Pacific Assocation of USA Track and Field

2014 USATF Pacific Hall of Fame Recipients


L to R: 2014 Pacific Association Hall of Fame Inductees: Don Bowden, Irene Obera, Sonny Maynard, Ed Burke, not present – Ruth Anderson (photo by Mark Foyer)


Contact: Fred Baer, [email protected], mobile: 650.483.3733
Don Bowden, Ed Burke, Irene Obera, Ruth Anderson inducted into USATF’s Pacific Association Hall of Fame; Sonny Maynard Receives Tom Moore Award

  • Don Bowden, America’s First 4-minute miler, world record relay for Cal.
  • Ed Burke, 3-time Olympic hammer thrower, American record breaker, 1984 U.S. flag bearer.
  • Irene Obera, world record breaking master’s sprinter-hurdler (4 pending world records at age 80).
  • Ruth Anderson, pioneer / record-breaking ultrarunner

Don Bowden: In 1956 Don was an Olympian in the 1500 meters, but what he is remembered most for was the run he accomplished in 1957. He was the first American to run a sub 4 minute mile 3:58.7 at the AAU Pacific Association Championships in Stockton, on June 1, 1957 which made him the first American to run under 4 minutes and set a USA record. While at UC Berkeley Don was world ranked #3 in the 800 meters, and on May 24, 1957 he ran the third leg (1:49.5) for the University of California 4X880yd. relay world record of 7:21.0 in Los Angeles. Don was inducted into the USATF Hall of Fame in 2008. Don currently resides in Saratoga.

Ed Burke: Ed is an Olympic Hammer Thrower, and qualified for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo where he placed 7th, and competed again in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico. After being (unfairly) called for a foul on his first two throws in Mexico he decided to quit throwing after the Mexico Olympics. In 1979 while watching the World Cup track meet on television with his daughters who have never seen their dad throw a hammer, Burke decided to try once more time to make the Olympic team, and qualified for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Being the oldest member of the team at 44, he was selected to carry the American Flag at the opening ceremonies of the Los Angeles Games. Ed was the first American to qualify for the Olympic team 20 years apart. In 1968 he threw the Hammer 235’11” setting a USA record at the time and qualifying him for the Olympics in Mexico City. His lifetime best throw of 243’11” qualified him for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He was inducted into the National Masters Hall of Fame in 1996. Ed is still competing at the Senior and Masters levels and has set a number of records in the past few years.

Irene Obera: At 80 years old it doesn’t look like Irene will ever slow down. She has set USA and World records, not just in the USA but, on almost every continent around the world. From 1975 to the present she has won 24 Gold medals, 6 Silver medals in the 100m, 200m and 400m in the Masters and Senior meets at the same time setting many USA and World records. At the present time she has 4 pending world records, 100m, 200m, 80m hurdles (27″), 200m hurdles (27″). Irene is not only a runner but she has also put time in as a USATF Certified Official, and served as Pacific Association Masters T&F Committee Chair 1974-1976. She was inducted into the USATF Masters Hall of Fame in 1996. Irene currently resides in Fremont.

Ruth Anderson: As far as runners go, Ruth got a late start at age 46. She was well ahead of her time as not many women ran ultra-distances let alone marathons when she started. She was a pioneer in the ranks of ladies that would or could run 50 miles, 50k, or 100k. Ruth might have been the first woman to run and finish a 100k race. She established many ultra-records over the years; a 50k/50 mile/100k race established in 1986 and staged at Lake Merced in San Francisco was named after her. Ruth was inducted into the USATF Masters Hall of Fame in 1996 and is one of four ultra-runners in the HoF. Ruth currently resides in Oregon with her daughter.

Tom Moore Award Recipient:
Sonny Maynard: Sonny began his participation in track and field as a pole vaulter in high school with an old bamboo pole and jumped about 12 feet…A good height with a bamboo pole. In the 1970’s he began coaching the “Woodside Striders”. He was a good swimmer and during the summers taught swimming. He got more involved in track and field when his wife, Lori got involved in Master level race walking. For years he just officiated local high school and JC colleges in the Bay Area. He became Nationally Certified in 1986 even though he already had been officiating at many meets in the area. Sonny has been the meet coordinator of officials at Stanford since the early 1980’s. He volunteered his time for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and officiated the Olympic Trials in 1988, 1992 and 2000. He officiated at seven USATF Outdoor Championships from 1987 to 2003. Sonny has served on the Board of Athletics and has been the Vice President of the Board from 1990 to 1993. He has been on the Officials Certification Committee and has served two terms as Vice President of the Pacific Association. Sonny has been awarded the National Certificate in 1992 and the first national Official’s Committee Horace Crow Award in 1995, the PA Dick Barbour Service Award in 2003, and inducted into the Pacific Association Hall of Fame in 2007.

Pacific Association Service Award Recipients:
John Murray: For years of coordinating officials at national competitions within our association, sitting on the national officials selection committee, in addition to serving as our Assoc. Officials Committee Chair
George Paddeck: For years of coordinating our coaches/officials LiveScan background check which is a time consuming and tedious role.

For more details and a list of previous PA/USATF award recipients, visit the Pacific Association’s Website Awards Page