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Four more gold medals: Federal Way's Waller still world's fastest 51-year-old
It doesn't matter if he is running indoors or outdoors, Federal Way's Mike Waller is fast.
The 51-year-old, who works as the sprints coach at Pacific Lutheran University, recently returned from the 2010 World Masters Indoors Championships in Kamloops, B.C. with four more gold medals to add to his ever-growing track collection.
Waller finished in first place in the men's 50-to-54 division in the 60-meter dash, the 200 meters, the 400 meters and the 4x200 relay. The indoor championships are held every year, but this is the first time the event has been contested in North America. The World Championships were held March 1 to 6 in Canada.
There were approximately 1,500 athletes in attendance from approximately 50 countries in Kamloops. Waller won the 60 in 7.34 seconds, the 200 in 24.17 and the 400 meters in 54.40. His 4x200 relay team finished in first in 1:39.38. Waller beat France's Bruno Dupuy in both the 60 and 200 races. Dupuy and Waller are regarded as the two fastest 50-plus athletes in the world. Dupuy ran the fastest time in the 100 during the 2009 outdoor season (11.29), compared to Waller's 11.31.
"We got to go head to head," Waller said. "And that was cool. I beat him by .23 in the 60 and by .5 in the 200. I was racing the fastest guy in the world in our age group."
The four indoor gold medals come on the heels of Waller accomplishing the same feat at the 2009 World Masters Games in October. The World Masters Games, which were held in Australia, are held every four years for athletes 30 years old and up. The Games, an Olympic-style competition that included 28 different sports and 30,000 participants.
In Australia, Waller won outdoor gold in the 100- and 200-meter races and the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.
He also had three first-place finishes at the 2009 United States Masters Outdoor Track and Field Championships, held in July in Wisconsin. Waller won the 100, 200 and 400 at the event.
Waller’s coaching background also includes six seasons as an assistant at Decatur High School (1999-2004) and six years at the Federal Way Track Club (1995-2000) as the head sprint coach. Waller is also a pastor at Christ Life Center Church in Tacoma.
Waller wasn't the only Federal Way athlete to win gold in Kamloops. Gail Kuhnly earned a first-place finish in the women's 45 and up 4x200 relay.