April 9, 2022. With the 10 Mile Championships coming hard on the heels of the HM Championships, this recap was delayed.
To refresh memories, the Syracuse HM course is challenging in that it has 457 feet of elevation gain, according to my Garmin watch. Temperatures were in the low 40's, almost ideal for a fast half marathon. The wind was a factor in open areas where it blew as a headwind. The race was held the morning of March 21, 2022.
|The Gun Sounded and the Athletes were off and Running-Masters mostly to the Left, Open mostly to the Right|
AGE DIVISIONS Gun Time
MALE 40-44 Because the Overall recap was published a few weeks ago, I will give more attention to the 40-44 division than usual. The division was, as usual, also decisive for the Overall awards. Jesse Davis Indianapolis IN and Eric Blake W. Hartford CT went out hard. By the time they had crested the James Street hill and started winding through the neighborhoods, it was Davis at 16:05, with Blake tucked in at 16:07.
Jerry Faulkner NYC was over 200 meters back in 3rd, followed by John Poray Fishers IN at 17:03, Chip O'Hara Auburn NY 70 meters back, and Tom Burns Westfield IN at 17:29. The next 5 km was crucial; Davis opened up a 30-meter gap by the 10 km timing mat. Their pace increased the gap back to Faulkner who was now 400 meters back in 3rd. Poray had moved a bit closed but was still 50 meters behind Faulkner in 4th and Burns 5th. Over the third 5 km segment, Blake could see Davis running alone 35 meters ahead, but try as he might, he could not reduce that gap. Davis crossed the 15 km Mat in 49:28, seven seconds ahead of Blake. Poray made a strong move in this portion of the course, which included a long downhill stretch, passing Faulkner.
Poray clocked 51:19 at the mat, with Faulkner struggling to stay with him, just two seconds back. Burns was well over a hundred meters behind those two.
|John Poray Left chasing down an Open Runner on his way to a 3rd place finish 40-44 and Overall at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse|
Blake had hoped that Davis might come back to him in the final 3.8 miles of the course. To the contrary, Davis, despite the wind and running alone, carved out an additional 90 meters of gap, crossing the finish line with the Overall Masters win in 1:09:46.
|Jesse Davis motoring through the final miles of his winning 40-44 and Overall effort at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse |
Blake was second, 25 seconds back.
|Eric Blake striding up the James Street hill on his way to a Silver Medal in 40-44 and Overall at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championships at Syracuse NY|
45-49 The preview emphasized the roles of Neil Chandler, Jacksonville FL, Matthew Conant St. Augustine FL, Harley Johnson Urbana IL, and Jeff Tomaszewski Jacksonville FL. The big question was whether the lone midwesterner could break up the Florida threesome. But Peter Boyd Union City PA also made his presence felt. Johnson went out fastest and by the 5 k mark had a lead of almost a hundred meters. Teammates, Chandler and Tomaszewski, started more cautiously, crossing the 5 km mat together in 18:17. Boyd crossed 14 seconds later, with Conant 90 meters further back in 5th. Unlike the 40-44 division, the next 5 K saw no dramatic changes, but Johnson did extend his lead by about 30 meters. Chandler and Tomaszewski hung together in 2nd and 3rd, with a bigger gap back to Boyd and Conant. By the time they descended back to the flat and were approaching the 15K mark, Tomaszewski had dropped Chandler and was taking large strides out of Johnson's lead. By the 15K mat, Johnson's lead was down to 40 meters, with Tomaszewski closing. fast. Two hundred meters back, Chandler was alone in 3rd. He was probably worried that one of the others might be closing in on him but, in fact, his lead over Boyd was now up to 250 meters. Conant was closing in, Boyd's lead over him down to 40 meters. In the last 4 miles, Tomaszewski closed on and passed Johnson with authority., taking the win in 1:16:56, with a hundred meters to spare.
|Jeff Tomaszewski on his way to a 45-49 Division Win at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championships at Syracuse NY|
Johnson claimed the Silver Medal with a cushion of over 50 meters. Chandler was not challenged in the final miles, taking 3rd with 600 meters to spare. Conant strove mightily to close the gap up to Boyd but was able to take only a single second off of Boyd's lead, Boyd finished 4th in 1:20:17, with Conant 5th in 1:20:25.
Jeff Tomaszewski 1:16:56 Harley Johnson 1:17:20 Neil Chandler 1:17:57
50-54 The preview suggested a strong field with close competition among twins, Elliott Frieder Montville NJ, Jonathan Frieder Rye Brook NY, and Gregory Putnam Stoneham MA. Mark Callon Monte Sereno CA was a late entry and perhaps received less attention in the preview than was merited. The preview did note that Putnam and Callon had mixed it up for the division win at the 5 km XC Championships in Boston and might well be close again. Richard Falcone Madison NJ was identified as a wild card who had beaten the Frieder twins at Tallahassee but had few longer distance event results to suggest he could do so at the HM distance. Todd Wiley Pipersville PA came in unheralded. By the time the field was coursing up James Street, it was clear who the top two runners would be; Callon and Putnam were running in lock step 60 meters ahead of the field. By the time they were running on the flat again around the neighborhoods at the top of James Street, Callon and Putnam crossed the 5 Km mat in 17:54. J. Frieder was 130 meters back, crossing at 18:28, with Wiley and brother, Elliott, 60 meters further back. Around the neighborhoods at the top of the city, Callon and Puttnam were inseparable. The descent to downtown sometimes led to separation but not in this case. At the 15 Km mark, back at starting elevation, they were still separated by less than a second in 53:52! Less than 4 miles to go and neither was giving an inch.
|Mark Callon left and Gregory Putnam right turn onto Franklin Street-3 Miles to Go!|
In Boston they had come into the final hundred meters in a tie...Callon surged to take the lead, but Putnam regrouped, gave one last effort, and got past Callon for the win! Would history repeat itself? Heading up Salina Street, less than a mile to go, Putnam was no longer beside Callon or even on his shoulder. Callon put the hammer down! It was enough!
|Alone at the Finish-Mark Callon takes 50-54 Gold at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championships at Syracuse NY|
He crossed the line in 1:15:46 with a 20 meter cushion back to Putnam. It was another terrific duel for these two! What an East Coast/West Coast rivalry this is! The battle for third had its own drama. E. Frieder was not able to hang with Wiley on this day. But, by the 10 k mat, Wiley had closed to within thirty meters of J. Frieder. Wiley closed and passed in the next 5 km, either on the descent or on the flat, reversing the gap. J. Frieder, at the 15 km mat, was at 55:21, 30 meters behind Wiley. Wiley pulled away over the final miles, clocking 1:17:28 for third place. J. Frieder finished just off the podium in 1:17:44, followed by brother, Elliott in 1:19:37.
Mark Callon 1:15:46 Gregory Putnam 1:15:51 Todd Wiley 1:17:28
55-59 Two of the heralded runners in the preview, Michael Collins and Jim Park did not participate. Other athletes highlighted int he preview were: Alan Evans Beaver Dams NY, Keith Guilfoyle Commack NY, Nat Larson Amherst NY, and David Putney Newport NY. John McMahon Williamsville NY was not mentioned, but gave an excellent account of himself. Nor did the preview hint that Dale Flanders Allegany NY and Matthew Underwood Yucaipa CA would give Evans and Guilfoyle a run for their money. The preview noted that Evans was off his best at the 12 km championships last September and that low 1:20's might be the best he could hope for at this race. From the start it was clear that Larson meant to take this win! Running with Open athletes and Masters from younger divisions, Larson moved away from the field. When Larson crossed the 5 km mat in 18:22, the closest division runner was Evans, a hundred meters back. McMahon was trailing Evans 30 meters and 7 seconds back in 3rd, at 18:54. Putney crossed 10 seconds later in 4th. Guilfoyle was 6th in 19:22 with Flanders 16 seconds back and Underwood another ten. There was no hint at that point as to how much of a battle those three would fight, nor that Evans might be involved. The 2nd 5 k is mostly level with just two sharp, short uphills, followed by downs. Larson sped away. He now had over a minute and a half as he crossed the 10 km mat in 36:03! McMahon, in the meantime, had closed to within a second of Evans, who rang up a 37:34 at the 10 km mat. And Putney had edged closer to McMahon, now only seven seconds back. Putney must have felt that momentum favored him over both Evans and McMahon. Guilfoyle clocked 38:21, with Flanders now just 4 seconds back. Underwood was content to track those two 50 meters to the rear. They descended back down to the city and it was all Larson. He sped through the 15 km mark at 54:36 and finished with a nifty 1:16:31!
|Nat Larson claims the 55-59 Gold Medal, with a large gap, at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championships at Syracuse NY|
Putney seemed to make good on his promise as he passed McMahon and had 13 seconds on him when he crossed the mat in 56:56. Evans was well over a hundred meters back and struggling. For the other three, it was still Guilfoyle leading at 58:22 but Flanders still had him in his sights; Underwood was lurking thirty meters back. Putney, as it turned out, was not able to drop McMahon. With the end of the race looming, McMahon called on his fast twitch muscles and they answered. McMahon took 2nd in 1:20:00 with Putney 5 seconds back! Flanders, Guilfoyle and Underwood all caught Evans. An old injury, or the one he has been dealing with lately, must have flared up. Guilfoyle rallied and pulled away from Flanders to take 4th by 50 meters. Underwood surged at the right time to take 5th, one second ahead of Flanders, in 1:22:21.
Nat Larson 1:16:31 John McMahon 1:20:00 David Putney 1:20:05
60-64 The preview emphasized a showdown between Rick Lee Bayville NJ and Roger Sayre Golden CO. Lee was much faster over 12 km last fall but Sayre was coming back from injury. In December he was able to nip Lee at Club Cross, and ran a fast half marathon in October at altitude. The final podium spot was likely to be decided between Adam Feerst Denver CO and Lawrence Sak Lake Orion MI. As it turned out, John Van Kerkhove Rochester NY was in the mix too. The suspense about the match up between Lee and Sayre did not last long. Lee is in his element with longer road races. Lee pulled away running up James Street; by the time he crossed the 5 km mat in 18:46, he had well over a hundred meters on Sayre. Sak was third at 19:39, but with almost a minute lead over Van Kerkhove. Feerst, who started conservatively, was 50 meters behind Van Kerkhove at 20:38. Lee, Sayre and Saks all ran strong the rest of the way, but each was inside his own race; the gaps between them grew over the length of the race, as they often do. Lee took the win in 1:19:40, with Sayre second in 1:21:46 and Sak third in 1:24:24.
|Rick Lee cruising to 60-64 victory along Franklin Street with less than 3 miles to go at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championships at Syracuse NY|
Van Kerkhove ran a fine, steady race. Once Feerst was up in the neighborhoods, he found his rhythm and gradually closed on Van Kerkhove. By the 10 km mat, they were even, but Feerst had the momentum. Van Kerkhove hung with him as long as he could. Feerst put some distance between then over the last miles, taking 4th in 1:26:28. It was a nice outing for Feerst, although just off the podium is a tough finishing spot. Van Kerkhove had been struggling with injuries prior to the pandemic. Perhaps this effort is a sign that he is returning closer to the form he had in 2017 when he won the 8 Km National 55-59 Championship at Virginia Beach.
Rick Lee 1:19:40 Roger Sayre 1:21:46 Lawrence Sak 1:24:24
65-69 The preview suggested that Norm Larson Burlington VT should be favored, with teammates, Kevin Dollard Hopewell Junction NY and Reno Stirrat Rockaway NJ making sure he earned it. Larson took it out strong, crossing the 5 km mat in 21:20. The tenacious duo, Dollard and Stirrat were 70 meters back but a half marathon is a long race and things can change. Of course, they also know what a tough runner Larson is. Dollard and Stirrat elevated their pace running around the neighborhoods, but Larson took off, running a full minute faster over the 2nd 5K compared to the first. Larson went from strength to strength, closing out the win in 1:28:30.
|Norm Larson heading south on State Street, seconds away from claiming the 65-69 Gold Medal at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championships at Syracuse NY|
Dollard outran his teammate to take 2nd in 1:32:43. Stirrat, who has been battling various injuries over the last couple of years, took a very nice and useful 3rd place in 1:33:06. Aaron Pratt Saline MI took 4th in 1:46:25, happy in leading his Ann Arbor team to their best showing in a few years. Gene Jensen clocked 1:50:31, contributing to GVH's 60+ podium finish.
Norm Larson 1:28:30 Kevin Dollard 1:32:43 Reno Stirrat 1:33:06
70-74 The preview correctly predicted that the top three would be Gene Dykes Bala Cynwyd PA, James Foster Chittenango NY, and Jerry Learned Gainesville GA, but had suggestions of possible times that were severely under-predicting the half marathon ability of each. Dykes is still in recovery mode, but he is farther along than the preview allowed for, that a time in the 1:30's was not guaranteed. Foster is known for his strong XC running but less well known for long distance road racing. His 3:57:51 Marathon in Erie PA last September is age grade equivalent to a 1:53:25. Using that as a guide, suggesting a time well under 2 hours seemed reasonable. With Learned the preview relied too much on distant history and not enough on recent. Learned has been running very well since Championships started up again last September. The time he took away from running seems to have served him well. He indicated in an interview in early 2020 that he had stopped training during Covid. He only trained to compete; with no races, he had no reason to train. His 12 km effort last September was equivalent to a 1:40:52. The preview merely suggested mid - 1:40's, putting too much weight, apparently, on 15K efforts in 2018 and 2019. Dykes raced off at a reasonable pace for his conditioning. Still, he hit the 5 km mat at 22:10. Precious few 70-74 year olds can threaten 22:00 in a 5K race, let alone as the first split in a half marathon. Foster was either going out way too fast or would make a mockery of the 'under 2 hour' preview suggestion. He was only 14 seconds behind Dykes. Despite the elevation gain in the first 5 Km, Learned crossed the timing mat in 23:01. That was only a minute and a half slower than his 5 K time at Atlanta. Foster did not lose much time to Dykes over the next 5K. Dykes crossed the 10 K mat in 43:44, with Foster at 44:02. Learned was keeping things steady at 46:26. Dykes finally pulled away from Foster a bit more in the final few miles, winning the division in 1:32:48.
|Gene Dykes closes down his winning 70-74 effort at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championships at Syracuse NY|
Although he slowed somewhat over the third 5K, Foster increased his pace over the last 3.8 miles, finishing 2nd with a fine 1:35:33. Learned's progression was similar; he took 3rd in 1:41:11, nearly 9 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Despite the challenges, it seems to be Learned's fastest half marathon in years. Douglas Wood Canastota NY finished 4th in 1:50:08, pleased to help Foster lead Syracuse TC to a hometown M70+ team win. Dennis Moore New Paltz NY took 5th in 1:58:11.
Gene Dykes 1:32:48 James Foster 1:35:33 Jerry Learned 1:41:11
75-79 The preview had this as a contest between Dave Glass Glenville NY and Ezequiel Garcia Newark NJ. They had locked horns several times in the last 8 months. Glass came out on top each time, but the margin varied from a few seconds to a little over a minute. For road races only, the margin has been a little over or a little under a minute. Garcia had more recent half marathons, including a 1:48:12 at the Halloween HM last October. Glass ran a 1:39:18 to take 3rd at the 2018 national championships. And his 1:11:02 15K at the MVP Healthcare Stockade-a-thon in upstate NY translates to a 1:41:45 HM. The other two runners the preview mentioned included Dennis Sears Orchard Park NY and yours truly, Paul Carlin Three Oaks MI. Sears was difficult to predict. In early October he ran 1:44:19 at the Utica Boilermaker, a 15K race, equivalent to a 2:29:25 HM. But in early November he ran a 51:22 10K and in mid-November a 1:52:37 HM. The Boilermaker could have just been a one time problem, but then in late November, Sears clocked 49:50 at an 8K Turkey Trot, equivalent to a 2:18:16 HM. Which Sears would show up? The one likely to run in the low 1:50's or the one likely to run in the low 2:20's? An Achilles issue struck in May and would not let me train until a few days before Christmas...and that was only 3-4 days a week of jogging. By early March I clocked 1:20:04 on a flat 15K on a very windy day. That translates to a 1:54:40, but would probably be slower on a hilly course like Syracuse. If the Sears who can run HMs in the low 1:50s shows up, he takes 3rd. If the Sears who runs at a 2 hour plus pace shows up, then I would be favored for third.
Either Garcia entered the race with a niggling injury that he was hoping to keep under control or he realized there was a gap between him and Glass, at least for longer distances. He started conservatively with a 25:42, allowing Glass to hit the 5 km mat at 23:36 with a 400 meter advantage. That advantage grew during the race bust started to balloon in the third 5K, growing to over 6 minutes. Over the last 3.8 miles, the advantage grew t over ten minutes. Glass took the win in 1:41:54, a tour de force!
|Dave Glass takes the 75-79 win at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championships at Syracuse NY|
Although he fell well away from Glass, Garcia was never seriously threatened by Sears. At the 5 km mat, Garcia had 1:17 on Sears. By the 10k split, it was up to 2 minutes and then to 2:21 by the 15K mat. In the end, Garcia still had a 2 minute margin, taking 2nd in 1:52:26. The Sears who could run in the low 1:50's on a flatter course is the one who showed up. His 'low 1:50's' turned out to be a 1:54:26 on the Syracuse course. I ran 1:56: 52 to take 4th ahead of Jim Glinsky Pittsford NY who clocked 1:57:48 to finish 5th. Even more satisfying to Glinsky, he led his GVH 70+ team to a podium finish.
Dave Glass 1:41:54 Ezequiel Gartcia 1:52:26 Dennis Sears 1:54:26
TEAMS In road race championships, team scoring is by the cumulative finishing times of the first three runners to complete the course.Gun Time.
WOMEN 40+ The Genesee Valley Harriers picked up a hundred Masters National Grand Prix points the easy way. They were unopposed. Their three runners were ready to go and face all comers. But no one came.
|GVH Women's 40's Team- From Left Elizabeth Matthews, Erika Duthiers, Heather Patterson, with Carolynne Pouliot, Gold Medal Winners in the Team Competition at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championships at Syracuse NY|
Elizabeth Matthews Pittsford NY 1:33:31, and Heather Patterson Rochester NY 1:33:34 had a friendly competition taking 1-2 three seconds apart for GVH. Erika Duthiers Pittsford NY completed GVH's scoring with a 1:40:54.
Genesee Valley Harriers 4:47:59 1:36:00 average HM time per scoring team member
50+ This division, by contrast, had five teams competing for three spots on the podium. The Shore Athletic Club dominated. Their three scoring athletes, Suzanne La Burt Greenwood Lake NY 1:29:19, Alexandra Marzulla Red Bank NJ, and Alysia Puma Flemington NJ 1:38:55 finished before the first athlete of any other team. They won the division going away.
|Suzanne La Burt leads her Shore AC 50's Team to Victory at the 2022 USATF Masters Half Marathon National Championships at Syracuse NY|
The Genesee Valley Harriers, though far behind the Shore AC, had an equally impressive relationship to the rest of the field. Their three scoring runners, Cassandra Crane Chittenango NY 1:42:18, Jodi Jensen Webster NY 1:45:40, and Bonnie Lindblom Rochester NY 1:46:09 finished the race before the first finisher of any of the three other teams. Second place was their reward. Checkers AC had difficulty fielding a complete team. Patricia Baker Lockport NY 3:00:29, volunteered to join Elizabeth Randell Buffalo NY 1:48:18 and Joanne O'Loughlin Amherst NY so they would have a complete team score and earn their GP points for their 5th place finish. Roadkill Racing and the Greater Buffalo Track Club vied for the final podium spot. Marie Davis Caledonia NY 1:53:30 gave Roadkill and early cushion. Seconds and then over ten minutes ticked by before Deborah Miller Kenmore NY 2:04:07 provided the first Buffalo score. That gave Buffalo a respite but they would need their next two runners to come in soon to offset the initial 10+ minute advantage. When Roadkill's Cathie Trabucco Rochester NY 2:05:15 finished just 18 seconds after Miller, things looked desperate for Buffalo. It was a two and a half minute wait before Buffalo's #2 runner, Christine Klein Churchville NY 2:07:43 finished, , giving Roadkill a 13 minute lead. Buffalo began to have some hope when their #3 runner, Barbara Sauer Buffalo NY 2:08:16, sped across the finish line, a half minute behind Klein. It was still a long-shot for them to beat Roadkill but at least they had a chance. Five minutes passed by and Roadkill was looking anxiously for their 3rd scoring member. Less than a minute passed by before they could spy Valerie Kean Palmyra NY 2:14:22 roaching the finish line. She finished six minutes behind Sauer but that was close enough to seal the final podium spot for Roadkill!
Shore Athletic Club 4:43:55 1:34:39 Genesee Valley Harriers 5:14:07 1:44:43 Roadkill Racing 6:13:07 2:04:23
60+ The strongest Women's 60+ team around at the moment, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club was unopposed. Their threesome of Doreen McCoubrie West Chester PA 1:33:28, Lorraine Jasper Birchrunville PA 1:36:43 Mary Swan Jamesville NY 1:37:39 turned in some excellent times.
|Doreen McCoubrie leads her Greater Philadelphia Track Club 60's Team to Victory at the|