Santa Barbara’s Sue McDonald doubled her pleasure with two American records and a pair of titles at the USA Masters Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Spokane, Wash., last week.
McDonald started the national championships by winning the 800 meters in 2:27.00, a new record in the Women’s 55-59 age division. She held the previous best mark of 2:28.88, which she set at a meet on July 14. That mark eclipsed the record of 2:30.53, which had stood since 1996.
On the second day of the meet, she beat the 23-year-old age-group record in the 400, clocking a winning time of 1:04.37. The previous best was 1:05.29.
If that wasn’t enough, making the record-setting performances more impressive is the fact McDonald accomplished them about 10 weeks after completing the Boston Marathon.
She credits her new coach, Tom Hinz, for raising the level of her performance on the track.
“I started working with him in April of this year,” she said. “He has his own track team called T.H.E. Track Club, which stands for Tom Hinz Elite. He is based out of Atlanta and I found out about him when I congratulated his wife (Lesley), whom he also coaches, on her two world indoor records accomplished in the mile and 800 at the 2018 USA Indoor National Championships.
“I am super excited about my rebirth on the track,” the former Cal State Northridge standout added. “I had not run an 800 for 10 years on the track. So, to run faster than I did back then is thrilling.”
Her 800 and 400 times rank her second in the world in the 55-59 age group.
“My goal at Nationals was to lower my American record in the 800 and set a new American record in the 400 and win gold in both events, and thankfully I was able to do so,” she said. “This was my first-ever USA Masters Outdoor Track and Field Championships. I had competed in the 2013 USA Indoor Masters National Championships in the high jump (finished in 2nd place), so these are my first two golds in National Championships of any kind for masters track and field.”
McDonald is an all-around track & field athlete. She was an All-American high jumper in college and later took up the pole vault. She recently was inducted into the L.A. Valley College Athletic Hall of Fame.
She has excelled as a masters athlete. She earned a silver medal in the Women’s 50 high jump at the 2015 Master World Athletics Championship in Lyon, France.