BELDING, MI – John Large came up huge at the USATF Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships last weekend.

The Belding High School pole vault coach won the 65 to 69-year-old age group in the event he coaches with a vault of 3.45 meters or 11 feet, 3 ¾ inches at the meet that was held in Landover, Md. from March 21-24. Large’s age group jumped on Sunday.

“It felt great,” said the 65-year-old Large. “I didn’t jump that well, but I jumped good enough to win. I just feel real fortunate to come back strong.”

Come back strong is exactly what Large has done.

The former Greenville High School pole vaulter gave up the sport for 41 years, but returned to the pit in 2007. Things were going well until last year at Cornerstone University, where Large landed head first into the standards and suffered a dislocated shoulder.

After three months of recovery time, Large got back on the pole and won three masters meets in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan leading into the national meet in Maryland.

“Actually, my head came out the worse in all of that,” Large said. “But I started to jump again after three months.”

Aside from a body that recovers from injury well, Large says that one of the main reasons he is vaulting so well is because he is also sprinting in some of the meets he competes in.

“I won the 55-meter (dash) at the indoor meet in Michigan,” Large said. “The speed has really helped me out with the pole vault.”

Large says even though he knows he can land wrong at any time, just like he did at Cornerstone, he still can’t stay away from a pole vault pit, both as a competitor and coach.

“There is risk in anything you do,” Large said. “You don’t stop driving if you get into a car accident, and I know there are a lot more people getting injured in car accidents than there are in the pole vault. I’m fairly good at this, and I can still do it, so I will.”


Large Vaulter Magazine
Large Vaulter Magazine

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