USATF Pacific

MTF Irene Obera Sets Multiple W80 Records at Pride Meet

Pride Meet, Chabot College, Hayward on July 12, 2014
Alan Kolling and Jennifer Oliver give eye-witness accounts of Irene Obera’s stunning accomplishments.

Irene Obera

From Alan Kolling

Irene Obera set two new world marks in the 80m hurdles and 200m hurdles at the Pride Meet at Chabot College in Hayward, our home track! The marks were her sixth and seventh world marks this year. The meet is USATF sanctioned and Irene Herman was the meet referee (and did a really great job too). Irene first ran 19.62 in the 80m hurdles into a -1.5m wind. This is a 4.72 second improvement on Johnnye Valien’s 24.34 record from the 2005 Worlds. Irene then followed this with a 48.27 in the 200 hurdles, with a 1.1 wind reading, hacking off 14.43 seconds off the previous record set in 2011 by Japan’s Michiko Yamane. In between the two hurdles races, Irene logged in a 17.26 hundred meter dash, no wind reading available. The time is surpassed on the all-time list only by her runs of 16.91 and 17.07 this year. Irene and I were acutely aware that the two previous marks could be considered “soft” (even for the 80-84 age group) but I do think she should get credit for bringing the records down to truly respectable levels. By comparison, last year’s best US marks for both races for the W75-79 age group were Christel Donley’s 20.29 and Flo Meiler’s 52.03, respectively, and today was the first time Irene has ever run the two races in her long career!

Irene is especially grateful to meet director Andrew Bundy and Leroy Milam for finding and furnishing the appropriate size hurdle for the records (27″). Without them, we would not be celebrating another great performance from Irene today.

From Jennifer Oliver of SportsHopes Posted on the PA/USATF’s facebook page:

Inspirational. Irene Obera graduated from Chico State University in 1957 with a degree in Physical Education and a Teaching Credential. Today at the age of 80 she set two World Records in the Women’s 80-84 Master’s Track Division: 19.62 in the 80 meters hurdles and 48.27 in the 200 meters hurdles. Oh yes, she also won the 100 meters sprint.

Irene started running at the age of 25-years old. She was a teacher, counselor and administrator for Berkeley Unified School District (California) and retired in 1994. After earning a college degree she continued on her higher education pathway and earned a Master’s degree and credentials in both Administration and Counseling from San Francisco State University.

Great job, Irene! USA Track & Field and your Pacific Association are proud of you. You are amazing!