All Comers begin run

Track meet starts 20th year

ATASCADERO — The 20th season of the Atascadero All Comers track and field meets kicked off Wednesday at Memorial Stadium and will continue every Wednesday night in July, excluding the Fourth of July, with the last one taking place on Aug. 1.

All Comers quite literally means all that come can participate. This week there were athletes competing as young as 3 years old and all the way up to one gentleman participating in the pole vault at the age of 76.

These meets began 20 years ago under the watch of USA National Track coach Harry Marry and local youth track coach Dina Coppo. Over the years, Atascadero’s summer venue has been home to some of the world’s greatest athletes, including reigning Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton, who used to workout at these meets several years ago.

Some people come for the speed while others come for the cute, the funny, and the inspiring, but everyone has their personal favorite event.

“The 6-and-under hurdles is my favorite event,” former Atascadero athletic director Don Clickard said. “I don’t have any video but I’ll tell you why. They have six little guys on the line and they take off running, one little guys gets way out in front of everybody, and he is cooking. He gets to the last hurdle and he knocks it over, stops, turns around and sets it up again and finishes last. It is the sweetest thing because you just know that his mom told him, ‘If you knock something over you better pick it up.’”

Just a few paces back from the track where the kids were racing over the hurdles was the pole vault pit and one of the meets most seasoned competitors, Nels Severson who is 76. Severson holds a couple records at the All Comers meets in the Master's men 70-plus division and is back for more this year.

“I have been coming here off and on for five or six years,” Severson said. “And this is just a great opportunity for anybody that feels they still have something to prove to themselves, or their wife or their girlfriend or whatever.”

The meet breaks down the competition into age groups. There are men and women's events for 6-and-under, ages 7-9, ages 10-12, high school, open division, masters division and a 70-plus division.


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