Saturday, September 30, 2017

Preview Updates for USATF Masters 5K Championship-Previews for Overall, Age-Grading and Age Divisions40-44 through 55-59

September 30 2017. Based on the latest information available to me, please consider the following adjustments to my earlier posted previews.

OVERALL MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Men. Late entrant, Ethan Nedeau, ran 16:22 in the recent CVS Downtown 5K, and Jonathan Frieder, whom I may have under-rated earlier,  ran 16:08 in the same race. They will be right in with the group of Komocki, Putnam, and Stookey.

Women. There are no late entries likely to upset the earlier preview; it stands as written.

Sonja Friend-Uhl          Sascha Scott          Renee Tolan


AGE GRADING CHAMPIONSHIPS

 Women. The main adjustment to the age-Grading preview is to note that even if Jan Holmquist is slightly off her best, her 'slightly off her best' probably still age grades at 98% plus. She should certainly be listed as a contender. Holmquist finished 2nd at the 10K Championships, falling between Sabra Harvey and Edie Stevenson. There is no reason to expect any less from Holmquist at the 5K Championships. If so, that is likely to push Doreen McCoubrie off of the Age-Grading podium.

Sabra Harvey          Jan Holmquist          Edie Stevenson          

Men. Nat Larson and Carl Combs both entered after the original preview was posted. Both will play a role in the age grading race, as they did last year, finishing 3rd and 5th. I now put Larson 2nd and Blaich 3rd but Combs could also sneak in there.

Kevin Castille          Nat Larson          Kristian Blaich         
 
AGE DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS 

 Women 40-44. There are no late entries likely to upset the earlier preview; it stands as written.

Sascha Scott          Renee Tolan          Christy Peterson

Men 40-44. Late entrant, Ethan Nedeau, ran 16:22 in the recent CVS Downtown 5K. That, plus his 4th place overall Masters finish at the 2015 10K Championship, seems sufficient for me to move him into the 3rd slot. Jake Stookey will have to beat Nedeau to make it onto the 40-44 podium.

David Angell         Christopher Shaw           Ethan Nedeau

Men 45-49.  Jonathan Frieder has the recent edge over Greg Putnam, having edged him by 16 seconds in the recent CVS Downtown 5K.  Frieder should have the confidence, but Putnam has the revenge factor and the push factor of being in the middle of a competitive national team race.Elliott Frieder also entered, making the brothers Frieder the favorites to take home Dave Oja's Brother's Prize for the fastest team of 2 brothers after a 2nd place finish last year. E. Frieder's fitness was off, as evidenced by his slower run this past May in the Broad street 10 Miler and in the Tribute 5K in July. However, he ripped off a 16:36 in a mid-September 5K.

Kevin Castille          Derrick Jones          Greg Putnam

Women 45-49.  The late entry of Dianne DeOliveira, coupled with Janet McDevitt not entering, comlpicates the podium preview. Had McDevitt entered, her prediction for 1st or 2nd would have moved folks down and I would have had Cassandra Henkiel in 3rd behind Mcdevitt and Sonja Friend-Uhl. The new situation means I need to choose between DeOliveira and Brenda Hodge. Hodge has been focusing more on longer events like the Boilermaker 15K where she ran 1:01:42 and a 3:00:16 Marathon at Grandma's. She ran 5K's in the spring that were both faster and slower than DeOliveira's recent 5K times of 19:38 to 19:39. Hodge also ran a 40:43 10K in September which is age-group equivalent to a 19:41. It is a close call but I will stick with Hodge for 3rd based on more extensive Masters LDR National Championship experience.

Sonja Friend-Uhl          Cassandra Henkiel          Brenda Hodge

Men 50-54. The late entry of Carl Combs makes this division a toss-up. Last year Blaich ran 6 seconds faster.  The one odd thing is that Blaich has not run a race that I can find results for since his sterling 32:58 performance at the 10K Championships at the end of April. That is 5 months without a race;  Blaich will be well rested, but not race-tested. Combs, on the other hand, has August 2017 5K results in the low 16 minute range and ran exactly the same time this year as last, 41:10 in the Lilac Bloomsday race in Spokane in May. Should that difference be enough to switch the runners? Perhaps not, but I will do so. I am not sure how I ignored Kent Lemme in my earlier preview. The staunch runner for the Greater Springfield Harrier clocked low 16's for some early summer 5K's after hitting 33:32 for the 10K Championships. I must have been hurrying too fast [cannot imagine why!😉]. I am afraid I need to pick Lemme to edge Brian Crowley off the podium.

Carl Combs          Kristian Blaich          Kent Lemme

Women 50-54. If Katherine Wolski is the same person as the 'Kathy Wolski' listed on Athlinks (as seems likely), she is a heck of a runner with 5K's this summer in the 18:35 to 18:48 range and other supporting results like an 8th place overall at the 2016 National Club XC Championships in Tallahassee. I would make her the favorite and push others down a rung.

Katherine Wolski          Laurel Park          Lori Kingsley 
         
Women 55-59. There are no late entries likely to upset the earlier preview; it stands as written. Now that I look back at the earlier preview, I wonder a bit about choosing Mary Swan for 3rd place over S. Lynn Cooke and Carmen Ayala-Troncoso. In that piece I note that Swan's times this summer seem to indicate a little less fitness than last year and that would be all it would take for either Ayala-Troncoso or Cooke to come in ahead of her. Ayala-Troncoso's 10K times this summer around 42:30 are age-grade equivalent to low 20's in a 5K. Swan has run her 5K's a bit slower than that. Given that Swan only beat Ayala-Troncoso by 5 seconds, it seems reasonable to reverse those two and make Swan beat Ayala-Troncoso on race day to prove me wrong. Cooke is also very competitive and will try to do the same.

Doreen McCoubrie          Lorraine Jasper          Carmen Ayala-Troncoso

Men 55-59. Nat Larson's anticipated entry came to pass and I make him the favorite, given his recent record-breaking run at the CVS Downtown 5K in Providence. That pushes everyone down a rung.

  
Nat Larson          Casey Carlstrom          Daniel King 

I will not have time to update any more previews. Luckily most of the late entries were in the divisions covered in this update. I did learn that in the Men's 70-74, Jan Frisby was brought up short by a kidney stone. He may skip the race or he may jog, but that is it. He will not, after all, be a threat for the podium. Estelle Hahn who is now entered in the Women's 75-79, came in over a minute ahead of Christa Maier last year. She has no recent results posted but it seems she would be likely to prevail again. So I put her now as predicted for third behind Fran Rowe and Madeline Bost.

Some changes were made to various teams but there is no time to update those previews. The final declaration of team members can be viewed by interested individuals at the Status of Entries page:
http://www.usatf.org/Events---Calendar/2017/USATF-Masters-5-km-Championships/Status-of-Entries.aspx 

First click on the category 'All Team Divisions' and then on either the 'Men' 'Women' or 'All' depending on your interest.

Good luck to all of the runners tomorrow--May we all be swifter than we can imagine! 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Preview 4—Team Competitions at the 2017 USATF 5K Masters Championships



September 29 2017. It is 2 days now to Race Day, this will be my 4th preview and the first to focus on the Team Competition.  As of 10 pm on Thursday, September 26th, we had 46 complete teams already entered, including 27 Men’s and 19 Women’s Teams. The increase in the participation of Women’s teams is particularly welcome. As recently as 2014 there were only 12 Women’s teams entered. Last year the total reached 18; it looks like a record number of Women’s Teams to me! Once I know if other teams are entering or if teams add runners, I will try to update.

Note: Team scoring in road races is the total time of the 3 fastest runners on each team. 

TEAM CONTESTS

40+ Women

Last year we saw a spirited competition among seven teams on race day. In the end the Atlanta Track Club cruised to victory with a top 3 average of 18:11. Team Rogue, from Austin TX, came across the line next, 3 minutes back, with the Genesee Valley Harriers claiming 3rd with a two and a half minute margin over their local rivals, the Syracuse Track Club. All 4 of those teams are entered again.  It will be tough to deny Atlanta [Amy Bartholomew-Koepp, Sonja Friend-Uhl, Paula Johnson, Kathy Wiegand]a repeat victory. Their top runner, Friend-Uhl, could well run faster this year as she has been healthy all year.  The one potential chink in their armor is that their number 2 from last year, Ortlund, is not entered at present. Last year she finished just 15 seconds behind Friend-Uhl. Wiegand is a strong runner but it would be asking a lot for her to crack 19:00 and neither Bartholomew-Koepp nor Johnson are likely to do so either. Without Ortlund they are likely to be 1.5 to 2 minutes slower than last year as a team. Team Rogue Cassandra Henkiel, Mandy Plante, Carmen Ayala-Troncoso, Shellon McCallie] brings the same 4 runners; if they run just as in 2016, they would still likely finish over a minute slower than Atlanta. Unless Heather Webster is a late addition to GVH’s A team [Caroline Bucci, Murphee Hayes, Audra Naujokas-Knapp, Wakenda Tyler], it appears they will be a little slower this year as well. Only Tyler of the other three, and possibly Hayes, is likely to break 20 minutes but neither can match the 18:04 that Webster clocked last year. The Syracuse Track Club [Roxanne Niezabytowski, Karyl Sargent, Sascha Scott, Kathleen Wheeler, Kristin White] has added two runners to their team. As I noted in the individual preview it appears that Scott is even fitter this year than last when she ran 17:45. That helps.  White, who runs mostly tri- and duathlons, has run two Half Marathons in about 1:30. That suggests she should be down around 20:00 or possibly under for a 5K. If so, Syracuse could move up a bit. This year the Athena Track Club [Alice Kassens, Christy Peterson, Tara Smith] has entered a strong team, although with only 3 runners, every athlete must have an on day. Kassens ran a 19:54 5K in mid-August but a week later finished 3rd overall in the USATF Masters Road Championships with a 5:34 in Flint Michigan. If she can replicate that effort in Syracuse a time under 19 would not be out of the question. Peterson ran 18:23 last year as an unattached runner and could do even better this year. That leaves it up to Smith who apparently ran a 32:35 8K in New Jersey in June. If that is the right Tara Smith, she might well break 20:00. If they all run their best, they could finish atop the podium.  Right now, based on current team members, it looks like Athena, Atlanta and Rogue in that order but Syracuse could get in there to make the podium, and GVH will not be too far off. Bella N Motion [Karen Carlton, Dianne DeOliveira, Susan Sarn, Joan To taro], the Philladelphia Masters [Anabelle Broadbent, Lauren Estilow, Linda Kelnock, Kristine Longshore], and TNT International [Kimberly Anderson, Marilyn Gregory, Joy Oakey] will battle for the remaining positions.

Athena Track Club          Atlanta Track Club          Team Rogue

40+ Men

Last year the Atlanta Track Club won a close contest in this division, running 47:52 [15:58 average] to defeat the Central Mass Striders by less than a minute. The Syracuse Track Club was only 40 seconds back from them in 3rd. The Willow Street AC finished just off the podium another minute back in 50:20.

Atlanta has not yet shown their cards for this year's race, but it is hard to imagine they won’t be entering a pretty strong team. As of now, Kristian Blaich, who was their 2nd runner on the 40+ team, is listed for their 50+ team. But, of course, that could change on packet pickup day. The 2nd place team from last year, the Central Mass Striders [Derrick Jones, Joshua Perks, Greg Putnam, Joe Shairs] as of now, is lacking their number two from last year, Tim Van Orden, but have an able replacement in Derrick Jones. In fact it is likely that Jones will run a little faster than Van Orden did last year; Jones came in 2.5 minutes ahead of Van Orden at the Utica Boilermaker 15K this past July. And, of course, Van Orden could also come in at the last moment to provide an extremely strong number 3 runner. If they also have Van Orden on the team, Central Mass could make a strong run for the Gold Medal. Like Atlanta, Syracuse has not declared their team intentions yet either. Willow Street [Volker Burkowski, Robert Irwin, John Stadtlander, Jake Stookey] is back with all of the same team members except for their 4th runner last year, Derrick Staley. If they run as they did last year, Stookey should lead the way with a time close to 16, followed by Stadtlander around 17 flat with Burkowski just a bit off that for a time under 51. And there will be at least 4 new contenders in Adidas Garden State [Thomas Knowles, Gary Leaman, Chuck Schneekloth], Garmin Runners [Brian Crowley, Robert DeCarlo Jr., Joel Garrell, Peter Kashulines, Mark Williams], GVH [Andrew Bucci, Josh Harter, Kirt Komocki, Don Miller], and Shore AC [Daniel Campbell, Jeff Conston, Robert Skorupski]. Adidas has a strong group of runners who could well crack 52 as all seem capable of coming in between 17 and 17:40 or so. Based on last year’s results, that is probably not fast enough to make the podium. Garmin has one of the fastest Masters Men’s Milers in the country in Mark Williams. Luckily for his competitors, this middle distance specialist is not quite as formidable on the roads. Likely to come in between 17 and 17:30 Williams adds much needed depth to Garmin’s 5K efforts. Like Adidas Garden State, it looks like Garmin’s top 3 could well come in right around 52 minutes, with Crowley, Williams, and DeCarlo leading the way. GVH has a group that appears to be a little more spread out. Komocki should be well under 17, possibly flirting with 16:30 and Harter might well come in between 17 and 17;20 but it appears that Bucci, who focuses more on trail runs, will be pressed to break 19 minutes. He has run Marathons in about 3 hours. If that is accurate they will not be able to keep up with Adidas Garden State  and Garmin. Conston should lead the way for Shore, coming in between 17 and 17:30 but it does not appear that Campbell and Skorupski can keep that pace. TNT International [David Ash, Michael Jackson, Kareem Lanier, Kyle Lanier] will be ably led, as usual by the Lanier brothers. Despite their best efforts, it seems unlikely they can turn in a team time under 53 minutes, which is what it will likely take to make the podium.

Central Mass Striders           Willow Street AC          Adidas Garden State 
[Atlanta TC and Syracuse TC seem likely to enter and complicate the race for the podium positions]

50+ Women

Last year we saw the Athena Track Club take the gold medal in 58:31, with 2 minutes to spare over the New Balance Tampa Masters Racing Team. The NBT had a 1 minute lead over the Atlanta Track Club, which won a close struggle with the Clifton Road Runners, besting them by only three seconds overall or an average of 1 second per scoring runner.

Athena [Lorraine Jasper, Doreen McCoubrie, Marisa Sutera Strange, Mary Swan] and NBT [Michelle Allen, Trish Butler, S. Lynn Cooke, Lesley Hinz] are both back along with Atlanta [Kris Huff, Michelle Morrisey, Susan Welch, Laurie Wharton]. But Clifton has not entered (yet). New entrants this year who might have an impact include the Impala Racing [Eileen Brennan-Erler, Suzanne Cordes, Teresa Quan, Janet Smith] and Willow Street AC [Anna Benson, Mary Buck, Lori Kingsley, Nancy Nicholson, Beth Stalker]. Strange, of Athena has a hamstring issue so they cannot count on her sub-18 minute race to start them off. Will she be a minute slower? Two minutes slower? Therein lies the conundrum for Athena; if 1 minute slower, Athena is a strong favorite but if 2 minutes or more slower, things get interesting. Athena initially listed Swan on the B team which suggested they were counting on Strange to run under 20:00, perhaps 19:30. If so, Athena A would have been very tough to beat. Jasper is running much better than last year when she ran 19:59. I would expect her to finish between 19:30 and 19:45 this year. And McCoubrie could be their first runner in. Her 31:10 at the 8K Championship in Virginia Beach is Age-grade equivalent to running around 19:00 flat. With two age division national championships under her belt, McCoubrie has been running consistently well. She was not able to make the 1 Mile Championships but won the Westchester Mile in 5:33.5 earlier in August. If all three run as suggested above, they would have a faster time than in 2016 but there is plenty of room for slippage. Swan should be able to run right around 20 minutes. If so, and the projections for Jasper and McCoubrie are not far off, that still gives them a total of 58:45. NBT returns with largely the same team as last year; Hinz is new and gives them depth. That is important because Butler, their top runner last year at 19:02, missed several months to injury; this is her first major race in 2017. Allen is also on the comeback trail. Cooke is not on the comeback trail, but has an Achilles issue that occasionally kicks up. If they all have good days on Sunday, they could be pushing Athena all the way. But if Cooke, Allen and Hinz  all come in above 20 minutes, and Butler is only a little below, they will be worried more about holding off Willow Street for 2nd place.  Willow Street’s Kingsley could well run under 19:30, with Stalker capable of running around 20:30 and with Benson probably under 21. If so that gives them an average time of about 20:12 and NBT is also likely to finish with an average a bit over 20. Atlanta has entered a very balanced team with Huff likely to come in around 20:00 but with Morrissey around 21:30 and huff perhaps 22. That puts them around 1:03:30 which is probably not quite fast enough to match Athena, NBT and Willow Street. It does not appear that Impala Racing can match the top 3 teams but they shouuld give Atlanta a run for their money as a reasonable projection for Impala is around 1:05, with Brennan-Erler leading the way.

Athena Track Club ‘A’        New Balance Tampa Masters Racing        Willow Street Athletic Club

50+ Men

Last year the Greater Springfield Harriers took home the winner’s trophy by a minute and a half, finishing with an average of 16:33 per runner for a 49:39 total score. Playmakers Elite/New Balance and the Cal Coast Track Club had a heck of a battle for 2nd but did not really press GSS for 1st. Playmakers Elite got 2nd with an average margin of 3 seconds per runner-close! Atlanta and GVH battled similarly for 4th and 5th with only 4 seconds per runner separating them at the finish.

Greater Springfield [Francis Burdett, Alejandro Heuck, Nat Larson, Kent Lemme, Ron Lombardi] is back and looks to be even stronger than last year. Burdett is not as fit as last year; at least his gradient is pointing in the right direction. But Lemme can run in the low 16 minute range which is a bit faster than Burdett ran last year. If Lombardi and Heuck run similar to last year, that gives them a total time of around 49:40 or so. Neither of the other two podium teams from last year, Playmakers Elite nor Cal Coast have entered yet and may not make an appearance. Dave Bussard, of the Playmakers, is running strong as evidenced by his 3rd place age-grade finish at the 1 Mile. But his running cmrades from Playmakers, Kerry Barnett and Ruben Henderson, are not at full strength. Last year Barnett was running stride for stride with Bussard, but this year at the 1 Mile Championship he was a half-minute back. Henderson has missed most of the year due to injury and is just getting back to racing fitness now. We know they will be back but maybe not until next year. Although Matt Ebiner of Cal Coast has signed up his two teammates from last year, brothers Rob and Dan Arsenault, have not. Rob is pretty much recovered from the injury that kept him out of play in the spring; he ran a sub-5 at the 1 Mile championships and finished among top 10 age-grading. If they do not enter, it is most likely for strategic rather than fitness reasons. Atlanta [Kristian Blaich, Gary Droze, Jeff Haertl, Nathan Skipper] and GVH [Dale Flanders, Mike Gardella, Mike Nier, Tim Riccardi, Theodor Schnaufer], the 4th and 5th place finishers from last year are registered and both appear to be somewhat stronger. Up until this race, Blaich has run for the 40+ Atlanta team; he lowers the time for their 1st runner by a minute and a half. If Droze and Haertl can both run about the same as last year, right round 17:15, Atlanta’s total time would improve from 51:49 to around 50:10 or so. That might not be enough to catch Springfield but it would pretty much make them a lock for 2nd, at least given current entries. GVH looks like a good pick for 3rd. Until last year, Nier, was running well under 17:00 at Syracuse. He had some issues last year but is back closer to his normal fitness and should run around 17:00 or faster. If Flanders can come in around 17:30 and either Gardella or Schnaufer around 18 minutes, that would give them a total time of around 52:30. Each runner seems capable of reaching those requirements. It does not look as if the Syracuse Track Club [John Cico, Neal Coffey, Loren Davies, Dennis Delaney, Paul Humphrey] could come within three minutes of that performance, and the Philadelphia Masters [Walter Boyle, Stephen Hranilovich, Paul Isaac] are likely to close out the scoring.

Greater Springfield Harriers          Atlanta Track Club          Genesee Valley Harriers

         
60+ Women

The Atlanta Track Club had an easy time of it last year. Their only opposition was a weakened Impala Racing team from the San Francisco Bay area. Only 3 of the Impalas were able to make the trip and one of those was recovering from injury and one was dropping down from the 70’s to help out the 60’s team. Atlanta took 1st by 7 minutes. Atlanta [Patrice Combs, Nonie Hudnall, Margaret Taylor, Cynthia Williams] is back, but Nancy Stewart who led the way for them with a 20:03, is not. Combs, who was not running for atlanta last year, ran 20:36. Taylor and Williams have been running well for atlanta this year and if they can come in around 22:40and 23, then Atlanta could well be within a half minute of their winning 2016 time. Impala [Dianne Anderson, Mo Bartley, Jill Miller-Robinett, Jo Anne Rowland] has a faster team this year. Bartley should be able to run under 21:30 based on her race at the 8K Championship in Virginia Beach and other recent outings. Miller-Robinett should crack 22, as she did last year. If Rowland can come in under 24, that gives them a projected time within a half minute. And that is close enough for anything to happen. GVH's perennial strong Women's 60+ team is back this year after a tough year for injuries in 2016. Although not back to the fitness they enjoyed in 2015, they should hav a good race. They are not ready to challenge Atlanta and Impala yet, but will still enjoy their 3rd place finish after missing the race entirely last year.

Atlanta Track Club          Impala Racing Team          Genesee Valley Harriers



60+ Men

In 2016, the Boulder Road Runners and the Cal Coast Track Club outran the other teams, but it was a strong, competitive field from 3rd through 6th, with less than a half minute victory margin between each place. Shore AC captured the 3rd place prize from the Genesee Valley Harriers who were only 27 seconds back, followed closely by the Syracuse and Atlanta Track Clubs.And the Ann Arbor Track Club, which finished 7th was only 38 seconds (or 13 seconds per runner) out of 6th. Boulder [Jeffery Barros, Doug Bell, George Braun, Kyle Hubbart, Chuck Smead] and Shore AC [Kevin Dollard, Scott Linnell, MIchael Mooney, Reno Stirrat] are the two podium finishers from 2016 to return.Shore was two and a half minutes back last year but it should be a lot closer this year. Another team that will contend is Atlanta [Bob Dalton, Kirk Larson, Jerry Learned, Vasan Neovakul, Ken Youngers]. The core of the Boulder team from last year, Bell, Hubbart, and Braun are all back. They had hoped to have Dan Spale too but he is working on a fitness issue. They added Smead instead. Bell seems to be just a bit off where he was last year although the 5K is his bread and butter. Still, I suspect he will have a hard time matching his 18:31 of last year. Hubbart's results this summer promise a time very similar to his 18:21 of last year. Braun, who ran 19:55 last year, looks to be a bit off this summer, but not mch. I have him down for a 20:00 if they need him. But I have Smead, based on earlier Cross Country results, picked to come in ahead of Braun by about a half minute. If that all transpires Boulder will match their 56:47 winning time of last year. Will it be enough? Probably. The big difference for Atlanta is that Youngers is almost fully recovered from his time off after surgery. Using his Macon Labor Days and Peachtree and 1 Mile times as a guide, I am projecting him to come in around 17:20. Larson has been running about as well this year so I have him in for a 19:22. Learned will need a good day if they are to challenge for 1st or 2nd. He ran 20:33 last year. He ran a much faster mile at the 1 Mile Championship in Flint MI. He did run a bit slower at the Hollis Fast 5K this year but ran faster at Dedham. He also had a 45+ 10K in August but that might have been due to a hot day or a tough course. I will put him down for a 20:15. I am guessing Dalton and Neovakul will take longer than Learned. If those three perform as projecte, that give them 57:00. Shore has a strong, well balanced team; all four of their runners should come in under 20 minutes. The question is by how much? Stirrat had a couple of issues last year and did not run; the year before he ran 18:27. Based on results that kind of time seems out of the question, although with a tough campaigner like Stirrat, you never know! Despite the addition of Mooney to the squad I am guessing Stirrat still leads the way but may not break 19:00. Based on this summer's times, if Stirrat runs 19:10, Mooney should be very close, perhaps 19:15, followed by Kevin Dollard and Scott Linnell at 19:35 and 19:45 or so. If those projections hold, Shore winds up at 58:00, almost a minute and a half faster than last year. GVH [Bill Beyerbach, Jack Kasperski, Michael Reif Sr, Mark Rybinski] and the Syracuse Track Club [Brian Cummins, James Foster, Theodore Larison, Douglas Wood] have serious teams entered but neither looks as if they can break 60:00 as a team. If Rybinski turns out to be completely healed and returned to his former fitness when he could run well under 19:00, GVH might have a shot at a sub-60 performance.

Boulder Road Runners          Atlanta Track Club          Shore AC

70+ Men  

In 2016 the Genesee Valley Harriers had a pretty solid win in 1:08:24, with a minute and more to spare over  the Shore AC and the New England 65 Plus Runners, who finished within 14 seconds of each other in a thrilling battle for 2nd and third. Further back were the Atlanta and Ann Arbor Track Clubs who were in 4th and 5th, separated by only 11 seconds. Two minutes later, the Clifton Road Runners closed out the scoring.

This year GVH [Tony Gingello, Jim Glinsky, Thomas Lamme, Jim May, Keith Yeates], Shore AC [John Kuhi, Harold Nolan, Przemek Nowicki], Atlanta  [Sam Benedict, William Shaffer, Curtis Walker, Morris Williams], Ann Arbor [Paul Carlin (me), David Cohen, Doug Goodhue, Malcolm Cohen] and the Clifton Road Runners [William Ash, Tony Fiory, Joseph Saley, Al Swan] are back in action ,while the NE 65 Plus Club is missing.   GVH has been strengthened with the addition of Gingello, who showed his mettle with a win in the 70-74 division at the 10K in Dedham. His recent 10K times have been a little off, but that may be due to the lack of competition. Gingello should be able to come in close to 21:00. It is hard to see May matching his 20:55 of last year. He is a tough runner; in the spring he sustained a Cross Country skiing injury and ran in the 10K at Dedham anyway, limping across the line (not literally I hope) in 48 minutes plus. That is after he started the season with a bang, winning the 8K age division championship at the 8K in Virginia Beach. I can find no race results since. It is almost entirely guesswork, but I will put him in for 22:30, and that may be too much of a challenge. Based on his runs this summer, especially the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge 3.5 mile run, it appears that Yeates is a little off his 2015 form when he ran 21:54. I will put him in for 22:45. Based on results for Glinsky and Lamme, it appears Yeates would be 3rd runner in. If those all come to pass that gives GVH a 1:06:15. Shore AC is probably not a s strong this year overall although the addition of Nolan would otherwise make them much stronger. Nolan won the 1 Mile Championship last month with a 6 second margin over Ann Arbor's Carlin. He also ran a pretty strong 5K this summer in 21:43, but that was over a minute and a half faster than he ran the same race in 2016. Primarily a middle distance specialist he should, nonetheless, come in around 21:00. Nowicki ran 21:37 last year but will have a hard time matching that this year. He has been struggling with hamstring issues and his time at the 1 Mile Championships was much slower than in 2016. But with a fighter like Nowicki, I will still list him for a 22:15. But their 2nd and 3rd runners from last year, Ed Smith and J.L. Seymore, are not running this year. That leaves it up to Kuhi; he can probably match his time from last year and may well run a bit faster. I will list him for 27:00. That would give Shore a total time of 1:10:15. Both Atlanta and Ann Arbor should be quite a bit faster this year. The addition of Benedict gives them a runner who can probably break 23:00. Based on times in other races this year, it appears Walker should not be far off of 23, perhaps 23:15, with Shaffer and Williams both under 24:30, perhaps 24:00 and 24:15. If so, Atlanta improves from 1:17 plus to about 1:10. Although Malcolm Cohen is listed for Ann Arbor, it turns out that he has a family event to attend that cannot be changed. So Ann Arbor will rely on just 3 runners; there is no room for error. The big difference here is the return of Goodhue; at the 1 mile run he won his 75-79 age group and almost came in 2nd in the 70-74 division. I, in the meantime, continue my gradual improvement after a long period of hamstring injury-rehab-injury-rehab. Last year I ran 21:38 here and should improve considerably on that. I hope to break 21 and will put myself in for 20:40. Goodhue should be able to match (or beat) that. I will put him in for 20:40 as well. D. Cohen continues to run well this year and should be able to come in close to his 24:19 of last year, perhaps 24:30? If all those come to pass, it would give Ann Arbor 1:05:50 and a narrow win over GVH. That is quite close though and individual results are variable enough that everyone on Ann Arbor will need to be on their game. If one or more of GVH's runner has a strong day, that could also be enough to reverse the order. Although it does not appear that the Clifton Road Runners can race their way onto the podium, if they match their times form last year, they will have a great deal of fun and enjoyment and will happily claim 5th place in about an hour and 20 minutes.

Ann Arbor Track Club          Genesee Valley Harriers          Atlanta Track Club

80+ Men    

For the first time in my memory we have an 80+ team entered for the 5K Championship here in Syracuse. Unchallenged, the Syracuse Chargers Track Club [Sam Graceffo, Sheldon Kall, David Rider] will enjoy their Championship winning race, especially as they charge up to the finish line and hear Dave Oja proclaim their names and annunce them as the winning 80+ team!

Syracuse Chargers Track Club

And that is it for the Teams Preview. No pictures I am afraid. 

Now it is up to the runners to go out on Sunday and prove me wrong! I will be so happy for any runner who exceeds the projection presented here.

If I have some spare time tomorrow (Saturday), I will try to give a brief update on some individual entrants who came in after I wrote Previews 1 and 2. That includes Carl Combs, the ace runner for Club Northwest out of Eastern Washington. He finished 10th overall last year and 2nd to Kristian Blaich in the Men's 50-54 division.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Preview 3—Records Watch at the USATF Masters 5K Championships



RECORDS WATCH

Each year we approach the USATF Masters 5K Championship at the Syracuse Festival of Races SFoR)  with the expectation that records will be set. Sometimes they are American Age Division Records, occasionally world bests and, if all else fails, Dave Oja tracks single age records for the SFoR. See his list for

You may find that you have a shot at one of the single age course records even if you are not expecting to break the American Record. But these are anything but soft--you will have to run fast!

US Age Division Records

2016  Last year four American records were set. Kathy Martin broke the Women’s 65-69 record of 20:27 set two years earlier by Sabra Harvey;  Martin ran 19:57 and became the first 65 year old (or older) woman in the world to break 20:00 on a record-eligible course. It was also a World’s Best.  Libby James smashed the American record for women 80-84 by over 5 minutes with a 25:11. Anne Clark’s record of 30:20 had stood for 26 years. James’s record also lowered the World’s Best by over 3 minutes. Brian Pilcher, using the 5K as a tune-up for his Marathon Record attempt the following weekend in Chicago, broke Tom McCormack’s 16:58 from 2014 with a snazzy 16:38. Martin Rees of Wales and Michael Hager of England are the only two athletes ahead of Pilcher on the World’s Best list. Finally Tom Bernhard took down the Men’s 65-69 record with a dazzling 17:31, the first 5K under 18:00 by an American man in this age group; only the legendary late Ed Whitlock, of Toronto, has run faster at this age.

 Men 45-49  Kevin Castille The listed American Record is 14:45, set by Dennis Simonaitis in 2010 at the Carlsbad 5000. Castille won this race last year in 14:46, so he needs to find another second to get the record. But Castile is running faster this year; in 2016 he was coming off a period from November 2015 through the early part of 2016 when he had significant injuries. This year he has already taken down Bill Rodgers’s 15K American record, with a 46:10 at the Utica Boilermaker. He has also run faster than the 10K American record but not yet on a record eligible course. Likely
Kevin Castille crosses the finish line in 14:46 to win the Masters Overall title at the 2016 USATF Masters 5K Championships

Men 55-59  Nat Larson? [Not registered yet, but anticipated.] The listed American record is 16:07, which is shared by Vic Heckler, set in Park Ridge IL in 1997 and Brian Pilcher, set in Los Angeles CA in May 2013. Larson just broke the current record at the USATF-NE 5K Championship at the CVS Downtown 5K in Providence RI on September 17th. He ran 15:54. According to Dave Oja, Race Director at the Syracuse Festival of Races, “Numerous direct comparisons of the performances that athletes (men and women, open and masters) have at Downtown Providence and then at the Festival two weeks later show they are reliably faster at the Festival.  On a comparable weather day, I predict that Nat would run 8 to 10 seconds faster on the SFoR course.” Likely

Nat Larson (L) pushing the pace as one of the Open Runners Tries to Create a Gap at the USATF-NE 5K Road Championship at the CVS Downtown 5K [photo courtesy of usatf-ne FB post at:https://www.facebook.com/pg/usatfNE/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155166028923208]

Apropos of which, the forecast currently calls for a possibility of light showers on Friday but no rain on either Saturday or Sunday. Forecasted Race Time temperatures for Sundayare around 50 degrees, with sunny skies and 2-3 mph winds—sounds almost perfect!

Men 60-64  Brian Pilcher. Pilcher sustained a stress fracture earlier this year and lost several months of training. He resumed recently but has not had enough time to regain the fitness needed for a shot at the record. Unlikely [Hot off the presses! Pilcher will, unfortunately, be unable to race on Saturday due to a hamstring issue which has cropped up in his training.]

Men 65-69  Tom Bernhard. Bernhard had a meniscus issue that required surgery in December. Between the recovery from surgery and a subsequent trip to Japan, Bernhard’s training early in 2017 suffered. As a result, although still able to win his Age Division races by a pretty wide margin, he has not yet regained his 2016 fitness, and should have difficulty threatening his own record. Unlikely
Tom Bernhard approaches the finish line and a new American Men's 65-69 5K Record at the 2016 USATF Masters 5K Championships Hosted by the Syracuse Festival of Races

Men 95-99  Roy EnglertThe  listed American record is 48:55 set in Stillwell OK in May, 1995 by Marion McAnelly. In November 2016, Robert McAdam, ran 48:20 at Highlands Ranch Colorado. That record is listed as pending meaning that the record is not yet certified. It is rare for a record to go unratified for a year and then eventually be moved from the ‘pending’ category. Englert ran 43:34 in the 5K associated with the Senior Games in Birmingham AL in June, when he was 94. That suggests he has a pretty good cushion to work with even if McAdam's time is certified as the record. But records are never a sure thing; they are always earned! Likely
Roy Englert posing with his many medals and in his USATF National Championship T-shirt for a NY Times article when he was 91 [Photo: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/sports/24macur.html]

Women 65-69 Kathy Martin? Sabra Harvey.  [Martin is not yet entered but Harvey is.] As mentioned above, Martin is the current record holder at 19:57. But Harvey had lowered the record to 20:27 two years earlier. Since then Harvey has emerged as the only woman to beat Martin on the track at 800 and 1500 meters, setting World Records in the process. Martin has since regained the 1500 meter mark with a 5:25.65 at the North American/Central American, and Caribbean Games in Toronto this August. Harvey is the current American 10K record holder for the Age Division at 42:37, set in 2014 at the USATF 10K Championship at the James Joyce Ramble. Earlier this year she bettered that record by running 42:05 at this year’s edition of the 10K Championship. But that is overshadowed by Martin’s  41:57 run in New York at the beginning of April; that record is currently listed as ‘pending.’ Martin also lowered the records for 15K, 20K, and 25K in March of this year, pending ratification. It would be quite a race between two terrific champions and record-busters should both Martin and Harvey be in Syracuse on Race Day. Possible
Kathy Martin setting the Women's 65-69 American Record at the 2016 USATF 5K Championships Hosted by the Syracuse Festival of Races [Photo by Bob Brock, rhbrockj11@me.com] 
'Game Face' On!-Sabra Harvey Before the 2017 USATF Road Mile Championship at the HAP Crim Michigan Mile

Women 70-74 Jan Holmquist. Holmquist set the record of 22:16 here in 2014 and then came back the next year and lowered that by two seconds. Last year she had to withdraw due to injury. She is largely recovered, but her fitness is returning apace. At Dedham in late April, her winning 10K time was a minute faster than her time in 2016 but 2.5 minutes slower than in 2015. At the Beach to Beacon 10K in early August, she still ran a minute slower than she had in 2015. She will probably not be sharp enough by the beginning of October to challenge her own record. But with a seasoned competitor like Holmquist, you should never count her out. Unlikely
Jan Holmquist flying across the finish as she set the new Women's 70-74 American 5K Record at the 2015 USATF 5K Championships Hosted by the Syracuse Festival of Races [Photo by Bob Brock, rhbrockj11@me.com]


Women 80-84 Libby James. James will not be able to race in Syracuse this year. Not in the cards this year.

Women 85-89  Anny Stockman. Stockman aged up to the 85-89 division this year and looks ready to challenge for the record. The current record listed is 43:00 by Ruth Rothfarb at the 1989 edition of the Freihofer’s 5K for Women; there is a pending record of 41:26 by Margaret Lutz from May 2014 in Pittsburgh PA. Even if that should achieve ratification at this late date, Stockmann is likely to beat both times. Last year, at the age of 84, she ran 38:13. Stockman ran 40:50 at Freihofer’s this year, just before her 85th birthday. Although nothing is ever certain, Stockman seems like a pretty safe bet for the Record. Likely

Anny Stockman (R) sharing a good laugh with her running pal, Edna Hyer, after finishing the 2015 USATF Masters 5K Championship at the Syracuse Festival of Races