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.

No comments:

Post a Comment