At Penn, Bill Collins claims M65 WR in 100; M45 4×4 WR also falls

Bill Collins, 66, set another world record at Penn over the weekend — an amazing 12.33 for 100, breaking the listed M65 WR of 12.37 by fellow Yank Steve Robbins and Slovakia’s Vladmir Vybostok. (Steve says: “I was following the results online. No surprise — other than it took Bill a year to get it. I expect he’ll take the record down another couple of tenths later in the season. Congratulations, Bill!”) But in researching the feat I came across another amazing stat. This was the 35th time Bill has raced at Penn. That derives from a Walt Murphy report back in 2011, when he’d hit the 31 mark. (See posting below. Bill missed 2014 and 2015.) Also jaw-dropping was the M45 world record by the 4×4 team of Karnell Vickers (54.10), Mark Gomes (48.88), Lee Bridges (51.56) and Allen Woodard (48.27!), whose 3:22.79 shattered the listed WR of 3:24.84 set by a U.S. team at 2011 Sacramento worlds. With Gavin Thorne replacing Mark, the same foursome broke the listed American M45 nonclub record in the 4×100 Friday, clocking 43.79. The previous record was 44.73. Also hot at Penn were M40 Jeff Mack in 10.89, M70 Ty Brown in 13.34 and M80 Bobby Whilden in 14.65. At 48, Donna Lawrence won the single women’s 100 in 12.85. Complete Penn masters results are here. I’ve heard of AR in at least one women’s 4×4. I could use details.

The new WR team in M45 4×4 includes two 50-year-olds — Lee Bridges and Karnell Vickers.

Bill, back to using blocks at Penn after doing standing start in recent years, also set an M55 WR there of 11.50 in 2006 and 11.44 in 2008. I’ve lost count of his masters relays records at Penn.

Here’s my quickie Q&A with the always gracious Houston Elite coach. How well did you execute the 100? Any things you could do better?

Bill Collins: The race wasn’t the best, but with Charles Allie in any race you have to run well, the drive phase still needs some work, and hopefully my health will improve.

What accounts for the latest record — your training, competition, good home cooking?

[Wife] Stephaine working hard to help keep my body together, along with great family support all around and the good grace of the Lord

Is anyone or any company sponsoring you yet? Have an irons in the fire?

I get no monetary support, but am definitely open to any financial support that would come my way. Do you know of any companies?

How did you celebrate the WR?

Really did nothing. Had an early dinner. Had to get up to catch an early flight home.

What’s on your schedule this spring and summer — major meets, etc.? Toronto WMA regional?

Not really sure what the schedule will look this spring and summer, going to see how the body feels over the next month or two, with the cost of travel to meets getting so expensive, have to look at my budget.

How much faster can you run 100 in M65? When will you go for Charles’ 24.65 WR at 200?

Not really sure. Just have to see how the body feels. I did run fastest at Perth, just a little too much wind. I never go to meets looking for records. At this stage, I’m just happy to be running.

Here’s what Walt Murphy wrote in 2011:

The Penn Relays wouldn’t be the same without the presence of Bill Collins. Now 61-years young, Collins will be competing at Penn for the 31st time since he first ran at Franklin Field as a prep at Mt.Vernon(NY) H.S. in 1968.

Collins was an All-American at TCU and ran the lead-off leg on the U.S. team that set a world record in the 4×100 relay at the 1977 World Cup in Dusseldorf, Germany. He has continued to excel in the Masters ranks for the last two decades and won the 60, 200, and 400 in his age-group at the recent World Masters Championships.

His triple-win in Jyvaskyla, Finland, marked an incredible recovery after his career nearly came to an abrupt end last year when he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a debilitating disease that attacks the nervous system.

“Ten months ago I couldn’t even walk,” Collins said at last month’s U.S. Masters Championships. “It’s just so great being back among my masters family. This is truly a blessing.” Collins added recently, “Things are going well at this time, still not 100% recovered yet, but I am getting there.”

Collins, who will compete this weekend in the 60+ 4×100 and 4 x400 relays with his Houston Elite teammates, as well as the 60+ 100 meters, shared his thoughts on Penn in an email to E.T.

“What can any of us say about the Penn Relays, the greatest meet in the world if you are not running in the Olympic Games? My first race at Penn was in 1968, 44 years ago, and each time I come it still fills me with excitement. My exciting times were working as a guide runner for the blind athletes, while still competing in the master races and relays — that was some twenty years back. One of those races I had to guide an athlete, jog back to the start line and run my own 100. So many great moments over the years, some of the older teammates I ran relays with are no longer with us, which is sad.”

When asked how many times he’s won at Penn, Collins, who owns Acala Sports Training Sysytems in Houston, modestly replied, “Never really counted the wins, I do know many years when I won the Masters 100, I also was on two winning relay teams as well. I would think somewhere in the range of 30-35. It’s just a pleasure to run there, regardless of the outcome. Being around all the great people–the athletes, officials, and fans.”

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April 30, 2017

5 Responses

  1. Peter L. Taylor - May 1, 2017

    I was at the meet on both Friday and Saturday, and thus I was privileged to witness all of the magnificent performances by our masters sprinters. If I had to select just one, it would be the 48.27 anchor by Allen Woodard to bring his team the M45 world record in the 4 x 400. Now that’s coming through under pressure.

    For those who have never been to the Penn Relays, it’s just hard to describe. The key word would be “different” — it’s completely different from every other meet in the world on a variety of measures, including its scale, scope, length, and noise level.

    That being said, I can say with little fear of contradiction that the meet presents bigger challenges for the processing of records than any others I have attended. For example, the meet had 7 starters — which of the 7 started the 4 x 400 for men 40+, and how could you possibly get past the massive security forces to get that person’s signature on your form?

    As far as the FAT crews, the Penn Relays has the reputation of being the fastest-moving meet in the world. How would it be appropriate to bother the FAT crew for the finish photo and a signature, much less the results of the zero control test, when the meet is moving at lightning speed? Surely they must be left free to do their amazing work.

    We were fortunate this year to have a member of the elite “jury of appeals” step forward to help us with the process of filling out the record forms. Whether she was successful, I do not know.

  2. Bill Collins - May 1, 2017

    Pete Taylor is due a tremendous amount of credit for all the time he spent in helping each athlete and team get all the paper worked completed. As he stated this is no small task at the greatest track and field meet in the world outside of the Olympic games. I witness him get copies of results making sure wind readings were correct, and making sure that all things on the check list on the record forms got done. Pete does more than just announce meets, he works tireless for the masters athletes, and we thank him for that. Carol, thank you for helping Pete with the forms.
    Congrats to the USA Masters 40 plus team for the records they set at Penn, Allen what a fantastic leg on the 4X400.

  3. Peter Crombie - May 1, 2017

    Congratulations to Bill Collins on another world record. Steve Robbins sets them up only for Bill to come along 8 years later and knock them down.Brilliant efforts by both athletes.

  4. louise guardino - May 2, 2017

    Peter Taylor is a perfectionist and, as such, he works to get things done properly. He does this because he thinks so highly of the Masters athletes who astound us with their performance. He does this because he wants to ensure that these athletes get the records they are due. He does this out of the kindness of his heart.

    Wow — incredible performances by the Masters at Penn. Happy to see all these folks shine in front of the huge crowds.

  5. Lonnie Hooker - May 3, 2017

    Peter Taylor is Masters Track!! Bill Collins?? Not close to being human. Indescribable!!!

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