USA RANKINGS 2003 – PRESENT by John Seto
WORLD RANKINGS 2006 – PRESENT by Martin Gasselsberger.
RACEWALK RANKINGS 2003 – PRESENT by Tom Higbie
ALL-TIME VETERANS RANKINGS (for distance events)
*A note about these rankings
Nobody does masters rankings. That implies subjective opinion, as in: Who in head-to-head competition are the Top 10 runners, jumpers or throwers? Nomenclature nitpicking aside, masters rankings have been done for decades, as in: What were the best marks this year?
So when you read rankings, think performance lists.
Starting in 1988 and ending in 2003, a team of volunteers led by Jerry Wojcik of National Masters News produced annual “U.S. Masters Track & Field Rankings” books — age-group seasonal lists, event by event. This followed pioneering efforts by others, including Gijs Knoppert of Holland, who prepared world rankings in the late 1970s for the World Association of Veteran Athletes.
In America, the NMN rankings books arrived in March — well after the outdoor season. They were nice keepsakes. But they did little to satisfy the hunger for instant feedback: Who’s the best hurdler in my age group NOW? How do I compare with high jumpers across the country?
Enter the first online rankings.
Beginning in the late 1990s, Dave Ortman of Seattle and Dave Clingan of Portland, Oregon, began compiling world masters track season lists online. Rick Easley of Texas contributed lists for 400 and 400 hurdles. Mickey Miller jumped in with javelin rankings. They spent hundreds of hours assembling data and posting it. Ortman specialized in hurdles lists in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Eventually, with the help of database experts Larry Patz of Contoocook, New Hampshire, and John Seto of Pleasant Valley, New York, USATF seasonal lists became mostly self-service, and their value skyrocketed.
In 2003-2004, World Masters Athletics had a short fling with online world rankings, inviting coach Ross Dunton of Sevierville, Tennessee, to keep seasonal world lists in WMA’s name. But the lists were highly flawed and included marks from only world and national championships. WMA abandoned the project after two years, as we reported in October 2005.
Today is the best of times. Seasonal lists proliferate. In Austria, Martin Gasselsberger started posting world lists in 2006. United Kingdom Athletics jumped aboard the same year with all-age lists. Geoff Bramley of Brisbane added his self-service (but incomplete) Australian rankings in 2009. The IAAF Top Lists have been online since 1999 and even though they don’t single out masters as a category, they list hundreds of elites in their late 30s and 40s — often with biographies and dates of birth. And even masters road runners have one, thanks to Pete Magill of South Pasadena, California (with Seto’s help).
But the best masters track list remains mastersrankings.com, started by Seto in 2003 and improved ever since.
Also, be aware that this Web site — masterstrack.com — no longer produces seasonal lists. We just link to them. For an FAQ on the USATF masters rankings, click here. Or read this November 2008 interview with John Seto.
Have another masters rankings site to recommend? Write me!