Adventures: > Amazing Master's Performances Part 2: Women

Incredible Age-Group Records

by Peter Holleran


   "Anyone can become a runner if he/she really wants to. That's all I did.
   Don't spend the rest of your life wondering if you could do it, because it
   doesn't matter how old you are. I'm living proof of that."
          - Priscilla Welch



   Continuing as in Part 1: Men (in the May 2000 issue) we first briefly consider the "ultra-ultra" runs. According to Paul Reese, Mavis Hutchinson of South Africa in 1978 ran across the U.S. at the age of 53 in 69.9 days. The 1992 Transamerica footrace (application for which could double for your commitment papers!) had no competitive women entrants, but in 1993 Lorna Michael (USA), 35, became the first woman to complete the race, finishing third in a time of 586:15:07. In 1995 Aiko Endo (JP), 45, in eighth place, became the second woman ever to finish, in 551:45. National 100k record-holder of Japan, her time rivalled that of the men's winners of the 1992 and 1993 races. The challenge still beckons. Applications are now being accepted for the June 15, 2002 race to be held from Huntington Beach, CA to Central Park, NY. Is there anyone up to it? ($2000 entry fee, average expenses $6500-$8000, maximum 25 entrants, email: runxusa@aol.com).

   In comparison to the Transamerica, "many" more women have entered the "standard" 6-day and 1000 mile races. (The 1000 mile distance, in fact, is so standard it dates back to the mid-1700's.) Among the best masters performances to date are those of Sandra Barwick (NZ), 42, 548 miles for 6-days and 12 + 14:38:40 for 1000 miles, Christel Vollmerhausen (GER), 57, 431 for 6-days and 16 + 1:59:40 for 1000 miles, and Helen Klein, 70 +, 373 for 6-days.

   Another substantial ultra challenge, the "Grand Slam", consists of summertime completion of four 100-milers: Old Dominion, Western States, Leadville, and Wasatch, all difficult hilly runs, especially Leadville (only 45 % finish rate) which is run entirely above 9000 feet and as high as 12600 feet (Hardrock is even worse, but is not part of the Grand Slam). The particular challenge to running all four lies in the inadequate recovery time between races. 40 year-old Ann Trason holds the women's combined course record of 79:23, only 37 minutes (or 9 minutes per 100 miles) behind Dan Barger's 78:46 men's record! Trason is also ten-time winner of the Western States, course-record holder of Marin's own Miwok 100k in 8:55:49 (2001), world-record holder in 100 miles (13:47:42), and former world record holder in 100k (7:00:40) and 50 miles (5:40:18). (28-year-old Tomoe Abe of Japan ran a fantastic 6:33.11 (2000) for a new 100k record (breaking the 50-mile record as well) in an amazing 6:20-per-mile pace, which Runner's World breaks down to the equivalent of two 2:45 marathons back-to-back plus a 62-minute 10-miler, or 20 consecutive sub 19:40 5-Ks, on a wind-buffeted point-to-point course; she currently has no plans to try for 100 miles - but if she does, watch out). Helen Klein, the oldest women to run 100 miles in under 24 hours (23:29:34), and who only started running at age 55, herself finished the Grand Slam in 1990 at age 67, a phenomenal achievement (see "The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning," Running Times, May, 2000). 77 year-old Klein recently cranked out a 6:10:24 in her namesake 50K for another age-group record.

   "Standard" distances and times are as follows. As in Part I the five-year age -group records are de-emphasized in favor of the best single age records; if age is unknown (+), the age-group record will be given . Times without dates for 48 and 24 Hour Run are from UltraRunning Magazine website; others are from Masters Age Records and National Masters News.

48 Hour Run

47 - Sue Ellen Trapp (USA) (1993) 223 (miles)
51 - Sue Ellen Trapp (USA) (1997) 234
55 - Christel Vollmerhausen (GER)( )193
62 - Francoise Lamothe (FR) ( )190
70 + Francoise Lamothe (FR) ( )148 (70-74 record)

24 Hour Run

40 + Eleanor Adams (GBR) ( ) 149 (40-44 record)
47 - Sue Ellen Trapp (USA) (1993) 145
51 - Sigrid Lomsky (GER) s( ) 151 (100 miles in 15:02:30)
55 - Sue Ellen Trapp (USA (2001) 126
55 - Eileen Eliot (USA) (2000) 112 (100 miles in 21:15:14)
65 + Helen Klein (USA) ( ) 109 (65-69 record)
70 - Helen Klein (USA) (1993) 102.5
(elected to Masters Hall of Fame in 1999)

Marathon

42 - Priscilla Welch (GBR) (1987) 2:26:51
(never ran before she was 35)
43 - Laurie Binder (USA) (1991) 2:35:08
- Tatyana Pozdnyakova (UKR) (1998) 2:30:15
44 - Tatyana Pozdnyakova (UKR) (1999) 2:32:21
46 - Priscilla Welch (GBR) (1991) 2:40:20
50 + Bev Lucas Australia) ( ) 2:44:12 (50-54 record)
50 - Shirley Matson (USA) (1991) 2:50:26 (Matson recently set
a national 10 mile record (1:08:16) for F 60-69)
54 - Sister Marion Irvine (USA) (1983) 2:51 (Isn't THAT Special?-
after jogging for the first time at age 47, she qualified for
the Olympic Trials marathon at 54) "If I started running earlier,
chances are I wouldn't be a nun today, and I have never
regretted my religious life. My running career came at the
perfect time. It was a reawakening for me. I truly believe God
created us to be fully alive, to experience life. Prior to running,
I wasn't experiencing life, wasn't alive inside. Running gave me
that opportunity."
55 - S.Rae BayMiller (USA) (1998) 2:52:14 (oldest woman to run under three hours)
60 - Helen Dick (USA) (1984) 3:15:30
- Barbara Miller (USA) (1999) 3:19:38
65 - Whayong Semer (USA) (1993) 3:36:57
(started running at age 50; best time 3:26 at age 60))
72 - Ginette Bedard (USA) (2006) 3:46.:02
(started running at age 68!!)
76 - Helen Klein (USA) (1998) 4:31:05
80 - Helen Klein (USA) (2002) 4:31:32

Dipsea

39 - Christie Patterson (1987) 57:06 (1st)
40 - Gail Scott (1986) 58:19 (1st)
41 - Gail Scott (1987) 58:24
44 - Debbie Waldear (1994) 58:51
48 - Gabrielle Anderson (1993) 59:12
51 - Shirley Matson (1992) 59:22
52 - Shirley Matson (1993) 60:34 (1st)
57 - Melody-Anne Schultz (1999) 61:51 (1st)
77 - Els Tuinzing (1999) 2:08.32

It looks like it will take a woman in her sixties to crack the run-
faster-than-your-age barrier for the Dipsea. Schultz's 1999 time
has come the closest. How soon might we see the barrier
overcome? It will certainly take a real animal (or need we
establish a trust fund to support a Kenyan or two in Mill Valley
during their golden years?)

10k

38 - F. Larrieu-Smith (USA) (1991) 31:28.92
40 - Ruth Wysocki (USA) (1997) (R) 33:22
42 - Nicole Leveque (FRA) (1992) 32:12.57
44 - Tatyana Pozdnyakova (UKR)(1999)(R) 33:38
46 - Evy Palm (SWE) (1988) 32:34 (!)
50 - Shirley Matson (USA) (1991) (R) 35:57 (This outstanding
Tamalpan holds many age-group road records, including 30k
and 1/2 marathon for W45-49, 5k, 8k, 10k, 12k, 15k, 25k,
30k, and marathon for W50-54, and 5k, 8k, 10k, 12k, 15k,
25k, and 1/2 marathon for W55-59; Dipsea winner in 1993,
2000, 2001)
- Jutta Pederson (SWE) (1997) 36:44.47
53 - Ursula Odermatt (SWI) 1993) 36:51.28
55 - Jean Albury (AUS) (1985) 38:38.6
57 - Ursula Odermatt (SWI) (1997) 37:19.11 (Listed in 1998
edition of Masters Age Records, but not listed in 1999
edition as the W55 record)
59 - Shirley Matson (USA) (2000) 40:03 (new American record)
Shirley Matson (USA) (2000) 40:00 (R) (Matson's watch
and that of another runner behind her, however, read 39:58!)
- Marion Irvine (USA) (1989) 40:37
60 - Jean Albury (AUS) (1990) 42:18
- Eve Pell (USA) (1997) 43:07.45 (The1998
Masters Age Records lists Albury's time, as well as Pell's,
but the 1999 edition lists only Pell's; Pell was 1989 winner of
the Dipsea, placed second three times, and a year 2000
inductee into the Dipsea Hall of Fame)
- Barbara Miller (USA) (1999) (R) 41:45
67 - Lieselotte Schultz (GER) (1987) 44:31
- June Machala (USA) (1998) 45:04
71 - Jose Waller (GBR) (1993) 48:11
- Pat Dixon (USA) (1989) (R) 50:01
76 - Nina Naoumenko (URS) (2000) 52:08.73
81 - Heddy Marque (USA) (1998) (R) 56:51 (an amazing 9:04 pace,
considering that as of 1996 the single mile record for W80
was 9:49; several weeks before this she ran a 10-miler
in 91:24)

5k

40 - Elena Fidatov (ROM) (2000) 15:20.59
- Ruth Wysocki (USA) (1997) 15:44 (R)
42 - Nicole Leveque (FRA) (1992) 15:51.7
45 - Evy Palm (SWE) (1987) 16:17.6
50 - Shirley Matson (USA) (1991) 17:25.6
55 - Edeltraud Pohl (GER) (1988) 18:32.6
60 - Marion Irvine (USA) (1989) 19:14.8
- Shirley Matson (USA) (2001) 19:37.9 (R)
65 - Joselyn Ross (GBR) (1993) 21:37.8
70 - Jose Waller (GBR) (1992) 23:21.2
- Toshiko d'Elia (USA) (2000) 24:09.86
76 - Nina Naoumenko (URS) (2000) 25:14.44
80 - Johanna Luther (GER) (1993) 28:32.67

Mile

40 - Y. Podkopayeva (URS) (1993) 4:23.78
43 - Laurie Binder (USA) (1991) 4:54 (holds U.S. masters
marathon record of 2:35:08 (1991))
- Y. Podkopayeva (URS) (1996) 4:24.91 (truly hard to believe)
44 - Y. Podkopayeva (URS) (1997) 4:26.32
45 - Y. Podkopayeva (URS) (1998) 4:48.42 (I guess she's only
human after all
50 - Kathy Martin (USA) (2002) 5:15.54
56 - Caroline Keysers (HOL) (1998) 5:32.7
60 - (?) ( ) ( ) 5:48.94
- Marie Michelsohn (USA) (2002) 5:57.39
- Shirley Matson (USA) (2001) 5:55.65 (R)
61 - Yvette LaVigne (USA) (2001) 6:03.39
A cousin of Regina Jacobs, LaVigne turned to the track at age
51 after years on the roads. In 1992 she set an American W52
800m record of 2:33.9. She runs 25 miles a week and has
her sights set on breaking six minutes for the mile. (Shirley
Matson has run faster on the road; if she can only hold
that speed around the turns, the record would be hers....)
Exults LaVigne, " I never knew that age 60 would feel this good."
63 - Joselyn Ross (GBR) (1991) 6:24.8
65 - Vicky Bigelow (USA) (2000) 6:38.12
70 - Toshiko d'Elia (USA) (2000) 7:02.7 (R)
70 - Pat Dixon (USA) (1989) 7:26
73 - Pearl Mehi (USA) (1987) 7:29 (i)
80 - Ivy Grandstrom (CAN) (1996) 9:49.4 (this can't stand;
81 year-old Heddy Marque ran 9:04 pace for 10k in 1999)

800m

42 - Y. Podkopayeva (URS) (1994) 1:59.25
44 - Patti Ford (USA) (2000) 2:22.67 (i)
45 - Jeanette Flynn (AUS) (1999) 2:13.13
52 - Carolyn Oxton (GBR) (1996) 2:21.9
- Yvette LaVigne (USA) (1992) 2:33.9
60 - Gerda Van Kootin (HOL) (1999) 2:36.94
66 - Jean Horne (CAN) (1999) 2:51.41
71 - Nina Naumenko (URS) (1995) 3:10.72
76 - Nina Naoumenko (URS) (2000) 3:31.37
80 - Johanna Luther (GER) (1993) 3:54.81

400m

40 - Sara Montecinos (COL) (1994) 53.68
50 - Marge Allison (NZL) (1995) 58.51
54 - Irene Obera (USA) (1988) 62.8
62 - Ann Cooper (AUS) (1989) 67.97
w65 - Carole Capetta (USA) (2001) 71.45
69 - Paula Schneiderman (GER)(1991) 74.73
72 - Anna Magler (GER) (1995) 79.14
79 - Polly Clark (CO) (1989) 98.48

200m

40 - Sara Montecinos (COL) (1994) 24.7
50 - Philippa Raschker (GA) (1997) 25.72
61 - Irene Obera (USA) (1995) 28.67
70 - Paula Schneiderman (GER) (1992) 32.24
75 - Paula Schneiderman (GER) (1997) 34.4
80 - Polly Clark (CO) (1996) 39.78
82 - Polly Clark (CO) (1998) 41.11

100m

? - Cheetah (KEN) (2000) 6.0
40 - Zdenka Musinska (CZE) (1997) 11.99
50 - Philippa Raschker (GA) (1997) 12.5
60 - Shirley Peterson (NZL) (1989) 13.9
63 - Irene Obera (USA) (1997) 13.93
71 - Paula Schneiderman (GER) (1993) 15.42
75 - Paula Schneiderman (GER) (1997) 16.12
80 - Hanna Gelbrich (GER) (1993) 18.41

   This concludes our two-part series on fantastic performances by the
ever youthful, maturing runner. Feeling inspired? Then lace up
those shoes and head out the door. Having second thoughts? Then
remember Nietzche, who said, "never trust an idea you come upon sitting
down," and, "whatever does not kill me outright makes me stronger".
(Just make sure not to overtrain)