Masters athletics (track and field)

Masters athletics (track and field)

Overview
Masters athletics is a class of the sport of athletics for veteran athletes in the events of track and field
Track and field
Track and field is a sport comprising various competitive athletic contests based around the activities of running, jumping and throwing. The name of the sport derives from the venue for the competitions: a stadium which features an oval running track surrounding a grassy area...

, road running
Road running
Road running is the sport of running on a measured course over an established road . These events would be classified as long distance according to athletics terminology, with distances typically ranging from 5 kilometers to 42.2 kilometers in the marathon. They may involve large numbers of runners...

 and cross country running
Cross country running
Cross country running is a sport in which people run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain. The course, typically long, may include surfaces of grass and earth, pass through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road...

. The competitions feature five-year age groups beginning at age 35. Men as old as 104
John Whittemore
John Whittemore of Montecito, California, has been credited as being the "world's oldest athlete". A long time Masters Track athlete, his last competition was on October 5, 2004, just six weeks before his 105th birthday. He threw the javelin and discus on that occasion...

 and women in their 100s have competed in running, jumping and throwing events. Masters are sometimes known as veterans.

Since at least the early 1930s, middle-aged athletes in Europe, Australia and New Zealand have competed with younger athletes, especially in cross country and road races.
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Encyclopedia
Masters athletics is a class of the sport of athletics for veteran athletes in the events of track and field
Track and field
Track and field is a sport comprising various competitive athletic contests based around the activities of running, jumping and throwing. The name of the sport derives from the venue for the competitions: a stadium which features an oval running track surrounding a grassy area...

, road running
Road running
Road running is the sport of running on a measured course over an established road . These events would be classified as long distance according to athletics terminology, with distances typically ranging from 5 kilometers to 42.2 kilometers in the marathon. They may involve large numbers of runners...

 and cross country running
Cross country running
Cross country running is a sport in which people run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain. The course, typically long, may include surfaces of grass and earth, pass through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road...

. The competitions feature five-year age groups beginning at age 35. Men as old as 104
John Whittemore
John Whittemore of Montecito, California, has been credited as being the "world's oldest athlete". A long time Masters Track athlete, his last competition was on October 5, 2004, just six weeks before his 105th birthday. He threw the javelin and discus on that occasion...

 and women in their 100s have competed in running, jumping and throwing events. Masters are sometimes known as veterans.

History


Since at least the early 1930s, middle-aged athletes in Europe, Australia and New Zealand have competed with younger athletes, especially in cross country and road races. Some were active into their 50s. And on the track, Briton Don Finlay recorded a 14.4-second mark in the 120-yard high hurdles in 1949 at age 40, according to the biennial handbook published by World Masters Athletics.

In 1966, San Diego civil lawyer David Pain began organizing what he called "masters miles" at indoor and outdoor track meets, and set the minimum age at 40. He and others soon launched the U.S. National Masters Championships, where everyone 40 and over competed together. The inaugural meet, at San Diego's Balboa Stadium
Balboa Stadium
Balboa Stadium is a football and soccer stadium located in San Diego, California. The original stadium was built in 1914 as part of the many buildings erected for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition located in Balboa Park. Originally called City Stadium, and designed by the Quayle Brothers...

, was held July 19–20, 1968, and attracted 186 competitors. The second U.S. masters nationals, July 3–6, 1969, drew 200 athletes and introduced 10-year age groups for all events, recited "Masters Track and Field: A History" by Leonard T. Olson .

Inspired by these first nationals, participants founded their own masters meets across the United States and into Canada. Also helping light a fire under sedentary seniors was retired Air Force Maj. Kenneth H. Cooper
Kenneth H. Cooper
Kenneth H. Cooper is an doctor of medicine and former Air Force Colonel from Oklahoma, who introduced the concept of aerobics. He is the author of the 1968 book Aerobics, which emphasized a point system for improving the cardiovascular system...

, a physician whose 1968 book "Aerobics
Aerobics
Aerobics is a form of physical exercise that combines rhythmic aerobic exercise with stretching and strength training routines with the goal of improving all elements of fitness...

" created a running craze. Former University of Oregon
University of Oregon
-Colleges and schools:The University of Oregon is organized into eight schools and colleges—six professional schools and colleges, an Arts and Sciences College and an Honors College.- School of Architecture and Allied Arts :...

 coach Bill Bowerman
Bill Bowerman
William Jay "Bill" Bowerman was an American track and field coach and co-founder of Nike, Inc. Over his career, he trained 31 Olympic athletes, 51 All-Americans, 12 American record-holders, 24 NCAA champions and 16 sub-4 minute milers...

, who in 1962 witnessed older people doing "jogging
Jogging
Jogging is a form of trotting or running at a slow or leisurely pace. The main intention is to increase fitness with less stress on the body than from faster running.-Definition:...

" in New Zealand, also is credited with fanning masters flames with his many articles written on the subject in the 1960s.

In October 1971, Pain and his travel-agent wife, Helen, traveled to London, Munich, Copenhagen and several other European cities to lay the groundwork for a historic masters track tour of Europe, Olson's book recalled. In late-summer 1972, the Pains took 152 mainly U.S. and Canadian masters athletes to London, Helsinki, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Cologne for age-group track meets and distance races—thus jump-starting the worldwide masters track movement. In December 1973, another tour by the Pains, with 51 athletes, traveled to the South Pacific and Oceania for more age-group competitions.

The first World Masters Championships were held August 11–16, 1975, in Toronto, Ontario. Men and women from 32 nations took part. A meeting at the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

 saw the election of a steering committee to plan an international governing body for masters track.

Organization


World Masters Athletics
World Masters Athletics
World Masters Athletics is the worldwide governing body for the sport of masters athletics – which includes track and field, cross country, and road running events – as participated by people over 35 years of age....

--WMA is the worldwide governing body for Masters athletics. It provides a global standard of rule modifications (based upon the international rules for the sport created by the IAAF) for athletes of a certain age. Each individual country governs its own affairs with an organizational governing body that is an affiliate to WMA.

The World Association of Veteran Athletes was founded August 9, 1977, at the second World Masters Athletics Championships
World Masters Athletics Championships
The World Masters Athletics Championships are the biannual championships for athletics events held under the auspices of World Masters Athletics, formerly called the World Association of Veteran Athletes, for athletes over the age of 35 years old....

 in Gothenburg
Gothenburg
Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden and the fifth-largest in the Nordic countries. Situated on the west coast of Sweden, the city proper has a population of 519,399, with 549,839 in the urban area and total of 937,015 inhabitants in the metropolitan area...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. World masters championships have been held outdoors every two years ever since, and a biennial World Masters Indoor Championships debuted in March 2004 in Sindelfingen, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. The most recent outdoor world meet was in 2011 in Sacramento
Sacramento
Sacramento is the capital of the state of California, in the United States of America.Sacramento may also refer to:- United States :*Sacramento County, California*Sacramento, Kentucky*Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta...

, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. The most recent Indoor Championships were held in Kamloops, BC
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

 Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 in March 2010.

WAVA, as it was known, later changed its name to World Masters Athletics and continues to be the sport's governing body. WMA has been working to coordinate its outdoor championship schedule with the International Masters Games Association, which holds the multisport World Masters Games
World Masters Games
The World Masters Games is an international multi-sport event held every four years which, in terms of competitor numbers, has developed into the largest of its kind....

 every four years.

Age-graded tables


A major contribution of masters athletics was the introduction of the Age-Graded Tables, a set of "age factors" and "age standards" that, when multiplied by a time or distance, allow athletes of any age and event to compare their performances with that of any other athlete. According to "Age-Graded Tables" published by National Masters News, individual statisticians first devised the tables in the mid-1970s as a way of helping score multi-event competitions for older athletes, such as the decathlon, heptathlon and indoor pentathlon.

The first official Age-Graded Tables were compiled by WAVA and published by National Masters News in 1989. Revisions (taking into account improved performances at all ages) were released in 1991, 1994 and 2006. The tables can be applied to five-year age groups or individual ages from 8 to 100. The only official use of the Age-Graded Tables by WMA is in scoring multi-event competitions. But the Age-Graded Tables have been incorporated into track meet management software by Hy-Tek and others and used to determine age-graded winners in many other competitions, especially road runs.

The tables also show how an older athlete's performance compares with an Open (20-30) athlete's mark. But the tables have been controversial. For example, Jamaican-born Olympian Merlene Ottey
Merlene Ottey
Merlene Joyce Ottey , is a Jamaican-born Slovenian track athlete. Ottey began her career representing Jamaica, but since 2002, has represented Slovenia, where she now resides...

 in 2006 ran the 100-meter dash in 11.34 seconds at the age of 46. The Age-Graded Tables suggest that performance corresponds to an Open (ages 20–30) equivalent of 10.122. Since the open world record for women is 10.49 (by Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988), Ottey's converted mark seems implausible. In fact, the WMA committee has excluded certain performances as "nonrepresentative," and not used them in designing the Age-Graded Tables.

See also


  • Rex Harvey
    Rex Harvey
    Rex J. Harvey is an American decathlete. He has designed and holds patents of several nozzles for aircraft engines. Also, he helped design several nuclear reactor power plants. Harvey is a native of Redfield, Iowa and currently resides in Mentor, Ohio.Rex J. Harvey is an American ...

  • John Whittemore
    John Whittemore
    John Whittemore of Montecito, California, has been credited as being the "world's oldest athlete". A long time Masters Track athlete, his last competition was on October 5, 2004, just six weeks before his 105th birthday. He threw the javelin and discus on that occasion...

     World's Oldest Athlete
  • List of Masters Athletes
  • World Masters Games
    World Masters Games
    The World Masters Games is an international multi-sport event held every four years which, in terms of competitor numbers, has developed into the largest of its kind....

  • Masters Athletics World Records
    Masters Athletics World Records
    These are the current world records in the various age groups of Masters athletics. Starting at age 35, each age group starts on the athlete's birthday in years that are evenly divisible by 5 and extends until the next such occurrence. For record purposes, older athletes are not included in...

  • United States records in masters athletics
    United States records in masters athletics
    These are the current American records in the various age groups of masters athletics. Starting at age 35, each age group starts on the athlete's birthday in years that are evenly divisible by 5 and extends until the next such occurrence. For record purposes, older athletes are not included in...


External links