World Record For 75 Year Old Man Running One Mile Karen Steen Shatters World Steeplechase Record at the 2009 National Masters Meet

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Karen Steen Shatters World Steeplechase Record at the 2009 National Masters Meet

Karen Steen traveled from Olympia (WA) to the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh with the goal of setting a world record in the 2,000-meter steeplechase, and she did just that in one of the most exciting races at the 2009 USA Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Six world records and 21 American records were set at the conference.

Steen, a standout athlete at Pacific Lutheran University and now one of the top athletes in the Pacific Northwest, shot to the front of Titan Stadium as the gun sounded to start his 45-49 year event. It was clear from the start that if Steen was going to make a world record for the heat in Wisconsin, he would be the front runner.

He was among more than 1,000 athletes aged 30 to 95+ who took part in the four-day competition to determine the best in sprinters, jumpers and throwers.

Steen’s test watchers, myself included, immediately recognized his presence when the track announcer was quick to say – after the first 400 meters of the grueling 5-leg test on three hurdles and every water barrier – Steen. it was at a world-famous speed.

Watching him progress for the next 3 laps the fans were shouting words of encouragement as he passed, and then a rousing crescendo greeted him at the finish line when he realized the record was his for the taking, and he roared home in 7:07.49 to break it. the previous record by over 9 seconds (7:16.90 by Julie Leonard of Switzerland in 2004).

Almost lost a minute of Karen Steen’s winning career was that all runners in the race – Andi Camp (30-34 at 7:17.28) and 3rd place finisher Lisa Valle (40-44 at 7:17.36) – were within 1 second of breaking the record of the world.

Steen, who averaged 5:42 for the mile, does not know the world record. In 2005, he made his world debut in the 2,000 meters in the 40-44 age group by running 7:05.06.

Steen, who runs for Club Northwest, would return two days later to win the 1,500 in an American record time of 4:48.08. His individual performance was the best of any athlete at Nationals, with 98.85%.

Just one second behind Karen Steen’s effort came from Houston’s Sabra Harvey, running in the 60-64 category. Harvey matched Steen’s world record with one of his own, winning the 800 in 2:34.66, and returned to capture the 1,500 in an American-record 5:22.50.

Harvey is a professional photographer who started racing 9 years ago and only started competing in the masters competition last year, proving once again that you never know what you can do until you try.

Other world records were set by Audrey Lary (75-79) in the 400 (1:27.41), Florence “Flo” Meiler (75-79) in the 80-meter hurdles (18.63), Frank Levine (95-99) in the 5,000 (50:10.56), and Leland McPhie (95-99) in the Long Jump (1.93 meters / 6-04).

American records were also established by Flo Meiler in the 200 hurdles (46.68) and the pentathlon (4,783 points); Becky Sisley (70-74) in the 80 hurdles (17:32), 200 hurdles (43.87) and javelin (26.09m / 85-07); Leland McPhie in the 3 kilogram shot put (6.87m/22-06.5) and triple jump (4.00m/13-01.5); Max Springer (95-99) in the 100 (29.31) and 400 (2:45.36); and Audrey Lary (75-79) in the triple jump (7.43m / 24-04.25) and weight loss (10.40m / 34-01.5).

Most American records in field events were established by Bruce McBarnette (45-49) in the high jump (1.93m / 6-04); Robert Ward (75-79) in discus (41.18m/135-01); Harriett Bloemker (75-79) in javelin (22.54m / 73-11.5); and 4 others in the weight throw-Jennifer Stephens (35-39) at 10.49m/34-05, Myrle Mensey (60-64) at 15.73m/51-07.75, Lillian Snaden (80-84) at 6.92m/22 -08 , and Ronald Summers (55-59) at 18.18m/57-07.75.

Two American records for the 5,000-mile run were set by Shirley Dockstader (75-79) at 34:34.60 and John Starr (80-84) at 33:57.72.

Kathryn (Kathy) Martin (55-59), who won last year’s competition when she won gold medals in the 800, 1,500, 5,000, 10,000 and 2,000 meters, also won the four events she entered this year – 1,500 (5:22.93), 5,000 (19:46.47), 10,000 (40:04.03) and 2,000 steeplechase (8:26.86) She finished 5th in the steeplechase and 1st in her age group. Last year Martin set the American record at the camp with an 8:23.20 clocking.

Among the undrafted performances that caught my eye were Lonnie Hooker (45-49) in the 100 (10.93) and 200 (22.46); Bill Collins (55-59) in the 100 (11.56) and 400 (54.87); Steve Robbins (65-69) in the 100 (12.66); Antwon Dussett (30-34) in the 400 (47.17); Steve Gallegos (50-54) in the 800 (2:10.70) and 1,500 (4:22.47); Christine Olen (40-44) in the 1,500 (4:45.98); Jan Frisby (M65-69) in the 1,500 (5:09.25) and 5,000 (19:20.54); and Tom Bernhard (55-59) in the 5,000 (17:06.84).

Others were Richard Cochran (70-74) in the discus (47.79m), Cochran won a bronze medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics; and Ed Burke (65-69) in the hammer (50.62), Burke was a 3-time Olympian and flag bearer for the United States team at the Opening Ceremony of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

Copyright © 2009 Ed Bagley

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