M70 SoCal TC foursome run 4×800 WR, crashing 11-minute barrier in Wichita

Relay records fall so often that I tend to get jaded. But when an M70 SoCal Track Club foursome ran in Wichita a couple weekends ago, the result was stunning and historic. The team of Gary Patton, Tim Wigger, Salih Talib and Grady Cash clocked 10:51.08 in the 4×800 to crush the listed WR of 11:09.87 by Jim Selby, Alfonse Escobar, Gunnar Linde and Avery Bryant at 1998 Orono nationals. That’s 20 years ago! In July, the team of Fred Lindsley, Grady, Tim and Salih ran a pending WR of 11:03.46 at West Regionals in Culver City, California. (I noted…


Special Report: Were rules broken for sake of Yanks’ record shot in Malaga 4×100?

I love records and record attempts. But should a chance at a WR trump rules at worlds? That’s a question being raised after Charles Allie dropped down from M70 to M65 at Malaga, causing a domino effect of anger and disappointment that reached into the M80 age group. On Friday, M70 sprinter Roger Pierce contacted me via Facebook to describe what he considered a debacle involving the 4×100 relays. Later I spoke with him on the phone, as well as Charlie. I also wrote George Haywood, another M65 relay member and teammate of Charlie’s. Phil Greenwald, longtime U.S. masters team…


Were steeple barriers at Malaga safe to step on? Canadian M75 racer ended up bloodied

American M75 middle-distancer Ev “Doc” Murdock was eighth in the 2K steeple at Malaga, but he sent me photos of the fifth-placer — Vern Christensen of Canada. Vern is shown at the finish holding his bloody forehead. Ouch! What happened? Doc explains: Has anyone mentioned to you that the steeplechase barriers were not coated with the usual nonslip surface? Instead, they were painted with high-gloss paint. As a result, they were amazingly slippery as soon as they got wet. Those of us who normally step on the barriers as part of our technique for jumping over them slipped. Several of…


USATF Athlete of the Week Sonja Friend-Uhl tells why she skipped shot at Malaga gold

On the final day of Malaga worlds, Courtney Babcock of Canada won the W45 1500 in 4:47.88. That’s the No. 3 time in the world this season, according to mastersrankings.com. No. 1 is the 4:39.15 by American Sonja Friend-Uhl last March. So where was Sonja? At home in Florida, getting ready two weeks later for the Navy Mile on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. Her road mile mark of 5:06.33 beat the old course record by more than 10 seconds, and Friday she was named USATF Athlete of the Week. “She finished 11th in the elite women’s race as she added…


Nominate masters for USATF awards by Friday — if link comes back from dead

The USATF Masters Awards panel, chaired by W40 Malaga worlds hep champion Rachel Guest, is doing a good thing — using our official USATF masters site to invite nominations for annual awards. But not so good — you can’t nominate someone. The specified page says: “Sorry, this nomination form is not available.” That’s an easy fix (I hope). But the deadline is Friday. “After the October 5th deadline, the USATF Masters Awards Sub-Committee will review all nominations,” the announcement page says. “The committee will review all performance factors prior to voting. All awards winners will be announced at the USATF…


Florida M65 thrower rips Malaga facilities in letter to WMA President Margit Jungmann

Guy Dirkin of Florida had a good Malaga. As an M65 thrower, competing for Britain, he won silver in the hammer and was 23 points away from bronze in the throws pentathlon. But he wasn’t happy with the facilities and let the new WMA president know in a letter I obtained. “Dear Margit,” he wrote Germany’s Margit Jungmann, the newly elected leader. “Please find attached a letter to you regarding the WMA’s managerial performance at the recent Malaga World Championships and past Championships. This correspondence has been provoked by multiple participant complaints, primarily around facilities. The scope of this letter restricts coverage to…


Banned Nazi version of German national anthem played 2 days at Malaga medal ceremonies

In Germany, singing “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles” (Germany, Germany above everything) is a Bozo No-No. Although the lyric was written in 1841 by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben — and had nothing to do with the Nazis — it was adopted by Hitler and sung at the opening of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Since 1952, the German national anthem has dropped the “Deutschland über alles” stanza. But WTF. Guess what was played for two days at Malaga medal ceremonies? Yup — the “banned” version. According to the German masters website Lampis.net, the nonkosher version (with the correct 1797 melody by…


San Diego State University alums trying to restore men’s track, dormant since 1992

When you review San Diego State’s men’s track all-time lists, you can’t help but note the superstars — including Olympic champion long jumpers Willie Steele (1948) and Arnie Robinson (1976). World-class sprinters and hurdlers include Steve Williams, Marty Krulee, James King, Wes Williams, Quentin Wheeler and Don Shy. Bill Halverson — a masters vaulter — is present. So is Billy Konchellah, who went on to win two world titles at 800 meters. Coach Bob Larsen went to school there. But after 1989 — nothing. Track was dropped in 1992. Women eventually were reinstated, but the men’s team has been absent…


WMA posts results of pre-Malaga survey: Y’all like sprints most. Biggest group? 50-54

In mid-May, I surveyed y’all about surveys — specifically: “Should WMA regularly post them?” About 91 percent said sure. Now we’re seeing the survey (May 15 to August 5) that prompted the question. WMA has posted results of a 25-query athlete poll. It’s in the form of a slide show, so look for the little arrows at lower left, just underneath the survey. Click them to change pages. The sample size isn’t great — about 560. (Perhaps this should have waited until Malaga, with 8,200 entries. But I guess that isn’t representative of average masters.) The gender breakdown was 68…


Relaygate at Malaga worlds: Will Yanks move up from silver to gold in W55 4×400?

Angela Sonn was a prolific W55 sprinter this season in Great Britain. She recorded nearly five dozen races between 60 and 400 meters. But I doubt she ran the W55 4×400 relay at 5:05 p.m. Sept. 16 at Malaga worlds and the W45 4×4 about 50 minutes later. Yet that’s what results show. In fact, she ran only once — dropping down to anchor the W45 relay, which took sixth behind Team USA’s fifth. So how does her name appear in the W55 results, which shows her team winning gold? I wrote WMA officials (crickets) and British meet manager Maurice…