General

Spokane nationals dazzle: Shuttle hurdles, Kay’s kit, Becky Bowman’s shock

If track meets are three-ring circuses, what are masters nationals? A ballet buffet? After four sizzling days in The Inferno (what they call the Eastern Washington University football stadium), I’m overheated with memories. Some are personal — like getting season bests in the high jump and 200. Others were communal — as when 93-year-old George Roudebush helped an M80 team become the oldest to record a shuttle hurdle time. Witnesses to his gingerly slow-mo step-over of the 27-inch hurdles will never forget it. Thankfully, on Day 2, I had finished my events and focused my Nikons on that event. The…


Injuries block world-record mile attempts by M50 Tom LeGan, W80 Eve Pell

Tom LeGan’s attempt to break Nolan Shaheed’s M50 WR in the mile – telegraphed here recently — didn’t go down. Tom’s calf did. According to a posting by a Northern California track club, “The Tamalpa Runners had the Tamalpa July Track Meet sanctioned by the USATF in anticipation of 52-year-old Tom LeGan and 81-year-old Eve Pell attempting to break the American and World Age Group Records for the M50-54 and F80-84 Age Groups for the One Mile. “Unfortunately, Eve strained her groin and Tom injured his calf and neither runner was able to run in the Tamalpa July Track Meet….


No USATF money for Malaga-goers: Sponsors are no-shows for 2018 prizes

It’s a false start. Eight months after announcing hopes to hand out money to elite masters headed for Malaga worlds and reward them for medals, national chair Rex Harvey says the plan is a DNS for this year. “We have not been able to find a sponsor, but still working on this for future years,” Rex told me this week. As you may recall from my post on Rex’s report at the Ohio annual meeting, the plan had three parts — “Championships Facilitators, financial support for those ranking in the top six in the world in an event, and awards…


Track guru Paul Merca boning up for Spokane as 12-hour-a-day meet announcer

M55 track writer Paul Merca of Seattle is one gracious guy. He let me win the inaugural TAFWA blogging award in 2009 before swooping in for the honor in 2010 via his site. Now he’s onto another task – announcing Spokane masters nationals (actually Cheney, but whatever). Over the past few days, we’ve chatted about the challenge. He’s well aware he’s filling the superstar shoes of Peter Taylor (rehabbing from a near-stroke experience). But Paul aims to do justice to our niche, cramming daily with the help of Pete, spreadsheets of entries and reviewing this blog. On Facebook this week,…


Conquering knee woes, Diane Tedford Pierce aims to revive speed, world-class status

World sprint champ Roger Pierce is well-known to readers of this blog. He’s been a Masters Hall of Famer for 10 years. But lately I’ve been more intrigued by his W50 wife of three years — Diane Tedford Pierce. On Facebook, I followed her progress in coming back from knee surgery. When someone suggested I interview her, I jumped into action. Her backstory is impressive, too. Diane — who bought a house with Roger and moved to Rowley, about 10 miles north of Essex in 2015 — graciously responded. Masterstrack.com: Where were you born, and where did you grow up?…


Spokane is rare Left Coast nationals, so don’t complain about cost, travel

Starting in 1968 (yes, 50 years ago), seven of the first 10 masters outdoor nationals were held on the West Coast — six in David Pain’s home of San Diego and once in Gresham, Oregon. But in the past 20 years, the Left Coast has hosted our showcase meet only four times — Sacramento 2010, Spokane 2008 and Eugene 2003 and 2000. (I don’t count mid-Pacific Honolulu 2005.) So cry me a river when people complain about the cost of 2018 Spokane nationals. Some are griping about this year’s locale on Facebook. But the ones on the East Coast have…


USATF SoCal association handing out $7,000 to big-meet masters, para-athletes

The four-county Southern California Association of USATF is making good on its nonprofit status — offering grants to masters and para-athletes this summer. Chris Gentile, a longtime master middle-distance star, is interim president of the association and shared details in a recent phone chat. Chris says $7,000 is available for those headed to Spokane nationals and Malaga worlds (also the Para-Athletics Youth World Games in Athlone, Ireland) — for travel, lodging and entry fees, etc. Applications will be reviewed by the association’s Athletes Advisory Committee led by Lorraine Williams. It asks a lot of questions, including some that may freak…


GoFundMe raising tens of thousands of dollars for Malaga-goers

The race for Malaga is on. Not for medals. We’re talking moolah via social media. Masters tracksters globally have discovered crowdfunding sites — just as John Oleski suggested two years ago. GoFundMe appears to be the go-to site for age-groupers. World champion sprinters Emma McGowan ($1,380 raised so far) and Don McGee ($795) are making progress toward their September worlds goals. Newcomer Andrea Collier has $1,995 so far, Clinton Aurelien $225, Ty Brown $300 and Tony Williams $850. At least one is overpromising. John Wall ($1,675 of $3,000 goal) writes: “I am a two time Gold Medallist for Australia and…


Now for something completely slower: Ken Stone outsnailing 6-year-old

The older I get, the faster they get — the young’ns I race in San Diego all-comers meets. In previous years, I reveled in smoking 10-year-olds. On Wednesday, at the Summer Nights Series meet at Cuyamaca College near my home, I had no problem with 6-year-old Jude Jefferson in Lane 8. (I was in Lane 7.) But over in lane 5 was Gregory Jefferson (his brother?). I saw him just ahead of me and tried to reel him in. But alas, he beat me 15.14 to 15.40 as fellow 64-year-old Mark Atherton got a masters PR in 15.02. (See results…


Kansas Relays aims to rejoin masters exhibition rotation in 2019

One of the country’s longest-standing meets is hoping to get masters events back on its schedule. The 92nd annual Kansas Relays will be held April 17-20, 2019, at the university’s recently built Rock Chalk Park. The meet features several high school, college and university races, a unique quadrathlon format for Division I schools, and appearances by a handful of professional athletes. Up until two years ago, it also had a few events for masters athletes. But the number of athletes over age 40 who would show up to run had been dwindling, causing the meet organizers to take those events…