For the second year in a row, Jenny Hitchings has been named the USATF Masters Long Distance Running Athlete of the Year. Having turned 60 during the 2023 season, Hitchings moved from the 55-59 age division to the 60-64 division and uniquely set records in both divisions in a single season. In April, Hitchings reclaimed the world 55-59 marathon record at 2:45:27, breaking the 15km, 20km, 25km, and 30km American records in the division along the way.
After turning 60, Hitchings took on the Chicago Marathon with her sights set on another world record – one that belonged to Joan Benoit Samuelson. She succeeded, chopping the world record to 2:49:43. Similar to her London Marathon, she bettered age-division American records in the 15km, 20km, 25km, 30km, and half marathon en route. In addition to her marathon success, Hitchings added a 10 mile 60-64 American record to her list with a 62:58 at the USATF Masters 10 Mile Championships in September.
Sue McDonald went on a world record-setting spree in 2023, setting six WMA outdoor records and two indoor records across an array of events. McDonald opened her campaign with golds in the W60-64 800 (2:25.72) and 1500 (5:08.88) at the World Masters Indoor Athletics Championships in Torun, Poland, setting WMA records in both events. She then took three golds, two with WMA Record performances, at the USATF Masters Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, winning the 400 in 62.34, the 800 in 2:29.97, and the 300 hurdles in 48.89. For good measure she earned silver in the 200.
Capping off her year at the USATF Masters Combined Events Championships at Mt. SAC, McDonald scored 6,269 points for gold in the heptathlon and a WMA record. In non-Championship competitions, McDonald set WMA records in the outdoor 800 (2:22.52), 1500 (5:04.27) and mile (5:28.02).
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