General

Will Sacramento masters nationals go way of 2021 Millrose Games? Vaccination levels key

In late July 2010, USATF masters nationals were staged at Sacramento State University, site of the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials. The 2010 meet was a warmup for 2011 worlds, also mainly at Hornet Stadium. Now the question: Will Sacramento host 2021 masters nationals — either in July or delayed till August? It’s officially still on, as national chair Jerry Bookin-Weiner said today on Facebook. But the dates are fluid. My vote is for August — with a 91-degree average high, it’s under the 92 average high for July. Another reason: An extra month of vaccinations. Last month, the masters-friendly…


Sing along with lyrical Dave Ortman: ‘Keep running through, Just like you always do.’

Dave Ortman knows adversity. In 2015, this multitalented masters champion out of Seattle had a heart attack. He wrote me: “I know several other masters athletes who have problems with their tickers. Perhaps we all should be wearing T-shirts that say, ‘I (heart) Track and Field. Not Dead, Yet!’” Dave — who already helped set two Guinness World records — made a full comeback, topped by an M65 world record in the 4×4 in September 2019. But T-shirt slogans aren’t his only talent outside track. He’s our own “Weird Al” Yankovic. He recently wrote me: “Even with 20/20 vision, 2020…


Jeff Brower steps down as masters records czar; modernized process for 6 years

For six years, Jeff Brower of Texas has been chair of the USATF Masters T&F records committee. He cleaned up a holy mess left by Sandy Pashkin, whose failures I noted over the years (including a 2006 post headlined “Sandy Pashkin, as roadblock to records, has to go.”) Sandy inherited an index-card system from Pete Mundle, a booger beyond belief. Jeff also helped update the MTF website, finally adopting a WordPress design. (Easier to use.) And in 2020, according to his annual report, Jeff didn’t take a dime from his $3,000 budget. Now Jeff is stepping down. Our fourth records…


Linda Cohn to join legends Dick Fosbury and Willie Banks for free Zoom Q&A on Jan. 11

The Pasadena Senior Center is famed for its annual Senior Games at Cal Tech, a qualifier for the National Senior Games. But in these Pandemic Times, it’s organizing Zoom talks with famed athletes. On Jan. 11, three current or former masters track stars are featured in a panel discussion and Q&A. You might have heard of Dick Fosbury and Willie Banks. The Flop creator once jumped in masters, the Rhythmic Clap inventor still does. And Linda Cohn? She has something the first two don’t — a pair of world masters age-group records. (In the W60 and W65 javelin.) In the…


Dan King’s second try at official M60 mile WR falls short in Columbia, S.C.

Colorado’s Dan King, 61, ran the mile in 4:53.41 on Saturday — one of the greatest four-lap efforts in masters history. But his paced effort at Ben Lippen School, a Christian prep school in Columbia, South Carolina, was more than 4 seconds off his August mark of 4:49 at a meet in the same city. It barely missed the listed M60 American record of 4:53.01 by Nolan Shaheed in 2012. Because that earlier event wasn’t USATF sanctioned, his miletone mile isn’t eligible for American and world record ratification (as I telegraphed a few weeks ago). On Facebook, Dan posted video…


Greensboro meet decision expected Friday; 2022 nationals sites announced

Interim national masters chair Jerry Bookin-Weiner made some big announcements Wednesday in his latest update. And in a Facebook post today, he said: “The [masters] Outdoor Championships in Greensboro have not yet been cancelled. The notice about the future of that meet is scheduled for tomorrow.” Other highlights: Lexington, Kentucky, will host 2022 masters outdoor nationals and Spokane the 2022 indoor nationals to be held in the city’s Spokane Sportsplex currently under construction in downtown Spokane. Both were the only bidders. “The Anti-Doping and Substance Abuse Subcommittee announced at the closing Executive Committee meeting that out-of-competition drug testing for masters…


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…