Kathy Bergen, Jenn Suhr lead Americans setting early 2020 world records

Kathy Bergen (shown at a Mt. SAC Relays) pulled a Jesse Owens act in Houston with two sprint WRs and a jump WR.Kathy Bergen (shown at a Mt. SAC Relays) pulled a Jesse Owens act in Houston with two sprint WRs and a jump WR. Photo by Chris Stone

The race is on. Who will set more masters world records this year — Americans or Europeans? A month ahead of the Eurovets indoor meet in Braga, Portugal, and USATF indoor nationals at Baton Rouge, the Americans hold a big lead.

The Yanks boast 13 indoor WRs. Our Europeeps have four. (But some U.S. marks are relays, where many of those WRs are soft or nonexistent because the M65, M75, W85 types are new, being 5-year age groups. Old records were in 10-year increments.)

Leading the way is SoCal’s Kathy Bergen, who traveled to the USATF Masters Southwest Region Indoor Championships in Houston. (See results here.) On Feb. 16, newbie W80 Kathy crushed her first three of many WRs. She ran the 60 in 10.02, the 200 in 35.56 and soared 1.20 (3-11 1/4) in the high jump. The listed sprint WRs are 10.37 and 36.53 by fellow Masters Hall of Famer Irene Obera at 2014 Boston nationals and 1.08 (3-6 1/2) by Britain’s Rosemary Chrimes in 2014.

Elsewhere, Jenn Suhr raised her own W35 WR in the vault by taking second to Sandi Morris at the recent USATF indoor nationals in ABQ. The London Olympic champ, who turned 38 on Feb. 5, cleared an incredible 4.85 (15-11). Jenn’s listed indoor age-group WR is 4.81 (15-9 1/4) from two years ago. Her listed outdoor W35 WR is 4.91 (16-1 1/4). It may take that height to make a third Olympic team.

Here’s how Europeans have fared this season:

Jan. 2: M70 Cees Stolwijk of the Netherlands ran the 1500 in 4:53.53 to beat the listed WR of 4:59.62 by countryman Hans Smeets at 2017 Daegu worlds.

Jan. 25: The German M80 team of Wendt, Fölschow, Keck and Knorr ran the 4×400 in 5:37.03. The listed WR is 6:06.23 by Canada’s Ray Wardle, Bill Thompson, Ed Whitlock and Earl Fee in 2013.

Jan. 26: W85 Florence “Flo” Meiler high jumped 0.90 meters (2-11 1/2) in Providence, Rhode Island, to beat the listed WR of 0.89 (2-11) by Canada’s Olga Kotelko at 2004 worlds in Sindelfingen, German. Flo pole-vaulted 1.65 (5-5) to become the first woman in her age group to record an indoor mark in that event. (Flo jumped 1.55 last summer in ABQ.)

Jenn Suhr's series at Albuquerque open nationals that resulted in W35 record raising.

Jenn Suhr’s series at Albuquerque open nationals that resulted in W35 record raising.

Feb. 9: M90 Herbert Müller of Germany ran 200 in 40.19 to edge the listed WR of 40.34 by the late Ugo Sansonetti of Italy in 2010.

Feb. 9: W60 Frauke Viebahn of Germany high-jumped 1.50 (4-11) to beat the listed WR of 1.46 (4-9 1/2) by Weia Reinboud of the Netherlands in 2012. (The Eurovets site says: “Frauke is looking forward to participating in the EMACI in Braga and wants to further improve her best performances indoors and outdoors.”)

And here’s the U.S. chronology:

Jan. 17: M80 Don Isett vaulted 2.77 (9-1) at the Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada, to beat the listed world record of 2.75 (9-0 1/4) by William “dad of Olympian Earl” Bell in 2002.

Jan. 19: the TNT International Racing Club M45 team of Michael Jackson, David Bynoe Sr., (58!), Kareem Lanier and twin brother Kyle Lanier ran the 4×800 in 9:51.95 in Landover, Maryland (see results), to beat the listed M45 world record of 12:02.12 by an American team at 2019 Winston-Salem nationals when the odd ages (55, 65, 75, etc.) began counting for world records.

Jan. 19: the Athletics East TC team of Mark Neff, Jeff Duyn, Bruce Becker Jr. and David Sullivan ran the 4×800 in 10:37.05 in Landover, Maryland, to set an apparently inaugural M55 WR for that five-year age group. (By comparison, the M60 WR is 9:50.90.)

Jan. 25: The M70 SoCal TC team of Gary Patton, Tim Wigger, Grady Cash and Nolan Shaheed ran the 4×800 in 10:57.99 at the Bill Butterworth Indoor meet in Wichita, Kansas, to destroy the listed WR of 11:33.66 by the Central Park TC team of Sid Howard, Hal Lieberman, Gerard Malaczynski and Maurice McDonald in 2014.

Southwest Sprinters sizzled at Millrose in the M50 4x4 with a spectacular world record.

Southwest Sprinters sizzled at Millrose in the M50 4×4 with a spectacular world record.

Feb. 8: The Southwest Sprinters team of Edward Winslow, Marek Wensel, Tony Echeandia and Khalid Mulazim ran the 4×400 in 3:37.21 at the Millrose Games in New York City to beat the listed M50 world record of 3:39.27 by James Lawson, Francois Boda, Marcus Shute Sr. and David Jones at 2016 ABQ nationals.

Feb. 9: M60 Anselm LeBourne ran the 800 in 2:13.34 at New York City’s Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex to beat the listed world record of 2:13.87 by Spain’s Joaquin Joyas Albertus in 2019. (Anselm had laps of 31.4, 34.8, 34.6 and 32.5.) On Facebook, he wrote: “This was my 19th masters world record with the goal of getting to 24 before 2020 is completed.”) See video of race.

Feb. 9: The Central Park TC team of (looking for their names) ran the 4×800 in 11:33.99 at the Ocean Breeze complex in Staten Island, New York, to beat the listed W45 world record of 12:02.12 (yes, really) by a Potomac Valley TC quartet of Craig Chasse, Michael Hannan Jr., David LaMay and Ronald Molteni. Only Craig was under 50, BTW.)

Besides these marks, eight American records have been set so far this indoor season — one of them outdoors.

Dec. 28: W50 Karolyn Bowley ran 3000 meters in 10:11.03 at Boston University Mini Meet #3, beating the listed AR of 10:12.98 by Marisa Sutera Strange in 2915.

Jan. 9: M75 Paul Perry ran 3000 in 12:18.49 in New York City, beating the listed AR of 12:29.32 by Doug Goodhue at 2019 Winston-Salem nationals.

Jan. 19: W85 Gloria Krug threw the 16-pound superweight 5.52 (18-1 1/4) in Landover, Maryland, to extend her listed American record of 5.39 (17-8) at 2017 ABQ nationals.

Sue McDonald (left) and teammates Dominique Saint-Louis, Judy Stobbe and Jen Harvey set a W50 4x800 AR in Boston.

From left, Sue McDonald, Judy Stobbe, Dominique Saint-Louis and Jen Harvey set a W50 4×800 AR in Boston.

Jan. 24: A W50 team of Dominique Saint-Louis, Judy Stobbe, Jen Harvey and Sue McDonald ran the 4×800 in 10:12.69 at the John Thomas Terrier Classic in Boston (see results) to beat the listed American nonclub record of 10:24.90 in Boston in 2014 by Kathleen Shook, Julie Hayden, Claudette Groenendaal and Lorraine Jasper.

Jan. 25: W45 Angela Herzner put the shot 13.33 (43-8 3/4) in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to beat the listed American record of 13.17 (43-2 1/2) by Hall of Famer Oneithea “Neni” Lewis in New York in 2005.

Jan. 25-26: W45 Angela scored 5203 points in the indoor hep at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, smashing the listed record of 4663 by Erika Pierce in 2017. Anne Sluder, scoring 5179, also broke the old mark.

Outdoors on Feb. 1: W55 Sue McDonald ran 400 in 64.08 at a USATF-sanctioned Westmont College meet (see results) in Montecito, Calif., lowering her own listed American record of 64.37 at 2018 Spokane nationals.

Some social media posts:

And a reward for anyone who’s read this far — my coverage of USATF cross country nationals (including masters) in San Diego and Olympic Trials 50K walk in Santee (near San Diego), where an M35 transgender athlete made history:

Lots of other stuff to report in coming days. Thanks for your patience.

(Post updated Feb. 21, 2020.)

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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 TrackCEO@aol.com or kens@timesofandiego.com. Story tips always welcome!

5 Comments on "Kathy Bergen, Jenn Suhr lead Americans setting early 2020 world records"

  1. Kathy’s time is 35.66 (see results).
    February 8: Cees Stolwijk M70 ran 10:41.80 at our Dutch nationals. Beating Ed Whitlock’s 10:52.40.
    February 9: Rietje Dijkman W80 long jumped 3.33 at the second day of our nationals. Beating Christa Bortignon’s 3.28.

    More toc come in Braga!

  2. Weia
    You should be aware that it was Kathy Bergen who informed meet officials that she was sure her listed time time in the 200 was incorrect . I’m sure you meant to congratulate her on her three world records

  3. Good sportwomenship of her! Very nice world records indeed.

  4. Weia and Bert: I tried to post about 10 minutes ago but got swatted down. Will be a bit briefer here. As I said in the earlier post, I believe that Kathy burst onto the masters scene in 1995, and with just 25 years under her belt I see many great achievements over the next 8-10 years. Best to Kathy in the Baton Rouge competitions.

    Mary Roman will also be competing in W80 (shot, weight, and superweight); she is one of my favorites.

    Jenn Suhr will not be in Baton Rouge, but the pole vault field has 16 women, with the redoubtable Kay Glynn the headliner. Now I will try to post this one.

  5. I forgot to add that I will not be in Baton Rouge, but I look forward to the reporting of the event and the photos by the illustrious Rob D’Avellar.

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