Saturday, September 17, 2022

Beach Blanket Boogie-12 Km Preview#2-Age Divisions, Age Grading and Teams

 September 17, 2022. We have 330 athletes registered to compete! The course is out and back, starting near Parking Lot E in Sandy Hook National Gateway Recreation Area at 3.7 meters above sea level, dropping at its lowest point, to sea level, and rising at its highest point to 7.3 meters above sea level. The forecast calls for sunny skies, 72 degrees and 75% humidity at the 9:30 AM start of the race, warmer than runners would like, but in the manageable range. There is not much shade. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! They are now forecasting winds in the 10-13 mph range, but we will hope the winds moderate. If not, we may see a bit more pack running as athletes try to tuck in for at least part of the time. For those who ran here last year, the temperatures are comparable, but the humidity will be less. As the previous post emphasized, there is some real speed at this year's Championship and American records are again likely. Most of the Age Division National Championship races will be highly contested.

AGE DIVISION NATIONAL 12 KM CHAMPIONSHIPS

WOMEN 40-44 The podium favorites in this division were already highlighted in the preview of the Overall Masters race in the previous post: Jacqueline Cooke, Karen dos Santos, Kristen Prendergast, Jeannie Sullivan and Shawanna White. To be consistent, I opt for Cooke, Prendergast and White to make up the 40-44 podium.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Jacqueline Cooke     Kristen Prendergast     Shawanna White

45-49 Sara Girotto was previewed as having potential for contesting for the Overall win. She is my pick for the 45-49 crown. Neither Jodi Buyyounouski nor Euleen Josiah-Tanner were mentioned in terms of the overall race. They both have credentials that are likely to put them on the division podium. Patricia Heppelmann could break onto the podium with a good day.

  • Buyyounouski  finished 4th in the division here last year in 50:07. This past April, she finished 5th in the division at the Masters 10 Mile Championships in Sacramento. Her time there, 1:08:40, is age grade equivalent to a 50:30 12 Km effort. 
  • Josiah-Tanner, who finished 7th at Sacramento in 1:11:48 and a much closer 6th here at Sandy Hook last year in 50:14, finished just back from Buyyounouski in both races..
  • Heppelmann's top credential is a 1:06:50 at the Blue Cross Broad Street (10 Mile) Run in Philadelphia in early May. That translates via age grading to a potential 49:08 12 Km effort. Tempering that optimism is her outing in June at the Rotary 8K in 33:49. That is equivalent to a 51:34. Somewhere between those two efforts puts her in a position to challenge both Buyyounouski and Josiah-Tanner.
It is too bad Melissa Gacek had to scratch. She would certainly have been in the podium mix and if she had a good day, might have pushed Girotto for the win. Girotto should be able to move up to the first spot in this division, with Josiah-Tanner trying to hang with Buyyounouski long enough to have a chance with a final kick. If Heppelmann can channel her Broad Street performance, she could break onto the podium.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Jodi Buyyounouski     Sara Girotto     Patricia Heppelmann

50-54 Kimberly Aspholm, Abby Dean, Samantha Forde, and Ingrid Walters are the favorites for the podium. 

  • Aspholm finished 3rd here last year in 49:57. She clocked 1:10:04 in the Garden State 10 Miler last spring, equivalent to a 51:29. She will need to match her sub-50 effort of last year as the other three contenders are all likely to break 50 minutes. 
  • Dean took the division crown at the Masters 10 Km Championships in Dedham MA in 38:01, a time that is equivalent on age grade terms with a 46:04. If she can match that on the Sandy Hook course, no one can stay with her. In late August she ran 45:46 at the iconic Falmouth Road Race over 7 Miles on Cape Cod. It was a warm day and that may explain why her time equates to a slower 48:54. It should be noted that she won her division and, were it not for 42-year-old Edna Kipligat, who is still a world-class road racer, Dean would have been among the top-3 Masters finishers.
  • Forde finished 4th in 45-49 at Atlanta, clocking 20:22 at the Masters 5 Km Championships, slower than Dean, Walters, and Aspholm. A 32:26 at the 8 Km in San Jose CA in April shows a bit more promise, equating to a 49:28. But her performance over 6 miles at the Santa Cruz Wharf-to-Wharf race in mid-July suggests either better capability at longer races or that her fitness is improving. Her 38:54 equates to a 48:52 which looks competitive for the podium.
  • Walters finished just ten seconds behind Dean in Atlanta. She is also accomplished at longer distances, finishing 4th in this division at the Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento, clocking 1:04:26, equivalent to a 47:21. Later in the spring, Walters clocked 1:26:00 at the OC Half Marathon in Newport Beach. That equates to a 48:03 12 Km effort. Walters is likely to crack 48 minutes on Sunday. That should be enough to come in ahead of anyone but Dean. Dean has faster times at both the Half Marathon and the Ten Mile Run this season. If Walters could defeat Dean over 7.45 miles, that would be a real feather in her cap!
Dean seems likely to take the win, followed by Walters. Aspholm and Forde should have quite a duel for third. Forde's times, especially at longer races give her an edge over Aspholm, but Aspholm may have extra confidence from having beaten Forde in Atlanta. It will be fascinating to find out how this matchup turns out.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Abby Dean     Samantha Forde     Ingrid Walters

55-59 The primary division podium contenders include: Fiona Bayly, Tania Fischer, Lori Kingsley, and Suzanne La Burt
  • It is a new Age Division for Bayly and she is ready to race! Bayly finished 2nd last year in the 50-54 division with a 48:17. Repeating that performance would probably be enough for the win. But there is reason to think she could run faster if necessary. In May she ran 1:24:27 in the Brooklyn HM, equivalent to a 47:06. The following month Bayly ripped off a 37:41 in the Mini 10K in Central Park, equating to a 45:41, and the following month ran a 38:58 at Peachtree, age grading at the level of a 47:13 12 Km run. Looking for a time from Bayly under 48 and, perhaps, under 47, does not seem out of the question.
  • Fischer has been a killer on the XC turf and at shorter races. This year she has also authored some nice races over longer distances. She finished 3rd in this division at the Masters 10 Mile Championships in Sacramento; her 1:07:52 equates to a 49:50 12K. Offsetting that, however, she ran 42:23 at the Santa Monica Classic 10K this past weekend, which equates to a 51:22. But that was just a race not a Championship; Fischer was the 6th woman to finish and won her age division. The 10 Mile result is probably a better guide to the likely outcome at this 12 Km.
  • Kingsley ran 1:06:59 last fall at the challenging 15K Stockade-a-thon, a time equivalent to a 52:53 12K. She improved on that with a 4 Mile effort on the 4th of July. She clocked 25:26 which is equivalent to a 48:42 12 Km. The 15K is probably a better indicator of ability in a 12 K than a 4-Miler is. But the faster relative time in the 4 mile suggests Kingsley might be able to crack 50 at this 12Km.
  • La Burt took second in this division last year in 49:38. She has had a very productive year, despite being in her last year in the Division. La Burt took 2nd in the Half Marathon Championships at Syracuse and 3rd at the 1 Mile in Rochester. She topped that with a Division win in the 10 Km Championships in Dedham with a nifty 40:06! She also ran a speedy race at the Garden State 10 Mile, clocking 1:06:21. When considering age grade equivalents, La Burt's HM time is comparable to what she ran last year in the 12 Km. But the other three are all relatively faster, suggesting a sub-49 is not out of the question.
Bayly should be able to win this with La Burt a strong second. Fischer's strong race in Sacramento convinces me to give her the nod for the podium over Kingsley.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Fiona Bayly     Tania Fischer     Suzanne La Burt

60-64 The thrilling threesome from the Greater Philadelphia Track Club, Lorraine Jasper, Doreen McCoubrie, and Mary Swan are the favorites for the podium. Mary Cass and Lauren Leslie, from the Liberty AC out of Greater Boston, will try to break up their party. Last year McCoubrie, Jasper and Swan finished 3-4-7 in 55-59. That was their last National Championship in that age division. Jasper and McCoubrie went 1-2 in Atlanta, followed by McCoubrie, Japser and Swan going 1-2-3 at the Half marathon. They did not get the win at Dedham but finished 2-3-4 with Jasper leading McCoubrie and Swan across the finish line. They also went 1-2-5 in the same order at the 1 Mile in Rochester. It is probably not very relevant for the 12 Km but illustrates their dominance over a range of distances. Cass and Leslie were able to come in just ahead of Swan at Rochester.  Cass finished behind all three of the GPTC crew in Dedham but was only 13 seconds back from Swan. Cass and Leslie finished behind Jasper and McCoubrie in Atlanta, but Swan did not compete there.  
Jasper and McCoubrie are likely to go 1-2 but in which order? Last year, McCoubrie took the honors at the 12 Km by 6 seconds. But at the 10 Km Championships this April, Jasper had the edge by 8 seconds. Jasper and McCoubrie should both crack 52 seconds. Swan ran 53:35 here last year, but her results in the 10K Championships and the Utica Boilermaker 15K, 1:06:55 suggests she could break 53 this year. She will need to if the three are to mount the podium. Cass and Leslie could both come home under 53:30 and sub-53's are not out of the question.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Lorraine Jasper     Doreen McCoubrie     Mary Swan

65-69 Nora Cary won this race last year in record-breaking time, 51:09! Her times this year at the 10 Km Championships, 44:09, and at the Falmouth Road Race, 55:16 over 7 miles, suggest she will have a hard time matching that performance. Luckily, she will not need that fast a time to win the division. She should be able to come in under 55 and that should give her an ample cushion. 
Kitty Musante took the division crown in Atlanta in 22:20. In fact, she came in about 15 seconds ahead of Cary. But a 5 Km is not a 12 Km and Cary was not at her best in February. Musante's time at the Gate River Run, at 15K a more comparable distance to the 12 Km, was 1:14:24, equivalent to a 58:52 12 Km effort. Her 5 Km time of 22:20 is equivalent to a 55:42 12 Km, but a 5 Km is a less reliable guide than a 15K. Still, it would not be surprising to see Musante crossing the finish line before 58 minutes is on the clock. Cary will have to be aware of her. Alda Cossi finished two minutes behind those two at the 5 Km and was further back from Cary at the 10 Km Championships. But she should have a lock on 3rd place. Her 49:32 at Dedham suggests she might well finish the race on Sunday right around an hour. Her two closest rivals for the final podium position are Antoinette Marmora and Susan Stirrat. Marmora has not contested any of the National Championships but her 44:43 at the Tom Fleming Sunset Classic 5-Miler suggest a 12 Km time of around 1:08. Stirrat ran 1:07:22 to finish 3rd here last year, so it will be very tough for her to run with Cossi. But she did beat Marmora by 45 seconds at that 5-Miler so 4th seems likely for Stirrat.

It is possible that Musante could spring an upset, but Cary has been running more strongly again later with a few 5K's in the sub-22 range. Whatever was hindering her earlier this year seems to be in the past. Cossi is not quite up to their times but should come in 3rd with a good cushion.

Top contenders in Alphabetical Order

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

70-74 Jeannie Rice is strongly favored to break June Machala's 58:22 American Record. It would not be surprising to see her break it by a minute or two. Rice is the 2019 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year and holds 70-74 American records at the 1 Mile, Half Marathon and Marathon. Suzanne Ray is not quite at Rice's level but should take the Silver medal. Ray's 1:49:21 to win the 65-69 Half Marathon Championship was 7 minutes back from Roce's time. But she improved, lowering her half marathon time to 1:45:50 in Finland where she finished 2nd at the World Masters Athletics Championships. Joanne Coffee and Ray's teammate, Jeanette Groesz, will battle for the final podium spot. Coffee took 3rd here last year in 1:06:25 and ran 57:14 at the Essex County 10K on April 3rd. That is equivalent to a 1:09:34 12 Km effort. On that same day, Groesz ran 1:28:13 in the 10 Mile Championships in Sacramento, age grade equivalent to a 1:04:29. Groesz's 1:50:41 at the Redmond Half Marathon two months later signals even better, equating to a 1:01:08. If Groesz can run as she did on those two occasions, she should be a safe bet to take the final podium spot this year.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Jeanette Groesz     Jeannie Rice     Suzanne Ray

75-79 Barbara Donelik and Cheryl Kohut are the two runners entered. Donelik finished 2nd here last year in 1:05:01 (1:04:52 net). Two months later she ran a 43:14 5-Miler which is roughly comparable. Kohut ran a 1:51:23 10-Miler earlier this year and a 31:16 5K in June. She will be happy to run in the 1:20's and score points for her team. Kohut is primarily running for her Raritan team. Donelik should enjoy a comfortable win.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Barabara Donelik     Cheryl Kohut

80-84 Heide Moebius and Sandra Folzer went 1-2 here last year in 1:17:38 and 1:20:49. In May, Folzer ran 1:43:26 at the Blue Cross Broad Street 10-Miler; that equates to a 1:15:27 12 Km. The Broad Street Run is known to be a fast race with few turns and an overall drop. Still, that is impressive. If she can muster a similar effort on Sunday, it could be quite close. Moebius ran a 52:40 5-Miler in June, equivalent to a 1:21:34. Whether she has the fitness to break 1:20 this year or not is a question. Folzer could force the question. I will go with Moebius, who has had an illustrious career as a masters Runner. But Folzer will make her earn the win.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Sandra Folzer     Heide Moebius

85-89 Joyce Hodges-Hite took the 5 Km 80-84 Championship at Atlanta in 49:48. This time she will take home the 85-89 Division Championship as she continues racing into the 2nd half of her 80's!

Top Runner

Joyce Hodges-Hite

MEN 40-44 This division was previewed in terms of contenders for the Overall Championship in the September 15 post. Please see that for details. Ben Bruce, Riley Cook, and Jesse Davis are the favorites. Darryl Brown, Dickson Mercer, and John Poray are very strong runners who contribute to a superb field. They will make those three earn the podium.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Ben Bruce     Riley Cook     Jesse Davis

45-49 The Overall preview in Wednesday's post also covers this division. David Angell, Christopher Shaw, and Nicholas Thompson should all run in the low 40's or better, and that should put them on the podium. Shaw and Thompson went 1-2 in this division in 40:34 and 41:19 last year. Angell was off his game last year and still ran 41:31! His recent outings suggest he could run a bit faster this year. Mike Cole, who finished 2nd in the division at the 10K Championships in 33:55 is also in the hunt. That time equates to a 41:07 12 Km. His recent outings in a Sprint Triathlon and a local 5K raise some doubts about him  breaking 42 minutes. But Cole is a seasoned competitor who will be right there for his team and that could translate into a podium finish. Marco Cardoso, who finished 3rd in the division last year with a 44:03, will have to find more speed to make the podium this year.

This is a fascinating race to watch. Angell is the comeback kid. Is he fully healed? Has he lost any of his national race savvy from an 8-month absence? Shaw surprised everyone last year with his strong showing. His best credential since last year's stirring performance is a 34:33 10K in April, a time nearly a minute slower than Angell's 10K in mid-June. But perhaps Shaw is a runner who rises to a challenge and runs his best at National Championships?!  Thompson is primarily in training for the major Marathons; and Cole is a canny runner who is primarily competing to bring home a Championship and a Grand Prix title for his team. If Angell is fully healed, he could well win the division.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

David Angell     Christopher Shaw     Nicholas Thompson

50-54 Six runners stand out in this 12 Km field of 41 entries: Mark Andrews, Mark Callon, Christian Cushing-Murray, Richard Falcone, Ivan Lieben, and Gregory Putnam
  • Andrews finished 2nd in the Division in the 5 Km Championships in Atlanta this year in 16:53, and won the 10 Km Overall Championship in 2016. Despite those credentials it appears that Andrews has not run many races longer than 10 Km in recent years.
  • Callon won the Half Marathon Championship in Syracuse with a 1:15:43, which equates to a 41:56 12 Km. His 2nd place division showing at the 10 Mile run in 56:01 equates to a faster 41:06, although that may be partly due to terrain. Sactown is flat; Syracuse is hilly.
  • Cushing-Murray won the 5 Km in Atlanta, running 8 seconds faster than Andrews. But he has the additional credential this year of his 4th place finish in the ten-mile championships in Sacramento. That translates to a 41:46 12 Km.
  • Falcone's primary credential is his excellent 2nd place finish in the division at the 10 Km Championships in Dedham in 33:39, age grade equivalent to a 40:49. No doubt Falcone has the talent to make the podium. But it is troubling that I can find no race results for him since that 10 race in April.
  • Lieben is known more for his Cross Country prowess but he has competed in two of the Road Championships this year. He finished 3rd in the Ten-Mile Championships in Sacramento, running a half minute lower than Callon, his West Valley teammate. He finished 5th at Dedham in 34:25. Both outings suggest he should break 42 this Sunday.
  • Putnam will renew his rivalry with Callon. Putnam beat Callon at the 5 Km XC in Boston in the fall of 2021, and then picked up a 2nd place here at Highlands in 41:52. Callon pulled away to beat Putnam by half a minute at the Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse. Putnam came in 3rd at Dedham, sixteen seconds ahead of Lieben.
Callon seems to be the strongest at this distance, although Putnam may be closer at 12 Km than 13.1. Falcone has the best age graded performance at a comparable distance; he came in a half minute ahead of Putnam there.  I will include Falcone as a podium pick but am a little uneasy with it. I wish there was a fuller record for him, especially in the last few months.  If Falcone is off his best for any reason, Lieben could be in ahead of him, and Cushing-Murray as well. My guess is that Callon can beat Falcone at 12 Km regardless. We will find out on Sunday!

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Mark Callom     Richard Falcone     Gregory Putnam

55-59 The top contenders are: Michael Collins, Brian Crowley, Scott Grandfield, Keith Guilfoyle, and John McMahon

  • Collins has been a steady performer at the top of this age division now since the 15 Km Championships at Tulsa in 2019. when he took the M55 crown in 57:38. He finished 2nd in the 55-59 5K Championships in Atlanta, with a time that is age grade equivalent to a 43:06. He followed that up in July with a 37:01 10 Km that equates to a 44:54. And that does not consider his exploits on the track, where he has won multiple medals at 5000 and 10,000 meters.
  • Crowley won here last year in 42:06. His recent races suggest he should come home in less than 43 minutes; that should get him the win. His 58:36 at the Garden State 10 Miler in late March equates to a 42:58 12 km. A month later he recertified his sub-43 credentials with a 2nd place finish at the 10 Km Masters Championships in Dedham in April in 35:02. That translates to a 42:30. 
  • Grandfield is a runner who seems to come in under the radar but is always a threat for the podium. A prime example is the 10 Km Masters Championships in Dedham this year where he finished 3rd in the division in 36:19, which equates to a 44:03. Lest you think that was just a fluke, he clocked 28:58 in the Bobby Doyle 5 Mile Classic in mid- August. That translates to a 43:57. That puts him in the thick of the race for the podium!
  • Guilfoyle took 6th here last year in 50-54 in 44:33. He finished 2 minutes behind McMahon at the Half Marathon Championships in March. Guilfoyle ran 56:32 at the Utica Boilermaker 15K in early July, a time equivalent to a 44:40. Later that month, he clocked a 17:44 5K that translates to a 43:33.
  • McMahon's two Silver Medals at M55 National Championships demonstrates his range. He ran 5:00 flat at the Road Mile in Rochester and clocked 1:19:58 at the Half Marathon in Syracuse. The latter equates to a 44:16 12 Km effort. He also showed some speed in winning a 4-Miler in early July; his 22:18 equates to a 42:31.
Crowley should break 43 and come home the winner. After that, the crystal ball gets murkier. I will opt for McMahon and then Grandfield, but Collins and Guilfoyle will not be far back and if it is their day, either could finish on the podium. Francis Burdett deserves a mention as well. After working his way back from injury, he had two fine races this summer, a 37:03 10K at the TD Beach to Beacon, and a 1:21:17 at the WMA Half Marathon. Both are age grade equivalent to a few ticks under 45 minutes. If his momentum continues through to this race, perhaps he could break through onto his first road podium in a few years?

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order
 
Brian Crowley     Scott Grandfield     John McMahon     

60-64 Nat Larson is a strong favorite to take the division crown on Sunday. Mark Neff, Henry Notaro, and Roger Sayre are the top contenders for the rest of the podium. Two strong runners from this division, Tim De Grado and Rick Lee, are skipping the Championships to partake in the MUT excitement at Pike's Peak.
  • Larson aged up into this division earlier this year and ran for Team USATF at the WMA's 60-64 division. But as August passed into September and his name was still not on the entry list, I wondered if all was well. Apparently, the delay had more to do with his team than with Larson. Perhaps they were waiting to see if they could field a complete team? The Greater Springfield Harriers do not have a full team, but Larson entered as an individual in the last few days. That adds a little more heft to my mention of Larson as one of the potential record setters. I wonder if he would have made the trip were it not for the possibility of setting an American Record? He should, in any case, be a safe bet for the win! Even though he was still on the comeback trail at last year's Championship here, Larson ran 43:13. and no one else can touch that. His winning time at the 10 Km Championships, 34:20, translates to a sub-42-minute 12 K. Larson's 57:11 winning effort at the 10 Mile Championships also suggest a sub-42 is possible. As long as he comes home under 42:50, he gets the record!
  • The only National Championship Neff has contested this year is the Road Mile at Rochester, where he finished 4th in 5:13, six seconds behind Notaro. He has done well at longer distances though, namely the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in early April. Neff's 1:00:23 translates to a 44:15 12 Km equivalent. He ran a 17:52 5K in mid-August, equivalent to a 44:21. 
  • Notaro is new to the circuit; in his first National Championship at the Road Mile in Rochester, he landed on the podium! Notaro has plenty of speed and endurance. He ran 56:07 at the Gasparilla 15K in February, equivalent to a 44:18. Notaro followed that with a 36:55 at the Ridgewood 10K in May. That translates to a 44:48. In between those he found time to run a 2:55:51 Boston Marathon.
  • Sayre is in the last six months of his time in this division, but he is still a force to be reckoned with. A bit off the top of his game last year, he still ran a 45:49 to take 2nd in a mad dash to the finish, edging Joe Mora by a single second! In March, Sayre finished 2nd at the USATF Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse with a 1:21:42, equivalent to a 45:07. At the end of July, Sayre ran a 44:02 at the challenging Quad City Bix-7, a bucket-list race for many runners.
As noted, Larson is the favorite for the win. Notaro is a likely 2nd, with Neff perhaps edging Sayre for third.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Nat Larson     Henry Notaro     Mark Neff

65-69 Rick Becker and Ken Youngers are co-favorites for this division. Kevin Dollard and Robert Reynolds are the likeliest candidates for the third spot. Kevin Dollard, John Blaser and Scott Lucking will try to upset the applecart and surge onto the podium.
  • Becker's top performances have tended to come first on the Cross Country turf where he has been selected the USATF Masters Harrier of the Year three times. Earlier this year he finished 2nd in M65 to Jacob Nur, who has been breaking records left and right on the roads. In 2021, he set two M65 American Records on the track. This is probably his first road race since 2018 when he finished 2nd at the 15 Km Championships in Tulsa in 58:30 at the age of 63. It appears he has been running some trail races, one the Light at the End of the Tunnel Trail Marathon in 3:01:35. That race advertises itself as a fast course with a consistent 2.2% drop, so it is hard to evaluate.
  • The record of Youngers is largely on the roads, so we have clearer signals of fitness. Last year on this course, Youngers broke the American 55-59 Record with a time of 45:03. After a niggling injury over the winter, Youngers came back with a very strong 37:48 at the 10K Masters Championships, translating to a 45:54 12 Km time. He ran Peachtree this year, known for its Cardiac Hill and for its warmth and humidity. Nonetheless, Youngers clocked 38:21. Although the low 45's might be a stretch this year, breaking 46 seems very reachable for Youngers.
  • Dollard finished 5th here last year in 51:29. Since then he has run better. He took 2nd at the 10 Km Masters in Dedham with a 41:07. That is age grade equivalent to a 49:56. He also took 2nd at the Masters Half Marathon Championships at Syracuse, with a 1:32:43 over their hilly course. That, too, is a better age graded effort than his 2021 effort here. If Dollard carried his fitness well through the summer, he might run faster this year than his 51:29 in 2021.
  • Reynolds finished 7th in 60-64 here in 2021 in 48:56, coming in two and a half minutes ahead of Dollard. In May, he ran 1:06:26 in the Blue Cross Broad Street Ten Mile Run, equivalent to a 48:39. The faster equivalent is partly due to a fast Broad Street racecourse, but it serves to illustrate similar fitness for Reynolds. In order to place, it is likely that Blaser and/or Lucking would need to improve on their 10 Km performance at Dedham, where they both came in about a minute behind Dollard.
Youngers has been running well all year on the roads, I will pick him for the win, with Becker second. Reynolds probably has the fitness to come in ahead of Dollard so I will put him on the podium in his new age division.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Rick Becker     Robert Reynolds     Ken Youngers    

70-74 Gene Dykes and Robert Qualls are co-favorites for this division contest, with Eugene Myers a slight favorite for 3rd over Fernando Moura and Jerry Learned.

  • Dykes won the Masters 10 Mile Championship in Sacramento in 1:07:43. A few weeks later he ran even faster at the Blue Cross Broad Street 10 Miler in his hometown of Philadelphia. The Sactown time is equivalent in age grading to a 49:31 12 Km effort. He has had his ups and downs this year, with a fall or two on some challenging and technical trail Ultras. Nonetheless he has been ramping up his training recently to attack the upcoming Marathon season. He should be ready for a good race.
  • Qualls has returned to top fitness after a few years of struggle. He lost the M70 Road Mile Championship to Masters Track legend, Nolan Shaheed by a single second in May. More importantly, he followed that up with a Silver Medal at the WMA 10 Km Championship in Finland, clocking 39:44. That age graded at 89.97% for the 70-year-old Qualls, and is age grade equivalent to a 48:15.
  • Myers finished 8th in 65-69 here last year with a 53:29 effort. Seven months later, he ran even better at the 10 Km Championships where he took 6th in 65-69 with a 43:14. That translates to a 52:31 12 Km effort. A 10 Mile effort earlier this month was not quite up to those standards so Moura and learned may have a better shot at Myers than his earlier times suggest.
  • Moura has a 35:12 over 8K and a 35:59 over 5 Miles that suggests a 12 Km time a little over or a little under 54 minutes is within reach for Moura. of course, those are not National Championships, and they are not over 12 Km.
  • Learned ran 55:33 to take 2nd place in 70-74 here last year. Learned kicked it up a notch in April when he ran 44:30 at the 10 Km Championships, finishing 1:15 behind Myers.
It is probably unwise to pick against Gene Dykes in any race, but Qualls is the new kid on the block, and he has been running so well. I will go with Qualls for the win and Dykes a close 2nd, and a terrific workout for his upcoming Marathons! Myers should be able to claim 3rd, although Moura seems close and Learned is a very determined competitor.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Gene Dykes     Eugene Myers     Robert Qualls

75-79 Dave Glass is the favorite for the win. Gary Ostwald is the favorite for 2nd, with Ezequiel Garcia picked for third. Paul Carlin, your author, and Tom Jennings will try to chase them down! 
  • Glass has won every national road Championship this season at 10 Km and above and there is no reason to expect anything different. he has raced locally over shorter distances this summer, but he has raced well. He won this division last year in 56:15. Other relevant performances include his 44:42 10K win in Dedham, equivalent to a 54:22 and his 10 Mile win at Sactown in 1:16:38, equivalent to a 56:02.
  • Ostwald was able to beat Glass by 12 seconds on the turf over 8 Km at Cross Country Nationals last January. But it has been another story on the roads. Glass beat Ostwald by almost a minute over 5 Km in Atlanta and the margin rose to over three minutes in the ten Mile Run. But make no mistake, Ostwald is no slouch on the roads. No one else in the field can touch him if he runs like he did in Sacramento!
  • At his race last year, Garcia finished less than a minute behind Glass, clocking 56:59. Garcia continued to run within a minute or so of Glass in most races last fall and over the winter, but Garcia must have started struggling with an injury in late winter. At the Half Marathon championships in mid-March, he ran 1:52:17 at the Half marathon Championships in Syracuse, a good ten minutes behind Glass. And at the 10 Km it was not much better, as Garcia was probably running primarily for his team and struggled to a 50:01, finishing just a few seconds ahead of me. More recently he sems to have recovered somewhat. He ran 49:35 at the Ridgewood 10K in late May and 40:11 over 5 Miles in late June. Those are faster equivalents than his HM and 10 Km times. If Garcia's fitness has not improved, it looks like a time around 1:01 or a little better is reachable on Sunday. 
  • I [Carlin] had to skip this race last year because I aggravated an Achilles injury the Friday before the race. In all, I lost May to December last year to the injury. I finished 4th in the Half Marathon Championships in March but my time was not competitive, finishing 4 minutes behind Garcia.  By April though, my fitness had come around to almost being competitive at National races. My 50:02 was only good for 7th place but it was age grade equivalent to a 1:00:4, and just a few seconds out oof 5th. I also managed a 5th place at the 10 Mile Championships in 1:25:02, equivalent to a 1:02:08. My hope was to build base over the summer and come out with a good shot at making podiums this fall. Alas, I had some minor knee and heel problems that forced me to do more cross training than planned. That was probably good for me but the 10K times I have been able to run this summer were 1 to 3 minutes slower than the time I ran in Dedham.
  • Jennings ran 1:26:03 at the fast Broad Street (10 Mile) Run, equivalent to a 1:02:51 12 Km. In early August he ran a 26:56 5K but it is easy to make too much of summer 5K's in both directions. Jennings will likely run a strong race and finish somewhere under 1:05. Garcia and I will have to make sure we run closer to an hour, or we might be wathcing the Jennings 'M75' back bib pulling away from us over the latter portions of the race.
Unless the unexpected happens, it should be Glass-Ostwald-Garcia, with me and Jennings perhaps having a chance to reach the podium if everything falls in place.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

Dave Glass     Gary Ostwald     Ezequiel Garcia

80-84 George Gilder enters as the favorite, with John Elliott, Gary Cochrane and James Leitz doing battle for the other two podium positions. 
  • Gilder took the 80-84 title at the 10 Km Masters Championships with a smashing 58:03, age grade equivalent to a 1:10:40 12 Km. He is, perhaps, unlikely to hit that height on Sunday but his other efforts, like a 1:10:55 effort over 7 Miles, and a 50:55 5-Miler in August suggest he should be well under 1 :20 on Sunday, and probably under 1:15. 
  • Elliott has won his share of national titles over the years, but a fall just before the 5 Km Championships has thrown him off his form. At Dedham, he finished over 4 minutes behind Gilder in 1:02:35, equivalent to a 1:16;08 12 Km effort. Elliott has run some road miles since then, but it is hard to gauge 12 Km fitness from those races.
  • Cochrane's credentials include a 1:06:43 at Peachtree over 10 Km. That race, famous for its Cardiac Hill and its warmth and humidity, tends to be a test for Masters runners. Cochrane's time equates to a 1:21;09 12 Km or perhaps better, given its terrain and weather conditions. A month earlier he ran a 1:02:14 on an out and back course that is flat but certified. It is equivalent to a 1:15:42 12 Km.
  • Leitz finished 2nd in 80-84 here last year in 1:18:42. His recent 32:19 at the Asbury Park 5K suggests his fitness is not far off from last year's. A sub 1:20 is within his reach.
Gilder is my pick for the win, with Elliott 2nd, and Cochrane third. Leitz is definitely a threat though.

Podium Picks in Alphabetical Order

George Gilder     John Elliott     Gary Cochrane

85-89 Adrian Craven is the sole entrant. He ran 1:02:26 over 8 Km of turf at Tallahassee and won his division at the Road Mile in Rochester, clocking 10:40. The goal on Sunday is to finish the 12 Km race. This will be his longest race that I can find over the past few years. As long as he finishes the race, he wins. 

Pick for the win!

Adrian Craven

That finishes the preview. No pics this time, and no team predictions. No time left!

All the best to the folks whose main focus is the team competition. In terms of participation, Shore AC has the most runners here, followed by Clifton Road Runners and Raritan Valley Road Runners. 

National teams do not have as many athletes here but those Clubs with the most from outside the New Jersey association are the Greater Philadelphia Track Club, the Atlanta Track Club and the Genesee Valley Harriers.

Sunday should provide a terrific day of racing. It will be so interesting to see how the overall, and age division races come out!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Upcoming USATF Masters 12 Km Championships at Sandy Hook-Records and Overall Championships

September 15, 2022. The 2nd edition of the Masters 12 Kilometer Championships will be held this coming Sunday at the Sandy Hook National Gateway Recreation area in Highlands, New Jersey. It is another record for participation. We had 325 registered last year; this year the figure is 330! Some of the swiftest Masters runners in America are assembling to enjoy the competition and camaraderie! 

Sandy Hook is a spit of land thrusting out into the Bays lying between Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Eastern New Jersey. The course is out and back, starting near Parking Lot E. at 3.7 meters above sea level, dropping at its lowest point, to sea level, and rising at its highest point to 7.3 meters above sea level. The forecast calls for sunny skies, 72 degrees and 73% humidity at the 9:30 AM start of the race, warmer than runners would like, but in the manageable range. It should not get up to 75 until almost 11 AM. For those who ran here last year, the temperatures are comparable, but the humidity will be less. They recently raised the forecast for wind to the 10-12 mph range. Let's hope that recedes back to single digits. 

Records Watch. 

2021. Last year three American Records were set. Lisa Veneziano set the Women's 55-59 record at 46:13, a 6:12/mile pace; Nora Cary the Women's 65-69 record at 51:09, a 6:53/mile pace; and Ken Youngers the Men's 65-69 record at 45:03, a 6:02/mile pace. The first two records still stand. Brian Pilcher, who finished 2nd to Youngers at last year's race, lowered the M55 record to 44:04 on a course in Houston designed specifically for record attempts at multiple distances.

2022. If the stars align this year, we could again have three or more American records set. There are five possibilities, One record is a sure bet, two are pretty likely, and the other two would appear to be long shots.

Jeannie Rice winning the Women's 70-74 Division at the 2022 Masters Road Mile Championships Photo courtesy oof Pam Fales

  • Jeannie Rice holds W70 American records at distances as short as a mile 6:24 and as long as the Marathon 3:24:48. She won the W70 Half Marathon Masters Championship in Syracuse in March with a 1:42:16, which age grades at 97.91%. If she would run an age-grade equivalent 12 kilometers on Sunday, that would be a 56:27, which would be almost 2 minutes faster than June Machala's 58:22 set over 20 years ago.
    Nat Larson finishes off his M55 Win at the 2022 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at the James Joyce Ramble Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

  • Nat Larson has been looking forward to aging up to M60 this entire year. He did so just before the WMA World Championships. Last year at this time, Larson was still coming back from surgery. He ran 43:13 as a 59-year-old, finishing 2nd to Brian Crowley. Since then, he has not lost at a Masters National Championship. Some of his highlights include a win at the Masters Half Marathon Championships over a hilly Syracuse course in 1:16:30. That equates to a 42:18 12 Km effort. Larson followed with a 57:11 at the 10-Mile Championships, equivalent to a 41:55 12 Km. A few weeks later, he uncorked a 33:20 over the rolling hills of Dedham to claim the 10 Km Masters Championship ahead of Crowley, who ran a sterling 35:02! That one was age-grade equivalent to a 41:40! His latest effort, at the WMA's, a 10K in 35:21 is not quite as fast and is equivalent to a 42:54. Without knowledge of the terrain of that course, it is hard to compare that time to his earlier races in the spring. It is also worth noting that this was for a World Championship and Larson took the Silver Medal, just a few seconds behind a Spanish runner. What is significant about every effort except the WMA Championship is that Larson was consistently running times that translate via age-grading to 12 Km times anywhere from a half minute to more than a minute under the American Record. Tom McCormack set the current M60 record of 42:50 at the November 2014 Masters 12 Km Championships in Alexandria VA. Even his WMA time was equivalent to a 12 Km effort just 4 seconds over the record. There are no guarantees, but Larson looks well situated to take down the American Record this coming Sunday.
    Gene Dykes heads to the finish line and the M70 Win at the 2022 USATF 10 Mile Championships Hosted by the Sactown Ten Photo courtesy oof Sacramento Running Association

  • Gene Dykes and Robert Qualls will challenge each other for the M70 win and, possibly, an American record. Masters Hall of Famer, Doug Goodhue, set the 48:38 record 8 years ago at the 12 Km Masters Championships in Alexandria, VA. Had Dykes run a 12 Km in the year he came within a whisker of taking the legendary Ed Whitlock's M70 World Marathon Record, this would probably be out of reach. Since 2018, Dykes has had a few ups and downs. In the run-up to this race last year, he suffered an injury. He still ran the race but ran it as a workout. Dykes loves to race whenever he can! He has had better luck this year, and was returning to top fitness when he won the Masters 10 Mile Championship in Sacramento in 1:07:43. A few weeks later he ran even faster at the Blue Cross Broad Street 10 Miler in his hometown of Philadelphia. But neither of those times was quite age-grade equivalent to Goodhue's record. Had he not suffered any setbacks in between, he would have run faster times in Finland. As it happened, Dykes suffered a setback at one of his Utra Marathons in Norway and had to withdraw from the WMA Championships. Dykes has fully recovered from that setback and is running some very strong workouts now. I imagine he hopes to lay siege to Whitlock's M75 World Marathon record after he turns 75 next spring. Still, it is not clear if he has the fitness yet to age grade at 93.86% on a 12 Km course. That is what it will take for Dykes to hit 48:37 at age 74. But he has one other factor working for him and that is Robert Qualls. Qualls has returned to top fitness after a few years of struggle, an old story for Masters runners. He lost the M70 Road Mile Championship to Masters Track legend, Nolan Shaheed by a single second. More importantly he followed that up with a Silver Medal at the WMA 10 Km Championship in Finland, clocking 39:44. That age graded at 89.97% for the 70-year-old Qualls. If he runs 48:15 on Sunday, he can match that 89.97%. That would be 23 seconds under Goodhue's record. Perhaps Dykes and Qualls can push each other like Dykes and Bill Dixon did, when they both broke the American 10 Km record in Dedham in 2018. If so, the record could well fall.
    Michelle Rohl #294, along with Jennifer Bigham#248 , with Abby Dean right behind, leads out the field at the 2022 USATF Masters Road Mile Championships at the Rochester Mile Photo courtesy oof Mike Nier 

  • Michelle Rohl holds the W55 800m and 1500m records on the track. Her 18:18 5000-meter on the track at the WMA Championships in Tampere, Finland effort, was over 20 seconds faster than the existing American record. The 18:29 she ran to win the 55-59 division in the Masters 5 Km Championships on a hilly course in Atlanta would have been faster on the flat. That 18:29 age graded at 95.40%. If she could run an age grade equivalent time on Sunay, it would be a 45:54, nineteen seconds faster than Veneziano's record. The challenge for Rohl will be to carry a fast pace over a distance more than twice as long. Rohl has not raced at distances much over 6 km and when she has, the times have not been as amazing. It is probably also true that they were not serious attempts at a blazing fast time. But that may also be true here. Rohl's main goal is to help her Greater Philadelphia team win their division championship, not set a record.
    Nora Cary heads to the finish line, and collects an Age Grading Podium Award for her 43:40 at the 2019 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at the James Joyce Ramble Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

  • Nora Cary will try to win her W65 division again this year. She is likely to succeed at that, but her times coming into this Championship are not quite as fast as her times last year at the same races. Race conditions also vary from year to year, but her time at a recent 5K, for example, was a half-minute slower this year. No one will count such a stronger runner out in terms of setting records, but it seems to be a long shot this year.
OVERALL CHAMPIONSHIP
With a few rare exceptions, the winner of the overall Masters race comes out of the 40-44 or 45-49 divisions. There is no reason to think that will not be true at this Championship.
WOMEN. The top contenders out of the 40-44 division appear to be: Jacqueline Cooke, Karen dos Santos, Kristen Prendergast, Jeannie Sullivan, and Shawanna White. Sara Girotto from W45 can probably run with that group, and Melissa Gacek is not far off. If Abby Dean, out of the 50-54 division, can match the speed she showed in finishing 6th overall at the Masters 10 Km Championships in 38:01, she, too, could run with the leaders. [Late Note: Gacek is a likely scratch due to conflicts. Thanks for the update, Melissa!]
  • Cooke's strongest credentials are at shorter distances. Her recent 18:18 at the Stow Lake 5K, and her 24:10 at the Los Gatos CA Great Race 4 Miler suggest she might well be able to break 46 minutes. But her performance at the longer 10 Mile Championships in Sacramento, sows some doubt. Her 7th place finish overall in a net time of 1:03:11 is age grade equivalent to a 46:32. 
  • The main credential dos Santos brings to the race is her 3rd place finish at Sandy Hook last year in 48:09. But she also ran a 39:13 10K at the end of May, which is equivalent to a 47:28.
    Karen dos Santos leads a pack in the early stages of the 2021 USATF Masters 12 Km Championships at the By Hook Or By Crook Run Photo courtesy of Jason Timochko

     
  • Prendergast posted a very similar 39:17 10K in February, but then. in March, topped that with a fine 1:20:44 outing at the Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon at Virginia Beach. That was equivalent to a 45:15 12 K. She reinforced that sub-46 credential with a 23:54 four-mile performance in June, equivalent to a 45:35. Sullivan posted a 1:24:33 at the Bank of America Chicago 13.1 in June, equivalent to a 47:24. 
  • White finished 6th overall at the 5 Km Masters Championships in Atlanta, but her main credentials come from two classic 10 K races. She clocked 37:23 at the Cooper River 10K in April, equivalent to a 45:14 12 Km. She backed that up with a fine 38:17 performance at Peachtree, known for its hill and its warmth in July. 
    Shawanna White heading for the Finish Line at the 2022 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships at the Publix Atlanta Marathon Weekend Photo courtesy oof Atlanta Track Club

  • Girotto ran 48:32 at Sandy Hook last year but has shown promise that she could better that mark this year. Her 5 Mile effort in June of 31:39 equates to a 47:57 12 Km and her early May Blue Cross Broad Street 10 Mile outing of 1:01:25 suggests a sub-46 12 K is possible if everything falls right for Girotto. 
    Sara Girotto heads to the finish of the 2022 Blue Cross Broad Street 10 Mile Run and a new PR of 1:01:25 Photo Credit Clay Shaw -posted on FB


  • Gacek's 1:24:50 at the Bjorkgren Half Marathon at Grandma's in June suggests a sub-48 is within her reach. [likely scratch]
  • Dean, as noted, finished 6th overall at the 10 Km Championships in a time that equates to a 46:04. That would put her level with or ahead of Girotto. If Dean has a perfect day on the roads, it will take a superb performance to run away from her. 
Prendergast and White look very strong, with Cooke perhaps a shade off. The strongest threats outside that trio are Dean, dos Santos, Girotto, and Sullivan.

Top Contenders listed in Alphabetical Order:
Jacqueline Cooke      Kristen Prendergast     Shawanna White

MEN. The top contenders for the Overall Championship out of 40-44 include: Darryl BrownBen Bruce, Riley Cook, Jesse Davis, Dickson Mercer, and John Poray. David Angell, Brock Butler, Christopher Shaw, and Nick Thompson out of 45-49 will do their best to hang tough and run with the lead pack. Brown brings some strong credentials from longer races. 
  • Brown's 2:19:26 at the Chevron Houston Marathon in January 2020 is a bit dated and may not be as relevant as more recent events. Brown showed he still has good speed with a 52:46 effort, as a 39-year-old, at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile run this past April. The Marathon equates to a 36:55 12 Km and the 10 Mile run to a 38:46. The latter is probably more indicative of current fitness. 
  • If Bruce, Assistant Coach and Pacer for the HOKA NAZ Elite group out of Flagstaff, thought he could come in to his first Masters National Championship under the radar, he was mistaken! Bruce still finds some time to race and is a welcome addition to the Masters ranks! At the almost Masters age of 39, Bruce cranked out a 1:11:06 at the UA NYC Half Marathon, equivalent to a 39:38 12 Km. His 2:27:34 effort at the Boston Marathon a month later equates, similarly, to a 39:03 12 Km.
    Ben Bruce at altitude Photo downloaded from nazelite.com/staff/bruce

  • Cook announced his presence in the Masters ranks earlier this spring with a sterling win over Sergio Reyes at the USATF Masters 10 Mile Run in Sacramento, clocking 49:59 (net) for the win! That equates to a 36:43 12 Km performance. No one else has a faster 12 Km or equivalent! A month later, Cook cruised to an easy victory in the Ogden UT Marathon with a 2:25:45. That is still equivalent to a sub-39 but is probably not representative of Cook's best effort.
    Riley Cook cruises to the Overall victory at the 2022 USATF Masters 10 Mile Championship at the Sactown 10 Photo courtesy of Sacramento Running Association


  • Davis is no stranger to the Masters ranks, at least not any longer. Like Bruce and Cook, he had a fine career as an Open Marathon and Ultra Marathon runner. A 2-time qualifier for the Olympic Marathon Trials, the height of Davis's international accomplishment was represented by his 5th place finish at the 2015 World 50 Mile Championships for Team USA. He has stormed through this Masters National Grand Prix circuit, taking wins at the Club Cross, Half Marathon and 10 Km Championships. His winning 1:09:45 Half Marathon time over a hilly course at Syracuse equates to a 38:43 12 Km effort, and his winning 32:07 at the 10 Km Championships equates to a 38:56. His modus operandi so far has been to drive the train and dare others to stay with him. 
    Jesse Davis closing out his sub 1:10 winning effort at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships at the Syracuse Half Marathon Photo courtesy of Syracuse Half Marathon

  • Mercer finished 5th overall last year in 41:12. He ran 54:07 at the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in early April, equivalent to a 39:45. His most recent effort is probably more indicative of his mental toughness than his conditioning. He clocked 1:16:00 at the Parks Half Marathon this past weekend with high humidity and pouring rain.
  • No One will Catch Dickson Mercer as he Sprints to the Finish Line and a Top 5 Finish at the 2021 USATF Masters 12 Km Championship at USATF-NJ's By Hook Or By Crook Run Photo Courtesy of Jason Timochko

  • Poray, Davis's reliable #2 on the Indiana Elite AC should be in the mix as well. His 33:05 for 2nd place at the 10 Km Masters Championships equates to a 40:05 12 Km. His 1:12:05 at the USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships this year, is equivalent to a 40:01.
    John Poray Kicks to the Finish, Claiming Third in 1:12:05 at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships at the Syracuse Half Marathon Photo courtesy of Syracuse Half Marathon 

     
  • It is good to see Angell back toeing the start line at a Masters National Championship. He has been dealing with heel issues that kept him out of the lineup for a few months. From 2017 through 2019 he was a model of consistency, taking the Masters National Grand Prix title three years in a row! Covid restrictions robbed him of a possible 4th in a row in 2020. By the time Championships started up again, Angell fitness was less consistent. He still finished 2nd in the abridged Grand Prix of that 2019 (December) to 2021 season. After finishing 9th in this race last year in 41:31, Angell decided to take time away from racing to heel his injury. Angell has eased back into racing this summer after some strong training weeks; he appears ready to compete nationally again. He ran a 33:38 10K at Clarksburg WV, equivalent to a 40:47 12 K, and a 20:51 4-Mile race, equivalent to a 39:36. He reinforced those credentials with a 27:08 at the Crazy 8's 8K in Kingsport TN; that equates to a 41:17. Angell should be able to get a PR this year; it will be interesting to see how far below that he can go!
    David Angell claims the Overall Win at the 2018 USATF Masters 5 Km Championship at Atlanta's Finest 5K Photo Credit: jason@getzimages.com

  • Butler is the defending Champion, winning here last year in 39:52. Butler, like most Masters athletes has had some niggling issues to deal with in running this year and has focused a lot on mountain biking. He ran 55:34 at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile run in early April, equivalent to a 40:48 12 Km effort. He then took 5th place overall at the end of May in the Memorial Main Street Mile in 4:38. He has not raced since then, at least as far as I can tell. He is reported to have worked hard on his running in August, logging many miles along with some speed work, interspersed with mountain biking. According to a likely source his rehab has not left him fit enough for a realistic title defense and is a likely scratch.
  • Shaw finished 4th overall last year in 40:34! He has nothing that fast in recent months over a comparable distance, but he did run a 34:33 10 K in April, equivalent to a 41:54. In June he ran a 16:37 5K so he was still in good shape. Last year he was a bit of a surprise in finishing 4th overall. Will he surprise us again?
    Christopher Shaw captures 4th place Overall at the 2021 USATF Masters 12 Km Championship at USATF-NJ's By Hook Or By Crook Run Photo Courtesy of Jason Timochko 

  • Thompson finished 7th overall last year in 41:19. He used this race as part of his prep for the fall/spring Marathon season. He ran Chicago in 2:37:33, New York City in 2:44:31 and then Boston in 2:37:23. The fastest of those is equivalent in age grade to a 41:38. Thompson does not appear to have raced in any major road races since then but there is no reason to think he cannot still break 42. Perhaps he can crack 41?!
    Nicholas Thompson drives to the finish line, to land comfortably in the Top Ten at the 2021 USATF Masters 12 Km Championship at USATF-NJ's By Hook Or By Crook Run Photo Courtesy of Jason Timochko  


This is an impressive field, but it appears most likely that the first part of the alphabet will be in the race for the tape, with Brown, Bruce, Cook, and Davis pulling away from the rest. Cook looked so good at Sacramento, it is hard to not see him as the favorite! Bruce had more success here than anyone else as an Open athlete and he continues to train with Top Open Runners at altitude. Davis is such a tough runner and has done so well at Masters Championships this year, it seems that he must be on the podium again! Those three are my picks for the podium. Nothing comes easy though and there is plenty of talent that will push them all the way.

Top Contenders listed in Alphabetical Order:

Ben Bruce     Riley Cook     Jesse Davis


That concludes the initial preview, focusing on Record possibilities and the Overall Race. Next Up will be the Age Division & Age Grading National Championships plus, as time permits, the Team Races.


Monday, August 22, 2022

The 2022 USATF Masters National Club Grand Prix Current Standings and Prospects

August 13, 2022 The 2022 Club Grand Prix contest is based on the same 8 national championships that the Individual Grand Prix is based on. 

2022. The National Championship events counting are, in chronological order; 

Club Cross Country Tallahassee FL Dec 11 2021; Cross Country Nationals San Diego CA/Jan 8 2022; Masters 5 Km Atlanta GA Feb 26; Masters Half Marathon Syracuse NY Mar 20; Masters 10 Mile Sacramento CA Apr 3; Masters 10 Km Dedham MA Apr 24; Masters 1 Mile Rochester NY May 21; Masters 12 Km Highlands NJ Sep 18; Masters 5 Km Cross Country Boulder CO Oct 22

Awards Ceremony: After the races at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in San FranciscoCA on December 10, 2022.

All of the events except the last two are in the books already. Unlike the Individual GP, there are no points from the WMA Championships in Finland because there are no club/team events in World Competition except for Team USA. For Clubs there are ten-year divisions, 40+, 50+, 60+, 70+, and, on occasion, 80+. Most runners on 40+ teams, for example, are between the ages of 40-49, but runners from older divisions may always run in a lower division, while the reverse is forbidden. Scores are determined by the Team's place in each of at least three Masters National Championship events. First place earns 100 points, 2nd 90 and so on down to 60 points for 5th place; 6th place earns 55 and points decline by 5 points for each subsequent place down to 5 points for 16th and higher. Cumulative points are determined by the best 5 championship scores. First place in the Club Grand Prix provides a cash award of $1,000, with $500 and $250 going to the 2nd and 3rd place teams respectively.

Historical Perspective

Winners in 2020-21 and in 2019 

2020-2021 Two Masters National Championships from before Covid [Club Cross-Lehigh, XC Nationals-San Diego] and two events from after Covid [12 Km-Highlands NJ, 5 Km XC-Boston] made up this Grand Prix, elongated over time but condensed in the number of events. The best 2 events were scored and the minimum requirement for eligibility was 2 events.

Women 40+ Janes Elite 50+ Greater Philadelphia Track Club 60+ Impala Racing 70+ Impala Racing

Men 40+ Cal Coast Track Club 50+ Greater Springfield Harriers 60+ Athletics Boulder 70+ Atlanta Track Club 80+ Clifton Road Runners

2019 The 2019 Masters National Grand Prix included eight Masters National Championships: Three Cross Country Events, Club Cross-Spokane 2018, XC Nationals-Tallahassee, 5 Km XC-San Diego; and five Road events, 8 Km-Virginia Beach, 10 Km-Dedham MA, 5 Km-Atlanta GA, 1 Mile-Flint MI, and 15 Km-Tulsa OK. The best 5 events were scored and the minimum requirement for eligibility was 3 events.

Women 40+ Impala Racing 50+ Atlanta Track Club 60+ Atlanta Track Club 70+ Atlanta Track Club

Men 40+ Garden State Track Club-New Balance 50+ Greater Springfield Harriers 60+ Atlanta Track Club 70+ Ann Arbor Track Club

Current Standings and Prognosis for the Remainder of the Season

WOMEN 40+ Four teams in this division have competed in the three events required for an award: the Atlanta Track Club Jill Braley, Alicia Eno, Hiroko Guarneri, Kris Huff, Amy Koepp, Beth Presten, Kathy Wiegand, the Cal Coast Track Club Audrey Froot, Elizabeth Guerrini, Laura Osman, Carla McAlister, Christy Peterson, Maggie Shearer from Southern California, the Impala Racing Team from the San Francisco Bay area Brooke Bray, Jodi Buyyounouski, Jacqueline Cooke, Kelly Couch, Katie Famous, Samantha Forde, Elizabeth Goya, Laura Meadors, Ketherine Miller, Celeste Prothro, Jessica Smith and Team Red Lizard Renee Gordon, Carre Joyce Heineck, Renee Metivier, Crystal Query, Michelle Richards, Mercy Sells, Wendy Terris from the Portland OR area. The Boston Athletic Association started out strong with a win at Club Cross in Tallahassee, but have not competed since and, with just two events, in New Jersey and Colorado, left, are unlikely to compete in three events. Cal Coast took 2nd at Tallahassee and followed it up a month later with another 2nd place effort at Cross Nationals in San Diego. In early April they added a win in the Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento. They are the leaders with 280 points from their three events.

Start of the Women's Race at Club Cross in Tallahassee, featuring Cal Coast's Maggie Shearer #896 and Audrey Kroot #893 on their way to Team Silver Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

There is not much room between them and the Impalas in 2nd place at 260 points from 3rd place finishes at the 5K in Atlanta and the 10 Mile and a win at the 10 Km in Dedham. 

The Impala 40+ team honored for their Team Win at the 10 Km National Masters Championships at Dedham - From left: Jessica Smith, Brooke Bray, Kelly Couch   Photo by author


Team Red Lizard is forty points behind the Impalas in 3rd place. They started out slowly with a 7th place finish at Tallahassee but recovered quickly by taking the win at Mission Bay in San Diego. 

Wendy Terris #159 and Crystal Query #156 running in tandem for Team Red Lizard on their way to the Team Win at Cross Country Nationals in San Diego Photo courtesy of Michael Scott



A 4th place finish at Sacramento keeps them in the hunt. Atlanta is just ten points behind. They started with a 9th place at Tallahassee but took the 5 Km win on their home roads in Atlanta and added a 4th place finish at the 10 Km Championships.

Jessica Braley finishes 2nd Overall and leads her Atlanta Track Club 40+ Team to Victory at the 2022 Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta 

Two teams have competed in two events, New Jersey's Garden State Track Club Kimberly Aspholm, Mary Babcock, Kathleen Beebe, Caiomhe Kilroy, Gabrielle Panepinto and the Genesee Valley Harriers Erika Duthiers, Sandra Gregorich, Murphee Hayes, Elizabeth Matthews, Heather Patterson out of Greater Rochester NY. GSTC, with 150 points from Club Cross and the 5 Km Championships, is very likely to compete at Highlands NJ. If so, they could factor into the podium race, but only if neither Atlanta, GVH, nor Red Lizard enter either of the two remaining Championships. It is less certain that a GVH W40+ team will be entered at either Highlands or Boulder. If they do, with 200 points from their Half Marathon and 1 Mile wins, they could definitely be in the hunt for a podium spot.

Cal Coast is in the driver's seat, but Impala has already signaled their intent to enter a 40+ team at Highlands. Unless Cal Coast matches them by entering a team, the Impala team will be driving the bus!

Top Contenders Cal Coast Track Club     Impala Racing     Team Red Lizard

50+ There are 5 teams in this division with 3 events already and two others with two events that are almost certain to compete in at least one more event. New Jerseys' Shore Athletic Club Nora Cary, Laura Delea, Kerry Gaughan, Suzannne La Burt, Alexandra Marzulla, Leslie Nowicki, Alysia Puma, Susan Stirrat has made the strongest commitment to the Grand Prix and has completed 5 events already. Their two wins at Syracuse and Dedham are complemented by their 3rd place finishes at Atlanta and Rochester, all added to their 60 points from Club Cross. They are likely to add at least 20 points to their total at Highlands; they already have three runners entered. 

Shore AC honored for their win at the Awards Ceremony at the 10 Km Masters National Championships in Dedham, MA From Left: Suzanne La Burt, Leslie Nowicki, Kerry Gaughan, Alexandra Marzulla, Laura DeLea  Photo By Author

Shore's 420 points stand 140 points ahead of the second-place team, the Janes Elite Racing Kathleen Cushing-Murray, Tania Fischer, Kirsteen Leetch, Mary Lynch, Shannon Stryker, Ingrid Walters out of Southern California. With a win at Sacramento and 2nd place finishes at Tallahassee and San Diego, the Janes have a higher average score per event, and have already entered enough runners to score at Highlands. If the Janes compete at both Highlands and Boulder, they could yet take the title. 

Ingrid Walters #930 strides out at the start of the Women's 6 Km race at Club Cross in Tallahassee-She finished 2nd in 50-54, leading her Janes Elite 50+ crew to Team Silver Photo courtesy of Michael Scott 

 
Impala Racing Jennifer Bayliss, Suzanne Cordes, Gina Edwards, Hronn Gudmundsdottir, Carol Keller, Megan Kosser, Angela Longworth, Teresa Quan, Kristi Rossi, Patti Shore, Nancy Simmons is in third place with 225 points from Tallahassee, San Diego, and Sacramento. It seems less likely that this 50+ team, from the San Francisco Bay area, would enter both Highlands and Boulder. Unless they do so, it is unlikely they can land on the GP podium. 
Nancy Simmons #1004 and Suzanne Cordes #1000 of Impala Racing dueling Mary Lynch #926 of the Janes Elite in the 50+ team Competition at Club Cross Photo courtesy of Michael Scott


That is because the Greater Philadelphia Track Club Annabelle Broadbent, Abby Dean, Michelle Rohl, Betsy Stewart, with 200 points from wins at Atlanta and Rochester, is likely to have a complete team at Highlands; they have two athletes entered as of this writing. That event would propel them ahead of the Impalas. The only option for the Impalas then would be to enter Boulder and try to defeat Greater Philadelphia if they also enter. 
Michelle Rohl #294 and Abby Dean #254 get out quick for their Greater Philadelphia 50+ team, running in 2nd and 3rd overall as they led their team to Victory at the Road Mile Championships in Rochester NY Photo courtesy of Mike Nier


The Garden State Track Club Hortencia Aliaga, Kimberly Aspholm, Kathleen Beebe, with 170 points from Tallahassee and Rochester, seem likely to enter the 12 Km Championships as they are near at hand. If so, their total should rise to over 250 points. If they also compete at Boulder, they have a shot at the podium. 

The Atlanta Track Club Connie Bean, Kathleen Hayden, Kris Huff, Christina Liao, Katharine Serrano, Elizabeth Unislawski, Kelly Walsh, Laurie Wharton has 190 points from 4th place finishes at Atlanta and Rochester as well as 50 points from Club Cross. To have a realistic shot at the podium, Atlanta would have to compete at both Highlands and Boulder and get a little help from the Impalas and Greater Philadelphia. 

The Checkers Athletic Club Judy Arlington, Edna Hyer, Amy McMahon (formerly Fakterowitz), Colleen Newman also has three events completed with a total of 155 points. They are not mathematically eliminated from podium contention but need to enter at least one of the two final events, score well, and get help from the teams in 3rd through 6th place. 

With the Janes, Greater Philadelphia and Garden State entered at Highlands, it will be a challenge for Shore to land higher than third and getting to the podium is not certain. If they can finish third or higher, the point total for their 'best 5' events climbs to 440 or higher. That would be important insurance in their quest to finish first or, at worst, second in the Grand Prix. If the Janes want to win, they need a 2nd place finish or higher at both the 12 Km and the Masters 5 Km XC championships.

Top Contenders Shore Athletic Club     Janes Elite     Greater Philadelphia Track Club

60+ The Greater Philadelphia Track Club Cheryl Bellaire, Julie Hayden, Lorraine Jasper, Doreen McCoubrie, Betsy Stewart, Mary Swan has the division GP win locked up. They have a perfect 500 points from wins at Tallahassee, Atlanta, Syracuse, Dedham, and Rochester! 

From Right: Lorraine Jasper and Doreen McCoubrie finish 1-2 in the 60+ Division of the USATF Masters 5 km Championships in Atlanta while leading Greater Philadelphia to Team Gold Photo courtesy of Publix Atlanta Marathon


The Impala Racing team Ifeoma Adams, Eileen Brennan-Erler, Suzanne Cordes, Stella Gibbs, Rosemarie MacGuinness, Shirley Shean, Nancy Simmons and the Liberty Athletic Club Victoria Bok, Mary Cass, Alda Cossi, Lauren Leslie, Anne Shreffler are in a tight battle for 2nd and 3rd. 

From Left: Nancy Simmons and Stella Gibbs take 3rd and 4th in the 60+ Division of the 
USATF Masters 5 km Championships in Atlanta while leading Impala Racing to Team Silver Photo courtesy of Publix Atlanta Marathon

Impala has 280 points from a win at San Diego and 2nd place finishes at Atlanta and Sacramento. Liberty has 260 points from 2nd place finishes at Dedham and Rochester and a 3rd at Atlanta. 

From Left: Alda Cossi, Anne Shreffler, Victoria Bok, and Mary Cass are honored with their 60+ Team Silver Medals at the USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Award Ceremony Photo By Author

The Atlanta Track Club Patrice Combs, Michele Keane, Mireille Silva, Robin Tanner, Cynthia Williams and the Genesee Valley Harriers Leann Finnigan, Sharon Moore, Wende Rieck, Darlene Saeva, Carolyn Smith-Hanna are in 4th and 5th with 150 and 140 points respectively. Both competed at Club Cross, finishing 3rd and 4th respectively. 

From Left: Mireille 'Mimi' Silva of the Atlanta Track Club and Cheryl Bellaire of the Greater Philadelphia Track Club were locked in a duel, stride for stride halfway through the 6 Km Race at the Club Cross Championships in Tallahassee Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

Since then, Atlanta competed in the 5 Km and GVH competed in the 10 Km. In order to have a chance at the podium, both teams will need to compete at both Highlands and Boulder and get some help from Impala and Liberty.

GVH's Sharon Moore #689 leads Club Northwest's Kelly Kruell #937 and Shore AC's Susan Stirrat #749 in the 60+ Division Competition at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

As noted, there is no drama about who will win this division. Greater Philadelphia inherited most of the Athena Track Club stars when that team dissolved. And it was right before Jasper, McCoubrie and Swan aged up to the 60-64 division. To say they have dominated the division this year is an understatement. At the moment, only Liberty's Cass has entered the field at Highlands. But it is reasonable to guess that she will be joined by at least two teammates. If so, and if Impala does not contest the 12 Km, then Liberty will surge ahead into 2nd place. If Impala is already focused on Boulder, they could roll the dice and hope that Liberty will not make that long trip from Massachusetts. But it could be risky. And it is true that Impala is the defending Champion in 60+ at Highlands. 

Top Contenders Greater Philadelphia Track Club     Impala Racing     Liberty Athletic Club

70+ This division features a tight race between Team Red Lizard Sharon Gerl, Jeanette Groesz, Sabra Harvey, Marilyn Nippold, Cande Olsen, Susan Staffel and the Atlanta Track Club Kathleen Allen, Myrna Barnett, Marion Finley, Norma Hudnall, Andrea McCarter, Catherine Radle. Red Lizard has wins at Tallahassee, San Diego and Sacramento for 300 points. 


Red Lizard's Jeanette Groesz on her way to a 1st place finish in Women's 70+ while leading her team to Team Gold at Cross Country Nationals in San Diego Photo courtesy of Michael Scott


Atlanta counters with wins at Atlanta and Rochester, as well as a second place at Tallahassee behind Red Lizard, for 290 points. 

The Atlanta Track Club's Norma 'Nonie' Hudnall claims third in 70-74 as she leads her 70+ team to victory in the 70+ Team Competition at the USATF Masters Road Mile Championships in Rochester NY Photo courtesy of Pam Fales


Should they tie on points at the end, that head-to-head edge, if still in place, would break the tie in favor of Red Lizard. It appears that Red Lizard is all in for the Grand Prix win; they have already entered a complete team at Highlands. Atlanta's only chance for the win is to go head-to-head against Red Lizard at Highlands. Otherwise, at 400 points with a win, Red Lizard would be out of reach. That would also give them a buffer against the Impala Racing Team Donna Chan, Irene Herman, Jo Anne Rowland. Impala has 170 points from a 2nd at San Diego and a third at Sacramento. Last year they took the win at Highlands. Perhaps they will defend their Championship and challenge the supremacy of Red Lizard and Atlanta?

Top Contenders Team Red Lizard     Atlanta Track Club     Impala Racing

MEN 40+ The Indiana Elite Athletic Club Thomas Burns, Mike ColeJesse Davis, John Jackson, Bryan Lindsay, John Poray, Jasen Ritter, Jeff Zeha out of Metropolitan Indianapolis, has dominated the division thus far, with wins at each of their four events, the Club Cross, 5 Km, Half Marathon, and 10 Km Championships.

From Right: The Indiana Elite's Jesse Davis 67 and John Poray 216 surge to the front at the USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Photo courtesy of Michael Scott


Their 400 points is over a hundred points ahead of the second-place club. They do not have a lock on the Grand Prix Championship yet, though. 

Battling In the Trenches- Indiana Elite's John Poray 1133 and Thomas Burns 1128 mixing it up with West Valley's Konrad Knutsen 1020 and Ben Koss 1021, as well as Greater Philadelphia's Chris Naimoli 781 and Matthew Waggoner far right 782. All three pairs included the 2nd and 3rd runners for their respective teams. At the USATF Club Cross Championships in Tallahassee FL Indiana finished 1st, West Valley 2nd, and Greater Philadelphia 5th. Photo courtesy of Michael Scott.

The Cal Coast Track Club Lucas Agricola, Bill Amor, Roosevelt Cook, Trevor Cox, Phillip Gonzalez, Richard Jennings, Jacques Sallberg, Bill Sumner, Kurt Whittington, Matthew Yacoub has 235 points on 2nd place finishes at San Diego and Sacramento, along with 55 points from Tallahassee. If Indiana Elite folded the tents and called it a season, it is possible that Cal Coast could get enough points from the last two events to move past them. There is no indication so far that Cal Coast intends to enter a 40+ team at Highlands. If they do not contest the title at Highlands, the Indiana Elite wins the Grand Prix title for 40+. Indiana appears to be taking no chances. One of their athletes is entered in the 12 Km Championship already. I am sure they will aim for the win and a perfect 500 points, but all they need is to finish 10th or better to close out the Grand Prix. If Cal Coast is focused on the Grand Prix at all it is to cement their 2nd place standing. Except for Club Cross, Cal Coast 40+ has not traveled out of state. They are more likely to contest the XC race in Boulder than the 12 Km in Highlands, but time will tell. 

Cal Coast's Dynamic Duo, Roosevelt Cook sunglasses and Jacques Sallberg #221, vying with the Hoka Aggies' Sergio Reyes for the lead at Cross Country Nationals in San Diego, and leading their team to the Silver Medal position Photo courtesy of Michael Scott


The Garden State Track Club Michael Anis, Marco Cardoso, Fabian Eduardo Daza, David Ferrugia, Robert Riordan, Charles 'Chuck' Schneekloth, Kevin Shirk, Jason Timochko, Shawn Williams is just 35 points behind Cal Coast; they have 200 points from a win at Rochester, 5th place at the 10 Km, along with 40 points from Club Cross. With the 12 Km in their home state, it seems almost certain that GSTC will enter a team. If Cal Coast does not, GSTC will move into 2nd place behind Indiana. But Cal Coast could bounce back and pass GSTC if they compete at Boulder and GSTC does not. If GSTC goes into Boulder with a lead, it would be tough for Cal Coast to come in far enough ahead of GSTC to close the gap. 

Graden State's Chuck Schneekloth #210 and Kevin Shirk #215 got out fast, along with GVH's Jaret Herter #157, Jerry Snider #218, and Jeffrey Bigham #109 at the USATF Masters Road Mile Championships in Rochester NY. Shirk and Schneekloth led their team to Gold in the 40+ Division Photo courtesy of milebymile photo 


The West Valley Track Club Jamey Gifford, Peter Gilmore, Konrad Knutsen, Benjamin Koss, Julian Marsh, John Montgomery, Todd Rose, Chip Scarinzi, out of the San Francisco Bay area, and the Bowerman Track Club Ahrlin Bauman, Peter Bromka, Joshua Gordon, Orestes Gutierrez, John Howell, Nick Martin, Gregory Mitchell, Orin Schumacher out of Greater Portland, Oregon, stand in 4th and 5th with 190 and 180 points from two events each. West Valley pushed Indiana to the limit at Club Cross, falling 88 to 85 and with a cumulative time difference over 5 athletes of just 13 seconds. But they do not appear to be actively contending for a Grand Prix award. Apart from Club Cross, West Valley's 40+ team has only competed in the Ten Mile Championship, in nearby Sacramento. Bowerman has just competed in the two Cross Country Championships. It would not be surprising to see them both compete at Boulder, but it would be a surprise to see either at Highlands. West Valley could finish as high as second if they just contest Boulder (even if Indiana takes the win at Highlands). They can only finish that high if Cal Coast decides to stand pat and skip both Highlands and Boulder. Otherwise, Cal Coast would raise their total above 300 and be out of reach. If Garden State competes at Highlands but not Boulder, they would wind up, most likely, at 290. If West Valley would win at Boulder, they would also be at 290 and would tie with Garden state for 2nd place, if Cal Coast stands pat, and split the 2nd and 3rd place cash prize. If Cal Coast competes at Boulder, then a tie between West Valley and GSTC would be for 3rd place and that prize would be split between them.

Indiana will likely take the GP Crown in this division. After that, it is difficult to predict. GSTC will likely compete at Highlands. That would raise their total score to 270 or 280. If they also compete in Boulder that would add another bunch of points and put them well over 300. That would probably be enough to finish 2nd in the GP. If West Valley and Cal Coast both contest Boulder but not Highlands, West Valley should edge Cal Coast for 3rd.

Top Contenders Indiana Elite Athletic Club     Garden State Track Club     West Valley Track Club

50+ The Garden State Track Club Richard Falcone, Elliott Frieder, Jonathan Frieder, Joseph Hegge, John Hogan, Harold Porcher, Steven Segaloff, Todd Wiley  Atlanta Track Club Steve Bell, Kristian Blaich, Jeff Haushalter, Chip Owens, Michael Strickland, Fred Weir, West Valley Track Club Mark Callon, Jon Erskine, Ahmet Gokcek, Ivan LiebenCharles Mullane, Edward Randolph, Ben Turman, David White, Mark Yuen, and the Genesee Valley Harriers have all competed in at least four events and have between 300 and 380 points. GSTC leads the way with firsts at the Half Marathon and 10 Km Championships, and 2nd place finishes at Club Cross and the Road Mile in Rochester. 

Garden State's Richard Falcone #732 and Todd Wiley #742 led their tightly packed crew to 50+ Team Silver at Club Cross in Tallahassee FL Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

Atlanta is 20 points back at 360 based on 5 events, with a win at the 5K, third place finishes at the 10 Mile and 1 Mile Championships, along with 40 points from Club Cross. Because they already have 5 events, their 360 points is their cumulative 'Best 5' score. Any future points will improve that score but only by the difference to the lowest score already included. For example, if they would score 80 points at Highlands, it would only increase their 'best 5' score from 360 to 400, not to 440. 

Atlanta's David Matherne wins the 55-59 Division and leads his 50+ Team to Victory at the USATF Masters 5 Km Championships at Atlanta 

The other three teams get the full benefit of their next score. West Valley has firsts at Club Cross, Cross Nationals, and the 10 Mile. They also have 55 points from the 1 Mile Championships in Rochester when they were not at full strength, leaving them just 5 points shy of Atlanta. GVH has 300 points from 2nd place finishes at the 5 Km and Half Marathon Championships along with 5th places at the 10 Km and 1 Mile.

West Valley's Mark Yuen took first in the 50-54 Division and led his 50+ team to victory at Cross Nationals in San Diego Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

Garden State will surely contest the 12 Km Championships; two of their athletes are registered already. If they can finish first or second, their GP total climbs to 470 or 480. That would make them tough to beat. It is possible but less certain that West Valley will contest the 12 Km. One of their depth runners is entered already, but none of the runners who led them to their first-place finishes is yet entered. If West Valley brings a full team with some of their top runners, they would likely win the event and pocket a hundred points to raise their total to 455 points. That would make things very interesting for the final event of the Grand Prix season at Boulder. It seems likely that West Valley will show up in force for Boulder. If so, assuming they do not have a full team at Highlands, they would still factor into the race for GP second, assuming Garden State gets above 450 and takes first. Most likely Atlanta and GVH will battle for third place. GVH competed at Highlands last year, finishing 4th. If they would do that well again, they would earn 70 points and be ten points ahead of Atlanta. 

GVH's Dale Flanders leads his teammate, Alan Evans background across the finish line to lead GVH to 50+ Team Silver at the USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse NY


That assumes that Atlanta skips the 12 Km as they did last year. If Atlanta contests the 12 Km, it seems plausible that they would come in ahead of GVH. In their two meetings earlier this season, Atlanta came out on top both times, at the 5 Km and 1 Mile. If, for example, Atlanta finished 4th and GVH 5th, then Atlanta would have 390 points and GVH 360 points heading into the final event at Boulder. GVH's best option is to be sure to come in ahead of Atlanta in the 12 km.

Two other teams could factor into the GP race, the Central Mass Striders Steve Brightman, Todd Callaghan, Dave Dunham, Michael Dunlop, Scott Grandfield, Gregory Putnam, Joseph Shairs, Andy Sieracki, Tim Van Orden and the Greater Springfield Harriers Francis Burdett, Mark Hixon, Alejandro Heuck, Nat Larson, Robert Murray, Michael Nahom. Both have three events. CMS has 250 points from a 2nd at the 10 Km and thirds at Club Cross and the 1 Mile. GSH has 220 points from a 4th place at the 10 Km, a win at the Road Mile, and a 7th place at Club Cross. If either of those teams enters both the 12 Km and the Masters 5 Km XC, they could vault into contention for the GP podium, even if first place would be a stretch too far. 

Top Contenders Garden State Track Club     West Valley Track Club     Atlanta Track Club

60+ The Boulder Road Runners Jeffery Barros, Tim DeGrado, Adam Feerst, Jan Frisby, Michael Fronsoe, Kyle Hubbart, Bruce Kirschner, Gary Ostwald, Roger Sayre, Mark Tatum and the Shore Athletic Club Kevin Dollard, Rick Lee, Scott Linnell, Henry Notaro, Michael Salamone, Donald Schwartz, Reno Stirrat are running stride for stride in 1st and 2nd place. Boulder has 450 points from wins at Club Cross and the Half Marathon, a second at the 10 Miler, with third place finishes at XC Nationals and the 5 Km. 

From Left: Bouder Road Runner's Tim DeGrado, Roger Sayre, and Mark Tatum practice tight pack running on their way to 2nd, 3rd, and 6th respectively and the 60+ Team Gold at Club Cross Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

Shore is just 10 points back, with wins at the 10 Km and 1 Mile, 2nd place finishes at the 5 Km and the Half Marathon and a 5th place finish at Club Cross. 


The Shore AC 60+Team celebrates its win at the Awards Ceremony for the USATF Masters 10 Km Championships in Dedham, MA. From Left: Michael Salamone, Kevin Dollard, Reno Stirrat, Rick Lee, Donald Schwartz Photo by Author 

Like these two clubs, the Genesee Valley Harriers Bill Beyerbach, Casey Carlstrom, Rory Gumina, Gene Jensen, Mitch Moore, Joseph Mora, Gary Radford, Timothy Riccardi, Mark Rybinski, John Van Kerkhove have also contested 5 events; their 375 points leaves them solidly in third place, 65 points behind Shore and 75 ahead of the 4th place team. GVH got off to a slow start with a 6th at Club Cross and a 5th at the 5 Km, but they gathered steam taking a third at the Half Marathon and 2nds at the 10 Km and 1 Mile. 

Joe Mora, the lead runner for GVH, battling William 'Hugh' Enicks on every stride, at Club Cross in Tallahassee FL Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

The Atlanta Track Club Jim Bitsko, Neil Feather, Casey Hannan, Joseph Lenahan, Scott Lucking, Kevin Paulk, Phil Richey, Ken Youngers is 4th with 300 points on just 4 events. Atlanta finished 9th at Club Cross but defended the home course in Atlanta, winning the 5 Km Championship. They could not maintain that high level but took solid thirds at the 10 Km and 1 Mile Championships. Athletics Boulder Rick Bruess, Daniel King, Martin Lascelles, Jay Littlepage, David Litoff is in 5th place; their 270 points come from a 1st place at San Diego, a second at Tallahassee and a third at Sacramento.

Looking forward, Shore has the home course to defend at Highlands while Boulder has the home turf to defend at the final event, the Masters 5 km XC. Last year, both clubs contested the 12 Km Championships with Shore taking 1st and Boulder 3rd. If that scenario should be repeated, Shore would get another 100 points, and that 100 would replace their lowest score, 60, from Club Cross. Their 'Best 5' total would increase from 440 to 480 points. A third place would not help Boulder's score; their lowest score in their 'Best 5' is already 80 points. So Boulder would stay at 450. Even if Boulder would win on their home course, they would only increase their total by 20 points, rising to 470. Shore would take the GP title. If Shore wins and Boulder comes second, it is Shore 480, Boulder 460. If Boulder would win the Masters 5 Km XC their score, in this scenario, rises to 480. They would tie on points, but in this scenario, Boulder would have a tie-breaker advantage, 3-2 head-to-head. If Boulder could go to Highlands and take the win, their score rises to 470; if Shore finishes 2nd, their score also rises to 470. Then whichever team finishes ahead of the other at Boulder takes the GP title.

What about the 4th and 5th place teams? For Atlanta to have a shot at the podium, they have to contest both of the two final events, at Highlands and Boulder. The same is true for Athletics Boulder; a team cannot get on the podium in this division without contesting at least 5 events. GVH, currently in third, is likely to wind up with somewhere between 400 and 420 points. If Atlanta finishes 3rd or better at Highlands, they are not even with GVH, but they are within a shout. If they also enter Boulder and do well, they can pass GVH and take 3rd place. We can be almost certain that Athletics Boulder will enter on their home turf. If they would finish 2nd, for example, their 270 gets 90 points richer. If they have not already scored some points at highlands, their final score is below 400 and they are locked out of the podium. But if they have competed at Highlands and done reasonably well, they have a shot at the final podium position in the GP.

Top Contenders Boulder Road Runners     Shore Athletic Club     Genesee Valley Harriers

70+ The Atlanta Track Club Sam Benedict, David Glass, Allen Joyce, Kirk Larson, Jerry Learned, Joseph Lenahan, Andrew Sherwood has contested every Championship in this Grand Prix season, from Club Cross in Tallahassee to the Road Mile in Rochester. They lead the GP with 460 points in their 'Best 5' total. Their 'best 5' consist of wins at Dedham and Rochester, 2nds at Atlanta and Syracuse and any one of their three third-place finishes. 

The Atlanta Track Club M70+ Team celebrates their Team Gold at the Awards Ceremony at the USATF MMasters 10 Km Championships in Dedham MA. From Left: Jerry Learned, Dave Glass, Alllen Joyce, Kirk Larson Photo by Author


Despite having a 70-point lead in the GP standings, the Boulder Road Runners Doug Bell, Raymond Eck, Jan Frisby, Rick Katz, Gary Ostwald, John Roeske, Mike Wien could turn the tables on Atlanta. Their 390 points comes from wins at Club Cross, the 5 Km and the 10 Miler, and a 2nd at the Road Mile. 

The Boulder Road Runner's Doug Bell, leading the team to victory at the Club Cross Championships in Tallahassee FL Photo courtesy of Michael Scott


Boulder's Rick Katz battling with Clifton Road Runners Ace, Ezequiel Garcia.  Katz closed off the scoring for the Team victory Photo courtesy of Michael Scott


At this point they have to be considered the favorites to win the final event of the season in Boulder. If they do, their final 'Best 5' score is 490. Assuming Boulder skips Highlands and just relies on the final event, Atlanta could win at Highlands, increasing their points from 460 to 480. If the Boulder Road Runners win at Boulder, then the best Atlanta could do would be to finish 2nd. That would raise them into a tie with Boulder at 490, but Boulder owns the tie-breaker with a solid head-to-head advantage. Unless Boulder slips up at the Masters 5 Km XC, it appears that Atlanta's shot at the GP win requires them to extend their two-Championship winning streak and take the win at both Highlands and Boulder CO.

The Genesee Valley Harriers David Blake, Liam Finnigan, Jim Glinsky, Jack Kasperski, Jim May, Roger Salmons, Keith Yeates are in 3rd place with 310 points from four events, a second at Dedham, a third at Syracuse, and 4ths at Tallahassee and Rochester. They cannot catch Atlanta. They cannot expect to catch Boulder unless Boulder skips the last two events which seems almost inconceivable. Can they hold onto third? If they can pick up a third place at either Highlands or Boulder, they wind up at 390 points. Even if they compete at both events, 400 points is probably their 'best 5' max. That might not be enough.



Jim May led the way for the Genesee Valley Harriers as they captured team Silver at the USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at Dedham MA Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

 

Lima Finnigan, running in the number 2 slot for GVH holds off one of his rivals as he helps with vital points for the Team Silver Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

It depends on whether the San Diego Striders and the Syracuse Track Club have Grand Prix ambitions. The Striders have contested the two XC events, both 2nd place finishes, and the 5 km in Atlanta, where they finished 3rd. That gives them 260 points from three events. It would not be surprising to see them compete at Boulder. It would be somewhat surprising to see them compete at Highlands. They did compete at the 5 Km in Atlanta, but that distance better fits their strengths than a 12 Km. They need two events to catch and pass GVH and they have to score reasonably well in each. Two third-places or better would do it. Syracuse is farther back because their Club Cross result was not as high as expected. They bounced back from a 6th place finish at Club Cross with a win at Syracuse and a third-place finish at Rochester. Their 235 points from three events leaves them far back. On the other hand, they get full points from both the 12 Km and the Masters 5 Km XC if they contest both. If they could manage two second-place finishes or better, they might just edge the others for third. But everything would have to fall just right for them.

Top Contenders: Atlanta Track Club     Boulder Road Runners     Genesee Valley Harriers 

80+ The Atlanta Track Club Adrian Craven, Sid Davis, Andrew Sherwood, David Turner, William Wuth has contested three events; they are the only team so far to meet the minimum requirement for a Club Grand Prix award. They have wins at Club Cross, the 5 Km in Atlanta and the Road Mile in Rochester. 

David Turner takes the M80 win and leads his Atlanta Track Club M80+ Team to Victory at the USATF Masters 5 Km Championship in Atlanta GA 

Adrian Craven took the win in the 85-89 Division and led his Atlanta Track Club Team to Victory at the USATF Masters Road Mile Championship in Rochester NY Photo courtesy of Pam Fales


They are 200 points ahead of the Tamalpa Runners, who took the win at Cross Country Nationals in San Diego, and the New England 65+ Runners Club, who won the 10 Km Championships on their home roads in Dedham MA. It seems unlikely that we would see either Tamalpa or the NE 65+ team at both Highlands and Boulder, although that would be an exciting development. Even without entering either the 12 Km Championships at Highlands or the 5 km Masters XC at Boulder, Atlanta would likely win. They did not contest either event last year, but one of their 80+ team members is now registered for the 12 Km. If they can get any points whatsoever at Highlands, neither of their rivals can catch them.

Top Contenders: Atlanta Track Club     New England 65+ Runners Club     Tamalpa Runners

With the exception of one division, the races to become the 2022 Masters National Grand Prix Club Champions are still undecided. Head to Highlands and Boulder to see the conclusion of these exciting contests. Don't miss it! And while you are there, you might as well compete yourself!

Entry Details are at:

2022 USATF Masters 12 km Championships | USA Track & Field

and

2022 USATF Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships | USA Track & Field