More than 900 athletes are set for the USA Masters Track Indoor Championship in Boston this weekend. Only one of them is entered in the 100+ age category.
That would be Leland McPhie, who turned 100 on Monday and is a veteran of masters track and field. McPhie, representing the Southern California Track Club, is entered in the high jump, shot put, weight throw and superweight throw at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.
“I haven’t been training too much,” McPhie said, according to the Boston Herald. “I’m hoping to do four events. Two of them I haven’t done before, but my coach wants me to do it. I’ll be the only one in my age group, and I can get points for the club. I’m a team player.”
The newspaper reported McPhie, a World War II veteran, competed for San Diego State in the 1930s and was setting track records more than 70 years ago, pole vaulting with a bamboo pole with the nickname “grasshopper.” The Los Angeles Times wrote about him in 1936.
The oldest of nine children, McPhie taught himself how to pole vault, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“It was the Depression, and they didn’t have money to hire coaches,” he said.
Officials in San Diego County declared March 10 to be “Leland McPhie Day,” according to NBC affiliates in California. He worked for the San Diego Sheriff’s Department from 1940 to 1969.