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World Records by Burke, Obera and Hewitt Headline First Day of USA Masters Indoors

BOSTON, Mass. – It was an impressive first day at the 2014 USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships, as three world records fell at the Reggie Lewis Center on the campus of Roxbury Community College. 
Irene Obera (Fremont, Calif.) opened the meet on record pace, breaking the world mark in the W80 400 meters.
Obera, competing in the women’s 80-84 age group, crossed in 1:34.25, smashing the previous U.S. record by nearly 30 seconds and the world record by more than 20 seconds. The Fremont, Calif. native isn’t done yet, as she competes in the women’s 60m, 200m and shot put over the next two days.
“It feels good to set records at any age,” Obera said. “Doesn’t feel any different because I’ve (set records) before. I loved that track. I’ve only run indoors three times but saw this was in Boston and figured I might as well. I thought it would be nice to break a world record. I knew I could. I haven’t run a 400 since the 1990s.”
Though she hasn’t competed at a national meet in three years, Obera announced her intent to compete at the USA Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Three-time Olympian Ed Burke (Los Gatos, Calif.) broke the world record in the M70-74 weight throw in a special evening session at the championships. Burke, the U.S. Flagbearer at the 1984 Olympics, broke the existing record three times Friday evening and won the event with his toss of 20.93m/68-8.
“I feel like I was cautious because I wasn’t used to throwing from plywood,” Burke said. “I’m very pleased with my result. To throw a world record three times…proper preparation played into it. I started in November throwing heavy weights and didn’t do weight training but stayed healthy so my body is fit.”
Another world record was set Friday, as Robert Hewitt (Gresham, Ore.) turned in a score of 4,349 points in the M80 pentathlon, shattering the previous record by nearly 500 points. Hewitt bested the field in the long jump (4.00m – 1,048 pts) and put forth top-two finishes in the 60mH (11.72 – 979 pts), shot put (9.64m – 814 pts) and high jump (1.23m – 915 pts) to position himself within striking distance of the record. Hewitt needed just 123 points to set the new world record and did just that, registering a 5:14.95 finish in the 1,000m for 593 points.
Nolan Shaheed (Pasadena, Calif.), 64, was tremendous in the M60-64 3,000 meters, besting the field by nearly a minute and crossing in 10:23.42.
“I turn 65 in a few months which means this is my last opportunity to go for the world record,” Shaheed said. “Coming into today, I knew that I could. As I was warming up today, I realized I wasn’t mentally strong enough to do it. If I was going with faster or younger guys, I could do it.
“It takes a lot to run a world record by yourself,” Shaheed noted. “I felt like going into the race, I would run the first mile at pace. If I was at 5:10, I would go for the record. I was at 5:15, so I decided to see what kind of fitness I was in but the record wasn’t on my mind anymore.”
The 3,000m is the first of three events for Shaheed in Boston, who is also competing in the 800m and the mile later in the meet. Shaheed, in addition to being a world champion masters distance runner, is a jazz great, playing lead trumpet with Dizzie Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Count Basie, Marvin Gaye, and on recent television shows including The Emmy's, The Voice, and American Idol. He will continue competing at the upcoming Budapest World Masters Championships later this month.
Wayne Sabin (Milwaukie, Ore.), 80, set a new American record in the super weight throw (25 lb), tossing a mark of 9.01m/29-6.75.
Erika Pierce (Charlottesville, Va.) broke her own American record in the W40-44 indoor pentathlon, scoring 3,258 points to best her previous total of 3,241 from last year’s championships.
Leland McPhie, a World War II veteran and former San Diego sheriff captain who turned 100 March 10, competed in the men’s weight throw and super weight throw, tossing 2.77m/9-1 and 1.34m/4-4.75 respectively. McPhie (San Diego, Calif.), a fan favorite at the meet, will also compete in the men’s high jump and shot put on Saturday afternoon. As the first centenarian ever to compete in the indoor high jump, McPhie would automatically set the world mark in the event.
The meet continues through Sunday with action beginning Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. ET. A facility-record 920 competitors are competing in Boston, including many local stars. The meet, open to the public and free of charge, is at the Reggie Lewis Track, 1350 Tremont Street.
47 reigning world champions are competing in Boston, as well as in Hungary for the World Masters Indoor Championships. 140 athletes will represent the U.S. in Budapest, Hungary beginning Monday, March 24.
The Boston meet shows that age is no boundary to fitness and skill, and acts as a means of achieving lifetime fitness and health.
A detailed meet schedule may be found here and live results are available online.
MEDIA:  For questions or onsite athlete track interviews, contact Bob Weiner, National Masters Media Chair, cell 202-306-1200 or  Media should wear press organization credential and may obtain meet credential onsite from Bob.
Contributed by USATF, USATF Masters Media Committee and Robert Weiner Associates

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