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Wilson and Patton earn 1,500m AR's at World Masters

7/16/2011
 
Thelma Wilson and Gary Patton set American records in the 1,500m to lead U.S. distance runners on day eight of the 2011 WMA World Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Wilson's time of 8:32.02 in the W80 race bettered Gerry Davidson's previous American record by almost two seconds. With her winning performance, Wilson collected her first gold medal of the meet after a second place finish in Monday's W80 800m.

Gary Patton was another record-setter with his win in the M65 age group. Patton's time of 4:46.05 improved on Joe King's twenty-year-old American record by ten seconds. The 1,500m was Patton's second win of the meet after his gold medal performance in the 800m.

Valien finishes meet with one more AR
In her last individual event of the meet, Johnnye Valien set one last record for the W85 age group. Valien's leap of 4.55m/14-11.25 in the triple jump set an American record and earned Valien her sixth gold medal of the meet. In addition to her victories, Valien set four American records and one world record throughout the course of the meet.

"I felt pretty good considering that I overexerted my legs yesterday a little too much knowing first thing this morning would be the triple jump," Valien said. "But I'm really surprised that I did as well as I did considering that I did not practice as much as I could have. My goal now is to go for the world record, so hopefully I'll prepare myself."

While Valien was growing up, there were limited opportunities for women in track and field, but she still managed to stay active. 

"I was a dancer and taught dancing for years," she said. "The groundwork, the stretching, the leaps and turns and everything, I think that it did help me now to get to this stage. And i was involved with swimming and diving until college."

Valien made the transition to masters track about two decades ago and hopes to continue her successful career as long as possible.

"The idea is to stay healthy and fit, and if I do that then I feel I'll probably accept the challenge," Valien said.

Friend-Uhl completes successful double
Sonja Friend-Uhl cruised to victory in the W40 1,500m to earn her second gold medal of the meet after a win in the 800m on Monday. Friend-Uhl's time of 4:28.52 led a U.S. sweep of the podium in the event with the help of teammates Grace Padilla and Lisa Ryan.

"What I've learned in these World Championships is that you'e got to run them a little different," Friend-Uhl said. "It's definitely more strategic. I'd like to run faster, but the win was more important, so that's what I sacrificed the time for."

Although Friend-Uhl races everything from middle to long distance, she wants to focus on middle distance as long as possible.

"I race the half marathon, but this is the soul of running, track and field," she said. "It's very pure. There's no hiding, no time to make adjustments. You just get out there and execute your plan. So as long as I can keep that speed there I'll stay with the middle distances."

Friend-Uhl brought the older of her two daughters to the meet to cheer her on and to learn some valuable life lessons.

"I want to show her that you should still have something that you can call yours even if you're a mom and working and everything," Friend-Uhl said. "And also that age, gender, race, nothing is a barrier. It's the opportunities you create for yourself, and the work you put into it."

Shaheed finally grabs a gold
Nolan Shaheed earned his first gold medal of the meet with his winning time of 4:35.97 in the M60 1,500m. Earlier this week, Shaheed had close races in the 800m and 5,000m, but only managed second place finishes.

"I've been going out fast in my other two races, and I've been out-kicked at the end," Shaheed said. "I lost both races by three tenths of a second. This time, I wanted to go for the win."

Shaheed was ecstatic to earn his first win of the meet.

"It's unbelievable," he said. "I wish I had a cell phone in my shorts so I could call my wife and say, 'I finally got one.'"

The 62-year-old, who owns seven world masters records, doesn't ever plan on quitting running.

"I'll be running for the next 50 years," Shaheed said. "I'll be the oldest guy out here. 110 and I'll be running. I'll be breaking records cause I'll be competing against no one else."


Other U.S. event winners from today's competition include the following:

-Barbara Jones, W75 triple jump (6.99m/22-11.25)
-Magdalena Kuehne, W80 triple jump (5.45m/17-10.75)
-Stacey Nieder, W40 high jump (1.62m/5-3.75)
-Thomas Hinkes, M80 pole vault (2.20m/7-2.5)
-Monica Kendall, W55 shot put (12.92m/42-4.75)
-Michael Brown, M55 javelin throw (59.39m/194-10)
-Michael Ostrom, M45 weight throw (14.37m/47-1)
-Randy Wasinger, M35 1,500m (3:58.71)
-Anselm LeBourne, M50 1,500m (4:15.87)
-Jean Daprano, W70 1,500m (6:30.07)
-Kathryn Martin, W55 10,000m (39:56.53)
-Mary Coordt, W40 10,000m (37:08.13)



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