4 decades as friends and rivals: Aussie sprinters Kernaghan and Richards

I tell newcomers to our niche that a major joy is joining a traveling tribe. The High Jump Tribe. The Throwers Tribe. The Hurdles Tribe. We hold reunions at nationals and worlds. Now comes a story Down Under by Laura Pond of Stirling Times — a tale of the Sprint Tribe. “Masters athletes Norm Richards (80) and Barrie Kernaghan (78) have enjoyed a friendly rivalry for nearly 40 years,” Laura writes. “Mr. Richards, of Woodlands, and Karrinyup resident Mr. Kernaghan competed at the recent Australian Masters Athletics Championships at the WA Athletics Stadium, achieving 12 medals between them.” Barrie says:…


WMA posts survey, opens Pandora’s box of giving athletes a voice

Dang! World Masters Athletics went and done it! On Tuesday it posted a survey! Perhaps its first. The 25 questions are basically demographic and commercial — aimed at learning about attendance at WMA world and regional meets, indoors and out. You get a hint of marketing, since one question asks what athletic brands you wear. We’re asked for suggestions on how to improve the experience. Good for WMA. But now a precedent is set (asking our thoughts), and there’s no way back to the days of pretending athletes/officials have no views. I don’t know who will be privy to results,…


Earl Fee’s great scare — items dropped into his eye during cataract surgery

Our Ontario friend Earl Fee — the scholar and poet with countless world titles and dozens of world records — will compete at Malaga worlds this fall at 89. He’ll be the favorite to win most events he enters, usually including hurdles, sprints and perhaps the 800. But even Earl has challenges (besides age). He described his latest in a scary Facebook post eight days ago. He told of a cataract operation gone horribly wrong — “two dropped items at bottom inside [of] my eye — a very rare problem.” He says: an “urgent second operation two days later to…


Aeron Arlin Genet creeping up on 1500 American record as 50-year-old

In Section 4 of the women’s 1500 at Saturday’s Occidental Invitational in Los Angeles, Aeron Arlin Genet of California’s Central Coast ran 4:54.74. Not that impressive until you know she turned 50 last June. That puts her 3 seconds behind the listed American age-group record of 4:51.86 by Marisa Sutera Strange in 2015. With the season still young, Aeron could snag the AR yet. (The W50 WR is a stretch, though — 4:36.79 by Britain’s Clare Elms in 2014.) According to mastersrankings.com, the best 50-plus woman in the world this year is Sally Gibbs of New Zealand, who clocked 4:48.49…


Ninetysomethings Milliman, Platts, W70 Gerl highlight Hayward Classic with WRs

Three months ago, KVAL-TV in Eugene, Oregon, did a story on Tracktown Fitness, a free program that trains at Hayward Field. It noted W90 mile record-holder Colleen Milliman, who told of her goal to set a WR in the 800 at the Hayward Classic. Well, there she goes again. Last weekend, at 91, she crushed the listed WR of 6:57.56 by fellow Yank Betty Lindberg in 2016. Colleen clocked an amazing 5:44.50 — more than a minute faster but more in line with the age curve. The WR party continued with W70 Sharon Gerl of the Oregon Track Club running…


Masters nationals in India are all over the map — and calendar

Last month, the 38th National Masters Athletics Championships of India were held at Mangala Stadium in Mangaluru. On Wednesday, it was reported that the 40th National Masters Athletics Championships 2019 will be held in Manipur “per a statement issued by Masters Athletics Federation of India (MAFI).” Say what? How did a year get skipped? Don’t ask. And don’t tell WMA that the 39th National Masters Athletics Championships were held at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru, in late February. The mess of competing national governing bodies continues unabated in 1.3 Billion Land. Even though a year ago I reported how India’s version…


Bershawn Jackson turns 35, threatens American record in 400 hurdles

TV likes to call Bershawn Jackson “Batman.” Today we call him Birthday Boy. The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the 400 hurdles is 35. And despite his April 2017 announcement that he was retiring, he’s already competed at least five times this season. His most recent mark was a second-place finish Friday at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Doha, Qatar. He clocked 49.08, which isn’t far off the listed M35 American record of 48.93 by Nat Page in 1992. He’s not likely to challenge the listed WR of 48.13 by Jamaica’s Danny McFarlane in 2009. (The last time he…


Discount on Pete Magill’s ‘Combine’ meets; $50 prize for Trojan Masters mile

Missed your chance at professional track stardom? Not so fast. A series of Southern California meets is offering modest prizes and creative competition this summer. Pete (Mr. 5K) Magill reminds of his SpeedRunner Combine — where age-graded marks will be scored for the best combined efforts in the 40-yard Dash, 20-yard Shuttle, 3-Cone Drill, Vertical Leap, Standing Long Jump and Suicide Run. Details at speedrunnercombine.com. Meets are June 16 in Pasadena, July 14 in Santa Monica and Aug. 5 in Yorba Linda (where I lived as a young teen). Pete writes: “Medals will be awarded in 10 age groups (M/F),…


Two dopers still listed in WMA world outdoor results nearly 2 years later

In late December, we learned that M50 high jumper Oleg Kramar of Ukraine had failed a doping test at the Eurovets Ancona indoor meet in April 2016. So he was handed a 4-year ban. Recently, WMA corrected results from 2017 Daegu indoor worlds, where Oleg’s name went from second to DQ. So you’d expect results from Ancona and 2016 Perth outdoor worlds to change as well. (Oleg won silvers at Ancona and Perth.) But nope. Results still show him untouched. I’m unsure if medals have been redistributed. Same for suspended M55 Perth world champion Volodymyr Shelever of Australia. His name…


W90 Heather Lee adds 10K walk WR to stockpile, lowers own 5K record

Simon Butler-White, our Aussie stringer, reports that New South Wales race walker Heather Lee “sliced and diced” two W90 world records at last weekend’s Australian masters nationals in Perth. She took down WRs in the 10K road walk and 5000 track walk. Simon writes: “Heather, 91, set world records in the 3000 (24:56.97) and 5000 (42:36.49) walks at the Australian Masters Games in Tasmania just last October but was determined to secure the ‘missing’ 10K WR that would give her the trifecta of W90 marks. The WR over that distance – 1:31:21 – was set by Romania’s Elena Pagu at…