Friday, October 27, 2017

2017 USATF Masters 15K Championship in Tulsa--Preview

October 27 2017. The table is set; a record  list of 171 Masters Athletes are registered for the 15K Championships hosted by the Tulsa Run, almost twice as many as our previous highest here at Tulsa.And this terrific turnout results in some very intriguing races.

The Tulsa Run is one of the great, classic American Road Races, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. We are celebrating the 5th year of our partnership in running the Masters National 15K Championship in Tulsa.  The course at Tulsa is a hilly,  challenging 15K and the weather has sometimes been warmer than the runners would wish. That will not be the problem this year. The temperature at race time is forecast for 36 degrees, rising to the low 40's by the end of the race. It shoould be sunny though and the winds, which had been forecast to be double digit are now predicted to be more moderate, perhaps 7-8 mph. It should make for pretty reasonable times although, as mentioned earlier, the course is not conducive to record tries. But we did have one American record set just last year so it is not impossible.
Start of the 2016 USATF Masters 15K Championship Hosted by the Federal Credit Union Tulsa Run [Photo Credit: Bryan Campbell, Tulsa Run]

OVERALL MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Last year's winner, Melissa Gacek, is back and is running better than ever. Earlier this month, Gacek was the Masters winner at the Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Miler in 1:03:03 and in June was the Masters Champion at the Bjorklund Half Marathon at Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth MN in 1:23:51. She was also the Masters Silver Medalist at the Fifth Third River Bank Run (25K) in May in 1:39:08. It would not be surprising to see her top her 58:44 time from last year. And she may need that to win. 

Melissa Gacek wins the 2016 USATF Masters 15K National Championship [Photo: Tulsa World]

The second place finisher from last year is back and seems poised to offer more of a challenge to Gacek this year than last. Fiona Bayly seems prepped for a good run. Earlier this month she was 13th overall and first Masters athlete in the NYRR Staten Island Half Marathon in 1:24:27. She was also the Masters Champion at the Air BnB Brooklyn Half Marathon in 1:22:06. In September she was 12th overall and 1st Masters in the New Balance Bronx 10 Miler in 1:01:46. Those last two performances are age-grade equivalent to a sub-58 minute 15K. Of course the challenging hills here may push that up a bit but she should be able to match stride for stride with Gacek. 
Fiona Bayly finishes  2nd in the  2016 USATF Masters 15K National Championship [Photo: Tulsa World]

The third challenger is a newcomer to Tulsa but not to Masters LDR. Last year Sascha Scott finished 2nd at the Masters 5K National Championship and this year she took the crown, running 17:50. She races on the track during the indoor season and most of her road races are in the 5K to 8K range. Her real endurance efforts have typically come in triathlons. She was the 5th Masters finisher in 5:31:35 at the Ironman Syracuse 70.3—a half ‘Ironman’—1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 run. She is no stranger to endurance contests, but this road race will be her longest in recent years outside of the triathlon discipline. She will no doubt, try to stick with Gacek and Bayly as long as she can. If she is with them in the final mile, she will be tough to beat.

Melissa Gacek          Fiona Bayly          Sascha Scott
 
 In the men's race, the defending Champion, John Gardiner, has also returned but he is not the favorite. That honor goes to Kevin Castille. Healthy this year after battling injuries for the previous year and a half, Castille has been tearing up the record book for the 45-49 division. He has broken three long-standing American Records, all listed as being held by the legend of American Distance Running, Bill Rodgers. Castille is the current Masters Champion for the Utica Boilermaker 15K where he broke Bill Rodgers’ American 15K record by running 46:10. He is also the current Masters Champion at the Crim 10 Miler in Flint MI, where he won in an American Record time of 49:03. He recently broke the Half Marathon mark by winning the Masters title at the Akron Half Marathon in 1:05:16. In each case, Castille not only broke the record, he crushed it! And then for good measure he took down the American Record of Dennis Simonaitas by winning the 5K Masters National Championship in a blazing 14:29! The Tulsa course is very challenging but Castille is running so well that, if the weather cooperates and everything falls into place, breaking his own 46:10 mark for 15K is not out of the question. Unless Castille runs into unexpected problems, Gardiner will vie with David Angell for the remaining two podium positions.Last year Gardiner won in 50:01; Angell came across the line 57 seconds later in 3rd. 
David Angell finishes 3rd in the 2016 USATF Masters 15K National Championship [Photo: Tulsa World]
Angell has won two national championships this year, the 8K in 25:25 and the 10K in 32:50. Gardiner and Angel have met only once this year so far in the Masters Half Marathon Championship in Southern California where Gardiner again enjoyed the edge, winning n 1:10:46, with a minute and a half margin over Angell. 
 John Gardiner wins the 2016 USATF Masters 15K National Championship [Photo: Tulsa World]

Will this be the race to see a reversal? Stay tuned!

Kevin Castille          John Gardiner          David Angell

OVERALL AGE-GRADING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Age-Grading Championship awards those who run fastest for their single age relative to the world's best. The scores typically range from 0 to 100 with scores closest to 100 being fastest. Scores over 100 are possible. A 100% means the runner ran equivalent to the projected world's best for a runner of that age and sex. We have several likely contenders. 

The most likely winner on the Women's side is Sabra Harvey, 68, who often grades in three digits. Other contenders include Edie Stevenson who age graded  90.41% here last year and Fiona Bayly, 50, who scored 86.53%. Scores at Tulsa will be lower than some other races because age grading makes no allowances for rcourse difficulty. Harvey, who usually grades 98% or higher graded only 96.06% here in 2015. Doreen McCoubrie will be in the hunt as well. If any of those three have an off day, Laura Bruess could well find herself on the Age Grade podium. McCoubrie graded 92.19% in the 8K Masters Championship and 88.07% at the Half Marathon. She was bested at that race by Jeanette Groesz who is also entered here. Groesz, 65, ran 1:45:03 to age grade at 88.58%; McCoubrie, 55, ran 1:29:33 to age grade at 88.07%.

Sabra Harvey          Edie Stevenson          Jeanette Groesz

The most likely winner on the Men's side is also the favorite for the overall win, Kevin Castille, age 45. He is typically grading 95% and higher these days. His Boilermaker 15K. another challenging course, graded at 95.20; his 1:05:16 Half Marathon graded at 95.68%. Tom Bernhard, Nat Larson and Kent Lemme will likely contend for the remaining podium spots. At the 8K Championship, Larson, 55, topped the list with a 27:04 for 92.80%, followed by Lemme, 50, at 26:34 for 91.09, and
Bernhard, 65, with a 30:38 for 89.01%. It was the same story at the 10K except that Bernhard edged Lemme, 89.80% to 89.59%, trailing Larson's 92.80% for his 33:30. Because Bernhard is still, perhaps, improving, after knee surgery last winter, and because he had the edge at 10K, I will pick Bernhard over Lemme. But the 15K is at the upper end of the races that Bernhard likes to run these days.  John Gardiner could find himself on the age-grading podium. His Half Marathon was the 3rd best age-grade at 87.54%. But that, too, was a race that saw low age grade scores, either because of the torrential downpour right before the race started, or because there are substantial climbs in the last third of the course. Finally I would be remiss if I did not mention William Moore and Fred Zalokar. Last year, they and Gardiner all edged Bernhard, with the order Moore, Zalokar, and Gardiner. Gardiner edged Zalokar at the Half Marathon so I will go with Gardiner. And then it is up to Moore to run another great race like he did last year and prove me wrong!

Kevin Castille          Nat Larson          John Gardiner

AGE DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS

40-44. David Angell is the only podium pick from this age group so he must be the favorite to go home with this division title. Other contenders for the divisional podium include Thomas Knowles, Brantley Lutz, and Randy Wasinger. Knowles ran 16:42 at the 5K Masters Championships in Syracuse, taking 7th in the division, and earlier in the year ventured over to Seoul South Korea where he finished 8th at the World Masters Athletics  8K Cross Country event in 28:28. Lutz finished 2nd in the division to Angell at the Masters Half Marathon championships in Newport Beach in 1:13:57, and ran two other half marathons in 1:11:58 and 1:14:21. Wasinger has run his 5K's in the 15:54 to 16:38 range and last fall ran half marathons on successive weekends in 1:13:42 and 1:14:23 range.


David Angell           Brantley Lutz          Randy Wasinger

Melissa Gacek and Sascha Scott, who are picked for 1st and 3rd in the Overall race, must therefore be picked for 1st and 2nd in this division. Who are the chief contenders for the final podium spot? Michelle Paxton seems a good bet. She ran the Lincoln Half Marathon in 1:24:56, which is Age-Grade equivalent to a sub 1 hour 15K. Kristina Pham could displace her though. She finished 7th overall here last year in 1:03:04. But this is a tough course and that was a warm day for racing so that 1:03 should be thought of as being closer to 1:01 or so.

Melissa Gacek          Sascha Scott          Michelle Paxton

45-49. 

There are two contestants in this division. Kerry May is the favorite to take the title. In 2016 she ran 34:32 in the 8K Masters Championship at Brea and 2 years ago had a 1:32:10 Half Marathon in San Diego. The one thing that gives pause is that she has no recent results so she is not race fit. Heather Meehan typically runs her 5K's in the upper 22's to lower 24's and she has a 46:49 10K. If May is close to the fitness she had in 2015-16, she shoucl take the division.

Kerry May          Heather Meehan

Both Kevin Castille and John Gardiner come from this group so they are the 1-2 picks for the division as well as overall. Jason Butler who finished 4th overall last year in 53:17 but took 4th the year before in 51:58 is perhaps the favorite for the final podium position. He also ran a 2:32:57 in the Houston Marathon and finished 2nd overall in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in 2:37:00. Derrick Jones and Jason Ryf will be right there in the thick of things. As menitoned earlier, Jones battled Angell throughout the first 7K of the 10K masters championship only to fade to 5th at the end ,but he showed he is a fighter. And the 15K is arguably his better distance. He ran 50:18 at the Gate River Run and 50:57 at the Utica Boilermaker 15K. His time for the Crim 10 Miler was 55:22. On the other hand, he seemed to race better in the spring this year than he has the last few weeks. Ryf runs his 10K's in the high 33 to low 34 minute range and raced to a 1:13:49 Green Bay Half Marathon.

Kevin Castille          John Gardiner          Jason Butler 
The Field of Masters Championship Runners sets off on the 2016 15K course ten minutes before the main race.
50-54. The main contenders are Christian Cushing-Murray and Kent Lemme. Cushing-Murray finished 3rd overall here 2 years ago in 51:31 but that may be a stretch for him this year. He was injured late last year and did not return to racing until late Summer. He finished 2nd in the 45-49 division at the Road Mile Masters Championships in Flint in 4:49.0. That is slow by Cushing-Murray's standards though. This former Olympic Trials 1500 meter runner ran 4:31. 5 there in 2014 and won the 2016 Carlsbad Masters title in 15:11. So he is still off his best. He ran the UC-Riverside Invitational 8K almost half a minute slower this year compared to last. But that was 5 weeks ago; he is probably fitter now. Lemme has been hot this year but ordinarily would be a few minutes off of Cushing-Murray's efforts. He ran 57:45 at the Utica Boilermaker 15K this summer but, more impressively, a 53:35 last November in the Stockade-a-thon 15K. Rob Arsenault is also coming off of an injury earlier this year. At the Road Mile Masters Championship in August, Arsenault finished 2nd in this division in 4:54. But he has had an added 8 weeks of training since then. He is probably ready to give Lemme a tough battle. He finished 4th in the division last year in 54:45.

Christian Cushing-Murray          Kent Lemme          Rob Arsenault

Fiona Bayly, favored for the overall podium, should take this division. The two Janes Racing Elite temamates, Tania Fischer and Kathleen Cushing-Murray are the favorites for 2nd and third. They finished 1-2 int he divison at the Half Marathon Championships in Newport Beach. Michelle Simonaitis might have given them a tussle but she had to withdraw. 


Fiona Bayly          Tania Fischer          Kathleen Cushing-Murray


55-59. Terri Cassel is the defnding champion, winning here last year in 1:05:00, but it will be tough to repeat. Doreen McCoubrie is the favorite to win the division gold medal. She won the division at the Half Marathon Championships in 1:29:33 but also showed some speed in taking the 8K national  title in Virginia Beach in 31:09. Laura Bruess finished a minute back from McCoubrie at the 8K Masters National Championships, but she won the division at the 10K Championships in 40:49. That is age-grade equivalent to a 1:02 15K. Deborah Torneden took 1st place in 1:01:34 in the 2015 Masters 15K championship here, but her times at a 4 mile event she has run regularly have slowed in each of the last two years. Others who can contend include one of McCoubrie's Athena teammates , Mary Swan. At the Half Marathon, Swan ran 1:36:12 to take 2nd. That is age-grade equivalent to a 1:07:45.

Doreen McCoubrie          Laura Bruess          Terri Cassel

Nat Larson, who will contend for the age-grading title, is a heavy favorite for this divisional crown. In early September he broke the American divisional record for the 5K, running 15:54. But Larson has plenty of endurance too.He finished 6th overall last year in 54:09. Contenders for 2nd and 3rd include Matt Ebiner, Iain Mickle, and Fred Zalokar. Ebiner ran 16:52 at Syracuse to take 2nd in this age division in the National Masters Championships. Of course that is a much shorter distance. More relevant, perhaps, is his 58:57 at the Surf City 10 Miler. That is age-grade equivalent to about 54:50. At the 8K Masters Championships in 2014, Mickle finished 10th overall and 2nd in the 50-54 division in 26:53. He has recent 1:17:38 and 1:18:33 Half Marathons to his credit. The former age grades equivalent to a 54:33. Zalokar, known for winning his age division title at all of the Major Marathons, has recently been testing himself at National Masters Championships at shorter distances. He took 2nd at the Half Marathon Championships in 1:20:25. That suggest he will probably be just off the podium but that's why we run the race. Zalokar's half marathon was not his best certainly. A year before he ran a 1:16:28 on the fast Rock n Roll San Diego course and a 1:17:25 at the Rock n Roll Seattle HM.

Nat Larson          Matt Ebiner          Iain Mickle

60-64. The three h's, Hibbard, Holcombe and Hubbart, appear to be the strongest contenders for the crown. Heath Hibbard has been absent from the Masters circuit for a year or so. He ran 38:47 at the 2016 10K Championships and 31:30 at the 8K championships in Brea that same year. In 2016 he also ran the tough Bolder Boulder 10K course in 40:49; this year he ran it in 42:16 so he was maybe a bit off where he was in May 2016. And lest you worry that he is a short to moderate LDR specialist, he ran the Pike's Peak Marathon in 3:17:44 in August. And that, by the way, is faster than he ran in 2016. John Holcombe ran a terrific Half Marathon in Newport Beach, winning the age division in 1:24:53. That is roughly equivalent in age grade to a 59:37 15K. He also knows the course here; he finished 5th last year in 1:02:39. Kyle Hubbart has been active on the circuit this year, earning a trip to the divisional podium  in the 1 Mile [5:25], 8Km [30:07] and the 10K [37:59]. Last year he finished 3rd here in 1:00:37. It would also be wise to keep an eye on Fred Torneden. He has run a 19:16 5K and a 25:56 4 miler. And he knows distance running; he competed in the 1980 Olympic Marathon trials and 4 years later ran a 2:12:46 in the 1984 Chevron Houston Marathon. It is probably fair to guess that he does not have the base he had in the day but it will be interesting to see what he can do on this tough 15K course. Michael Young's 1:03:15 at the Crim 10 Miler suggests he will be in the thick of the action for a podium position.

Kyle Hubbart          John Holcombe          Heath Hibbard

Andriette Wickstrom returns to defend her title. Last year she ran 1:10:55 and won by nearly 6 minutes. She is fit; she won hare age division at the Twin Cities Marathon this year with a time 3 minjutes faster than in 2016. She has also run a 1:37:50 Half Marathon and a 1:09:24 15K. Ann Ringlein ran a 1:16:47 10 Miler in March of last year, which is equivalent to a 1:11:26 15K. That is probably not fast enough to threaten Wickstrom but if she is still in that kind of condition, she should run fast enough for a silver medal. Joanna Harper has a 5K under 25 minutes and a 10K under 50 minutes. She ran a 1:51:27 Half Marathon. That equates roughly to a 1:18-1:19 15K. Should any of those first three have an off day, then based on her 1:59:54 half marathon time, Amy Lease would be next in line for the podium.

Andriette Wickstrom          Ann Ringlien          Joanna Harper

65-69. This division is loaded this year! Sabra Harvey is the favorite to win; she ran a 1:07:12 to win here two years ago and appears to have as good a fitness level this year as then. Three weeks ago Harvey ran a 1:11:34 10 Miler., equivalent to a 1:06:36 15K. No one can match that. Edie Stevenson would normally be the pick for second by a huge margin. But not this year. She may still come in second but she will have a real challenge from Jeannie Rice. Srevenson won here last year in 1:12:30. Earlier this year she ran 1:13:23 at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. But Rice has a 1:13:31 10 Miler at the Crim Festival in August. Team Red Lizard teammate, Suzanne Ray and Jeanette Groesz, who ran a 1:15:14 and 1:17:14 at the Pear Blossom 10 Miler may well not make the podium. That goes for Coreen Steinbach also who ran 1:16:16 at the Blue Cross Broad street 10 Mile Run. That's a tough crew!

Sabra Harvey          Edie Stevenson          Jeannie Rice

It should be Tom Bernhard and Peter Mullin at the head of the list again in this race. They have finished 1-2 at the 8K, the 10K, and the 1 Mile  Master Championships. Mullin was entered in the 5K Championships which Bernhard won in 17:55 but decided against racing when he encountered a bit of a hamstring twinge during warmups. Will he bit fit and ready to go? We shall find out. Bernhard is also the defending champion; he won in 1:00:45.  Mullin ran two 1:26 Half Marathons early in the year and then faltered a bit at the Half Marathon Championships, perhaps due to the pre-race downpour that made it impossible to warm up properly. He still won the division but in 1:31:15. If Lloyd Hansen was in the same condition he enjoyed in 2015 when he won here in 1:01:51, ti would be a ferocious battle for 2nd. But Hansen has battled injuries over the last year and has lost some training time to family responsibilities. He was 4 minutes back from Mullin at the Half Marathon Championships.    Perry Forrester finished 4th in the 60-64 division here last year in 1:02:12; he is probably the favorite for 3rd place. Chuck Smead of the Boulder Road Runners is a dark horse candidate for the podium. He runs few road races, preferrng cross country. He had a strong outing at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Boulder Colorado in 2015. He came in ahead of Hansen in that race when Hansen was fit and winning divisional titles.

Tom Bernhard          Peter Mullin          Perry Forrester

70-74. This will be one of the more competitive divisions. Richard Kutzner is the defending champion, winning here last year in 1:13:03. Kutzner could run that fast this year and perhaps not be in the top 5. Kutzner may well run faster; in 2016 he won the Masters Half Marathon Championship at San Diego in 1:45:30; this year he finished 2nd in 1:42:59 on a day and course that was arguably tougher than the 2015 event. But the 2nd place finished here last year is the one who beat him; that is me, Paul Carlin, running 1:41:42. But there are two others who are favored to come in ahead of me. Dave Glass had some injuries in the early spring, but this fall he has won the 5K and the 5km Cross Country Masters Championship races. Glass also was able to clock a 1:06:49 last November at the Stockade-a-thon 15K. He probably does not have that level of fitness but a sub 1:10 seems likely. My most recent 15K is a 1:10:37 at the Utica Boilermaker 15K. The athlete with the fastest 15K this year is Robert Hendrick who ran 1:07:17 at Gate River in March but also has a 1:37:16 Half Marathon from a month earlier. He has apparently not raced since May but he is probably pretty fit. Gene French will be in the mix as well. He has been a consistent podium finisher int he age division this year. Third in the Half Marathon in 1:43:20, he also finished 3rd in the 8K championships in 35:35. He ran a 1:42:10 Half Marathon in August. One other contender is Jan Frisby  who is finally fit and motivated. When that was last true for him, he finished 2nd in 1:08:16.


Robert Hendrick          Dave Glass          Paul Carlin

On the women's side it is a race between Judy Bomer and defending champion, Irene Terronez. Terronez won last year in 1:42:16. Bomer has a 1:01:04 10K and a 2:38:12 Half Marathon to her credit this year. Her 10K time is roughly equivalent to a 1:33 15K. But the Half Marathon time is equivalent to a 1:51 so one is faster and one slower than Terronez's 15K time here last year. Terronez won the Masters Half Marathon Championship in 2:19:48. I will make Terronez the favorite, but Bomer may prove me wrong on the race course.


Judy Bomer          Irene Terronez

75-79. We have a celebrity guest this year in perennial Boston qualifier and age division winner (most years), John 'Johnny O' Ouweleen. This year he took the 75-79 divisional crown at the Berlin Marathon in 3:39:39. He also has a 1:44:02 Gasparilla Half Marathon to his credit and a 1:11:15 at the Gate River Run 15K. Unless something goes seriously wrong, he should take the divisional crown by minutes.Philip Kroll is the defending champion in 1:28:08 but he may have to be satisfied with just making it onto the podium this year. Charlie Patterson has aged up and has a 1:56:14 half marathon to his credit. That is equivalent to a 1:21:38 15K.


John Ouweleen          Charlie Patterson          Philip Kroll

Sunday, October 22, 2017

USATF 5km Masters Cross Country Championship--Recap No. 2--Age Divisions

October 20 2018. As noted before, Sunday, October 15th found well over 300 of the fastest Masters Cross Country runners in the country gathered to race over Franklin Park's 5 km Cross Country course in Boston, Massachusetts. The previous post highlighted the individual competition in the overall race along two dimensions, first across the finish line, and relative performance by age/Age Grade score. Today we move inside the race to the races within races, the individual age division contests where competition  and camaraderie are mixed up into a fabulous melange. We are pulling for our friends to overcome injuries and years to run really well but each of us hopes to run just a little faster than they do. As noted earlier, it was a great day for a cross country race, with moderate temperatures, no precipitation, and pretty good footing. It was a little windier and muggier than some would have liked.

Women 40-44.  The recap for this division is a reprise of the Overall contest as the top 3 runners overall came from this division: Ginger Reiner, Renee Tolan, and Janet McDevitt. The lead pack of those 3 held together into the forested section when Reiner began to pull away for good.
Ginger Reiner starts to pull away from McDevitt in the forest and builds her lead the rest of the way to the finish at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston [Photo posted by USATF-New England, on their usatf-ne facebook page]

By the finish line, Reiner had a victory margin of 18n seconds. McDevitt had opened a gap on Tolan in the wooded portion that covered mile 2 to about 2.5 miles.
 Ginger Reiner is the first runner across the line overall in the Women's 40-59 Race and finishes first in the Women's 40-44 Division at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston

But Tolan surged once they came out into the open fields again, caught McDevitt at the horseshoe bend and then kicked past her to take second with a 4 second margin. Kathy Wiegand ran a strong race, and needed to, as she found herself running alone for much of the race, back from the lead group but ahead of the main chase group, consisting of Alice Kassens, Wakenda Tyler, and Trish Butler. By the time they were into the forested section, Kassens had left Tyler and Butler behind and was closing in on Wiegand. Wiegand hung tough however and eked out a 2 second victory as Kassens almost caught her at the finish. Tyler finished 14 seconds back in 6th.

Men 40-44. This is a replay of the overall recap with the exception of the trio of 50+ runners who made a run for the overall championship. David Angell took it out hard from the start but Aaron Price soon caught up with him and shadowed him through the early and middle portions of the race. Ryan Carrara and Ethan Nedeau were part of the main chase pack, with Carrara generally toward the front. Once they hit the forested section, Price started dictating the pace, as Angell was trying desperately to hold on, paying the price for his aggressive first two kilometers.
Aaron Price starting to pull away from David Angell in the wooded portion of the course at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston

By the time they got to the open field again it was all over and the only questions were how big a gap there would be between Price and Angell, and whether any of the chase pack could finish fast enough to close on Angell. In the end Price had a 14 second victory over Angell.
Aaron Price is the first runner across the line overall in the Men's 40-59 Race and finishes first in the Men's 40-44 Division at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston

No one caught Angell and in fact within the division, no one was close. Carrara also paid the price for his leading the chase pack when Nedeau made his move as they came out of the wooded section and was able to close on Carrara, pass him, and enjoy a 4 second gap at the finish line. Alan Black also closed strongly, but missed catching Carrara by 4 seconds, as he took 5th place.

Aaron Price 16:15          David Angell 16:29          Ethan Nedeau 16:54


Women 45-49. Kara Parker was expected to contest for the overall win so that made her the favorite for this group which had no other such contenders. Kristin White got the nod for 2nd favorite based on her 4th place finish at the 5K Masters Championships in Syracuse in 19:49. It appeared that Dana Parrot had performed well at the Greater Boston Cross Country Championships. Ruthie Ireland and Heather Welch were touted as those most likely to make a run if any of the first three ran into any difficulty. Parker was part of the 5-runner lead pack for the overall race over most of the course.
Kara Parker (#4272) running with the lead pack of Ginger Reiner (#4111), Renee Tolan (#4007), and Janet McDevitt midway at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston

That gave her a substantial lead over the second place runner by the time she entered the wooded portion and she took the win with over a minute to spare. White was among the leaders of a 2nd chase pack in the overall race and had a substantial lead over Parrot who took a more conservative approach and found herself back in a third chase group. Despite her best efforts, Parrot was never able to gain any on White who finished a minute ahead in second. But Parrot's steady approach gave her third place in the division with a half minute to spare. Her teammate, Dawn Roberts, came in 4th, with Susannah Landreth in 5th and Ireland 6th.

Kara Parker 19:14          Kristin White 20:19          Dana Parrot 21:23

Men 45-49. Based on performances at national road championships this year, I had Jonathan Frieder, Greg Putnam, and Derrick Jones 1-2-3 with Jonathan's brother, Elliott, and Brent Fields having a chance for the podium if any of the top 3 faltered. When the gun sounded, Jones went off with Angel and Price, sharing the lead for the first 400 meters or so, but he dropped back soon after that and Jonathan Frieder closed the gap, and passed Jones, with quite an early gap back to Putnam and E. Frieder, with  Fields not far back from them.
Jonathan Frieder [#4340]  contending for a top 5 finish overall, just ahead of the Ethan Nedeau/Peter Hammer chase pack-mid-race at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston

Putnam was able to move up during the course of the race. J. Frieder paid a price for his early aggressiveness in attaching the course. By the middle of the forested section Putnam had J. Frieder in his sights but Frieder was focused on trying to catch Ryan Carrara, in a similar position. He did not quite catch Carrara. but in the process, kept Putnam at bay. The gap at the finish line from Frieder to Putnam was 6 seconds. Fields also gradually closed the gap on Jones but could not catch him. Jones took 3rd with 5 seconds to spare. Joe Shairs was 9 seconds back, followed by E. Frieder who, after his conservative approach in the middle had a strong surge through the wooded portion and out onto the open field, charging to take 6th by a single second from Conrad Orloff.

Jonathan Frieder 17:01          Greg Putnam 17:07          Derrick Jones 17:16 

Women 50-54. I had the division going to Marisa Sutera Strange with a solid winning margin, and Mimi Fallon and Karyl Sargent fighting it out for 2nd and 3rd. I gave Fallon the edge based on a strong showing at the 10K Masters Championships in Dedham at the end of April. It appeared that Michelle Allen might have a chance at the podium if any of the top favorites had an off day. Ordinarily Kathleen Hayden would have been in that category as well but she has been struggling this year. Strange took it out hard, staying with the leaders through the middle of the race and only losing contact in the forested section.
Marisa Sutera Strange, fighting hard to maintain contact with the overall leaders while building a large lead in the Women's 50-54 division contest at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston

Fallon also went out relatively hard, staying with Strange for the first part of the race, giving ground as the race went on, but building a sizable lead over Sargent, with Jennifer Hegarty, followed by Allen, with Julie Pangburn a few strides back.  Strange took the division by nearly a minute and a half as Fallon paid the price for her more aggressive approach to the race. Sargent passed her in the last wooded portion of the course and pulled away for a 13 second margin at the finish line.  Despite finishing just off the podium, Pangburn and Hegarty had a fine battle down to the wire with Hegarty nailing 4th by a single second over Pangburn. Allen came in 6th a dozen seconds back.

Marisa Sutera Strange 19:24          Karyl Sargent 20:51          Mimi Fallon 21:04

Men 50-54. I had Peter Hammer, Andy Gardiner, and Kent Lemme contesting for the podium and allowed that Mike Nier  and Charles Novak might work their way onto the podium if anyone faltered. What i had not realized is that Andy Gardiner, although close to citizenship is currently a Green Card holder and is therefore not eligible for prizes or awards at USATF national championships. That left one step on the podium open but I was wrong about who would step up. As the description of the Overall Results made clear, Hammer, Gardiner and Lemme formed the main chase pack behind the overall leaders, along with Ryan Carrara and Ethan Nedeau and it was not until late in the race that they sorted themselves out with Hammer finishing 3 seconds ahead of Lemme and Lemme 4 ahead of Gardiner. Michael Dolan also ran tight with that chase pack until well into the wooded section when he fell back slightly.

Peter Hammer (#4058), Kent Lemme (#4221), and Michael Dolan (mostly obscured with head just visible behind Lemme)  formed part of the main overall chase group; Andy Gardiner is about 10 years ahead out of picture but all award-eligible 50-54 runners were behind at this stage--at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston

Novak did a good job of keeping Dolan in sight for much of the race, but Dolan pulled away and eventually established nearly a half minute gap back to Novak, who claimed 4th.

Peter Hammer 16:44          Kent Lemme 16:47          Michael Dolan 17: 04

Women 55-59. I made Trish Butler the favorite for her new division to help celebrate her 55th birthday the day before the race. Butler should get stronger as she continues her recovery from an injury that kept her away from competition for  the first half of the year. Based on performances at National Championships I figured Lorraine Jasper would be a likely 2nd place finisher, with Susan 'Lynn' Cooke perhaps closing out the podium. I then had Margaret Sloan and Amanda King as outsiders with a chance to break onto the division podium. But Charlotte Rizzo of the Westchester Track Club had her sights on a podium finish and Connecticut's Linda Begley looked to contend as well. Butler went out with the leaders but eventually let them go as she settled in with Alice Kassens and Wakenda Tyler to form a 2nd chase pack behind Atlanta's Kathy Wiegand.
Trish Butler (middle) between Alice Kassens (L) and Wakenda Tyler (R) in the chase pack behind the overall leqaders; Butler won the Women's 55-59 division by almost a minute at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston.

Rizzo maintained contact with Butler as long as she could and then maintained visual connection through the middle of the race. Once they got into the woods, the gap lengthened and Butler eventually took first in the division with almost a minute to spare. Jasper had kept mor ein reserve, trailing Rizzo through the first two miles but then had a strong finishing kick that brought her almost all the wya up to Rizzo. In the end Rizzo had a two second margin over Jasper.
Women's 50-54 Chase Pack, Linda Begley (#4325), Amanda King (#4248) and Susan 'Lynn' Cooke (#4261), with Cooke's teammate, Shelly Allen, to her left; all 3 runners toughed it out and the final order at the finish was as pictured--at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston.

With her strong surge to the finish, Jasper put a half minute gap on the divisional chase pack of Begley, King, Cooke, and Sloan, who finished in that order.

Trish Butler 20:23          Charlotte Rizzo  21:17          Lorraine Jasper 21:19

Men 55-59. I had Nat Larson, who recently broke the American record for the Road 5K as the strong favorite. I thought Gary Leaman who was not too far back at the 5K in Syracuse and John Sullivan, who came in ahead of Mark Reeder would be the chief threats for the other podium positions. Unfortunately I was unaware of two strong Maine runners from the Dirigo ('I Lead') Running Club, Pete Bottomley and  Todd Coffin. Larson went out with the chase pack just behind the overall leaders and was never headed by any age division rivals.
Nat Larson (#4220) chasing Etan Nedeau and leading Alan Black and Kent Lemme up the first rise on his way to a commanding victory in the Men's 55-59 division at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston. [Photo posted by USATF-New England, on their usatf-ne facebook page]

Larson is red hot these days; he won the division by 51 seconds. Coffin was able to stick with his teammate, Bottomley through the early stages but by the time they were mid-course, Bottomley had opend up  a gap which Coffin, despite hiw best efforts, could not close down. Bottomley took 2nd place by 18 seconds. But Coffin kept Sullivan at bay with his final margin over Bottomley equaling the gap Bottomley had on him. Reeder is still not back to the fitness he had a couple of years ago when he and Brian Pilcher contested this age group at the 10K Championship on the roads of Dedham MA. Still he was only 9 seconds behing Sullivan; Leaman came in 3 seconds later.

Nat Larson 16:56          Pete Bottomley  17:47          Todd Coffin 18:05


Women 60-64. I thought the Impala leaders, Mo Bartley and Jill Miller-Robinett, would take 1-2 if Atlanta's Mary Richards did not break them up. But I was not familiar with New York's Suzanne Myette who had a different idea about the outcome. Had I looked back to the National Club Cross Country results from 2014 in Bethlehem PA, I would have seen that she finished a few seconds ahead of Nora Cary; that would have tipped me off to her competitiveness for the podium. In any case, Bartley mnoved off smartly at the gun but Myette found her and stayed with her throughout the early and middle portions of the race.
Mo Bartley (R) enjoys a step on her Women's 60-64 rival, Suzanne Myette. Bartley eventually pulled away for the Division victory at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston.

Eventually Bartley's strength showed as she gradually pulled away in the wooded section and won the race by 19 seconds. Miller-Robinett was not able to stay with them for long but did build up a lead on all others. By the middle of  the race, Miller-Robinett appeared to be experiencing some pain, and  Claire McManus of the Greater Boston Track Club was able to close much of the gap. Miller-Robinett gritted her teeth however and managed to hold onto a 9 second margin to hold onto 3rd place. Richards was 17 seconds behind McManus in 5th.

Mo Bartley 22:49          Suzanne Myette 23:08          Jill Miller-Robinett 24:02


Men 60-64. I picked John Barbour, the splendid Cross Country Runner for Greater Lowell, to add this to his collection of trophies, as I poicked him to win the Men's 60+ race overall. After that it appeared likely that Youngers and Ryan would repeat their finish at Syracuse where Youngers prevailed by 16 seconds. I also gave Reno Stirrat a chance of upsetting someone's apple cart. Youngers and Ryan were able to stay with Barbour for the early part of the race, with Stirrat and Bob Reynolds forming a chase pack ready to pounce if any of the leaders faltered. Barbour was too strong for the other two and soon left the lead pack and gradually widened his lead in the middle of the race.

Men's 60-64 lead pack, with John Barbour, Tom Ryan, and Ken Youngers (L to R), heading for 1st, 3rd, and 2nd respectively at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston.
John Barbour 18:30          Ken Youngers 19:17          Tom Ryan 19:42

Women 65-69. This division looked like a pretty safe win for the Impala's  Jo Anne Rowland until many time Cross Country Runner of the Year, Kathy Martin, signed up on site. Martin, as has been true so often in the past, had no trouble winning the race and had a final margin of well over 4 minutes.
Kathy Martin strides toward victory at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston.

Rowland ran her usual fine race but had no chance against Martin. Rowland did forge a two and a half minute margin over the third place finisher, GVH's Jeanne Herrick.

Kathy Martin 21:23          Jo Anne Rowland 26:08          Jeanne Herrick 28:39


Men 65-69. This has been an easy division to predict in most championships this year--Tom Bernhard, Peter Mullin, and Doug Bell, in that order, often followed closely by Kirk Larson and Jerry Learned. But the big 3 were steering clear of this XC race. Bernhard and Mullin have their sites on Tulsa and the 15K as the race to finish off their Grand Prix drive for first and second respectively. Bell wants to help his Boulder Road Runners team to the Club Grand Prix victory and figures he can do that best at Lexington KY in the Club XC contest.So this looked like a race where Larson and Learned should do well. But the favorite for the win was Bob McCusker. McCusker rarely runs in USATF events but he happened to be entered in the Syracuse Festival of Races even though he did not enter the Championship. His 19:23 there made it clear he is a serious runner. I tabbed James Wilson as an outside threat, based on a 1:36 Half Marathon. Either that was an off day or he is much better at shorter distances. McCusker, Larson and Learned did not disappoint. The surprise was that Wilson was able to come between McCusker and Larson. McCusker got out in front and eventually opened up a gap to Wilson and Larson, with Learned not far back.
Bob McCusker ahead of the chase pack oin the Men's 65-69 division, on his way to victory at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston.

Larson was able to stay close to Wilson for much of the race but was never able to close and pass. In the end it was McCusker by a half minute over Wilson, who had a mere 7 seconds over Larson. Learned was 50 seconds back but had a healthy 13 second gap over Hank Schiffman, the 5th place finisher.

Bob McCusker 20:33          James Wilsoni 21:03          Kirk Larson 21:10

Women 70-74. The favorite, Jan Holmquist, did not run after all.  Dianne Anderson ran her usual strong race and took first by a minute and a half over Judith Tripp, as she collected her third age division national championship this year..
Dianne Anderson, with a comfortable lead and no need for sunglasses after all, en route to a Gold Medal in the Women's 70-74 Division at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston.

Knowing that Tripp was coming, no doubt helped Anderson keep to a good pace.

Dianne Anderson 30:29          Judith Tripp 32:03

Men 70-74. Dave Glass and Tony Gingello renewed their rivalry. At the 10K in Dedham, Glass was coming out of rehab and Gingello won the race. At Syracuse, Glass had the edge, winning by 6 seconds over Gingello. I thought that Gen French would be the one pushing the pace from behind as he had finished 3rd at the 8K and the Half Marathon. I figured Peter Davis, who finished a half minute back from Gingello, in 4th at Syracuse, should figure in as well.  Glass reported that his plan was to go out fast and strong and, as a result, for a few seconds, was among the leaders of the 60+ race. By the time they got past the soccer field and onto the path he was well back of the faster 60+ runners but ahead of all of the 70+ runners by a fair margin.
Dave Glass, in with the M60+ runners on his way to an M70-74 victory at the  2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston

Tony Gingello [#4145}, trying to close on Glass, the leader, with Gene French (background, blue kit) trying to keep pace with Gingello at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston

By the time they crested Bear Cage Hill and were headed back down, Gingello started to gain on Glass and apparently 'had him in his sights." But Glass started running more freely once he entered the wooded portion and Gingello was unable to close on him. At the finish line, Glass had a 45 second lead on Gingello, and his second consecutive national championship. Those two were away from a 4-runner pack. A half minute after Gingello crossed the finish line, four athletes finished within 5 seconds of one another--Now that's competition. French had tried to stay with Gingello over the first half of the race; as a result he had a good lead but had expended a lot of energy. Nonetheless he toughed it out and held it together as the others chased him down. French took the bronze medal, finishing just 1 second ahead of Bill Reilly, who finished 2 seconds ahead of Davis and 4 seconds ahead of Thomas Jennings. Not only that, but Rick Bayko was also within striking distance, 6 seconds back from Jennings.

Dave Glass 21:53          Tony Gingello 22:38          Gene French 23:12

Women 75-79. Unlike the 5K in Syracuse where she had a number of competitors to defeat before getting her gold medal, Madeline Bost just had to worry about running the course and finishing.
Madeline Bost, headed for victory in the Women's 80-84 Division at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston.

Unopposed, she strided up Bear Cage Hill and through the forest without much worry, and to the finish line, capturing her second consecutive Age Division gold medal and her third podium finish this year.

Madeline Bost 40:06

Men 75-79. The 3rd and 4th place finishers at the 5K road race Championship in Syracuse were Charlie Patterson and George Tooker, who finished only 3 seconds apart. It did not appear that the pair who ran the CVS Downtown 5K would be able to run with those two but they also were pretty close on the roads with Michael Pelletier edging Robert Sullivan by 10 seconds.Patterson was able to stay tight on Tooker for much of the race but in the end Tooker was able to gradually pull away and take the win by a solid 17 second margin.
George Tooker (#4267), the eventual Men's 75-79 Division winner, with a step on Charlie Patterson (#4029) in the middle of the race at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston.

Patterson had no trouble keeping Pelletier at bay, finishing almost a minute ahead. It was not Sullivan's day as he wound up over a minute back from Pelletier this time.

George Tooker 27:12          Charlie Patterson 27:29          Michael Pelletier 28:26


Women 80-84. Mary Harada was the sole entrant; she apparently scared away the competition. At age 82, she was the oldest finisher of the day in the women's race, winning in the almost un-achievable time of 44:44. Not only the oldest winner but the only racer to score the same digit in each place!

Mary Harrada 44:44

Men 80-84. There were twice as many men entered in this age group and somewhat to my surprise, Jim Askew had no trouble garnering another Age Division Gold Medal. Inocencio Cantu ran 26:08 at the BAA 5K on Marathon Weekend in April which compares favorably to Askew's winning time at the 5K Masters Championship in Syracuse of 28:00 (chip). But I did not know anything about Cantu's current fitness; there were no recent race results for him. Whether because of Cantu's fitness having suffered in the intervening months or because Askew is relatively better on the turf or just the luck of the day.
Jim Askew [hat] on his way to victory in the Men's 80-84 Division at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park in Boston.

Askew won the race handily, taking first by 2 minutes, a solid victory to say the least and Askew's third age division crown in a row, in Flint for the 1 Mile, in Syracuse for the 5K, and in Boston for the 5 km XC!

Jim Askew 29:05          Inocencio Cantu 31:05

Hats off to all of the competitors at the 5km Masters Cross Country Championships! Most of the fields were deep and the competition spirited.
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Thanks to Michael Scott for making his excellent photos available to us all via his Facebook page, and to the USATF-New England staff for posting photos on their Facebook page. Mike's photos have his watermark on them; all other photos are posted by usatf-ne.






Wednesday, October 18, 2017

USATF 5km Masters Cross Country Championship--Recap No. 1--Age Grading and Overall Races



October 17 2017.  The 2017 Masters 5km Championships were held at the storied Cross Country course at Franklin Park in Boston. The course was created for the World Cross-Country Championships in 1992. Course conditions were good and weather conditions were favorable, but a little windy and humid. The terrain is pretty flat for the first mile, then a serious climb up Bear Cage Hill, followed by rolling hills from mile 2 to 2.5. According to Mike Scott, Chair of USATF's LDR Division and sports photographer par excellence, the course is 'traditionally very fast.' The Men’s 60 and up race went off at 10:30 AM, followed by the Men’s 40-59 race at 11:15 AM and the Women’s race at 12 noon.

Age-Grading Championships, symbolic of the best running across age groups, went to perennial Cross Country Runner of the Year, Kathy Martin, who was apparently a last-minute entrant, 
Kathy Martin strides confidently towards another Age-Grading Gold medal in the early stages of the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship

and Men’s 50-54 2016 Masters LDR Runner of the Year, Nat Larson.  
Nat Larson (#4228) tracks Ethan Nedeau and leads Alan Black (red/black kit) and Kent Lemme (white singlet behind Black) on the way toward the Age-Grading Championship at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship [Photo-USATF-NE-FB post]

Prizes went 5 deep and the Women's other prize winners included, in order: Marisa Sutera Strange, notching her 2nd age grade podium and 4th top 5 this year;  
Marisa Sutera Strange on her way to the Age Grade Silver Medal at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship

Trish Butler, claiming her first age-grade podium after missing most of the year to injury; Kara Parker, improving on her 6th place age-grade score last year; 
Trish Butler [#4260] running in a pack that will hold together for most of the race, with Alice Kassens [#4009] and Wakenda Tyler [#4140]. Butler captured The Age Grade Bronze Medal at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship

and Mo Bartley, claiming her first top-5 age grade score this year. Second through 5th in the Men's races went to: Peter Hammer, moving up from 4th age-grading at Club Cross Country last December; 
From left to right, the 2nd, 1st and 4th place Age Grade winners-the 'fabulous fifties' trio, Peter Hammer, Nat Larson, and Kent Lemme traverse the forest loop at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship [Photo-USATF-NE-FB post]

John Barbour, who took top honors for the Men's 60+ race at Club Cross in Tallahassee;  
The Lead Pack in the Men's 60+ Race, John Barbour, Tom Ryan, and Ken Youngers; Barbour will claim 3rd in the overall Men's Age-Grade competition whle Youngers and Ryan were 2nd and 4th respectively in the 60+ race --at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship

Kent Lemme, with his 3rd top-5 age grade finish this year; and Pete Bottomley improving on his 9th place age-grade at Club Cross last December.

Women 

Kathy Martin 66-21:23-93.53%   Marisa Sutera Strange 54-19:24-89.05  Trish Butler 55-20:23-85.72

Men
Nat Larson 55-16:56-90.27%    Peter Hammer 51-16:44-88.84   John Barbour 63-18:30-88.50

Overall Race Contests are not recognized with a separate prize or award at Cross Country Championships. But still the gun goes off and it's a race and we still care who comes across first even if we recognize that not everyone in the race has an equal chance of being in the top bunch. Certainly the top runners form the 45-49 and 50-54 groups are trying to beat the 40-44's and the same is true of the 65-69's and the 70-74's in the 60 Plus race. So here is a quick recap of the Overall non-races.

The 5 main contenders to win the Women’s Race included Janet McDevitt, who won this race two years ago, and has finished 2nd in the last two Club XC Championships. Other contenders included the Masters winner of the 2017 TC 10 Miler and 6th place finisher at this Championship last year in Tallahassee, Kara Parker; winner of the 2017 USATF Masters 10K Championship, Ginger Reiner; winner of Pittsburgh’s Liberty Mile and the USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship, as well as 4th place finisher at the 5K Championships, Renee Tolan; and winner of the 2016 USATF Masters 10K Championship and 2nd place finisher at this Championship last year in Tallahassee, Marisa Sutera Strange. Parker, Reiner, McDevitt, and Tolan formed a lead pack for the first mile with Strange just off the pace. 
Lead Pack in the early stages of the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship-Ginger Reiner leads Renee Tolan [#4007], Kara Parker [cap], Janet McDevitt [orange], and Marisa Sutera Strange [right behind McDevitt] [Photo-USATF-NE-FB post]

McDevitt and Reiner pulled away on Bear Cage Hill and the 1-2 and 3-4 stayed in that order through the 2nd mile and into the forest loop, when Reiner started to pull away from McDevitt. 
Ginger Reiner[right foreground] with a step on Janet McDevitt; Renee Tolan and Kara Parker in the background, trying to avoid losing contact in the forest loop with a kilometer to go at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship [Photo-USATF-NE-FB post]

Reiner took the win in 18:45, 
Ginger Reiner crosses the Finish Line first in the Women's Race at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship [Photo-USATF-NE-FB post]

and Tolan closed on McDevitt between 800 and 300 meters to go, and passed her in the final 100 meters to take 2nd eighteen seconds later; 
Renee Tolan strides across the Finish Line 2nd in the Women's Race at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship [Photo-USATF-NE-FB post]

McDevitt was a scant 4 seconds back.
Janet McDevitt, the third runner in the Women's Race at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship [Photo-USATF-NE-FB post]

Parker and Strange closed out the top 5 in that order, in 19:14 and 19:24.

Ginger Reiner  18:45         Renee Tolan 19:03          Janet McDevitt 19:07

The favorite in the Men’s 60 and up race was John Barbour, runner-up at the last two National Club XC Championships. Other contenders included Robert Reynolds, relatively unknown in USATF national Masters championships, but age division winner of the 2017 Blue Cross Broad Street 10 Miler; Ken Youngers, age division bronze medalist at the recent National Masters 5K road Championship and age division silver medalist at the Road Mile Championship in Flint; Tom Ryan, who finished 4th at the 5K championship at Syracuse, and Reno Stirrat who took 6th at Syracuse. Ryan broke fast from the opening gun, with Barbour and Youngers in hot  pursuit, followed by Reynolds and Stirrat. 
John Barbour, Tom Ryan, and Ken Youngers (L to R) in the first loop at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship

Once they got past White Stadium, around 700 meters in, Barbour started to pull away from everyone and just lengthened his lead the rest of the way. Youngers gradually built up a gap from Ryan. But Ryan was able to hold Reynolds and Stirrat at bay. Reynolds held 4th through the first mile with Stirrat right with him. As they headed towards Bear Cage Hill, Stirrat surged past and established a small gap. Try as he might, Reynolds was unable to close the gap. 
Reno Stirrat, with Robert Reynolds a few strides back, tracking the 3-runner lead pack at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship

Barbour won the race handily in 18:30, 

John Barbour crosses the finish line first in the Men's 60 and up Race at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship [Photo-USATF-NE-FB post]
with Youngers a clear second in 47 seconds back. Ryan pulled away over the last portion of the race to take 3rd in 19:42, followed by Stirrat nine seconds later and Reynolds ten seconds after him.

John Barbour 18:30          Ken Youngers 19:17          Tom Ryan 19:42

The top 5 US contenders in the Men’s 40-59 race were: David Angell, winner of the 2017 Masters 8K and 10K Championships; Peter Hammer, Masters winner of the 2017 Lone Gull 10K and runner-up at the 2016 Masters 10K Championship; Kent Lemme, who finished 5th at the 2017 Masters 8K Championships; Ethan Nedeau, who finished 4th at the 2015 Masters 10K Championships; and Aaron Price, who finished 19th at the 2016 National Club Cross Country Championships, 5 places and 12 seconds behind Hammer. The gun went off and the assembled runners headed off over an open field knowing that in about 200 meters or so they would turn onto a much narrower track. Angell took it out hard as did Price and Derrick Jones, who had battled Angell at the 10K Championship. 
David Angell with Aaron Price a stride back as they gap the field in the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship

As they headed around the back of White Stadium 800-1000 meters into the race, Angell, with Price right on his heels, started to gap the field. Trailing them was a huge chase pack that hung together for much of the race, although individual runners did shift around in that pack.  
Derrick Jones leads the Chase Pack in the early going, with Andy Gardiner barely visible in yellow behind him, with Ryan Carrara (in green) and Jonathan Frieder (in black) in the early going at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship [Photo-USATF-NE-FB post]
 Ryan Carrara, followed a few strides back by Andy Gardiner had a small gap on the next trio of Hammer, Lemme, and Larson by the 1.5 mile mark, heading toward the forest section. Once into the forested section it was 600 meters or so and then they would be out into the open field around the horseshoe bend and the mad dash to the finish! The two leaders had hit the 1 Mile mark at 5:00. Heading up Bear Cage Hill on the second loop, Price surged past Angell, gaining a few steps on him by the top of the hill. Angell was able to stick close for the rest of that loop as they hit the two mile mark around 10:19. As they went into the wilderness portion of the course, Angell was no longer able to hold on and a gap opened up. 
Aaron Price, starting to pull away in the forested section of the course as David Angell gamely holds on in 2nd at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship [Photo-USATF-NE-FB post]

With 500 meters to go around the Open Field, Price had too much of a gap for Angell to close down.
Ryan Carraraand Andy Gardiner gap the chase pack as they race through the forest, with Peter Hammer, Nat Larson, and  Kent Lemme trying to close up at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship [Photo-USATF-NE-FB post]
Price finished strongly in 16:15 to take the win. Angell had a pretty strong finish himself as the chase pack was starting to make  inroads into his lead. 
Aaron Price finishes first in the Men's 40-59 Race at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship
 
Nonetheless Angell held on with room to spare, taking 2nd 14 seconds back from Price. 
David Angell crosses the Finish Line second in the Men's 40-59 Race at the 2017 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championship [Photo-USATF-NE-FB post]

Hammer and Andy Gardiner (who was not eligible for any awards or to score team points, shortly to change when his US citizenship goes through), the BAA's dangerous duo of 50- somethings pulled away from the pack slightly, split by another 50-something, Lemme, of the Greater Springfield Harriers. Hammer took 3rd, 15 seconds back from Angell, followed by Lemme 3 seconds later and then Gardiner 4 seconds back in 16:51. Nedeau claimed 5th in 16:54, two seconds ahead of Nat LarsonRyan Carrara, Jonathan Frieder, Michael Dolan, Alan Black, and Greg Putrnam hurtled across the finish line in the next 11 seconds on the headlong rush at the end. There was no more than 3 seconds between any two of the next 18 runners; that's how close, competitive, and hard fought the race up front was! 

Aaron Price 16:15          David Angell 16:29          Peter Hammer 16:44

A great day of competition--Hat's off to those who won championships and won races and to all of those others who forced the leaders to run really fast and push up those hills, the only way they could  maintain a lead against such tough competitors.