General

Stanisław Kowalski turns 110, could be first athlete ever in that milestone age group

Lift a glass for Stanisław Kowalski of Poland. Tuesday he turned 110, potentially becoming the first masters trackster in that virgin age group. Although a Polish masters track post on Facebook indicates that he is “no longer in competition,” it says he still has a “lot of positive energy and sense of humor.” That’s enough to give me hope that someday, when The Beast is vanquished, he’ll enter a sanctioned meet and set as many M110 world records as he wants. Someone once told me that the oldest master wins. Period. That would make Stan our sport’s ultimate champion. Just…


M60 Vaulter’s Uplifting Memoir: ‘Finally Fit’ Gives Bubba Sparks a Long-Overdue Boost

Spend an hour with Bubba Sparks and you’re a goner. You’ll become a vaulter. In the case of author John H. Clark III, all it took was a Facebook query to Bubba, his older classmate from Houston’s Scarborough High School. “Do you think I could take up pole vaulting for the first time in my life at 60 years old?” Of course, Bubba said: “Let’s go!” John’s journey from “couch potato” to National Senior Games entrant is movingly told in his latest book — “Finally Fit: It’s Never Too Late to Achieve a Dream.” Published six days after Valentine’s Day,…


Kay Glynn is our Christmas elf, but will never put her athletic career on the shelf

Kay Glynn sent me her 13th annual Christmas greeting photo more than a week ago, writing: “I don’t even know what this picture means — but it was challenging and fun.” I know exactly what it means. Kay in her mid-60s has made a terrific comeback from hip replacement and resurfacing surgeries. She is showing how track is the fountain of youth and her flexibility and blond hair signal you can recapture past glories. In fact, masters tracksters likely sense holiday themes in our pursuits. Like Christmas, we see our sport as an athletic savior. Like Hanukkah, we see our…


New USATF Officials Hall of Famer Carroll DeWeese: ‘Thank you for supporting masters’.

USATF Masters Committee Treasurer Carroll DeWeese is rich in friends and fans, including me. He battled cancer a decade back but seems fine now. This weekend, the Michigan city commissioner joined Doug Allen, Roger Burbage, John Shirey as inductees Saturday into the USATF Officials Hall of Fame — celebrated at the USATF Annual Meeting at the Grand Sierra Resort, Reno, Nevada. “Many people asked to get a text copy of my acceptance talk,” he wrote friends of his 940-word remarks. “I spoke from the heart and did not have a text.” Not surprisingly, he talks of love. That’s the kind…


Greg Foster on Greg Foster: Masters star notes heart-transplant need of Olympic hurdler

In July 1988, at the Indianapolis Olympic Trials, Greg Foster the triple jumper said hi to Greg Foster the high hurdler. The jumping Foster finished 9 1/2 feet behind winner Willie Banks’ windy but historic 59-8 1/2. The hurdling foster — four years after taking silver behind Roger Kingdom at the L.A. Games — dropped out at the eighth hurdle, handicapped by a broken arm. The jumping Foster went on to become a standout masters track star (who also throws and has a hurdling star son). But the Olympian Foster, with four world titles as well, is 61 and needs…


Tying my record for Press Club awards and trying out Jeff Brower’s new records site

I tied my PR on Tuesday night. Not for the 100 or high jump, but for awards at the San Diego Press Club journalism contest. First in 2017 and again this year, I picked up 14 awards for a variety of posts on Times of San Diego, including a photo of indicted Rep. Duncan D. Hunter and a video of a crazy anti-LGBT trio from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka. As usual, some of my ribbons were for stories on masters athletes. I won second-place awards for my report on sprint great Colleen Barney competing on “American Ninja Warrior” and…


Pete Magill caps book career with ‘Fast 5K’ — finally focusing on own favorite race

Pete Magill is a Masters Hall of Famer whose fame grew out of setting 5K records and leading teams to cross country titles. But for all his talents, I’m more awed by his mastery of writing. Picasso was great at painting and Paul McCartney wrote fantastic songs. But where can you pick up a book by these legends that tells you how to improve your drawing or tunesmithing? Coach Pete, a one-time Hollywood screenwriter, combines his deep athletic/academic understanding of his favorite distance with his conversational and down-to-earth writing style in “Fast 5K.” (Read a preview here.) The only question…


Cheer on W45 marathoner Mindy Zottola — and all entrants at Ames nationals

I arrived in Ames on Wednesday afternoon after a flight from Las Vegas (my layover from San Diego) to Des Moines. On that leg, fellow passengers included athlete royalty Kathy and Bert Bergen, famed massage therapist Bill Theriault and some USATF officials. Once settled in my Bed & Breakfast just outside Iowa State University (a former Delta Chi frat house that’s on the National Register of Historic Places), I drove to the track and found a gate unlocked. I met a 5K and 10K contender named Mindy Zottola, apparently a newbie to masters track nationals, and her husband, Art. I…


Kerry Sloan gets 15-year sentence for raping girl a year before Spokane nationals

According to mastersrankings.com, M55 Kerry Sloan was ranked eighth in America last year in the 400 hurdles, running 74.10 at Spokane nationals. He was listed fourth in the 60 hurdles nationally, clocking 9.73 at Landover indoors. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Oklahoma, Kerry is a convicted rapist. On Monday, Kerry Lynn Sloan was sentenced to 15 years in prison after a plea deal in which he admitted to assaulting one of his athletes a year before Spokane. Texas media are all over the case, based on this news release: A former private track coach was sentenced…


Colleen Barney is our Jessie Graff — but ‘American Ninja Warrior’ didn’t show her

Longtime viewers of NBC’s reality show “American Ninja Warrior” know that many of the female runners of the obstacle courses are former track stars, such as Jessie Graff, the stuntwoman. So it’s no wonder that ANW producers picked W50 sprinter Colleen Barney to run the course last March at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Too bad her run wasn’t shown last week in the Season 11 premiere — almost certainly because she didn’t fit the narrative. See my Times of San Diego story for details. Also scroll down to near the bottom of the story for pictures I took of…