Thursday, December 10, 2015

Peter Newing, the dean of UW track & field officials, passes away...

The state of Washington lost a leader in the track & field community on December 6th with the passing of Peter Newing (left/photo courtesy Newing family), the Godfather of track & field officials in the area, and one of the driving forces behind the formation of the Pacific Northwest Track & Field Officials Association.

Newing, who was born in Walton-on-Thames, United Kingdom on August 28, 1924, spent his childhood in the UK and India, and served in the British Royal Navy during World War II, working on minesweepers in the Far East and North Sea.  

After marrying Hazel Gerrard in 1948 in Wales, they had three children—Geoffrey, Deborah & Andrew, before moving to the USA in 1959, settling first in Ontario, California, before moving to Renton three years later, where he worked as a senior service engineer in the aerospace industry.

In 1965, Newing began officiating track meets as a head timer at high school meets, as well as meets hosted by the University of Washington.  In 1973, he began officiating at the Washington state high school track & field championships, and several years later, helped form the Pacific Northwest Track & Field Officials Association.  He was also instrumental in starting up the Renton School District All-City meet for its high schools

It was while he and his family were involved with the Washington track & field program that I got to know him, beginning with my freshman year at the UW in 1978 when I was a student manager on the men’s track team, and when I ran on the cross country team.  Pete was one of the timers when Henry Rono of Washington State broke the world record in the 3000 meter steeplechase at Husky Stadium, running 8:05.4 at the Northwest Relays meet on May 13,1978.

After graduating from the UW, I always knew that if I were at a track or cross country meet in the area, there was a better than even chance that I’d run into Pete, especially near the finish line.

I’ll miss Pete’s love and devotion towards the Husky track & field and cross country programs, regardless of whether you were a stud All-American or the lowliest walk-on.  He and his family touched the lives in some way, of countless UW track & cross country athletes, as well as the coaches and support staff.

He’s survived by wife Hazel, three children—Geoff, Andy, and Deborah—all of whom are involved in the local track & field community, as well as three grandsons, and sister Rosemary Stevenson.

Pete’s life will be celebrated Saturday December 12th at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, 4228 Factoria Boulevard SE in Bellevue at 2pm.

Pete, you now have the best seats in the house to watch the Huskies indoors at the Dempsey and outdoors on the purple Husky Track!


The IAAF announced changes to the qualifying standards for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Thursday in 17 events.

According to the IAAF, their technical delegates proposed amendments, with the aim being to have more athletes make the standard, and get closer to the target number of total participants in the track & field portion of the Olympics.

The most immediate and notable change to the standards is in the marathon, where the men’s standard is now 2:19. and the women’s is at 2:45.  The current qualifying standards for the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles on February 13th is 2:18/2:43, a mark that is tougher than the IAAF standard.

The question of whether USA Track & Field will allow those runners who have times between 2:18 and 2:19 (2:43 and 2:45) during the quailfying period of August 1, 2013-January 17, 2016 into the Trials remains to be seen. has sent an email to USA Track & Field inquiring about this and are awaiting an official reply.  As discussed on, there is a provision in the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act that states that the standards for the Olympic Trials cannot be “…more restrictive than those of the appropriate international sports federation (in this case, the IAAF).”

The IAAF release and a link to the amended standards are available here.

UPDATE (9:15 am, December 11) :  USA Track & Field responded within the last hour on its web site by announcing that the entry standards for the US Olympic Team Trials-Marathon in Los Angeles on February 13th has been changed to reflect the IAAF standards. 

One beneficiary of the revised standard is Western Washington alum Bennett Grimes, who ran 2:18:47 during the qualifying period, according to a post on  Under the old standard, Grimes would have been out.

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