Shooter Dave Albo set for Trials; Sonja Friend-Uhl scratches from 15

Dave Albo will carry the torch for masters in Eugene.

Dave Albo will carry the torch (and big glass) for masters in Eugene.

What a June for Dave Albo, our masters photog friend in Colorado. He turned 60 last week and Sunday was profiled by Mike Sandrock in the Daily Camera, where he was called a “fit-looking Fabio-looking guy.” But more thrills lay ahead. He’s shooting the Olympic Trials starting this weekend in Eugene, including the masters 1500s. Look for images here eventually. I learned from the article that he’s married to former distance star Patty Murray. Sadly, one masters standout he won’t see is W45 Sonja Friend-Uhl, whose record-setting season has been cut short by injury. She strained a hamstring in early May, healing very slowly, and last week felt the onset of plantar fasciitis in her right foot, she says. Despite a cortisone shot, it still hurt a lot Sunday. So she’s withdrawn.

Sonja wrote me:

I have a lot to be grateful for both in my life and in my running career, so this is a bump in the road I accept and will overcome.

I will do what it takes to heal and get stronger. This has made me hungrier than ever to continue my career as a master. Definitely a strong (and painful) reminder of how much I still love to compete and race.

Being an elite masters athlete means training and competing on the edge. Injuries are part of the game. But we fret less than the kiddies about careers ending when disaster strikes.

Our track lives can be resurrected.

I’ve been there (with a broken ankle and ACL-repaired knee). And I’ve made my comebacks (to fitness if not glory). So I fully expect Sonja to be back ripping up the record books.

Have a good rest, Sonja, and we’ll see you in 2017.

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June 27, 2016

7 Responses

  1. Sonja - June 28, 2016

    Thank you Ken! I WILL be back soon! Time to recharge and correct imbalances. All my best in the race Sunday to this outstanding group of Masters men and women as they show the world age is no barrier!

  2. Sonja Friend-Uhl - June 28, 2016

    PS: You will see me sooner than 2017!

  3. dave albo - June 28, 2016

    Thanks for the shout out Ken. Any resemblance to Fabio by me is very slight, at best! Everything else in the article is true.

    As for the masters races, I’ll miss having the always photogenic Sonja in the field, but look forward to everyone else putting out some great performances with exciting moments for me to photograph. Bring it!

    More generally, I think it’s true that even if you look only at the best of the best of us masters, only a small handful ever made it as far as the Olympic Trials. It is an outstanding achievement for each and every qualifier.

    On the flip side, there are a few extremely rare birds—masters athletes still competing in the trials, such as Bernard Lagat.

    Are you excited? I sure am.

  4. Barbara Friend - June 28, 2016

    Dear Sonja, I am so supportive of your attitude about not liking but accepting this bump in the road.You more than deserve to be a major competitor and you will heal and be back in no time.what does not kill us makes us stronger.Love you and my heart hurts for

  5. Christel Donley - June 28, 2016

    Dave, thanks for the great hurdle pic you took
    BEFORE it was too late. By that I mean, one does not have to be a “Elite Master athlete” just a FAITHFUL ONE – like for almost 40 yrs! And the injuries go along for the duration. No matter how hard one tries, or maybe too hard?? it happens at the wrong time -(like before Nationals or the World Games )- Complaining does not work/help,no sympathy. One gets the “fair” question: “why are you still doing THIS at your age?” But the answer is simple: “Because I love it, and I enjoy the competition and the friendship. May it not end for a long time! And may I heal quicker than normal……. fat chance!

    Sonja is still a “toddler” She will be back and in full force. Love that name, it’s my daughters as well….. and YOU, enjoy Eugene.
    Hope to see you in Ft.Collins.

  6. cecil friend - June 30, 2016

    Sonja , Finding your Joy , thru the suffering I always remember that person in the beginning who asked Dad , What did you enjoy when you were starting out in life ? An that 7 years old person have never ceased to amaze myself beginning the moments on her Own running down that Hannegan Country Road in WA State to other areas of our World ! Whether running for Exercise , Sport , Or Discipline ..She has sought thru her own efforts to increase her Endurance an her love of the passion from running…Nature has endowed all of us creatures with certain abilities ! Interesting to remember …Running was most likely for escape from Predators ! However , turning that built in escape trait to The joy of a Runners High is a Gift that Keeps US Running…GO Sonja …YOU know the Feeling ! Dad

  7. Gate Holloman - December 1, 2016

    As for the masters races, I’ll miss having the always photogenic Sonja in the field, but look forward to everyone else putting out some great performances with exciting moments for me to photograph. Bring it!

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