There were ex-Olympians, and there were men who took up running to keep their weight down, and they were in San Diego's Balboa Stadium last weekend 190 strong—more or less—to compete in the First Annual U.S. Masters Track and Field Championships for men 40 or older. Meet Chairman David Pain, whose name was not wholly irrelevant, considered it a galloping success. Former world record holder Fortune Gordien, 45, won the discus with a 140-foot toss. George Rhoden, 41, who set a world 400-meter mark in 1950, pulled a muscle and placed fifth in the 100, which was won by Don Badinelli, 40. He had just quit his police job to go to school and become a track coach. John A. Kelley, 60, ran his 93rd marathon. Surely they were masters all.
Kansas School Principal Dave Shrader, 54, has been throwing the discus since 1929, once held the collegiate record. He finished third.
John Cochran of Nevada, 49, ran six-mile race in glasses and beard, while Paul Walker, 59, essayed the 100-yard dash in his slippers.
The crowds consisted mainly of children and wives. Here, showing understandable concern, sons clock their fathers and urge them on.
July 28, 1968
Northern California's Louis Fields, 45 (left), lines up with San Diego's Elbert Smith, 51, for the 440 dash. Fields finished third.
Dave Shrader, the discus man, donned windbreaker and glasses to put the shot. This effort was rewarded by his son's "Good put, big Dad."
Irving Alexander, representing the San Diego Downtown YMCA, belied his 57 years but failed to survive his heat in the 100-yard dash.
Entrants without health certificates got free checkups. Here Margaret Thompson checks sextathlon contestant George Puterbaugh, 43.
These are socks and street shoes in which Californian James Bradstreet, 46, tried to qualify in a heat of the 100. He didn't make it.
Former world record holder Bud Held, 40, receives Javelin winner's medal from Carol Harding. Richard Bergenback, 41, was second.