July 2004 President's Message

by Graeme Shirley

Masters Track & Field Chairman George Mathews, Scott Sargeant, and Tom Meyer recently completed their second season of throws meets at UCSD. Each meet offered all the throwing events: shot, discus, hammer, javelin, weight, and superweight. In November they drew seven competitors, but as the season progressed the meets grew in size and quality. Along the way, they had the San Diego California Scholastic Federation champions in the shot put (Boldi Kocsor) and discus (Daniel Schaerer, who went on to win the state championship with a section record), several masters national champions, and Athens hopefuls from the Olympic Training Center.

The finalé May 1 featured Estonian Gerd Kanter's 68.05 meter (223' 3") discus throw, second-longest in the world for 2004. Americans Ian Waltz, Jarred Rome, and John Davis also threw past 60 meters/200 feet. Tom Pukstys, making a comeback, threw the javelin 78.85 meters (258 feet 8 inches), breaking the listed record for the M35 age group by over 37 feet. John Davis and Simon Stewart both exceeded 63 feet in the shot put. The field of 31 included representatives from Guatemala, Denmark, and Estonia, plus at least seven Americans from outside California. Not bad for an Association throws meet.

The Spring Road Race Challenge Series concluded May 2. Scorekeeper Seakay Lenechi's report appears near this column. Now attention turns to Paul Greer's Dirt Dogs Cross Country Series which will commence August 21 with a new race at Lake Hodges, the Bake at the Lake, continue with the traditional Balboa 4-Mile, plus four more races and the championship. The Association Championship will be directed by Ted Van Arsdale at UCSD, La Jolla.

A few years ago, a local race director published an article on the thirty-somethingth running of one of San Diego's traditional races. In it he described a division winner's performance and stated that he thought that it might be a record. The phrase struck me because, first, it wasn't even close, but, more important, it demonstrated a problem in the sport.

We have a lot of races that proudly announce that theirs is the 37th or 43rd annual, but don't know who won the first 20 or 25 of them, or who holds the division records. In various garages and attics there are boxes of newsletters and other printed results. Until recently, publishing them in some printed form was an expensive project, which needed revision annually. Now, thanks to the internet, we have the ability to reconstruct some of those histories, and give runners from the 60s, 70s, and 80s their due. We recently posted a few of San Diego's historical races in the Results section of our website. We'll be adding to them in the future.

Some of the races in the San Diego area which have had 30 or 40 editions have interesting histories. In each of the following issues, we will highlight one of them. A good starting point should be the Balboa 8-Mile, which on August 7 will celebrate 50 consecutive years, the longest streak in San Diego.

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