Saturday, October 1, 2016

USATF 2016 Masters 5K Championships Preview-Part IV: Individual Age Group Competition-Ages 60 and up

October 1 2016.[Part IV]  Part III examined the 40-44 through the 55-59 age groups--very deep and quality fields for almost every group. The same is true for the groups of 60 and up, in some cases more so. There are 4 runners in these groups who have a good chance at bringing down the US record for their age group.

Men 60-64. We start off with the 2012 and 2013 Distance Runner of the Year, Brian Pilcher, seeking to take down Tom McCormack's 16:58 record. Being deep in Marathon preparation is not the ideal prep for a 5K. But if anyone can do it, Pilcher is the one. Even if he misses the record though, he is not likely to miss it by much. Probably no one else this year will be under 18. The defending champion from the age group is Tom Bernhard who moved up to the next age group. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers are all injured or returning from injury. Reno Stirrat has his foot in a boot from a freak accident when walking his dog and John Victoria has apparently not fully recovered from a lower back issue which cropped up after Club Cross last year. Mark Rybinski is entered but is presumably just running for the team after being out with an injury. At the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships, he could only jog around the course. Possible contenders for the remaining two podium spots include Mark Chiusano, Perry Forrester, and Kyle Hubbart, all of whom should be able to run in the low 19 minute range.

Women 60-64. Although no one is going for the record in this group it should be a very tight contest. The main contenders are: Nora Cary, Jill Miller-Robinett, Nancy Stewart, and her teammate, Margaret Taylor. Stewart appears to be the one to beat. She has broken 20 in a 5K and her 42:40 at the USATF 10K Masters Championships is quite a bit faster than anyone else's. Nora Cary has run from the upper 20's to the upper 21's for 5Ks and has a 1:41 Half Marathon. Miller-Robinett and Taylor appear pretty evenly matched in 5K times, both in the high 21's to high 22's but Miller-Robinett's 10K time at Dedham was quite a bit faster than Taylor's time at Peachtree.
Stewart, Cary, Miller-Robinett.

Men 65-69. Tom Bernhard is going after Bill Borla's record of 18:12. He is extremely likely to get it. He ran 17:36 to win the 60-64 division here last year and ran a 17:16 this year just before his 65th birthday. Hall of Famer, Doug Bell, and the rejuvenated Peter Mullin are likely to form the rest of the podium. Bell ran an 18:39 here last year and has already run an 18:47 at a 5K this year. He also ran 38:55 at the USATF 10K Championships. Mullin ran 19:31 here last year but he has run in the upper 18's to upper 19's this year. Another factor is tat he ran the Crescent City Classic 10K in 39:19 and the USATF 10K Championships in 39:41. If he does not break 19 this weekend he should at least be close.Kirk Larson, who ran a 19:54 at Atlanta's Finest 5K, will push the others and could wind up on the podium if anyone has an off day. The only other possible wrinkle is if Bill Dixon comes over from Vermont and registers on site. If so, even in his last year in the age group, he will need to be factored into the equation. He ran 18:32 here last year. But both Bell and Mullin were able to get the better of him at the USATF 10K Championships, although with Mullin it was a mere 4 seconds.
Bernhard, Bell, Mullin.

Women 65-69. Kathy Martin is gunning for Sabra Harvey's US record of 20:27. Martin won the 60-64 age group here last year in 19:24. She is a bit off her peak fitness as her times have been slightly slower than her phenomenal norm. She was eleven seconds slower at the 5th Avenue Mile this year though still the age grade winner and age-grading over 100%! And she ran 20:37 at the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K in August. Still it seems like breaking 20 is certainly in the cards. In any case she should take the age group gold medal by over a minute.Edie Stevenson who ran 21:34 here last year is a strong favorite to  take 2nd and, as usual , age grade well above 90%. Jo Anne Rowland and Colleen Steinbach who has moved up from the 60-64 group, should battle for the final podium spot. Steinbach ran 22:01 here last year and generally seems to run her 5K's in the low 22's. Rowland prefers longer distances, running 48:45 at the USATF 10K Championships. She ran 23:45 at the Carlsbad 5000 and 23:33 at a local 5K earlier this year.
Martin, Stevenson, Steinbach.

Men 70-74. This should be Gary Patton's to lose. The remarkable track specialist decided to run a few cross country and road races and to participate in the Masters Grand Prix. It has been a great run for him. He leads the Grand Prix and can pretty much sew it up if he runs well here. Patton took 2nd at the USATF 8K Championship in 34:04 and in the USATF 10K Championships in 43:03. Neither of those races is in his comfort zone; this race is. If he is on his game he has a chance to take down Jan Frisby's single age Syracuse Festival of Races record which stands at 20:20. Ironically the one runner who might be able to throw a monkey wrench into Patton's plans is that very runner, Jan Frisby. Frisby started the season out of condition by his own admission. He finished way back at the 8K but by the time of the 10K Masters Championships in April, was able to manage to stay within a couple of minutes of Patton. The big question is how Frisby's training and fitness has progressed since then. If it has improved back to his long-term norms, he will be able to give Patton a battle. But if old injuries have cropped up to slow his improvement, then it is another story. We will find out soon. Many might think that Paul Carlin, yours truly, who bested Patton by a half minute at the 10K in Dedham should be mentioned. Unfortunately a few days after that race he strained his hamstring and that curtailed his training for the entire summer. Finally free of PT a couple of weeks ago I was able to break 22 minutes (just) at a flat, fast local 5K last weekend. But Patton should certainly run under 21 and I have a sneaking suspicion that Frisby may be right with him or ahead of him. With Patton you always need a cushion because of his ferocious kick! Przemek Nowicki is also in the hunt for the podium. He had an issue with his quads at the CRIM 1 Mile Championships but has since recovered and gotten some good training in. My guess is he should run at least as well as last year when he covered the Syracuse course in 21:13. Another runner who could factor in is Jim May who ran 21:08 on the track at the 2016 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships in Michigan an has since run two 5K's in 21:12 and 21:23.
Patton, Frisby, Nowicki.

Women 70-74. Originally this looked like another tour de force for Jan Holmquist but she had to pull out injured. So we will have a new Champion. It should come from one of the following: Dianne Anderson, Mary Casey and Sue Gardinier. Gardinier ran 27:49 here last year and generally ran her 5K's in the 27-28 minute range. But I can find no results for her for 2016. Casey ran 29:41 here last year and has also run a 31:14 5K this year. Anderson has been active on the circuit, running 47:40 at the USATF 8K Championships. That is roughly equivalent to a 28:45. Her 10K at the Championships at Dedham was not as good at 1:11:56 but was still good enough for a silver medal. This is a tough one to call. I will go with Anderson. If she can replicate her 8K race she might well take it all. I would pick Gardinier but the lack of races is often a sign that one's fitness is off a bit, either because of injury or other complications.
Anderson, Gardinier, Casey.

Men 75-79. Ron Mastin won this last year in 23:07 and ran a 49:41 at the 2016 USATF 10K Championships but then he got injured. He ran for the team at the 1 Mile Road Championships, jogging around the course in 8:14. Will he have recovered enough over the last month? It seems unlikely although I would not be amazed to see him on the podium at the end of the day. That opens it up for Matt Lalumia, Joseph Saley and George Tooker.Lalumia ran 26:46 here last year and ran 55:41 at the 10K Masters Championships. In the spring he was running in the 26 to 27 minute range but has been slower more recently. Saley ran 27:57 here last year. Saley tens to run mostly half marathons and cross country so it is difficult to gauge 5K fitness.Tooker ran a 24:10 5K at a local 5K in September 2015 and ran that same race two weeks ago in 25:23. Tooker looks to have the wheels to claim the gold in this category.
Tooker, Lalumia, Saley.

Women 75-79. The defending champion, Madeline Bost, took a fall on a training run on a poorly lit part of a course that has apparently seen a number of similar falls to runners of all ages. She may not be able to compete this year but we can expect to see her back at our races soon, perhaps as soon as one of the Cross Country races in Florida. That makes it easier for the rest to claim medals. The likely gold medalist is Margie Stoll who typically runs her 5K's under 30 minutes.Estelle Hahn ran 35:37 in this race last year and had a 36:44 5K last fall, but I can find no 2016 races. Christa Maier ran 34:54 at the 2014 USATF 5K Championships and has two 5K's this year in 37:39 and 37:25. Fran Rowe was running 37:52 and 39:53 in ealry summer but ran 41:38 in August.
Stoll, Hahn, Maier

Men 80-84. The defending champion is Wade Stockman and he should make it two in a row. He ran 28:58 last year. His times this year are slower, in the 30 to 31 minute range but that should still be fast enough to defend the title.Jon Desenberg has been running his 5K's in the mid-33 to mid-34 minute range and ran teh USATF 10K at Dedham in 1:10:20. Sam Graceffo ran 35:03 here last year but has nothing in 2016. Fritz Schlereth ran 37:43 last year and has a 24:19 3K this year.
Stockman, Desenberg, Graceffo.

Women 80-84. Our most likely US Record smasher is in this age group. The celebrated Masters runner out of Colorado, Libby James, looks to add the W80-84 record to the W75-79 record she already holds. She has a few 5K's in the 25 minute range this year, not to mention a 55:06 in the tough Bolder Boulder 10K. All she needs for the record is to better 29:23. If she can get down around 25, she will age grade above 98%-Wow! Three others will sort out the other two medals between them. Tami Graf has run her 5K's in the 36 to 39 minute range this year. Edna Hyer ran 38:20 in this race last year but has run in the 41 to 42 minute range this summer. Anny Stockman has run her 5K's this year in the mid-38 to mid 40 minute range.
James, Graf, Stockman.

Men 85-89. Edward Doucette, Sheldon Kall, and David Rider will contest this age division.Rider ran 33:06 in the 2014 edition of this race but I can find no races since. Doucette has two races at odd distances this year, a 3.5 mile run in 44:42 and a 3.8 Mile run in 52:31. Kall ran 56:38 in this race last year and ran 2:38:45 in the Boilermaker 15K at Utica this year.
Rider, Doucette, Kall.

Men 90-94. Just when he was going to get some company, Willis Moses went and aged another year. He will take the Gold Medal in this category by default although one could also say by acclamation, at least at the Awards Brunch! Moses ran 34:53 last year and has not slowed much this year. He ran 5K's in 37:05 and 35:37 this year. Astounding--Way to go, Willis!

This concludes my previews of individual runners. My apologies-not enough time left to produce a reasonable prediction for the Team Races.

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