SPOKANE, Wash. - Although he was a 1952 Olympian as a javelin thrower, Franklin "Bud" Held set an age-group world record in the pole vault Thursday at the 2008 USA Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Spokane Falls Community College in Spokane, Wash. The event will continue through Sunday.
The USA Masters Outdoor Championships annually showcases extraordinary demonstrations of speed, power, skill and endurance by many of the world's finest masters track and field athletes. Athletes compete in five-year age divisions, beginning at age 30.
Held, 80, who took up the pole vault as a high schooler in 1942, made his fame in the javelin throw, winning four national collegiate titles, six U.S. national crowns and claimed the U.S. record on six occasions. Held became the first American ever to own the world javelin record in 1953 and he was inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1987.
Held decided to take up the pole vault again as a masters athlete at age 60, and this afternoon under a broiling sun with temperatures in the low 90s, he cleared 2.65 meters/8 feet 8.25 inches in bettering the listed masters world record for the men's 80-84 age-group.
"I haven't been practicing much lately because my legs have been week," said Held. "On my last attempt at the record I placed my left hand a little higher on the pole and it worked for me."
Martin wins again
The first-ever USATF National Masters Athlete of the Year in 2004, Kathy Martin of Northport, N.Y. , holds more national and world masters championship titles than she can count. Known for her prowess in long distance running, Martin easily won the women's 5,000 meters this morning in the 55-59 age-group in 19:09.20.
Martin, who has set more than 20 world and American records during her masters career, still loves the competition. "I run because that's what I love to do," she said. If I were to get caught up in the numbers of records and championships that would take the fun out of it. Let me put on my sneakers and run and let somebody else worry about that." Martin also will compete in the steeplechase, 800m, 1,500m and 10,000m.
Shaheed wins M55 5,000 meters
The reigning M55 world champion in the 1,500m and 5,000m, Nolan Shaheed of Pasadena, Calif., is known for making beautiful music on the track and around the world. The former musical director for Motown all-time great Marvin Gaye, who also played lead trumpet in the Count Basie Orchestra and worked with Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder, Shaheed won the M55 5,000m in 17:.00.60.
"It was a great race, but it was very hot," Shaheed said. "I wanted to go after that American record. After the first mile I was off of American record pace, so I thought I'd pick it up and see where I am after the second mile. I put forth more effort, but I didn't improve any, so I knew the record wasn't going to happen today, so I kind of relaxed and enjoyed the run because I have an 800m prelim to run today." Shaheed also will compete in the 1,500m and some relay races while in Spokane.
Men's 5,000m winners included Mark Stickley of Winchester, Va. (M45-16:10.70), David Cannon of Seattle, Wash. (M50-17:16.67), Ronald Wells of Alpine, Calif. (M60-18:35.73), Don Coffman of Stamping Ground, Ky. (M65-19:10.26), Jon Bixler of Painesville, Ohio (M70-21:19.88), Jerry Smart of Warsaw, Mo. (M75-25:00.68) and Bob Koch of Yorba Linda, Calif. (M80-29:23:21.
Additional women's 5,000m winners today included Wendy Johnson of Oregon City, Ore. (W35-20:04.75), Susan Empey of Mercer Island, Wash. (W40-18:17.47), Lisa Tylor of Puyallup, Wash. (W45-19:44.06) and Joanna Harper of Portland, Ore. (W50-20:39.17).
Field event winners today included Thomas Van Zandt of Redondo Beach, Calif., who captured the M45 high jump crown with a clearance of 1.92m/6-3.50. Men's shot put winners were Nate Barnreiter (M45-14.83m/48-8), John Fitzgerald of Edmond, Okla., (M30-13.58m/44-6.75), Tim Shannon of Seattle, Wash. (14.00m/45-11.25) and Christian Salas of Seattle, Wash., in the M35 SP (12.70m/41-8).
Accomplished shot putter Oneithea Lewis of Oakland Gardens, N.Y., came close to her American record in the women's 45-49 age group of 13.55m/44-5.50, in winning this afternoon with a toss of 13.55m/44-5.50. Other women's shot put winners were Carla Kehoe (W40-6.33m/20-9.25), Tressa Thompson of Irvine, Calif. (W30-14.10m/46-3.25) Cindy Latham of West Haven, Ct. (6.74m/22-1.50) and Patty Purpur of Los Gatos, Calif. (11.18m/36-8.25).
For more information on the 2008 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships, including the complete results, visit: www.usatf.org.