Friday, January 12, 2018

USATF 2017 Awards, Masters Grand Prix Winners, Ratified American Records

January 4 2018. The following Awards, Masters Grand Prix Winners, and American Records related to Masters LDR were announced at the USATF Annual Meeting from November 30 to December 2 2017 in Columbus Ohio.

These awards are determined by end-of-the-year elections.*

Masters Athlete of the YearSabra Harvey
Harvey, the 2014 Female Masters Road Runner of the Year, was undefeated this year in USATF National Masters Road Racing Championships, winning both her division and the age-grading crown at the 10K, the 1 Mile, the 5K and the 15K. In addition she also took first place and had the top age grade at the Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships. Her Age-Grade scores in the National Championship events ranged from 97.79% for the 1 Mile Run up to 103.56% for the 10K Championship. The 10K US Record holder at the beginning of the year for Women 65-69 with a 42:37, Harvey's time at the 10K Championship improved on that record time by over half a minute.
Sabra Harvey, USATF Masters Athlete of the Year, heading for another National Championship at the last Event of the 2017 season, Club Cross Country

Masters Road Runners of the Year

Women's Masters Road Runner of the YearSabra Harvey
See write-up above.

Men's Masters Road Runner of the Year -- Kevin Castille
Castille, a three time Age Division Runner of the Year, entered three national championships, the One Mile, 5K and 15K, finishing first overall in each of them, registering the top age grade among his male rivals, and setting a new American 45-49 Record in all three. He ran 4:24 in the Mile, 14:29 in the 5K and 46:36 in the 15K, the latter on a remarkably difficult course. In addition he ran faster than the posted American record in three other prominent road races, winning the Overall Masters crown at the Crescent City 10K, the Utica Boilermaker 15K, and the Akron Half Marathon.
Kevin Castille enjoys one of his three National Championship wins, the Masters 15K at the Tulsa Federal Credit Union Tulsa Run [Photo Credit-USATF]


Women’s Divisional Road Runners of the Year
Division   Name                                Division   Name
40-44       Jen Rhines                         65-69       Sabra Harvey
45-49       Kris Paaso                         70-74       Jan Holmquist
50-54       Marisa Sutera Strange        75-79       Sandra Folzer
55-59       Cindy Conant                     80-84      Libby James
60-64       Joan Samuelson                 85-89       Ella Jane Custer

Jen Rhines [Boston MA], the 2016 Age Division Runner of the Year, had strong performances as top Masters finisher in several prominent road races including the Gasparilla Half Marathon in 1:14:53; the Cooper River Bridge [10K] Run in 35:16; the BAA 5K in 16:29; and the Freihofer’s 5K Run for Women in 17:14. The BAA 10K time age graded to 93.16%.

Jen Rhines Catching Her Breath After the 2014 Masters National 5K Championship Race
[photo credit: Kevin Rivoli]

Jen Rhines Catching Her Breath After the 2014 Masters National 5K Championship Race
[photo credit: Kevin Rivoli]

Kris Paaso [Menlo Park CA] had three performances in 5K road races that age graded above 90.00%.
Kris Paaso starting to pull away from her rivals on her way to being first across the finish line at the 2017 Club Cross Country Championships [Photo credit: Michael Scott/]

Marisa Sutera Strange [Pleasant Valley NY] the 2015 and 2016 Division Runner of the Year, had 3 outstanding races in USATF Masters Championship events, the 5K, the 8K, and the 10K. She won her Age Division in each, and had the 2nd highest Age Graded score in the 8K. Her winning times were: 18:25, 29:56 and 37:55 respectively, with each of them age grading above 93.50%.
Marisa Sutera Strange heading for victory at the 2017 USATF 8K Masters Championship hosted by the Shamrock/Towne Bank 8K

Cindy Conant [Kensington MD] had outstanding performances in two prominent road races, the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and the Broad Street Run (10 Miles). Her time at the Cherry Blossom Race, 1:04:00, age graded at 93.26%. Even though she ran 55 seconds slower at Broad Street, the age grade was almost as high at 93.13% because her birthday was between the two races. She had several other races that age graded above 92.00%.

Cindy Conant

Photo Credit:

Joan Samuelson [Freeport ME], 1984 Olympic Marathon Champion, Co-Winner of the 2009 Female Road Runner of the Year , and 7-time Age Division Runner of the Year, continues at the top of her age division. This year she had top performances at 4 prominent road races. She ran 19:24 at the Freihofer’s 5K for Women, 45:50 at the Quad Cities Bix 7 and 44:59 at the Falmouth Road Race (7 Miles) and, most importantly because it is her hometown race, a 39:19 at the Beach to Beacon 10K. All age graded above 95.00% with the B2B 10K result topping the list at 98.91%. That was also a ‘US best’ for the 10K; the course has greater than 50% separation from start to finish so is not record-eligible.

Joan Benoit Samuelson finishing at the Boston Marathon [Photo Credit:

Sabra Harvey [Houston TX]. See write-up above for the Masters Athlete of the Year.

Jan Holmquist [Burlington MA], a 2006 and 2013-2016 Division Runner of the Year, had outstanding performances at 2 USATF National Championships and at 2 prominent road races. She ran 22:55 at the CVS Downtown 5K in September and then ran 22:27 at the 5K Masters Championships two weeks later in Syracuse. The first age-graded at 96.13% and the second 2 full percentage points higher! Holmquist’s 48:01 at the 10K Masters Championships at the end of April came a few weeks before her 73rd birthday; it age graded above 96.5%. That was 20 seconds faster than she ran at the Beach to Beacon 10K a few months later at the age of 73; that one age graded above 97%.
Jan Holmquist claiming another national championship at the 2017 USATF Masters 10K Championship hosted by the James Joyce Ramble

Sandra Folzer [Philadelphia PA] ran the Broad Street Run (10 Miler) a week before her 78th birthday, clocking 1:32:50 for an 89.28% age grade. She also ran an 8K and a 10K with age grades above 89.00%.

 Libby James [Fort Collins CO], 2011 through 2016 Division Runner of the Year, won her age division at the Freihofer’s 5K for Women in 26:57, collecting a 91.12% age grade score for her effort. Two months after her 81st birthday James clocked a 55:10 in her hometown race, the FORTitude 10K; there she age graded above 99.00%.

Ella Jane Custer [Wheeling WV], 2015 division Runner of the Year, ran 3:07:59 at the Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon, at age 87, to collect an age grade of 79.55%, the only American woman 85 years of age or older to achieve an age grade score above 75.00%, and she did it in a Half Marathon. A month later she ran another half marathon and although it was slower it also achieved a higher age grade than any other contenders, age grading at 73.19%.

Ella Jane Custer training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon  [Photo Credit: Lake Fong/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Men’s Divisional Road Runners of the Year

Division       Name                                          Division       Name
40-44            Bernard Lagat                            70-74           William Dixon
45-49            Kevin Castille                             75-79           Doug Goodhue
50-54            Nat Larson                                 80-84          Witold Bialokur
55-59            Nat Larson                                 85-89          Gunnar Linde
60-64            John Barbour                              90-94          ------
65-69            Tom Bernhard                             95-99          Roy Englert

Bernard Lagat [Tucson AZ]. See write-up above for Men's Masters Road Runner of the Year.

 Kevin Castille [Lafayette LA], Age Division Runner of the Year 2012-2014, had outstanding performances in 6 prominent road races and three national championships, with age grades ranging from 94.12% in the Road Mile National Championship, a 4:24, to 98.12% in the 5K National Championship, a 14:29. In the 1 Mile, the 5K, the 10K, the 15K and the Half Marathon he ran faster than the posted American Record. At the time of the RoY election, all of those were listed as pending. Since that time two have been ratified and approved, his 14:29 in the 5K National Championship and his 46:36 at the 15K National Championship, perhaps the more remarkable of the two as the current course at Tulsa is known to be exceptionally demanding with long, steep hills. At the start of the race, the temperature was 35 degrees with double digit wind gusts.
Kevin Castille wins the USATF Masters 5K Championship and sets a new Men 45-49 American Record [Photo Credit: Bob Brock/]

Nat Larson [Amherst MA], the 2016 Road Runner of the Year for this division, had outstanding performances in two National Championship races before his 55th birthday. He ran the 8K in 27:04 for a 91.41% age grade. A month and a half later he ran 33:30 in the 10K National Championship for a 92.80% age grade.

 Nat Larson [Amherst MA] had outstanding performances in three National Championships and a prominent road race after his 55th birthday. He won his division in the 1 Mile, 5K and 15K Championships in 4:49, 16:06, and 52:20, with age grades from 91.48% up to 95.25%. His highest age grade came at the CVS Downtown 5K when he ran 15:54 for a 96.45% age grade.
Nat Larson powers to victory at the USATF 15K Championships hosted by the Tulsa Federal Credit Union Tulsa Run [Photo Credit: Marathon Foto]

John Barbour [West Roxbury MA] won the 10K National Championship for his age division in 37:43, age grading at 89.43%. He achieved higher age graded scores at two prominent road races, the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K where he clocked an 18:10 and the Lone Gull 10K where he ran 36:53 and scored 91.45%.
John Barbour captures the Men's 60+ title at the 2017 USATF 5km Cross Country Championships [Photo Credit: USATF-NE]

Tom Bernhard [Castro Valley CA], Division Road Runner of the Year the last two years, had outstanding performances in the three National Championships that he won and in two other prominent West Coast races, the Marin Memorial Day 10K and the Morgan Hill Freedom Fest 5K. His age grade scores for these races ranged from 89.54% in the Road Mile Championship (5:28] in Flint to a 93.58% in the 5K Championship (17:57). He ran 38:13 at the Marin Memorial Day race for a 89.96% and cracked the 90% barrier at Morgan Hill with an 18:13 for 90. 18%.
Tom Bernhard claims one of his national championships at the 2017 USATF 10K Championship hosted by the James Joyce Ramble

William Dixon [Brattleboro VT], 5-time Age Division Runner of the Year in 2004, 2008, 2009, 2013, and 2015, had three fine performances after his 70th birthday, including an 18:50 5K, a 40:46 10K, and a 33:03 5 Miler. These achieved age grade scores ranging from 87.15% up to 92.75%.
Bill Dixon claims one of his many age division National Championships at the 2015 USATF Masters 5km XC Championship at Saratoga Springs NY [photo:]

Doug Goodhue [Milford MI], a 2002 and 2007 – 2014 Division Runner of the Year, had an outstanding performance at a National Championship and a prominent Road Race. At age 75, he ran 6:17 (gun time) for an 86.94% age grade and a 1:13:41 in the Crim 10 Miler for an 86.36%. He also took his age division title in the National 5K Championship despite suffering an injury during the race.
Doug Goodhue giving it everything he's got and taking another National Championship at the 2017 USATF Masters Milem Championship hosted by the Crim/Michigan Mile

Witold Bialokur [Rego Park NY], a 2015 Division Runner of the Year, had fine performances at two prominent road races, the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K where he ran 54:35 for an 82.74% age grade and the Bronx 10 Miler, where he ran 1:31.00 for an 81.30%, demonstrating good range. He earned even higher age grade scores at a local 10K, 5 mile and 4 mile run; in the latter he ran 33:06 for an 86.20%.
Witold Bialokur training with his runners in Forest Park in Queens, New York [Photo Credit: Mervyn Deganos]

Gunnar Linde [Venice CA], the 2016 Division Runner of the Year, repeats this year on the basis of good performances at a nationally prominent and a regionally prominent road race. He ran 58:21 in the Brea 8K and then topped that with a 31:21 in the Carlsbad 5000 for an 84.88% age grade score.

Roy Englert [Springfield VA], 95, who has enjoyed much success on the track, took to the roads this fall and took the age division title at the 5K National Championship in 40:52. That time age graded at 95.12% and broke the American Record for the division by over 7 minutes.
Roy Englert claims the 2017 5K 95-99 National Championship at the Syracuse festival of Races and sets the American Record [Photo Credit: Amir Findling]

*I thank Tom Bernhard for providing the data for these Runner of the Year write-ups. Any errors of interpretation are mine. 


Athletes who compete in the National Championship events acquire points according to their finishing position, with 100 points for first and points declining thereafter by 5 points so 2nd place earns 95 points, 3rd place 90 and so on. A runner must compete in 3 events to be eligible for end-of-the year awards; the athlete’s best 5 events are summed to provide a total with the runner with the highest total winning the title of Masters Grand Prix Champion.

Women’s Individual Masters Grand Prix Winners

Division      Name                                   Division       Name
40-44          Wakenda Tyler                     60-64          Jill Miller-Robinett
45-49           Cassandra Henkiel               65-69          Sabra Harvey
50-54           Marisa Sutera Strange         70-74           Dianne Anderson
55-59           Lorraine Jasper                   75-79           Madeline Bost

Wakenda Tyler [Syracuse NY] <320 pts=""> It was a close contest as Tyler, defending her 2016 MGP title, defeated her two closest rivals, Alice Kassens and Kathy Wiegand by 5 and 20 points respectively. Focused on GVH’s chances to win the 40+ Club GP, Tyler acquired Individual GP scores through consistent upper/mid pack finishes at the Road 1 Mile, 5K, 10K, the Masters 5k XC and Club XC. 
Wakenda Tyler 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 40-44 Winner (pictured at Masters 10K National Championship)

Cassendra Henkiel [Austin TX] <290> Henkiel defeated her closest rival, Kristin White, by 70 points. Like Tyler, Henkiel was focused on Team Rogue’s chances in the championships she entered. She only entered three events but made them count as she won the division in the 5K and 10K road events and finished 3rd in the highly competitive Club XC event. 
Cassandra Henkiel [right foreground #522] 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 45-49 Winner (pictured at Masters 5K National Championship) [photo credit: Amir Findling]

Marisa Sutera Strange [Pleasant Valley NY] <500> With the maximum possible 500 points, Sutera Strange, the 2016 MGP Champion, distanced her closest rival, Michelle Allen, by 105 points. Sutera Strange won the division title in the 5K, 8K, and 10K road contests as well as the 5km and Club XC events. 
Marisa Sutera Strange 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 50-54 Winner (pictured at Masters 5km Cross Country National Championship)

Lorraine Jasper [Birchrunville PA] <460> Jasper, the 2015 MGP Champion in the 50-54 division, had 25 points on her closest rival, her Athena teammate, Mary Swan, and 60 points on Susan ‘Lynn’ Cooke. Jasper won the division in the Road Mile and earned the division Bronze Medal in the 5K and 10K road contests and the 5K Masters and Club XC events. 
Lorraine Jasper 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 55-59 Winner (pictured at Masters Club Cross Country National Championship) [Photo by Michael Scott/ by me-psc]

Jill Miller-Robinett [Concord CA] <470> Miller-Robinett, the 2016 MGP Champion, defeated her closest rival, Mary Richards by 35 points. Miller-Robinett won the division at Club XC, no easy feat, and took the Silver Medal at the Road 1 Mile and 8K, and the division Bronze at the USATF XC and the 5k Masters XC. 
Jill Miller-Robinett 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 60-64 Winner (pictured at Masters Club Cross Country National Championship) [Photo by Michael Scott/ by me-psc]

Sabra Harvey [Houston TX] <500> Harvey, the 2014 MGP Champion and 2017 Masters Athlete of the Year, achieved the maximum 500 points, defeating her closest rival, Jo Anne Rowland, by 65 points. Harvey won the 1 Mile, 5K, 10K, and 15K road contests as well as the Club XC Championship. 
Sabra Harvey 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 65-69 Winner (pictured at Masters 15K National Championship)[Photo Credit: Marathon Foto]

Dianne Anderson [Danville CA] <495> Anderson, the defending 2016 Champion, achieved a near max of 495 points, defeating her closest rival, Irene Terronez, by over 200 points. Like her Impala teammate, Miller-Robinett, she ran for the team and earned individual honors too. 
Dianne Anderson 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 70-74 Winner (pictured at Masters 8K National Championship)

 Madeline Bost [Randolph NJ] <290> Bost wins the MGP Championship in this division for the 4th year in a row, by winning the 5K road and 5km XC Championships and claiming the Bronze Medal at the 8K Championship. As Bost herself puts it, “I am not the fastest runner in the Division, but I show up at Championships and compete, and so qualify for a Masters GP Award. I encourage other runners to do the same but so far no one else in the division has risen to the challenge of competing in at least 3 events.” Bost has one more year to reign over the division; it will be interesting to see if her urging others to compete in at least 3 events will bear fruit. 
Madelin Bost 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 75-79 Winner (pictured at Masters 5km Cross Country National Championship)

Men's Individual Masters Grand Prix Winners 

Division         Name                         Division         Name
40-44            David Angell               65-69           Tom Bernhard
45-49            John Gardiner             70-74            Paul Carlin
50-54            Kent Lemme               75-79            Charlie Patterson
55-59            Nat Larson                 80-84            Jim Askew
60-64            Kyle Hubbart

David Angell [Blue Ridge VA] <495> Angell almost achieved a perfect 500 by winning the 5K, 8K, 10K and 15K Road Championships and finishing 2nd in the Road Mile. He distanced his closest rival, Jake Stookey, by well over 200 points, to take his first Masters Grand Prix title.

David Angell 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 40-44 Winner [#14] (pictured at Masters 10K National Championship)

John Gardiner [Rancho Santa Margarita CA] <475>  Gardiner, the 2016 Men’s 40-44 MGP Champion, moved up to 45-49 and took the 2017 MGP crown by winning the division at the shortest, 1 Mile, and longest, Half Marathon, events of the year and taking the Silver Medal at the 15K road race and the Club XC Championship. A third in the USATF XC Championship at Bend completed his total, giving him a margin of over 100 points on Jonathan Frieder, who finished 2nd.
John Gardiner 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 45-49 Winner (pictured at Masters Half Marathon National Championship)

Kent Lemme [Pittsfield MA] <475> Lemme captured his first Masters GP title by winning the 15K, claiming the Silver Medal at the 5K and 8K road races and the 5km Masters XC Championship, capping it all off with the 90 points for a Bronze Medal finish at Club XC. That gave Lemme a margin of over 100 points on his closest rival, Kristian Blaich.
Kent Lemme 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 50-54 Winner (pictured at Masters 8K National Championship)

Nat Larson [Amherst MA] <500> After winning the 2016 Men’s 50-54 MGP, Larson moved up to 55-59 and took that crown with ease. His perfect score came from wins at the 1Mile, 5K and 15K road races and the 5 km Masters XC and the Club XC Championships. In the end he had a victory margin of over a hundred points on Fred Zalokar, who finished 2nd.
Kirk Larson [right of photo] 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 55-59 Winner (pictured at Masters 8K National Championship)

Kyle Hubbart [Broomfield CO] <440> Hubbart, running for the Boulder Road Runners, claimed his first MGP title this year by consistent performances near the top of the division, claiming the Bronze medal at the 1 Mile, 8K, 10K, and 15K, while finishing 5th at the highly competitive 5K road race. He outdistanced his closest rival, Reno Stirrat, by 60 points.

Kyle Hubbart 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 60-64 Winner (pictured at Masters 10K National Championship) [Photo Credit: USATF-New England/cropped by me psc]

Tom Bernhard [Castro Valley CA] <500>  Bernhard, the 2015 MGP winner in Men’s 60-64, took the 65-69 title this year with a perfect 500 points by winning the 1 Mile, 5K, 8K, 10K, and 15K road race championships demonstrating dominance across a wide range of distances. It was a very competitive group as Bernhard only had 25 points on Peter Mullin, who finished 2nd in the MGP.
Tom Bernhard 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 65-69 Winner (pictured at Masters 8K National Championship)

Paul Carlin [Indianapolis IN] <475> After finishing 3rd in the MGP the last three years, Carlin (that’s me!) enjoyed a winning season in 2017. I claimed the Half Marathon Championship, the Silver Medal in the 1 Mile, 8K, and 10K, and the Bronze Medal in the 5K and then held on as my main rival in this highly competitive division, Dave Glass, came on strong in the fall season,falling short by 10 points.

Paul Carlin 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 70-74 Winner (pictured at Masters One Mile National Championship) [Photo Credit: Frog Prince Studios/cropped by me-psc]

Charlie Patterson [Atlanta GA] <460> Patterson claimed his first MGP title this year with consistent performances near the top of the division. He took the Silver medal at the 15K road race Championship and the 5km XC Championship, pairing those with Bronze Medal efforts at the 1 Mile and 5K road races and the USATF XC Championship to total 460 points. He needed them, as he outdistanced his teammate, Andrew Sherwood, by only 10 points.
Charlie Patterson 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 75-79 Winner (pictured at Masters 8K National Championship)

Jim Askew [Highlands NC] <495> Askew dominated this division to claim his first Masters GP title. Askew won the 1 Mile, and 5K road races as well as the 5km Masters XC and Club XC races; he finished 2nd in the 8K road race championship. Askew took on all comers and only one was able to beat him all year.
Jim Askew 2017 USATF Masters Grand Prix 80-84 Winner (pictured at Masters One Mile National Championship)


2017 USA Record Performances--ratified or pending.
A performance that is faster than an existing American record does not automatically become the new record; it is listed initially as a ‘pending’ American Record. There is a process for moving from ‘pending’ to ‘approved.’ First the course must be certified as accurately measured; second it must be record eligible. Any course that has more than 1 meter per kilometer drop overall or where the separation between the start and finish is more than 50% of the race course distance is considered record ineligible. Finally, a race official, usually the Race Director or the Official Referee must submit a Road Race Performance Recognition Application Form. Once the application has been submitted it must be ratified by the Records Committee and approved by the relevant USATF Sports Committee. Andy Carr prepares the report for the Annual Meeting of USATF, indicating whether a record application is ratified or pending. Masters LDR Records are approved (or not) by the Masters LDR Committee. Records which are still pending after a year are usually waiting on an application form to be submitted. It is rare for a record which has been pending for much more than a year to be eventually approved.

 Notation for last column in table below:
P = Pending - application or more information is needed from the race
= No "P" code indicates that mark is recommended for ratification pending course verification report
a = Possible for performance to be aided by slope/separation, can be "best", not eligible for record but superior to AR

[Distance Time Name Race Date Pending?]


5K 45-49 14:29 Kevin Castille Syracuse Festival of Races  10/1/17
5K 55-59 15:54 Nat Larson CVS Downtown 5K [Providence RI] 9/17/17    P
5K 55-59 16:06 Nat Larson Syracuse Festival of Races 10/1/17
5K 95-99 40:40 Roy Englert Syracuse Festival of Races 10/1/17
8K 55-59 26:55 Peter Magill Brea 8K Classic [Brea CA] 02/26/17
8K 55-59 26:19 Nat Larson Rothman 8K [Philadelphia PA] 11/18/
15K 45-49   46:11 Kevin Castille Utica Boilermaker 07/09/17   P
15K 45-49   46:34 Kevin Castille Tulsa Run 10/28/17    P
30K 50-54 1:51:09 Mike McManus Around the Bay [Hamilton, Ont CAN]   03/27/17    P
10 Mi 45-49 49:03 Kevin Castille Crim Festival of Races [Flint MI] 08/26/17    P
HMar 40-44 1:03:02 Bernard Lagat Great North Run [Tyneside UK] 09/10/17    P
H Mar 45-49 1:05:16 Kevin Castille Akron Half Marathon 09/23/17    P

5K 85-89 39:41 Anny Stockman Syracuse Festival of Races 10/1/17    P
10K 65-69 41:57 Kathryn Martin ASPIRE [Plainview NY] 04/01/17  P
10K 65-69 42:06 Sabra Harvey James Joyce Ramble [Dedham MA] 04/01/17  P
10K 80-84 55:10 Libby James Fortitude 10K [Fort Collins CO] 09/04/17  P
15K 65-69 1:05:04 Kathryn Martin Caumsett Park [Lloyd Neck NY] (split) 03/05/17  P
20K 65-69 1:27:45 Kathryn Martin Caumsett Park [Lloyd Neck NY] (split) 03/05/17  P
25K 65-69 1:50:38 Kathryn Martin Caumsett Park [Lloyd Neck NY] (split) 03/05/17  P
10Mi 65-69 1:08:54 Kathryn Martin Sayville Brewery 10 Miler [Patchogue NY] 01/04/17 P
10Mi 65-69 1:13:13 Edie Stevenson Cherry Blossom 10 Miler [Wash DC] 04/02/17
HMar 65-69 1:33:37 Kathryn Martin SHAPE [New York NY] 04/30/17  
HMar 70-74 1:47:18 Nancy Rollins Door County HM [Peninsula St Pk, WI] 05/06/17  P
Mar 65-69 3:31:01 Jeannie Rice Illinois Marathon [Champaign IL] 04/21/17  P
Mar 65-69 3:29:47 Jeannie Rice Columbus Marathon [Columbus OH] 10/15/17

10K 60-64 39:19 Joan Samuelson Beach to Beacon 10K [Cape Elizabeth ME] 08/05/17 a
a Beach to Beacon is not record eligible because there is a greater than 50% separation between start and finish. Most point-to-point courses are not record eligible.

The Otto Essig Award is presented to an individual or individuals who have performed exemplary service for the Masters Long Distance Running Community. The 2017 Award will be shared by: Colleen Magnussen, Mike Nier, and Przemek Nowicki.

Magnussen and Nier, through their website,, provide updated standings for the USATF Masters Grand Prix-Club Standings. Nowicki has developed a program to provide updated standings for the Masters Grand Prix-Individual Standings. Both make this service available gratis to USATF and the Masters Long Distance Running Community.

Przemek Nowicki 2017 Otto Essig Award Winner (pictured at 2017Masters Club Cross Country National Championship) [Photo by Michael Scott/ by me-psc]

Colleen Magnussen, 2017 Otto Essig Award Winner (pictured at 2015 Masters 1 Mile Championship) [Photo Credit: Run Michigan] 

Mike Nier 2017 Otto Essig Award Winner (pictured at 2017 Masters 10K Championship) [Photo Credit-USATF-New England/cropped by me-psc]

Saturday, December 23, 2017

New Masters Age Division Champions Crowned at 2017 USATF Club Cross Country Championships

December 20 2017. Weather conditions were tough on Saturday, December 9th at 9 am, with 24 degree temperatures and 10-11 mph winds. There was no snow but a 14 degree wind chill is no fun, especially on an open XC course like the one at Masterston Station Park in Lexington, Kentucky. But as the old saying goes, when the going gets tough, the Masters Athletes get going! And go they did! Focused mostly on the Team Championships in the offing, it is also true that the top runners in each age division were eyeing their potential rivals, hoping to claim the victory or at least be on the age division podium. The 40-59 year old men contested their divisions over a 10km race course, with the 60 and up men covering an 8K course. The women, regardless of age, contested their contests over a 6km course.

40-44 In the preview I picked Club NW's Janet McDevitt to repeat as Age Division winner, despite the difficulties that presents in the last year of an age division. Two comparative newcomers, Margaret Brennan, 40, and Brennan Liming, 41, of the Bull City Track Club, were also identified as contenders, along with Julie Mercado, a strong regional runner who has tested herself at USATF Masters Track Championships but never at XC or on the road. That may change in the future. Looking back to the 2016 Masters Outdoor TF Championships in Michigan, her 1500 Meter victory in 4:56, coming in 6 seconds ahead of Melissa Gacek, who finished 2nd this year in the Masters Road Mile and 15K Championships, suggests Mercado has potential to make herself known on the roads as well. Liming wasted no time in going to the front, along with 45-49 co-favorite, Kris Paaso. Brennan settled in a few strides back, with McDevitt behind her, running with her old 45-49 rival, Sonja Friend-Uhl. Mercado came next with Kelly Couch tucked in behind, staying close. Based on her road times, I had not thought Couch would be in the top group but she was proving me wrong.

As they headed into the 2nd loop it was still Liming in first but with Brennan right there behind her. It was more than a few strides back to McDevitt who was in danger of losing contact, followed by Couch and then Mercado. In the 2nd half of the last loop, Brennan was able to pull away from Liming. Brennan covered the 1st loop in 11:08 and the second in 11:09 for an incredibly even pacing effort.

Margaret Brennan finishes off a challenging XC race taking first in the 40-44 division at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship
Liming was not able to match her early pacing but that pacing had put her in a position to challenge for the win. Second place, 11 seconds back, was not a bad reward. Couch surprised me even more, not merely by keeping Mercado at bay but by pulling even and then pulling past McDevitt to claim 3rd in the division with a 9 second margin on McDevitt and 25 on Mercado.

Margaret Brennan 22:17     Brennan Liming 22:28     Kelly Couch 22:33

With the first 4 runners in the Men’s 40-59 race overall coming from this age division and 5 of the first seven, it unfolded just like the overall race described in the earlier recap posted on December 13th. The lead pack consisting of David Angell, West Valley Track Club's Neville Davey, John Howell of the Bowerman Track Club, Jorge Maravilla, Davey's teammate, and Howell's teammate, Greg Mitchell hung tight together for the first two loops, except for a brief surge by Davey, Howell and Maravilla that gave them some separation. But that was short-lived as the others closed up to reform the lead pack. No major changes happened until the Davey made his move on the last loop. Howell and Maravilla could not stay with Davey but opened up a gap on the others.

Neville Davey takes the overall and 40-44 title at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship
Up the last hill Howell was able to get away from Maravilla to claim 2nd, with Maravilla holding off a fast closing rush by Angell.

Neville Davey 32:43     John Howell 33:02     Jorge Maravilla 33:07

45-49 This division recap is mostly a replay of the battle between Strava’s Kris Paaso and Atlanta’s Sonja Friend-Uhl for the overall win. Both Paaso and Friend-Uhl ran beautifully paced races; Paaso just had too much for Friend-Uhl on this course on this day. Paaso had a 6 second edge at the end of the first loop and grew that to 19 seconds once she surged with a kilometer to go.
Kris Paaso takes the Overall and 45-49 win at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship

Friend-Uhl ran 11:12 for her first loop, and 11:11 for her second as she left all other rivals behind. The battle for the final podium spot was between Team Rogue’s Cassandra Henkiel, and Rachel Hopkins, of Sirius Athletics. Hopkins got through the opening 300 meters downhill faster, settling in behind Mercado; Henkiel was a few strides back, running with her 55-59 teammate, Carmen Ayala-Troncoso. By the back of the first 3K loop, Hopkins had about 25 yards on Henkiel but with no other age division rivals between them. Henkiel gradually pulled her back over the final kilometer of the first loop, heading into the 2nd loop with a 1 second advantage. Hopkins fought to stay close over the first part of the loop but Henkiel eventually proved too strong, pulling away to claim the final spot on the podium by 14 seconds.

Kris Paaso 22:04     Sonja Friend-Uhl 22:23      Cassandra Henkiel 23:09 

Cal Coast's John Gardiner, who finished 3rd overall last year, entered as the favorite, followed by Jef Scott who finished 12th overall last year. Others mentioned as contenders included: the Bowerman Track Club's Matthew Farley, Atlanta's Brent Fields, Jonathan Frieder, Derrick Jones, of the Central Mass Striders, West Valley's Charles Mullane, Greg Putnam, Jones's teammate, and Mark Yuen, Mullane's teammate. As it turned out, the doubts about Farley due to a lack of races this fall was borne out by him not running after all. But similar doubts about Yuen were not ratified as Yuen ran for West Valley. Although I was aware of Philippe Rolly and Jason Ryf, I mistakenly thought there would be too many runners ahead of them. By the 2k mark, Gardiner was running in the lead pack along with Scott, tucked in behind Gardiner. Then there was a gap back to the next pack which included Ryf and Rolly. By the end of the first loop, Gardiner and Scott were still part of the overall lead pack; 50 meters back was Rolly with a slight lead on Ryf who had a slight lead on Jones.

Jef Scott wins the 45-49 division at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship
Then it was a similar gap back to Mullane and Frieder, who was not faring as well as he had in several break out road races earlier this fall. The second loop, the first of two 3K loops, saw no change in the top 4 as Gardiner and Scott continued in the lead pack, now well over 100 meters ahead of Rolly who now had 50 meters on Ryf. Fifty meters further back it was Mullane and Yuen and then Frieder, Jones and Putnam another 30 meters back. Scott pulled away from Gardiner over the last kilometer for an 8 second gap at the tape. Rolly was 27 seconds back in 3rd with Ryf in 4th, 28 seconds further back.

 Jef Scott 33:14      John Gardiner 33:22     Philippe Rolly 33:49

50-54 As I noted in the preview, Athena’s Marisa Sutera Strange is the defending age division champion, and age division winner this year at the Road Mile, the 5K, 8K and 10K national championships. She was the prohibitive favorite. The only runner in the division who had beaten her all year was Tania Fischer, of the Janes Elite Racing, at Bend. But that was an unusually difficult course due to the melting snow making the course a slippery mess. Nonetheless, Strange would, no doubt, be looking for her revenge in this first meeting since that race. Fischer’s teammate, Kirsten Leetch, made the podium at Bend behind Fischer and Strange, so could factor in here as well. Liisa Miller, of the Santa Cruz Track Club, who finished 2nd last year, was likely to factor into the podium race as well. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to Aeron Arlin Genet but I could find no races for her in 2017 and only one in 2016, an Open XC race in California. Had I had time to look more carefully at that race, I would have found she had only finished a minute behind Nancy Thomas, who had finished 2nd in the 45-49 division at the 2016 Club XC Championships. The gun went off, Genet sprinted across the field and down the hill, finding herself in the division lead, running just behind the overall leaders. Fischer came next, followed by her teammate, Leetch. . As the race unfolded, Strange started out with her usual steady pace, which often leaves her making up ground during the race. By the time they reached the 2k mark, Genet still had the lead but now it was Leetch in 2nd, about a dozen yards back, with Fischer next and then Strange,with ten yards or so between each of them. Miller was another 25 yards back from Strange. Strange continued to pour it on over the last kilometer of the first loop, crossing the timing mats and heading into the 2nd loop with a 2 second margin on Genet. Leetch was 6 seconds back from Genet and 10 seconds ahead of Fischer. It did not look like this would be Miller’s day as she was still 30 yards back from Fischer. Strange gradually pulled away from Genet, matching her first 11:36 loop with a second one for even pacing and the win.
Marisa Sutera Streange [#1005] leads the Impala's Nancy Thomas and a host of others at the 2K mark of the first loop on her way to the win in the 50-54 division at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship

Genet showed a lot of grit in keeping the gap from growing more. Strange took the division victory with a 9 second margin as Genet’s 6 second margin over Leetch at the end of the first loop grew to 21 by the end of the race. Leetch had no problem closing out the podium however as neither Fischer nor Miller were able to mount a serious threat over the last 3 kilometers.

Marisa Sutera Strange 23:12     Aeron Arlin Genet 23:21     Kirsten Leetch 23:42

My preview indicated that this divisional field was loaded. Some had done well at National Championship races this year like Atlanta's Kristian Blaich, who won the Age Division at the 8K and 10K and Greater Springfield's Kent Lemme who won the division at the 15K championship; both also had other podium finishes. Others likethe BAA's Peter Hammer, Club NW's Carl Combs, and Mike McManus, running for the HOKA Aggie Running Club. have been known primarily for their performances at Cross Country Championships with only the occasional foray onto the roads. Hammer took the division and almost the overall win at the 10K Championship in 2016 and Combs claimed the division title at the 5K in Syracuse this year. McManus, to his credit, won the Half Marathon divisional championship this year. Cal Coast's Christian Cushing-Murray was aging up from 45-49 but had only been out of rehab and recovery for a few months. And then there was the great Marathon and Half Marathon champion, Tracy Lokken, of Playmakers Elite/New Balance, who had been away from championships for a couple of years, rounding out a very tough field. I gave the nod to Hammer, Combs and Blaich in that order, but was well aware how likely I was to be wrong on one count or another. By the end of the first loop, Hammer had already separated himself from the divisional field as he was in the main chase pack. Lemme was a few seconds back, and then a 10 second gap back to the 2nd chase pack which included Combs and McManus. Cushing-Murray and Blaich were already over 100 meters back and unlikely to factor into the race for the podium. By the end of the 2nd loop, it was still Hammer with a small lead on Lemme, about 5 seconds, and now it was 17 seconds back to Combs and McManus. Hammer kept it up all the way, accelerating over the last 3K loop to finish in 33:37, over half a minute ahead of his closest divisional pursuer.
Peter Hammer was tucked in at the back of this chase pack of 40-49 year old athletes at the end of the 2nd loop; Kent Lemme [far left, white singlet] tries to maintain contact at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship.

Lemme’s torrid pace over the first 7 kilometers took its toll as Combs was able to pull even and then pass Lemme on the final climb to the finish to claim 2nd by a mere 2 seconds. Lemme had 3rd with a 17 second margin back to McManus, followed by Cushing-Murray and Blaich. Lokken finished 9th—not bad for an early trial after recovering from surgery. But look out next year if Lokken makes it all the way back.

Peter Hammer 33:37      Carl Combs 34:15      Kent Lemme 34:17

55-59 I had identified New Balance Tampa’s Trish Butler as the favorite based on her 19:15 5K at Syracuse and thought this might be the follow on to her break-out win as a newcomer to the 55-59 division in Boston at the 5km XC. But first she would have to get past the veteran Hall of Famer, Carmen Ayala-Troncoso, of Team Rogue, who skipped this race last year but took the title in San Francisco in 2015. The Athena Track Club’s Lorraine Jasper, was also likely to be a factor with a strong fall season behind her. She took 3rd behind Ayala-Troncoso’s win, at Syracuse in the (road) 5K, and 2nd behind Butler at the 5 km XC in Boston. Joan Mabe of the Bull City Track Club aged up since last year when her time would have been fast enough to win 55-59. It rapidly became clear that this was not going to be Butler’s day. The gun went off and Butler scooted across the field and down the hill, but the first sign that this might not be Butler’s day was that just ahead of her by the foot of the downslope was Ayala-Troncoso, with Mabe tucked in behind her. Jasper was a few yards back. By the time they reached the 2 k mark, there was little doubt about how things were going as Ayala-Troncoso had stretched her lead to about two dozen yards on Mabe, with Butler perhaps another 40 yards further back, and then it was Jasper. By the end of the first 3K loop, Ayala-Troncoso sailed through with over 50 meters on Mabe, with Butler at least that far back, and Jasper now only a few strides back in 4th. Mabe hung tough over the second loop, running a second faster than Ayala-Troncoso. But that was not enough as Ayala-Troncoso enjoyed her second division victory at Club XC in the last 3 years.
Carmen Ayala-Troncoso [Left] matches strides with 40-44 division contender, Brooke Bray, 200 meters into the 2nd 3K loop at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship

Jasper threw in a 12:35 to follow her first loop of 12:34 for a very consistent pace and third place behind Mabe. Butler finished off her ‘tough day at the office’ 30 meters back in 4th. Butler is a competitor though, and will use this as motivation—watch out next year!

Carmen Ayala-Troncoso 24:35      Joan Mabe 24:49     Lorraine Jasper 25:09

Nat Larson, of the Greater Springfield Harriers and the 2017 Age Division Runner of the Year for both 50-54 and 55-59, was the odds on favorite to win his first age division Club XC Championship. I had Cal Coast’s Matt Ebiner favored for 2nd but he did not make it to the race after all. I picked his teammate, Ken Ernst, for 3rd, perhaps a bit of a stretch, based on his 4th place finish in 50-54 at Club XC in 2015. He did not race for a while after that and his best recent 5K was 17:09. Still that was nearly a minute faster than he had been running earlier in the year so might signal a strong upward trend. Playmaker Elite's Dave Bussard, Iain Mickle, Roger Sayre,  Thoroughbred Racing's Rick Torres, Twin Cities Running Company's John Van Danacker, and Fred Zalokar all had some recent races to suggest they could make a run for the podium. For some reason I ignored Patrick Billig, Van Danacker's teammate, and Bowerman’s Mike Blackmore. Billig’s 1:24 Half Marathon threw me off; I should have paid more attention to his 58:27 in the Twin Cities 10 Miler. Blackmore has not been a strong Club XC performer in recent years but he improved from 4th at Bend in 2016 to 3rd in the division in 2017. Larson lost no time in racing to the front of the division, taking up his place in the second chase pack. By the end of the first loop, he had over 150 meters on the field. The rest of the field was tight though with only 19 seconds between 2nd and 6th: Van Danacker, Ernst, Blackmore, Sayre, and Billig in that order. It was more of the same on the 2nd loop as Larson stretched his lead to nearly 300 meters. Van Danacker had established a little separation from the others, enjoying 50 meters on the trio of Blackmore, Ernst and Sayre, with Billig now 40 meters further back. Larson roared across the finish line in 34:13, taking first by almost two minutes!
Approaching the 3K mark on the first 4K loop, Nat Larson [#1566, white singlet] tracking 40-44 runners, Ryan McCalmon [#1432] and Ethan Nedeau [#1571], puts a lot of distance on his 50-54 rivals at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship

Despite his best efforts, Blackmore was not able to get any closer to Van Danacker who took 2nd by 14 seconds. Blackmore took 3rd with Ernst 7 seconds back in 4th, followed by Sayre and Billig.

Nat Larson 34:13     John Van Danacker 36:02     Mike Blackmore 36:16

 60-64 I tabbed Impala Racing's Jill Miller-Robinett as the favorite but after her, mentioned a number of possibilities. In the end I chose Atlanta's Mary Richards and Liberty AC's Alda Cossi as 2nd and 3rd favorites ahead of GVH's Cheryl Guth, Joanna Harper, of Team Red Lizard, Greater Boston's Claire McManus, Guth's teammate, Sharon Moore, and Atlanta's Margaret Taylor, and Cynthia Williams. When the gun fired, Miller-Robinett made her way towards the front of the division pack, but found herself initially trailing Cossi, who was first down the slope to the soccer loop, followed by Moore, Patricia Ford, and Harper. Then it was a few strides back to Miller-Robinett, with McManus and Richards following in that order. By the time they reached the 2k mark of the 1st loop, Moore had the lead, to my surprise, followed closely by Ford and then Harper, with a gap back to Cossi and Miller-Robinett, now side by side. Ford caught me totally by surprise. I had been unable to locate a strong performance coming into the race but clearly this XC course was to her liking. Twenty-five yards further back was McManus, with another 25 or so back to Richards. This was not going to be her day, apparently. Harper surged over the next kilometer, striding by the mat at the end of the first loop in 14:04. Twenty-five meters back was a trio of runners as Miller-Robinett and Ford had closed the gap to Moore. McManus was now a good 40 meters back., and then Cossi. The second loop had the fireworks as Miller-Robinett was now into her stride and gaining on Harper. After a 14:12 opening loop, she had a 14:15 loop for 28:27 and an 11 second margin of victory.
Two hundred meters into the 2nd 3 kilometer loop, Jill Miller-Robinett [#1076] leads her two 60-64 rivals, Patricia Ford blue singlet] and Sharon Moore [#1060] on her way to the division victory at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship

 Harper held onto second by just 2 seconds over a fast-closing Ford. Five seconds later it was McManus with a strong late surge that brought her home with a negative split, in 4th. Moore, Richards, and Cossi followed in 5th, 6th, and 7th.

Jill Miller-Robinett 28:27     Joanna Harper 28:38     Patricia Ford 28:40

With the top 10 overall in the Men’s 60+ 8K race all coming from the 60-64 group, the recap published earlier for that race holds for this one. Just to reprise, Club Northwest’s Joe Sheeran went out right from the start to establish a gap by the time they hit the soccer loop for the first time. The anticipated duel between him and Greater Lowell’s John Barbour never materialized as Barbour’s Achilles acted up and forced him from the race. Atlanta’s Ken Youngers and Barbour’s teammate, Matthew Curran, gave chase so the gap would not grow too large to overcome. Sheeran’s teammate, Rick Becker, joined initially by Atlanta’s Mike Anderson and Shore’s Reno Stirrat, took a slightly more measured approach. By the end of the first 4K loop there was little doubt about who would win; Sheeran had over 150 meters on the field. Youngers was looking good with 40 meters over Curran with Becker now just a few strides back. Sheeran never faltered as he finished off the 2nd loop to take the win in 29:29.
Joe Sheeran powers through the end of the first 4K loop on his way to a huge victory in the 60-64 division at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship

It was over a minute before the next runner came in. Becker had saved enough for a good closing kilometer which carried him past Youngers into 2nd, with Youngers 6 seconds back in 3rd, vowing to get in more weekly mileage next year. Curran followed in 4th with Anderson 5th.

Joe Sheeran 29:29     Rick Becker 30:32      Ken Youngers 30:38

65-69 The 15K Championship in Tulsa saw a tremendous gathering of top runners in this age division. Sabra Harvey, 2017 Masters Athlete of the Year, Jeanette Groesz, Suzanne Ray, Jeanniie Rice, and Edie Stevenson met to contest the event. On the roads on that day the honors went to Harvey, with Stevenson second, followed by Ray, Rice, and Groesz. Still, Cross Country is a different discipline over a different surface and, in this case, a little over half the distance. Harvey, the defending champion, was the prohibitive favorite, no doubt. Ray and Groesz were picked for the next two spots. Certainly Harvey moved smartly to the front of the division in the opening race across the field and down to the soccer field loop. Seemingly accepting the inevitable, Ray and Groesz, Team Red Lizard teammates, were running together about 20 meters behind Harvey, but comfortably ahead of Impala’s Jo Anne Rowland, running easily, with a big smile on her face, in 4th. By the 2 kilometer mark. Harvey had stretched her lead and Ray was now setting the pace, a few yards ahead of Groesz. By the time they finished the first loop, Harvey had well over a hundred meters on the chase pack of the Red Lizard two—still only 3 seconds apart.
Sabra Harvey [foreground] striding ahead of two runners a dozen years younger, adds to her gap over her 65-69 rivals on the way to the division victory at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship

Harvey added another 49 seconds to her lead over the 2nd loop while Ray eventually kicked away from Groesz to take 2nd by 40 meters. Two minutes later Rowland, who was focused on the W60+ team battle with the Atlanta Track Club, crossed the line, with her Impala teammate Donna Chan 14 seconds further back. It was, as anticipated, an easy win for Harvey.

Sabra Harvey 26:15     Suzanne Ray 27:46     Jeanette Groesz 27:58

I had James Foster, of the Syracuse Track Club, as the favorite, with Atlanta teammates Kirk Larson and Jerry Learned in 2nd and 3rd. But Foster’s teammate, Theodore Larison was not far back from Learned at the 5K Championships in Syracuse and Boulder’s Richard Katz finished just a half minute back from Learned last year in Tallahassee. Foster went right to work at the front of the group and coming out of the first soccer field loop just before the 1 Mile mark, Foster had about 20 meters on Larson who had a good 40 meters on Larison and Learned who were together, about 10 meters ahead of Katz. By the end of the first loop, Foster had over 100 meters on Larson but Larson enjoyed an even bigger gap back to the three chasers, Katz, Larison, and Learned. It was more of the same on the 2nd 4K loop as Foster extended his lead to win in 33:21 with over a minute margin of victory.
James Foster [blue singlet] running with 60-64 runner, Scott McEntee. Foster was building an early gap on his chief 65-69 rivals on his way to the 65-69 victory at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship

Larson in turn nailed 2nd with over a minute back to the closest finisher. Katz was able to pull away and establish a 15 second gap over Larison as Katz took 3rd and Larison 4th. Learned finished in 5th just 6 seconds back.

James Foster 33:21      Kirk Larson 34:34     Richard Katz 35:53

70-74 Dianne Anderson, of the Impala Racing team is the defending champion and entered the race as the favorite. Ann Hirn and Margaret Champion were expected to battle for second; based on comparing 5K times, it looked like Hirn had a slight edge. By the time they entered the soccer loop, Anderson had 20 meters on Hirn, with Champion next. By the time they hit the 2K mark, Anderson had doubled her lead over Hirn and now Champion was about 30 yards back from Hirn. By the time they crossed the mat at the end of the first loop, at 3K. Anderson had almost a 150 meter lead over Hirn. Champion was now about 40 meters back. Anderson added to the gap over the 2nd loop, winning in the end by over 5 minutes.
Dianne Anderson [blue singlet] sets the early pace for her 70-74 rival;s on her way to the 70-74 victory at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship

Even though Hirn ran a negative split, Champion had been holding more in reserve as she ran 46 seconds faster on the 2nd loop, passing Hirn and taking 2nd with 23 seconds to spare.

Dianne Anderson 35:55     Margaret Champion 41:12     Ann Hirn 41:35

 In my preview for this division I picked the Tamalpa teammates, Don Porteous and Len Goldman, who finished 2nd and 3rd to Ron Wells at Club XC last year to go 1-2 this year. Wells was out due to a freak accident in an airline terminal that had nothing to do with running. Dave Glass, who won the last three national championship races, the 5K road at Syracuse, the 5km XC at Boston and the 15K road at Tulsa, was picked for third. I added myself, Paul Carlin, Tamalpa’s 3rd runner, Gene French, and GVH’s Tony Gingello as possible contenders, but only Gingello played a role in the hunt for the podium. Although I knew comparatively little about them, I noted that the Eastside Runners out of Seattle had two possible contenders in Craig Andersen and David Longmuir. When the gun sounded, Longmuir went out hard. By the time they were emerging from the 1st soccer field loop he had nearly 40 meters on Porteous who, in turn, had at least that much on Glass, with Goldman ten meters back, and Gingello tracking him 5 meters further back. By the end of the first 4K loop, Longmuir had over 50 meters on Porteous who had, in his turn, stretched his lead over the three chasers, Glass, Goldman and Gingello. The only thing that changed on the 2nd loop was the distance between the 5 rivals. Porteous ran a gutsy 2nd loop but could not get any closer; Longmuir won the division with almost 40 seconds to spare.
David Longmuir [red singlet] gets the jump on his 70-74 rivals coming out of the soccer fields just before the 1 mile mark on his way to the 70-74 victory at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship

Glass followed in third another 49 seconds back, but kept Goldman and Gingello at bay as Goldman finished in 4th eighteen seconds back, with Gingello in 5th.

David Longmuir 34:56     Don Porteous 35:35     Dave Glass 36:24

75-79 Local runner, Mary Nagle, was unopposed but would have made any rival who showed up work for a win. She ran 37:12, coming in ahead of a few younger runners.
Tammy Nagle [#1025]  heads out, along with teammate, Katie Yunker, onto the soccer fields in the first 3K loop on her way to the 75-79 division victory at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship

Mary Nagle 37:12

Even though Atlanta's David Turner had finished 2nd to John Elliott at Club XC in this division in 2016, I thought a bunch of other runners had had stronger years and would overtake him. I picked James Callaway, of Florida Track Club-West, and Denny LeBlanc of Greater Lowell who had both aged up from 70-74 since last year for 1st and 3rd, and Edward Smith, a strong runner for Shore AC, to take 2nd. As it turned out, Smith did not make it to the race after all. But Turner’s teammate, Charlie Patterson, had also aged up from 70-74 and figured to make a run for the podium as well. By the time they hit the 1 mile mark, the contenders were pretty well spread out with Callaway taking a strong lead, followed by Turner, LeBlanc and Patterson separated by smaller gaps than the gap between Turner and Callaway. By the end fo the first 4K loop, Callaway had over 100 meters over Turner who was gamely clinging to a 12 second lead over LeBlanc who had only 4 seconds on Patterson. Callaway pulled away over the final loop to win by over a minute.
James Callaway sets the pace for the 75-79 division through the soccer fields of the first 4K loop on his way to the division victory at the 2017 USATF National Club XC Championship

But the other three got closer as LeBlanc and Patterson both closed on Turner. Turner proved to be a tough competitor as he held them both off to take 2nd by 3 seconds over LeBlanc, with another 5 seconds back to Patterson. That was a tight finish to determine who made the podium!

James Callaway 42:26     David Turner 43:50     Denny LeBlanc 43:53

80-84 Tami Graf, who took the honors in this division in the road 5K National Championship at Syracuse, was unopposed here. With no rivals in sight, she took her time and enjoyed the 6K win in 51:24.

Tami Graf 51:24

Jim Askew, of the Atlanta Track Club, took this division unopposed, clocking 55:39 over the 8K course. This finished off a terrific string on wins at national Championships from August through October.

Jim Askew 55:39 .

Another great National Club Cross Country Championship is in the books. Masterson Station Park in Lexington KY always provides a challenging course. The frigid weather and stiff winds made it a little more so this year. As always though, the runners survived it and will run another day, whether they ran well or not so well. Those who ran well will remember and savor the memory; those who did not have their best day will remember and use it as motivation. Next year’s race is in Spokane Washington on December 8 2018. The next race this year is in Tallahassee Florida on February 3 2018, the USATF Cross Country Championships; there should be stellar fields for both. After that the 2018 road season begins with the USATF National 8K Championships in Virginia Beach Virginia on March 17 2018. Come celebrate St. Paddy’s day at a National Masters Championship with a wicked fast 8K course. Mark your calendars!