In her senior year at Newberg High School, Alison Hunkins won the 1991 Oregon state meet high jump at 5-5. (Her school record 5-7 still stands.) At Western Oregon University, where her coach was Berny Wagner (who guided gents named Dick Fosbury and John Radetich), she cleared 5-6 (1.68 meters). So what would you expect the 5-foot-3 Alison — now Alison Wood — to clear at age 45? Are you sitting down?
Alison cleared 1.66 (5-5 1/4) Saturday at the indoor Jacksons Invitational in Nampa, Idaho (See results here and video of her stunning jump below.)
She won the W40 high jump last summer at Cheney/Spokane nationals, but really went bonkers this indoor season, thrice beating the listed W45 American record of 1.58 (5-2¼) by Phil Raschker in 1995. Alison went 1.60 (5-3) on Dec. 8 and 1.61 (5-3 1/4) on Jan. 19 (also at Nampa). When I saw news of her 1.66 — beating the listed WR of 1.65 by South Africa’s Dinah Heymans in 2012 — I had to write her.
Alison lives in Sublimity, Oregon, between Portland and Eugene, and graciously replied to my queries.
Masterstrack.blog: What accounted for 5-5 1/4 at age 45?
Alison Wood: I have only missed part of two seasons since [college], one for each of my pregnancies. In most of those years, I continued to jump well, PR’ing at 1.71 (5-7 1/4) in 2015 at the Oregon State High Performance meet. During the indoor season in 2016, I had a serious meniscus tear that took about six months to heal and last year one week before the first indoor meet I was in a serious car accident that really limited my ability to jump.
I started this year right, strength training with Joel Smith from Just Fly Sports Performance. He is a former 7-foot high jumper, and he knew exactly how to prepare my physically to jump. He is in Berkeley, California, so I have an app on my phone and he sends me new workouts every day.
How do you train?
I work out five days a week, twice a day. I swim one morning a week on a HyrdoWorx treadmill, do my track workouts during my lunch break and lift weights at home in the evening. I am very fortunate to be able to practice jumping at Oregon State University under the guidance of former indoor world record holder John Radetich, and this year I was able to travel to Houston to work with two-time Peruvian Olympian Hugo Munoz at his Kangaroo Athletic Facility – a truly magical place. Even after jumping for 36 years, there is so much to learn and I am so lucky to be able to work with such amazing and brilliant coaches.
Tell about your kids — any budding track stars?
I have two kids – Caden is 17 and Kyra is 14. Caden is the assistant track coach at Regis High School and frequently officiates high school meets. He grew up on the track and knows a tremendous amount about the sport and the rules. Kyra is an aspiring equestrian and thespian and loves to watch track meets.
What major meets are you attending this year?
I will be competing at the world meet in Poland and the big [WMA] meet in Toronto in July. Other than that, I love competing at the college meets. I will continue to complete in D1 meets for as long as they let me and I usually have two or three meets a month during their season and then of course the Oregon Track Club All-Comers series this summer.
I LOVE competing. I will compete in as many meets as I possibly can, big or small. I usually do about 20 meets per year. I keep a pair of spikes in my car just in case I happen to be out and run across a track meet!
When will you take a shot at listed W45 outdoor American record?: 1.62 (5-3¾) by Clare Look-Jaeger?
Depending on weather, the first outdoor meet in Oregon is March 2 at Willamette University. I have been competing in that meet since 1992. I have not gone higher outdoors in this age bracket. I jumped 1.66 at outdoor nationals last year, but that was a couple weeks shy of my birthday.
How many medals have you won in masters nationals?
That is a great question. Many? When I was on the SoCal team, we ran a lot of relays. I have been to several national meets but I couldn’t tell you how many medals I have. How many in worlds? Just silver in Sacramento (2011 worlds). I did do a decathlon in London during the 2012 Olympics.
Still working for ARIN? If so, what’s your job there?
I have a couple of jobs. My day job is as a network engineer for the State of Oregon. I am on the advisory council for ARIN, and we work on policy pertaining to internet governance. I am also on the board for the Oregon Track Club Masters team and the captain of the Oregon Track Club Athletics Team.
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Still coaching at a local high school?
I am a little short on time to be a full-time coach, but I volunteer whenever I can at the local high schools and for any local kids that want to learn to jump.
Any other jobs you’re doing?
I have 15 chickens. That’s a big job.
Other details you can share?
I am extraordinarily lucky to have an amazing boyfriend that is extremely supportive, a former track superstar who travels with me to many meets all over the world. He is also a chef, which is key in keeping my nutrition in check and my body very healthy!
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I am grateful for my coaches, for the opportunity to train at world-class facilities, to have such positivity and fun people to train with and I appreciate so much the support from the Oregon Track Club. I can’t wait to represent the USA in Poland and I really, really, really can’t wait until the next time I can jump. I love this sport so much and look forward to every minute on the track – or field!
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