How many masters athletes have TUEs? WADA inspires question

WADA recently posted an FAQ on TUEs — therapeutic use exemptions. Russian hackers put TUEs in the news after Olympians’ data were made public. And we learned: “Based on information compiled by WADA from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, there were 143 TUEs held by a total of 11,303 competing athletes. 51 TUEs were granted by the IOC during the Games and 92 were granted previously and recognized by the IOC and valid during the Games period. This illustrates that approximately 1 percent only of all athletes competing at Rio 2016 held TUEs. Amongst the TUEs provided, WADA has found no evidence to suggest abuse; there is no suggestion that athletes used the TUEs in order to gain an unfair advantage. This information strongly supports the widespread view that the TUE system is solid.” So is similar info available from WMA on masters TUEs? Good query. We’ll ask.

November 27, 2016  One Comment

Rev. Dick Camp’s advice on life, track: ‘Be physically, spiritually fit’

M80 sprinter Dick Camp sent friends a Thanksgiving message with thoughts good all year ’round. He wrote from Stuttgart, Germany, where he was visiting his daughter (who talked about her Dad’s fight with Parkinson’s a year ago.) “Being thankful causes us to be reflective,” Dick wrote. “Now that I’ve reached 80, I’m looking back at some of the things that God has used to energize my spirit. On this Thanksgiving Day, as I glance through the rearview mirror of life, I’m reflecting on some of these disciplines, with the hope that they will encourage you.”

Dick ran at 2014 Penn Relays — two years after revealing his battle with Parkinson's disease.

Dick ran at 2014 Penn — two years after revealing his Parkinson’s disease.

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November 26, 2016  5 Comments

Why no info on 2018 Malaga outdoor world meet on WMA website?

Malaga has its eye on worlds.

Malaga has its eye on worlds.

If Perth was near perfection, Malaga is a mystery. The 2018 world masters outdoor meet isn’t even listed yet on the WMA website. “Nothing on the outdoor meet,” writes a friend. “Seems like putting on the world masters outdoor and indoor meets are the primary job of WMA, so why is this information so hard to find?” Well, Google helps. I found the Malaga homepage at two URLs, but is easiest to remember. (The other is We learn that the meet is Sept. 5-16, 2018, and “you can find accommodation from 15€ per night. The LOC offers 5,000 rooms with excellent prices. Special deals with hotels in Malaga City and Malaga Coast.” Spain also hosted 2005 worlds — in Donostia and San Sebastian in the north. Malaga is way south.

November 25, 2016  9 Comments

Q&A with Vin Lananna, candidate for president of USA Track & Field

Vin hopes to succeed Stephanie Hightower as USATF prez.

Vin aims to succeed Stephanie Hightower as prez.

Vin Lananna has experience at every major level of track and field, and became a legend at Oregon and TrackTownUSA, bringing Olympic Trials and IAAF worlds to Portland or Eugene. He was head men’s track coach at the Rio Games. Now he wants to be elected president of USATF. Cool. (But first he has to learn that our niche is masters, not master’s.) No worries, Vin. A few weeks ago, I wrote him and his lone rival, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, posing a handful of masters-centric questions. Only Vin made my Thanksgiving Day deadline (two days early, in fact). Jackie never acknowledged receipt of my queries. Could be in spam filter, champ. But I’d still like to hear from JJK (even if it gives her a peek-at-Vin-replies advantage). So how did Vin do, folks?

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November 24, 2016  11 Comments

Masters-connected brass reach for USATF LDR Division ring

Don Lein congratulates Christine Kennedy on an AR at 2015 USATF 8K Masters Championships in Brea, California.

Don Lein congratulates W60 star Christine Kennedy on an AR at 2015 USATF 8K Masters Championships in Brea, California.

Don Lein, Teddy Mitchell and Michael Scott are running for chairman of the USATF Long Distance Running Division at the Orlando annual meeting. Generally, I ignore roadies, but many of my LDR friends also compete on the track. So for their sake, I hope the right choice is made. Don is probably the best known candidate to masters, since he’s been Masters LDR Committee chair forever. He also covered masters for Runner’s World. (One of our masters runners, Mary Rosado, was among his nominators.) According to ballot statements released Tuesday, Teddy has been meet director of Albuquerque masters indoor nationals. And Michael wants to “partner” with Masters LDR to enhance the road and XC circuits. It’s possible LDR has other chair candidates that didn’t submit statements. (No statements from Rex Harvey or Robert Thomas, for example.) So who do you like for LDR chair? The vote takes place Saturday morning, Dec. 3. BTW, I got a response Tuesday from USATF prez hopeful Vin Lananna on my masters-centric questions. Still waiting on reply from Jackie Joyner-Kersee. She has until Thanksgiving (in case you know her and can light a fire).

November 22, 2016  No Comments

Marathon halved at outdoor worlds in Perth General Assembly votes

Stan Perkins is Aussie prez of WMA.

Stan Perkins, president of World Masters Athletics.

Race walkers, rejoice. A 5K outdoor walk is being added to WMA world indoor meets after 2017. But road runners may have mixed feelings. They’re losing a marathon and gaining a half-marathon at outdoor worlds. Those were among decisions made in late October when General Assembly delegates met in Perth. Minutes of that meeting haven’t been posted yet, but WMA President Stan Perkins graciously shared results of various motions. See his list here. Also tweaked are the cross country races at outdoor worlds. Men and women over 70 will run the 6K instead of the 8K. (That’s a cut from 5 miles to 3.7 miles.)

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November 21, 2016  6 Comments

Q&As with Rex Harvey, Robert Thomas: masters chair candidates

USATF Masters T&F Vice Chairman Robert Thomas at Michigan nationals banquet

Robert speaks at Michigan nationals banquet.

As promised, I shot questionnaires to the two candidates for chairman of the USATF Masters Track & Field Committee. Both replied this weekend. I didn’t give them a maximum or minimum limit, so take that it account when you read responses from Hall of Famer Rex Harvey and world-class long sprinter Robert Thomas. The biggest revelation of my Q&As is the eagerness of both to use social media to communicate with masters tracksters. They also are open to using Web tools to survey members on national site locations and other issues. I won’t be endorsing a candidate, but I welcome your questions and reactions. The candidates also are invited to interact with y’all here. Enjoy the exchange — listed in age-before-beauty order. One will be elected to succeed Gary Snyder in a couple weeks at the Orlando annual meeting.

Rex chats with Jerry Bookin-Weiner and wife at Michigan nationals banquet.

Rex chats with Jerry Bookin-Weiner and wife at Michigan nationals banquet.

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November 20, 2016  7 Comments

Should USATF have a hotline to report masters drug cheats?

Stephen is a thrower.

Stephen is a thrower.

M75 lawyer Stephen Cohen is chair of the USATF Masters Drug Testing and Substance Abuse Committee, and doping is part of his annual region coordinator report, included here for the annual meeting. Stephen writes: “There was little opposition to Drug Testing at the Masters Region Championships (at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin) with one donation to promote Masters Region drug testing. One participant, however, objected to the extra cost of drug testing, another thought drug testing was a waste of money, and another stated ‘nobody cares at this age. We hardly train. It’s only for the PR’ and the most pro-active statement was ‘there should be drug testing. I know someone who is taking steroids and competes.'” Which begs the question: Why not report drug cheats? Yeah, I know this opens a Pandora’s box of privacy issues. But if genuine cheating is taking place, why be coy? Tell somebody (and bring some proof)! Others can sort out the logistics and legalities.

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November 18, 2016  10 Comments

Bill Shissler dies at 66; beloved thrower, coach touring after Perth

Bill's slogan and legacy posted on Facebook.

Bill’s slogan and legacy was posted on Facebook.

Bill Shissler took 14th out of 15 in the M65 shot at Perth, and that’s the least important thing you need to know about him. But it shows he was still in the game to the end. Less than two weeks later, on Nov. 9, Bill died while sightseeing at Ayers Rock. “I was informed at 5 a.m.,” said his sister, Holly Crawford‎, on Bill’s Facebook page (with 1,400 friends). “Bill loved sports as much as I’m involved in art. He was into computers and worked on them and with them. If you use FileMaker he was part of it. He also trained people who went to the Olympics. He was a field coach at [Cal] Berkeley. … Bill, who could talk like Donald Duck, did it his way. We moved a lot when he was very young. When we moved back to the Bay Area when he was in elementary school, he never wanted to leave and he wanted and seems to know everyone and touched many people. He had health insurance. He knew he had heart issues — it ran on our mother’s side. He had high blood pressure…. I will miss him.”

Bill last threw Oct. 29 at the World Masters Athletics Championships.

Bill last threw Oct. 29 at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Perth.

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November 17, 2016  10 Comments

New York Times story reveals real age of ‘119-year-old sprinter’

Headline on web version of story made me smile.

Headline on web version of story made me smile.

India’s Dharam Pal Singh isn’t 119, and he didn’t compete in Perth as planned, but thanks to Jere (say Jerry) Longman and Hari Kumar of The New York Times, we finally know his true age group. And it’s nowhere near M100. Their 4,000-word masterpiece on masters age fraud (with a detour celebrating two real M95 gents) is a hoot. You must read to the end. I’m proud to have a bit part. Jere interviewed me by phone before flying to Australia, and I suggested some possible sources. He talked to Sandy Pashkin, Winston Thomas and Stan Perkins — plus some experts on centenarians. I love how the story gives the Indian fraudster the rope he needed to hang himself. The Times quotes him as saying that those who accuse him of inflating his age “are jealous of my health, my age, my running. People say I do not look like 119. If I walk with a stick and with a bent back, then I would look like 100-plus. Without a stick, with a straight back, I look like 80- to 90-plus. My good health has become my misfortune.”

November 16, 2016  19 Comments