It was a gorgeous site with the manicured course laid out over and around rolling hills. At first glance it looks to be gentle and forgiving but the practiced eye saw it differently and realized this would be a challenging course.
Note: In coverage of individual runners below, team affiliation is in parentheses after the name. If that team was not in the team competition, it is accompanied by a 'unat' notation to denote that the athlete was not scored for the team competition, only as an individual.
So what transpired? First up were the women, and this recap is focused on them The men will be covered in a future blog post.
Women. All of the age groups, in a fine show of solidarity, ran together, but were scored by age division. Because the cross country emphasis is more on teams than individuals, I cover team results for the age group first, followed by individuals, followed by age-grading results. For the women, team scoring is based on the first three finishers (with 4th and 5th runners, if any, allowed to displace runners from other teams). The teams were not only running for medals and glory; the cash prizes were $150 for a team first, followed by $75 and $50 cash prizes for 2nd and 3rd.
(W40+ Teams). Complete teams were entered by Dave's Racing Team (Ohio), Patient Endurance Racing (Michigan), Purdue Area Track Club, and Team Ohio Track Club. The pavilion tents were starting to flap and billow as the women lined up at the start. Off they went into the whistling winds! The team race was a classic example of the importance of the third runner and how a team that does not make the podium may well affect the finishing order of those who do. It also shows an athlete dropping into a much younger age group to help the team out. Rachel Kinsman took the team first for the Dave's while Serena Kessler hammered home in 2nd, keeping the Patient team in the hunt; Kimberly Wise, the first runner for Team Ohio, came in 4th to keep them in contact with the first two teams; the score was 1 to 2 to 4 for Dave's, Patient and Team Ohio respectively. After the 2nd runner for each team was in, the score stood at 5 to 7 to 9 for Patient, Dave's, and Team Ohio. Serena Kessler and Erin LaRusso had given Patient the outright lead despite Rachel Kinsman's team first.
|Rachel Kinsman, speeding to the finish line to claim 2nd overall and first in the team competition for Dave's Team of Ohio at the USA 5 km Masters Championships at Carmel, IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Paul Carlin, runningprof.com]|
But then Amy Spieth and Michelle Brooks of Dave's came in together in 6th and 7th to give the Dave's a total of 14 points and put the pressure on Patient Endurance's 3rd runner.
|Serena Kessler, finishing 2nd in the team competition to keep Patient Endurance Racing in the running for team gold at the USA 5 km Masters Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Paul Carlin, runningprof.com]|
If Patient's third runner, 56 year old Peggy Zeeb, could get the 8th spot, they would have an outright victory. But it was not to be. Julia Verville (Purdue) sped down the slope to the finish to take 8th. Zeeb's incredible 9th place effort did, nonetheless, get Patient Endurance Racing a tie with Dave's Racing, 14 to 14.
|Kimberly Wise, Team Ohio's first runner to finish in the W40+ team Competition at the USA 5 km Masters Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Paul Carlin, runningprof.com]|
Team Ohio was not far back with 20 points (Kimberly Wise, Nancy Jeggle, Alix Payton) to take the third spot on the podium.
W40 Individual. By the 1.5 kilometer mark, Sonja Friend-Uhl (Atllanta Track Club/unat) had established the gap she would hold all the way to the tape. Battling the winds she trooped up the last hill and then down the finishing slope to a win in 18:23! The secret was out; time's were not going to be anything to brag about on this day in this wind. Friend-Uhl's three 5K outings on the road this year were 17:03, 17:22 and 17:40.
|Sonja Friend-Uhl takes first place by a wide margin at the USA 5 km Masters Cross Country Championships at Carmel, IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]|
A strong surge over the closing kilometers by second place runner, Rachel Kinsman (Dave's Racing), left her only 14 seconds back from the winner.
|Julie Mercado, Runner's Plus Elite, takes third place overall at the USA 5 km Masters Cross Country championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Paul Carlin, runningprof.com]|
Third went to Julie Mercado (Runner's Plus Elite) in 19:00, just holding out by 9 seconds over the sterling local runner from Westfield, Indiana, Lucie Mays Sulewski.
W45 Individual. Debbie Ackerman of Wilmette, Illinois took the gold medal in this division handily in a time of 20:35.
|Debbie Ackerman, claiming first place in the W45 division with runners in hot pursuit, at the USA 5 km Masters Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Paul Carlin, runningprof.com]|
But the race for silver was one of the closest of the day with Laura Young, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma just edging Michelle Brooks (Dave's Racing) by a mere two seconds!
W50+ Team. Team Ohio won this division pretty convincingly, 8 to 13, with Debbie Kilpatrick, Rosalie Franek, and Jodie Smith taking 1st, 2nd and 5th in 20:42, 21:23 and 24:06 respectively--some running!
|Debbie Kilpatrick, galloping down the final stretch to get team first in the W50+ division for Team Ohio at the USA 5 km Masters Cross Country championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014. [photo: Paul Carlin, runningprof.com]|
|Rosalie Franek, 2nd runner in for Team Ohio as they take the gold in the W50+ division at the USA 5 km Masters Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Paul Carlin, runningprof.com]|
The Genesee Valley Harriers team took silver with Colleen Magnussen, Bonnie Lindblom and Marie White finishing in 3rd, 4th and 6th in 23:26, 23:42 and 24:23.
|Bonnie Lindblom, 2nd Genesee Valley Harrier to finish in the Women's 50+ Team Competition, at the USA 5 km Masters Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Paul Carlin, runningprof.com]|
W50 Individual. Defending champion, Marisa Sutera Strange, Pleasant Valley, New York, carried her 2014 road dominance over to the cross country fields as she won convincingly in 19:28.
|Anjelica Guerrero, of Chicago, 3rd place in the W50 division at the USA 5 km Masters Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Paul Carlin, runningprof.com]|
W55 Individual. Peggy Zeeb (Patient Endurance Racing), finishing in 22:47, took this division by a wide margin over local runner, Jeannie Lampert, of Indianapolis, who captured second in 23:15, followed by Rae Alexander (Team Ohio) in 25:21.
W60+ Team. The Genesee Valley Harriers and the Playmakers Elite/New Balance teams battled it out over the rolling hills of central Indiana. In the end, Genesee Valley got the upper hand with a 1st, 3rd and a 4th from Sharon Moore, Carolyn Smith-Hanna, and Jeanne Herrick in 23:36, 25:29, and 26:21 respectively. By preventing any runners from coming between her and Smith-Hanna, Herrick put the icing on the cake, guaranteeing the 8-13 win,. Deborah Feltz took 2nd for the Playmakers in 25:07 and was followed in by Jean Bolley (27:25) and Donna Swanson (28:47) in 5th and 6th.
W60 Individual. This division, not surprisingly, belonged to Kathy Martin of Freeport, New York, the defending champion and 2013 Masters Runner of the Year. The one thing that made it doubtful was that she had missed races in September and October from a foot injury. But as usual, if racing in an event, Martin rises to the occasion.
|Kathy Martin strides to the finishing tape to take first place in her age group and to take the overall Age-grading first prize at the USA 5 km Masters Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]|
This was no exception as she won by over two minutes in 21:08 and finished 12th overall. Second in was Sharon Moore (Genesee Valley Harriers) with Deborah Feltz (Playmakers Elite) following in third place.
W65 Individual. This division was taken handily by Jane Treleven of Gig Harbor, Washington in a rapid 23:12. Terry Foody of Lexington, Kentucky, took 2nd.
W70+ Team. The Playmakers Elite/New Balance team, from Michigan, took this victory with no opposition. That does not mean they were taking it easy, though, far from it. Ellen Nitz would have been battling for 2nd place in the W65 division, had she been running in that age group. Shirley Larsen was only 22 seconds behind Nitz, and Janet Wallen finished the scoring for the Playmakers.
W70 Individual. Nitz, Larsen and Wallen took this 1-2-3 as noted in the W70+ Team write-up immediately above.
W75 Individual. One of the grand ladies of masters long distance running and a long time active participant in the governance of the sport, Madeline Bost took first place in this division. Bost, from Randolph, New Jersey, represented the Morris County Striders.
W80 Individual. Local runner, June Brumley, of Brownsburg, Indiana, was the eldest female participant at 80 years of age and took home the gold medal in this category.
Age-Grading Prizes. Just to refresh your memory, age-grading refers to a statistically based adjustment to actual times run, to reflect the aging process. Hence they can be used to compare thee quality of performance across masters athletes of different ages. USATF typically encourages races to put a substantial amount of the total purse into age-grading. Age-grading scores run from 0 to 100. A 100% signifies that someone has run as fast as the world's best possible time for that age group; a 90% means that the world record, expressed in minutes, is 90% of the actual time. So if the world's best possible time were 9 minutes [or 90 minutes] and someone took 10 minutes [or 100 minutes], the individual would be age-graded at 90%. Any grade at or above 90% is considered a 'world class' time. An 85% age grading is considered 'national class'. Most runners get their best age-grading times on flat road courses in good running weather, meaning moderate temperatures with no precipitation and little wind. There were separate competitions for women and men with the top 5 in each gender receiving prizes of $400, $300, $200, $100, and $50 for first through fifth respectively.
Because of the windy day and the tough course the only runner who exceeded 90% was 2013 Masters Runner of the Year, Kathy Martin. On most road courses, she scores in the upper 90's to 100; today she scored 94.50. Jane Treleven's trip from Gig Harbor, Washington was not in vain as she took the 2nd place prize in the age-grading category followed by Marisa Sutera Strange, both of whom exceeded 85%. Fourth and fifth went to Sonja Friend-Uhl and Rachel Kinsman, the two top overall finishers.
|Four of the five Age-grading winners [from left: Rachel Kinsman, Sonja Friend-Uhl, Maria Sutera Strange, and Kathy Martin at the USA 5 km Masters cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: www.facebook.com/sonja.frienduhl?fref=ts]|
The hard-luck award of the meet goes to local runner, Lucie Mays Sulewski of Westfield, Indiana, who finished just off the podium overall with a 4th place finish and just out of the age-grading prizes with a 6th place. Sulewski did a great job of representing Indiana with a terrific race and almost upset a few apple carts. Had she not run a marathon on November 1st, it might have been a different story.