M40 Calvin Davis ran 400 in 45.04 in 2013? IAAF says so, strangely

Note 45.04 on 2013 IAAF list.

Note Calvin’s 45.04 on 2013 IAAF list.

Mastersrankings.com says M40 Calvin Davis ran 400 meters in 45.04 seconds on June 5, 2013, in New Orleans. Yeah, right. (The listed WR is 47.81 by Italy’s Enrico Saraceni.) But wait! USATF says Calvin’s all-time best is 45.04, and all-athletics.com says that time was set June 5, 1993, in New Orleans. Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Guy runs 45.04 twice — 20 years apart on the same month, day and place. So I’m ready to laugh it off until I spot Calvin’s IAAF profile — which says he ran 45.04 at age 41 in 2013. Worse, the 2013 IAAF outdoor list (see original here) adds to the outrage by repeating the 2013 fraud. (USATF Calendar has no record of a June 5, 2013, meet in New Orleans, BTW.) Calvin was a star. Won bronze in 400 hurdles in the Atlanta Games. But he didn’t clock 45 post-40. How did IAAF allow this? I’m looking into it.

December 9, 2014  7 Comments

Our fantasy long jump: M100s James Kales vs. Leland McPhie

Jim also does discus, javelin and shot.

This weekend, an entrant in the Florida Senior Games is James Kales, who turned 100 this fall. A Wall Street Journal blogger wrote of Jim: “On Kales’s flight to his Florida winter home from his Michigan summer home, the pilot announced that a passenger would soon turn 100. Everyone aboard sang Happy Birthday. The airline had a cheerful attendant meet him with a wheelchair. He declined. ‘I don’t need that,’ he told the attendant.” Jim also was entered in tennis this week but pulled out with an illness. Me hopes he’ll be good to go in the long jump. Then we could envision a showdown between SoCal TC M100 Leland McPhie vs. Jim in the oldest horizontal jump contest in history. I’ve heard that Leland is pretty frail of late, but sometimes the idea of a rival can incite you to train and overcome adversity. Jim is supposedly pointing to 2015 National Senior Games. How cool if we could get Leland out there as well?

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December 8, 2014  No Comments

Meet multi-eventer Jason Lattimore, the future of masters track

Lawyer Jason Lattimore is living his track dream.

Lawyer Lattimore lives the dream.

Jason Lattimore is our future — part of a wave of M40s bringing new blood into a sport that dotes on the aged. We saw him excel at Winston-Salem nationals, winning the pentathlon (and all five events). But his backstory is typically fascinating. His local paper tells it well. “Looking to test himself further, in May of 2013 Lattimore entered his first Masters race…. At the North Jersey Masters Track and Field meet, he was pleasantly surprised when he won each event he entered.” He’s quoted as saying: “I had no idea I would even finish. I thought to myself this is kind of nice. I feel very fortunate to be able to do it. When you think about it, how many people get to go back and do the thing they love to do when they were really young? That’s my hobby now and I get to compete and I meet a lot of really neat people. It’s great.”

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December 7, 2014  3 Comments

Butch Reynolds training for masters comeback, eyes 400 WR

Olympic champ Butch Reynolds coaches track at Ohio Dominican University. But back in the day, he was Mr. 400 — holder of the world record (video of 43.29) for 11 years until Michael Johnson took it down. Butch’s mark is still No. 2 all-time. So when I got a tip that he was training for masters, I shot his school a note. Would he play coy? Avoid outing himself? That’s S.O.P for many elites mulling masters. But not Butch. He came right out and said his goal is “to break the M50 world record.” The listed WR is 51.39 by Fred Sowerby. (We also have a disputed mark of 49.85 by Douglas Kalembo.) James Lofton also sought the M50 record. Check out my Q&A:

Can you imagine lining up next to Butch at masters nationals? What a thrill!

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December 6, 2014  39 Comments

Nike pledges free uniforms to U.S. entrants at WMA world meets

Typical Nike gear. We don’t know yet which design we’ll seek.

I wasn’t present for the announcement, but USATF CEO Max Siegel told an early session of the Anaheim convention that Nike is boosting the Masters T&F budget by $75,000 to pay for uniforms for any American competing at WMA indoor or outdoor world meets. Amazing. On Thursday, national masters T&F chair Gary Snyder had a little more information. The pledge is for two years, a total of $150,000. He’s seeking details on what kinds of outfits will be available and when. (We have a say in the design.) Gary says it’s too soon to expect all Americans to be wearing the same style at 2015 Lyon worlds, but the goal is to get Team USA to look coordinated. Images of our motley crew at Budapest indoor worlds were likely the “last straw, an embarrassment,” Gary said. Americans wore all manner of singlets, bodysuits and whatnot from different Olympiads, and this helped argue for the donation. Ultimately, every American competing at worlds will be wearing the same Nike-branded uni (in outfits appropriate to their event) or risk being disqualified in the call room. WMA will have its fashion police on alert to nonapproved national uniforms. In any case, being outfitted for free is a long-sought perk of masters track. If we represent our country, we might as well look the part. USATF finally has our back.

December 5, 2014  10 Comments

Beijing IAAF worlds to contest masters men’s 800, women’s 400

Jai Black could make 400 field.

As previously noted, the 2015 IAAF World Championships will include masters exhibition events. The meet is in late August in Beijing — at the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium from 2008. But the masters events being contested were secret until now. In Anaheim this week, Sandy Pashkin announced that a men’s 800 and women’s 400 will be on the China sked — for ages 50 and over. Qualifying standards haven’t been told, and I’m not sure how athletes will be chosen. But I get the impression that travel and some lodging expenses will be paid. If American athletes are involved, USATF’s national team might handle arrangements. In any case, let men on the 800 list and women on the 400 list know that they might be eligible for a trip to Beijing. I’ll contact World Masters Athletics for nitty gritty on how to apply for these events, which take place a couple weeks after Lyon worlds.

Gary Snyder and Irene Obera (right) were honored at USATF breakfast Thursday. Awards Committee chair Mary Trotto joined the masters winners.

December 4, 2014  One Comment

2017 indoor nationals to Albuquerque, outdoors to Baton Rouge

Latashia Keys (in red between Andy Hecker and Mary Trotto) told why she should be chosen active-athletes rep. She won.

Latashia Keys (in red between Andy Hecker and Mary Trotto) told why she should be chosen active-athletes rep. She won.

By a vote of 28-26, Albuquerque beat out Winston-Salem to host the 2017 masters indoor nationals in a contest of geographical loyalties. Since more West Coast delegates were able to attend the Anaheim annual meeting of USATF, New Mexico had the natural advantage in Wednesday morning’s general session meeting. And SoCal TC’s Mark Cleary, the West Coast regional coordinator, noted that in the past 26 years, the West has hosted outdoor nationals only six times. It’ll be the third time hosting indoor nats for Albuquerque, which did it in 2011 and is on deck for 2016. The JDL indoor track complex in North Carolina is hosting 2015 indoor nats. Craig Longsworth, son-in-law of the JDL owner, said afterward that Winston-Salem hadn’t planned to bid for 2017, wanting to see how its debut indoor meet in 2015 goes. But he said USATF Masters site search folks urged the bid (probably for sake of a choice). JDL will likely bid for 2018. Baton Rouge, which hosted the meet in 2001, won 2017 outdoors by all but two hand votes since no rival turned up. (Mt. San Antonio College east of Los Angeles would have been a bidder, but Mark Cleary told me the state wasn’t prepared to sign off on it because of uncertainty on stadium remodel being finished. Mt. SAC will likely bid for 2018.) About 20 active athletes (including moi) became voting delegates, and they chose between two-year incumbent Mary Trotto and Latashia Key as their rep on the Executive Committee. Latashia, a W40 runner and president of the Indiana USATF association, stood amid the delegates and gave an energetic talk on her plans as active-athletes rep, and won the ballot.

Martha Mendenhall (left) and Joy Upshaw make out their ballots for 2017 indoor nationals.

Martha Mendenhall (left) and Joy Upshaw sign ballots for 2017 indoor nationals.

December 3, 2014  12 Comments

Sandy Pashkin, ousted as records chair, defends 11-year tenure

Marks rejected as age-group records are at bottom.

Click to view athletes, events rejected for American masters records.

Sandy Pashkin has been USATF Masters Records Committee chair since 2003 — perhaps a record tenure. But her term has been fraught with doubts on her competence. I’ve led the charge, based on my own research and reports from aggrieved athletes. Sandy said I had been the “bane of her existence” and explained why she hadn’t answered many of my emails: She didn’t trust me to depict her answers in context. Well, the video below (actually 8 minutes long) has uncut audio of my lone interview with her, taken after the Executive Committee meeting Tuesday at the Anaheim Hilton. Among other things, she says she was “asked to step down” as records chair. She also says her only mistakes have been typos — corrected when brought to her attention. Remarkably, she defends her Committee of One, saying other national records committees have been dysfunctional. At Tuesday’s meeting, she distributed her latest list of records — plus explanations for why 15 marks were rejected, including Charles Austin’s 2.05 (6-8 3/4) would-be M45 world record. (She says proof of age was lacking and contends he was the only high jumper). Also booted were six Irene Obera marks.

December 2, 2014  24 Comments

Hall of Famer Rex Harvey on the mend from rare appendix cancer

Rex (left) and Jim Flanik look over the shoulder of MTF Secretary Joseph Ols.

Rex (left) and Jim Flanik look over the shoulder of MTF Committee Secretary Joseph Ols.

Simply by showing up, Rex Harvey provided the best news out of the USATF annual meeting in Anaheim. He’s beating cancer. Rex, a decathlete who set many records before becoming the go-to guy for multi-events and almost becoming WMA president, reported having colon cancer in July. Turns out it was appendix cancer — afflicting just 1 in 500,000 people, he says. But he told the USATF Masters Executive Committee on Tuesday that “you’re going to have to put up with me for several years,” eliciting cheers and applause. He says he’s had seven of 12 chemo sessions, following surgery at the Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland. He has since moved to Phoenix. Also coming out of that meeting: Mary Trotto’s surprise announcement that Gary Snyder had been voted the 2014 winner of the David Pain Distinguished Service Award. Gary, national masters chair for eight years, was recognized by the Awards Committee for recent initiatives such as helping athletes compete in nationals as first-timers through a subsidy program. He kicked in his own money and recruited others to do likewise. In other ExecCom news, Treasurer Carroll DeWeese said he expects the 2015 masters T&F budget to be the same as 2014, but things are up in the air since USATF hasn’t settled on its own budget.

Gary Snyder presides at MT&F Executive Committee meeting, behind Vice Chair Robert Thomas.

Chairman Gary Snyder presides at meeting, above Vice Chair Robert Thomas.

December 2, 2014  10 Comments

Mensey, LeBourne, Hewitt, Butler named to Masters Hall of Fame

Thrower Myrle Mensey, middle-distancer Anselm LeBourne, multi-eventer Bob Hewitt and old-timer (legendary hurdler) Walt Butler are the Masters T&F inductees to the USATF Masters Hall of Fame, committee chair Mary Trotto announced Tuesday at the Anaheim USATF meeting. But the Hall of Fame Committee will change next year. National masters T&F chair Gary Snyder told the Executive Committee that the HOF will have two wings — one for masters track and one for LDR. “Politically, it will be one,” Gary said. But in practice, the sometimes rival panels will choose their own members. Gary says he hopes Phil Byrne will take over from Mary as T&F chair. This year’s class is golden, with record-setters Myrle, Anselm, Bob and Walt being great picks. Walt’s M50 WR in the 100-meter hurdles of 13.57 dates to 1991. Congrats to all.

Walt ran a then WR in M50 short hurdles of 14.11 at a Santa Barbara meet.

Walt ran a then WR in M50 short hurdles of 14.11 at a Santa Barbara meet.

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December 2, 2014  4 Comments