Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Recap of Garden State Track Club's Quarantine [Virtual]Games-3000 Meter Masters Races

November 14, 2020.  During the week surrounding Halloween, Masters runners from the Boulder Track Club, Cal Coast Track Club, Garden State Track Club chased around a track for 7.5 laps in a time trial format. Although, to be frank, the two primary contending clubs, Garden State and West Valley both designate one day, often a Saturday morning for a day to gather at the track and run your time trial. Runners observe social distancing, but more than one runner can go at a time, building team camaraderie and making for slightly faster times due to the sense of competition. This is the third time trial (individual) event in the series along with one relay event. These events help to relieve boredom and provide motivation for training. West Valley also has an upcoming goal 'race' that is just a few weeks away. West Valley's John Markell noted in September: "After all, we're optimists.  If Club Nats is a no-go, we plan to run a 10 x 10,000m relay, on a track, in December, around the time when Nats would have been.  Note: this is a relay race, so one runner at a time adheres to social distancing rules, nationwide.  Why 10 x 10,000m? We've decided to take a stab at the masters world record for the event, found here:  http://www.recordholders.org/en/list/relay.html  So, why not?" The Masters Record for the 10 x 10,000 meter is apparently 6:08:33; that requires the 10 runners to average  36:51.3 average. It seems a worthy goal, not impossible, but a worthy challenge.

INDIVIDUALS M40+ Top runners from the 8K trial on September 19th and the 5K trial on October 10th returned to contend for the 3K title. Duncan Nyasinga and Clint Wells have finished 1st and 3rd respectively in those two events. Peter Gilmore, who finished 2nd in the 5K, 24 seconds behind Nyasinga would try to stay closer this time. The 4th through 6th finishers in the 5K, Mark Yuen, Chris Grauch, and Todd Rose, were also in the field, as were Matt Yacoub and Chris Grauch, who finished 4th and 5th in the 8K. Chuck Schneekloth, chief organizer of these Quarantine Games [QG] and the winner of the 2019 USATF Masters Road Mile Championship competed for the first time in the series. John Gardiner is a perennial podium finisher at USATF Masters Championships. In 2017, he finished 3rd in the USATF Masters XC Championships on that tough course in Bend OR, and followed that up with a win in the USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships and seconds in the Road Mile and 15K. That might have been a trifecta; the runner who finished ahead of Gardiner in the Mile and 15K Championships has since accepted a USADA anti-doping sanction based on a 2019 Masters Championship race. Kevin Shirk, who finished 9th in the Quarantine 8K, has wheels that might come in handy. On July 25th, he took the Masters title at the Loudoun Street Mile in Winchester VA in 4:24. When Gilmore was in his late 20's, he ran sub 2:15s at the Boston and New York Marathons. But he has not run a marathon in the last decade. Nyasinga, by contrast, has run at least two marathons in each of the years, 2017-2019. His most recent  effort at the NYC Marathon was 2:33:27 as a newly minted Masters athlete. Both are fine athletes; perhaps Gilmore has more pop for a short race now than Nyasinga does? They would put it to the test, although on tracks 3,000 miles apart.

As it turned out, Gilmore did close the gap on Nyasinga, from 24 seconds to zero! They had the same time, 8:58! Sub-nine--Zing! If they had met on the same track, no doubt one or the other, would have taken the title in a photo finish. In this Virtual outing, they were declared co-winners! Nyasinga is still unbeaten so far in the QG.

Duncan Nyasinga Hip #2 taking the turn in lane 2, with GSTC Open Runners


Shirk's miler 'cred' was polished by a fine 9:02 to finish off the podium. Wells finished 4th, in 9:19,his first finish off the podium in the QG. The remainder of the top 10 poured in over the next few seconds: Grauch 9:21, Rose, 9:22, Gardiner 9:23, Dave Ferrugia & Matt Yacoub 9:25, Yuen & Konrad Knutsen 9:26, and Schneekloth 9:27. 

Duncan Nyasinga & Peter Gilmore 8:58   Kevin Shirk 9:02

M50+ The West Valley trio, Ivan Lieben, Mark Callon, and Chuck Mullane, who took 1-2-3 at the QG 5K time trial, returned to attempt a repeat sweep. All three ran stronger in the 5K than the 8K. So an event like the 3000 meters that requires speed may be even more to their liking. Garden State's Todd Wiley and Mark Zamek, would try to break them up; they finished only one second and 6 seconds, respectively, behind Mullane in the 5K. If anything the West Valley threesome ran stronger in the 3000 Meters. Lieben took the win in 9:28, with a 20 second gap back to Callon and Mullane in 9:47 and 9:49. 1-2-3 for West Valley again! Zamek was 4th in 10:01, followed 10 seconds later by his teammate, Steven Segaloff, who moved up from a 9th place finish in the 5K to a 5th in this 3000 meter race. 

Steven Segaloff eyeglasses leading the pack on his way to a 10:11 3000 Meter time and 5th place finish in the QG


They were followed by Rob Arsenault and Ed Randolph, both in 10:12, 

John Hogan getting the job done on a rainy day! As 5th runner in, he sealed the deal for the GSTC M40 team.


Wiley 10:14, Joe Hegge 10:18, and John Hogan 10:28.

Ivan Lieben 9:28   Mark Callon 9:47   Chuck Mullane 9:49

M60+ Seven runners from Cal Coast participated in each of the first two events, the 8K and the 5k. But no other club entered a complete team. That may have made it harder to get folks to show up for this event, or it may be due to other factors. Mark Core who took the crown in the first two events, was absent for the 3000 meters. Brian Nelson, who finished 2nd in the 8K and 3rd in the 5k, was the returning favorite. Garden State's Gus Stanzione, who finished 3rd in the 8K behind Nelson would try to reverse that outcome.  


Gus Stanzione surges off the turn on his way to a 2nd place finish in the QG M60+ 3000 Meters in 12:02!

Tom Albright, who finished right behind Stanzione in the 5K, would try to join his teammate, Nelson for a 1-2 finish. In a Virtual Race it is probably more likely that Nelson gradually pulled away than made a sudden move, but we will never know. Either way, Nelson took the win comfortably in 12:02, with Stanzione  in 2nd place, and Albright a distant 3rd. Mark Hemmel 12:42 and Paul Cook 12:53 finished 4th and 5th.

Brian Nelson 11:47   Gus Stanzione 12:02   Tom Albright 12:39

W40+ Elena Rozhko and Allison Steele would renew their rivalry. Steele came in 18 seconds ahead of Rozhko in the QG 8K. But Rozhko blew the 5000 meter field apart with a stunning 18:25. Steele took 2nd a half minute, with Jen Martin another half minute back in 3rd. Heather McDermott finished just off the podium in 20:16. All four returned to see how the shorter distance would shake out. Although the times were closer than in the 5K, Rozhko was still able to build a substantial gap, winning in 10:39, with Steele second in 11:00. 

Elena Rozhko and friend/supporter at track for her 3000 Meter time trial in the QG event, which gave her the Virtual win in 10:39!


Martin was a half minute back in 3rd, followed by McDermott in 11:48. Natalia Crawford, a newcomer from Boulder, finished 5th in 12:41.

Elena Rozhko 10:39   Alli Steele 11:00   Jen Martin 11:33

W50+ Kim Aspholm 50 competed for Garden State's 40+ team but was the only 50+ runner entered so took the W50+ title unopposed in a fine 12:19!

Kim Aspholm 12:19 

Kim Aspholm puts in a rainy day 3000 Meters to take the W50 Individual title and contribute to GSTC's W40+ team triumph


TEAMS M40+ In the 8K event, Garden state got the win on a tight threesome of Jonathan Frieder, Dave Ferrugia, and Kevin Shirk finishing 7th through 9th. Duncan Nyasinga led the way in 1st and Elliott Frieder closed off the scoring by slamming the door at #13. West Valley finished 2nd, six points back. Cal Coast took 3rd with 72 points, a single point ahead of Boulder in a tightly contested event!

In the 5K event, West Valley was able to reverse the tables.Although Peter Gilmore and Mark Yuen were not able to stay with Garden State's Nyasinga, they broke up Nyasinga and Shirk. Even more critical to the win, Shirk was followed in by West Valley's Todd Rose, Konrad Knutsen, and Neville Davey, who finished before Garden State's 3rd runner. That sealed the win for West Valley, 32-42. Boulder took 3rd with 55 as Cal Coastdid not field a complete team.

Now in the 3000 meter event, it was the same story for Cal Coast; their 3 runners competed in the individual contest only. Boulder has top end runners but currently lacks the depth to compete with West Valley and Garden state for the win. As noted above, Gilmore, this time, was able to match Nyasinga; both teams were awarded a single point. Four seconds later, Shirk sprinted in to give Garden State 4 points from their top two runners. Boulder's Clint Wells and Chris Grauch kicked away from the chase pack, to take 4th and 5th in 9:19 and 9:21, just ahead of West Valley's Rose, 6th in 9:22. Cal Coast's John Gardiner finished next in 9:23, with his teammate, Matt Yacoub two seconds back. Neither received a finishing position in the team race. But Ferrugia, who came across level with Yacoub, nailed 7th place for Garden State. One second later, West Valley's Yuen and Knutsen claimed 8th and 9th, a single second more ahead of Garden State's Schneekloth. Both teams now had 4 runners in. For West Valley, the scoring, so far. was 1+6+8+9 =24; for Garden State 1+3+7+10 = 21. Eight seconds later, it was all over; Garden State's Shawn Williams clocked 9:35 to take 11th place and slam the door on west Valley. Garden State's total for 5 runners was 31. 

L to R Marco Cardoso, Shawn Williams and Jason Timochko clocking their  3000 meters along with a runner from the Women's Open team.

Jonathan Frieder clocking his 3000 Meter Run in splendid, socially distanced, isolation

West Valley's best possible potential score was 36. In fact, two more Garden State runners, Jonathan Frieder and Jason Timochko, finished in 15th and 16th before West Valley's # 5 runner. A few seconds later Jonah Backstrom took 17th for West Valley, closing their scoring at 41 and assuring them 2nd place, well ahead of Boulder. Aaron Kleinman, of Boulder, had finished 14th in the midst of the Garden State crew. He was joined by Ben Cowan and Flavio DeSimone who ran 10:20 and 10:35 for 23rd and 24th. Boulder finishes off the Team Podium at 70 points.

Garden State Track Club Nyasinga, Shirk, Ferrugia, Schneekloth, Williams 31   

West Valley Track Club Gilmore, Rose, Yuen, Knutsen, Backstrom 41

Boulder Track Club Wells, Grauch, Kleinman, Cowan, DeSimone 70  

M50+ At the 8K, Garden State's Todd Wiley and Mark Zamek took 1st and 5th, but West Valley offset that with Mark Callon and Ed Randolph's 2nd and 4th. More importantly, after Zamek's place, the tide of three West Valley runners, Ivan Lieben, Chuck Mulllane, and White arrived before Garden State's next bunch. That gave West Valley the win at 28, with Garden State 2nd with 44 points, and Cal Coast 3rd, despite Christian Cushing-Murray finishing in the top 5 and Rob Arsenault in the top 10. At the 5K the final margin was closer at 11 points but it was all over after the first three finishers all wore West Valley singlets. Cal Coast had an incomplete team so it was essentially a dual meet. In dual meets, if one team gets the top 3 it does not matter where the other two finish, as long as they do finish. In this case, scoring among complete teams has West Valley gets 1-2-3-6-10 from Lieben, Callon, Mullane, Randolph, and Matt DesJardins for 22. Garden State had Wiley, Zamek, John Hogan, Steven Segaloff, and David Lacouture netting 4-5-7-8-9 for 33 and 2nd place. Cal Coast did not score a complete team.

Like the 5K this 3000 Meter event was essentially a dual meet between GSTC and WVTC, with WVTC's top 3 still the top 3, and the same score. It was West Valley victorious again with Lieben, Callon, Mullane, Randolph and DesJardins at 1-2-3-6-10 for 22 and Garden State 2nd behind Zamek, Segaloff, Wiley, John Hegge, and Hogan at 4-5-7-8-9 for 33 once again. So far it has been West Valley all the way in the M50 competition.

M60+ Only Cal Coast has fielded a complete 60's team yet in this QG series. For the 8K and 5K they brought enough runners to score as a 5-man team and won each with a perfect 15 points. The 3000 Meters saw Cal Coast fall below 5 runners for the first time. But, since USATF scoring on the roads only requires three finishers, Cal Coast again gets the victory by those rules (even though this is not a USATF event), this time with a perfect (3-runner) score of 6 points. Brian Nelson, Tom Albright, and Mark Hemmel took 1-2-3.

W40+ In the 8K event, Boulder sent one runner, Allison Steele, who took 2nd individually. Garden State's threesome, Elena Rozhko, Jen Martin, and Heather McDermott took 1-2-3 for a perfect 6 point team win (again with 3 runners being a complete team). For the 5K, Boulder sent two runners, Steele and Natalia Barrionuevo. The same threesome got the win for Garden state with 6 points again. 

In the 3000 Meter event, Boulder again had an incomplete team with 2 runners, Steele joined this time by Natalia Crawford. Rozhko, Martin and McDermott were joined by Kim Aspholm, who got credit for team 3rd place. Garden State wins with 6.

All photos for this post courtesy of Garden State Track Club. Thanks to Jason Timochko who organized and forwarded to me. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Recap of GSTC Quarantine Games--5K Time Trial

October 17, 2020. My September 27th post recapped the kickoff event of Garden State's Quarantine Games (QT)  event, the 8K. Today is the turn for the 5K. Participating teams in Masters categories included Atlanta TC, Boulder TC, Cal Coast TC, out of So Cal, Garden State TC,out of NJ, and West Valley TC, out of the SF Bay Area. Teams that indicated an interest in participating in some of the events but did not field a team for the 5K includes the Bowerman TC, out of Oregon, and the Genesee Valley Harriers, out of upstate NY. Atlanta fielded an incomplete M40's team this week but did not participate otherwise. Between October 7th and 14th, the races were held on each club's home track, as a group when possible. After all, this is just as much about the camaraderie of running as it about providing motivation for training!

W40 Once again, GSTC fielded the only Women's 40 and up team. Elena Rozhko clocked the top time of 18:25, and Jen Martin and Heather McDermott following in 19:36 and 20:16 respectively. Boulder TC had two entries; Allison Steele split Rozhko and Martin with a 19:02 while her teammate, Natalia Barrionuevo clocked 21:20. They would have been a tough team to beat anyway; with no opposition, they emerge victorious. That gives them two unopposed wins in two tries, the 8K and the 5K.

INDIVIDUAL: Elena Rozhko 18:25   Jen Martin 19:36   Heather McDermott 20:16

TEAM: Garden State Track Club 6 pts. 58:17/3 = average = 19:26 per runner

M40 Boulder, Garden State and West Valley contested for the top spot. Atlanta and Cal Coast had incomplete teams with 3 and 2 entrants respectively. The race for the individual podium figured to involve Peter Gilmore, Duncan Nysasinga, and Clint Wells. Wells had the more distinguished career as an Open athlete, running for the USA at 3 World Cross Country Championships and finishing 5th at the 2000 Olympic Trials in the 3000 meter steeplechase. In 2006 he won the Denver Marathon and in 2015 won the USATF Masters National Marathon Championship at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in 2:24:00! In 2018, Wells finished 20th overall and 2nd Masters behind Kevin Castille (who accepted a 2019 USADA anti-doping sanction), clocking a sizzling 1:06:50 Half Marathon at grandma's Marathon in Duluth. 

Nysasinga has Marathon chops as well. He has steadily cut down his New York City Marathon time as he moved from Open to Masters status. It was 2:57:29 in 2017; Nysasinga dropped his pace by 28 seconds per mile over the next year, clocking 2:45:22. Remarkably he enjoyed another 27 second pace improvement over the next year, lowering his time to 2:33:27! He took the 8K title in the first Quarantine Games event with a blazing 25:41, leaving both Jacques Sallberg and Clint Wells over half a minute back. 

Gilmore, by contrast, has enjoyed his greatest recent success in Cross Country, finishing 2nd overall in 33:00 at the highly competitive Masters 10K race at USATF's 2019 National Club Cross Country Championship! Not that Gilmore is a slouch at other disciplines; he posted a 20:54 at the Los Gatos Rotary 4-Miler in 2019. And if we go back to 2004, when Gilmore was 27, he clocked 2:15:43 in the Olympic Marathon Trials, finishing 9th! No stranger to virtual events this year, he clocked a 15:50 in the Run Free (Virtual) 5K in April. 

The QG story was not much different this time with the 5K. Sallberg was not entered; the threesome of Gilmore, Nysasinga, and Wells opened a gap on the rest of the field. 


Duncan Nyasinga #7 leading the Masters Athletes around the Oval at the 2020 Quarantine Games on his way to taking the Masters win in 15:11 [All GSTC photos courtesy of GSTC/Jason Timochko]

As before though, Nysasinga had a gear the others could not match as he pulled away to take the win in 15:11, with Gilmore 24 seconds back in 2nd and Wells another 26 seconds back in 3rd. 

Peter Gilmore gapping the field midrace at the West Valley 5K Time Trials for the 2020 (Virtual) Quarantine Games [Photo courtesy of Jack Youngren, WVTC Coach]


That set the individual podium, but with one runner in from each of the top 3 clubs, Boulder, Garden State, and West Valley, the team race was just heating up. In fact, the #2 runners for each of those teams were locked in combat as they approached the finish line. West Valley's Mark Yuen had just a little more in the tank as he edged Garden State's Kevin Shirk, 16:13 to 16:15. Boulder's Chris Grauch lacked a few strides to stay with those two, but made sure he had 6th as he finished strong in 16:18. That left Garden State and West Valley tied with 6 and Boulder just behind with 9. Right after Grauch crossed the line, everyone looked to see what the next cheering was for as 4 more athletes approached the finish line, sprinting for all they were worth. Three of the runners wore West Valley singlets and the other wore the Boulder colors. West Valley's Todd Rose sprinted across the line in 16:26, edging Boulder's Aaron Kleinman by a single second, with Rose's teammate, Konrad Knutsen crossing in 16:28. Neville Davey, who was closing strongly on the others, ran out of turf and was happy to be West Valley's 5th scoring runner in 10th. That gave West Valley the win at 32! Boulder had three runners in and 17 points. Garden State could have as low a score as 17 points with three runners if their #3 finished next. In fact that's what happened. Not only did Garden State's Dave Ferrugia clock 16:37 for 11th, giving GSTC the 17 points on three runners to move back in front of Boulder, 


Dave Ferrugia opening up a gap on his teammates as he cruises to a 16:37, pushing Garden State ahead of Boulder in the race for 2nd place M40+ team at the GSTC 2020 Quarantine Games

he led an avalanche of Garden State runners. Shawn Williams, Elliott Frieder, Jason Timochko and Marco Cardoso took the next 4 spots in 16:48, 16:49, 16:58, and 17:00 respectively. 


Shawn Williams #14 on his way to a 16:48 at the 2020 GSTC Quarantine Games  


Elliott Frieder, in a class by himself, cranking out a 16:49 5K in the 2020 GSTC Quarantine Games


Jason Timochko #11 setting the pace as Marco Cardoso keeps pace on their way to a 16:58 and 17:00 res[ectively in the 2020 GSTC Quarantine Games

That locked up 2nd for GSTC as they had 42 points from their top 5 runners. Flavio DeSimone and Charles Wilbur finished things off for Boulder in 17:43 and 18:52, giving Boulder third place with a final total of 55 points. Brent Fields, Kevin Gibson, and Fred Dolan competed for the incomplete Atlanta team, clocking 17:11, 17:37, and 18:47. Cal Coast's Trevor Cox and Gene Inserto stopped the clock at 17:57 and 18:32.

John Markell, a 16:30 5K guy in 2018, and unofficial Captain of WVTC, running himself back to fitness after knee surgery [Photo courtesy of Jack Youngren, WVTC Coach]

INDIVIDUAL: Duncan Nysasinga 15:11   Peter Gilmore 15:35   Clint Wells 16:01


West Valley Track Club 32 pts. 1:21:12/5 = average = 16:14.4 per runner

Garden State Track Club 42 pts. 1:21:40/5 = average = 16:20.0 per runner

Boulder Track Club 55 pts. 1:25:21/5 = average = 17:04.2 per runner

M50 In the 50's contest it was again West Valley vs. Garden State, as Cal Coast entered 4 of the 5 runners needed for a complete team. The top 5 in this battle were West Valley's  Ivan Lieben, Mark Callon, and Chuck Mullane, and the Garden State duo, Todd Wiley and Mark Zamek. With Cal Coast missing their 5th runner, this was now a dual meet. So not only was the individual contest on the line, but potentially the Team contest as well. If West Valley could bring their top 3 in together, it's all over. All their next two athletes have to do is cross the line. Lieben celebrated his last year int he 45-49 division with a 2:50:38 Boston Marathon in April 2019. A mainstay of West Valley's 40's XC teams in recent years, he turned 50 and finished 4th in the ultra-competitive Club XC 50-54 division last December at Lehigh. His running buddy, Mullane, who aged up in the same year, finished about a minute back. Both Lieben and Mullane ran on the victorious West Valley M40 team that took the crown at San Diego in the USATF 5 Km Masters XC Championships, running 16:58 and 17:37. Callon seems to be a new addition to the team but he brought in plenty of 'street cred' as a Masters runner. He ran 1:14:39 at the San Jose RnR HM and a 16:31 5K at the Morgan Hill Freedom Fest. Just to show his versatility, he took the M50 title at the 2019 One Mile Bang in 4:48 and finished 4th in M50 at the legendary Dipsea Race in Mill Valley. But Wiley and Zamek have 'cred' to match.  Although they did not quite keep pace with Lieben at Lehigh, they both came in between Lieben and Mullane. Wiley's best 5K in 2019 was a 17:06, but he broke 17 at least twice in 2018. Zamek's best 2019 5K was a 17:05 at the National Masters Championships in Atlanta, which included a long, hard uphill in the last mile. He added the M55 National Road Mile Championship at the Crim in Flint Michigan with a 4:55! It would have been so much fun to see this race unfold in person! 

Chase Pack in 5K TT, trying to close the gap up to Peter Gilmore and Jaime Heilpern. L to R: Mark Yuen, Ben Callon (HS senior, son of Mark), Ivan Lieben, Mark Callon, and Ryan Somerfield (Open Team) [Photo courtesy of Jack Youngren, WVTC Coach]


As it turned out, Lieben and Callon had no trouble going 1-2 in 16:24 and 16:40. But 20 seconds later the other three were approaching the virtual finish line in a bunch, although Wiley and Mullane were slightly ahead of Zamek, In the end, Mullane got the 17:01 he needed to edge Wiley by a single second, and Zamek by 6 seconds. 

Chuck Mullane on his way to the 17:01 5K he needed to clinch the M50 win for West Valley in the 2020 (virtual) Quarantine Games 5K Time Trial [Photo courtesy of Jack Youngren, WVTC Coach]

And that was it! Not only did that give West Valley the entire podium it gave them the team win as well, assuming their other two guys finished the race. Of course, no one knew that at the time. West Valley's 4th runner, Ed Randolph, was in a battle with Cal Coast's Rob Arsenault. Randolph gave West Valley their 4th finisher as he prevailed in 17:20 to Arsenault's 17:28. Garden state's 3rd, 4th and 5th runners came in next, clocking 17:45, 17:53, and 19:02! They finished ahead of West Valley's 5th runner but it did not matter. When Matt Des Jardins crossed the line in 20:55, a big cheer went up from the West Valley contingent as they had their 5 finishers and the team win. Dan Arsenault, Dennis Ryan, and Kevin Kong closed out the scoring for Cal Coast in 21:07, 21:28, and 21:58.

INDIVIDUAL: Ivan Lieben 16:24   Mark Callon 16:40   Chuck Mullane 17:01


West Valley State 22 pts. 1:28:20/5 = average = 17:40 per runner

Garden State Track Club 33 pts. 1:28:49 = average = 17:45.8 per runner 

Socially Distanced West Valley TC Runners after their 5K Time Trials, with Jaime Heilpern of the Aggies (5th standing from Left). L to R: Ivan Lieben, Chuck Mullane, Mark Callon, Peter Gilmore, Travis Price, (kneeling), Heilpern, Mark Yuen, John Markell [Photo courtesy of Jack Youngren, WVTC Coach]


M60 Once again Cal Coast scared off all potential contenders and had the field to themselves. Garden State's Mike Salamone and Gus Stanzione showed up to make the Individual race more interesting but they did not have a complete team.  Like the race in the M50's, the race between Salamone and Cal Coast's Mark Core would have been fun to see in real time.  Core has been a pretty reliable sub-19 5K for the last few years. Of course in the middle of a pandemic, with limited racing, it can be hard to maintain sharpness. In Core's case we can just look back to the QG 8K; Core took M60 honors with a 32:22. That is age grade equivalent to a 19:55 5K, suggesting that Core is either hampered by a nagging injury or has lost some sharpness. Salamone ran his 5K's in 2018 in the 19:30 to 20:30 range. After months of no races, Salamone took the 60+ honors at the 'Running is Back 5K series' with a 19:41. Sounds like he'd be ready for a race with Core!

They would likely have been locked together heading into the final hundred meters. Who would get the a win? Virtually it was Core, by a single second, 18:56 to 18:57! When will they get a chance to go toe to toe in reality? Let's hope we get a real, live, in-person Masters race where West and East can meet on the turf, the track or the road in 2021! After Salamone crossed the finish line,  

Mike Salazone, Duncan Nyasinga, Dave LaCouture, and Jason Timochko [L to R] pose briefly after their excellent race efforts (before quickly re-establishing social distancing and/or donning masks again!)


Brian Nelson, Bill Amor, and John Araujo took the next 3 spots for Cal Coast in 19:40, 20:32, and 20:48. Nelson has been  stalwart for the Cal Coast M60 team for the last few years. He led Cal Coast's M60 team onto the M60 podium at the 2018 Masters 8 Km National Championships and the 5 Km Masters XC Championships, and ran 18:47 on a challenging 5K course at the National Masters Championships in Atlanta. Talk about a stacked field, wow! Roger Sayre led the way that day in 17:29, followed in close order by Joe Sheeran, Rick Becker, Tom McCormack, and Ken Youngers, 5 Masters Hall of Fame runners for sure! The podium for this virtual QG 5K included Core, Salamonie and Nelson, with Amor just off in 4th!

And what about Amor? Not so long ago he was overweight by his own account and wondering if running would help him get his weight down. Not only did he get his weight down, he rediscovered his love of running. His first 5K effort in summer of 2017, he did not crack 30 minutes. By the fall he was down to the mid-20's. By 2018, he had his first sub-22 5K. By 2019 he was able to break 21 minutes and he joined Cal Coast. He competed for the 'B' M60 team at the 5 Km Masters Championships in San Diego; by Club XC time, he was competing for the 'A' squad. He has been working with Jacques Sallberg as his Coach for a couple of months now and is looking to crack 20:00 in a road 5K. 

As recently as 2018, Araujo was breaking 20 minutes in a 5K but his recent 5K times have been slower. Perhaps he was injured? In any case, his most recent live races include a 32:23 at the 2020 Brea 8K, which is age grade equivalent to a 19:55 5K and a 3:12:08 at the L.A. Marathon in March 2020. At that point, he was ready to roll. But  after 6 months of covid restrictions, Amor was able to roll just a little bit faster. A little intramural competition like that helps the team! 

Gus Stanzione clicking off the socially distanced miles on a Blue & Gray Oval, clocking 21:09 to land in 6th place at the 2020 GSTC Quarantine Games

Stanzione came next in 21:09, followed by Tom Albright, Paul Cook, and 'Coach' Bill Sumner, stepping down from his 70's division, in 21:25, 22:23, and 23:54. Sumner is one of the top coaches in the country, having coached so many individual and team champions that it is hard to keep track! As long as he can keep pushing the cookie tray away, he'll continue to battle at the front of the M70 group on the turf and on the roads!

INDIVIDUAL: Mark Core 18:56   Mike Salamone 18:57   Brian Nelson 19:40


Cal Coast Track Club 6 pts.   1:41:21/5 = average = 20:16.2 per runner


AGE GRADING Back by popular request, let us look at age-grading to figure out which of these impressive times was the most impressive for the runner's age. Source: Grubb Calculator-Track factors, not road, approved by WMA and USATF.

MEN's PODIUM: Mark Zamek 57 17:07 89.29%   Mark Yuen 49 16:13 88.28%   Duncan Nyasinga 40 15:11 87.93%

Nyasinga edged Ivan Lieben by only two hundredths of a percent! His 16:24 at age 50 warranted an 87.91%. Lieben was followed by Mark Callon 87.30%, Peter Gilmore 86.95%, and Clint Wells 86.58%.

WOMEN: Elena Rozhko dominated the Women's contest; her 18:25 at age 47 merited an 87.42%.


That wraps up this recap. West Valley took the M40+ and M50+ team contests while Garden State took the Women's 40+ and Cal Coast the M60+ race. Next up on the QG schedule is the 10K Relay (2 x 2 x 2.5K). I hope they get more teams to run this relay than was the case for the 5 x 4K relay a couple of weeks ago. The following week it will be the 3K time trial. And let's hope at least one additional W40 and M60 team can show up to contest those divisions. Perhaps the QG organizers should allow as few as three runners to form a complete M60 team, as is the practice in USATF National Championships? It does not appear Cal Coast has a problem getting 5-6 of their team to compete, but it can be lonely at the top. In my write-up I assumed that the three runners from GSTC in Women's 40+ constituted a complete team.

[Thanks to Jack Youngren for sending photos of West Valley in action. I am happy to use photos from any team that sends them to me.]

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Recap of GSTC Quarantine Games-Race # 1--8K Time Trials

 September 25, 2020. The first event of the Quarantine Games hosted by the Garden State Track Club was an 8K Time Trial. twelve teams have indicated an interest in participating in the series. Five Clubs entered at least one team in the 8K Time Trial. It was to be run in a Wednesday to Wednesday window; that will be the norm for the time trials. They are hoping to run the relays on the same day. If they can also coordinate a time, GSTC is interested in coordinating real time, simultaneous, 'play-by-play' commentary from each site via Zoom. That may be a bridge too far, but it's fun to think about the possibility.

As far as Masters teams were concerned, the first 8K involved the Boulder Track Club, the Cal Coast Track Club, the Garden State Track Club, and the West Valley Track Club. Cross country-style scoring by place determines final team scores.


I will focus on Masters, even though an Open competition was held as well.  Let's do the M60 competition first as there was only one team entry.

M60 The Cal Coast Track Club entered the only team in this division. Garden State's Gus Stanzione joined in as an individual, but he was the only non-Cal Coast entry. Hence they win by default. Here's how they finished. Ray Knerr gave this one a miss, but Mark Core led the rest of the Cal Coast crew as expected. This might have been a bit of  'rust-buster' for Core; he ran 18:24 in a 5K last November. Nonetheless, his 32:22 beat the field by a minute. Brian Nelson, a mainstay for the M60 team for the last few years, clocked 19:14 in the 5K National Championship and 1:01:54  in the 15K in Tulsa. He pulled through in 33:25 to take 2nd place. He distanced Garden State's Stanzione by 24 seconds, but Stanzione makes the individual podium! Keith Witthauer came 4th--pretty impressive for a guy has been dealing with cancer off and on for a few years now. Four years go he cracked 31 at Brea, CA to finish 6th in the National Masters Championship. At Club Cross in Lexington KY in December 2018, his teammate, John Howell, noted that Witthauer was still a tough warrior, running well for the Team whenever he was not in the midst radiation or chemo. Perhaps he has come out the other side? I hope so. In any case, he takes 4th with a 35:30. Not far behind was a tight pack of four, Tom Albright, Paul Cook, John Araujo, and Perry Forrester, with times 36:06, 36:29, 37:10 and 37:11 as Araujo just held on to edge Forrester by a single second. He gets bragging rights for a while on that one! As far  as team score goes, they are using XC style scoring over the first 5 runners. With no other teams in the race, Stanzione is dropped from the team results and Cal Coast gets a perfect 15. Let's hope that Stanzione can get some help from some Garden State teammates or another club or clubs can put teams in. Cal Coast is a strong team but should they coast to a win? Contact gardenstatetrackclub@gmail.com if you want to discuss a possible entry.

TEAM    Cal Coast Track Club 15

INDIVIDUAL    Mark Core  32:22   Brian Nelson 33:25   Gus Stanzione 33:49

 W40 If three athletes are sufficient for Women's teams, then Garden State had a complete team. They were joined by Alison Steele of Boulder Track Club who competed as an Individual. She pulled away from Garden State's Elena Rozhko in the last kilometer to claim the Individual win with a sterling time of 30:53. Rozhko was 2nd in 31:11, followed by her teammates, Jen Martin, in 31:43, and Heather McDermott in 33:40. With Steele removed from the team scoring, Garden State enjoys the win unopposed, with 6 points.

INDIVIDUAL   Alison Steele 30:53   Elena Rozhko 31:11   Jen Martin 31:43

TEAM   Garden State Track Club 6


All of the 8K's were run on the track, so let us re-imagine the rest of this virtual event as if all the M40 and M50 teams were at the same track at the same time, as in pre-covid days. 


The Officials decided not to run all 31 runners at the same time; there were 2 heats. The four complete teams put three athletes each into the seeded heat. The individual podium is expected to come from that heat. The remaining 19 athletes comprised heat #1. The team race depended on both heats combined by time; runners from the second heat with a faster time were placed ahead of any slower runners in the seeded heat.

First up is Heat #2. There were two surprise names in the unseeded heat: West Valley's Peter Gilmore and Cal Coast's Roosevelt Cook. Gilmore finished 2nd overall at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships and Cook finished 6th. Was that a sign of how strong the West Valley and Cal Coast teams are, or just a sign that Gilmore and Cook are not at peak fitness? Soon the gun went off  and the race was under way. Although the runners were spread out in a file, they were together for the first couple of kilometers. Eventually a group of five pushed the pace and separated themselves from the rest. West Valley had three runners in the lead group, Eric Aldrich, Gilmore, and Ben Koss. They were joined by two Garden State athletes, Elliott Frieder and Kevin Shirk. In the latter part of the race, Shirk was able to move to the front, apply pressure and gain separation. He pulled away to take the unseeded heat in 26:59, followed 15 seconds later by Gilmore, with Koss, E. Frieder and Aldrich following in 27:34, 27:46, and 27:56. With the top two from Garden State in 1st and 4th, and the top two from West Valley finishing 2nd and 3rd in this heat, it was shaping up as a tight race for the team win. Boulder's Flavio DeSimone came 6th in 28:18. That gave Boulder the edge over Cal Coast with their first two runners coming in 6th and 10th as Cal Coast's finished 11th and 12th in this heat. The overall finishing position of runners from this heat in the overall contest would not be known until their times are combined with those from the seeded heat.

Ten minutes after the unseeded heat finished, the following lined up for the start of the seeded heat: Boulder Track Club Aaron Kleinman, Jeff Schuler, and Clint Wells; Cal Coast Track Club Paul Cook, John Gardiner, and Jacques Sallberg; Garden State Track Club Dave Ferrugia, Jonathan Frieder, and Duncan Nyasinga; and West Valley Track Club Peter Gilmore, Ben Koss, and Todd Rose. With Nyasinga, Sallberg, and Wells applying pressure up front after 3 kilometers, a gap started to appear as Schuler, Kleinman and Gardiner started to fall back. All three knew that they had to stay as close as possible, off day or not. Right at 6 kilometers, Nyasinga made a move no one could answer as he pulled out to a lead, with Sallberg and Wells leading the chase pack; it trailed out to single file but held together. By the time he crossed the finish line in a smashing 25:41, Nyasinga had a 200 meter lead on the field. Sallberg pulled away to claim 2nd in 26:20, with Wells third in 26:34. Yacoub was nine seconds back in fourth. Fifth through 9th was determined in the final 200 meters as Knutsen edged his teammate, Davey by a single second, for 5th in 26:53. J. Frieder was 3 seconds back, with his teammate, Ferrugia another 2 seconds back in 8th, followed by Rose who took 9th in 27:06. Schuler, Kleinman, and Gardiner finished in 10th, 11th and 12th. Everyone knew the individual podium at that point, Nyasinga, Sallberg, and Wells. 

INDIVIDUAL Duncan Nyasinga 25:41   Jacques Sallberg 26:20   Clint Wells 26:34

But which team won? It looked to be very close. Garden State picked up the win and its single point, but West Valley put two of their three ahead of Garden State's second two runners. Cal Coast had two of the top 4 finishers. Would that be enough to move them ahead of Boulder? Everyone would have to wait for the official tally.


Garden State Nyasinga-1 J. Frieder-7 Ferrugia-8 Shirk-9 E. Frieder-13  38

West Valley Track Club Knutsen-5 Davey-6 Rose-10 Gilmore-11 Koss-12   44

Cal Coast Track Club Sallberg-2 Yacoub-4 Gardiner-19 Cook-23 Cox-24   72

Boulder Track Club Wells-3 Schuler-15 Kleinman-16 DeSimone-17 Cowan-22   73

Nyasinga had a dominant individual win, with Sallberg and Wells sharing the podium in 2nd and 3rd. Garden State celebrated their first M40 team win in their QG series. West Valley was only 6 points back. A few seconds here, a few seconds there, and things might have been different. And Cal Coast just edged Boulder by a single point-close! This should provide motivation for the 2nd contest taking place over this weekend, the 5 x 4K Relay. Check in next week for the recap of that one!


Five teams entered athletes but there were only 3 complete teams. With 23 athletes expected to toe the starting line, the officials decided to run it as a single large heat. The top three runners from the complete teams, Cal Coast Christian Cushing-Murray, Rob Arsenault, Mark Steyvers; Garden State Todd Wiley, Mark Zamek, John Hogan; and  West Valley Mark Callon, Ed Randolph, Ivan Lieben joined by Jaime Heilpern of the Aggies. Last December, at age 49, Heilpern finished 10th overall at Club Cross. The remaining team members lined up right behind in the 2nd row: Cal Coast Greg Hemphill, Kevin Kong, Dennis Ryan; Garden State Wes Cole, Dave Lacouter, Eric Davis, Steven Segaloff; West Valley Matty Des Jardins, Chuck Mullane, Dave White; and Aggies Roger Dix, Jeff Hongo. They were joined by a lone entrant from Boulder: Charles Wilbur.

When the gun sounded, the 23 runners started off their marks. Once they got well into the race, a lead group emerged consisting of Callon, Cushing-Murray, Heilpern, Randolph, and Wiley. There was a small gap back to a 3-man chase group of Lieben, Mullane and Zamek, with a 50 meter gap to a quartet of runners, Arsenault, Hogan, Segaloff and White. Stevers and Wilbur came next, rounding out the front of the field. When it was time to go, Heilpern made a decisive move, putting 200 meters on the field in the space of a couple of laps. He poured in on from there to clock 25:59 as he crossed the line; he was more than a minute ahead of the field. When Heilpern made his initial move, that broke up the rest of the lead pack. Wiley accelerated to try to stay with Heilpern, could not do it, but found himself with a gap back to Callon, Cushing-Murray and Randolph. Wiley held the gap all the way to the finish, taking 2nd in 27:19. Callon moved away from Cushing-Murray before the last lap, not wanting to give any hope to the former sub-4 minute miler and 2016 Carlsbad 5000 Masters winner. Callon claimed third, 10 seconds ahead of Cushing-Murray, who had 14 seconds on Randolph.

Heilpern had a great win, but the Aggies did not have a complete team. As with the M40 race, the Individual podium was known, Heilpern, Wiley, and Callon, but the team results were still in play. The USATF scoring rules remove any runners from incomplete teams before totaling the points for complete teams. It does not appear that Garden State applied that rule consistently, although it had no effect on the order of finish. Removing Heilpern, his two teammates, and Wilbur from the team scoring yields the following. Garden State had a Team Competition 1st, but West Valley had 2nd and 4th, while Cal Coast had 3rd. Zamek gave it all he had to hold off West Valley's Lieben and Mullane, as Zamek clocked 28:26 for 5th to their 28:28 and 28:29. Despite Zamek's heroics, West Valley had 4 runners in to 2 for Garden State and one for Cal Coast. It was all but over. Arsenault gave Cal Coast their 2nd scoring runner as came across in 28:53 to take 8th place. When White took 9th for West Valley ten seconds later, that clinched the win for West Valley. They had 5 runners in and 28 points. Garden State and Cal Coast were left to duke it out for 2nd and 3rd. Cal Coast had 3rd and 8th for 11 points so far while Garden State had 1st and 5th for 7 points. Hogan and Segaloff claimed 10th and 11th for Garden State in 29:19 and 29:24, and things were looking good for Garden State. With only one Cal Coast runner, Steyvers, out on the track ahead of their next two runners, Davis and Cole, Garden State knew they had the team 2nd place wrapped up. Their final total was 40 points. Hemphill came in 15th after Cole crossed the line, followed by Lacouture, Des Jardins, Hongo, and Dix. and then Kong closed it off for Cal Coast with a 18th place finish. Hongo and Dix did not count in the team scoring. Cal Coast had the bronze medal position on their 56 points. 

West Valley Track Club 28   Garden State Track Club 40   Cal Coast Track Club 56

Age-Grading How impressive were the performances? One way to gauge is to note the Age Grade percentages or what I call the Open Equivalent Time [the time an Open athlete would need to record to achieve the same age grade percentage]. Without knowing ages, it is tough to gauge. I can find or figure out a few ages, and can use the Track Calculator.  

Jaime Heilpern, who  won the M50 event, just turned 50. His 25:59 grades at 91.47%, or an Open Equivalent of 22:44! Jacques Sallberg, who finished 2nd in the M40 event at age 45, ran 26:20; that grades to 86.71%, an Open Equivalent of 23:58. Matt Yacoub's 26:43, if he is 46, grades to 86.15%, an Open Equivalent of 24:07. The Frieder twins, Elliott and Jonathan, are both 49. Jonathan's 26:57 grades to an 87.45% with an Open equivalent of 23:46. Elliott's 27:46 grades to an 84.87, with an Open Equivalent of 24:29. Duncan Nyasinga, who won the M40 competition, just turned 40. His 25:41 grades at 85.59, with an Open Equivalent of 24:16. Todd Wiley who finished 2nd in M50 in 27:19, is 50 and grades at 87.0% with an Open Equivalent of 23:54. Mark Callon appears to be 51. If so, his 27:40 grades at 86.57% with an Open Equivalent of 24:00. I am not sure if Christian Cushing-Murray is 52 or 53; I am guessing he is still 52. If so, his 27:50 would age grade at 86.77% or an Open Equivalent of 23:57. Mark Zamek, 56, ran 28:26 which ge grades at 87.81%, with an Open Equivalent time of 23:40.

That is it! It was a thrilling competition and we are just at the first event! Next up is the 5 x 4K Relay, under way already, with the competition window open from Wednesday September 23rd through Wednesday, September 30th. Check back in a week for the Relay recap.

Pictures of Garden State Track Club and West Valley Track Club QG 8K Participants

West Valley Track Club

Pictures posted on Strava by Charles Mullane under the title Pandemic 8K with the WV Crew!.




Garden State Track Club

Eric Davis
Dave Ferrugia 
Jonathan Frieder
Steven Segaloff

Marco Cardoso

Jarrett DeWelde

Elliott Frieder

John Hogan

Martin, McDermott, Rozhko and Friends

Duncan Nyasinga



Wednesday, September 23, 2020

My First Real, Live, In-person Race since early March-Zionsille Half Marathon and 5K--Recap

September 23, 2020. A few weeks ago, Jackie, my wife, and I signed up for our first, real live, in-person race. For me it was the first since I ran at Gate River in early March. That race has thousands of runners and World Class Open runners as well as some very fast Masters athletes. This race, a 5K, by contrast, was in a suburb of Indianapolis called Zionsville, on Sunday, September 20th, and was capped at 200. That's the Corona Virus effect. Health authorities are allowing outside gatherings of up to 200 folks. And, of course, it must observe social distancing, masking, and sanitizing guidelines. The main race, the Half Marathon had the same cap. Half Marathoners started a half hour before the 5K runners. I chose the 5K because I was doubtful my mileage over the summer had been consistent enough to run a good HM this early in the fall. Maybe in a month or two I'll give a Half a try if any of the scheduled Half Marathons in this area are live rather than virtual.

After running nothing but solo time trials and one Virtual 5K since March, it was time for a 'rust-buster'! And there was plenty of rust to bust--My Virtual 5K time for the JMF 5K was 24:08. Although, unlike many other virtual race times I have heard about, I chose a course that was record eligible. It had less than 50% separation of the start from the finish and had less than a 0.1% drop...5 meters in 5 kilometers. The Virtual Brooklyn Mile allowed a 1% drop, 16+ meters in a single mile! Many others had no restrictions on the course virtual runners could use. I entered this race mostly to find out where I am in my training, and for the fun of running a road race with other folks running on the same course!

The race is put on by run2race.com, Mike Cole's organization. Mike, a well-known Masters runner around Indianapolis, does not often compete nationally. The exception was the 2019 USATF Masters 8K Championship in Virginia Beach, where he finished 2nd Overall, behind David Angell. Mike is defintely giving bck to the sport in which he has excelled! We were urged to pick up bib and pins the day before the race, so on Saturday I drove out to Zionsville, donned my mask, reported to Greek's Pizzeria, went in through the front door, found my way along a socially distanced corridor, and entered a back room where there were 200 bags on tables with names on them. Runners picked up their bag, glanced inside to check for a bib and pins, and then exited through a back door. We were reminded that the start time for the Half Marathon was a ten minute window from 7:30 am to 7:40 and for the 5K, 8:00-8:10 AM Sunday morning. ll awards would be based on chip time, not gun time.

First Real Race Bib Number in 6 months! Photo Credit-Me

Sunday was the familiar pre-race routine. Up at 6:15 am-grab a quick bite, do some easy stretches. I have been pretty religious about doing these stretches every day at home before I go out to run. They focus on hamstring, adductors, and lower back. Into the car and a 20 minute drive to the race. I did an easy warm-up jog of about a mile, a few drills, made the usual porta-potty stop, except this time there was a social distanced line-up, and copious amounts of sanitizer on a nearby table. A few of those doing warm-ups on the Village streets wore masks but most did not. I had my mask with me but was not wearing it. That's the way I expected to run, based on pre-race instructions.

After a few drills, I changed into racing gear and Jackie and I headed to the start line. She got into a loose line-up with masks on, and socially distancing while I did a few last minute strides on a side street. Then it was 8:00 and they started the folks who were already lined up in the starting chute. I slid in behind a couple of runners who were advancing toward the start line on Main Street. They were not prepared to start at a fast pace so I found myself immediately swinging wide to go around them. The first 200 meters or so was much the same as I weaved among those who had started before me, gradually moving up towards the front end of the group. I worried some about running on the Village Main Street bricks, but experienced no difficulties. Except for two 20's- 40's guy who went by at pace, one in the first 200  meters, I had the fun of passing, but not being passed.

I saw a 50's runner ahead of me who was moving at a good clip but not much faster than I was. I closed on him and went past. He fought me for a bit but I gradually pulled away and did not see him again. Shortly thereafter a second runner came past me. I tried increasing my pace just a bit to stay with him but quickly concluded that would be a bad idea. Instead I sought to keep him within sight. That would both help me to keep my pace up and be helpful at turning points as I was not familiar with the course. As it turned out it was well marked but when we turned to head east the sun was very much in my eyes and I worried I might miss one of the signs pointing the way. There were no course marshals to point the way. My GPS gave me the alert at 1 mile that I was at 7:50. I was a little disappointed as I had hoped to average closer to 7:30 per mile. But I had lost a little time in the first 200 meters and the first mile has a 13 meter elevation gain. I hoped I would at least keep that pace the rest of the way. The second mile was flatter and I had found a good rhythm. 7:47 said Garmin for the 2nd mile--so far, so good. Since the race was an out and back, I figured I would face an easier 3rd mile than first although it doesn't have to work that way as there could be an uphill with a longer, or steeper downhill. In fact it turned out to be rolling downhill with a few turns but no steep uphill sections. I felt strong at the end; hearing footsteps behind me, I let it out a bit as we ran down to the turn for the final 160 meters; a few brief meters at 5:40 pace and then cruised in at sub-7 pace over the final 0.1. I saw later that GPS gave me credit for a 7:21 third mile. That's more like it! 

Across the finish line and into a small finishing area. I later learned that my Official time was 23:20; the pace per mile was 7:30.6. If I were already 75, that would get me above an 80.0% road race age grade on the brand new, updated 2020 road race calculator (http://howardgrubb.co.uk/athletics/mldrroad20.html), but as I am still 74, it comes in just under. At 74 years and 11 months, I will take it! I figure I finished pretty strong so I should have a faster time inside me; perhaps we'll see it later this year or in 2021! I finished 19th overall and won my age group.

I congratulated a couple of runners who came in just ahead of me. We were directed to tables set up int he area-one for medals, one for water bottles, one for bananas, and one for a packaged Rice Krispies snack. After I loaded up, the 50's guy I had passed walked by and I found I knew him. I don't often run in Indy any more but when I did, I got to know Ken as a dedicated runner. I congratulated him on a good run, but I was happy that I could still beat my 57-year old running colleague. He left, noting that this would be a good motivator for him. I am sure it was no fun losing to a 74 year old guy! I am also certain he'll be back and running stronger in a few weeks!

Jackie met me at the car a few minutes later. I suggested she had maybe broken 30 minutes. She was skeptical as she had just been doing her normal running at best. We learned later when we checked the results that she had broken 30 indeed, 29:26, and won her 60-64 age group--not bad at all for someone who runs for fun and health! Between Jackie's win and my win, we got $40 worth of Greek's Pizzeria coupons--We'll wait until we can have a crew and bring home pizza for all...maybe by the Friday or Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend--fingers crossed!

Despite some doubts when I was rolling out of bed and piling into the car before sunrise, I really enjoyed the run. Even without my USATF Masters Grand Prix circuit rivals and friends in the race, it just felt good to be out on the streets with a bunch of other runners. Happy with this race but also hope we can get some of our bigger and more prestigious races, not to mention USATF Masters Championships, back on the schedule by 2021!

Me in one of my favorite T's from last year's Blue Cross Broad Street Run, showing off my newest medal, the 2020 Z-ville HM 5K! Photo Credit: J. Bloom


Thanks, Mike for a great experience!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Quarantine Games Have Begun--A Preview

 September 20, 2020. The Garden State Track Club has organized a series of races and relays for this autumn. They have attracted the interest of 11 other clubs, the Atlanta Track Club [GA], the Boulder Track Club [CO], the Bowerman Track Club [OR], the Cal Coast Track Club [Southern Cal], the Genesee Valley Harriers [Greater Buffalo/Rochester NY], the Georgetown Running Club [D.C. area], the Jamul Toads, the Kansas City Smoke Track Club [MO], the Lincoln Running Club [NB], the Red Cedar Running Club [MN], and the West Valley Track Club [San Francisco area]. Most are entering both Open and Masters athletes. The best guess at this point is that not all teams plan on entering all events. Some have their own XC series or other things going on, so they will pick and choose. For example the 11th Annual Stumptown XC Series in Portland will be virtual this fall, running from September 21 through November 22. GVH hoped to have a live season for their Pete Glavin XC eries but have cancelled events up through the 4th week in October. They have not yet cancelled the Nov. 1 race.

The West Valley Track Club initially had the idea of training for the USATF Club Cross Country Championships to be held in San Francisco despite not knowing whether they would be held or not. They proposed an alternative target should Club Cross be cancelled. As John Markell put it in a note to some influential Masters Runners, " After all, we're optimists.  If Club Nats is a no-go, we plan to run a 10 x 10,000m relay, on a track, in December around the time when Nats would have been.  Note: this is a relay race, so one runner at a time adheres to social distancing rules, nationwide.  Why 10 x 10,000m? We've decided to take a stab at the masters world record for the event, found here:  http://www.recordholders.org/en/list/relay.html  So, why not?" The Masters Record for the 10 x 10,000 meter is apparently 6:08:33 or 6.1425 hours, or 0.61425 hours per runner or 36.855 minutes per runner or 36:51.3 average over 10 runners. It seems a worthy goal, not impossible but definitely a challenge.

Here are the guidelines put forth as far I can figure out:

Scoring.   Individual events [identified on the scoresheet as 'Time Trial/TT' will use XC scoring (top 5 places), not road scoring (times).  Top 5=A team, Next 5=B team, etc. Relay is already a team event by definition. Team scoring: 10, 9, 8, 7, etc. for both individual + relay events.  Scores will be kept for open, 40s, 50s, and 60s for both genders. In keeping with my focus on Masters Running, I will focus on Masters results and scoring.

Events : Sep 19 8K TT/ Sep 26 5 x 4K Relay/ Oct 10 5K TT/ Oct 17 10K (2 x 2 x 2.5K)/ Oct 31 3K TT/ Nov 7 5K (5 x 5 x 200 meters) Relay/ Nov 14 5K TT/ Nov 28 1 Mile TT/ Dec 5 10 Miler + Relay

The (2x2x5K) is a 2-runner relay team alternating 2.5K's

[I am guessing the last entry is perhaps dependent on whether Club Cross in SF is a 'go' or a 'no go'. If it is a 'go', the Dec 5 event will be cancelled as runners head to Golden Gate Park. If it is a 'No Go', I guess runners have an option of either running a 10 Miler or a 10 x 10,000 Meter Relay.]

 All events except the 10 Miler are apparently intended to be run on the track. That avoids the problem of how much drop to allow, a problem which cannot be avoided on the roads. The 10 Miler is listed for Garden State Runners as Towpath so a similar option, either towpath, bike path, or road is okay. Perhaps an out-and-back course will be a requirement for the 10 Miler, or some requirement on minimum allowable drop % may be added.

Timing: Run the race within a 7 day period. The first event, an 8K Time Trial, should be run between Wednesday, Sep 16 and Wednesday, Sep 23, with the race identified as Sep 19th, which fits in the middle of that period. The same time period from Wednesday before until the Wednesday after should apply to all of the other event dates.

I will not do a full preview for the 8K because I am not sure of how many teams are entering. As of 9 pm Saturday, Sep 19, Boulder Track Club, Cal Coast, Garden State, and West Valley TC have listed runners on the registration sheet. Cal Coast and Garden state have entered some times already. I have tried very hard to 'not see' any of the times and so far have succeeded. 

Which Masters Runners are entered as of now for the 8K TT? [Note: Aggies showed up in registration when I checked on Sep 20-afternoon. More teams may add in.]



The Aggies M50 Jaime Heilpern, Jeff Hongo, Roger Dix

Jaime Heilpern L and John Gardiner sprint for the Finish Line at the 2018 USATF Club XC Championships [Photo by Michael Scott]


Boulder M40 Clint Wells, Jeff Schuler, Ben Cowan, Aaron Kleinman, Nick Jocelyn, Flavio De Simone

M50 Charles Wilbur


Cal Coast M40 Roosevelt Cook, Trevor Cox, Kurt Whittington, John Gardiner, Matt Yacoub, Jacques Sallberg, Gene Inserto  

Jacques Sallberg wins the 2019 Masters Club XC Championship at Lehigh. Peter Gilmore background finished 2nd [Photo by Mike Scott]


M50 Christian Cushing-Murray, Matt Simpson, Mark Steyvers, Rob Arsenault, Gregg Hemphill, Dennis Ryan, Kevin Kong  

M60 Thomas Albright, Bill Amor, John Araujo, Paul Cook, Mark Core, Jeff Creer, Perry Forrester, Mark Hemmel, Ray Knerr, Leon Laub, Brian Nelson, Tomas Rodriguez, Craig Williams, Keith Witthauer

Garden State M40 Jarrett Dewelde, Marco Cordoso, Elliott Frieder, Jonathan Frieder, Duncan Nyasinga, Kevin Shirk, Dave Ferrugia, Dov Gertzulin  

M50 Eric Davis, Mark Zamek, John Hogan  

M60 Gus Stanzione

West Valley M40 Neville Davey, Jorge Maravilla, Peter Gilmore, Todd Rose, John Markell, Julian Marsh, John Monty, Travis Price, Eric Aldrich, Ben Koss, Mark Yuen, Rhodes Walton, Rob Johnson, Konrad Knutsen, Lars Schmitz, Mario Cadete, Jonah Backstrom

Mark Yuen 1902 and Neville Davey 1889 running stride for stride through a muddy turn at the 2019 Masters Club XC Championship at Lehigh. [Photo by Mike Scott]

M50 Ivan Lieben, Mark Callon, Dave White, Ed Randolph, Chuck Mullane 


Boulder W40 Natalia Barrionuevo

Cal Coast W40 Heather McDermott, Elena Rozhko, Jen Martin

If the scoring rules are enforced as above and the rosters are correct, the 4 teams will compete in the M40 event; Cal Coast and West Valley will compete for the M50; and Cal Coast will take the M60 title by default. There would be no other team contests. In USATF Masters Road Races and in some of the Virtual competitions organized by other clubs this summer, they allowed 3 runners on Women's teams to comprise a complete team. If the Quarantine Games would adopt that standard then, if all 3 Cal Coast runners would race the 8K, they would win that team race by default as well. But perhaps rosters do not have to be written in ahead of the racing period. I know Garden State asked for rosters by Tuesday, Sep 15, but I do not believe they required them.

If no other teams add entries, then the runners on incomplete teams can race as individuals.


M40 The M40 Team Rosters are very strong if all runners who are listed run the 8K. My guess is that this is the list of runners who could run but, in fact, some may skip the 8K. We shall see.

If Club Cross from Lehigh is any guide, we would expect Cal Coast's Jacques Sallberg and Roosevelt Cook to have some of the faster times. John Gardiner is always a podium threat. That is also true for West Valley's Neville Davey, Peter Gilmore, and Jorge Maravilla. The Frieder twins, Elliott and Jonathan, for Garden State, have been a bit off the pace of those others on the XC turf; we will see if they are more competitive on the track. From Strava postings, both have enjoyed a strong summer of training.

Jacques Sallberg, Peter Gilmore, and Jorge Maravilla navigating a turn as they lead the pack at the 2019 Masters Club XC Championship at Lehigh. [Photo by Mike Scott]

Boulder's Clint Wells should also make some noise up front. Wells won the USATF Masters Marathon Championship at the Twin Cities in 2016 in 2:24:00. At the 2018 Half Marathon at Grandma's he ran 1:06:50; the only Masters athlete ahead of him was Kevin Castille, currently suspended for accepting a USADA drug sanction. At the FORTitude 10K USA Pro Chase, he was the only Masters athlete entered, finishing 19th overall in 32:44. Athlinks lists no results for Wells from that race until the VirtuALL Bolder Boulder 10K this past Memorial Day weekend. Wells clocked 35:10, suggesting that he is fit, but perhaps was not all in for a virtual 10K. 


Clint Wells, Boulder Track Club Coach and Masters Athlete [Photo from bouldertrackclub.com/training/coach]

If Club Cross 2020 is any guide, West Valley is the favorite, having prevailed over Cal Coast by 66 points at that race. Despite Clint Wells, it seems unlikely that Boulder can compete with those two teams. Garden State has not competed closely with those two teams on the turf but it may be different on the track. The Frieder twins, as noted, have had a strong summer of training. Dave Ferrugia is also running well after struggling with injuries; he turned in a 33:57 Virtual 10K earlier this summer. John Hogan ran 29:06 at the 2016 USATF Masters 8K Championships in Virginia Beach.And GSTC has added a couple of talented runners recently. Duncan Nyasinga, in 2019, ran 2:33:27 at the New York City Marathon. That is a 5:51 pace; if he can increase that pace proportionally for an 8K, he will be dangerous indeed. Kevin Shirk finished between West Valley's Todd Rose and Mark Yuen at the 2019 Lehigh Club Cross Championships. A month before, he ran a 1:09:17 Half Marathon. That gives Garden State a very solid first 5, plus some fall-back support! Will it be enough to pull ahead of their two West Coast rivals? It will be fascinating to see.

West Valley Track Club   Cal Coast Track Club   Garden State Track Club


Garden State Track Club's Victorious M40+ Team at the 2019 USATF Masters 8K Championships in Virginia Beach- L to R John Hogan, Sam Teigen, Jonathan Frieder, Harold Porcher, and Gary Leaman

M50 Again, with reference back to Club Cross at Lehigh, it appears that the leaders in this contest are likely to be found from the Aggies' Jaime Heilpern, Cal Coast's Christian Cushing-Murray, West Valley's Ivan Lieben, and Garden State's Mark Zamek. Based on those entered so far, it looks like a team shootout between Cal Coast and West Valley. Garden State does not have a complete team entered. Both teams regularly compete at Club XC but I cannot find any recent results where both entered 50's teams. Often the top 50's runners will run with the 40's team. Sometimes Cal Coast runs a 50+ team but I cannot find any recent cases where West Valley entered a 50+ team. That means this series will be for bragging rights! Both have entered strong teams. In addition to Cushing-Murray, it appears from a Virtual competition earlier this year that Rob Arsenault is back on top of his game. He also ran a 29:23 5 Miler last November. Mark Steyvers should also provide strong support, based on a 17:31 5K and a 37:31 10K last year. Cushing-Murray was off his game at the USATF Masters 5KXC Championship in San Diego last year when Lieben and his teammate, Chuck Mullane, both came in ahead of Cush. No doubt he will be looking to assert himself this time around, especially if he is inspired by the Tour De France, as so many are inspired by his daily TDF commentary and choice of an appropriate brew for toasting the hero(s) of the tour stage! With Lieben and Mullane leading the way for a strong supporting cast, West Valley will be tough to beat, Mark Callon has a recent 4:39 Mile to his credit as well as a 16:31 5K, and Ed Randolph adds a resume with a 16:23 5K and a 58:27 in the 2019 JF Memorial 10 Mile Run. If all enjoy good fitness, West Valley appears to have more strength 4 runners deep than Cal Coast has. Both the Aggies and Garden State appear to have only three entrants; unless that changes, they are two runners short of a complete team.

M60 Until another team enters an M60 team, this division belongs to Cal Coast. Led by 'youngsters' like Mark Core and Ray Knerr, who have sub-19 minute

Brunch Spread for Cal Coast Runners taking on the Virtual 8K, provided by the Hughes Family [Photo by Dennis Ryan-posted on FB]

5K's in their recent resumes and fortified by Brian Nelson, who finished 6th in the 2019 Masters National 5K Championships in Atlanta in 19:14, they start off with a strong 1-2-3 punch. After that they have a mix of veterans like Perry Forrester and Keith Witthauer and newcomers like Bill Amor, who is coming on strong, approaching the 20 minute barrier in the 5K. They are a tough team to beat.

That's my preview. I look forward to recapping the first event, the 8K Individual Time Trial. By next Wednesday I should at least know every team and every runner who entered the 8K.