International

History’s oldest trackster entered at Toruń worlds: Stanislaw Kowalski is almost 109

Entry deadline for Toruń indoor worlds closed this week, and I’m excited to see Poland’s Stanislaw Kowalski, born in April 1910, down for the 60, shot and discus. At almost 109, he’s likely the oldest competitive athlete in history — even older than Japan’s Hidekichi Miyazaki, aka “Golden Bolt,” who often was credited as being the fastest M105 sprinter. Sadly, Hidekichi died last week at age 108. (I wrote about Miyazaki Mania in 2015.) WMA now lists outdoor world records for M105 (by Stan and Hidekichi), so anything Stan does at Torun will qualify as an indoor M105 world record….


7 Americans, led by M70 sprint sensation Charles Allie, among nominees for WMA annual awards

As expected, Charles Allie is being considered for World Masters Athletics Athlete of the Year — both in the overall and sprint-group categories, WMA has announced. His M70 records at Malaga and elsewhere should make him a shoo-in for the top male prize. No American women are up for the overall Athlete of Year honors, but three Yanks have good shots at event awards — W60 middle-distancer Lesley Hinz, W65 distance great Sabra Harvey and W60 throws legend Carol Finsrud. Besides Charlie, American men in the finals for event awards are M50 middle-distancer Charles Novak, M75 thrower George Mathews and…


Peter Crombie, World Masters Athlete of the Millennium? Champion of champions is 74

Sprinter Peter Crombie, born Christmas Day 1944, is Australia’s gift to masters track. I’ve seen him run for decades (especially at USA masters nationals), and yet didn’t really appreciate his massive dominance. And now The Guardian shares a stat new to me: He’s won a medal in every sprint event in which he’s competed since 1987. “He holds an unparalleled 19 indoor and outdoor track records, and has taken home 20 medals from outdoor world titles,” says the profile. “He has won a remarkable 65 medals in world events – more than anyone in masters history. It’s gotten to the…


Few respond to WMA survey on Malaga worlds, but feedback is still eye-opening

In its latest survey, WMA asked Malaga athletes, officials and coaches what they thought. And I’ve obtained a copy of results. No exact data on how many answered. But of 8,000 entrants, roughly 115 took part — based on the “What is your age group?” question. That translates to a participation rate of 1.4 percent. Atrocious. But even if the sample is almost worthless, the 23-page “Masters Athlete Survey Post Malaga” has its moments. At the end, key comments are listed. Some are doozies. The feedback purportedly represents “most discussed topics.” (I suspect it’s almost every comment.) The last one…


M85 Japanese medalist at Malaga: DNS, DNS, DNS, DNS, DNS, DNS, DNS, DNS, DNS, DNS, DNS, DNS, DNS, DNS

A few days before Malaga worlds, I went bonkers over Japanese entrant Sadao Tabira. I learned he was entered in 17 (seventeen, diecisiete, hiragana) events, including the decathlon. And he’s 85! So how did he do? Uhm. The question is how did he not do. He took silver in the 5000 (34:53.87), 10K road run (1:35:21) and 6K cross country (46:00). The rest? DNS. Did not start. Sigh. As noted originally, Sadao is a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bomb “Fat Man.” So I can’t stay mad. He’s paid his life dues. But he probably paid hundreds of dollars more…


Sierra Leone offers first masters meet for ‘the aged’ — helping unify nation after tense election

An African newspaper reveals another reason to embrace masters track: It helps unify a nation after a contentious election. At least in Sierra Leone. Says Awoko: “The aim of this year’s masters sports is to provide recreation for the aged and also bring the community together after all the political tension of the recent election.” According to Awoko: The President of Sports for Health, Unisa D. Kargbo, said they are going to organize the first edition of a Masters Athletics Sport meet in Masiaka on the 14-15 of this month. He said Sports for Health is a community-based organization whose…


Tale of 2 Kenyans: One claims bogus mark, another could be WR-setter at Torun indoor worlds

In 2012, Anselm LeBourne again broke the 2-minute barrier when he ran a still-listed M50 indoor world record for 800 meters at the Boston Terrier Classic. The listed M50 outdoor WR is 1:58.65 by Nolan Shaheed in 2000. So when my California friend Matt B saw the entry list at Torun 2019 indoor worlds, he was incredulous. Kenya’s Robert Langat claims a time of 1:56.80 in the M50 800. Robert is listed in IAAF — as a 30-year-old distance runner (with a 2014 marathon PR of 2:13:49). But he doesn’t show up in mastersrankings.com. The M50 Langat also gave a…


WMA legal costs and ‘guest/gift’ expenses skyrocket, but Prez Margit won’t say why

What is World Masters Athletics trying to hide? Six days ago, I stumbled on the final report to the Malaga General Assembly — where Germany’s Margit Jungmann was elected the first female president of WMA. Buried was a financial summary of recent years. Two line items jumped out at me: skyrocketing legal expenses and costs of “guests/gifts.” So on Nov. 17, I sent this query letter to Margit and her predecessor, Stan Perkins of Australia (with CC to WMA Treasurer Jean Thomas of France): Greetings, Margit and Stan Hope you are well. I notice on page 35 of the 2018…


Was it a good idea for WMA to spin off marathon champs from world outdoor meet?

Close to 4,500 ran in Sunday’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, with many (if not most) over 35. It was designated the World Masters Athletics Marathon Championships — the first time a 26-miler was held outside the WMA world outdoor track meet since 1975. So how many folks competed for WMA medals? Would you believe 35? Yup. Forty-three years after the first WAVA gold medals were awarded in the marathon — at Toronto worlds — runners couldn’t care less about a “world title” at Scotiabank. One reason: You had to pay an extra $110 to enter the WMA event, run concurrently…


Butterdome awaits 2021 indoor worlds athletes — Edmonton meet previewed

I’m getting excited for 2021, and not just because I might burn my mortgage that year. Indoor worlds comes to Edmonton that year (as noted in Malaga coverage). A report last month in the local paper has a great quote: “It’s a very attractive event from the city’s perspective because it’s not a group of athletes coming on a government-funded program, who stick around their hotel and eat Ramen noodles. They’re out spending money, they’ve got disposable income.” So says James Rosnau, executive director of Athletics Alberta. I’m also eager to compete in the coolest named arena — the Butterdome….