Super Bowl sprint showdown at SCA meet: Gault vs. McConkey

Willie was a blur at 2011 Sacramento worlds.

Willie was a blur at 2011 Sacramento worlds.

In 1986, Willie Gault helped the Chicago Bears win Super Bowl XX. A year later, Phil McConkey starred for the New York Giants when they won Super Bowl XXI. Now they’re set to meet on the track May 28 — at the USATF Southern California Masters Championships (not nationals as I errantly posted earlier). The latest Status of Entries shows Willie and Phil entered in the M55 100 and 200. Willie is the favorite, of course, off his recent world records. But Phil is a warrior who never gives up. Both will be pressed by world champion James Chinn.

Phil (left) and Jim Chinn, battling at recent meet, will renew rivalry as well in Grand Rapids.

Phil (left) and Jim, racing recently, will push Willie at Cerritos College.

May 17, 2016  3 Comments

Ida Keeling turns 101, stays focused on setting more world records

Ida Keeling moved deeper into W100 Sunday, when she turned 101. The Washington Post celebrated our poster girl for sprint longevity with a nice profile. “I feel that I’m still at it,” she’s quoted as saying. “I’m still picking up speed. I just go with the flow, go with what I have. That’s all I can do: take care and do the best I can with what you have. And I think I’m doing pretty good.” We also learn: “Indeed, she is not done seeking records. She and [daughter] Shelley will be going for more this summer in New York.” I posted a greeting on Ida’s Facebook page, urging her to stay in the game and shoot for W115 records, since we’re also marking the oldest human — and the last living person born in the 1800s.

A new perspective on Ida at Penn — which appeared in Sunday's Washington Post.

A new perspective on Ida at Penn — which ran in Sunday’s Washington Post.

May 16, 2016  6 Comments

Deep dive into Colorado masters track circuit has special strength

Dave Albo shows power behind those 400-meter legs and 400mm lenses.

Dave Albo shows power behind those 400-meter legs and lenses.

Even if it’s re-inventing the wheel, a Colorado paper did a great job introducing masters track to its Summit County readers. It profiled a handful of stars and told about our niche circuit in the state. (It also made the perennial dumb mistake of talking about five-year age groups as “60-65” and “50-55.”) But we’ll forgive that for the sake of the great publicity. I’m also thrilled to see a photo of M55 Dave Albo, a superstar masters photographer, who we learn also does heavy squats and runs the 400. The paper defines masters track thusly: “This summer, Colorado plays host to more than a dozen different Masters track and field meets in every corner of the state. The majority of meets are open to the public, with no track experience, qualifying times or coaches required.” I’m glad this is on the record, because not everyone realizes you can be a novice to compete. I also love M55 Bob Cottrell’s quote: “I expect to get better with time. Age might rob us of some speed and some strength, but the right regimen can help you get back in.” “Better with time” isn’t magical thinking. It’s mandatory in our sport.

May 15, 2016  No Comments

Anthony Whiteman wallops age-44 record in 800 by 5 seconds

Back in 1981, an Illinois runner named Ernest Billups ran the 800 meters in 1:56.1 at age 44. Until Saturday, that was the fastest 8 by an M44 on record. Then Anthony Whiteman showed up at a British Milers Club meet at Sportscity, Manchester. Down goes Ernie’s single-age record (kept by Pete Mundle until 2007). Anthony, who turns 45 in November, clocked an incredible 1:50.97. See results here. All-knowing 800 guru Matt Bogdanowicz, who tipped me off to the latest AW mark, wrote: “Certainly will go sub-1:50 this year at age 44 and next year will set M45 WR.” The listed M40 WR is Anthony’s 1:48.22 in 2012 — the same year he became the first sub-4 miler at 40 outdoors. The listed M45 WR is 1:54.18 by Saladin Allah in 2005. Nice laps, AW.

Anthony's latest exploit is but a preface to his M45 season next year.

Anthony’s latest exploit is but a preface to his M45 season next year.

May 14, 2016  2 Comments

Kathy (and Bert at last) Bergen featured in the Los Angeles Times

Our friend Kathy Bergen, the world champion and WR sprinter/jumper, has been the focus of many news stories. The Los Angeles Times profiled her back in 2010. But hubby Bert has been in the background. Not so Friday, though. He gets deserved attention in yet another L.A. Times story. Sayeth the Times, recalling how he got Kathy into the Senior Olympics: “I said to Kathy, ‘Why don’t we go?’ I kidded her, saying ‘You could run — anyone could run.’ And so, then at the respective ages of 54 and 56, Kathy and Bert Bergen competed in the 1994 Pasadena Senior Games. He participated in the long jump and the high jump, an event in which he’d excelled in high school, while she competed in the 50- and 100-meter running events.” The rest is masters history.

Bert watches one of the jumpers he works with on the St. Francis high jump team.  Photo by Tim Berger

Bert watches one of the jumpers he works with on the St. Francis High School track team. Los Angeles Times photo by Tim Berger

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May 13, 2016  3 Comments

Results posted for 19th Asian Masters Athletics Championships

The five-day Asian Masters Athletics Championships, a WMA regional, wrapped up over the weekend with 2,000 athletes from 25 countries. Results are posted. The 19th edition of the biennial meet was held at the national stadium in Kallang, Singapore. Athletes outside the region competed, but not a lot. I loved entrants names — like M45 Indian thrower Desa Dineshchandra and M70 sprinter Kupp (probably truncated) Krishnaswamy. I got a kick out of seeing an 88-year-old long hurdler (Peng Xue Su of China ran the 200s in 1:06.66). A 99-year-old Taiwan sprinter was entered but was DNS in the 100 and 400. So the oldest performer was 91-year-old Vallabh Sriramulu of India, who did the 5K walk in 43:16.15. Two years ago, when Japan hosted the meet, American steeplechaser Dennis Scott (resident of the Philippines) competed. He doesn’t appear in this year’s results. But check them out for potential Perth entrants.

May 12, 2016  3 Comments

Double-double for Willie Gault: USATF Athlete of the Week again

Willie at Mt SAC a few years back.

Willie at Mt SAC a few years back.

It’s déjà vu all over again! Five years after being named USATF Athlete of the Week for taking down world records in the 100 and 200 at the Oxy Invite, Willie Gault did it again — for setting WRs in the 1 and 2 at Oxy. It’s his third time as AOW. His first was in 2005. Indy reports: “Super Bowl Champion turned Masters track and field athlete Willie Gault wins USATF Athlete of the Week after taking down M55 world records in both the 100 and 200 meters Saturday, May 7, at the Oxy Invite in Los Angeles. Gault (Los Angeles) clocked 11.30 in the 100m and 23.24 in the 200m to lower the listed American and world records of 11.44 (2008) and 23.36 (2006) set by the legendary Bill Collins. Gault has a history in the sport as a bronze medalist at IAAF World Championships in 1983, where he placed third in the 110m hurdles with a finish of 13.48. He was a member of the 1980 United States Olympic Team. Gault later competed in bobsled where he was an alternate on the 1988 Calgary squad.” Mark your calendars for May 2021, when Willie sets M60 WRs at Oxy.

May 11, 2016  No Comments

Striders Meet of Champions: Close and colorful races at Santa Ana

M65 Steve Hardison returned to the vault after six years and surgery on his right shoulder.

M65 Steve Hardison returned to the vault after six years and surgery on his right shoulder.

Saturday’s Southern California Striders Meet of Champions had a modest turnout, but with Striders wearing red and entrants getting bright orange T-shirts, it had to be the most colorful event held anywhere. Also a bunch of very exciting races. (See results here.) Among the close finishes: Jim Chinn edging Super Bowl champ Phil McConkey in the M55 100 12.40 to 12.52. In M30, Michael Koch and Justin Hernandez were both given 12.07. And in the 300 hurdles, M60 Chip Crowl nipped Steve Cummings 50.41 to 50.49. Chip also worked to beat Striders president Joe Ruggless 26.99 to 27.02 in the 200. (Being meet director took a second off Joe’s time, I imagine.) Other great marks include M65 Charlie Rader straddling 1.58 meters (5-2 1/4) and M60 Quenton Torbert putting the shot 15.64 (51-3 3/4) at age 64. Here’s a photo gallery, with most shots by Chris Stone. You can download original, high-rez photos from my Google Drive. Just credit masterstrack.com.

Johnnye Valien, 90, didn’t compete, but stretched in anticipation of Pasadena Senior Games and shot at setting first W90 WR in the pole vault.

May 9, 2016  3 Comments

No surprise: Kim Collins crushes M40 world record for 100 meters

Kim Collins faded to sixth Saturday in the 100 at a Jamaican invitational. No matter. His was the story of the race as he clocked 10.09 seconds to become the World’s Fastest Human Over 40. The four-time Olympian beat the listed M40 WR of 10.29 by Holland’s Troy Douglas in 2003. Here’s how the IAAF described the race: “For the men’s event, the wind had turned into a breeze and St Kitts’ evergreen Kim Collins, who turned 40 recently (April 5), captured the crowd’s early attention with his trademark burst of speed over the first 60 metres. However, the field caught up with Collins at that point and Jamaica’s Julian Forte seized the moment and was on the verge of a major upset before Kemar Bailey-Cole and USA’s Mike Rodgers ran him down.” Wind was a legal 1.0 meters per second. Sub-10 is looking possible for a geezer! Watch Lane 3:

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May 8, 2016  4 Comments

Willie Gault gobstomps M55 world records in 100, 200 at Oxy Invite

Masters sprint legend Willie Gault had a bad April. A federal judge ordered him to pay a $78,000 civil fine and “give up $101,000 in ill-gotten gains plus $27,571 in interest,” according to a Reuters account of an SEC case. His May is turning out a lot better. Eight months after turning 55, Willie ran the 100 and 200 Saturday at the Occidental Invitational in Los Angeles. Bill Collins, say goodbye to two of your M55 world records. Running with 0.0 wind in the 100, Willie clocked an incredible 11.30 to crush Bill’s listed WR of 11.44 at Penn in 2008. In the 200, unattached Willie had a legal wind of 1.0 when he ran 23.24. Bill’s listed WR of 23.36 came at sizzling Charlotte nationals in 2006. On the Age-Graded Tables, Willie’s marks are worth 9.84 and 20.06. Methinks he’s far better than that. Way to go, Willie! Also at Oxy: Sylvia Mosqueda, who turned 50 in April, beat the listed W50 American record in the 1500 with her 4:50.12. The listed AR is 4:51.86 by Marisa Sutera Strange in 2015. The listed WR is 4:36.79 by Clare Elms of Britain,

Willie won the M50 100 at 2011 Sacramento worlds in 10.96. He's not much slower now.

Willie won M50 100 at 2011 Sacto worlds in 10.96. He’s not much slower now.

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May 7, 2016  14 Comments