WMA region snubs LeBourne, picks Mexican walker for IAAF honor

José' at another event.

Walker José’ at another event.

José Luis López Camarena of Mexico is a superb M65 race walker. He won Lyon gold in the 10K and 20K walks and silver in the 5K walk. (He also ran a leg on a 4×400, dropping down to the M60 race. What a stud!) But his times of 25:17.82, 51:47 and 1:53:21 were far off the listed WMA walk records of 24:13.10, 48:39 and 1:40:14. Yet José is the NCCWMA region’s nominee (along with American W80 sprint goddess Irene Obera) for IAAF World’s Best Masters Athlete of 2015. According to a Canadian source, Irene was nominated for her WRs in the 80m hurdles, 200 and indoor pentathlon. José was chosen for records in all three walks. But I can’t for the life of me uncover any records for José — a prerequisite to being considered for IAAF/WMA honors and an all-expenses paid trip to the IAAF Gala in Monaco. On Sept. 23, I wrote to WMA regional president Sandy Pashkin and two others listed as officers. I wanted to know why José was picked over American middle-distance giant Anselm LeBourne, whose M55 world records this year and Lyon/Beijing efforts are well-documented. No responses came in. I also sent a message to José (in Google-translated Spanish) via Facebook. Grillos.

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September 26, 2015  13 Comments

Myrle Mensey’s monster throws pentathlon: 4754 points = W65 WR

Myrle with her 12-pound weight.

Myrle with her 12-pound weight.

The listed W65 world record in the throws pentathlon is 4411 by Inge Faldager of Denmark, but Margaret Tomanek of Belgium scored 4599 at Lyon worlds. Yet Inge has a pending mark of 4634 from a May meet. Forget all that. As of Sept. 12, the best score on record (using the newly required 500g javelin) belongs to America’s Myrle Mensey. At the Norm Bower Memorial meet at Kent State University — a USATF-sanctioned event put on by the Over The Hill TC — Myrle threw a stunning 4754. (See women’s results here.) “I’ve had my eye on this record for a while,” she reports. “The weather conditions were not the best (cold, damp, windy and raining off and on), but I managed to put some consistent numbers together. I really trained hard for this one. It’s tough doing 5 throwing events in 5 hours. I also competed in the individual hammer and weight, and took four throws in the shot. … I remember when I used to be a little scared to throw in a wet ring, but not this time. I had mind set on throwing well and getting that record to finish off my outdoor season.” MM’s marks? Try 36.57 (120-0) hammer, 9.28 (30-5 1/2) shot, 27.87 (91-5) discus, 20.40 (66-11) javelin and 16.06 (52-8 1/4) 12-pound weight throw. How would those marks have stacked up at Lyon? Try 5th, 5th, 3rd, 8th and 1st. A finalist in all events and medalist in two! In the rain! Nice job, Myrle.

Mary Hartzler and Cindy Wyatt  with Myryle and others at Norm Bower throws pentathlon.

Mary Hartzler and Cindy Wyatt with Myrle and youngsters at pentathlon.

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September 25, 2015  One Comment

M100 record-breaker Pellmann named USATF Athlete of the Week

Don Pellmann broke another barrier Thursday. He became the first M100 track star named USATF Athlete of the Week. And he had competition — Molly Huddle and David Torrence among them. (But he didn’t compete in seven events as news release says. The announcer made a flub.) So far this year, seven masters athletes have won AOW honor — Anselm LeBourne, Mary Norckauer, Irene Obera, Allen Woodard, Bernard Lagat and Flo Meiler joining Don. On to 105!

Don's image in the 100-meter dash appears all over the world. Chris Stone photo

Don has been seen around the world in 100-meter dash. Chris Stone photo

September 24, 2015  No Comments

‘Golden Bolt’ Hidekichi Miyazaki DID NOT set M105 WR in the 100

It's a great pose, Hidekichi, but not M105 record.

It’s a great pose, Hidekichi, but not M105 record.

Hidekichi Miyazaki, the “Golden Bolt” of masters track, lost his M100 100-meter world record Sunday to Don Pellmann but showed his fitness Wednesday by running the race in 42.22 a day after his birthday, according to an explosion of media reports. But all those reports are wrong in one respect. Hidekichi isn’t the fastest 105-year-old sprinter. That title belongs to Poland’s Stanislaw Kowalski, who ran the 100 in 34.50 three months ago. All hail Hidekichi for his wonderful effort, but he still has 8 seconds to go. He says he’ll compete at Japan’s masters nationals next month. Guinness World Records are nice, but WMA maintains the official records. Time for the M105 age group to be added to records site.

Golden Bolt looks the part at well-documented race at age 105. But he's 8 seconds short of WR.

Golden Bolt looks the part at well-publicized Kyoto race a day after turning 105.

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September 23, 2015  7 Comments

Irene Obera, Anselm LeBourne are U.S. picks for IAAF Best Masters

Irene and Anselm could meet again in Monaco.

Irene and Anselm could meet again at IAAF Gala in Monaco.

USATF leadership has chosen world-record setters and Lyon champions Irene Obera and Anselm LeBourne as nominees for the year’s top award — IAAF Best Masters, I’ve learned. But it’s up to WMA regional brass, led by Sandy Pashkin, on whether the Americans are in the final hunt. (Canadians, Mexicans and Central Americans are in the region, too.) But it’s hard to top Irene and Anselm in the North-Central American-Caribbean region — one of six worldwide. “Only athletes who competed at worlds, had achieved a gold medal, had broken a world record or hold the current world record, [have] never had a doping conviction and are a model of good sportsmanship” are eligible under WMA rules, Mary Trotto says.So that means sub-3:55 masters miler Bernard Lagat has no chance. WMA leaders (read: Australia’s Stan Perkins) will make the final decision on who gets tickets to the IAAF Gala in November. Best of luck to Irene and Anselm.

September 22, 2015  5 Comments

M100 superstar Don Pellmann makes cover of The New York Times

Nice treat for old Don. More media attention is coming, including ABC’s national evening news Tuesday — about 6:30 p.m. in various time zones. Not bad to share spotlight with the pope! (But no promises on story being aired. Stuff happens.)

Don is featured at bottom right of The New York Times on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015.

Don is featured at bottom right of The New York Times on Tuesday.

September 22, 2015  2 Comments

Leland McPhie dies at 101; M95 record-holder in jumps and throws

Leland often wore his San Diego State cap. He set long jump and sprint records there in 1930s.

Leland often wore his San Diego State cap. He set long jump and sprint records there in 1930s.

In the run-up to Don Pellmann’s date with destiny, I had a secret hope that we might see another kind of history made at the San Diego Senior Olympics — the first-ever competition between two M100s. San Diego’s Leland McPhie hadn’t competed since March 2014, when he won three M100 throws at Boston indoor nationals, but I had hopes he might get back into the game. I heard that he was retired from track, and didn’t push it. Still, I was shocked to learn — from a USATF official at Mesa College — that Leland had died Sept. 3. I eventually confirmed this with his former employer, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. And Monday night, I phoned a relative. (My wife had interviewed him in 2007, and still had her number.) Leland’s great-granddaughter shared details for an obituary in Times of San Diego. Leland died of E. coli while fighting skin cancer. She’s not sure where he got the bug. I’ll miss old Leland, who joined the Masters Hall of Fame in 2010. What are your memories?

September 21, 2015  6 Comments

Don Pellmann picks off M100 world records, becomes oldest jumper

Amazing all witnesses, Don Pellmann set five world age-group records Sunday — and became the oldest man to high jump and long jump in competition. At 100, he also smashed the 100-meter-dash world record by nearly 3 seconds and crushed listed records in the shot and discus as well. His only flaw at the San Diego Senior Olympics was not making a height in the pole vault — probably due to misjudging where to place the standards. He was over 3 feet in warmups. After beating the discus record on each of his three tries, I asked him about future meets. At first he said no, this was his final outing — given the difficulty and expense of travel. But when I asked him about Bay Area meets near his home in Santa Clara, Old Don Pellmann (as he signed his autograph) said he might try a meet in the spring. “I’d like to do two or three [events],” he said. For details on his day, and records, see my story at Times of San Diego.

Don bears down in the 100, where he finished in 26.99 seconds with a legal wind.

Don bears down in 100, where he finished in 26.99 seconds with a legal wind.

September 20, 2015  8 Comments

WMA seeking bids for 2020 worlds — with deadline of Jan. 31

WMA 2020 outdoor worlds bid form (PDF)

WMA 2020 outdoor worlds bid form (PDF)

World Masters Athletics will pick the site of 2020 outdoor worlds at the 2016 Perth meet General Assembly, so that means bids have to be in soonish. WMA Secretary Winston Thomas writes on the WMA site: “The bid applications for this WMA Outdoor championship must be with the secretary by the 31st JANUARY 2016. The bid application FORM, details of the Bidders Guidelines with the the main parts of the Contract may be found on the WMA website, (See Championships). For further information and the full contract, please contact the WMA Secretary or wmasec07@gmail.com.” If Canada or U.S. officials are interested, it’s time to start trolling for potential hosts. If your town has the requisite three or four nearby tracks, transit and lodging, post a comment below. Light a fire.

September 19, 2015  2 Comments

Trautmann takes stock of life, decides coaching has bigger returns

Coaches Tom Nohilly and John Trautmann

Coaches Tom Nohilly (left) and John Trautmann

M45 recordman John Trautmann is brave in the mile, we know. Now he’s making another courageous move. He posted Friday on Facebook: “As some of you know, after 18 years working on Wall Street, I have decided that it is time to make a change. As exciting as the credit markets have been the last few years (not), I realize that my passion is in the sport of running and that there is no better time than now to make a change. Working with coach Gags over the few years has reignited my desire to be involved with the sport and I have decided to work as an assistant coach alongside him for the New Jersey New York Track Club. Hopefully some of his coaching genius will rub off on me. In addition to coaching NJNYTC, Tom Nohilly and I are starting a coaching service for runners of any level called Speed Club. I am creating a Facebook page and hope many of you will “like” it and check out our web page speedclub.org. We are still in the process of developing the site, but it is up and running. We will be putting up training tips and videos and will alert everyone through Facebook and Twitter. (Follow @SpeedClubNYC) Thanks in advance for taking a look!” Nice start, John. If you’re half as good at coaching as you are running, you’ll win the gold.

September 18, 2015  One Comment