Friday, November 14, 2014

Recap of USA Masters 5km XC Championship on November 8, 2014 at Carmel, Indiana-Men's Team and Individual Contests

November 14 2014.

All week long, the weather forecasts had been changing. At one point it was going to be low 30's and some snow showers, other days clear and not so cold. What did we actually get? Well we woke up to partly cloudy skies and 40 degrees...with a forecast that the temperatures would be rising up to 47 by midday. It looked like a great day for Cross Country. [But I had forgotten to check for the wind--something no one ignored a few hours later!]

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. The day before the race, I was jogging with John Tarkowski, Roger Price and Doug Goodhue around the course ..which we shared with the Butler University women's team practicing for their regional championships next weekend and a variety of high school, or possibly middle school age, girl's teams. Doug mentioned to me that Malcolm Campbell, the great runner from the Atlanta Track Club was warning people that the course is a lot tougher than it looks. Those were the same comments I was later hearing from the Cal Coast area of the warm-up barn the morning of the race. All were saying it was a gorgeous course, a delight to run on but with the wind picking up, watch out, don't go out too fast in the first kilometer or this course will eat your lunch over the last 4! Good advice, no doubt, but we are racers and it is sometimes hard to heed the words of sense. But everyone knew it would be a real cross country experience.

For each age division I focus first on the team contests because this is Cross Country and the team's the thing! Every team was running for medals, bragging rights and cash prizes: $250 (1st), $125 (2nd) and $75 (3rd) except for the M70+ competition which has $150, $75, and $50. Individuals run only for medals and glory; there are no age group cash prizes. For the M40+, M50+, and M60+ races, the first 5 runners on each team are scored and points totaled; 6th and 7th runners can displace. For the M70+ race, only the top 3 runners are scored, with 4th and 5th runners eligible to displace. After the team and individual contests are covered, I present a summary of the age grading individual prizes and a speculative list of how a team age-grading competition would have come out if it had been held.
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M40+. This was the most heavily contested team division with the most teams entered from coast to coast. When I did my preview, nine teams had entered, but only six at that point had complete teams. The finishers in the end numbered 7: the Atlanta Track Club (GA), Cal Coast Track Club (CA), Igloi Track Club (IN), Patient Endurance Racing (MI), Purdue Area Track Club (IN), Team Ohio, and TNT International Racing Club.

When the starting gun went off, the runners surged up the first smooth incline, with Frederic Kieser of  Team Ohio and the entire packs of Atlanta and Cal Coast vying for the lead. As they rounded the 1 kilometer mark and headed up the side of a rolling hill, Kieser established a gap with the rest of the pack. It was a magnificent sight to see this runner battling up the hills in full stride with the wind in his face and the pack in hot pursuit.

Fred Kieser racing to the front! At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]
The runners of Atlanta and Cal Coast were also locked in a tight race so strategic considerations may have made each of them reluctant to commit fully to the pursuit of Kieser.
Newton, Gardiner, Malcolm, Cushing-Muray at the 2 km mark at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

We will never know the answer to that question but it was an impressive performance by Kieser who built his lead in the middle of the race and held it all the way to the finishing tape.
Fred Kieser takes the tape to win the M40 division of the Championships, clocking the fastest time of the day at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

In the meantime, the runners of Atlanta  and Cal Coast vied for the team title.

Carrol, Alvarez, Arsenault, Magill at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]
In the end, John Gardiner who had been sparring with the top Atlanta runners, found a little extra and soared to a 2nd place finish.

John Gardiner finishing second at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]
But Atlanta was right behind with Alan Black, 
Alan Black, taking 3rd at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

Chad Newton
Chad Newton, 4th overall and 1st in the male 45 age group at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

and Malcolm Campbell packing it up to finish only 8, 12, and 15 seconds back, respectively, to take a vital 3rd, 4th, and 5th to seize back the early edge obtained by Gardiner.
Malcolm Campbell taking 5th overall at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]
 But if Cal Coast could take the next three spots, they would be back in the race for team gold. It looked for a bit like Christian Cushing-Murray and Jerome Vermeulen might take 6th and 7th for Cal Coast, but Kristian Blaich of Atlanta was able to break them up at the tape, to all but settle the matter.  
Blaich and Cushing-Murray, kicking for the tape with determination! At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

Thomas Carroll put the final nail in Cal Coast's coffin by storming in for the 9th place finish, just edging Robert Arsenault
Rob Arsenault at the finish of the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

and Masters legend, Pete Magill by a few seconds.
Pete Magill, striding smartly to the finish at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]
 In the end it was Atlanta first with 28 points and Cal Coast with 37. That score belies the closeness of the contest though; there was only about half a minute between Atlanta's first runner and Cal Coast's 5th runner. It was a terrific, hard-fought battle over a deceptively tough course on a rugged, windy day. Hat's off to both squads!

And cheers for Fred Kieser, whose first place finish led Team Ohio to the third spot on the podium with 70 points. The remaining runners for Team Ohio, Charles Novak, Michael Ryan, John Romanic, and Damon Blackford took almost all the spots left in the top twenty that were not taken by the Atlanta Track Club and Cal Coast athletes.
Bill Kenley, Greg Keyes and John Romanic storming to the finish at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

So they had a wide margin of victory over the 4th place team, Patient Endurance Racing of Michigan, whose top five runners, Scot Ursum, Brian Fahey, Steve Menovcik, Derek Dexter, and Brian Mazur finished with 128 points.
Roman Kryzanowski, followed closely by Scot Ursum at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

Igloi Track Club and the Purdue Area Track Club, both of Indiana,
Brian Fahey, Patient endurance Racing, at the finish of the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

finished in 5th and 6th with 134 and 160 points respectively.
David Buysse, Igloi Track Club finishing strong at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

The TNT International Racing Team from Lincoln University in southeastern Pennsylvania, took 7th with 175 points.  
Kareem and Kyle Lanier, working together just past the 2 km mark of the course at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

TNT is a relatively new team and this appears to be their second consecutive national 5 km cross country championship competition. It is always exciting to see new teams form, enter and travel to national championships; I wish them all the best as they seek to move up in this team competition in the future.

The Boulder Running Club also ran but only had 3 runners in Indiana; Craig Greenslit,  
Craig Greenslit, Boulder Running Company, finishing in 4th place at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

Cary Hitz,
Cary Hitz, finishing in 15th place at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]
 and  Cody Hill finished 4th, 15th and 23rd overall in this race, as the Rocky Mountain racers made their presence felt in the lead pack!

M40+ Team Standings: Atlanta Track Club 28 Cal Coast 37 Team Ohio 70 Patient Endurance Racing 128  Igloi Track Club 134 Purdue Area Track Club 160 TNT International Racing 175.
 
M40 Individual. The top 3 teams were each represented on the individual podium. Fred Kieser of Team Ohio ran away with this one in a dominant performance, winning in a time of 16:02, which was very impressive on this course in these conditions. John Gardiner of Cal Coast claimed second in 16:16, and Alan Black of Atlanta Track Club in 16:22.

M45 Individual. Only 9 seconds separated the top 3 runners in this division, with times ranging from 16:28 to 16:37. They hung tough for their teams and reaped individual glory as a by-product; two reds and a blue on the podium as Chad Newton and Kristian Blaich of Atlanta took 1st and 3rd, with Christian Cushing-Murray in second.
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M50+ Team. Playmakers Elite/New Balance brought in a strong team from Michigan that was clearly the favorite and they made sure there would be no mistakes. They sent a strong pack to the front and very quickly the other teams knew they were fighting it out for 2nd and 3rd, and a grand battle it was. But first the Playmakers. Ruben Henderson is well known from his frequent participation in national road champions and he brought a dominating team with him to these cross country champions. Eric Stuber took it out hard early on for the Playmakers,
Eric Stuber, leading the pack in the middle of the race at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

with Henderson, Zywicki and Dixon of Playmakers following in a tight pack, along with Ken Youngers of the Atlanta TC.  
Henderson, followed by teammates Zywicki and Dixon, with Youngers hard on their heels at the 1.7 km mark of the race at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

Joe Sheeran from the Club Northwest and Mike Smith, of Igloi, kept pace. 
Mike Smith, Igloi Track Club and Joe Sheeran, Club Northwest, right behind the lead pack at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

Stuber held the lead throughout, taking first
Eric Stuber, heading to the line first in the male 50 division at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

and Dixon closed well to take 2nd.   
Daniel Dixon, taking second for his team in the M50+ division at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]
David Bischoff from Genesee Valley
David Bischoff, kicking for the finish line ahead of a closing pack (Smith, Zywicki and Youngers) at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

and Mike Smith from the Igloi club broke up the parade, but Ron Zywicki finished right with them in 6th. When Henderson took 7th, it was all over but the final tally. There was not long to wait as J.D. (Sergeant) Pepper closed it out in 9th place.
Tim Mylin, Purdue Area Track Club, finishing with J.D. Pepper, Playmakers Elite, in hot pursuit at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

In the end Playmakers had a spread of over 40 points on the second place team.

But who was the second place team? That was the result of a tough battle that could have gone either way. I had the Genesee Valley Harriers, from upstate New York, and the Atlanta Track Club pegged as slight favorites over the Indiana teams but the Purdue team gave them all they could handle. After Bischoff's 3rd place for GVH, Ken Youngers kept Atlanta in the hunt with a 6th place finish, and Tim Mylin made sure Purdue was not too far back as he stormed in with an 8th place finish. Atlanta crept a little closer to a team 2nd place when Nathan Skipper hauled in a 10th place as GVH's John van Kerkove followd him to the line in 12th. When Jeff Haertel came across in 13th it looked like maybe Atlanta's lead pack had done their job. But Purdue had a pack of its own that then asserted itself with Kurt Gogolin, John Schmitz, Christopher Williams, and Jeffrey Williams taking 15th, 16th, 18th and 20th to flip the tables.  
 
John Schmitz and Kurt Gogolin, Purdue Area TC, working together behind David lee, Runners Plus at the
USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

Tim Dwyer of Genesee was able to insert himself between Schmitz and J. Williams but that was the last interruption as the Purdue Area TC Boilermakers took 2nd place with 77 points. Genesee Valley took 3rd with 88 points, relying on their 4th and 5th runners, Wayne Crandall in 23rd and Gary Radford in 33rd to hold off Atlanta by two points for the final spot on the podium. Jim Bitsko and Dirk Reaume finished in 29th and 32nd but it was just short of Genesee. The other Indiana team, the Igloi Track Club was only 9 points back of Atlanta with Mike Smith 4th, Don Baker 14th, Mark Hiskes 21st,  
Dirk Reaume, Atlanta TC and Mark Hiskes, Igloi TC stepping along at the 1.7 km mark of the course at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]
 John Stille 26th, and Doug Balogh 34th. Runners Plus Elite had a tight pack but were hampered by having no one up with the front runners.

M50+ Team Standings: Playmakers Elite/New Balance 24 Purdue Area Track Club 77 Genesee Valley Harriers 88 Atlanta Track Club 90 Igloi Track Club 99 Runners Plus Elite 121.

M50 Individual. Eric Stuber, of Lansing, Michigan [17:33], and Daniel Dixon, of Jackson, Michigan [17:44], both of Playmakers Elite, took 1st and 2nd place. David Bischoff, of Fairport, New York [17:51], and Genesee Valley, took 3rd in one of the tightest finishes of the day, with Mike Smith, of the Igloi Track Club 4th in 17:52, and Ron Zywicki of Playmakers 5th in 17:53.
M50 Individual Awards - Eric Stuber (ctr), Daniel Dixon (left), David Bischoff (right). At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]
M55 Individual. Joe Sheeran, running unattached out of Ellensburg, Washington [Club Northwest], fresh off his USA Masters 15K road championship in Tulsa, played it cagey over the first part of the race, laying back a bit and letting the M50 crowd race to the front. But he really turned on the after-burners in the latter stages and won going away, pumping his arms and kicking like the champion he is! His winning time was an astounding 17:28!  
Joe  Sheeran, Club Northwest, takes the tape to win the M55 division and clock the fastest time for runners over 50 at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]
Ken Youngers, one of the Atlanta TC's mainstays, took 2nd in 17:56. Local runner, Don Baker, of the Igloi Track Club,
Don Baker, Igloi TC, 4th in line in the middle of the race, went on to take third in the M55 division at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Andy Martin, Exclamation Services]

finished strong to take 3rd in 18:48, 11 seconds ahead of Steven Crelli, running unattached out of Pittsburgh.
M55 Individual Medalists- Joe Sheeran (ctr), Ken Youngers (left), Don Baker (right). At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014[photo: Facebook]

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M60+ Team. I had Ann Arbor Track Club pegged as the favorites, based on their frequent performances on the national scene. Earlier this year, they finished 2nd at the USA Cross Country Championships to the Boulder Road Runners (who are not competing in the 5 km championship). And more recently they took team gold at the USA Masters 5K  Road Championship. The Atlanta TC which has sometimes challenged them successfully, has suffered injuries to Kirk Larson and Jerry Learned so was not competing here. Another team which might have challenged was the Genesee Valley Harriers but they too were not able to field a complete team.

That left it to the local team, the Athletic Annex Running Club. The odds were stacked against them in that they are a brand new team. Paul Carlin, of Indianapolis, Jerry Orange, of Floyd's Knob, Indiana, and Masters Hall of Fame runner, Gary Romesser, had the idea, last February, of putting together a team. They invited Thom Burleson, a top runner for Butler U in his collegiate days and a teammate of Romesser's on an M50+ team a few years back, to join them. A co-owner of the Athletic Annex, a running store in Indianapolis, he not only joined them but offered to sponsor the team. But then it seemed like the team was snakebit. Romesser went down with an Achilles injury that was resistant to healing so he could not run. Carlin strained his hamstring and did not run for the entire month of September and the first week and a half of October. Burleson's asthma created problems when he intensified his training and he had to bow out. Orange talked one of his high school cross country teammates, Alan Parris, to run with us. Then Carlin found and recruited Bill Doyle, a high school cross country coach from Linton, Indiana. The final piece of the puzzle was Denny Priest, of Crawfordsville, Indiana, who almost could not come on the day because of an illness in the extended family. Priest was able to show up and Carlin's rehab regimen in October had him back to 90%. They had a team but could they compete? Would the Hoosiers show they could be upset winners at Cross Country as they were in the eponymous basketball film of a few years back?
M60+ before the start: Athletic Annex to the left, McCormack, in red and other unattached runners on the right at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]

Lloyd Hansen, of Ann Arbor, an incredible athlete who has taken the gold at every national championship he has competed in this year, battled successfully with Priest to take first in 20:19.
Priest and Doyle, Athletic Annex, following McCormack toward the front of the pack at the start. At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]

John Tarkowski almost gave Ann Arbor the 1-2 finish they were hoping for, but in the end, Priest was able to edge Tarkowski by 5 seconds in 20:29.
John Tarkowski headed for the tape and a third place finish for Ann Arbor at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]

Twenty-one seconds later Orange crossed the line to keep Athletic Annex in contention. At that point Ann Arbor led 4 to 6. But those who were watching the neon singlets of Athletic Annex out on the course knew that these Hoosiers were finishing strong. The flood gates opened as Doyle finished in 5th in 21:16, followed by Parris in 6th in 21:24, and Carlin, gimpy hamstring and all, despite a near fall with 100 yards to go, finished six seconds back in 21:30 to nail the coffin shut! That strong pac performance gave Athletic Annex 24 points. Aaron Pratt and Wally Hayes of Ann Arbor were only a few seconds back and, on another day, Ann Arbor might have come out on top. But when Dave Minier crossed the line in 22:47, as Ann Arbor's 5th runner, their tally was 31 points.Athletic Annex Running Club had the victory and, as far as I know, are the first Indiana team to bring home a gold medal from a USA Masters Cross Country competition.

M60+ Team Standings: Athletic Annex Running Club 24 Ann Arbor Track Club 31
Athletic Annex, M60+ Champs (Priest, Carlin, Doyle, Orange, Parris) at the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]


M60 Individual. The amazing masters runner, Tom McCormack, of Jonesborough, Tennessee, running unattached in this race, although a member of the Atlanta TC, completely dominated the race.
Tom McCormack with a big lead after the 1 km mark. At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]

Like he has in every other race since he decided to compete in national masters championships last October, McCormack took off at the start and left everyone in his wake. Never headed, he won in 18:20, two minutes ahead of his nearest competition.  
Tom McCormack, all alone as he follows the golf cart into the finish line. At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]

Denny Priest, of Athletic Annex, had an incredible debut in national championships, taking home the silver medal in 20:29. He toughed it out down the stretch to defeat Thomas Hartshone, of Ithaca, New York and the Finger Lakes Running Club by oone second! Hartshone took the bronze medal in 20:30.

M65 Individual. Lloyd Hansen, who retired to Salt Lake City after a thirty year career in the Detroit area, runs for the Ann Arbor TC. Hansen has taken the gold in every national championship M65 race he has run this year and this race was no exception. He won the division easily in 20:19.  
M65 Individual Medalists: Lloyd Hansen (ctr), Paul Carlin (left), Jim May (right). At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]

Carlin of Indianapolis and the Athletic Annex team, finished 2nd in 21:30, with Jim May, of Williamson, NY and the Genesee Valley Harriers in 3rd at 22:00. Another notable runner, Roger Price, of Randolph, NJ and the Raritan Valley Road Runners, continues to battle a leg injury which has hampered his fitness for the last year. Despite the injury, Price ran a gritty race, finishing in 6th.
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M70+ Team. The Ann Arbor Track Club duked it out with the Atlanta TC. As it turned out, Ann Arbor had an answer for every runner Atlanta brought to the race. Atlanta's Ron Mastin of Woodstock, Georgia, ran a strong race, finishing in 24:01. But he was no match for Ann Arbor's  7-time (or is it more?) Masters Runner of the Year, Doug Goodhue, of Milford, Michigan who jetted in at 20:42, another amazing performance by this seemingly ageless wonder.
Doug Goodhue, sprinting to the tape for another win! At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]
 Still if Atlanta's middle of the pack could outrun Ann Arbor's, the result could be reversed. Ed Bligh, Jr., of Alpharetta, Georgia, did his best, finishing in 24:48. But that was not enough to head off Wally Herala, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, who strode home in 24:14. David Turner, Sr., of Clarkesville, Georgia, and 75 years young, turned in a great performance, finishing in 26:43. Once again, Ann Arbor had the answer, this time in the form of the youngster, 70 year old Monte Piliawsky, of Southfield, Michigan, who sped down the final slope to finish in 25:07. That gave Ann Arbor 1st, 3rd, and 5th for 9 points while Atlanta got 2nd, 4th, and 6th, for 12 points.

M70+ Team Standings:  Ann Arbor Track Club 9 Atlanta Track Club 12
Ann Arbor Track Club takes M70+ Crown(Herala, Piliawsky, Goodhue) from the left with Harlan van Blaricum and Thom Weddle to the right. At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]

M70 Individual. No mystery here as the Silver Bullet from Milford, Michigan, Doug Goodhue, took the crown as the top runner in the division in a time of 20:42. He triumphed by over 3 minutes and, in the process, beat the time of many a younger man on the day. Ron Mastin just missed breaking 24:00 by a second as he finished strongly in 2nd place. Wally Herala, the lion from Ann Arbor, took the third spot on the podium a few seconds back in 24:14.
M70 medalists-Doug Goodhue (ctr), Ron Mastin (left), Wally Herala (right). At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]

M75 Individual. Local runner, Joe Liechty of Greencastle, Indiana, took the crown in this division in 25:49.  It was a hard fought battle with John Elliott of Columbia, Maryland and the Potomac Valley Track Club, who finished just ten seconds back in second. David Turner, of the Atlanta Track Club took 3rd in 26:43.
M75 Medalists- Joe Liechty (ctr), John Elliott (right). At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]

Liechty has been a top runner in the central Indiana area for years and it would be hard to find a more modest and generous-spirited fellow. Hat's off to Indiana's grand old man of long distance running, and now a national champion!
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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.

Age-grading Standings: The 40's, 50's, and 60's were all represnted onthe age-grading podium, with the 70's, in the presence of Doug Goodhue, just edged out by .01 percentage point.
1. Pete Magill                 53      Cal  Coast Track Club         16:54           89.50%
2. Joe Sheeran               56       Club Northwest                    17:28           88.82%
3. Tom McCormack      61       Atlanta Track Club             18:20           88.31%
4. Ken Youngers            58       Atlanta Track Club             17:56           87.94%
5. Kristian Blaich          48       Atlanta Track Club             16:37           87.44%

Age-Grading Winners-Youngers, Blaich, Sheeran, Magill, McCormack from left to right. At the USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships at Carmel IN on Nov 8 2014 [photo: Facebook]

It is a tribute to the Atlanta Track Club to have 3 of the 5 age-grading winners. And once again, hat's off to the seemingly ageless Pete Magill for another age-grading win, topping the table by almost a full percentage point, an unusually wide margin these days.

Specualtive. One more thing on age-grading. The appearance of 3 from the ATC among the 5 winners raises the question--Did they have the best age-grading scores overall for a team? It is not done and was not part of the structure of this contest. So I ask, just for fun, if I took the top 5 age-grading scores from each team across all age divisions, which team would win? Here's what my tally came out to. [Let me know if you find a mistake!]

Team Age-Grading

1. Atlanta Track Club                         40
2. Cal Coast Track Club                     41
3. Playmakers Elite/New Balance    119

and Team Ohio just off the podium at 155.           


1 comment:

  1. awesome write up, dude. fun to read even though i lived it...

    ReplyDelete