Marie-Louise Michelsohn claims W75 steeple WR by nearly slimmest margin

Marie-Louise (left) is captured by phototimer as she barely beat the W75 world record in the 2K steeple at UCSB.

Results of the Sept. 30 Club West Masters meet in Santa Barbara show Jeff Davison’s hurdle time and Marie-Louise Michelsohn’s steeple mark next to each other. Not shown: How spectacular they were. At 76, Marie-Louise nipped the listed W75 world record in the 2000-meter steeplechase with her 11:30.52. WMA shows the record as 11:30.55 by China’s Xuhua Chen at 2016 Perth worlds.

I wrote Marie-Louise for details on her amazing mark at UC Santa Barbara.

She graciously responded:

My lap times were 2:07, 4:36, 6:54 9:17 11:30.52 Final time. So splits were 2:07, 2:29, 2:18, 2:23, 2:13.

The first lap was what I had planned for – I always go out quickly and my first and last laps are always my fastest. I have a lot of adrenaline for the first lap and if I don’t let it have its way it is just time lost — and I go for broke on my last lap.

But my second lap was a lot slower than race plan — I was not pleased when I saw the clock so I picked things up. The others were pretty much according to plan. What I was hoping for was 11:15. That was foiled in the second lap. In the final straightaway I just gave it my all.

The conditions were about 70 degrees in the shade — a lot better than the 100-degree weather I had had previously [at the Potomac Valley Games, where she ran an American record 12:16.76, crushing the listed AR of 14:03.36 by Flo Meiler at 2011 Berea nationals.]

It was very sunny (the previous morning was cloudy, which would have been better but the sunny weather was pretty. I just had to hide in the shade as much as possible before the race. (I don’t sweat, so I overheat easily — 60 degrees or lower is best for me.) There was no wind, which was great.

Everybody at the meet was wonderful. I had a marvelous time. And after the race, the sun was very welcome and beautiful.

I still live in Stony Brook, N.Y. (I have not retired — still full-time at the university in Stony Brook. That is why I couldn’t go to Malaga. Just went for the weekend to Santa Barbara). In fact, I was worried about racing so soon after the plane ride.

I am a member of SoCal TC because my very good friend and training partner, Sharon Warren, joined so I did too. She is an old friend of Nolan Shaheed.

Here’s the whole finish line photo of Marie-Louise (the skinny one.)

The new WR comes 18 months after I last interviewed her. She said then: “I think I might train for the steeplechase again. I haven’t even done it since outdoor nationals in Chicago and while that was a world record it was really slow since I wasn’t recovered from the 10,000 I had done not long before. So it might be fun to actually concentrate on that.”

And Jeff — our shuttle hurdles relay guru?

At age 60, he ran the international 110-meter hurdles. Yes, the same spacing and barrier height as the Olympic race — 42 inches.

No official age-group records are kept for that distance and hurdle height. (In masters, the M60s run 100-meter hurdles over 33-inch sticks.

Jeff tells me:

In my 50s, I started competing in the 42-inch-tall hurdles for the challenge of it. USATF does not recognize any records for masters over the 42-inch hurdles. Hence I have been using Peter Mundle’s “Single-Age Records” and my discussions with other masters’ athletes as a way of creating an updated unofficial list of athletes age 50 and over that have competed in the 42-inch hurdles.

If my research is correct, and we exclude wind-aided marks, I currently have the age 57 and 60 single-age, unofficial, 42-inch hurdle American record. There is one wind-aided time better than my age 57, and one wind-aided time better than my age 60 “unofficial records.”

My goal in January 2018 was to be able to complete a 42-inch hurdle race at age 60. I termed this season as “Over 60, Over 42.“ I started January 2018 with knee surgery (torn meniscus) and between January through July 2018 shed 17 pounds that I regained since 2005 (duct tape diet again).

Early in the year, I attempted two 42-inch hurdle races, but was not able to complete either race. That all changed Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, at the Club West Meet in Santa Barbara, California, where I completed the 42-inch hurdle race at age 60.

Hence Jeff became the fourth known hurdler that has accomplished the feat at age 60 and older. The others are Darrold Skartvedt, Bud Deacon and Stan Thompson. The oldest known 42-inch hurdler that Jeff knows about was age Stan at age 68.

Here’s how Club West results show Jeff and Marie-Louise marks.

Darrold, Bud and Stan competed in “international decathlons” which included the 42-inch hurdles, and all the field events used the same implements (weights and dimensions) as the Olympians.

At Club West, one sprint hurdle race was held. On the right side of the track competing in the M60 sprint hurdles (33 inches for 100 meters) were Robert McDaniels (Mac Can Do Track Club) and Ed Baskauskas; on the left side of the track was Jeff in the 42-inch race.

Robert won, Ed was second and Jeff third.

Jeff says he did well over the first eight hurdles and stayed close to Ed for seven hurdles, but clipped the ninth hurdle and crashed into the 10th. He got up and completed the race in 26.60. Not a great time – but accomplishing the goal of “Over 60, Over 42.“

Jeff writes: “Next season, at age 61, I will give it another shot, and plan on a much faster time.”

One other fun thing about masters’ track and field is to hear about others’ story. That has been one of the reasons for creating meet records for several masters’ meets around the Southern California area, and assisting with the SHR at Nationals … there are many stories to be heard. Anyone having more information on Over 50 Over 42: Jeffery Davison at

Jeff has a Facebok page for 42-inch masters hurdlers at

Contribute to support independent track and field journalism:

About the Author

Ken Stone
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and webmaster since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials. He worked for 10 newspapers and now reports for Times of San Diego. Write him at or Story tips always welcome!

Be the first to comment on "Marie-Louise Michelsohn claims W75 steeple WR by nearly slimmest margin"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.