Friday, May 20, 2022

Masters Athletes Flock to Rochester NY for the USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships

 May 20, 2022 Who will be the USATF Masters One Mile National Champions for 2022? We will find out in Rochester NY this Saturday evening, May 21, 2022. It is a coveted title, Masters Road Mile National Champion! The 2019 Overall Champions were Chuck Schneekloth and Sonja Friend-Uhl. The Age-Grading Championship pinpoints the athletes who ran fastest adjusted for age. The Age-Grading Road Champions of 2019 were Jeannie Rice, 2019 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year, and Nat Larson, three time Masters Harrier of the Year. Due to Covid and its interruptions to the racing schedule, they have held their titles for almost three years. In the interim the venue has switched from the Michigan Mile in Flint Michigan, the last Friday evening in August to the Rochester Mile in Rochester NY. the third Saturday evening in May. 

The One Mile course is on a closed loop (with an extension in one corner), barricaded of f so that it can be used both for the Rochester Mile road races and the Rochester Criterium Cycling event of USA Cycling. The start time for the Masters Women is 5:45 PM; for the Men it is 6:05 PM. There are numerous pro cycling and elite road races after the Masters events. The excitement will mount quickly after the Masters kick it off! The 48-hour ahead forecast allows for a less than 50% probability of scattered thunderstorms over the Rochester area so it seems likely that the races will go on. Apart from the risk of thunderstorms, which may abate, the temperatures should be in the upper 70's with 50% humidity, good conditions for a fast road mile!

One sad note. Many of you have heard that Bill Quinlisk, Chair of USATF's Masters LDR Committee and the head official at countless Masters Cross Country and Track events, succumbed to an unexpectedly virulent cancer earlier this week. Quinlisk grew up and lived in the Rochester are for most of his life. As recently as March he expected to be in attendance at this event.

An obituary is posted here: https://www.newcomeralbany.com/Obituary/214829/William-Quinlisk/Albany-NY

An appreciation of Bill's career including service as President of the Adirondack Association is posted here: https://adirondack.usatf.org/news/2022/usatf-adirondack-president-bill-quinlisk-passes-at

There will be a moment of silence at the beginning of the Awards Ceremony. 

Bill expressed the hope that after his death we would not mourn but would celebrate his life and each other. What better way to live out his wish than to enjoy a thrilling evening of competition in the sport he loved and devoted his life to.

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Whether it is the location, better communication, a more vibrant schedule, or just pent up demand, the flood gates opened up again and Masters athletes poured into the Championships. In 2019 a record 141 Masters athletes signed up for the Championships; this year we have 204. And are the fields stacked with talent? You bet!

Note: No mention of times in the analysis below should be taken to be a prediction of what time runners are likely to achieve on this course on this day. The course is new to Masters Championship running and is, in fact, redesigned since last year. The organizers caution that the course is not likely to be fast. There are 9 turns and a slightly uphill finish. The times mentioned are useful in figuring out a rough comparison among the different runners.

OVERALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Mile brings together the fastest Track athletes and the swiftest Road Warriors to test who is fastest.

Start of 2018 USATF Masters Championship-Women's Race Photo courtesy of Crim Fitness Foundation crop by author

 

WOMEN

The Women’s Overall Championship features Pittsburgh's  Jennifer Bigham,  who took the overall title at the USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse in March. On a tough, hilly course, she took both the Masters and Open Championships in a torrid 1:18:04. No stranger to road miles, in 2021, she took the Masters crown at Pittsburgh’s Liberty Mile in 5:13. Endurance and speed; it is a winning combination! Local favorite, Melissa Johnson-White, who runs for the Hanson's-Brooks Distance project has significant marathon success, along with numerous recent winning efforts in shorter races. She ran 2:43:37 at the 2019 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Two months later, Johnson-White competed in the Olympic Trials Marathon in Atlanta, clocking 2:51:11. Last November she won the Race With Grace 10K in Hilton NY in a speedy 36:17. A month later she sped to a 17:54 to take the title at the Don Curran Memorial 5K in Rochester. That 17:54 is age-grade equivalent to a 5:08. Johnson-White wil need that kind of speed to match up with the next contender. Sascha Scott broke the American 45-49 One Mile record at the USATF Masters Indoor Championship in March, clocking a blistering 4:59.19 on the track. An All-American Hurdler at Colorado College; she still holds the Colorado College record for the 400 Meter hurdles for Women at 1:01.66.She has competed in Cyclo-Cross events and won the Masters race at the 2019 Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh. Scott will go after the American 45-49 record for the Road Mile, currently held by Sonja Friend-Uhl at 5:07. 

Others who will be vying for the podium include Mary Babcock, Fiona Bayly, Abby Dean, Sara Girotto, and Laura Kline. Babcock took the Women's 40-44 title in the Mile at the USATF Masters Indoor Championships in March in 5:26.91.  Bayly finished 2nd to Friend-Uhl at the 2019 Masters 1 Mile Championships in 5:23. Last September she clocked 5:28 at the Fifth Avenue Mile. On NYC Marathon weekend, Bayly took the Masters title at the Abbot Dash to the Finish Line, a 5K, in 18:37, equivalent to a 5:20. In early April she finished3rd Overall in the SHAPE+ Health Women’s Half Marathon in NYC in 1:25:14. Dean has been battling Bayly and, more recently Girotto, all season. Dean came in ahead of Bayly, with  Girotto following at the USATF Masters 5 Km Championships, clocking 18:43 (18:40 net, which equates to a 5:21, over a hilly course in Atlanta.  Bayly was able to take the honors over both Dean and Girotto at the USATF Masters Half Marathon in Syracuse, clocking 1:24:08 over a challenging course. Dean and Girotto followed in 1:24:57 and 1:25:21. Girotto nipped Dean, however, for 2nd Masters finish at the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia on May 1st, edging her by 8 seconds in 1:01:25! Kline finished 3rd Masters at the Freihofer's Run for Women last September in 18:59, which is age grade equivalent to a 5:26. Her chief reknown, however, came in Duathlon [Run-Bike-Run typically]. In 2014 she took the National Duathlon Championship and in 2015, won a Gold Medal at the World Duathlon Championships.

Added note. Athlinks shows that Jo Rupp took the Masters title at the Liberty Mile in July of 2020 in 5:01. I think that time must have been recorded in error. I wonder if it was not a virtual race or if there was something else unusual, as few races were taking place in summer of 2020. There is nothing in any of her other runs at that time suggesting she could run 5:01. Two months ago she ran in the USATF Masters Indoor Championships, finishing 5th in the 800 Meters in a fine 2:47.23, suggesting she would be unlikely to break 6:00 in the Mile. Most likely she is coming to Rochester to compete for her Pittsburgh Pharaoh Hounds team, not to vie for the win. 

This will be a hotly contested race. It is hard to imagine that Scott won't come out on top, with Bigham and Johnson-White fighting it out for 2nd and 3rd. But we can only be sure after the race is run!

Podium picks are in alphabetical order.

Jennifer Bigham     Melissa Johnson-White     Sascha Scott   

MEN

Start of 2018 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships-Men's Race-Photo by Carter Sherline, Frog Prince Studios-crop by author

 

The main contenders for the Men’s Overall Championship are:  Jared Herter;  Jacques Sallberg; defending champion, Chuck Schneekloth; Kevin Shirk; and Mark Williams.  Herter ran a 2:05.76 at the USATF East Regional Championships in February, roughly comparable to a 4:37 mile. Coincidentally enough, a month later, Herter ran 4:36.85 at the USATF Masters Indoor Championships. More recently, he finished 2nd overall and 1st Masters at the Greater Buffalo Track Club 1 Mile Race on April 10, 2022 in 4:51. Sallberg, a gifted Steeplechaser on the track during his Open career, and known for his Cross Country prowess as a Masters athlete, is no slouch at the mile. He took the title in the Masters Mile in March at California’s Newport-Mesa Spirit Run, winning easily in 4:40.08. Two years ago, he clocked 4:19 in the same race. The last time the Masters Mile Championships were held was in 2019. Schneekloth won the title in a photo finish over Mike Madsen in 4:37. He finished 2nd Masters in 4:39 at the 5th Avenue Mile last September and took 2nd at the Masters 800 Meter Run at the Drake Relays a month ago. His wining 4:13.71 1500-meter effort last week in Greater Boston was the fastest in the world this year for his age division. It converts, by the way, to a 4:34 Mile. He is fit and pointing toward the World Masters Athletics Championships in Finland. He will be tough to beat. Shirk may have the speed to do it! He has also excelled on the road and the track, winning the Masters title at the Loudoun Street Mile last May in 4:31.01. Two months ago at the USATF Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships, Shirk went even faster, clocking 4:29.71.Williams is a young legend in Masters Track. His duels with Peter Brady on the track have been told and retold. His times stand out, even recently  as he approaches the end of his time in the 45-49 age division. In 2021 at the Outdoor Masters Championships in Ames IA, Williams clocked 1:59.42 to win the division title at 800 Meters and came back to take the 1500 Meter title as well in 4:08.98, which converts to a 4:28.9 Mile effort. This past February he won the One Mile Run at the East Regional Masters Indoor Championships, in 4:41.14. At the USATF Masters National Indoor Championships a month later, he took 1st M45 in the 800 Meters in 2:03.71 and came back to finish 2nd, at age 49, in the M45 Mile in 4:41.41. That suggests Williams will be right in the thick of things!

Others who could make some noise include Mark Andrews who finished 8th overall at Flint in 2019, running 4:49. After starting slowly this year, he may be rounding into top form. He clocked 16:25 in a 5K on April 9th, age-grade equivalent to a 4:49. Adrian Massie ran 4:47.0 at the Newport Rhode Race in May of 2021, and followed that up with a 4:49.08 2nd Masters finish at the Nick Bottone Track Mile in August, also in Rhode Island. Mark Walchinsky finished behind Shirk at the Loudoun Street Mile, but his 4:50.08 shows he has some wheels. A couple of months later at the Masters Outdoor Championships in Ames, he ran a 4:28 1500 Meter race, which converts to a 4:50 Mile. 

Shirk's 4:29.71 is the fastest recent time. But Schneekloth is not far off. Both Sallberg and Williams are crafty technicians who know how to win races. But Herter has a faster recent time with his 4:36.85. It should be fascinating to watch the race unfold. I will go with Sallberg, Schneekloth and Shirk, and leave it to Herter and Williams to prove me wrong. Saturday morning footnote: I have been told that Mark Williams is not coming.

Podium picks are in alphabetical order.

Jacques Sallberg     Chuck Schneekloth     Kevin Shirk

OVERALL AGE-GRADING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Age-Grading Championships, which are symbolic of the best performance over all age divisions, pinpoint the athletes with the fastest times for their age. 90% and above is considered World Class; 80% and above National Class.

MEN

Three time Masters Harrier of the Year and American 5 km Record Holder for 55-59, Nat Larson 59, took the Age-Grading title at the 10 Km Masters Championships last month and at the Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse. His 1:16:30 at Syracuse earned a 92.24%, while 34:04 at Dedham earned a 93.64. He will try to repeat that feat against a stacked field including seasoned road champions, Rick Lee 61 88.42, Joe Mora 60, and Ken Youngers 65; Sallberg 47 and Williams 49, two of the overall contenders; and a pair of Masters Hall of Famers from the track, Gary Patton 76 and Nolan Shaheed 72!

At the 5 Km Championships in Atlanta, Youngers 90.32, Sallberg 89.46, Lee 88.42 , Mora 88.18 and Patton 85.81 all competed and finished in that order in terms of age grade score. Patton will likely do better at the one mile; that is his specialty while the 5000 meters is at the top end of his sweet range. But it is also true that Patton runs to win; he will not be worried about his time as long as he wins the division championship! Sallberg's performance might well improve moving down in distance; he will certainly be in a highly competitive race. The opposite might be said of Youngers, who is probably dominant in his 6569 division. But Youngers knows how to run fast. Securing a spot on the age grading podium can also be a great motivator. Shaheed, like Patton, will perhaps run tactically. Lee, who is, arguably, at his best at the Marathon and above, is learning the ropes for short races like the 5 K and the Mile. The last time the 1 Mile Championships were held in 2019, Larson won the age grading with a 92.19%. It seems likely he will top the field again.Shaheed and Williams are likely to be close and. unless the course is rather slow, both at or over 90%. Sallberg 47 will have to beat Williams 49 by about 5 seconds to get the better age grade. That may be a tall order.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

Nat Larson     Nolan Shaheed     Mark Williams

WOMEN

The headliner on the Women’s side is 2019 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year and celebrated marathoner, Jeannie Rice 74. Not only does she hold all of the Women's 70-74 American Records from the Half Marathon to the Marathon, she also holds the record for the 1 Mile, set in 2019 with a 6:24 effort at the Masters Championships in Flint. At the Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse this year, she ran 1:41:16 for a 99.61% age grade. But the Half Marathon is right up Rice's alley; Michelle Rohl 56 excels at shorter distances. She set American Records at the 800 and 1500 meters at the Masters Outdoor Championships last summer at 2:23.26 and 4:54.16 respectively. That 4:54.16 converts to a 5:17.69. If she could come close to matching that, she could be grading in the mid-90's, as she did in the 5 Km Championships in Atlanta this past February. Those two should be the top two age-graders. Rice was not able to out-grade Rohl at the 5 Km, a most unusual occurrence. It seems even more likely that Rohl will wind up atop the 1 Mile Age Grading podium. It should be a real battle for the final podium spot. If Sascha Scott 46, the Overall contender,  runs close to her American Record on the track, she can score around 90%. Lisa Veneziano 57 broke the American 12 km record last year, running 46:13, and grading at 95.92%. At the 5 Km Championships, she ran 19:29 for a 91.58%. In 2019, she ran the 1 Mile Championships, running 5:35 for 90.13%. Fiona Bayly, Lorraine Jasper, and Doreen McCoubrie always seem to grade up close to 90% or above. Bayly has had an up and down 2022 Championships season, but came in just ahead of Jasper and McCoubrie at the 5 Km Championships in Atlanta. None of those three can be counted out.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

 Jeannie Rice     Michelle Rohl     Lisa Veneziano

 

AGE DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS

 

WOMEN 40-44 See the preview of the Women's Overall Championships. Jennifer Bigham and Melissa Johnson-White were picked for the Overall podium so it makes sense to pick them for the 40-44 podium. s Scott comes from 45-49, I need an additional podium pick. It should be very tight between Mary Babcock and Laura Kline. I will opt for Babcock and let Kline try to prove me wrong.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

Mary Babcock     Jennifer Bigham      Melissa Johnson-White

45-49 Sascha Scott and Sara Girotto, based on the overall analysis, should wind up on the 45-49 podium. After that it is a bit more difficult. Heather Patterson ran 27:13 in the Shamrock 5-Miler in March, equivalent to a 6:01 mile. Jo Rupp ran a 2:47.23 800 Meters on the Indoor Track at the Masters Championships in June, convertible, very roughly, to a 6:20-ish mile run. Based on that, I opt for Patterson to close off the podium.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

Sara Girotto     Heather Patterson     Sascha Scott

50-54   Fiona Bayly and Abby Dean will continue their duels on the roads. Based on the analysis presented int he Overall section, both should make the podium. They will sort out in Rochester who is 1st and who 2nd; it will be an exciting contest to watch! Hortencia Aliaga ran 19:41 in the Little Silver 5K last October and took the 12 Km 45-49 Championships in Highlands NJ last September. That seems to put her ahead of Garden State teammates, Kimberly Aspholm and Kathleen Beebe. Aspholm edged Beebe by just 3 seconds in Atlanta. Aliaga had the edge over Aspholm in a New Year's Day 5K, 19:31 to 19:36. Aliaga has to be picked but if Aspholm or Beeebe has the better day, they could take the last podium spot from Aliaga.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

Hortencia Aliaga     Fiona Bayly     Abby Dean  

55-59 The Overall and Age-Grading analysis makes clear that Michelle Rohl and Lisa Veneziano should be on this podium. Who should join them? The obvious choice is Suzanne La Burt. La Burt has had a terrific 2021-22 season. La Burt finished 2nd to Veneziano in the 12 km, clocking 49:38. At Syracuse it was the same story with La Burt 2nd to Veneziano in 1:29:15. La Burt took advantage of her big chance in Dedham, taking the 55-59 win in Veneziano's absence in 40:06. Ordinarily Laura De Lea  would be in the hunt as well. On the comeback trail after some challenges, she will help Shore score some important Club Grand Prix points.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

Suzanne La Burt      Michelle Rohl     Lisa Veneziano

 

Heading  for the Finish Line -2017 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships-Women's Race Photo by Carter Sherline, Frog Prince Studios-Crop by author

 

60-64 Greater Philadelphia teammates, Lorraine Jasper and Doreen McCoubrie have been battling each other for top honors all season. Jasper has had the edge at road distances 10 Km and shorter, with McCoubrie having the edge at the distances above 10 Km. Interestingly enough, though, it is McCoubrie who holds the 50-54 American One Mile Record; she ran 5:18 at Pittsburgh's Liberty Mile in 2013, the one year when it was the Masters National Championship. Both jasper and McCoubrie have won Road Mile National Championships but this will be their first meeting in the Road Mile Championship. Who will have the edge?! They will have to worry about a track expert, Lesley Hinz. In 2019 she was breaking 60-64 records on the track. But this is 2022 and Hinz is now in her last year in the 60-64 division. She will still go for the win, but it will be a tough fight. Jasper and Mccoubrie have run times at 5 km and shorter suggesting they should be able to run 5:50 or better. Hinz's best times from last summer at Ames suggest she was ready to run around 6:00 for a mile. It seems likely Hinz will make the podium and if it is her day, there is always the possibility  of an upset.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

Lesley Hinz     Lorraine Jasper     Doreen McCoubrie 

65-69 Alda Cossi, Kitty Musante, Helene Myers, and Susan Stirrat met at the 5 Km Championships in Atlanta. It was Musante, Cossi, Stirrat and Myers at the finish in 22:23, 24:55, 26:16 and 42:36. It seems likely to end the same way at the Mile. Stirrat is very strong on the track at Middle Distances so she will likely be closer to Cossi, but Cossi should still prevail for 2nd.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

Alda Cossi     Kitty Musante     Susan Stirrat  

70-74  Jeannie Rice, as the Age Grading analysis shows, is the favorite for the age division, even in her last year. But she will have a stern challenge. Coreen Steinbach ran a 6:58.57 mile at the East Regional Indoor Championships this past February and followed that in March at the USATF Masters Indoor Championships with a 6:28.18 1500 meter effort; that converts to a 6:59.2. Rice has not run a mile recently, but she has run 5K's in the 22:653 to 23:03 range which means she should be able to run a mile in the 6:40's. That should be enough to keep Steinbach at bay. Norma 'Nonie' Hudnall and Barbara Sauer match up pretty closely, with perhaps a slight edge to Sauer. Sauer ran a minute faster at Atlanta in late February. That gives her the advantage. A recent outing at the GBTC 1 Mile in 8:02 reinforces the February result. Hudnall's most recent outing ont he track was a third place effort a the Indoor Masters Nationals in 8:32.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

Jeannie Rice     Barbara Sauer     Coreen Steinbach

75-79 Atlanta teammates, Andrea McCarter and  Catherine Radle met in Atlanta at the 5 Km Championships. Radle ran 36:09 to McCarter's 36:48. Most likely they will sort similarly on Saturday, but both will be on the podium.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

Andrea McCarter     Catherine Radle 

85-89 Edna Hyer is a wonder; her 2022 tour continues. She took this division championship in Atlanta with a 41:23 5K. The next stop was in Dedham MA in late April where she took her 2nd division championship with a 1:25:23 10K. If she finishes the race on Saturday she will have her third win in three outings! She also takes the prize as the oldest competitor at 88!

Edna Hyer 

 

MEN 40-44  Kevin Shirk is the only one of the podium picks to come from this division; the other two are from 45-49. So Shirk goes on the podium pick list for 40-44. Who else? I will go with Jaret Herter and Mark Walchinsky for their recent efforts at the Masters Indoor Championships where they finished in 2:05.40 and 2:05.77 respectively, both equivalent to high 4:30's. But Adrian Massie could prove me wrong.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

Jaret Herter     Kevin Shirk     Mark Walchinsky

45-49 I went with Sallberg and Schneekloth out of thsi divsion for the Overall podium so they get picked here as well. I will add Mark Williams for a podium where all three should be well under 4:50. Marco Cardoso 35:21 10K Dedham and Jerry Snider 16:57 5 Km Atlanta will battle for the podium but unless there is a surprise, will wind up just off.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

Jacques Sallberg     Chuck Schneekloth     Mark Williams

50-54 Mark Andrews stands out in this division. The two sub-17 minute 5K's he has run this year suggest he could be under 5:00 for the Mile and that could be enough to win the division. His last outing at Dedham over 10 Km was not quite as strong. That could just be an off day or it could be that he is readier for shorter events right now. Either way he should easily make the division podium and, most likely, take the division win. In past years, Tim Van Orden would have stood in his way but Van Orden is battling some challenges right now. His recent 10-Mile outing suggest that he is primarily in Rochester to help his Central Mass Striders earn some Club Grand Prix points. Steven Segaloff should factor into the race for the podium. His 2:14.9 over 800 meters at the March Masters Indoor Championships suggest a mile time around 5:00 or slightly under might have been possible on the track. Last summer, Chip Owens was in shape to run a 4:48 road mile and to run 37:50 at Peachtree. But with no 2022 results, it is hard ot pick himfor the podium. Craig McAllister, from Canada, ran a 17:52 5K and a 36:32 10K last fall. If his fitness is comparable, he could well run around 5:15. Jeffrey Conston's 18:18 in Atlanta and Marcus Gage's 23:50 in the Shamrock 4-Miler are both suggeestive of Mile times in the low to mid 5:20's. I will go with Andrews, McAllister and Segaloff.

 Podium picks in alphabetical order

Mark Andrews     Craig McAllister     Steven Segaloff

55-59 As the Age-Grading coverage above suggests, Nat Larson should take the division crown. His current fitness, as evidenced by his recent 34:20 10 Km effort in Dedham suggests he is ready for a sub-5:00 effort. John McMahon ran 17:34 in Atlanta, age grade equivalent to a 5:10 Mile. He showed at the GBTC 1 Mile in April that he could do better than that at a road mile when he cracked out a 5:02. Peter Bandettini ran three road miles last summer in times ranging from 5:6 to 5:15. He backed that up with a nice 800 meter 55-59 win at the Masters Indoor Championships in 2:14.3, finishing two seconds ahead of Alejandro Heuck, who is having a strong season of his own. Interstingly enough, Heuck came back to edge Bandettini inthe 1 Mile, 5:03.48 to 5:04.52. Several others like Scott Grandfield, John Hogan, Dave Dunham, and Dale Flanders have all run races suggesting times in the 5:15 to 5:20 range are within reach.

 Podium picks in alphabetical order

Peter Bandettini     John McMahon     Nat Larson

60-64 The field is loaded; this will be one of the most competitive divisions! The defending champion, David Westenberg,  will be pressed to make the podium. He won with a 5:13 in 2019. But his recent Indoor mile effort was at 5:24. He will need to run faster and/or use all his craft to land on the podium in Rochester; Joe Mora ran 5:11 in the same race. Rick Lee and Mora both ran within a second or so of 18:00 in Atlanta, suggesting mile times in the lower end of the 5:15 to 5:20 range. Mora has run the mile often; Lee is just finding his way. Mark Neff ran 5:11 at the Loudoun st Mile last May 31st, but followed that with a 10:23.01 3000 Meter run indoors this March, roughly equivalent to a 5:14, and also ran a 36:43 10K equivalent to a 5:16. Henry Notaro ran a 56:07 15K on February 26 which is age grade equivalent to a 5:15. Kevin Ostenberg has no recent road results I can find. He ran three road miles in 2019 ranging from 5:03 to 5:11. He finished three seconds ahead of Lee at the Masters 8 Km race at Club Cross Country in Tallahassee. That is significant because XC success seems to correlate better with middle distance than long distance success. Others who appear to be slightly off that pace, either because of a lack of recent results to go by or becaiuse of slightly slower times include Casey Carlstrom who ran 5:16 at the 2020 Hartshorne Memorial Mile. Michael Salamone and Derrick Staley have 5K times suggesting mile efforts in the upper 5:20s.

 Podium picks in alphabetical order

Joe Mora     Mark Neff     David Westenberg

65-69 At the 2019 Championships, Ken Youngers finished 3rd in 60-64. This year he is in 65-69 and, based on recent form, should take the division title. Both his 5Km time at Atlanta, 18:22 and his winning 10K time at Dedham, 37:46, suggest he could well break 5:30. Stephen Chantry ran an Indoor mile at 5:46 in February and Timothy Conheady clocked 5:47 for the mile  at the Masters Indoor Championships in March. Kevin Dollard's 19:54 5K in Atlanta suggests a mile of 5:51 or so is within his reach. Consistent with that, he ran 5:49.4 at the Big Bang Mile in summer of 2021 Ordinarily I would also be writing about Reno Stirrat who has been running times close to Dollard's as he recovers from some issues that have bothered him over the last couple of years. Unfortunately his hamstring has acted up recently and prevented him from training. I understand he will be running or, as he put it, hobbling, but strictly for his team.

 Podium picks in alphabetical order

Stephen Chantry     Timothy Conheady     Ken Youngers

70-74 The legendary middle distance runner, Nolan Shaheed is the headliner in this division and will likely claim the title. At Ames last year his times were very good, 2:49 for 800 Meters and 5:48 in the 1500 meters to win both events. His times at Masters Indoors this March were even more outstanding at 2:38.34 for the 800 meter win and 5:48.28 for the 1 Mile Run! The only other runner who can claim sub-6 speed right now is Robert Qualls, and that based on a fine 5K time not a Mile Run. His 19:41 5K at the Senior Games in February is age grade equivalent to a 5:47. Times at the Masters 5Km Championships in Atlanta suggest that Doug Bell and Jerry Learned, who ran 21:13 and 21:28, age grade equivalent to 6:13 and 6:18 respectively, are likely to battle for the final podium spot. Alston Brown, James Foster and Rick Katz all have shown evidence suggesting mile times in the mid 6's..

 Podium picks in alphabetical order

Doug Bell     Robert Qualls     Nolan Shaheed

Driving toward the Finish-2017 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships-Men's Race Photo by Carter Sherline, Frog Prince Studios-Crop by author

 

75-79 The age grading discussion above suggests that Gary Patton is the favorite for thisdivision and that would be accurate. Patton holds the 75-79 American Record for the Mile at 5:56, set last July at the Lincoln Mile in Nebraska. He is in the Masters Track and Field Hall of Fame for his Middle Distance prowess. He won the 5 Km 75-79 title in Atlanta in February and then won the Mile Run at the Masters Indoor Championships in 6:13.30. Patton was invited to the Classic Mile at Hayward Field on May 7th, where he clocked 6:13.8. I can just imagine the cheers he received! Dave Glass has won every Masters National Championship event 10K or longer since September 2021. He is not likely to beat Patton at this distance but he will try and in so doing will, almost surely, leave everyone else far behind. He ran 22:32 in Atlanta, suggesting a sub-6:40 is within his grasp. Jan Frisby who drew on many years of experience as a Middle Distance runner to upset Doug Goodhue in the 2019 edition of this event is a scratch due to a calf issue. Jim May ran 48:41(net) to take 3rd at Dedham, ahead of Frisby. That puts him in the driver's seat for the final podium spot. Liam Finnigan finished 1:20 back and I, Paul Carlin, finished 3 seconds behind Finnigan. Our times in the 10K suggest Mile times around 7:13-7:14. If May should have an off day, the two of us might fight it out for the last podium spot. Harold Nolan, who is a Middle Distance guy who won this race in 2017 when in 70-74, might aso factor in. He ran 25:04 in the Little Silver 5K last October, age grade equivalent to a 7:21, but has nothing this year I can find. So Nolan is a long shot.

Podium picks in alphabetical order

Dave Glass     Jim May     Gary Patton

80-84 Stan Edelson, John Elliott, and Andrew Sherwood will contest this divisin. That makes picking the podim easy. I make Edelson the favorite. He came in 20 seconds ahead of Sherwood at aAtlanta, clocking 29:25. Elliott, who has won many national titles, is probably the long shot in this contest. He ran 29:58 at a 5K in February and was looking forward to a good competition in  Atlanta when he took an unexpected fall on a training run. That set him back. He did run at Dedham, but his time of 1:02:35 suggested he had more work to do to be competitive at his usual level.