INDIANAPOLIS -- Breaking four records and taking three national titles in just one weekend, Irene Obera was named USATF Athlete of the Week after her phenomenal performances at the USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston, March 14-16.
With new World and American record times in three running events, Obera (Fremont, Calif.) took titles in the W80 division for the 60, 200 and 400 meters. Masters records are ratified annually in December. She finished the 60m in 10.37, won the 200m in 36.53 and defeated the quartermile field with her time of 1:34.25.
Not to be overlooked, Obera was also impressive in the throws, surpassing the current shot put record with her mark of 6.76m/22-2.25. She was eventually overtaken in the event and finished as runner-up, but ended her weekend with three national titles despite not competing in a national championship in three years. Obera, who had not raced in the 400m since the 1990s, came out of her retirement because her competitive nature compelled her to do so and announced her intent to participate in the 2014 USA Masters Outdoor Championships as well.
Obera wins AOW honors during a week that included several strong performances. Ed Burke, a masters M70-74 athlete, set a new world record in the weight throw; Shalane Flanagan set an American record in the 15 km; Phyllis Francis of the University of Oregon set an indoor AR in the 400m at 50.46 and anchored the 4x400m relay to gold to clinch the women's team title, and Kendell Williams of the University of Georgia set a World Junior record indoors in the pentathlon with 4635 points at the NCAA Division I Championships meet.
Now in its 13th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on www.usatf.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.
2014 Winners: January 15, Chris Derrick; January 22, Galen Rupp; January 29, Galen Rupp; February 5, Alexa Efraimson; February 12, Mike Rutt; Feb. 19, Bernard Lagat; Feb. 26, Sharon Day-Monroe; March 3, David Torrence; March 13, Francena McCorory; March 19, Irene Obera.