Friday, November 7, 2014

Preview of USA Masters 5km XC Championship on November 8, 2014 at Carmel, Indiana-Outstanding Unattached Runners

November 7, 2014. As noted earlier, the main focus of this cross country meet is on the teams. that should not obscure the fact that individual titles are on the line as well. There are a number of remarkable performers who are not here as part of teams but are likely to be found at the front of the pack. These are individuals who will be vying with the top runners from the teams for age group and age-grading victories. I will just me ntion a few of them here. [If I have missed you, my apologies.]The top five age-grading scores for both women and men earn cash prizes. The top three performances in each age division win medals and bragging rights!

[Just a reminder that age-grading is a statistical means of scoring performances relative to the best possible in the world, in principle, for that age. That allows the comparison of runners from their 40's with runners from their 70's, for example.]

The runners listed below will definitely be in the hunt for top age group and age-grading performances.

W40. The Atlanta Track Club did not send a full team for the W40+division, but Sonja Friend-Uhl is here. Her most recent effort was a second place overall at the USA 5 km road championship in Syracuse, NY.  First in that race went to newly minted masters runner, Jen Rhines, who was making an attempt to break the American record (and world best). Friend-Uhl actually had two faster times earlier in the year, one on the track where she took the national masters title in 17:22 in North Carolina and the other at the Mid-Tennessee Shootout where she was the first masters runner in at 17:03. That's some shooting!
Sonja Friend-Uhl [photo:]

And Friend-Uhl is no stranger to cross country, having taken the bronze medal overall at the 2013 national club cross country championships.

W50. Marisa Sutera Strange, from the Athena Track Club is here, running unattached. In the USA 5 km road championships at Syracuse, she took the crown in this division with an inspiring 18:32, while running even faster in taking her age group title at the famed Freihofer Run in May at 18:15. She added a track title to those two performances, taking the age group title in 18:31 in North Carolina. She also took a national title in the 10K in April at the USA 10 km road championship in Dedham, Massachusetts with a time of 38:46. This appears to be her first adventure on a cross country course, at least over the last several years. I have no doubt she will take to this surface as she has with the track and the road.
Marisa Sutera Strange,a fter winningg the 5K Duchess Classic [photo:]
W60. The renowned Kathryn Martin will also be at these championships.She is the American record holder for the women's 60-64 division in most distances from 5 kilometers to the Marathon (and beyond). Her national record at 5 km was established in 2011 in Syracuse, NY at the national championships. The time was an incredible 19:04! Her pending record in the 10K is 40:10, run earlier this year at the 10K championships in Dedham, MA.  
Kathryn Martin, rain or shine a national champion and record setter [photo:]

Martin also ran a 40:17 at Joan Benoit Samuelson's famed Beach to Beacon 10K this summer, took home indoor and outdoor track titles this year and ran in the World Indoor Championships. A national champion many times over, with multiple Masters Runner of the Year designations, the race is honored to have her compete.

M60. Tom McCormack came to this country as part of the so-called 'Irish Brigade' that brought distance running renown to East Tennessee State in the 1970's. Dormant for a few decades, McCormack burst onto the national running scene again by winning his age group at last year's 5 km cross country championships. Since that time he has been giving his cohorts a good view of his back 'M60' bib. He has added championships at the 5K road (last year and this), and the 10K in Dedham, Massachusetts in a time of 36:00 flat. And he was at least that dominant in the track championships in North Carolina this summer, even lapping some stellar runners. One month ago he broke the American record for best 5K road performance by a runner over the age of 60. At the 5K championships at Syracuse, NY, he ran 16:58 to break a record that had stood for decades. He is some runner!
Tom McCormack [in green] with his Atlanta Track Club teammates, at the site of one of his and their many championships [photo: Facebook/T. McCormack]


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