World Masters Athletics Day 2 Roundup

by Bob Burns

Brian Pilcher’s daily double highlighted an inspired showing by Pacific Association athletes in the cross country portion of the World Masters Athletics (WMA) Championships in Sacramento.

In Thursday’s M50-54 race at Granite Regional Park, Pilcher was part of a U.S. sweep of the individual medals that resulted in an overwhelming team win for the American trio. Daniel King, a Boulder, Colo. resident, won the 8-kilometer race in 27 minutes, 48.8 seconds. U.S. teammates David Cannon (27:56.9) and Pilcher (28:02) were second and third and claimed team gold medals along with King.

Pilcher, a 54-year-old standout from Ross in Marin County, crossed the line more than 50 seconds ahead of the fourth-place finisher.

Pacifc Association/USATF Executive Director John Mansoor helped to bring home a team gold medal in the M55 race after moving up late in the race to finish top U.S. finisher, seventh individually.  Mansoor, who is also the Executive Director of the Sacramento Running Association (the organization responsible for managing the cross country and marathon competitions at the WMA Championships), completed the Granite Park course in 29:55.1.

Jim Howard of Colfax, a former marathon rival of Mansoor’s three decades ago, was ninth in 30:02.1

With Oregonian Rick Becker’s fourth-place finish in the M55 race, the top three U.S. runners averaged 29:46, giving them more than a 90-second margin on the runner-up team from Russia.

Sacramento’s Chad Worthen narrowly missed a medal in the M35 cross country race, placing fourth in 28:00.8.

In Wednesday’s cross country races, Lisa Balestrini of Sacramento claimed a team silver medal in the W45 event, and San Francisco’s Irene Herman, the president of the Pacific Association, earned a team silver in the W60 event.

Three age-group world records were set Thursday in the multi-event competitions. Australia’s Marie Kay claimed the W50 record in the heptathlon with a point total of 6202, breaking the previous mark of 6028, set by Christine Mueller of Switzerland in 2009.

Erika Sauer of Germany broke the W70 heptathlon record 42 points with her gold-medal total of 5342.

In the decathlon, Ralph Maxwell, a 91-year-old from Alamo, Texas, scored 7069 to nearly double the previous M90 record.

For complete results, see wma2011.com.