Six years ago Larry Colbert's back was seriously injured when a racehorse fell on him. An assistant trainer at Bowie Race Course at the time, Colbert was facing surgery to have a disk removed when it was suggested he try jogging to strengthen his back muscles.

It was perfect therapy. He became stronger and has been running daily ever since. Colbert, 41, is now one of the top master (age 40-49) sprinters in the world.

Before competing on the opening day of the Potomac Valley AAU track and field championships yesterday at Bynd Stadium, Colbert insisted his best days of running are ahead of him.

"I think I've got a good shot at the world (masters) record in the 100 meters (10.3) and the 400 (49.5)," he said.

"I've done 11.0 and 51.6, I've been training pretty hard. As long as I constantly run and move about I don't have to worry about any operation."

Ranked third in the world in the 400 meters, Colbert, now a lab technician, also was looking forward to competing against his nemesis and defending national 200, 400, and 800-meters masters champion, Ray Adams.

Adams, a poor starter was beaten out of the blocks but passed Colbert at the 80-meter mark to win the 100-meter dash in 11.5.

"It's like a blood vessel bursting when we run," said Adams. "I was going to race him in the 400 but I don't want to hurt. I'll wait and run Larry (today) in the 200."

Colbert, who runs for Club Olympia, had nothing but pursuers in the 400-meter final, cruising to victory in 52.1.

In the open men's division (age 20-30), Delano Meriweather, running for D.C. International, won the 100 meters in 10.2. The running doctor also led off the victorious 400-meter relay team that included Ronny Ray, Dennis Walker and Maurice Peoples. They were timed in 41."

Peoples opened up a sizable lead at the three-quarter mark of the 400-meter dash final winning in 46.3

The meet concludes today.