MR. LESTER WRIGHT SENIOR OF SHORE AC LOWERS WORLD 100-METER RECORD TO 26.34 SECONDS BEFORE HUGE CROWD AT 126TH PENN RELAYS!!!
By Elliott Denman
PHILADELPHIA - Penn Relays officials weren't as fast as the senior member of the competition cast of the venerable track and field carnival that closed out its 126th year just after 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, at historic Franklin Field.
The official Penn Relays program is 160 pages thick, 80 pages on every team and individual entry, and schedule item, in the three-day 2022 meet; then 80 pages more devoted to the records set in every race on the card, from Harvard's 4x440 yards relay win in 1895, to the array of winners in 2019, when the meet was last held in full fashion, and before the pandemic erased the 2020 meet and the 2021 event was held as a strictly-limited localized event for nearby colleges.
But nowhere did that program list records in the Masters division, those events, individual races and relays, for the stalwart men and women racers age 40 and over, who love running at Penn just as much as all the youngsters.
And that's why, when Lester Wright Senior of Long Branch, representing Shore Athletic Club, crossed the finish line of the men's 80-and-up 100-meter dash in 26.34 seconds about 1:30 p.m.
on Saturday, one day after his 100th birthday, the fuller magnitude of the achievement was not made clear to all on the premises.
Sure he earned loud rounds of applause from the nation's biggest track meet audience -specially so when his 26.34-second performance earned seventh place over-all in a nine-man field, and the two he beat were mere lads of 86 and 92. Over-all winner was Bob Williamson of the Potomac Valley Track Club, age 84, in 17.33, but Mr. Wright was within striking distance of two others, age 85 and 84, who ran 24.17 and 26.11.
Not until sometime Sunday did he get verification of the quality of his performance - it was world record! Nothing about it had been announced to the Franklin Field audience.
One day after his race, by now safely home in Long Branch, he finally was told he had set a world record.
The charts were belatedly consulted. And they showed that the accepted world 100-meter record by a man age 100 to 104 was 26.95, and had been set by a Californian, Donald Pellmann, at San Diego on Sept. 20, 2015.
Mr. Wright had slashed the world record by all of 0.61 seconds, a very long span of time in track and field terms,
"Amazing, amazing, amazing," said his delighted teammates and lots more.
Well, what's next for Mr. Wright?
"I'd like to take a crack at the (M100) 200 and 400-meter records, too, sometime soon," he said. The M100 200-meter world record is 1:17.59 and was set by South Africa's Philip Rabinowitz in 2004. The M100 400-meter world record is 3:41.00 and was set by Austria's Erwin Jaskulski in 2003.
Shore AC officials were quick to say they'd try to plan record-attempt races at the 36th annual NJ International Meet/National Club Championships, which they are organizing for July 1-2 at Monmouth University's Joe Compagni Track.
May 2, 2022
By: Harry Nolan
A group of Shore A.C. master’s runners had one of the club’s best years
at the 2022 edition of the famed Penn Relays. Headed by the men’s 60’s
4 x 400 winning relay and Michael Kish’s outstanding performance in men’s
70’s 100 Meter Dash, the club collected a total of nineteen medals, 15 gold
and 4 silver, along with a number of the famed Penn Relays Wheels over a three
The action began on Thursday, April 28 with the master’s men’s 100 meter
dash series. Long time club member Michael Kish, running in the 70’s division
had his usual fast start, and out legged all other runners breaking the tape in
13.47. Michael returned to the track a half an hour later and teamed with
club members Rick Lapp, Dave Gritz and Keith McQuitter in the masters
60’s 4 x 100. Seven teams toed the line, with the Shore unit just getting nipped by
the Mass Velocity Track M65 team 55.23 to 56.65, but still winning the M60
division for the relay.
On Friday, April 29th, it was the clubs 400 meter runners lining up for a
series of 4 x 400 relays. The action began with men’s combined 60’s and
70’s race, with the club having one 60’s entry and two 70’s entries. With
a crowded field of 14 teams, the competition was fierce. However, lead off
man Bill Hughes moved out quick for the 60’s team and had a slight lead
when handing off to 400-800 star Bob Andrews. Bob, relying on his many years
of running at Penn increased the lead, and handed off to Scott Linnell. Known
more as a long distance runner, Scott ran a smart race not losing any ground,
and passed the baton to anchor man Keith McQuitter. Flying down the backstretch, Keith used his sprint speed to maintain the lead and break
the tape in 4:37.82.
Back a few places, the clubs 70’s “A” team was having its own battle
with both the other 70’s teams, along with some 60’s teams. Tony
Plaster, one of the nations top 800 meter runners led off for the team,
maintaining good position among a number of younger runners. Spider
Rossiter took the baton for the second leg, and used his easy stride to
maintain the team’s position and handed off to Harry Nolan for the third
leg. Nolan, running in his 55th Penn Relays, made up 15 yards on one of
the 60’s teams before handing off to Rick Lapp. One of the top 400 meter
runners in the country, Rick moved out quickly, picking up one runner
down the backstretch and bringing the team home in 6th place, but
with the team winning the 70’s division race in 5:04.23. This same team
also won the Millrose Games 70’s 4 x 400 Relay back in January, scoring
double header wins.
Also in this race was the Shore A.C. 70’s “B” team consisting of Ivan Black,
Rob O’Rourke, Tom Delisa, and John Kuhi. Ivan, lined up next to Tony Plaster,
went out fast behind his teammate, and delivered a solid 400 leg. Distance
men O’Rourke and Delisa showed that the also have some speed, and kept
the team in contention for a medal. The long time veteran Kuhi brought
the team home, earning a second place in the 70’s team division in 7:07.59.
Having run a Penn for many years, it was a first medal for both Kuhi and
Next up was the men’s age 50’s race, with the club having one team entry.
Leading off in a quick 400 was Greg Calhoun. Handing off in third place,
distance runner Chris Rinaldi cruised around the 400 oval battling some top
400 meter runners. New club members Paul Henry and Pat Keefe distinguished
themselves with two strong legs. The club landed a solid 6th place in
One other shore area team having a good day was in the women’s 4 x 400
40 and over relay. The Bella N Motion team out of Manasquan ran head
to head with the Central Park Track Club until anchor leg and team captain
Diane DeOliveira turned on the steam down the backstretch to win the event
in 4:44.35. Teammates Karen Carlton, Kim Nielson and Yulady Saluti stayed
with the leaders throughout the race.
On Saturday, April 30th, it was the special 100 meter dash for men 85 and
over. The club lone entry was Mr. Lester Wright Sr., who had turned 100
years old the day before his race. Running against seven other gentlemen
ages 82 to 85, Mr. Wright held his own, clocking a very respectable 26.34,
finishing to cheers of the entire stand of spectators. That time is now a
pending world record for the 100 and over division.
After a generally cold and windy April, the sun did come out with warmer
weather for most of the days of the Penn Relay events. But as most of the
teams runners agreed, good or bad weather, it was great to be back at
the relays after a two year absence.
On Sunday, May 1, 2022 Monmouth University honored Coach Joe's 24 years of dedication and success as their Director of Track & Field and Cross Country/Head Coach. The program was under his leadership from 1995 - 2019 and during that time Coach Joe was named NEC and MAAC Conference Coach of the Year 58 times and NCAA Regional Coach of the Year 8 times. Read his full resume of career highlights, which now sits on statue right outside the entrance into Monmouth University's Kessler Stadium. Congratulations to Coach Joe for the countless lives he has influenced and continues to do so!