COVID-19 claims Mary Roman, 84, who deserved to win throws medals into her 100s

In 2003, Mary Roman suffered a heart attack. Just a speed bump in life. As a high-schooler, she had polio — before the vaccine. (Riding horses strengthened her legs.) A masters athlete since 1991 — after seeing her late husband, Granville, compete in Senior Olympic swimming — she tried the half-marathon, sprints and jumps but made throws her specialty. She set countless American records. At 84, Mary was entered at Baton Rouge. Coronavirus canceled that indoor nationals, and today it also wiped out the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Toronto world meet, where Mary would have excelled. But in the deepest…


Setting viral WRs while dodging the virus: W55 Anne Gilshinan, M60 Anselm LeBourne

On opposite sides of the Atlantic are mirror image middle-distance legends — W55 Anne Gilshinan of Wexford in southeast Ireland and M60 Anselm LeBourne of West Orange, New Jersey. Both have crushed multiple world records this indoor season and are poised to rewrite outdoor records for the 800, 1500 and mile. But they’re no different from you and me in one respect. We’re all navigating the coronavirus. Every day, the warnings get sterner. Today I watched my governor, California’s Gavin Newsom, say I (being 65 or over) should keep indoors. (I went for a sunset walk in the park with…


A virus manifesto: Time to show why they call us masters and not slaves

Last Sunday, while waiting to run a slow-speed 100 at a San Diego all-comers meet, one of my friends asked me urgently: Do you think indoor nationals will be canceled? She would turn 70 on Thursday, the day before the meet, and was looking forward to a bunch of medals as the baby of her age group. She considered me in-the-know. So I confidently predicted Baton Rouge nationals would go on. “It’s way too late to cancel,” I said. Everyone knows how that turned out. Since Monday, when the LOC wisely pulled the plug and later announced refunds of entry…


Coronavirus fears force 10-month delay in European masters indoor champs

Coronavirus concerns have led to a long delay in the European masters indoor championships, originally set for March 15-21 in Braga, Portugal. The meet will be pushed back 10 months to January 2021. But organizers of WMA worlds in Toronto say that meet is still on track for July 20-August 1. USATF HQ in Indy issued a statement March 3: “USATF wants to assure you that we take the ​health, safety, and well-being of our membership very seriously…. Currently, all events are proceeding as planned. Please understand, we are following guidance issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the…


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,…


Kathy Bergen, Jenn Suhr lead Americans setting early 2020 world records

The race is on. Who will set more masters world records this year — Americans or Europeans? A month ahead of the Eurovets indoor meet in Braga, Portugal, and USATF indoor nationals at Baton Rouge, the Americans hold a big lead. The Yanks boast 13 indoor WRs. Our Europeeps have four. (But some U.S. marks are relays, where many of those WRs are soft or nonexistent because the M65, M75, W85 types are new, being 5-year age groups. Old records were in 10-year increments.) Leading the way is SoCal’s Kathy Bergen, who traveled to the USATF Masters Southwest Region Indoor…


Iowa services set Feb. 1 for Rex Harvey in his old hometown

Jerry Bookin-Weiner shares news about Rex Harvey services: There is now a link for the official obituary and place to leave condolence messages for Rex Harvey. On the website there is a place to leave condolence messages for the family, who have asked that their personal email addresses not be shared. The funeral will be held on Saturday, February 1, at 10 a.m. Central Time in his hometown of Redfield, Iowa, about 45 minutes from the Des Moines (DSM) Airport. There will be a visitation the previous evening. Full details are in the obituary. A Rex Harvey Memorial Track &…


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…


Rex Harvey dies at 73; decathlete-turned-official was a beloved leader in masters track

If masters track had a Mount Rushmore, it would includes David Pain, Al Sheahen and Rex Harvey. On Sunday — two weeks after enduring the flu many caught at the USATF annual meeting in Reno — Rex died of a heart attack in Prescott, Arizona, where he was recovering from appendix cancer. He was 73. I don’t know if the flu weakened Rex, but on Dec. 12 he wrote me: “Today I ate for the first time in 5 days but still feeling woozy around the edges.” When I learned of Rex’s passing via Facebook, my heart sank 1,000 miles….


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…