May 2005 President's Message

by Graeme Shirley

In my previous President's columns I have been able to lead with accounts of accomplishments of San Diego athletes, association and regional championships, and the like. This month is different.

For about a month, we had noted that Arnie Robinson, our Vice President, leader of our youth program, Track & Field Hall of Fame member, and invaluable member of our team, had been having some problems. We attributed them to the injuries, pain-killers, and lack of sleep, from his having been hit by a drunk driver in 2000.

But when Arnie resigned his vice presidency, then didn't arrive at our annual awards banquet, we grew concerned. The day after the banquet he checked himself into a hospital, where he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. On Friday, February 18, he had several hours of surgery.

On March 21, Arnie began chemotherapy. So where was Arnie on March 19? For those who know him, the answer is obvious: finish line at the Aztec Invitational, talking to other coaches, helping with the automatic timing.

I talked to Arnie about this column, about his privacy, and he said just tell the truth. I suggested that the advantage in that is that more people would be praying for him. He liked that: an army praying for him.

But track and field goes on. San Diego sent 16 athletes to the U.S. Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships. They came back with 18 National Championships and at least 10 American records. The top performers included our Masters Track and Field Chairman Kettrell Berry, winning the M40 60m and 200m, and (along with James Chinn), running a leg on the 4x400m relay which broke the world record. Terry Cannon, Gerry Davidson (4), Rita Hanscom (2), Leland McPhie (5), and Nadine O'Connor (2) also brought home gold. Davidson (W80 200m, one mile, 3000m), McPhie (triple jump, shot put, weight throw, superweight throw), and O'Connor (W60 200m, PV) broke American records.

Long Distance Running Chairmen Thom Hunt and Paul Greer are completing preparations for their May 5 Distance Carnival. $1200 is being offered to San Diego member athletes in invitational races.

Track and Field Chairmen Rahn Sheffield and Wes Williams, with Meet Director Jennifer Nanista, will try to build on the 2004 Association Championships which saw five San Diego State stadium records. The meet will again be on a Thursday, tentatively June 16.

Youth Chairman Nelson Alexander will conduct the Region 15 Junior Olympics Track & Field Championships the weekend of June 25-26 at Rancho Buena Vista High School.

Masters Chairman Kettrell Berry is the meet director for the July 9 Association Masters Track and Field Championships at Westview High School, which will once again combine with the Chuck McMahon Memorial meet at Westview High School, with support from the San Diego track Club and the San Diego Senior Games committee,

For the sixth consecutive year, local Track and Field Officials provided the timing and documentation for a record performance at the Carlsbad 5000, as Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba ran 14:51 to tie Paula Radcliffe's world road best.

As these events go on, we have missed Arnie Robinson's presence and contributions as he undergoes his treatments. Please join "Arnie's Army" and keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

For More Information Visit the Graeme Shirley Track Home Page

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