Look for Irene Obera, Bill Jankovich to redefine age-85 abilities at Winston-Salem nationals

I’m not in Winston-Salem this weekend for indoor nationals, but I’m eager to see results, especially from newbie W85 (and Hall of Famer) Irene Obera (entered in 60, 200, 400, 800, high jump, long jump, shot put and triple jump) and M85 Bill Jankovich (60, 60 hurdles, 200, 400, high jump, pentathlon, long jump, pole vault, shot put and triple jump). Bill set a monster AR in the indoor hep a month ago. Who hazards a guess at Irene’s record-setting at JDL Fast Track? Also notable: Jim Barrineau, the Olympic high jumper, is venturing WAY outside his comfort zone. My…


Gunnar Linde zips 9:42.99 at 90 for outdoor mile world record, crushing AR by 70 seconds

Besides the fireworks at USATF Indoor Nationals (including 60-meter masters exhibitions and the son of masters runner Joan Hunter winning a national 2-mile title from the “slow” heat), the weekend brought news about a massive outdoor mile WR by a SoCal runner. Five years ago, I wrote: “M85 distance star Gunnar Linde, a Latvian-born former ski champion in Europe, now lives in Venice, California. He moved to the States in the early 1950s, so he’s a complete Yank. Sunday at the Southern California Indoor Meet … Outdoors (intended to give athletes a chance at distances contested at Boston indoor nationals),…


Colleen Barney gets shot at NBC stardom — to appear on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

W50 sprinter Colleen Barney has been posting Facebook photos of herself training at a gym — hinting that she’s prepping for “American Ninja Warrior.” Last week, she made it official. She aims to be the best over-50 woman ever to appear on the reality show when she tackles the L.A. Universal Studios course March 6. She’s not sure if she’s the oldest woman ever invited, “but I do hope to make it further than any woman over 50 has gone (right now that means I have to complete at least the first two obstacles)!” Colleen — already a certified Super…


Our founding father has passed: David Pain dies at 96 at home in San Diego

I’ll share my own memories later. For now, please see my obituary of David Pain on Times of San Diego. It’s impossible to overstate what David meant to me, the sport and the world. Please join me in wishing deepest condolences to Linda Pain and their extended family. Meanwhile, here are some touching remembrances from his 90th birthday party and 2014 salute by the San Diego Track Club.


Martha Mendenhall hopes to elevate masters at new Flop House High Jump Club

You can take the girl out of the high jump but not high jump out of the girl. So it goes for world champion Martha Mendenhall of Tacoma, who may be retired from competition but still in the game. Big time. Her latest effort is coaching the well-named “Flop House” High Jump Club, which invites masters athletes. “Only one [masters member] so far and he is from Oregon,” Martha says. “Tacoma doesn’t have a lot of, if any, masters high jumpers that I know of. There are a few in the Seattle area and I’m hoping as my “Flop House”…


President Lananna deserves USATF job back, chance to Make Track Great Again™

When it comes to Vin Lananna and why he was shown the door as USATF president (at least “temporarily”), I have no theories. All I know is that lots of people were outraged — especially the people who gave him a four-year term by acclamation. A couple nights ago, I learned that Vin was gearing up to file a grievance with the Mother Ship — Indy HQ. His aim: To be restored to the presidency. Then he can do his magic and Make Track Great Again.™ So I contacted some people and put together a story. (Read it on Times…


Charles Allie, Carol Lafayette-Boyd named World Masters Athletes of Year for 2018

Perhaps Karla del Grande should do jumps. That’s my theory on why the Canadian world-record holder and Malaga sprints champ was left in the dust by countrywoman Carol Lafayette-Boyd for World Masters Athlete of the Year (female divison). W75 Carol had jumps on her resume as WMA considered its annual picks (along with 100 WR of 15.03 and 200 WR of 31.56). W65 Karla didn’t. On the male side, M70 Charles Allie was a safe and obvious choice for Athlete of the Year, announced Thursday. His records for 200 (25.75) and 400 (57.26) this year could stand for decades —…


Peter Brady debuts Masters Milers podcast on iTunes with John Trautmann, Nick Berra

In the beginning was the masters mile — exhibition events at indoor meets for middle-age men. David Pain of San Diego organized these races and found them popular enough to start a sport — masters track and field. (Older athletes had run track, but David’s role was being the Johnny Appleseed of age-group athletics.) More than 50 years later, M45 middle-distance star Peter Brady is continuing the Pain legacy. First he helped found the Masters Milers group on Facebook (with 1,000 members). This month he’s launched a podcast — free audio interviews on Apple iTunes. (A related website is a…


Alison Wood jumps 2 1/4 inches over her head to claim W45 world indoor record

In her senior year at Newberg High School, Alison Hunkins won the 1991 Oregon state meet high jump at 5-5. (Her school record 5-7 still stands.) At Western Oregon University, where her coach was Berny Wagner (who guided gents named Dick Fosbury and John Radetich), she cleared 5-6 (1.68 meters). So what would you expect the 5-foot-3 Alison — now Alison Wood — to clear at age 45? Are you sitting down? Alison cleared 1.66 (5-5 1/4) Saturday at the indoor Jacksons Invitational in Nampa, Idaho (See results here and video of her stunning jump below.) She won the W40…


Gookinaid inventor Bill Gookin of San Diego dies at 86; ran distances into his 40s

Friday afternoon, I was decompressing after a busy week by checking Facebook. Then I came across a post by Olympian Ruth Wysocki, who replied to a sad note about the death of Bill Gookin, a San Diegan famed for inventing the Gookinaid fluid-replacement drink. I jumped into action, contacting Gookin’s first wife Donna (a masters track and LDR star) and Bill’s daughter Debra. I wrote several San Diego running gurus and did a ton of Googling for my story in Times of San Diego. I didn’t finish writing, tweaking and formatting until 5 a.m. I’m proud of the result. (I…