Who’s the fastest masters sprinter in the world?

Aaron Thigpen? Willie Gault? Nope. This is a trick question. Think younger. The over-40 studs listed in mastersrankings.com aren’t the fastest. Masters are now defined by World Masters Athletics as age 35 and up. On that basis, the top masters sprinter in the world is American Jeff Laynes. According to the 2006 outdoor IAAF top list for 100 meters, Jeff ran 10.17 with a legal 1.6 mps wind at Modesto on May 6. Jeff was born in October 1970. So he’s in his first full M35 season.

He took fourth at the Modesto Relays:
1, Jason Smoots, Nike, 10.04 seconds.
2, Dwight Phillips, Nike, 10.15.
3, Marcelle Scales, Nike, 10.15.
4, Jeff Laynes, Brooks, 10.17
This time is well under the listed M35 American record of 10.3 by Ruben Whitney in June 1980. That’s such an outdated mark, I’m ashamed to even mention it. Since 1980, we’ve had many M35s run faster — such no-names as Carl Lewis (10.10 in 1996) and Dennis Lewis (10.15 in 1001).
In 2004, Kevin Braunskill ran 10.13 at age 35.
The all-time best M35 at 100 is probably Britain’s Linford Christie, who ran 9.97 in 1995.
Sadly, Jeff Laynes lives with a shame.
In 2001, he was busted for doping (stanozolol). He was handed a two-year suspension.
According to a USADA press release:
Laynes “admitted to manipulating USADA documentation as well as testing positive at two international track and field events. Laynes, 31, manipulated USADA forms on three occasions (August 26, October 20 and October 27, 2001) when he was being tested for the sport of bobsled. The August 26 test was an unannounced out-of-competition test in Calgary, Alb., Canada, while the October 20 and October 27 tests occurred in Park City, Utah at the U.S. National Two-Man and Four-Man Team Trials, respectively.
“In addition, Laynes tested positive at the Reunion International Meet in La Laguna, Spain on July 14, 2001 and the International Lausitzer Meet in Cottbus, Germany on July 18, 2001 for stanozolol, a prohibited anabolic steroid under International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules.”
Ironically, Laynes accused fellow American Jon Drummond of doping back in 1998, according to this New York Times piece by veteran track writer Jere Longman:
This thick sense of suspicion engulfed the United States track and field championships last summer in New Orleans, where Jon Drummond, one of the world’s top 100-meter sprinters, strained a groin muscle during a preliminary round of the 100 meters. Another sprinter at the event, Jeff Laynes, made an oblique reference to doping, telling Drummond, ”That’s what you get for taking that stuff,” and insinuating that Drummond had used drugs for an edge.
Drummond, who has never failed a drug test and has been an outspoken anti-drug advocate, confronted Laynes, told him the unfounded remarks were destructive and even invited Laynes to live with him to check on his training.
”This kind of stuff has got to stop,” Drummond said. ”It’s killing our sport.”

Before the doping case, Jeff worked for UPS in Oakland.
In any case, he’s back. And a lot faster than 2005, when he was 25th of 32 in the heats at the Carson open nationals (clocking 10.46 into a slight wind).
I doubt he’ll show up at your neighborhood masters meet. But he’s eligible.
Next up: Who’s the world’s fastest masters hurdler?
Hint: Initials are AJ.

Print Friendly

May 19, 2006