Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Recap of GSTC Quarantine Games--5K Time Trial

October 17, 2020. My September 27th post recapped the kickoff event of Garden State's Quarantine Games (QT)  event, the 8K. Today is the turn for the 5K. Participating teams in Masters categories included Atlanta TC, Boulder TC, Cal Coast TC, out of So Cal, Garden State TC,out of NJ, and West Valley TC, out of the SF Bay Area. Teams that indicated an interest in participating in some of the events but did not field a team for the 5K includes the Bowerman TC, out of Oregon, and the Genesee Valley Harriers, out of upstate NY. Atlanta fielded an incomplete M40's team this week but did not participate otherwise. Between October 7th and 14th, the races were held on each club's home track, as a group when possible. After all, this is just as much about the camaraderie of running as it about providing motivation for training!

W40 Once again, GSTC fielded the only Women's 40 and up team. Elena Rozhko clocked the top time of 18:25, and Jen Martin and Heather McDermott following in 19:36 and 20:16 respectively. Boulder TC had two entries; Allison Steele split Rozhko and Martin with a 19:02 while her teammate, Natalia Barrionuevo clocked 21:20. They would have been a tough team to beat anyway; with no opposition, they emerge victorious. That gives them two unopposed wins in two tries, the 8K and the 5K.

INDIVIDUAL: Elena Rozhko 18:25   Jen Martin 19:36   Heather McDermott 20:16

TEAM: Garden State Track Club 6 pts. 58:17/3 = average = 19:26 per runner

M40 Boulder, Garden State and West Valley contested for the top spot. Atlanta and Cal Coast had incomplete teams with 3 and 2 entrants respectively. The race for the individual podium figured to involve Peter Gilmore, Duncan Nysasinga, and Clint Wells. Wells had the more distinguished career as an Open athlete, running for the USA at 3 World Cross Country Championships and finishing 5th at the 2000 Olympic Trials in the 3000 meter steeplechase. In 2006 he won the Denver Marathon and in 2015 won the USATF Masters National Marathon Championship at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in 2:24:00! In 2018, Wells finished 20th overall and 2nd Masters behind Kevin Castille (who accepted a 2019 USADA anti-doping sanction), clocking a sizzling 1:06:50 Half Marathon at grandma's Marathon in Duluth. 

Nysasinga has Marathon chops as well. He has steadily cut down his New York City Marathon time as he moved from Open to Masters status. It was 2:57:29 in 2017; Nysasinga dropped his pace by 28 seconds per mile over the next year, clocking 2:45:22. Remarkably he enjoyed another 27 second pace improvement over the next year, lowering his time to 2:33:27! He took the 8K title in the first Quarantine Games event with a blazing 25:41, leaving both Jacques Sallberg and Clint Wells over half a minute back. 

Gilmore, by contrast, has enjoyed his greatest recent success in Cross Country, finishing 2nd overall in 33:00 at the highly competitive Masters 10K race at USATF's 2019 National Club Cross Country Championship! Not that Gilmore is a slouch at other disciplines; he posted a 20:54 at the Los Gatos Rotary 4-Miler in 2019. And if we go back to 2004, when Gilmore was 27, he clocked 2:15:43 in the Olympic Marathon Trials, finishing 9th! No stranger to virtual events this year, he clocked a 15:50 in the Run Free (Virtual) 5K in April. 

The QG story was not much different this time with the 5K. Sallberg was not entered; the threesome of Gilmore, Nysasinga, and Wells opened a gap on the rest of the field. As before though, Nysasinga had a gear the others could not match as he pulled away to take the win in 15:11, with Gilmore 24 seconds back in 2nd and Wells another 26 seconds back in 3rd. 

Peter Gilmore gapping the field midrace at the West Valley 5K Time Trials for the 2020 (Virtual) Quarantine Games [Photo courtesy of Jack Youngren, WVTC Coach]

 

That set the individual podium, but with one runner in from each of the top 3 clubs, Boulder, Garden State, and West Valley, the team race was just heating up. In fact, the #2 runners for each of those teams were locked in combat as they approached the finish line. West Valley's Mark Yuen had just a little more in the tank as he edged Garden State's Kevin Shirk, 16:13 to 16:15. Boulder's Chris Grauch lacked a few strides to stay with those two, but made sure he had 6th as he finished strong in 16:18. That left Garden State and West Valley tied with 6 and Boulder just behind with 9. Right after Grauch crossed the line, everyone looked to see what the next cheering was for as 4 more athletes approached the finish line, sprinting for all they were worth. Three of the runners wore West Valley singlets and the other wore the Boulder colors. West Valley's Todd Rose sprinted across the line in 16:26, edging Boulder's Aaron Kleinman by a single second, with Rose's teammate, Konrad Knutsen crossing in 16:28. Neville Davey, who was closing strongly on the others, ran out of turf and was happy to be West Valley's 5th scoring runner in 10th. That gave West Valley the win at 32! Boulder had three runners in and 17 points. Garden State could have as low a score as 17 points with three runners if their #3 finished next. In fact that's what happened. Not only did Garden State's Dave Ferrugia clock 16:37 for 11th, giving GSTC the 17 points on three runners to move back in front of Boulder, he led an avalanche of Garden State runners. Shawn Williams, Elliott Frieder, Jason Timochko and Marco Cardoso took the next 4 spots in 16:48, 16:49, 16:58, and 17:00 respectively. That locked up 2nd for GSTC as they had 42 points from their top 5 runners. Flavio DeSimone and Charles Wilbur finished things off for Boulder in 17:43 and 18:52, giving Boulder third place with a final total of 55 points. Brent Fields, Kevin Gibson, and Fred Dolan competed for the incomplete Atlanta team, clocking 17:11, 17:37, and 18:47. Cal Coast's Trevor Cox and Gene Inserto stopped the clock at 17:57 and 18:32.

John Markell, a 16:30 5K guy in 2018, and unofficial Captain of WVTC, running himself back to fitness after knee surgery [Photo courtesy of Jack Youngren, WVTC Coach]


INDIVIDUAL: Duncan Nysasinga 15:11   Peter Gilmore 15:35   Clint Wells 16:01

TEAM:  

West Valley Track Club 32 pts. 1:21:12/5 = average = 16:14.4 per runner

Garden State Track Club 42 pts. 1:21:40/5 = average = 16:20.0 per runner

Boulder Track Club 55 pts. 1:25:21/5 = average = 17:04.2 per runner

M50 In the 50's contest it was again West Valley vs. Garden State, as Cal Coast entered 4 of the 5 runners needed for a complete team. The top 5 in this battle were West Valley's  Ivan Lieben, Mark Callon, and Chuck Mullane, and the Garden State duo, Todd Wiley and Mark Zamek. With Cal Coast missing their 5th runner, this was now a dual meet. So not only was the individual contest on the line, but potentially the Team contest as well. If West Valley could bring their top 3 in together, it's all over. All their next two athletes have to do is cross the line. Lieben celebrated his last year int he 45-49 division with a 2:50:38 Boston Marathon in April 2019. A mainstay of West Valley's 40's XC teams in recent years, he turned 50 and finished 4th in the ultra-competitive Club XC 50-54 division last December at Lehigh. His running buddy, Mullane, who aged up in the same year, finished about a minute back. Both Lieben and Mullane ran on the victorious West Valley M40 team that took the crown at San Diego in the USATF 5 Km Masters XC Championships, running 16:58 and 17:37. Callon seems to be a new addition to the team but he brought in plenty of 'street cred' as a Masters runner. He ran 1:14:39 at the San Jose RnR HM and a 16:31 5K at the Morgan Hill Freedom Fest. Just to show his versatility, he took the M50 title at the 2019 One Mile Bang in 4:48 and finished 4th in M50 at the legendary Dipsea Race in Mill Valley. But Wiley and Zamek have 'cred' to match.  Although they did not quite keep pace with Lieben at Lehigh, they both came in between Lieben and Mullane. Wiley's best 5K in 2019 was a 17:06, but he broke 17 at least twice in 2018. Zamek's best 2019 5K was a 17:05 at the National Masters Championships in Atlanta, which included a long, hard uphill in the last mile. He added the M55 National Road Mile Championship at the Crim in Flint Michigan with a 4:55! It would have been so much fun to see this race unfold in person! 

Chase Pack in 5K TT, trying to close the gap up to Peter Gilmore and Jaime Heilpern. L to R: Mark Yuen, Ben Callon (HS senior, son of Mark), Ivan Lieben, Mark Callon, and Ryan Somerfield (Open Team) [Photo courtesy of Jack Youngren, WVTC Coach]

 

As it turned out, Lieben and Callon had no trouble going 1-2 in 16:24 and 16:40. But 20 seconds later the other three were approaching the virtual finish line in a bunch, although Wiley and Mullane were slightly ahead of Zamek, In the end, Mullane got the 17:01 he needed to edge Wiley by a single second, and Zamek by 6 seconds. 

Chuck Mullane on his way to the 17:01 5K he needed to clinch the M50 win for West Valley in the 2020 (virtual) Quarantine Games 5K Time Trial [Photo courtesy of Jack Youngren, WVTC Coach]

And that was it! Not only did that give West Valley the entire podium it gave them the team win as well, assuming their other two guys finished the race. Of course, no one knew that at the time. West Valley's 4th runner, Ed Randolph, was in a battle with Cal Coast's Rob Arsenault. Randolph gave West Valley their 4th finisher as he prevailed in 17:20 to Arsenault's 17:28. Garden state's 3rd, 4th and 5th runners came in next, clocking 17:45, 17:53, and 19:02! They finished ahead of West Valley's 5th runner but it did not matter. When Matt Des Jardins crossed the line in 20:55, a big cheer went up from the West Valley contingent as they had their 5 finishers and the team win. Dan Arsenault, Dennis Ryan, and Kevin Kong closed out the scoring for Cal Coast in 21:07, 21:28, and 21:58.

INDIVIDUAL: Ivan Lieben 16:24   Mark Callon 16:40   Chuck Mullane 17:01

TEAM:  

West Valley State 22 pts. 1:28:20/5 = average = 17:40 per runner

Garden State Track Club 33 pts. 1:28:49 = average = 17:45.8 per runner 

Socially Distanced West Valley TC Runners after their 5K Time Trials, with Jaime Heilpern of the Aggies (5th standing from Left). L to R: Ivan Lieben, Chuck Mullane, Mark Callon, Peter Gilmore, Travis Price, (kneeling), Heilpern, Mark Yuen, John Markell [Photo courtesy of Jack Youngren, WVTC Coach]

 

M60 Once again Cal Coast scared off all potential contenders and had the field to themselves. Garden State's Mike Salamone and Gus Stanzione showed up to make the Individual race more interesting but they did not have a complete team.  Like the race in the M50's, the race between Salamone and Cal Coast's Mark Core would have been fun to see in real time.  Core has been a pretty reliable sub-19 5K for the last few years. Of course in the middle of a pandemic, with limited racing, it can be hard to maintain sharpness. In Core's case we can just look back to the QG 8K; Core took M60 honors with a 32:22. That is age grade equivalent to a 19:55 5K, suggesting that Core is either hampered by a nagging injury or has lost some sharpness. Salamone ran his 5K's in 2018 in the 19:30 to 20:30 range. After months of no races, Salamone took the 60+ honors at the 'Running is Back 5K series' with a 19:41. Sounds like he'd be ready for a race with Core!

They would likely have been locked together heading into the final hundred meters. Who would get the a win? Virtually it was Core, by a single second, 18:56 to 18:57! When will they get a chance to go toe to toe in reality? Let's hope we get a real, live, in-person Masters race where West and East can meet on the turf, the track or the road in 2021! After Salamone crossed the finish line, Brian Nelson, Bill Amor, and John Araujo took the next 3 spots for Cal Coast in 19:40, 20:32, and 20:48. Nelson has been  stalwart for the Cal Coast M60 team for the last few years. He led Cal Coast's M60 team onto the M60 podium at the 2018 Masters 8 Km National Championships and the 5 Km Masters XC Championships, and ran 18:47 on a challenging 5K course at the National Masters Championships in Atlanta. Talk about a stacked field, wow! Roger Sayre led the way that day in 17:29, followed in close order by Joe Sheeran, Rick Becker, Tom McCormack, and Ken Youngers, 5 Masters Hall of Fame runners for sure! The podium for this virtual QG 5K included Core, Salamonie and Nelson, with Amor just off in 4th!

And what about Amor? Not so long ago he was overweight by his own account and wondering if running would help him get his weight down. Not only did he get his weight down, he rediscovered his love of running. His first 5K effort in summer of 2017, he did not crack 30 minutes. By the fall he was down to the mid-20's. By 2018, he had his first sub-22 5K. By 2019 he was able to break 21 minutes and he joined Cal Coast. He competed for the 'B' M60 team at the 5 Km Masters Championships in San Diego; by Club XC time, he was competing for the 'A' squad. He has been working with Jacques Sallberg as his Coach for a couple of months now and is looking to crack 20:00 in a road 5K. 

As recently as 2018, Araujo was breaking 20 minutes in a 5K but his recent 5K times have been slower. Perhaps he was injured? In any case, his most recent live races include a 32:23 at the 2020 Brea 8K, which is age grade equivalent to a 19:55 5K and a 3:12:08 at the L.A. Marathon in March 2020. At that point, he was ready to roll. But  after 6 months of covid restrictions, Amor was able to roll just a little bit faster. A little intramural competition like that helps the team! Stanzione came next in 21:09, followed by Tom Albright, Paul Cook, and 'Coach' Bill Sumner, stepping down from his 70's division, in 21:25, 22:23, and 23:54. Sumner is one of the top coaches in the country, having coached so many individual and team champions that it is hard to keep track! As long as he can keep pushing the cookie tray away, he'll continue to battle at the front of the M70 group on the turf and on the roads!

INDIVIDUAL: Mark Core 18:56   Mike Salamone 18:57   Brian Nelson 19:40

TEAM:

Cal Coast Track Club 6 pts.   1:41:21/5 = average = 20:16.2 per runner

 **************************************************************

AGE GRADING Back by popular request, let us look at age-grading to figure out which of these impressive times was the most impressive for the runner's age. Source: Grubb Calculator-Track factors, not road, approved by WMA and USATF.

MEN's PODIUM: Mark Zamek 57 17:07 89.29%   Mark Yuen 49 16:13 88.28%   Duncan Nyasinga 40 15:11 87.93%

Nyasinga edged Ivan Lieben by only two hundredths of a percent! His 16:24 at age 50 warranted an 87.91%. Lieben was followed by Mark Callon 87.30%, Peter Gilmore 86.95%, and Clint Wells 86.58%.

WOMEN: Elena Rozhko dominated the Women's contest; her 18:25 at age 47 merited an 87.42%.

************************************************************

That wraps up this recap. West Valley took the M40+ and M50+ team contests while Garden State took the Women's 40+ and Cal Coast the M60+ race. Next up on the QG schedule is the 10K Relay (2 x 2 x 2.5K). I hope they get more teams to run this relay than was the case for the 5 x 4K relay a couple of weeks ago. The following week it will be the 3K time trial. And let's hope at least one additional W40 and M60 team can show up to contest those divisions. Perhaps the QG organizers should allow as few as three runners to form a complete M60 team, as is the practice in USATF National Championships? It does not appear Cal Coast has a problem getting 5-6 of their team to compete, but it can be lonely at the top. In my write-up I assumed that the three runners from GSTC in Women's 40+ constituted a complete team.

[Thanks to Jack Youngren for sending photos of West Valley in action. I am happy to use photos from any team that sends them to me.]



Sunday, September 27, 2020

Recap of GSTC Quarantine Games-Race # 1--8K Time Trials

 September 25, 2020. The first event of the Quarantine Games hosted by the Garden State Track Club was an 8K Time Trial. twelve teams have indicated an interest in participating in the series. Five Clubs entered at least one team in the 8K Time Trial. It was to be run in a Wednesday to Wednesday window; that will be the norm for the time trials. They are hoping to run the relays on the same day. If they can also coordinate a time, GSTC is interested in coordinating real time, simultaneous, 'play-by-play' commentary from each site via Zoom. That may be a bridge too far, but it's fun to think about the possibility.

As far as Masters teams were concerned, the first 8K involved the Boulder Track Club, the Cal Coast Track Club, the Garden State Track Club, and the West Valley Track Club. Cross country-style scoring by place determines final team scores.

RECAPS

I will focus on Masters, even though an Open competition was held as well.  Let's do the M60 competition first as there was only one team entry.

M60 The Cal Coast Track Club entered the only team in this division. Garden State's Gus Stanzione joined in as an individual, but he was the only non-Cal Coast entry. Hence they win by default. Here's how they finished. Ray Knerr gave this one a miss, but Mark Core led the rest of the Cal Coast crew as expected. This might have been a bit of  'rust-buster' for Core; he ran 18:24 in a 5K last November. Nonetheless, his 32:22 beat the field by a minute. Brian Nelson, a mainstay for the M60 team for the last few years, clocked 19:14 in the 5K National Championship and 1:01:54  in the 15K in Tulsa. He pulled through in 33:25 to take 2nd place. He distanced Garden State's Stanzione by 24 seconds, but Stanzione makes the individual podium! Keith Witthauer came 4th--pretty impressive for a guy has been dealing with cancer off and on for a few years now. Four years go he cracked 31 at Brea, CA to finish 6th in the National Masters Championship. At Club Cross in Lexington KY in December 2018, his teammate, John Howell, noted that Witthauer was still a tough warrior, running well for the Team whenever he was not in the midst radiation or chemo. Perhaps he has come out the other side? I hope so. In any case, he takes 4th with a 35:30. Not far behind was a tight pack of four, Tom Albright, Paul Cook, John Araujo, and Perry Forrester, with times 36:06, 36:29, 37:10 and 37:11 as Araujo just held on to edge Forrester by a single second. He gets bragging rights for a while on that one! As far  as team score goes, they are using XC style scoring over the first 5 runners. With no other teams in the race, Stanzione is dropped from the team results and Cal Coast gets a perfect 15. Let's hope that Stanzione can get some help from some Garden State teammates or another club or clubs can put teams in. Cal Coast is a strong team but should they coast to a win? Contact gardenstatetrackclub@gmail.com if you want to discuss a possible entry.

TEAM    Cal Coast Track Club 15

INDIVIDUAL    Mark Core  32:22   Brian Nelson 33:25   Gus Stanzione 33:49

 W40 If three athletes are sufficient for Women's teams, then Garden State had a complete team. They were joined by Alison Steele of Boulder Track Club who competed as an Individual. She pulled away from Garden State's Elena Rozhko in the last kilometer to claim the Individual win with a sterling time of 30:53. Rozhko was 2nd in 31:11, followed by her teammates, Jen Martin, in 31:43, and Heather McDermott in 33:40. With Steele removed from the team scoring, Garden State enjoys the win unopposed, with 6 points.

INDIVIDUAL   Alison Steele 30:53   Elena Rozhko 31:11   Jen Martin 31:43

TEAM   Garden State Track Club 6

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All of the 8K's were run on the track, so let us re-imagine the rest of this virtual event as if all the M40 and M50 teams were at the same track at the same time, as in pre-covid days. 

M40

The Officials decided not to run all 31 runners at the same time; there were 2 heats. The four complete teams put three athletes each into the seeded heat. The individual podium is expected to come from that heat. The remaining 19 athletes comprised heat #1. The team race depended on both heats combined by time; runners from the second heat with a faster time were placed ahead of any slower runners in the seeded heat.

First up is Heat #2. There were two surprise names in the unseeded heat: West Valley's Peter Gilmore and Cal Coast's Roosevelt Cook. Gilmore finished 2nd overall at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships and Cook finished 6th. Was that a sign of how strong the West Valley and Cal Coast teams are, or just a sign that Gilmore and Cook are not at peak fitness? Soon the gun went off  and the race was under way. Although the runners were spread out in a file, they were together for the first couple of kilometers. Eventually a group of five pushed the pace and separated themselves from the rest. West Valley had three runners in the lead group, Eric Aldrich, Gilmore, and Ben Koss. They were joined by two Garden State athletes, Elliott Frieder and Kevin Shirk. In the latter part of the race, Shirk was able to move to the front, apply pressure and gain separation. He pulled away to take the unseeded heat in 26:59, followed 15 seconds later by Gilmore, with Koss, E. Frieder and Aldrich following in 27:34, 27:46, and 27:56. With the top two from Garden State in 1st and 4th, and the top two from West Valley finishing 2nd and 3rd in this heat, it was shaping up as a tight race for the team win. Boulder's Flavio DeSimone came 6th in 28:18. That gave Boulder the edge over Cal Coast with their first two runners coming in 6th and 10th as Cal Coast's finished 11th and 12th in this heat. The overall finishing position of runners from this heat in the overall contest would not be known until their times are combined with those from the seeded heat.

Ten minutes after the unseeded heat finished, the following lined up for the start of the seeded heat: Boulder Track Club Aaron Kleinman, Jeff Schuler, and Clint Wells; Cal Coast Track Club Paul Cook, John Gardiner, and Jacques Sallberg; Garden State Track Club Dave Ferrugia, Jonathan Frieder, and Duncan Nyasinga; and West Valley Track Club Peter Gilmore, Ben Koss, and Todd Rose. With Nyasinga, Sallberg, and Wells applying pressure up front after 3 kilometers, a gap started to appear as Schuler, Kleinman and Gardiner started to fall back. All three knew that they had to stay as close as possible, off day or not. Right at 6 kilometers, Nyasinga made a move no one could answer as he pulled out to a lead, with Sallberg and Wells leading the chase pack; it trailed out to single file but held together. By the time he crossed the finish line in a smashing 25:41, Nyasinga had a 200 meter lead on the field. Sallberg pulled away to claim 2nd in 26:20, with Wells third in 26:34. Yacoub was nine seconds back in fourth. Fifth through 9th was determined in the final 200 meters as Knutsen edged his teammate, Davey by a single second, for 5th in 26:53. J. Frieder was 3 seconds back, with his teammate, Ferrugia another 2 seconds back in 8th, followed by Rose who took 9th in 27:06. Schuler, Kleinman, and Gardiner finished in 10th, 11th and 12th. Everyone knew the individual podium at that point, Nyasinga, Sallberg, and Wells. 

INDIVIDUAL Duncan Nyasinga 25:41   Jacques Sallberg 26:20   Clint Wells 26:34

But which team won? It looked to be very close. Garden State picked up the win and its single point, but West Valley put two of their three ahead of Garden State's second two runners. Cal Coast had two of the top 4 finishers. Would that be enough to move them ahead of Boulder? Everyone would have to wait for the official tally.

TEAM

Garden State Nyasinga-1 J. Frieder-7 Ferrugia-8 Shirk-9 E. Frieder-13  38

West Valley Track Club Knutsen-5 Davey-6 Rose-10 Gilmore-11 Koss-12   44

Cal Coast Track Club Sallberg-2 Yacoub-4 Gardiner-19 Cook-23 Cox-24   72

Boulder Track Club Wells-3 Schuler-15 Kleinman-16 DeSimone-17 Cowan-22   73

Nyasinga had a dominant individual win, with Sallberg and Wells sharing the podium in 2nd and 3rd. Garden State celebrated their first M40 team win in their QG series. West Valley was only 6 points back. A few seconds here, a few seconds there, and things might have been different. And Cal Coast just edged Boulder by a single point-close! This should provide motivation for the 2nd contest taking place over this weekend, the 5 x 4K Relay. Check in next week for the recap of that one!

M50

Five teams entered athletes but there were only 3 complete teams. With 23 athletes expected to toe the starting line, the officials decided to run it as a single large heat. The top three runners from the complete teams, Cal Coast Christian Cushing-Murray, Rob Arsenault, Mark Steyvers; Garden State Todd Wiley, Mark Zamek, John Hogan; and  West Valley Mark Callon, Ed Randolph, Ivan Lieben joined by Jaime Heilpern of the Aggies. Last December, at age 49, Heilpern finished 10th overall at Club Cross. The remaining team members lined up right behind in the 2nd row: Cal Coast Greg Hemphill, Kevin Kong, Dennis Ryan; Garden State Wes Cole, Dave Lacouter, Eric Davis, Steven Segaloff; West Valley Matty Des Jardins, Chuck Mullane, Dave White; and Aggies Roger Dix, Jeff Hongo. They were joined by a lone entrant from Boulder: Charles Wilbur.

When the gun sounded, the 23 runners started off their marks. Once they got well into the race, a lead group emerged consisting of Callon, Cushing-Murray, Heilpern, Randolph, and Wiley. There was a small gap back to a 3-man chase group of Lieben, Mullane and Zamek, with a 50 meter gap to a quartet of runners, Arsenault, Hogan, Segaloff and White. Stevers and Wilbur came next, rounding out the front of the field. When it was time to go, Heilpern made a decisive move, putting 200 meters on the field in the space of a couple of laps. He poured in on from there to clock 25:59 as he crossed the line; he was more than a minute ahead of the field. When Heilpern made his initial move, that broke up the rest of the lead pack. Wiley accelerated to try to stay with Heilpern, could not do it, but found himself with a gap back to Callon, Cushing-Murray and Randolph. Wiley held the gap all the way to the finish, taking 2nd in 27:19. Callon moved away from Cushing-Murray before the last lap, not wanting to give any hope to the former sub-4 minute miler and 2016 Carlsbad 5000 Masters winner. Callon claimed third, 10 seconds ahead of Cushing-Murray, who had 14 seconds on Randolph.

Heilpern had a great win, but the Aggies did not have a complete team. As with the M40 race, the Individual podium was known, Heilpern, Wiley, and Callon, but the team results were still in play. The USATF scoring rules remove any runners from incomplete teams before totaling the points for complete teams. It does not appear that Garden State applied that rule consistently, although it had no effect on the order of finish. Removing Heilpern, his two teammates, and Wilbur from the team scoring yields the following. Garden State had a Team Competition 1st, but West Valley had 2nd and 4th, while Cal Coast had 3rd. Zamek gave it all he had to hold off West Valley's Lieben and Mullane, as Zamek clocked 28:26 for 5th to their 28:28 and 28:29. Despite Zamek's heroics, West Valley had 4 runners in to 2 for Garden State and one for Cal Coast. It was all but over. Arsenault gave Cal Coast their 2nd scoring runner as came across in 28:53 to take 8th place. When White took 9th for West Valley ten seconds later, that clinched the win for West Valley. They had 5 runners in and 28 points. Garden State and Cal Coast were left to duke it out for 2nd and 3rd. Cal Coast had 3rd and 8th for 11 points so far while Garden State had 1st and 5th for 7 points. Hogan and Segaloff claimed 10th and 11th for Garden State in 29:19 and 29:24, and things were looking good for Garden State. With only one Cal Coast runner, Steyvers, out on the track ahead of their next two runners, Davis and Cole, Garden State knew they had the team 2nd place wrapped up. Their final total was 40 points. Hemphill came in 15th after Cole crossed the line, followed by Lacouture, Des Jardins, Hongo, and Dix. and then Kong closed it off for Cal Coast with a 18th place finish. Hongo and Dix did not count in the team scoring. Cal Coast had the bronze medal position on their 56 points. 

West Valley Track Club 28   Garden State Track Club 40   Cal Coast Track Club 56

Age-Grading How impressive were the performances? One way to gauge is to note the Age Grade percentages or what I call the Open Equivalent Time [the time an Open athlete would need to record to achieve the same age grade percentage]. Without knowing ages, it is tough to gauge. I can find or figure out a few ages, and can use the Track Calculator.  

Jaime Heilpern, who  won the M50 event, just turned 50. His 25:59 grades at 91.47%, or an Open Equivalent of 22:44! Jacques Sallberg, who finished 2nd in the M40 event at age 45, ran 26:20; that grades to 86.71%, an Open Equivalent of 23:58. Matt Yacoub's 26:43, if he is 46, grades to 86.15%, an Open Equivalent of 24:07. The Frieder twins, Elliott and Jonathan, are both 49. Jonathan's 26:57 grades to an 87.45% with an Open equivalent of 23:46. Elliott's 27:46 grades to an 84.87, with an Open Equivalent of 24:29. Duncan Nyasinga, who won the M40 competition, just turned 40. His 25:41 grades at 85.59, with an Open Equivalent of 24:16. Todd Wiley who finished 2nd in M50 in 27:19, is 50 and grades at 87.0% with an Open Equivalent of 23:54. Mark Callon appears to be 51. If so, his 27:40 grades at 86.57% with an Open Equivalent of 24:00. I am not sure if Christian Cushing-Murray is 52 or 53; I am guessing he is still 52. If so, his 27:50 would age grade at 86.77% or an Open Equivalent of 23:57. Mark Zamek, 56, ran 28:26 which ge grades at 87.81%, with an Open Equivalent time of 23:40.

That is it! It was a thrilling competition and we are just at the first event! Next up is the 5 x 4K Relay, under way already, with the competition window open from Wednesday September 23rd through Wednesday, September 30th. Check back in a week for the Relay recap.

Pictures of Garden State Track Club and West Valley Track Club QG 8K Participants

West Valley Track Club





Pictures posted on Strava by Charles Mullane under the title Pandemic 8K with the WV Crew!.

 

 

 

Garden State Track Club

Eric Davis
Dave Ferrugia 
Jonathan Frieder
Steven Segaloff

Marco Cardoso


Jarrett DeWelde


Elliott Frieder


John Hogan

Martin, McDermott, Rozhko and Friends

Duncan Nyasinga


 



 


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

My First Real, Live, In-person Race since early March-Zionsille Half Marathon and 5K--Recap

September 23, 2020. A few weeks ago, Jackie, my wife, and I signed up for our first, real live, in-person race. For me it was the first since I ran at Gate River in early March. That race has thousands of runners and World Class Open runners as well as some very fast Masters athletes. This race, a 5K, by contrast, was in a suburb of Indianapolis called Zionsville, on Sunday, September 20th, and was capped at 200. That's the Corona Virus effect. Health authorities are allowing outside gatherings of up to 200 folks. And, of course, it must observe social distancing, masking, and sanitizing guidelines. The main race, the Half Marathon had the same cap. Half Marathoners started a half hour before the 5K runners. I chose the 5K because I was doubtful my mileage over the summer had been consistent enough to run a good HM this early in the fall. Maybe in a month or two I'll give a Half a try if any of the scheduled Half Marathons in this area are live rather than virtual.

After running nothing but solo time trials and one Virtual 5K since March, it was time for a 'rust-buster'! And there was plenty of rust to bust--My Virtual 5K time for the JMF 5K was 24:08. Although, unlike many other virtual race times I have heard about, I chose a course that was record eligible. It had less than 50% separation of the start from the finish and had less than a 0.1% drop...5 meters in 5 kilometers. The Virtual Brooklyn Mile allowed a 1% drop, 16+ meters in a single mile! Many others had no restrictions on the course virtual runners could use. I entered this race mostly to find out where I am in my training, and for the fun of running a road race with other folks running on the same course!

The race is put on by run2race.com, Mike Cole's organization. Mike, a well-known Masters runner around Indianapolis, does not often compete nationally. The exception was the 2019 USATF Masters 8K Championship in Virginia Beach, where he finished 2nd Overall, behind David Angell. Mike is defintely giving bck to the sport in which he has excelled! We were urged to pick up bib and pins the day before the race, so on Saturday I drove out to Zionsville, donned my mask, reported to Greek's Pizzeria, went in through the front door, found my way along a socially distanced corridor, and entered a back room where there were 200 bags on tables with names on them. Runners picked up their bag, glanced inside to check for a bib and pins, and then exited through a back door. We were reminded that the start time for the Half Marathon was a ten minute window from 7:30 am to 7:40 and for the 5K, 8:00-8:10 AM Sunday morning. ll awards would be based on chip time, not gun time.


First Real Race Bib Number in 6 months! Photo Credit-Me

Sunday was the familiar pre-race routine. Up at 6:15 am-grab a quick bite, do some easy stretches. I have been pretty religious about doing these stretches every day at home before I go out to run. They focus on hamstring, adductors, and lower back. Into the car and a 20 minute drive to the race. I did an easy warm-up jog of about a mile, a few drills, made the usual porta-potty stop, except this time there was a social distanced line-up, and copious amounts of sanitizer on a nearby table. A few of those doing warm-ups on the Village streets wore masks but most did not. I had my mask with me but was not wearing it. That's the way I expected to run, based on pre-race instructions.

After a few drills, I changed into racing gear and Jackie and I headed to the start line. She got into a loose line-up with masks on, and socially distancing while I did a few last minute strides on a side street. Then it was 8:00 and they started the folks who were already lined up in the starting chute. I slid in behind a couple of runners who were advancing toward the start line on Main Street. They were not prepared to start at a fast pace so I found myself immediately swinging wide to go around them. The first 200 meters or so was much the same as I weaved among those who had started before me, gradually moving up towards the front end of the group. I worried some about running on the Village Main Street bricks, but experienced no difficulties. Except for two 20's- 40's guy who went by at pace, one in the first 200  meters, I had the fun of passing, but not being passed.

I saw a 50's runner ahead of me who was moving at a good clip but not much faster than I was. I closed on him and went past. He fought me for a bit but I gradually pulled away and did not see him again. Shortly thereafter a second runner came past me. I tried increasing my pace just a bit to stay with him but quickly concluded that would be a bad idea. Instead I sought to keep him within sight. That would both help me to keep my pace up and be helpful at turning points as I was not familiar with the course. As it turned out it was well marked but when we turned to head east the sun was very much in my eyes and I worried I might miss one of the signs pointing the way. There were no course marshals to point the way. My GPS gave me the alert at 1 mile that I was at 7:50. I was a little disappointed as I had hoped to average closer to 7:30 per mile. But I had lost a little time in the first 200 meters and the first mile has a 13 meter elevation gain. I hoped I would at least keep that pace the rest of the way. The second mile was flatter and I had found a good rhythm. 7:47 said Garmin for the 2nd mile--so far, so good. Since the race was an out and back, I figured I would face an easier 3rd mile than first although it doesn't have to work that way as there could be an uphill with a longer, or steeper downhill. In fact it turned out to be rolling downhill with a few turns but no steep uphill sections. I felt strong at the end; hearing footsteps behind me, I let it out a bit as we ran down to the turn for the final 160 meters; a few brief meters at 5:40 pace and then cruised in at sub-7 pace over the final 0.1. I saw later that GPS gave me credit for a 7:21 third mile. That's more like it! 

Across the finish line and into a small finishing area. I later learned that my Official time was 23:20; the pace per mile was 7:30.6. If I were already 75, that would get me above an 80.0% road race age grade on the brand new, updated 2020 road race calculator (http://howardgrubb.co.uk/athletics/mldrroad20.html), but as I am still 74, it comes in just under. At 74 years and 11 months, I will take it! I figure I finished pretty strong so I should have a faster time inside me; perhaps we'll see it later this year or in 2021! I finished 19th overall and won my age group.

I congratulated a couple of runners who came in just ahead of me. We were directed to tables set up int he area-one for medals, one for water bottles, one for bananas, and one for a packaged Rice Krispies snack. After I loaded up, the 50's guy I had passed walked by and I found I knew him. I don't often run in Indy any more but when I did, I got to know Ken as a dedicated runner. I congratulated him on a good run, but I was happy that I could still beat my 57-year old running colleague. He left, noting that this would be a good motivator for him. I am sure it was no fun losing to a 74 year old guy! I am also certain he'll be back and running stronger in a few weeks!

Jackie met me at the car a few minutes later. I suggested she had maybe broken 30 minutes. She was skeptical as she had just been doing her normal running at best. We learned later when we checked the results that she had broken 30 indeed, 29:26, and won her 60-64 age group--not bad at all for someone who runs for fun and health! Between Jackie's win and my win, we got $40 worth of Greek's Pizzeria coupons--We'll wait until we can have a crew and bring home pizza for all...maybe by the Friday or Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend--fingers crossed!

Despite some doubts when I was rolling out of bed and piling into the car before sunrise, I really enjoyed the run. Even without my USATF Masters Grand Prix circuit rivals and friends in the race, it just felt good to be out on the streets with a bunch of other runners. Happy with this race but also hope we can get some of our bigger and more prestigious races, not to mention USATF Masters Championships, back on the schedule by 2021!

Me in one of my favorite T's from last year's Blue Cross Broad Street Run, showing off my newest medal, the 2020 Z-ville HM 5K! Photo Credit: J. Bloom

 

Thanks, Mike for a great experience!





Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Quarantine Games Have Begun--A Preview

 September 20, 2020. The Garden State Track Club has organized a series of races and relays for this autumn. They have attracted the interest of 11 other clubs, the Atlanta Track Club [GA], the Boulder Track Club [CO], the Bowerman Track Club [OR], the Cal Coast Track Club [Southern Cal], the Genesee Valley Harriers [Greater Buffalo/Rochester NY], the Georgetown Running Club [D.C. area], the Jamul Toads, the Kansas City Smoke Track Club [MO], the Lincoln Running Club [NB], the Red Cedar Running Club [MN], and the West Valley Track Club [San Francisco area]. Most are entering both Open and Masters athletes. The best guess at this point is that not all teams plan on entering all events. Some have their own XC series or other things going on, so they will pick and choose. For example the 11th Annual Stumptown XC Series in Portland will be virtual this fall, running from September 21 through November 22. GVH hoped to have a live season for their Pete Glavin XC eries but have cancelled events up through the 4th week in October. They have not yet cancelled the Nov. 1 race.

The West Valley Track Club initially had the idea of training for the USATF Club Cross Country Championships to be held in San Francisco despite not knowing whether they would be held or not. They proposed an alternative target should Club Cross be cancelled. As John Markell put it in a note to some influential Masters Runners, " After all, we're optimists.  If Club Nats is a no-go, we plan to run a 10 x 10,000m relay, on a track, in December around the time when Nats would have been.  Note: this is a relay race, so one runner at a time adheres to social distancing rules, nationwide.  Why 10 x 10,000m? We've decided to take a stab at the masters world record for the event, found here:  http://www.recordholders.org/en/list/relay.html  So, why not?" The Masters Record for the 10 x 10,000 meter is apparently 6:08:33 or 6.1425 hours, or 0.61425 hours per runner or 36.855 minutes per runner or 36:51.3 average over 10 runners. It seems a worthy goal, not impossible but definitely a challenge.

Here are the guidelines put forth as far I can figure out:

Scoring.   Individual events [identified on the scoresheet as 'Time Trial/TT' will use XC scoring (top 5 places), not road scoring (times).  Top 5=A team, Next 5=B team, etc. Relay is already a team event by definition. Team scoring: 10, 9, 8, 7, etc. for both individual + relay events.  Scores will be kept for open, 40s, 50s, and 60s for both genders. In keeping with my focus on Masters Running, I will focus on Masters results and scoring.

Events : Sep 19 8K TT/ Sep 26 5 x 4K Relay/ Oct 10 5K TT/ Oct 17 10K (2 x 2 x 2.5K)/ Oct 31 3K TT/ Nov 7 5K (5 x 5 x 200 meters) Relay/ Nov 14 5K TT/ Nov 28 1 Mile TT/ Dec 5 10 Miler + Relay

The (2x2x5K) is a 2-runner relay team alternating 2.5K's

[I am guessing the last entry is perhaps dependent on whether Club Cross in SF is a 'go' or a 'no go'. If it is a 'go', the Dec 5 event will be cancelled as runners head to Golden Gate Park. If it is a 'No Go', I guess runners have an option of either running a 10 Miler or a 10 x 10,000 Meter Relay.]

 All events except the 10 Miler are apparently intended to be run on the track. That avoids the problem of how much drop to allow, a problem which cannot be avoided on the roads. The 10 Miler is listed for Garden State Runners as Towpath so a similar option, either towpath, bike path, or road is okay. Perhaps an out-and-back course will be a requirement for the 10 Miler, or some requirement on minimum allowable drop % may be added.

Timing: Run the race within a 7 day period. The first event, an 8K Time Trial, should be run between Wednesday, Sep 16 and Wednesday, Sep 23, with the race identified as Sep 19th, which fits in the middle of that period. The same time period from Wednesday before until the Wednesday after should apply to all of the other event dates.

I will not do a full preview for the 8K because I am not sure of how many teams are entering. As of 9 pm Saturday, Sep 19, Boulder Track Club, Cal Coast, Garden State, and West Valley TC have listed runners on the registration sheet. Cal Coast and Garden state have entered some times already. I have tried very hard to 'not see' any of the times and so far have succeeded. 

Which Masters Runners are entered as of now for the 8K TT? [Note: Aggies showed up in registration when I checked on Sep 20-afternoon. More teams may add in.]

ENTRIES

MEN

The Aggies M50 Jaime Heilpern, Jeff Hongo, Roger Dix

Jaime Heilpern L and John Gardiner sprint for the Finish Line at the 2018 USATF Club XC Championships [Photo by Michael Scott]

 

Boulder M40 Clint Wells, Jeff Schuler, Ben Cowan, Aaron Kleinman, Nick Jocelyn, Flavio De Simone

M50 Charles Wilbur

M60

Cal Coast M40 Roosevelt Cook, Trevor Cox, Kurt Whittington, John Gardiner, Matt Yacoub, Jacques Sallberg, Gene Inserto  

Jacques Sallberg wins the 2019 Masters Club XC Championship at Lehigh. Peter Gilmore background finished 2nd [Photo by Mike Scott]

 

M50 Christian Cushing-Murray, Matt Simpson, Mark Steyvers, Rob Arsenault, Gregg Hemphill, Dennis Ryan, Kevin Kong  

M60 Thomas Albright, Bill Amor, John Araujo, Paul Cook, Mark Core, Jeff Creer, Perry Forrester, Mark Hemmel, Ray Knerr, Leon Laub, Brian Nelson, Tomas Rodriguez, Craig Williams, Keith Witthauer

Garden State M40 Jarrett Dewelde, Marco Cordoso, Elliott Frieder, Jonathan Frieder, Duncan Nyasinga, Kevin Shirk, Dave Ferrugia, Dov Gertzulin  

M50 Eric Davis, Mark Zamek, John Hogan  

M60 Gus Stanzione

West Valley M40 Neville Davey, Jorge Maravilla, Peter Gilmore, Todd Rose, John Markell, Julian Marsh, John Monty, Travis Price, Eric Aldrich, Ben Koss, Mark Yuen, Rhodes Walton, Rob Johnson, Konrad Knutsen, Lars Schmitz, Mario Cadete, Jonah Backstrom

Mark Yuen 1902 and Neville Davey 1889 running stride for stride through a muddy turn at the 2019 Masters Club XC Championship at Lehigh. [Photo by Mike Scott]


M50 Ivan Lieben, Mark Callon, Dave White, Ed Randolph, Chuck Mullane 

WOMEN

Boulder W40 Natalia Barrionuevo

Cal Coast W40 Heather McDermott, Elena Rozhko, Jen Martin

If the scoring rules are enforced as above and the rosters are correct, the 4 teams will compete in the M40 event; Cal Coast and West Valley will compete for the M50; and Cal Coast will take the M60 title by default. There would be no other team contests. In USATF Masters Road Races and in some of the Virtual competitions organized by other clubs this summer, they allowed 3 runners on Women's teams to comprise a complete team. If the Quarantine Games would adopt that standard then, if all 3 Cal Coast runners would race the 8K, they would win that team race by default as well. But perhaps rosters do not have to be written in ahead of the racing period. I know Garden State asked for rosters by Tuesday, Sep 15, but I do not believe they required them.

If no other teams add entries, then the runners on incomplete teams can race as individuals.

COMPETITION PREVIEW

M40 The M40 Team Rosters are very strong if all runners who are listed run the 8K. My guess is that this is the list of runners who could run but, in fact, some may skip the 8K. We shall see.

If Club Cross from Lehigh is any guide, we would expect Cal Coast's Jacques Sallberg and Roosevelt Cook to have some of the faster times. John Gardiner is always a podium threat. That is also true for West Valley's Neville Davey, Peter Gilmore, and Jorge Maravilla. The Frieder twins, Elliott and Jonathan, for Garden State, have been a bit off the pace of those others on the XC turf; we will see if they are more competitive on the track. From Strava postings, both have enjoyed a strong summer of training.

Jacques Sallberg, Peter Gilmore, and Jorge Maravilla navigating a turn as they lead the pack at the 2019 Masters Club XC Championship at Lehigh. [Photo by Mike Scott]

Boulder's Clint Wells should also make some noise up front. Wells won the USATF Masters Marathon Championship at the Twin Cities in 2016 in 2:24:00. At the 2018 Half Marathon at Grandma's he ran 1:06:50; the only Masters athlete ahead of him was Kevin Castille, currently suspended for accepting a USADA drug sanction. At the FORTitude 10K USA Pro Chase, he was the only Masters athlete entered, finishing 19th overall in 32:44. Athlinks lists no results for Wells from that race until the VirtuALL Bolder Boulder 10K this past Memorial Day weekend. Wells clocked 35:10, suggesting that he is fit, but perhaps was not all in for a virtual 10K. 

 

Clint Wells, Boulder Track Club Coach and Masters Athlete [Photo from bouldertrackclub.com/training/coach]

If Club Cross 2020 is any guide, West Valley is the favorite, having prevailed over Cal Coast by 66 points at that race. Despite Clint Wells, it seems unlikely that Boulder can compete with those two teams. Garden State has not competed closely with those two teams on the turf but it may be different on the track. The Frieder twins, as noted, have had a strong summer of training. Dave Ferrugia is also running well after struggling with injuries; he turned in a 33:57 Virtual 10K earlier this summer. John Hogan ran 29:06 at the 2016 USATF Masters 8K Championships in Virginia Beach.And GSTC has added a couple of talented runners recently. Duncan Nyasinga, in 2019, ran 2:33:27 at the New York City Marathon. That is a 5:51 pace; if he can increase that pace proportionally for an 8K, he will be dangerous indeed. Kevin Shirk finished between West Valley's Todd Rose and Mark Yuen at the 2019 Lehigh Club Cross Championships. A month before, he ran a 1:09:17 Half Marathon. That gives Garden State a very solid first 5, plus some fall-back support! Will it be enough to pull ahead of their two West Coast rivals? It will be fascinating to see.

West Valley Track Club   Cal Coast Track Club   Garden State Track Club

 

Garden State Track Club's Victorious M40+ Team at the 2019 USATF Masters 8K Championships in Virginia Beach- L to R John Hogan, Sam Teigen, Jonathan Frieder, Harold Porcher, and Gary Leaman

M50 Again, with reference back to Club Cross at Lehigh, it appears that the leaders in this contest are likely to be found from the Aggies' Jaime Heilpern, Cal Coast's Christian Cushing-Murray, West Valley's Ivan Lieben, and Garden State's Mark Zamek. Based on those entered so far, it looks like a team shootout between Cal Coast and West Valley. Garden State does not have a complete team entered. Both teams regularly compete at Club XC but I cannot find any recent results where both entered 50's teams. Often the top 50's runners will run with the 40's team. Sometimes Cal Coast runs a 50+ team but I cannot find any recent cases where West Valley entered a 50+ team. That means this series will be for bragging rights! Both have entered strong teams. In addition to Cushing-Murray, it appears from a Virtual competition earlier this year that Rob Arsenault is back on top of his game. He also ran a 29:23 5 Miler last November. Mark Steyvers should also provide strong support, based on a 17:31 5K and a 37:31 10K last year. Cushing-Murray was off his game at the USATF Masters 5KXC Championship in San Diego last year when Lieben and his teammate, Chuck Mullane, both came in ahead of Cush. No doubt he will be looking to assert himself this time around, especially if he is inspired by the Tour De France, as so many are inspired by his daily TDF commentary and choice of an appropriate brew for toasting the hero(s) of the tour stage! With Lieben and Mullane leading the way for a strong supporting cast, West Valley will be tough to beat, Mark Callon has a recent 4:39 Mile to his credit as well as a 16:31 5K, and Ed Randolph adds a resume with a 16:23 5K and a 58:27 in the 2019 JF Memorial 10 Mile Run. If all enjoy good fitness, West Valley appears to have more strength 4 runners deep than Cal Coast has. Both the Aggies and Garden State appear to have only three entrants; unless that changes, they are two runners short of a complete team.

M60 Until another team enters an M60 team, this division belongs to Cal Coast. Led by 'youngsters' like Mark Core and Ray Knerr, who have sub-19 minute

Brunch Spread for Cal Coast Runners taking on the Virtual 8K, provided by the Hughes Family [Photo by Dennis Ryan-posted on FB]

5K's in their recent resumes and fortified by Brian Nelson, who finished 6th in the 2019 Masters National 5K Championships in Atlanta in 19:14, they start off with a strong 1-2-3 punch. After that they have a mix of veterans like Perry Forrester and Keith Witthauer and newcomers like Bill Amor, who is coming on strong, approaching the 20 minute barrier in the 5K. They are a tough team to beat.
 

That's my preview. I look forward to recapping the first event, the 8K Individual Time Trial. By next Wednesday I should at least know every team and every runner who entered the 8K.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Recap of Boulder Road Runners Virtual Race #3--Labor Day

September 17, 2020. This Recap follows the preview posted a few days ago. The last day for running the virtual race was last Sunday, September 13th. Shortly after I posted the preview, I received notes from two of the Team Reps. One said I was brave to post predictions without knowing about the fitness of Team Members, who was injured, who had run a Half Marathon or a Marathon or both during the week before. Another said that corrections to one of the rosters had not come to my attention. But it's all in good fun; if a preview does not come out that well, the joke is on me! And I know from past experience that many runners who were injured shortly before a race can sometimes outdo themselves.

What was clear from a cursory glance was that the results were peppered here and there with fantastic performances!

TEAM RESULTS

MEN

I expected to write two recaps, one with the raw results and one using the NCAA altitude adjustment for races run above 3,000 feet. Just a reminder that scoring is on the basis of age-grading, not actual finishing time. For the Men's teams it is the top 5; for Women's teas the top 3.

No Adjustment

My prediction was for a finishing order of: Greater Lowell, Boulder, Shore, and the Greater Philadelphia Track Club. I included the Bowerman Track Club and the Silverbacks, who participated n the Independence Day event, but neither  participated in this Labor Day event. So how did it come out? I will pretend that the Virtual Race was a Real, live, in-person race happening in real time. Since the distances are so different, with some running a Mile, some a 5K, and some a 10K, I'll cover them as if the Race Director set it up for the 19 Milers to go first on an out and back road course, with no intermediate splits. Let's have it high-tech as well so the 'Jumbotron' not only flashes the times but the age-grade score. Fifteen minutes later, all other runners go off together, with the 5K runners the next set to finish, and finally the 10K runners.

1 Mile:

After about 4 minutes, the spectators are craning their necks to see the leaders coming in. There's a Lowell and a Philly singlet running stride for stride well away from the rest. As they head into the final 300 meters, Lowell's David Westenberg 62, uses his kick to insert a few seconds between himself and Philly's Mark Carver 60. Westenberg's 5:10 merits a whopping 91.64%. "That's a World Class run!" whoops a spectator. Carver, a couple of years younger, earns a nifty 89.14. Before the dust could settle, it was Boulder's Adam Feerst 60 running 5:28 to edge Lowell's Charlie Muse 64 for 3rd by a second, with Muse posting the higher age grade, an excellent 87.95, and Feerst collecting 85.06. Eight seconds later a blanket of three runners sped toward the finish line. At the end it was Boulder's Jeff Barros 63 leading the way at 5:37, with Philly's Bob Reynolds 63 2nd among the trio in 5:38, and his teammate, Tim Conheady 63 another second back. With all three the same age in years, the age grades follow the times at 85.16, 84.91, and 84.66! A few minutes later, spotting a Boulder singlet, a spectator exclaimed "That can't be Doug Bell can it? Dang, he's almost 70! Wh-o-o-oe-y!" But he was right as Bell, 69, clocked 5:47 to notch an 87.32%! Next a Boulder, a Lowell and two Shore runners closed on the finish line; Boulder's Mike Fronsoe 62 had the edge with a 5:51, followed 2 seconds later by Lowell's John Hadcock 62, with Shore's Michael Mooney 64 and Scott Linnell 64 clocking 5:57 and 6:00, earning respectively  80.91, 80.57, 80.95, and 80.28. A Lowell supporter could be heard, "Wow, I hear that Hadcock ran the Virtual Boston Marathon on Labor Day, and he's running a mile today! Man, I'd be crawling--at best!" A Boulder supporter retorted "That is amazing, but Fronsoe's something too! ...Lives in Louisiana and had to weather Hurricane Laura...not to mention the heat, the humidity and the bugs...and he's coming back from a hamstring!" Six seconds later, anther near septuagenarian, Shore's John Kilduff 69 sped to a 6:06, netting an 82.59%! Ten seconds later, Bill Dumont 62 was the 4th runner in for Lowell, hitting 6:16 for a 75.53%. And now the intervals between runners was lengthening. Philly's Tim Jones 61 edged Lowell's Peter Wasylak 65 by 3 seconds in 6:33. Wasylak had the better age grade though at 73.74 to 71.76. The last three runners in were Shore's veterans, Spider Rossiter 68, Harold Nolan 73, and Przemek Nowicki 75. Their times of 6:52, 6:58, and 7:44, with age grade percentages in the 70's leads me to conclude that all are suffering from some combination of layoff and injury. They are normally 80%+ performers. And that was it--Three cheers for the Milers!

At team meetings of the 5k and 10K runners, just before they finish their warmups, strides, etc., one can imagine a Coach/Captain of each team addressing them. Boulder The milers did a terrific job, laid a great foundation for us--Three guys in at 85% and above, with a 4th over 80%. Now let's build on it--Lowell and Philly are right with us! Lowell Super work by the Milers; with Westenberg cracking 90% and two others over 80% we are in the hunt! But we've gotta have more; Boulder and Philly won't be standing still! And Shore's got some strong runners in these next races! Philly Hurray for the Milers! We're right in it--2 guys at 85% and one at 89%. Now we need at least two more over 85%. Let's go, Philly! 

Only 13 runners toed the line for the 5K [6]/10K [7]; 19 ran the Mile. But the runners in these races would put the lid on the scoring for each team; the pressure was on! With no intermediate splits, we will assume the race is a loop [10K] or an out and back [5K]. The coaches, teammates and spectators eagerly awaited the six 5K runners first. When 18 minutes came and went, one spectator offered, "I thought Mark Reeder was in the 5K; I know he ran the 10K at Dedham in 36 and change--figured he'd be in under 18." Another piped in with, "Dunno, maybe he's banged up and running anyway? I'm pretty sure I saw him line up." The second view was probably right as Reeder 60 came in first in the 5K, but his time of 19:32 was nearly 2 minutes slower than some expected. It gave Lowell another age-grade above 80% but not quite as much as they needed for a good shot at the win. Four runners in above 80% but still only two above 85% while Boulder has 4 and 3 in those two categories. Then the Boulder team was whooping and hollering as Jack Pottle 65 came speeding in at 19:42, earning an 84.18% to up Boulder's count to 5 above 80, 3 above 85 and one of the 3 'above 80's' pretty close to 85! Next in was David Huse 62 of Shore for 81.81%. A second Shore singlet appeared soon after and shouting went up all over! "Way to Go, Reno!" Most knew Reno Stirrat 66, the mainstay of Shore AC M60+, had been injured much of the year and was just starting to get back to fitness. Stirrat's 20:24 earned a grade of 82.03% and gave Shore their 4th runner over 80%. At 21:52, Lowell's Ken Goodin 65 earned a 75.84%. Lucky for Lowell that was not needed, but good to know it was there had they needed it! Duncan Smith 61 crossed the line a half minute later, clocking 22:35 for 70.92%; within a percentage point of Philly's 4th runner form the 1 Mile. That gave Philly their 5th runner, so it guaranteed a valid team score. Mike Washakowski 68 closed out the 5K with a 24:44, earning a 68.94% for his efforts.

After the 5K, some of the Coaches were comparing notes--"I hear Shore's got no one in the 10K, is that right?' 'Yep, all our guys opted for the 1 Mile or the 5K, too banged up for much more!' So what's Shore got?" Shore AC's top 5 are John Kilduff 82.59, Reno Stirrat 82.03, David Huse 81.81, Michael Mooney 80.95, and Scott Linnell 80.28. Their average was 81.53; Shore was the team to beat at this stage. How's Boulder looking? "We are in really good shape!" Boulder's top 5, with three running the 10K were Doug Bell 87.32, Jeff Barros 85.16, Adam Feerst 85.06, Jack Pottle 84.18, and Mike Fronsoe 80.91, for an average of 84.53. What about Lowell?  Lowell's top 5 so far: David Westenberg 91.64, Charlie Muse 87.95, Mark Reeder 81.23, John Hadcock 80.57, and Ken Goodin 75.84 for an average of 83.45. "We're right there within shooting distance but it's a tall order to ask our guys in the 10K to beat out Sayre and Hughes, and that's what they've got to do for us to win." Philly? "We've got a guy in the 10K who'll definitely be in our top 5. Is it enough to lock up 3rd, though?" Philly's top 5 is: Mark Carver 89.14, Bob Reynolds 84.91, Tim Conheady 84.66, Tim Jones 71.76, and Duncan Smith 70.92, for an average of 80.28. That leaves them over a percentage point behind Shore. Can Philly's lone 10K score high enough to get them back above Shore in third? Suspense!Ten minutes later they had their answer as the first 10K runners were approaching the finish line. As expected, the two in the lead were from Boulder; Roger Sayre 62 clocked 38:50 for 85.11, with Paul Hughes 63 at 39:06 for 85.34. That put the seal on the win for Boulder. A half minute later, Philly's Jeff Hayes 61 galloped across the line in 39:46 for an 82.36%. That would surely raise their average but would it be enough for third? Yes, because not only did it give them another runner over 80%, it meant they needed to only count one of their two 70% finishers. Their new average was 82.56%, a full percentage point ahead of Shore for the final podium spot. Shortly thereafter, Lowell's Peter LaGoy 61 sped across the finish in 42:03, scoring at 77.88, high enough to replace Goodin's 75.84. Three minutes later, LaGoy's teamate, Glenn Stewart 70 clocks 45:16 to score 78.98, an even better replacement for Goodin's score. Once Stewart's score is averaged in, their average rose from 83.45 to a final 84.07%. But Sayre and Hughes combined to raise Boulder's average from 84.53 to 85.60%. That made Boulder the outright winners, even before any altitude adjustment. As they were the only team to get the altitude adjustment, that meant they took the altitude adjusted crown as well. [So no recap of altitude adjusted team contest.]

Final Men's 60+ Team Standings for Labor Day Races

Boulder Road Runners 85.60%   Greater Lowell Road Runners 84.07%   Greater Philadelphia Track Club 82.56%   Shore Athletic Club 81.53

 

Shore AC after running their Virtual Races on Sep 13, 2020- L to R: Reno Stirrat, Susan Stirrat, Scott Linnell, Sue Patla, Przemek Nowicki, Husband of S. Patla who ran but is not on the team, Leslie Nowicki, John Ulo-Kuhi.

 

WOMEN

 My prediction was for a finishing order of Shore Athletic Club, Greater Lowell Road Runners, Greater Philadelphia Track Club, Boulder Road Runners, and Liberty AC. I also viewed the contest for 2nd as tight between Lowell and Philly as well as the contest for 4th between Boulder and Liberty. Lowell was not able to participate after all; Barbara Doneli, who was top finisher in the first two Women's races would not run for Shore this time, a blow to their hopes for a sweep! Boulder found 7 runners so the top 3 made up Boulder 'A' and the next 4 were Boulder 'B'. With just three runners in the Mile, the RD decides to throw all runners into a single heat; the Milers finish first, followed by the nine 5K specialists, and then the five 10K athletes.

Here's the virtual 'play-by-play':

1 Mile Cheryl Bellaire 61 came in well ahead, clocking 6:34 for 81.75%, starting things off with a bang for Philly! Susan Stirrat 65, who would normally come in closer to Bellaire, was a minute and a half back. Running at all was an accomplishment, considering Stirrat broke her ankle in early August and it did not totally heal until a couple of weeks before the race. This outing was definitely for the team, and the joy of competing; her 8:11 merited a 68.84%. Bellaire's teammate, Sandra Folzer 81, put another link in Philly's chain with her 8:47 for 81.40%. That meant two of Philly's 3 runners were in the 80's. With Lowell out and Shore hobbled by Donelik's absence and Stirrat's injury, hilly was looking strong for the win. The 5K would be crucial for three teams; neither Philly, Shore nor Liberty had anyone in the 10K. That was the race for Boulder's strongest three runners though.

5K Liberty got on the scoreboard first as Alda Cossi 65 sped across the finish line in 23:25, with no one in sight; that graded at 84.13%, the highest score so far. Philly did not have to wait long for their third scoring team member, though; Kyra McGrath 65 was the second runner in the 5K. Her 25:51 graded at 77.00%. Shore's Sue Patla 62 stormed across in 3rd; her 25:51 graded to a 73.31%. Two more Liberty runners headed for the finish, with Anne Shreffler 63 clocking 26:13 to edge teammate, Dru Pratt-Otto 61 by three seconds! They collected a 73.24% and a 71.26% age grade respectively. That also insured that Liberty would get a complete team score with 3 runners in. Katherine Packowski gave Shore their third scoring member with a 29:48 for 65.27%. They were happy to get any team score! In mid-August it seemed doubtful they would be able to field a complete team for this race. Karen Lein 62 finished next in 32:43, adding an insurance 57.92% to Liberty's total. The first two Boulder Runners appeared next as Lorraine Green 68 and Virginia Schultz 65 closed out the 5K in 32:53 and 36:11 for 62.34% and 54.44% scores respectively.

Liberty AC Team After finishing their 5K at the Harvard U Track on Sep 08 2020-L to R: Karen Lein, Alda Cossi, Anne Shreffler, Dru Pratt-Otto


 

When the Coach's compared notes, it was clear that Philly could finish no worse than 2nd; only Boulder had a shot. It would depend on the fortunes of Nancy Antos 70, Robyn Balsley 60, Sara Cohen 65, Lynn Hermanson 69, and Cindy Sutton 67. Philly's top 3 average was 80.04%; it was a tall order for Boulder, but they were also focused on the race with Liberty and Shore for the other two podium spots. Liberty would finish either 2nd or 3rd. Their top 3 total ended up at 76.21%; Shore finished at 69.14%.

10K  Hermanson scorched the field to take the 10K victory by almost 6 minutes, earning a 79.21%. Boulder was cheering, but soon Philly was whooping it up too as they realized that Boulder could not displace them! They had won! Next in was Cohen at 60:00, one hour exactly for a 67.56%. Sutton was not far behind, clocking 60:16, but netting a higher age grade at 69.14%. Those three would give them a Top 3 average of 71.97%. That guaranteed they would finish ahead of Shore, but they were well down from Liberty. Antos, at 70, still out on the course, might very well get an age grade above Cohen's, but raising their average by over 4 full percentage points is a lot to ask. Next runner in was Balsley whose 62:08 for 61.11% meant she would score for the B team. Antos came in a half minute later to finish off the 10K race at 62:44 for a 69.31% age grade. She did raise Boulder's average, but only to 72.55%. That was enough for the third podium spot! The other two Boulder runners from this race, Balsley and Cohen, combined with their 5K runners, Green and Schultz, to make up Boulder's 'B' team. Their Top 3 average was 63.67%. As in the Men's Team Races, the altitude adjustment did not change the order of finish as teams were well separated.

Greater Philadelphia Track Club 80.04   Liberty AC 76.21   Boulder Road Runners 72.55

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS 

The altitude adjustments did affect the Individual Results. I'll give the top 10 unadjusted for the 32 competing Men, and top 6 unadjusted for the 19 competing women. I will then explain how things changed if the altitude is factored in.

MEN

No Altitude Adjustment The Mile Run gave us the entire unadjusted podium, not to mention 8 of the top 10: Lowell's David Westenberg's 5:10, at age 62, led the way for the men, with the only unadjusted  score over 90%--91.64 The youngster, at 60, from Philly, Mark Carver, came next with his 5:13 scoring 89.14%. Westenberg's teammate, Charlie Muse occupied the 'Bronze Medal' spot with his 5:29 at age 64 for 87.95. Doug Bell's 5:47 at age 69 was just off the podium at 87.32%. He was followed in 5th through 8th by his Boulder teammates: Paul Hughes 63 85.34, Jeff Barros 63, Roger Sayre 62, and Adam Feerst 60. Philly teammates Bob Reynolds and Tim Conheady, both 63, rounded out the top ten at 84.91 and 84.66.

David Westenberg 91.64%   Mark Carver 89.14   Charlie Muse  87.95

Altitude Adjusted The altitude adjustment had the biggest effect on Paul Hughes's placement. Running at just over 7,000' he moves into 2nd place at 90.55. Doug Bell moved up onto the podium, despite running at *only* 4800'; his age grade was adjusted to 90.11%. Roger Sayre moves up to 5th at 88.36, Adam Feerst into 6th at 88.28. Barros, running at a mere 4,000 feet, fell from 6th to 8th as mile high runner, Jack Pottle, vaulted into the top 10 at spot #9 with his adjustment to 86.80. 

David Westenberg 91.64   Paul Hughes 90.55    Doug Bell  90.11

WOMEN  

No Altitude Adjustment Liberty's Alda Cossi, topped the list with her 23:25 5K at age 65, earning an 84.13%. The 2nd spot on the unadjusted podium went to Philly's Cheryl Bellaire's 81.73% from her 6:34 Mile at age 61. Her Teammate, Sandra Folzer, at 81, took the final podium spot with her 8:47 mile at age 81, for an 81.40% age grade. Boulder's Lynn Hermanson, at 69, was just off the podium with the 79.21% she earned for her 54:06 10K. Philly's Kyra McGrath 65 landed in 5th with her 25:35 5K and 77.00% age grade. Shore's Sue Patla 62 closed out the top 6 with her 25:51 5K for 73.31%.

Alda Cossi 84.13   Cheryl Bellaire 81.73   Sandra Folzer 81.40

Altitude Adjusted The only change was that Lynn Hermanson's Mile high 54:06 10K got adjusted to 82.17% and that moved her into 2nd pace. 

Alda Cossi 84.13   Lynn Hermanson 82.17  Cheryl Bellaire 81.73

That wraps it up. Despite the Corona Virus, these athletes kept training and the results were virtually impressive! More importantly, it kept morale up and gave everyone just a little bit extra motivation for training. I am sure David Westenberg captured the feelings of most competitors when he sent a note to the organizers at the Boulder Road Runners, "The series helped give purpose to training in an otherwise race-less period and our team is very grateful for it. One team member noted that this has been one of the very few highlights of this Covid-constrained summer."

Next up for Virtual Competitions is the Quarantine Games.

After that it may be possible to switch gears and cover a few of the small, socially distanced, local live & in-person races popping up all over the country.