The USATF Masters Indoor Championships in Landover, Maryland contested between March 16th and 18th was arguably the smoothest run meet in USATF Masters history. The process used to organize and run this meet will be used going forward so athletes participating will have exceptional competition experience. A huge thank you to the Local Organizing Committee, Potomac Valley Track Club, which also scored nearly 1,000 points to win the team championships, for putting on this meet for 1,219 registered athletes from United States plus guest competitors from Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Lithuania, Peru, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Spain and Trinidad and Tobago. This championships was the largest ever USATF Masters Indoor Championships and the biggest USATF Masters Championships since 2010 Outdoor in Sacramento. There were also an unprecedented number of relay relay teams registered, over 160, partially thanks to the improvements made based on athlete feedback and suggestions. (Results) (Results in Rankings)
This may have been the first time in any WMA Affiliate, WMA Region or WMA World Championship where a M100 and W100 participated. Orville Rogers, M100, and Julia Hawkins, W102, amazed the crowd by setting seven World Records between them. Orville’s records were in the 60m (19.13), 200m (1:40.94), 400m (4:16.90), 800m (9:56.44) and 1500m (20:00.91). Julia set the mark in 60m (24.79) and Shot Put (2.77).
Roy Englert, M95, also set multiple World Records by surpassing standards in 800m (6:03.84), 1500m (12:07.93) and 3000m (26:01.24). Lesley Hinz, W60, ran 2:36.57 to set the new standard in 800M. Derek Pye, M50, cut the old mark in 60mH by running 8.24. Bruce McBarnette, M60, apparently loves to jump for his home town fans since he set another High Jump record (1.76m) in the same facility he set the M55 record.
Two 4 x 800m World Records were set.Jerry LeVasseur (M80), Jim Askew (M82), Joe Cordero (M80) and William Hosken (M80) ran 17:52.69 to lower the current record by 2:35. The new M60 mark will be 9:50.90 which was run by David Schmanski (M63), Rodney McGregor (M61), Richard Samaha (M60) and Stephen Chantry (M63) .
There were many athletes competing in their first National Championships. Several people approached the USATF Masters Chair and expressed gratitude to be a part of a National Championships. They, like so many athletes or want to be athletes, are surprised anyone, regardless of capability, can compete in a major Masters Championship plus experienced the incredible camaraderie within our sport. First timers, seasoned veterans, former Olympians and comeback athletes competed together and cheered each other on.
Martha Mendenhall, W59, has won 4 WMA Championships and 15 USATF Masters Championships but, facing hip flexor surgery and declining performances, decided to retire from jumping. Martha announced she would be retiring after WMA Championship in Brazil – she wanted to say goodbye to her international friends and to go out on top. She had a great time catching up, saying her goodbyes plus tied for first. Martha missed the sport in spite of coaching athletes of all ages and her competitive nature & desire could not be suppressed. She signed up to compete with trepidation questioning if she could do it and fearing competing against Vicki Fox, W59. Vicki was just starting Masters T&F when Martha was retiring. Martha was very nervous during her first jump then felt 30 years younger after clearing the bar. The two ladies cheered each other on as the competition, won by Martha, continued.
Monica Hoffman watched her daughter compete in Masters T&F and was finally enticed to compete choosing this championship as her debut. She enthusiastically competed in the 1500m Race Walk and did not mind being disqualified. She was thrilled with the experience and hopefully will be competing often.
The upcoming issue of National Masters News will cover this championship in depth and include many more athlete stories and perspectives. We hope these will compel more to join our great sport.