50 years of Ohio Racewalker now searchable on mastershistory.org

The year after he took 17th in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, race walker Jack Mortland started a modest newsletter. Called Ohio Race Walker, the publication was self-indulgent from the get-go. And self-deprecating. (“Our purpose is mainly to present information and news on the sport (and to keep our own names in print) and we are not planning any crusading-type journalism,” Jack wrote.) The first issue named Jack Mortland Ohio Walker of the Month for February “by an unbiased selection committee (his mother, father, sister and wife).” Along with walk rival Jack “Doc” Blackburn, Mortland was its main editor for decades. It ceased print publication in September 2014. First posted on racewalk.com, the entire 593-issue series has now been added to mastershistory.org — with a crucial difference. The original versions were scanned as images. But the issues on mastershistory.org are text-searchable. That means search engines like Google will eventually have an index of all the results, world rankings and masters mentions in this seminal publication. Over time it became an authority on the sport worldwide. We’re honored to share this, thanks to racewalk.com founder Jeff Salvage and a grant from the USA Masters T&F Committee.

Six decades, 593 issues, of ORW are searchable on mastershistory.org.

December 2, 2017  4 Comments

Canada’s Paul Osland gives masters training tips for distances

Canadian Running has a way with masters — Dan Way specifically. He’s creating a series of training tips videos with the help, this time, of Paul Osland, a world-class middle distancer and coach. Here’s what we learn: “The workout this week: 10 to 12 sets of 300m with a 100m jog for the rest break. This workout isn’t meant to feel like speed work as it’s to be done at 3K and run continuously so as to tax a runner aerobically. As Osland points out, masters athletes need to be mindful about not just the volume of the workout, but also the intensity. A big component of the sport is making sure to listen to the body in order to stay injury free. Adjustments that need to be made to the workout and training plan to make that happen change with age. Factors like reps and set breaks will also vary from individual to individual.”

December 1, 2017  No Comments

Kathy Martin, Bob Lida named USATF Masters T&F Athletes of Year

Jeff Watry won the David Pain Distinguished Service Award.

W65 distance great Kathy Martin and M80 sprint icon Bob Lida have been named USATF Masters Track & Field Athletes of the Year. They were chosen by the Masters T&F Awards Committee, of which I’m a member, after also being nominated to represent the United States as regional nominees for WMA Athletes of the Year. I don’t know who our North, Central and Caribbean regional folks chose. But they’d be great picks. Kathy set indoor WRs in the 800 (2:44.35), 1500 (5:25.29), mile (5:51.74) and 3000 (11:35.98), and outdoor WRs in the 1500 (5:25.65) and 2000 steeple (8:52.49). Bob set indoor WRs in the 200 (29.15) and 400 (70.20). Both also claimed some additional American records. (See ’em all here.) Our committee also chose fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Watry for the David Pain Distinguished Service Award (the second Jeff in a row, after hurdlemeister Jeff Davison last year). Watry, whom I interviewed in 2015, has been been USATF Combined Events coordinator for around 20 years after taking over from Rex Harvey. When he first met Rex, Jeff wrote a program on an Apple IIe to help score the age-graded multis. It was used a few years until Hy-Tek came along.

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November 30, 2017  5 Comments

Volodymyr Shelever denies doping at Perth worlds, hints sabotage

I’m guessing this photo from Twitter is Volodymyr.

On Nov. 16, I noted the four-year doping ban of M55 high jump world champion Volodymyr Shelever. After Aussie officials declined to give me his email address, I got it from a Down Under friend. I wrote Volodymyr and he replied a week ago: “I didn’t take any drugs or steroids. I don’t know what it is / sorry for my english/. This is for me very hurt time in my life. I have no money for [lawyer] and don’t like to spent my time to [prove] I didn’t use any steroids or drugs. I did very good job like a coach and somebody doesn’t like this. Every session with my students I create something, and I really miss it. Thank you for your attention.” Thrilled to get a reply (but not answers to all my questions), I wrote him again. My main interest: How did the drug get into your system? He replied: “Incorrect question. Correct question is how did drug get in my urine?” I wrote back again, but haven’t heard from him. So there you have it. A denial and an accusation. He apparently thinks someone put Dianabol into his urine sample at Perth worlds. I have no idea if his story is credible. But it would be nice to know if he shared this account with anyone else.

November 29, 2017  10 Comments

USATF may add membership fee requirement to masters records

Say you’re a 90-year-old who’s raced 5Ks and 10Ks locally for years. You hear of a meet in town, and you enter the 5000 — and break an M90 or W90 American record! The meet is USATF-sanctioned. Rails line the track. And you have enough rivals to make it legit. After filling out the paperwork, you deserve to see the record ratified, right? Not so fast. If Graeme Shirley and Gary Snyder have their way, you’d have one more hurdle to jump: You have to be a USATF members as well. That’s an amendment submitted by Graeme on behalf of our former national masters chair and recommended by the USATF Rules Committee for approval at the Ohio annual meeting this week. So what’s my gripe? This could derail efforts to fix our train wreck records system. How many ARs would not be recognized because of this added technicality? It also creates a pay-to-play system for records. You can’t have an AR unless you join USATF. My argument: Sanctioning and U.S. citizenship should be sufficient. We should make it easier to apply for records, not harder.

So what will WMA do if we don’t enact rule? Block our records submissions?

November 28, 2017  17 Comments

IAAF drops recognition of WMA World Masters Athletes of the Year

Canada’s Christa Bortigon and American Charles Allie got to meet Boltman at 2013 IAAF Gala.

WMA has named world Athletes of the Year since 2004, usually in mid-October but sometimes in September. The 2016 top male and female (Andrew Jamieson of Australia and Irene Obera of USA) were’t revealed until January, however. In reply to a query on when this year’s dynamic duo would be announced, WMA Prez Stan Perkins reveals that the IAAF has dropped masters from its award mission. Stan writes: “The timeline for the selection of the winners has changed since the IAAF have altered the format for their presentation awards. They no longer hold a Gala Dinner and Presentation evening and they have reduced the number of awards that are made. Unfortunately, the IAAF Masters Athlete of the Year awards are no longer part of the presentation programme and therefore the WMA Council have considered and adopted a different format for future years.”

WMA President Stan Perkins posed with 2016 AOYs Andrew Jamieson (left) and Irene Obera at Daegu.

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November 27, 2017  No Comments

$250 fee should give us right to Masters T&F USATF vote in Ohio

Don’t sue me, USATF, for using your snazzy logo!

Often in the past, when you wanted to vote at the USATF annual meeting as an active masters athlete (rather than a masters chair from your local association, etc.), you just showed up and raised your hand. Not so this year. National vice chair Jerry Bookin-Weiner writes: “Selection of the 20 active athletes who will be voting members of the MTF Committee will take place in the opening General Session on Friday morning, December 1. The selection will be done by secret ballot of the active athletes attending the meeting. Those not selected will be able to speak during the meetings and take part in other committee business, but will not be able to vote when sites are selected and other committee business is decided.”
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November 26, 2017  5 Comments

2020 nationals bidders, Hall of Fame nominees listed in USATF docs

Ray Feick was denied a rightful shot put bronze at Daegu worlds, but got the M85 medal anyway.

Thanks to national chair Rex Harvey and secretary Amanda Scotti, the USATF Masters Track and Field Committee is by far the most transparent when it comes to reports and meeting minutes posted in the Documents Library for the Ohio annual meeting. I perused many of the 40-plus docs. The revelations are fascinating. For example, at 2017 Daegu indoor worlds, team manager Phil Greenwald reports: “There was a significant issue in the M85 shot put; several attempts were apparently incorrectly recorded and it appears that Ray Feick earned third place in his group, not fourth. While the medal was given to Ray by the athlete who received it in error, the protest was denied and the official results were never corrected.” Also, the 12 nominees for the Masters Hall of Fame are posted. (Six will be chosen and then announced at the annual meeting November 29-December 3.) And interested bidders for 2020 masters outdoor nationals are Greensboro (North Carolina), Brockport State (near Rochester, New York) and Carthage College (Kenosha, Wisconsin). The lone 2020 indoor bidder: Baton Rouge. But with 2020 worlds set for July 20 to August 1 in Toronto, USATF masters nationals may have to follow worlds. (Typically, nationals comes before worlds.)

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November 23, 2017  2 Comments

USATF names Sabra Harvey as 2017 Masters Athlete of the Year

Sabra pulled away from Kathy Martin at 2016 Perth worlds. Photo by Rob Jerome

Every year, USATF names a single Masters Athlete of the Year — sometimes at odds with the choice of the USATF Masters T&F Committee. So it is with 2017. That’s because USATF Masters LDR is part of the process, and the two committees alternate on who is recognized at the annual meeting. LDR star Sabra Harvey is the winner this year even with the stellar WR seasons of Kathy Martin and Bob Lida. USATF says: “Harvey will be honored Saturday, December 2, at the Jesse Owens Awards Banquet in Columbus, Ohio. The event is held in conjunction with USATF’s Annual Meeting.” The Document Library is pretty complete, BTW. Lots of masters reports.

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November 21, 2017  One Comment

Germany’s Margit Jungmann in the running for president of WMA

Margit is being term-limited out of executive VP, so president is next step.

In October 2013, Germany’s Margit Jungmann was elected vice president of World Masters Athletics at Porto Alegre worlds. At 2016 Perth worlds, she was re-elected. And if she has her way, she’ll replace Stan Perkins as WMA president at 2018 Malaga worlds. German sites say her nomination was decided at a recent DLV council meeting in Darmstadt. “The elections to the WMA presidency are planned as part of the Masters World Championships in Malaga on 8 September 2018.” Stan can’t run for a third term (after winning his first by one vote at 2009 Lahti world.) Who will challenge Margit? Rumors here and across the pond say it’ll be Gary Snyder of Massachusetts, our longtime USATF masters national chair. Margit is quoted as saying: “I would like to continue on the successful path that we have taken together in the past four years with the [masters]. At the top of the list of priorities is more professionalism in organizing the world championships.” In 2013, Margit was appointed to the IAAF Masters Commission. I don’t know what she’s done, but she’s at least got service credits. (I don’t see any track competition history for her.)

November 20, 2017  2 Comments