M75 Gary Patton engineers record-breaking season, wins USATF Masters Athlete of the Year

Last December, Masters Hall of Famer Gary Patton turned 75 and set his eyes on some middle-distance records. First up, in January, was Paul Perry’s 6:10.98 American age-group record in the indoor mile. Gary scorched a Wichita State track in 5:55.26 — a rare sub-6 for a 75-year-old. (The listed WR is 5:41.95 by Canada’s Earl Fee.) But the Kansas meet lacked a USATF sanction, so the mark was rejected. Not to worry. Gary — a retired engineer in Rock Rapids, Iowa (about 50 minutes east of Sioux Falls, South Dakota) — kept cranking. The result: American outdoor records in…

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Olympian, masters star Willie Banks back smiling on Zoom after December bout with COVID-19

Monday’s Zoom session featuring Dick Fosbury, Linda Cohn and Willie Banks was happiness and light, with lots of helpful and inspirational nuggets. But my head snapped at one point when Willie, smiling and upbeat, matter of factly mentioned in passing that he had COVID-19 in December. Say what? He never returned to the subject, so I wrote him the next day. Did I hear you correctly? Yup. With symptoms of light fever, headache, body aches and cough, he was tested Dec. 11, 2020, and heard his results — positive — two days later. He has no clue how or where…