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Benoit Samuelson, Henry Rono Running Nat’l Masters

Benoit Samuelson, Rono, Raschker headline record entries for USA Masters Indoors

LANDOVER,
Md. – The 2009 USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships at
Prince George’s Sports and Learning Center in Landover Md.,
Friday-Sunday, March 20-22, have attracted some of the world’s top
masters athletes, including at least 12 Olympians and 58 reigning world
record holders. With the theme of lifetime fitness, the meet is open to
all athletes 30 and up. The oldest competitor is 95.
 
Nearly
1,000 athletes – a record for the USA Masters Indoor Championships
since the meet’s 1974 beginnings and the most for any masters indoor
meet ever in North America – will compete.
 
National Track & Field Hall of Famer Joan Benoit Samuelson,
51 of Freeport, Maine, the 1984 gold medalist in the first Olympic
women’s marathon, is targeting the American and world 50+ records in
women’s 3,000 meters. The opening-day event is slated for 12:30 p.m. on
Friday. The M50 3000 features another 1984 Olympic marathoner, John Tuttle of Atlanta.
 
Kenyan-born running legend Henry Rono
will run the mile Saturday at 12:30 PM and 800 meters Sunday.  In an
unprecedented record binge in 1978, Rono broke four open world records
in 81 days – the 10,000, 5000, 3000, and 3000 steeplechase – and
continued breaking records through 1981.  Now 57, he remains committed
to high quality running as a master. He also coaches in Albuquerque,
N.M., and recently published a book.
 
Two-time Sullivan Award Finalist Philippa Raschker,
62, of Marietta, Georgia is in several running and field events. Twice
in the last five years, including 2008, Raschker made the short list of
the top five for America’s top amateur athlete of any age. Among her
competitors for the Sullivan award were swimmer Michael Phelps, skater
Apolo Ohno, basketball star Lebron James, and football quarterback Tim
Tebow.  Raschker won ten gold medals at the 2007 World Masters Outdoor
Championships in Italy and was voted the outstanding competitor. She
also is the reigning USATF Masters Athlete of the Year.
 
In the mile and 800, Rono will compete with 59-year-old Nolan Shaheed
of Pasadena, Calif., a USATF Masters Athlete of the Year and
multi-world champion, who also is a renowned trumpeter/jazz musician. 
Shaheed was musical director for Marvin Gaye and played lead trumpet
with Count Basie, Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Phil
Collins, and Anita Baker. He has also performed and toured with Duke
Ellington and Lionel Hampton. Shaheed will play the National Anthem
after his mile race Saturday. National Champion Horace Grant of Houston is a favorite in the M55 800.
 
The
MD-DC-VA area is home to an unusually large number of masters athletes.
Among local national stars in the meet are five-time Olympic trials
qualifier Alisa Harvey, 43, of Manassas, Va. In the 800; 1976 Olympian Jim Barrineau, 53, of Burke, Va., in the high jump; 20-time world and national sprint titlist Larry Colbert, 71, of Bowie, Md., who is coach of the Glenarden Track Club; U.S. masters high jump record holder Bruce McBarnette, 51, of Sterling, VA; and many-time masters age group athlete of the year, James Stookey, 79, of Dickerson, Md., in the 60m, 60h, LJ, and TJ.
 
Other top entrants include Canadians:  1988 Olympian Renee Belanger, 46, (800 Meters), and Earl Fee,
who has set records in every age group he enters and said he will
assault the world 800 meter record in his new M80 division. The meet’s
international flavor also includes top competitors from Brazil, Great
Britain, and Mexico.
 
Other stars already entered include 2004 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year Kathryn Martin, 57, of Northport N.Y.;  USATF 2008 age group masters track & field athletes of the year Christel Donley, 74, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Oneithea Lewis, 48, of Oakland Gardens N.Y.  Masters’ “Good Will Ambassador” and multi-world champion Sid Howard of Plainfield, N.J., has turned 70 and will assault the mile and 800n records. Frank Condon,
66 of Chico, Calif., will star in the M65 400, 800, and mile.  Mary
Louise Michaelson, 67, another multi-world champion from New York City,
will excel in the 800, mile, and 3000.
The oldest competitor entered is 95-year-old Leland McPhie
of San Diego, who is slated to compete in no fewere than seven events:
60m, high jump, long jump, shot, weight, super weight, and triple jump.
Close behind is 94-year-old Frank Levine, 94, of
Norristown, Pa., in the 3000, mile, and 800. Oldest D.C.-area
competitor is Charles Boyle, 85, of Annapolis, Md., in the 3000 Meter
racewalk.

 
Individual event finals begin 10:30 AM Friday, 9AM Saturday, 9:30 AM Sunday. Events include:
åá FRIDAY, March 20: Indoor Pentathlon (multi-event), 3000m Run, Weight Throw. 
åá SATURDAY,
March 21: 60m Dash, 60m Hurdles, 400m Dash, One Mile Run, 4x800m Relay,
   Long Jump, Shot Put, Pole Vault, High Jump (men), Weight Throw
(women).
åá SUNDAY, March 22:  High Jump (women), 200m Dash, 800m Run, 3000m Race Walk,
   4x400m Relay, Triple Jump, Weight Throw (men), Superweight Throw.

Potomac Valley Track Club (PVTC), which won
the bid for this year’s nationals, is hosting and directing the meet,
with support from USA Track & Field’s Potomac Valley Association
(PVA).
For more information on the 2009 USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships, visit http://www.usatf.org/events/2009/USAMastersIndoorTFChampionships/.
For media information, and for advance or onsite interviews of
athletes or organizers, contact USATF National Masters Media Chair Bob
Weiner 301-283-0821 or cell 202-329-1700, email
weinerpublic@comcast.net .

About USA Track & Field
 
USA
Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and
field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States.
USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, some of the
most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and
junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult
runners in the United States.
 
For more information on USATF, visit
www.usatf.org
 

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