Sunday, May 3, 2015

Detailed Recap of USATF 10K Championships-At the James Joyce Ramble--Dedham Massachusetts--April 26 2015

May 04 2015. Fifty degree weather, light winds, mostly sunny skies and the quaint New England town of Dedham made a near perfect setting for the USATF Masters 10K Road Championships this past Sunday, April 26th. Prize money of $10,000 was at stake for Masters athletes. Martin Hanley, Race Director for the 33rd annual James Joyce Ramble, put together a terrific field for these championships, and was rewarded with two American records.


Records. Setting off from the spacious grounds of the beautiful Endicott Estate, the USATF Masters runners raced over the roads, up and down the gentle rolling hills around Dedham in their quest for national championships and American records.
They are off and running at the USATF 10K Championships at Dedham Massachusetts-Contenders for the Overall Masters Race Head to the Front-Kristian Blaich (#51) and Kent Lemme (in orange and black) on his left shoulder. [photo by Scott Mason]
The celebrated long distance runner, Christine Kennedy [Los Gatos CA], who hopes to be the first woman in the world aged 60 or over to break 3 hours in a marathon this year, was the main focus of attention. And she did not disappoint, shattering Kathy Martin’s year-old record for 60-64 year olds by almost 45 seconds in a stunning time of 39:26. 
Christine Kennedy, exhibiting her grit and determination as she heads for a new American record in the 10K at the 2014 USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]

Another sterling record-holder, Jan Holmquist [Burlington MA], appeared to defend her title and see if she could improve on her existing American record for 70-74 year olds. 
Jan Holmquist (#18) escorted by Bill Borla as she shatters her American 10K record in style. At the 2014 USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [Photo: Scott Mason]
She was able to do both as she came across the line in 45:22, lowering her own record by 23 seconds.


Overall Masters Winners. Kristian Blaich [Decatur GA]achieved the rare feat of winning out of the 45-49 year age group, and, in an even rarer accomplishment, Marisa Sutera Strange [Pleasant Valley NY] won the women’s crown from the 50-54 age group in 37:00 flat. 

On the men’s side, Blaich and Kent Lemme [Pittsfield MA] broke away from the pack after the first three miles and ran together, trading the lead. Blaich opened up a gap of a few steps by mile 5 and built it steadily thereafter for a comfortable 25 second win in 33:23. 



Kristian Blaich (#51) leading the way through the Noble and Greenough School grounds--3 miles into the race, with Kent Lemme trailing by a step in second place. [photo by Scott Mason]

Lemme hung on gamely the whole way but faded slightly over the last half mile and Dave DeChellis Tewksbury MA came on strong to take second in 33:45, with Lemme a few steps back in 33:48.

On the women’s side, Sutera Strange let some of the younger runners take the early lead as she bided her time. But once she took the lead she was never headed as she stormed to a 46 second victory over Kara Haas Chelmsford MA. Haas was the big surprise in the overall competition.
Marisa Sutera Strange, powering to the finish line,  at the 2014 USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]

Haas's recent 5K's had been in the upper 18's to lower 19's  so I had thought she would run in the upper 38's at best but she turned in a humdinger, taking second place overall in 37:46. Renee Tolan Clifton Park NY finished 14 seconds back in 38 minutes flat.
Kara Haas Heading to the Finish Line for 2nd place Overall in the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]



Age Group Championships

WOMEN  

W40-44. I had this as a contest between Renee Tolan Clifton Park NY, Abby Dean Philadelphia PA, and Erin Corcoran Schenectady NY. But Kara Haas Chelmsford MA surprised me in this race.  Tolan came through with a 2nd place finish in 38:00 and, in another upset, Jennifer St. Jean, a new Masters runner from Darien CT, snatched 3rd place from Dean in 38:20.


W45-49. This one followed the form book as Mimi Fallon [Walpole MA] took the age group crown in 38:20. with Mary Pardi [Falmouth ME] 44 seconds back in 2nd place. Holly Madden [Scituate MA] claimed third place with a strong finish in 40:57.

All 6 feet off the ground as Doreen McCoubrie (far left), Matthew Manney (center) and Holly Madden (far right) sprint for the finish! At the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]
 
W50-54. Sutera Strange was on her game, taking not only the W50 crown but the overall crown as well in 37 minutes flat--some running! As expected, Doreen McCoubrie [Malvern PA] took second easily in 40:59 while Erin Chalat [Cape Elizabeth ME] showed she can also run a fast 10K outside of her home town, site of the annual Beach to Beacon run. Chalat nailed 3rd in 41:41.

W55-59. There was no heading Liane Pancoast [Westford MA] as she dashed to a 2 minute victory in 47:32. Colleen Magnussen [Geneseo NY] ran her usual strong race to finish 2nd in 49:53. Susan Stirrat [Far Rockaway NJ] claimed third place in 50:45, a half minute ahead of Drusilla Pratt-Otto [Brookline MA].

W60-64. As noted earlier, this age group belonged to Christine Kennedy today. She ran strong wire to wire, flashing across the tape in 39:26, a whopping 44 seconds under the old record. This one should stand for a while (or at least until next year should Kennedy come back to try to lower it herself!). Apart from Kennedy's record-smashing run, the race unfolded as expected, with Elizabeth Cooney [Somerville MA] outlasting Sharon Moore [Rochester NY] to take 2nd in 44:54, nearly two minutes ahead of Moore.
Sharon Moore, in high spirits as she heads to the finishing line in 3rd place in the W60 group at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]
W70-74. Just as the 60-64 group was Kennedy's show, this group belonged to Jan Holmquist [Burlington MA]. Maybe no one else showed up to contest this because they knew it was a lost cause. But Holmquist wasn't satisfied to just run for an easy win, she had her sights set on her own American W70 record for 10K. And she clobbered it, bettering her existing record by 23 seconds. That sets the bar higher for runners who are coming up like Sabra Harvey, Kathy Martin and, eventually, Christine Kennedy.

MEN

M40-44. As noted above, DeChellis took 2nd overall and he needed that extra push to be sure of winning his age group.  
Dave deChaellis's finishing kick to claim 2nd overall in the Masters USATF 10K Championship at Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]

A mere fifteen seconds back was the swift runner and (in the winter) snowshoe champion, Ethan Nedeau [Leverett MA] in 34:00. Nedeau had about the same advantage over Harry Stants [Needham MA] who claimed third in 34:17.
Ethan Nedeau, finishing off the race with good form at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]

M45-49. This was the division of Kristian Blaich and Kent Lemme. As they were battlingfor the top spot overall and for the top M45 spot, Eric Stabb [Athens GA], Joe Shairs [Peabody MA]Todd Callaghan [Beverly MA], and Greg Putnam [Stoneham MA]were battling valiantly for the last spot on the podium. Stabb ran with the lead pack over the first portion of the race and almost paid the price as Shairs came on strong in the latter stages. In the end, Stabb prevailed over Shairs by 8 seconds, to give the state of Georgia two of the three podium spots in this group.
Early in the Race, the 3 leaders are Kristian Blaich[#51] and Kent Lemme [#95], with Eric Stabb (in red) right on their elbows. At the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]

M50-54. Whether the cause was injury, illness,or just an off day, the favorite, Francis Burdett [Worcester MA] was not at the front in this race. That honor belonged, on this day, to Spyros Barres [Mystic CT], dropping down in distance form his preferred Marathon and Half Marathon races. A champion at the longer distances, Barres showed he could run with the gazelles too. 
Spyros Barres sprints to the finish line, slamming the door on the M50 Championship at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]

Barres took the group by over 40 seconds, and finished 5th overall in a fine time of 34:09. Christopher Lawrence [Lincoln RI] claimed 2nd in 34:50. There was a terrific contest in this age group too for the final podium spot. Nat Larson [Amherst MA], Alan Evans [Beaver Dams NY] and Gary Droze [Tallahassee FL] battled up hill and down dale. 
Nat Larson, running for the finish for all he's worth, with Gary Droze (#66) and Alan Evans (just visible behind Larson's right ear) pushing him all the way. At the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]

In the end, they finished within four seconds of one another with Larson taking 3rd place in 35:18, Evans snatching 4th in 35:21 and Droze in 35:22..

M55-59. This group provided another upset winner as Mark Reeder [Brighton MA] ran a strong race, besting 2013 Masters Runner of the Year, Brian Pilcher [Ross CA], by half a minute, in 34:37.
Mark Reeder finishes strong to post an excellent 34:37 winning time in the M55 age group at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]
 Pilcher has been on the comeback trail since last fall and it appears it is still an up and down affair for him, although by down I mean down by his standards. 
Brian Pilcher, running on the jet stream, finishing 2nd in the M55 group and taking the overall age graded title for Masters Men at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Scott Mason]
 As the Age-grading section below makes clear, Pilcher really ran well on the day, just not at the level he was running in 2013 before his injury. His 35:07 at age 58 was nothing to sneeze at. Derrick Staley [Ballston Lake NY] was another 40 
Derrick Staley, hammering home to the tape to claim the third spot in the M55-59 group at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]
seconds back in 3rd place.

M60-64. Defending champion, Tom McCormack, suffered a training injury in February which kept him home in East Tennessee. I had Reno Stirrat [Rockaway NJ] as the favorite but warned that if John Barbour [West Roxbury MA], was close to his 2013 fitness, he could push Stirrat for the win. And that is exactly what happened. In the closest age group race of the day, Barbour prevailed in the end by a mere 4 seconds, finishing in 37:01 to Stirrat's 37:05. Kirk Larson [Atlanta GA] ran a peach of a race to claim the third spot on the podium in 39:48.

M65-69.  This age group was also missing its top 2 finishers from 2014. Local legend, Gordon MacFarland [Arlington MA] ran his usual fine race to take the crown in 40:21. 
Gordon MacFarland, heading for the finish line to claim the victory in the M65 group at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]

A mark of its quality is that it was over 3 minutes back to the 2nd place finisher, Michael Reif [Victor NY] in 43:26. There was quite a battle for third with Jerry Learned, the journeyman runner from Gainesville, Georgia, claiming third by 6 seconds over Allan Bates [Pittsfield MA].

M70. This went according to the form book. Jan Frisby [Grand Junction CO] claimed his third straight title in 2015, beating all comers by over 4 minutes. Although his training was not far along enough this year to challenge the American record at this race, Frisby recently indicated his intent to make an attempt at the Marin 10K in the San Francisco Bay area in late May. 
Jan Frisby, showing he can win these races with his eyes shut! At the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]
Nonetheless it was a dominating win for Frisby in 41:36, who was followed by John Noyes [Kennebunk ME] who took 2nd in 45:53. Przemyslaw Nowicki [Holmdel NJ] won a see-saw battle with Clayton Zucker [Jeffersonville VT] to take the third spot by 6 seconds in 46:40.

M75-79. Bill Borla [Torrington CT] claimed this victory, winning by so much that he had time to serve as the gallant escort for Jan Holmquist's record finish (see picture above). Second place went to Roland Cormier [Jackson NJ] in 49:49, with Ram Satyaprasad [Burlington MA] claiming 3rd in 57:33.
Ram Satyaprasad , finishing strong to take 3rd in the M75-79 age group at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA on April 26 2015 [photo by Krissy Kozloski--http://krissyk.smugmug.com]

M80-84. Lawrence Cole [Harwich MA] ran unopposed and took the M80 crown in 1:14:21. 

Age-Grading Winners. The overall winners identified above were on the basis of first across the finish line. In Master’s races we also recognize those who run fastest for their age. This allows older runners who maintain their fleetness to compete on a more even basis with their younger counterparts. Age-grading is a procedure that rates each individual relative to the fastest possible time an individual of their age (and sex) could achieve. Scores range from zero to 100. When an American record is broken you know the score will be close to 100. In this case, the age-grading score for Holmquist, 99.09% was just a little higher than the 98.62% for Kennedy, so Holmquist took home the top age-grading cash prize while Kennedy settled for 2nd. The James Joyce Ramble is unusual in combining men and women for the age-grading purse. As it turned out, with Strange’s dominant performance, she was able to claim the third best age-grading score of 93.75%. Pilcher got his revenge on Reeder by taking 4th with 91.72%, while Reeder settled for 5th with a 90.60%. 

The top 15 age-graded finishers were awarded cash prizes. The remaining age-graded awardees included, in order, Spyros Barres 89.48%, John Barbour 89.44%, Reno Stirrat 89.31%, Kristian Blaich 88.54%, Derrick Staley 88.42%, Mimi Fallon 88.40%, Jan Frisby 87.92%, Kent Lemme 87.41%, Ken Youngers [Tucker GA] 87.25%, and Gary Droze 87.14%.

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