National Senior Games

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,…


National Senior Games age-group rules debated: Should USATF practice apply?

Kathy Bergen doesn’t turn 80 until late December, and Brenda Matthews doesn’t turn 70 until early July. But at last week’s National Senior Games in Albuquerque, Kathy won W80 sprints and Brenda won W70. For those in the parallel USATF masters circuit, this is crazy. In Senior Olympic state, regional and national events, it’s par for the quirky course. As I’ve explained to newbies for decades, USATF (and World Masters Athletics) assigns your age group based on your actual age on the first day of a given meet. (This leads to some folks aging up in the middle of the…


Pasadena Senior Games gave us chance to improve, qualify for ABQ 2019

Masters track is great cuz you can still improve year-to-year despite age. So I was thrilled to run the 50-meter dash Saturday in 8.31 at the Pasadena Senior Games (held at Cal State Los Angeles because Caltech’s track is said to be undergoing rehab). A year ago, I ran 8.56 at Caltech. So that makes up for my dropping out of the 100 after four steps (calf cramp, related to high jumping). Mastersrankings.com has results from the two-day meet (with javelin held at Occidental College because or artificial turf Sunday). Many entrants tried their feet at multiple events — since…