On opposite sides of the Atlantic are mirror image middle-distance legends — W55 Anne Gilshinan of Wexford in southeast Ireland and M60 Anselm LeBourne of West Orange, New Jersey. Both have crushed multiple world records this indoor season and are poised to rewrite outdoor records for the 800, 1500 and mile.
But they’re no different from you and me in one respect. We’re all navigating the coronavirus. Every day, the warnings get sterner. Today I watched my governor, California’s Gavin Newsom, say I (being 65 or over) should keep indoors. (I went for a sunset walk in the park with my wife. But we kept our distance from the few others on our sidewalk loop.)
But to learn how Anne and Anselm are doing, I queried them via Facebook. They’re acutely aware of current events and are playing it safe.
Anne set a third WR this indoor season last Sunday at Irish masters nationals in Athlone — a 2:20.10 for 800 to beat the listed WR of 2:22.34 by Britain’s Virginia Mitchell at 2019 Torun worlds. (Anne won her race by 52 seconds!)
“I am delighted now to hold the 800m, 1500m and one mile [records] in both indoor and outdoor in the W55 category,” she says. “So the Mondo continues to be good to me.”
But she reports that her running season has ended abruptly due to the European championships being canceled.
“I will pull back on training for a while and then hopefully worlds will go ahead, so that will be my focus,” she says.
Anne’s husband is a teacher, and she works from home (as a private math tutor), where her kids are 15 and 17. “Schools are closed, so we are all at home. We only go into town for essential shopping. Great to be able to get out for a run as we live in the countryside.”
She sums up her situation: “We really have to do whatever we can to look after ourselves and our family. We are faced with something new, unknown and quite frightening.”
Anselm, a Masters Hall of Famer from 2014 (and a friend of mine since 1999 Gateshead worlds), teaches global business, organizational behavior and business management at Seton Hall University.
How is he dealing with corona constraints?
“The only thing I have really changed is that I am not in the classroom for the next 2-3 weeks,” he says. “Other than that, it’s training as usual. Have many more world records to break. … I have increased my mileage.”
On Monday, Trinidad & Tobago native Anselm added: “I am dedicating all of my world records to the poor black people of my hometown of Trou Macaque Laventille as I work tirelessly to get them a building demolished and another three buildings painted by the government of Trinidad and Tobago.”
His indoor season is over, but he plans to double at Toronto worlds in the 800 and 1500.
“I have broken or established 20 world records and my goal is to get to 24 in 2020,” he says. “Remember: Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.”
He’ll overcome legends if he adds outdoor WRs. The listed M60 WRs are:
- 800: 2:08.56 Nolan Shaheed USA 61 23/04/11 Los Angeles, USA
- 1500: 4:24.00 Nolan Shaheed USA 61 30/04/11 Norwalk, USA
- Mile: 4:51.85 Tony McManus NZL 62 07/01/12 Timaru, NZL
For Anne, the W55 outdoor PRs to beat are:
- 800: 2:19.63 Anne Gilshinan IRE 55 08/06/19 Leixlip, IRE
- 1500: 4:41.46 Anne Gilshinan IRE 55 22/06/19 Belfast, GBR
- Mile: 5:08.47 Anne Gilshinan IRE 55 07/08/19 Dublin, IRE
Like everyone else in Masters Track World, I’m keeping fingers crossed for Toronto 2020. Let’s stay in shape and watch our backs. We can outrun COVID-19 with the right attitudes and behaviors.
Meanwhile, share your training workarounds here. Let’s help each other.
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