— ADVERTISEMENT —
USA MASTERS OUTDOOR
TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
"We did a video of this facility at its dedication in 2001 and we featured (University of Hawaii athletic director) Herman Frazier, who is a gold-medal athlete and also on the USA Track & Field committee, so he's very well-known," said Richard Sutton, president of the USATF Hawaii division. "Having him invite people here was really good. And then we did a montage of Honolulu.
"It was 20 degrees in Kansas City at the time and the other place that was competing, Charlotte (N.C.), gave out coffee cups and we gave out macadamia nuts and shell leis. We won hands down."
Coming out of retirement to win the 100 dash in the women's 70 division was Irene Obera of Fremont, Calif. A world champion in the 100, 200 and 400 since she was 50, Obera retired in 1999 because of knee problems. Her doctor said there was no cartilage left in her knee and that she'd need an operation. She told him to forget about it.
She nearly forgot about running until she beat out a ground ball to third base during her coed softball game. She realized she still had it in her and has been training since May for yesterday's meet and the World Masters Athletics Championships in two weeks in Spain.
"Today I felt really good because I started feeling like my old self," said Obera, who was a member of the inaugural class of the Masters Hall of Fame in 1996. "So I have another two weeks to go when I get home and train hard."
Also going to the world championships is Bruce McBarnette, an attorney at law from Sterling, Va., who set the meet record in the men's 45 high jump at 1.96 meters. Competitive in track since 1977, McBarnette also has the current world indoor track record in the event.
"It feels nice to, over the years, work out the kinks, ways of doing things better and getting inside tips and knowledge from other great high-jumpers," said McBarnette, who high-jumped at Princeton University. "This is the kind of event that takes a lot of technique, a lot of effort into making sure your body is moving in the exact same fashion, speed, centrifugal force and at the right angles. To get all of that right is a tremendously thrilling experience. It makes it well worth the hard work, to get it all right."
While McBarnette got into track when he was a teen, Frederic Tompkins of Grand Junction, Colo., did not start until he was 69. He's now 88 and placed second in the 100 dash for the men's 85 division with a time of 20.40.
"I got started with my barber," Tompkins said. "He said I'm running in the Senior Olympics. I'd never run (before). I'd jog. I went to the Senior Olympics and I asked, 'What do I do now?'
"He said, 'Run like hell' and I've been going at it since."