July 24, 2021. This is the last preview for the Middle and Long Distance events of the 2021 USATF Masters Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Ames, Iowa. If the 1500 Meters goes off tomorrow on schedule, temperatures will rise from the low 70's, when the Women's race for athletes from 70 - 89 go off, up to the low 80's by the time the M40's run at 9:59 AM. Those temperatures should not be too much of a factor for a short race like this; my earlier previews of the 5000M, and especially the 10,000 meters should have acknowledged the warm weather. I imagine some of those toeing the line yesterday said to themselves--Okay, I'm ready for this, it's just Peachtree without the hills; others may have found their running a bit more bothered by this kind of heat. The 1500 Meters is the premier middle and long distance event of these Championships. It has inherited the mantle of the mile because of its status as the 'Metric Mile' and the distance contested at all international events including World and Olympic Championships.
W80 & W85 Janet Baumann & Tami Graf are unopposed in their divisions. They must have scared away all rivals! They will take the Gold once they cross the finish line in their respective divisions.
W75 Cora Hill Unattached has a 1500 M seed time of 9:00. Hill, who li ves in Michigan, or did at the time, finished 3rd in the 2016 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Flint MI, running 9:28. The others, Angela Staab Piedmont Pacers and Kathleen Frable So Cal TC, do not have seed times. From a quick look at Athlinks, it appears the race is Hill's to lose.
W70 If the 'Norma Hudnall' entered in this division is the same person as 'Nonie Hudnall' then she is a longtime mainstay of the Atlanta Track Club's W60+ squad. Among other races, she took a Bronze Medal in Women's 65-69 at the 2018 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta with a 27:06 8;43/mi pace, age grade equivalent to a 7:45 mile (similar to a 7:07 1500M). Coreen Steinbach is the runner to beat. Her seed time is 6:13 and in 2017 at the USATF Masters 5 Km Championships, she finished 3rd in Women's 65-69 with a 23:07. Hudnall could well come in ahead of Isabel Bentz, who has a 7:30 seed time, but she does not often run a race as short as this.
W65 Amy McCormack appears to have by far the fastest seed time in the division at 6:13. Terry Ozell, another mainstay of Atlanta's W60+ team, seems slotted in for 2nd, with her 7:30, if seed times are anywhere near to being accurate. The one runner without seed times, Mary Lowe Mayhugh has been running 5K's recently at around 25:45, age grade equivalent to a 7:22 mile (similar to a 6:45 1500 Meter). That suggest Ozell will have her work cut out for her to take 2nd. She should be comfortably on the podium in any case.
W60 This division is loaded with talent. Susan Lynn Cooke Unattached has the top seed time with a 5:30.6. Cooke competed at Masters LDR Championships for her New Balance Tampa team between 2017 and 2019. One of her best moments came at XC, not a discipline that is a favorite of track runners. In 2019, she took the W60 title over 6 Km in 25:55! Cooke has been experimenting with a variety of track events over the last year, everything from hurdles to sprints. At the NY/NJ Track Championships this June, she clocked 33 seconds and change for the 200 meters. Watch out for her finishing kick! One of her former teammates, Lesley Hinz, T.H.E. Track, has the second best seed time at 5:35.7. Julie Hayden Greater Philadelphia TC has a seed time just 2 seconds slower, 5:37.8. Suzanne Cordes Impala Racing enters without a seed time. She typically competes at Club XC and a few other Masters LDR Championships each year. The race is shorter than most of the ones she races, but her time at the 2018 Masters 5K Championships in Atlanta over a hilly course, was 20:56. That is age-grade equivalent to a 5:56 Mile (similar to a 5:27 1500 meter effort). It is tricky to project a 1500 meter time from a 5k, and that was three years ago. But it suggests Cordes cannot be ignored as a threat for the win. Cordes would probably need to take the pace to her rivals and not worry about their likely greater speed in the final sprint.
W55 The top two seed times belong to Michelle Rohl and Judy Stobbe. Rohl appears to be talented but I am not familiar with her from Masters LDR. Stobbe is by no means a regular, but she did run Club Cross at Lehigh in 2019 and at Lexington in 2017. Like most track athletes, it is likely she runs the race on Coach's advice, as a way to toughen oneself up for Indoor season and because it is a different kind of race that changes things up. Nonetheless at the 2017 race in Lexington, she cracked the top ten in her division, racing to a 25:41 over 6 Km. In that race, Stobbe was a half minute slower than one of her competitors in this race, Lorraine Jasper Greater Philadelphia TC. Jasper is a strong athlete, but it is tough to compete for a National Championship in your last year in an age division. Jasper will give it her all and will be a factor but it will be tough to land on the podium. In addition to Rohl and Stobbe, Kathy Wolski, Alisa Harvey, and Lisa Veneziano, all Unattached, will vie for the podium. Wolski's seed time is only a minute slower than Stobbe's 5:10. See my discussion of Wolski, Harvey and Veneziano vis a vis Masters LDR Championships in earlier previews posted in the last few days. Harvey's seed time is 5:17. That seems about right for current fitness. She ran 5:43 in the Loudoun Street Mile in Virginia, which is similar to running a 5:16 1500 Meter event. So Harvey will need to find a few seconds. Harvey often finds a way to win, however, and if not, wind up on the podium. this is her new Age Division. Veneziano does not often run races liike the mile and the 1500 meters. She has made an exception for the USATF Masters 1 Mile when it was in her home state of Michigan. In 2019 she ran 5:35 to finish 5th overall and 2nd in her division behind Fiona Bayly. That is similar to a 5:08 in a 1500 meter run. Veneziano has run two 5K's in the low to mid 18's suggesting she could be ready to set a fast pace.
W50 None of the entrants in this division have any history to speak of in Masters LDR. I wish them all well and have no reason to think the seed times are not a good indicator. If so, Elizabeth Guerrini, Dianne DeOliveira, and Terry Ballou should make up the podium.
W45 Sascha Scott took the Overall win at Club Cross at Lehigh in 2019 and won the Masters 5K National Road Championship a couple of years earlier. She has the fastest seed time by far, at 4:36.1. That should be a good indicator of her likely margin of victory. Euleen Josiah-Turner will likely take 2nd; her seed time of 5:16 is over 20 seconds faster than the seed time of her closest rival.
W40 The only athlete I am familiar with from Masters LDR in this division is Laurie Knowles who, unfortunately, had to scratch. Like W50 I am not familiar with the others and wish them well.
M95 Dixon Hemphill is in a Division by himself. Once he crosses the finish line, the Gold Medal is his. He put in the hard work to get here. No other 95 year old did.