Tuesday, October 21, 2014

USATF Masters Marathon Results at Twin Cities Marathon on October 5, 2014--Recap

October 21 2014. Although I could not be in the Twin Cities for the USATF Masters competition on October 5th, I am providing the summary below based on watching the usatf.tv replay (which focuses on the open elites, not masters, but does occasionally catch one of the masters athletes), checking the official USATF results, and reading a Star-Tribune story on the Masters competition [http://www.startribune.com/sports/278190251.html].

The Medtronics Twin Cities Marathon has been the USATF Championship race for decades, perhaps since 1991, according to Don Lein, Chair of USATF Masters Long Distance Running. Lein says it is the most venerable of the USATF championship races. It is known as a tough race course with significant inclines in the second half of the race; times tend to be several minutes slower than the fastest times on flat courses like Chicago and Berlin, where many world bests have been run.So these are stories of incredible athletes who ran a tough race; do not compare the times to other marathon times you know about to get a sense of the effort and accomplishment.

Overall Masters. Those who follow Masters Long Distance Running, were looking forward to this competition as a real battle between two outstanding masters runners. Kevin Castille has been on fire this year, winning Masters Championship titles at iconic races like Peachtree (10K), the Boilermaker (15K), the Beach to Beacon (10K) and Falmouth (7.mile), and running a sub 46 minute 15K at the Gate River Run. Defending 2013 USATF Masters Marathon Champion, Mbarak Hussein, had to accept 2nd at Peachtree and the Boilermaker, but has had more success over the years at the longer distance, defeating Castile by 39 seconds in the 2013 edition of the TC Marathon. Well into the race the usatf.tv cameras caught Castille, but not Hussein, in the chase pack about a minute behind the lead pack. But at the end of the day the race went to Hussein who won the race in a time of 2:22:27.
Running USA - Runners of Interest - Mbarak Hussein
Mbarak Hussein in Action [photo from http://www.runningusa.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=pages.mbarak-hussein]
It was a joyous occasion for Hussein on two accounts. He repeated as overall Masters winner and at age 49, that is a major accomplishment. He also finished 14th overall in the open race. Then he learned, right after the race, that his wife, Liana, had gone into labor with their first child back home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After turning off his race accelerator, an accelerated trip home was his new focus. Michael Wardian, age 40, [Arlington VA] who also participates in ultra marathons, was apparently closing on the leader in the last few miles but ran out of time and ground as he came in 18
Michael Wardian on the Trails [photo: http://www.thenorthface.com/en_US/exploration/athletes/40-michael-wardian/]

seconds back in 2:22:45. Jason Ryf, a 43 year old from Oshkosh, WI. who ran collegiately at UW-Stevens Point but improved considerably after graduating, cruised across the finish line
Jason Ryf [photo: http://www.runnersworld.com/masters-profiles/hard-every-day]

a couple of minutes later to claim the third spot on the podium in 2:24:55. Hussein's racing was quite amazing! He ran the first half marathon in 1:08:56 and then ran another half marathon in 1:13:31! For a 49 year old athlete, that is covering some ground!
      The woman's race was not as close, but also had a repeat winner with Sheri Piers. 43, of Falmouth, ME, taking the top prize in 2:42:46, and finishing 12th overall in the women's race.
Despite confusion, Falmouth runner was in fact top American woman at Boston Marathon
Sheri Piers, ruling the roads [photo: http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/16/sports/track-and-field/falmouth-runner-is-top-u-s-female-finisher-in-boston-marathon/?ref=relatedBox]

Second went to multi-sport Olympic Trials Qualifier, Joanna Zeiger, of Boulder, CO, in 2:46:13, followed by Kristin Barry, of Scarborough, ME in 2:52:19. With a 1st and a 3rd for the state of Maine, it is clear that Piers and  
Multi-sport Phenom, Joanna Zeiger [photo:http://www.runnersworld.com/sites/default/files/rt/images/Zeiger_Joanna-USxc11%20copy.jpg]

Barry are doing an excellent job following in the footsteps of the storied Maine Olympic gold medalist, Joan Benoit Samuelson.
Kristin Barry, breaking the Maine record for the TD Beach to Beacon 10K in 2008 [photo: http://www.nerunner.com/Media/PublishingTitles/Kristin%20Barry%20-%202008%20Maine%20Champion_0.JPG]

Overall Age-Grading  Masters Competition. USATF Masters LDR also awards prizes across age groups on the basis of age-grading. An age-grading score that adjusts for age-related slowing factors is generated for each competitor. Best-possible times for each race distance, for each age, have been predicted from analyzing all of the top performances at every age for both men and women. If the 'best time' possible for a 60 year old male is 2:33:11, and such a person actually runs 3:03:37 that gets an age graded score of 83.42% because the best possible time, 153.183 minutes, is 83.52% of the actual time, 183.617 minutes. These age graded times can then be compared across age groups.

In this case the overall winner and the age-graded winner for men are one and the same but that is often not the case. The other unusual thing about this  men's age-grading competition is that  no one over the age of 52 was in the top 8. At most other USATF races competed at shorter distances, men in their 60's and 70's are often in the top age-graded group. However many of those runners eschew the marathon because training for it and recovering from it take up a huge portion of the racing year. The women's age grading top eight is closer to the norm with two women in their 50's and one woman in her 60's.

Men. The top 3 age-grading scores for men were turned in by Mbarak Hussein [97.03%], the indomitable Tracy Lokken, age 49, from the big woods of Marquette, MI with a 2:31:10 that
Tracy Lokken, Masters Marathoner at 2011 Twin Cities Marathon [photo: http://www.runnersworld.com/sites/default/files/rt/images/201109/TracyLokken_TCM2011.jpg]

translates into a 91.44%, and Jason Ryf [90.56%]. The fourth and fifth best age graded performances for men were turned in by Michael Wardian [89.67%] and David Williams, 43, from Milwaukee, WI [88.77%---2:27:51]].

Women. The top age-graded performance was turned in by the incredible Masters runner, Christine Kennedy, age 59, who ran the race in 2:59:43 to achieve an age-grading score of 101.29%. Hats off
Running USA - Runners of Interest - Christine Kennedy
Christine Kennedy, 2011 Masters Runner of the Year [photo:https://a248.e.akamai.net/akamai-cache.trustedpartner.com/images/library/RunningUSA2012/Content/Runners%20of%20Interest/ChristineKennedy.jpg]

to this amazing runner who is establishing the standards for elite masters women runners to strive after in the coming decades! Originally from the Emerald Isle, Kennedy now resides in Los Gatos, CA. Kennedy has already announced her goal of running a marathon in her 60th year in under 3 hours. If she can accomplish that, she will also break the record for women 60 years and up by over ten minutes! No one is betting against her.
    Following her in the standings were Sheri Piers [90.60%], Joanna Zieger [89.79%], Margaret Sheridan, 54, of Woodbury, MN [86.20%--- 3:16:47], and Donella Neuhaus, 58, of Minneapolis, MN [85.78%---3:29:09].

Age Group Medals.
M40.    Wardian, Ryf, Williams
M45.    Hussein, Lokken, Tim Meigs Raleigh NC [2:39:13]
M50.    Spyros Barres Mystic CT. [2:38:48], Ricardo Maldonado Fountain Hills AZ                          [2:39:03], John Van Danacker Greenfield MN [2:40:16]
M55.    William Enicks Signal Mountain TN [2:52:22], Paul Crochiere Amesbury MA                                  [2:54:14], Dennis Wallach Chanhassen MN [3:00:44]
M60.    Joseph Haynes Ames IA [3:03:37], Denny Jordan Roseville MN [3:13:31], Bruce                            Seguin Harrison Township MI [3:16:09]
M65.    Ray Tiberg Calumet MI [3:42:46], Mick Justin Nissnea MN [3:48:02], Greg Taylor                          Minneapolis MN [4:03:36]
M70.    Leonard Coequyt Hopkins MN [3:49:03], Norm Purrington Lake Elmo MN [3:56:26],                    Les Martisko N. Mankato MN [5:33:27]
M75.    Ed Rousseau Minneapolis MN [4:31:22], Ilhan Bilgutan Clearwater MN [4:58:51], No 3rd
             place USATF

W40.    Piers, Zeiger, Barry
W45.    Wolski, Lori Moriarty Port Orchard WA [3:12:55], Cindy Harris Indianapolis, IN
W50.    Sheridan, Laurie Hanscom Eden Prairie MN [3:20:52], Linda Green Arden Hills MN
W55.    Kennedy, Neuhaus, Carolyn Fletcher St. Paul MN [3:40:13]
W60.    No USATF finishers.
W65.    Carol Brouillard Spring Lake Pk MN [4:08:34], Carolyn Mather Morgonton GA
             [4:39:03], No 3rd place USATF
W70     Irene Terronez Rio Rancho, NM [6:18:13], No 2nd or 3rd place USATF.

Kudos to all of these prize winners. The Marathon Race is a beast of a different sort. To be running the marathon at all as a masters athlete is a real accomplishment; to be winning prizes is a feat.

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