Jack Karbens remembers a time when the Hawaii Masters Track Club events were listed in the "social" section of the Honolulu newspapers, not the sports section.
HAWAII MASTERS TRACK CLUB
» Open to men and women 30 and older
» $25 annual dues
» President: Jack Karbens, 735-6366
Some things haven’t changed for the HMTC, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The club is still big on camaraderie … and even bigger on competition.
While track and field seemingly takes a lap around the public consciousness only once every four years — on the Olympic stage — the club keeps the sport alive year-round with weekly practices and regular meets at Kaiser High School and by competing in other local, national and international meets.
"I grew up playing football, basketball and baseball," the 69-year-old HMTC president said. "I began teaching at (the University of Hawaii) and competed in intramurals."
Just as he was a multi-sport athlete growing up, Karbens gravitated to the multi-event decathlon. He is also ranked No. 2 nationally in his age group in the weight throw (20 pounds).
Former ‘Iolani soccer coach Bob Barry has returned to his track roots and is ranked No. 1 in the shot put and javelin in men’s 70-74.
» Tomorrow: Albritton Memorial, 2 p.m., UH
» Feb. 26-27: HMTC De-cathlon, 8 a.m., Kaiser High.
» March 6: HMTC Throws Pentathlon, 8 a.m., Kaiser High.
» March 19: Sunset Meet No. 4, 2 p.m., UH
» March 27: HMTC Pen-tathlon, 8 a.m., Kaiser High
» April 2: Rainbow Relays, 2 p.m., UH
» April 16: HMTC Run Pen-tathlon, 8 a.m., Kaiser High.
» May 7: Sunset Meet No. 5, 2 p.m., UH
"I can’t really compete in soccer anymore and this gave me a chance to be competitive again," said Barry, who threw the discus and javelin in high school. "I’ve always enjoyed watching track, enjoyed throwing when I was younger, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
"I got involved with the club and it’s a really nice group of people. I think there’s a lot of people here who would enjoy it if they came out."
The club is open to men and women, age 30 and older, for a $25 annual fee. No experience is necessary.
"We have people in the club who had never thrown before," Don Hardaway, 67, said. "We can show them the basics if anyone is interested in learning.
"I love the club, it’s a real loose-knit thing. You can always work out by yourself, but it’s good to have others working out with you, pushing you."
Hardaway, nationally ranked in the discus, is considering entering the World Masters Athletics Championships this July in Sacramento, Calif. His age-group best is 148 feet, set last year, with a 1.5-kilogram (3.31-pound) discus.
"What I like about this is it’s a good motivator," said Hardaway, who competed in track and played football at Texas-San Antonio. "It keeps me in shape and it gives me a good reason to come work out."
And get better. Although Hardaway said his personal bests are dropping with age, he’s still throwing well enough to earn All-America status based on the graduated scale used for age groups.
Barry is going to a throws camp this summer in Spokane, Wash., and to the USA Masters national meet in Cleveland.
"The competition is what drives me," Barry said. "I’m less than half a meter off All-American status (in discus) for my age group. I’m looking to improve at least that much."
Also coming up in May is the Golden Age Games sponsored by the Veterans Administration. The event will be held in Honolulu for the first time and Barry, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, is eligible to compete.
The club’s members share their expertise as well as their time. Hardaway works with the Kaiser High throwers and many of the members will be helping with officiating and timing when the University of Hawaii hosts the Western Athletic Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships on May 10-12 at Ching Field.
That Olympic gold medal decathlete Bryan Clay is from Hawaii is a source of pride.
"We competed with Bryan before he went to Azusa Pacific," Karbens said.