GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN -- The 2016 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships got off to a hot start on Thursday, with several listed National Masters records falling on the first day of competition. With over 1,000 Masters athletes competing in the event, including a field of 40 current World champions and several Olympians, the opening day of competition set the pace for the championship weekend.
The first American record of the day was broken in the M65-69 5000m when Tom Bernhard broke the listed National record of 18:07.04 set by Joe King back in 1991. Bernhard (Castro Valley, California) bested the 25-year-old record with a time of 17:44.83, comfortably winning the men’s 65-69 5000m National Championship. Bernhard will compete in the 2000m steeplechase on Friday, and the 1500m on Sunday.
Another American record fell when Gloria Krug (New Oxford, Pennsylvania) entered the hammer throw circle, as she surpassed the listed W85-89 American record on each of her six throws, with her final throw of 18.55m/60-10 taking the record. The listed record of 15.03m/49-03.00 was set by Helen Beauchamp in 2007.
In the M60-64 pole vault, Gary Hunter (Fort Wayne, Indiana) came back from a right calf injury suffered two months ago to break the listed American record with a clearance of 4.05m/13-3.50. He made three attempts at the M60-64 world record of 4.33m/14-2.50, but just missed.
“I wasn’t able to jump for the last two months,” Hunter said. “I was able to jump for the first time last Saturday and decided to push through my strained (right) calf. I wanted to go for the world record but I wasn’t playing the pole well enough.”
USATF Masters Hall-of-Famer Kathy Martin (Northport, New York) showcased her range of endurance in the W60-64 division. Entered in races ranging from the 800m to the 10,000m for the Masters Championships, Martin won her first event of the weekend by finishing the 5000m in 20:43.91, and continued her dominance later in the day in the 800m by finishing first in her age group with a time of 2:49.31.
Martin will compete in the 2000m steeplechase on Friday, and will round out her weekend with the 1500m on Sunday; Martin holds the world mile mark in the W60-64, and was the first W60+ to break the six-minute barrier in the mile.
Watch all of the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships available on-demand on USATF.TV +PLUS (races posted shortly after completed), and join the conversation by following #USATF on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
For full results from the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships, please click here. For more information about the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships, visit: http://www.usatf.org/Events---Calendar/2016/USATF-Masters-Outdoor-Championships.aspx
Contributed by Andy Eisch, USATF Communications
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