World Masters Athletics Day 3 Roundup

by Bob Burns

Winning world masters titles is old hat for Ed Burke, the grand old man of American hammer throwing. In time, it might become old hat for Christine Kennedy and Mary Coordt as well.

Burke, the three-time Olympian from Los Gates, started off the third day of the World Masters Association Championships in Sacramento with a victory in the men’s 70-74 weight throw.

Later Friday, Christine Kennedy, also of Los Gatos, registered a decisive win in the W55 5,000 meters, and Elk Grove’s Mary Coordt won a gold medal in the W40 5,000.

Burke won the weight throw with a best mark of 62 feet, 83⁄4 inches, a little more than a foot in front of Esko Palviainen of Finland (61-53⁄4). Burke is the M65 and M70 world record holder in the hammer throw, which he will contest on July 13.

“After sitting on the couch from October to March, recovering from three knee operations, I entered the WMA (Championships) as a way of motivating my recovery,” Burke said. “I just hoped I could throw based on instinct.”

His instincts were right as he posted his winning mark in the opening round.

“It was a fun competition as Esko was a threat of every throw. Whew!” Burke said “Now for some R&R and the fun of the hammer.”

Kennedy and Coordt are competing in their first WMA event, and judging from their races Friday, they could factors for years to come. Kennedy won the W55 5,000 meters in 19 minutes, 36.56 seconds, defeating Kathryn Martin of New York by 22 seconds.

A three-time winner of her age group at the Boston Marathon, Kennedy is entered in the WMA marathon that will be run on the American River Parkway on July 17.

Coordt had a closer fight in the W40 race, defeating Rebecca Sondag by four seconds in 18:02.33. Magdalena Visser of San Francisco completed a U.S. sweep of the medals with a third-place finish in 18:08.22.

In the W75 5,000-meter race walk, Shirley Dockstader of Mill Valley claimed a silver medal with her second-place finish in 29:06.25. James Beckett of Vacaville finished fifth in the M65 race walk.

In Friday’s 100-meter preliminaries, a number of Pacific Association athletes advanced. Liz Palmer and Joy Upshaw both won their first-round heats in the W50 100, as did Aaron Thigpen in the M45 prelims and Kevin Morning in the M55 age group.

For full results, visit www.wma2011.com.

For complete results, see wma2011.com.