Party time follows record-setting day at North Carolina nationals

W60 shuttle hurdle relay AR team (from left) Brenda Matthews, Rita Hanscom, Linda Cohn and Linda Lowery.

W60 shuttle hurdle relay AR team (from left) Brenda Matthews, Rita Hanscom, Linda Cohn and Linda Lowery.

The shuttle hurdle relay came of age Saturday. Three age-group records were set at North Carolina nationals on a day when the weather was near perfect for all events. Rain early in the day and later in the afternoon kept things cool mostly. World records were set in several events, aptly detailed by USATF intern Tyler Stevenson (giving me a chance to focus on my 200. I broke 30 at 60, so I’m delighted.) I also had the privilege of meeting the next generation of masters star, including the M35 Ricketts twins, Brian and Chris, who ran the shuttle hurdle relay. I attended the Athletes Banquet at the site of the 2015 indoor nationals in Winston-Salem. About 300 had a great time, entertained at one point by meet director Noel Ruebel, who did a karaoke version of “Chantilly Lace.” I have video. Stay tuned. And David Pain Distinguished Service Award winner Carroll DeWeese made gave a wonderful acceptance speech noting how masters track is a social movement as well as a sport. I will post that video soon as well.

Rob Jerome got this great shot of Bruce McBarnette's M55 American record of 1.84 meters (a touch over 6 feet) on his third try Saturday.

Rob Jerome got this great shot of Bruce McBarnette’s M55 American record of 1.84 meters (a touch over 6 feet) on his third try Saturday.

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July 19, 2014  2 Comments

Masters dashers run 100 meters at Wake Forest, not 99.95

Oscar “Purple” Peyton beats Damien Leake in M60 100 final Saturday, 12.08 to 12.12.

Folks running the 100 at North Carolina nationals may have been surprised to find white tape instead of a painted line to put their hands behind. That’s because Wednesday, the day before the meet started, members of the Games Committee found a rare mismeasurement of the 100. Actually, they were tipped to the glitch when they started putting tape down for the 100-meter hurdles in the various age groups. Every time they checked, they found the 100 was actually 99.95 meters. Five centimeters (2 inches) needed to be added to the race. Hence the white tape. The track had been surveyed and certified years ago, but the 100-meter start (or finish) was wrong. So out came the tapes, I was told. They measured three times, including with a steel tape. Each time, they found the 99.95-meter dash. This raises questions for meet venue Wake Forest. How many records might be invalidated for being run on a short course? Here are my photos from Day 3.

An M35 field blasts off behind white tape, marking true 100-meter start at Wake Forest.

An M35 field blasts off from behind white tape, marking true 100-meter start.

July 19, 2014  3 Comments

Oh so close! Barton, Shaheed miss major barriers by whisker

Brad nears bell lap of solo 1500 at nationals.

Brad nears bell lap of solo 1500 at nationals.

Brad Barton almost went sub-4 in the 1500 and Nolan Shaheed missed setting a world record on his 65th birthday by only 1.5 seconds. So it went Friday on another lucky weather day at North Carolina nationals. At 48, Brad won the M45 15 by 11 seconds (beating middle-distance star Nick Berra) and clocked 4:00.32 in a solo effort. He was shooting for John Hinton’s American record of 3:56.39, set at age 45 in Durham, North Carolina. For more details on his race (and a video) see my Times of San Diego report. Nolan crushed the listed M65 steeple record, however, going 7:19.62. The previous AR was Ross Bolding’s 8:03.15 at Sacramento worlds. The listed WR is 7:18.10 by New Zealand’s Ron Robertson. Nolan was serenaded at the starting line with “Happy birthday” by other entrants. And Jim Wass sang the same tune from the announcer’s booth in the first 200 of the race. Other record-setters included M90 Roy Englert in the 5K, W60 Kathy Martin in the 2K steeple, W80 Irene Obera in the 400 (but not the 80 hurdles, where she has a better time this season) and W65 Sabra Harvey in the 5K. See the USATF report here. My Day 2 photo gallery is here.

Nolan crosses finish line in 2K steeple just off WR for M65.

On his 65th birthday, Nolan crosses finish line in 2K steeple just off WR.

July 18, 2014  7 Comments

Flo Meiler’s monster challenge (14 events) opens with pent WR

Flo-Go's hammer throw went for a W80 AR.

Flo-Go’s hammer throw went for a W80 AR.

Flo Meiler, aka the 80-year-old Energizer Bunny, was hesitant to promise me she’d vault today at nationals. She was still in the midst of the pentathlon when I quizzed her. But you know, Flo. The Vermonter can’t resist a challenge. She’s entered in 14 events at Wake Forest, and she won at least three on Day 1 — the pent, hammer and vault. Her point total in the 5-eventer was 4319, setting a first-ever world record for that age group. Her hammer was 22.30 meters (73-2) for an American record. (Old AR: 21.33 or 69-11 by Gloria Krug in 2011. And Flo vaulted 1.65 (5-5). She went 6-0 earlier this year. Photographer Rob Jerome (both shots here) is documenting her meet. He’s given her a nickname: Flo-Go. So go, Flo!

After finishing a WR pentathlon, Flo won the vault, beating listed WR (but not her recent PR).

After WR pentathlon, Flo won vault, beating listed WR (but not her recent best).

July 17, 2014  2 Comments

Sabra Harvey (800), Quenton Torbert (SP) set American records

Lesley was thrilled with 800 gold (after 10K bronze).

Day 1 of masters nationals saw at least two American records. At Wake Forest University, W65 Sabra Harvey gutted out an 800 in 2:42.14 to lower the listed AR of 2:44.43 by Jeanne Daprano in 2002. Jeanne, in the same race, won W75 in 3:32.23. Sabra was running just her second 800 of the season and was hoping for a WR, but the 2:41.81 by Canada’s Diane Palmason is safe for now. In the M60 shot, Quenton Torbert waited till his sixth and last throw to go 16.69 meters (54-9 1/4) to raise his own AR of 16.67 (54-8¼) from last year. But the happiest winner today may have been Lesley Chaplin, who took the W55 800 in 2:39.97 only hours after taking bronze in the 10K (in 44:06.54). Another ironwoman was SoCal’s Debbie Lee, who was second in the 10K and fourth in the same 800 as Lesley (2:54.56). Results are being posted here. More Day 1 photos are here.

Sabra ran basically solo in her 800 final at Winston-Salem nationals.

July 17, 2014  2 Comments

Looking for dinner partners Thursday night at N.C. nationals

I’m booked Friday and Saturday nights, but I’d be thrilled to tag along with a group going out to dinner tonight in Winston-Salem. I prefer local color, not some chain restaurant. I promise to behave. I also have room for one or two people in my tiny Toyota Yaris if you need a ride to the Charlotte airport immediately after Sunday’s final event. Contact me at if you’re interested in dinner or Sunday trip. Meanwhile, keep watching this space for Twitter updates on the meet.

July 17, 2014  One Comment

Germany’s Guido Müller goes sub-50 in 300 hurdles at age 75!

Wolfgang bounds toward his M55 WR in TJ.

German masters nationals were held in Erfurt, and two world records are reported. One by old reliable Guido Müller takes my breath away. At age 75, he ran the 300-meter hurdles in 49.65. That crushed the listed WR of 52.91 by Canada’s Earl Fee in 2005. On the Age-Graded Tables, Guido’s time is worth 44.34 for 400-meter hurdles. Insane.) Guido now owns EVERY possible 300 hurdles WR — M60, M65, M70 and M75. When he turns 80, he’s forced to run the 200 hurdles, where he’ll probably run sub-30. (Earl has the WR at 36.95.) Can we pass a new masters exception that forces him to run 400 hurdles, where he belongs? Also setting a WR was Wolfang Knabe, who triple-jumped 13.87 meters (45-6 1/4) to nip the listed M55 world record of 13.85 (45-5 1/4) by Finland’s Stig Bäcklund at 1995 Buffalo worlds. Guido also won the 100 in 13.63, the 200 in 27.98 and the 400 in 70.00. Also the 80-meter hurdles in 14.50 (well off American Jim Stookey’s WR of 13.62, thank goodness.) Complete results are here. Now let’s kick butt in North Carolina!

Guido claims his latest world record in the 300-meter hurdles. As if I care.

July 16, 2014  3 Comments

Not ticketed for N.C. nationals? Watch meet live on USATF TV

I shouldn’t tell you this, lest you see me struggle through the 300-meter hurdles like a wounded duck. But what the firetruck. Many events at North Carolina nationals will be live-streamed via USATF TV. They might even be archived. The channel for masters nationals is here. Don’t count on cameras capturing all events, however. When an outfit webcast Orono nationals in 2007, you saw only races. (You also can record live-streamed video onto your computer. More advice is here.) Also keep watching my Twitter feed here. I’ll update when I can. Remember to use the #wsnats hashtag so your tweets show up below. See many of you soon!

July 15, 2014  One Comment

News flash! My 11-month vacation is over; I landed full-time job

At 10:24 Monday morning, I accepted a full-time job at Francis Parker School in San Diego, one of the most prestigious private prep schools in the state. I’m thrilled and honored to join former U-T colleague Grace Sevilla and web/graphics whiz Lori Foote in their Office of Communications. I’ll be a writer and help with photo and video chores. I have had incredible support from my wife, Chris, and Times of San Diego boss Chris Jennewein during my 11 months of unemployment (but with great freelance and other assignments). I can’t wait to start work at Parker! Parker has a track team but not a track. (They train at Clairemont High School). But I hope to find a way to help with the hurdlers. This was my longest time without a job since 1976. I hope to be at Parker a long time — starting the week I return from North Carolina nationals.

Francis Parker recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. It's an amazing place.

Parker recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. It’s an amazing place.

July 14, 2014  30 Comments

Irene Obera’s hurdle debut: 2 WRs for W80 at Pride Meet

No time like 80 to start running hurdles! Go Irene!

No time like 80 to start running hurdles! Go Irene!

Irene Obera ran hurdles in competition for the first time Saturday. Crash and burn? How about two world records? As a W80, she runs 80- and 200-meter hurdles. Proper, 27-inch sticks were used at the Pride Meet at Chabot (pronounced Shah-BOW) College in Hayward (south of Oakland and north of San Jose). Her friend Alan Kolling reports that the marks are her sixth and seventh WRs this year. “The meet is USATF sanctioned and Irene Herman was the meet referee (and did a really great job too),” Alan says. “Irene first ran 19.62 in the 80m hurdles into a 1.5 mps wind. This is a 4.72-second improvement on Johnnye Valien’s 24.34 record from the 2005 worlds. Irene then followed this with a 48.27 in the 200 hurdles, with a 1.1 wind reading, hacking off 14.43 seconds off the previous record set in 2011 by Japan’s Michiko Yamane. In between the two hurdles races, Irene logged a 17.26 hundred meter dash, no wind reading available. The time is surpassed on the all-time list only by her runs of 16.91 and 17.07 this year.”

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July 14, 2014  3 Comments