Masters Inspire Crowd @ USATF Championships

Charles Allie dramatically demonstrated the capabilities of masters track athletes by racing to a new World Record M70 of 25.75 during the 200m Masters Exhibition Event (MEE) at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa on June 21.

The crowd’s reaction clearly demonstrated it was another major another PR coup for the MEE program. Although there was very little lead time to put this masters event together, New MEE Chair Linda Carty, along with outgoing chair Joy Upshaw, managed to fill most of the lanes with athletes willing to help their sport. And, they represented very well.

In the mixed gender event, all the men; Allie, Ty Brown (27.66), Roger Pierce (28.72), and Paul Milewski (29.81) dipped under 30 seconds while the two women, Leandra Funk (32.48) and Ann Hegstrom (37.76) delighted the crowd with their races. Hometown girl Hegstrom especially received cheers when she stepped out onto the track in her Iowa racing top.

Tim Hutchings, the very knowledgeable, former elite runner who announces Diamond League races for NBCSN, appreciated the work these masters athletes put in and expressed his admiration in the race video. The competition received 5-minutes of TV commentary, all positive, all celebratory of Allie’s efforts and the entire masters field. Provided notes by MEE Chair Carty, each athlete was mentioned and celebrated on air. This is a huge step forward for this program, which was formerly relegated to pre or post meet slots.

Click to view video

The Masters Exhibition Events are intended as showcases for MTF. Although the athletes compete, it may be in mixed age, ability and sometimes gender races. The intent is to provide needed exposure for Masters Track and Field and to illustrate that anyone can participate. Watching healthy, older athletes age 50-plus provides a very positive impression of our sport.

As the MEE events happen only at the discretion of meet directors, it is vital to fill all the lanes, and show that there is great crowd support. The athletes who agree to participate receive the same privileges, credentials and attention as the elite athletes at the meet. It is a rare honor to be on the track with heroes of the sport, it helps promote MTF, and as anyone who has ever participated in it can tell you, it is loads of fun. Consider registering for the next MEE at a future BIG meet. And when you see them, thank and congratulate Charles, Ty, Roger, Paul, Leandra and Ann!


8 Replies to “Masters Inspire Crowd @ USATF Championships

  1. Who ever would have imagined Charles, a 70 year old human being, could be so fast! And Ty and Roger ( a few years older) right behind him! They have to re-write the books about aging—it might truly be a myth after all!

    1. Don you are absolutely correct – the book on aging should be rewritten. We, (Master Athletes),have much to prove and everything to gain, if you will. My granddaughter, age 8, told me I was too old to be fast. That comment resonated. If we can show our younger generation that fascination, in life, really begins after 50 years of age, I believe they will take better care of their bodies and make wise decisions in regards to their health. Aging isn’t a limitation, it’s an opportunity to show how God can mysteriously use our bodies to defy any and most stereotypes – after all, He’s God, our Creator, and can make impossibles, in the eyes of man, possible.

    2. I will be 70 in one week. Craig urban retired cw4. Us army. I recently two years ago here in bangkok ran 12k in 59 minutes. I signed up for the 6k but the amari hotel messed it up. I power walked 30%. Of course I was number one. In 1979 while stationed at fort ord. I ran 3 full marathons. 3.54 at chico in the cold and rain. 3.19 San Francisco and 3.19 at Paul Maason. Undocumented and it took me 19 minus to get off the starting line.

      1. Abe, Just saw your comment. A great pleasure running behind you in that NJ 800 race. Hope to see you in Winston-Salem in Nov. Chris says hello.

    1. 24 minutes?! I can crawl 200m on my back in 24min.! Now, if you meant 24 seconds, thats really impressive. Im going on 72, and have trouble breaking 40 sec.!

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