Spectators at the 2018 USATF Open Indoor Championships in Albuquerque were treated to a bonus event, the Masters Exhibition 200m, featuring men aged 75+ and women’s aged 65+. Both race winners, Bob Lida and Kathy Bergen stunned the packed house with their speed, illustrating what we at the masters level have known for years… Masters Track and Field athletes inspire and awe!
Racing before TV cameras, production photographers and curious crowds, these athletes showcased the sport for all masters, helping to spread the message to the initiated that MTF is fun and competitive.
It was a great day for MTF at the USATF Indoor Championships.
The event entrants were: Kathy Bergin W78, Rose Green W79, Marcella Hall W67, Brenda Matthews W68, Catherine Nicoletti W67 and Hannah Phillips W65, Bob Lida M81, Mel Brooks M76, Robert Cozens M81, Sherwood Sagedahl M78, Frank Strouse M77, Tom Bowden M75 and alt. Bill Kaspari M83.
All represented the USA Masters well exhibiting both competitive and sportsmanlike conduct. MTF Hall of Famers and multi Age Group World and American Record holders Bob Lida and Kathy Bergen had very impressive times of 29.95 and 33.23.
Thank you Ron Bolling for the videos.
MEE competitors receive instructions at the US Indoor Championships.
It takes a lot of work to pull off this event and MEE Chair Joy Upshaw spent weeks coordinating with USATF, meet directors, athletes and press to make it happen. The athletes were sent helpful emails regarding race prep, logistics, credentialing, site meetings, and follow up. In addition to their race credentials and admittance to the rest of the meet, the MTF athletes received hand painted good luck ribbons, personalized swag bags stuffed with certificates, healthy snacks, sunscreen, lip balm, athletic note cards, All American stickers and pins. The athletes will also be receiving a $100 stipend from USATF.
From @bob_lida – “An experience I waited 60 years for – running in the USATF National Championship. America’s best athletes compete in this meet. So, you rightfully ask, if this meet is for the best runners, what in the world is an 81-year-old has-been doing here. They had an exhibition 200 meter for men 75+. It was great. Won the race, ran under 30 seconds, and I think we really surprised the crowd that the greatest generation could still get it done.”
The group was very well received. Photographer Dave Albo, there to specifically record this event, stated, “Choosing the 200m was brilliant. Times down into and below the low 30s are easily understood by the knowledgeable in the packed crowd to be really something special. The reaction from this crowd was a genuine ‘WOW’. It really was a great exhibition of what is possible.
This echoed Upshaw’s intent to showcase particular age groups, “The majority of Track and Field fans who attend the Open/Elite Championships are unaware of the impressive groups of the Age 60+ athletes.” Not only did they get to witness phenomenal racing, but they also heard a bit of the athletes’ back stories; that some began racing after age 60, one is a retired high school counselor, another is an organic gardener, that two have had knee replacements, and more! This is information that the audience relates to and also serves as possible motivation to join our sport. This group represented USA Masters Track tremendously well. Congratulations and thank you for all you do and writing much of this article!!
Want to read more? See the next issue of National Masters News for additional coverage, many other articles and features!