Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, June 21, 1999

H A W A I I _ S P O R T S

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Hank Warrington needs to shave 0.11 seconds off his time at
100 meters to qualify for the Olympic Trials.

Hawaii’s fastest
human has Olympic

Hank Warrington set a record
for a Hawaii resident running
the 100-meter dash

By Pat Bigold


THE track world oozed over Maurice Greene's world record 9.79 seconds for 100 meters in Athens on Wednesday.

But not too many knew or even cared that Makiki resident Hank Warrington did the dash in 10.42 on Maui four days earlier.

The 34-year-old ex-Marine marvels at how Greene knocked seven-hundredths of a second off the 1997 world record.

"That's huge," he said.

He knows that hundredths of a second are Grand Canyons in the world of sprinting.

But that's exactly why his 10.42 - a new record for an athlete living in the state -- is stunning.

Compare it to what the 34-year-old flight dispatcher did a little more than a year ago.

Finishing second to Kelsey Nakanelua in the 1998 "Hawaii's Fastest Human" race at Punahou, Warrington clocked 10.95.

Moreover, the 6-foot, 185-pound Warrington's Maui effort was "wind-legal," not wind-aided.

If anything might have drawn Warrington beyond his potential, it might have been the fact that the four sprinters finishing ahead of him on Maui were world class.

The time puts him in position to shoot for is impossible dream.

"My main goal now would be to get to the Olympic trials," said Warrington.

He needs a 10.31 qualifying time to get to the trials, and, well, it CAN be done.

"If I got there, I'd just go run my one race and then watch everybody else," said Warrington. "Just to be there and kind of absorb it all. For somebody starting at the age I started, it would be the ultimate. I never even thought I would get this close."

Warrington now ranks No. 1 nationally among active "sub-masters" sprinters between 30 and 34.

He'll defend his 100- and 200-meter 30-34 age group championships at the National Masters meet in Orlando, Fla., Aug 25-26.

It's been a year of lightning for Warrington, who has lived in Hawaii since 1983. And what makes him pinch himself regularly these days is the fact that he only started sprinting when he reached 30.

He started training at the Punahou track because he wanted to do something that might keep him in better shape than softball would.

He entered the Aloha State Games 100-meter dash and Hawaii's Fastest Human race and found he was just over 11 seconds in his first few outings.

Just before the 1998 Hawaii's Fastest Human event, Punahou coach Dacre Bowen began working with Warrington on his technique.

"I wasn't used to being coached in track, and at first I couldn't understand what Dacre was trying to tell me," said Warrington, "but little by little it began to sink in."

Bowen, a former Olympic sprinter, managed to coach Warrington to a 10.67 win in the Hawaii's Fastest Human race this year.

Then came the chance to run against guys who flirt with 10 seconds every time they run.

It was a special event added to the First Annual Hawaii Youth National Track & Field Invitational at War Memorial Stadium.

He laughed as he recalled how out of place he felt when he walked to the line with his world class competition.

"They didn't know who I was," said Warrington. "I was this old white guy going against them. I met them the day before the race at a clinic and I was introduced as "Hawaii's fastest human.' I kind of noticed the looks I got."

But Warrington made friends.

"Jeff Laynes, who won the race (10.16), was real nice. He even invited me to come out and train with him in Oakland."

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