MTF Update #4 by Jerry Bookin-Weiner, MTF Interim Chair

MTF Update #4

by Jerry Bookin-Weiner – Interim Chair

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve done one of these Updates – not because nothing is happening (far from it) but because so much has been up in the air as we work to bring projects to fruition. Now they are ready to be discussed publicly.

But first, I want to pause to remember those who have left us in recent weeks – an illustrious group that includes four MTF Hall of Famers and a long time official who was a member of the Officials Hall of Fame. It’s unusual to have so many of our icons pass from the scene in such a short span of time. They are (in order of their passing):

Pete Mundle – one of the early pioneers of masters track and field and the long-time record keeper for masters.

Bob Lida – two-time USATF and WMA Athlete of the Year, Bob was a sprinter who dominated every age group since he began competing in MTF. He was also a team player who ran relays when he probably should not have done so because of injuries but never complained and constantly encouraged others. Bob was an advertising executive professionally in Wichita, Kansas. At the time of his death he held six World and ten American records. He was the only person ever to win the World Masters Athlete of the Year twice.

Jim Carlisle – an official who served as running events referee at many MTF Championships and was superb at resolving difficult situations. Jim was a high school counselor in the Dallas, Texas area.

Johnnye Valien was a sprinter, hurdler, thrower, jumper, and vaulter who won dozens of national titles and set multiple American and World records in a career that began in her 60s and continued up until just a few years ago – she was 94 when she passed. Johnnye ran track at Tuskgee Institute as an undergraduate in the 1940s but didn’t start in masters track until 1988. She lived in southern California and ran for the Southern California Striders.

Audrey Lary was another sprinter and jumper who branched out into the throws in her late 70s and 80s. Like Johnnye, she took up track later in life (also in her 60s) and was a dominant figure in her events. Audrey grew up in southern California and studied at Stanford before marrying Ralph Lary. When he was weakened by multiple sclerosis, Audrey saw a trainer who led her to a track for the first time, and the rest is MTF history, including a total of 28 American and World records, eight of which she still holds. She lived in Frederick, Maryland and ran for the Potomac Valley Track Club.

May their lives be a blessing.

First, the 2020 USATF Masters Virtual Summer Challenge begins August 3. Full information is on the webpage that’s been created for it but the highlights are:

  • Entries are now open through August 17, 2020. The entry fee is $10 for USATF members and $20 for non-members. You can enter as many events as you want for that one fee.
  • “Competition” dates are August 3 – 17, 2020
  • The Challenge is being run on the ATHLETIC.net platform which is described in detail on the Challenge webpage.
  • The webpage includes the latest information about result reporting, which not longer absolutely requires video evidence, as was initially the case.
  • USATF members who enter will get a downloadable virtual bib and a certificate on completion listing their events.
  • Logo apparel is available through a link on the Challenge webpage to an online store set up by Fine Designs, our logo apparel partners (they have provided logo apparel for many previous national championships, including the cancelled Greensboro nationals this summer)

Second, USATF and HTWO Beverage Company of Memphis, Tennessee, announced a three year partnership to benefit Masters Track & Field and Masters Long Distance Running earlier this month. This sponsorship has been in the works for many months and will benefit USATF Masters in many ways, including financially. Exactly how much financial benefit will accrue to us will be determined by HTWO’s sales. Read more about this partnership here. Stay tuned for more information about this partnership as it develops over the next few months.

Third, MTF hosted a series of discussions with Black MTF Athletes about their experiences with racism. An edited video of the first discussion was posted in mid-July on usatfmasters.org, together with an introduction and resources for further exploration. This project is based on the premise that those of us who do not live in Black skins cannot know what it is like to live in one.  Our goal in undertaking this project is to give the rest of us a window into that experience.  We hope that it will stimulate reflection and a desire to explore more about how we can all become better allies of our fellow masters athletes.

Fourth, at the 2020 USATF Annual Meeting after Thanksgiving we would normally be holding elections for the four officer positions – Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. In addition, Active Athletes at the Annual Meeting would normally be electing their representative on the Executive Committee, and open positions as delegates to WMA would also be elected. Therefore, nominations are now open for the positions of MTF Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. To see the responsibilities of these offices, look at Section VIII of the MTF Operating Procedures.

Members of the Nominating Committee are Latashia Key (Chair), Tina Klein, and Mark Williams. They will be accepting nominations until two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting in December. Voting for the officers will take place at the Annual Meeting, unless the Annual Meeting is virtual and elections are postponed until 2021. Announcements about the Annual Meeting are expected by mid-September at the latest.

If you are interested in running for one of these offices (or wish to nominate someone), please contact Latashia Key.

Fifth, MTF and the Drake Relays are pleased to announce the establishment of the Rex Harvey Endowment at the Drake Relays. The Endowment Fund currently has approximately $32,000 in it, with a goal of $50,000. Now there is enough in the Endowment to support the Rex Harvey Memorial Masters Event each year at the Drake Relays. Once the full goal is achieved, in addition to the Rex Harvey Memorial Masters Event the intention is to support a masters combined event athlete each year to compete in the Drake Relays heptathlon or decathlon alongside the elite competitors in those events.

In order to reach the $50,000 goal, additional donations are welcome. To make a donation, please follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to https://alumni.drake.edu/giveonline
  2. Type in amount of the gift
  3. For the “give to” section drop down select “other” and enter Rex Harvey Endowment   Fund

Below this is a function where you can select “one-time” gift or “installments.” The installments option is very user friendly and allows them to select the number of installments, the frequency of paying those installments (weekly/monthly/quarterly/annually), and when to start their giving.

Sixth, the MTF Committee has been working over the past few weeks to set up a Webinar Series for MTF Athletes. The series of four to six sessions will start in early September and include event specific tips and discussions. Stay tuned for more information.

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of both our indoor and outdoor masters track & field championships for 2020. The juggling of our future championships schedule is now underway, and we are able to announce the following:

  • 2021 USATF Masters Indoor Championships will NOT take place at The Armory in New York City. The venue for the 2021 USATF Masters Indoor Championships (if the situation improves to the point we are able to hold the meet) is still up in the air, but it will not be in New York. We plan to do a survey before making any final decisions on a venue, though conditions this winter will determine whether we are able to hold a meet at all.
  • 2021 WMA Outdoor Championships will take place in Tampere, Finland – dates are still being negotiated but likely will be late June/early July.
  • 2021 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships are still scheduled to take place in Sacramento, CA, however the previously announced dates will, in all likelihood, change because they are so close to the dates of the WMA Championships to be held in Tampere, Finland in June/July 2021.
  • 2022 USATF Masters Indoor Championships will be at The Armory in New York (March 18-20).
  • 2022 WMA Indoor Championships will be held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – dates are still being negotiated.
  • 2022 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships will be held in Lexington, KY on the previously announced dates (July 14-17).
  • 2023 USATF Masters Indoor Championships will be in Spokane, Washington (which had previously been scheduled to host the 2022 Indoor Championships); dates are April 14-16
  • 2023 WMA Outdoor Championships will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, likely in August.