brit clocked 4:01.54 in the metric mile at age 50. That crushed one of the oldest world records on the books — the 4:05.2 by Australia’s Tom Roberts in 1984. In the M55 final, Anselm edged fellow American Ray Knerr, 4:22.21 to 4:22.49. So that makes two golds for Anselm, who also won the 800 in 2:04.79 (with Ray getting silver there, too, in 2:05.29. David won M50 in 2:01.93.) Would love to see them in a 4-by-800, but WMA doesn’t contest this event. Perhaps even more amazing than David and Anselm was Germany’s Melitta Czerwenka-Nagel, a W85 superstar who ran WRs in both the 8 and 15, clocking 4:15.99 and 8:50.42 (the listed WRs are 4:56.10 and 8:51.67). She also won the 10K in 33:35.62. Melitta also holds the W80 WRs for 1500 and 3000 and the W75 WR for 10K. Notable in M35 was a rare tie. Artur Kern of Poland and Alberto Sabado of Spain were both timed in 4:02:652. But back to David’s 4:01.54. That’s equivalent to a sub-4:20 mile. The listed M50 WR is Nolan Shaheed’s 4:25.04. So get this gent to the Iffley Road track!

Anselm signals victory in M55 1500, edging Ray. Photos by Tom Phillips

Anselm signals victory in M55 1500, edging Ray. Photos by Tom Phillips

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August 14, 2015  5 Comments

Rachel Guest is USA’s W40 lion of Lyon with American hep record

Rachel jumps in her AR hep. Rob Jerome photo

Rachel soars in her hep AR. Rob Jerome photo

Liz Palmer is a connoisseur of fine wines — and masters athletes. She reminded me of the wonderful worlds Rachel Guest is having. She’s been on my radar, but I haven’t had a chance to do her justice. Liz helped me, providing this summary: “Rachel Guest turned 40 in April and turned her attention to the W40 American record in the heptathon at Lyon. The current AR is 4463 set by Caryl Senn-Griffiths in 2003. Rachel eclipsed that by over 1,000 points with a score of 5468 that earned her the silver medal in that event. The winner of the event was Marsha Mark-Baird, a two-time Olympian from Trinidad and Tobago. Rachel led the hep in total scoring until the javelin when Marsha overtook her lead and ultimately won the gold medal.  Rachel finished first in the hurdles, high jump and 200. Her marks: 80 hurdles (11.62, 1013 pts), high jump (1.61, 941), shot put (8.87, 519), 200 (26.04, 949), long jump (5.54, 893), javelin (31.56, 595) and 800 (2:49.14, 558). In addition, Rachel scored a bronze in the long jump, leaping to a mark of 5.56 (18-3) with Mark-Baird taking the gold. Rachel’s final event will be the 80m hurdles, where she has the world leading mark and is hoping for another American record — the existing standard of 11.47 seconds was set by Stephanie Thomas in 2005. Rachel’s season best is 11.62 and she is keeping her fingers crossed!” So are we, Liz. Go Rachel!

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August 13, 2015  8 Comments

Back to Spain in 2018: Delegates pick Málaga for outdoor worlds

According to Spanish media, the southern city of Málaga has been chosen to host outdoor worlds in 2018. The city of 570,000 outpolled a bid from the Venice region of Italy in Thursday’s General Assembly in Lyon. This reflects the sentiment of our poll. Malaga won by a vote of 98 to 25, WMA source tells me. “It will be the second time that our country hosts the veteran athletics showpiece after the edition which was held in San Sebastian in 2005,” the report noted without sharing the exact vote count. “The next edition of the championship will be held in the Australian city of Perth from 26 October through November 6, 2016.” WMA’s website has yet to post the news, but I’ve written for details about this and other decisions. Thursday is rest day at worlds, but here’s the results site and perhaps a better compilation on the WMA site. Now can’t USA get its act together and bid for 2020?

Here's what the potential main stadium looks like in Málaga, Spain, for 2018.

Here’s what the potential main stadium looks like in Malaga, Spain, for 2018.

August 13, 2015  15 Comments