Record snub propelled Charles Allie to WMA honors in 2013

Charles Allie didn’t get an email or a phone call. He learned he’d been chosen as IAAF World’s Best Master from the WMA president himself — flying home from Brazil worlds. “This was one of the most exciting news I have ever received in my lifetime, but flying at 35,000 feet, I couldn’t [immediately] really share this great news with anyone.” The world learned the news eventually, and this week in Indy he also shared the title of USATF Male Athlete of the Year with M95 Orville Rogers. Charlie responded to a quickie Q&A this week, adding to our store of knowledge on this modest masters trackster. For example: “In 2012, after turning 65, I competed in a meet in Virginia and set the world record in the 200m and 400m only to later have both records nullified. In 2013, a year older, I was more motivated and determined toward fulfilling my goal.” World records (and even age-group PRs) don’t come at will, so thank goodness Charlie could summon another set of amazing efforts. His persistence serves as a role model as much as his graceful style.

Maurice Greene (right) posed with Charles at the IAAF Athletics Gala in Monte Carlo.

Maurice Greene (right) posed with Charles at the IAAF Gala in Monte Carlo.

Here’s my Q&A with the awesome Mr. Allie: When and how did you learn you were selected Best Master?

Charles Allie: During the second week of the WMA competitions, Mary Trotto approached me at the track and mentioned that I was nominated for the MWA World Award for the North Region. She told me that the Council would be voting soon and the results should be announced shortly. I departed the meet without knowing the results. My flight home took me to Rio. While on the plane, the lady sitting in the center seat engaged in a conversation with me about the WMA competition and I discovered we both were participants.

She proceeded to introduce me to her husband, seated next to her. He introduced himself as Stan Perkins; I extended my congratulations to him for his reelection as president of MWA. He then told congratulated me as he told me that I was selected the World Masters Athlete of the Year. This was one of the most exciting news I have ever received in my lifetime, but flying at 35,000 feet, I couldn’t really share this great news with anyone. I was really elated at receiving this news.

How did you and your family react?  How did you celebrate?

My wife, Jackie, and my son and daughter were excited and very happy for me on earning an award of this type. My wife and I celebrated when we got to Monte Carlo.

What do you consider your best single performance of 2013?  And why?

My best performance of 2013 was setting the world records in the outdoor 200m and 400m. In 2012, after turning 65, I competed in a meet in Virginia and set the world record in the 200m and 400m only to later have both records nullified. In 2013, a year older, I was more motivated and determined toward fulfilling my goal.

Everyone knows you have to work hard to reach your level, but how do you avoid injury? Share your secrets.

I really don’t have any secrets about my training program. I train for both the indoor and outdoor seasons throughout the year which consists of distance running, sprint training and weight training. I guess this combination seems to work well enough for me and allows me to compete at a high levels and minimize injuries.

Who are your coaches, trainers and support system in athletics? Who helped the most?

I really don’t have any coaches to help me with my training. It would be nice to have a coach and/or an equivalent training partner. Because I am retired, I can go to the track early and have it all to myself. During the summer, I usually coach and train with our Pittsburgh youth track club. When I need speed work, I can work out with my friend and teammate Alan Tissenbaum. Because he is not in my age group, he appears to be a little too fast. My Houston Elite teammates are very encouraging and supportive as well.

What did you do in your working life?  Did any of your jobs help you become a champion athlete?

I was a Technology Shop teacher in the middle schools in Pittsburgh. I also coached middle school girls’ sports; softball, basketball, and soccer. I was a very active coach during my tenure, and this helped me with my track conditioning.

How important to you has it been being a member of a track club?

I am a member of the Houston Elite Track Club, based in Houston, Texas, with Bill Collins as the director. Although our members come from all over the nation, we usually come together as a club during national meets and most major meets during the season. Being a member of this club has made my track experience even more meaningful; I run with the best runners in the world. The friendships that have developed within the club are very rewarding and unique.

Having achieved the top honor in masters athletics, what goals are you now setting for yourself? More world records?

As each new season approaches, we all set some kind of goals for ourselves: to stay healthy, attend major meets, to PR, medal and to set records. I look forward to each new season, a year older and wiser. I try to prepare myself for that season and hope for the best. If I stay healthy, then fine. If I medal, then good. If I set a world record, then great! For me, that’s part of the challenge.

You’ve both been to major meets around the world.  What can WMA do to improve its meets and service to athletes?

The WMA will always face tremendous challenges when they host a world meet of this magnitude. Although there may be some glitches in a meet as this, and some athletes may experience some issues with their particular event, I believe these issues will be addressed and improvements will be made for future Wma meets. Hopefully, all athletes will be able to have a more rewarding competition experience.

Anything else you’d like to share with readers of my blog?

First and foremost, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of the athletes and nomination committee who may have played a role in making my selection a reality. And thank you, Ken Stone, for all you have done through your Masterstrack website in keeping all the athletes abreast on what is going on in track and field. This source of information has provided a great medium for all T&F athletes to share their stories as well as be informed about the athletes and their performances.

Special consideration goes out to the great Peter Taylor for his supreme job in announcing our championship meets. He has been able to provide greater insight in the athletes and their performances. There are too many USA Masters track officers and staff members to thank for how they handle their duties and responsibilities. And last but not least, thanks to all my fellow athletes and teammates for all of their kind words of support.

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December 6, 2013

10 Responses

  1. Allan Tissenbaum - December 6, 2013

    A very classy role model for all of us. I am privileged to call him my friend. Not to mention an incredible talent.

  2. Joseph Burleson - December 6, 2013

    Congratulations to Charles Allie! In reading Charles’ mention of his teaching and coaching activities, I recall watching a Penn Relays a few years back when Charles was burning down the track when what seemed like hundreds of teenage voices went ballistic screaming, “Go Coach! Go Mr. Allie!” It was then I knew that in addition to being a Masters super-star, that he must be one dedicated teacher. What an honor to be admired and respected by your students. Another wonderful achievement for this amazing gentleman.

  3. Rick Riddle - December 6, 2013

    Prince Charles!

  4. Nolan Shaheed - December 6, 2013

    Charles has been the most consistent runner in ALL of track & field.

  5. Ken Stone - December 6, 2013

    BTW, I’ve sent a questionnaire to Myrle Mensey. Does anyone have an email address for Orville Rogers?

  6. phyllis provost - December 7, 2013

    you might try Wayne Bennett of the Dallas

  7. Earl Fee - December 8, 2013

    Congratulations Charles-well deserved. Your blazing speed is only surpassed by your humility.

    On the subject of world records not recognized by WMA. It is unfortunate that world running track age group records broken at World Masters Games are not recognized by WMA. For example, my world record lowered by a few seconds in 300 metre hurdles ( 56.92)age group 80-84 at Sydney World Games 2009. It was an excellent meet with great officials and electronic timing, etc. But world records,hand timed have been accepted by WMA from much smaller all comer meets, and I suspect sometimes? a variety of ages in the same race. (Following a faster runner closely could be good for up to about 1.5 seconds faster time in the 800m due to reduced wind resistance, I believe.)

    However, that hurdle record is water under that bridge. I cant complain as WMA has been good to me.

  8. Peter Taylor - December 8, 2013

    Earl Fee (University of Toronto) and Charles Allie (Hampton Institute), you are two for the ages. What consistency, what overall brilliance you have displayed. I can’t come close to counting how many great races Charles has run over the years, and Earl, you have been one of my heroes since I met you in 1996 (Greensboro). “The Great Earl Fee,” as I always say.

    Earl, I am very sorry that after traveling in 2009 all the way from Ontario, Canada, to Perth, Australia, to do some great things, you set a world mark in the 300-m hurdles, only to see it rejected. Because you did it at the World Masters Games (with FAT, top officials, international fields), that seems like an outcome that would be hard to accept, but you have responded to this misfortune in a very admirable fashion.

  9. Ken Stone - December 8, 2013

    Thanks for idea, Phyllis! I’ll write Wayne.

  10. Ken Javor - December 24, 2013

    Charlie is very cool person both on and off the track. Made it to the finals in the 400 Masters in Cleveland in 2011 only to get smoked. Of course Charlie easily won it. I would love to see a 65 year old Usain Bolt and Charlie in an open 200. I think it would go right down to the wire.

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