Friday, June 30, 2017

Reprise of Top Masters Performances in 2017 Boston Marathon

June 30 2017. The biggest running event in the spring and for many runners, the only race that really counts, is the Boston Marathon, run this past April for the 121st time. Although most coverage of the elite field made little of the high temperatures, it was a factor for all but the swiftest Masters Runners. The strong winds from the west of 10-18 mph would help make for fast times but that was offset by temperatures of 71 degrees at the start of Wave One at 10 AM, rising to 74 degrees by noontime. Especially for the older age categories of Masters Runners who started closer to 11 am and did not finish until 3 pm or so, it was a real challenge to finish. Nonetheless there were many outstanding performances. Although the Boston Marathon is a world wide phenomenon, attracting runners from many countries, my focus is on American Masters athletes. So with apologies to the great athletes from the rest of the world, their exploits will not be celebrated here.
The Start at Hopkinton--welcome sign--[Photo: Bob DeChiara-USA Today]

40-44/Overall Masters.

Women. Like the other top women in this division, Dot McMahan, is on the cusp of Masters Distance running. The difference between her and the others is that she has been a  top elite Long Distance Runner for a number of years. Apart from Deena Kastor she is the only woman with two top ten finishes in an Olympic Trials Marathon, in 2008 and 2012. The 2016 Trials experience was another story though, as McMahan finished 35th and wondered if that was the way her running career would end.  But after a strong run at the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon, she was energized and looking forward to competing at the Boston Marathon for the first time in 10 years. McMahan, from Oakland MI,  still wanted to be competitive with the Elite Women runners but also wanted to win the Masters title. Initially she thought her main competition would be Blake Russell who won the USATF Marathon Championship in LA in 2015. But Russell, who felt she was well-prepared for a Marathon, had, according to her blog, not prepared well for the first 10 downhill miles of Boston. After experiencing hip discomfort from mile 7 and then hamstring and quad pains, she decided to end the race shortly after the 10 mile mark. McMahan did not know it but at that point, her main competitors for the Masters victory were: Hilary Corno, Kate Landau, and Raquel Stucky. Corno was first across the line last year in 2:48:49; Sheri Piers, of Maine, who finished 2nd to Corno in 2016, was absent in 2017, a rare miss for her.
Dot McMahan [Photo:at]

Landau, of Tacoma WA, actually went out faster than McMahan, with a 5K split of 17:48, 17 seconds faster than McMahan. Her splits at 10K and 15K were 24 and then 19 seconds ahead of McMahan’s times. But that is where Landau’s lead run ended as McMahan hit the 20K split in 1:12:56, with a 24 second lead over Landau. From that point forward the gap just kept getting bigger. McMahan finished in 2:36:28, 14th overall and first Masters.  Landau kept the others at bay,  the 2nd Masters Woman across the line in 2:40:02. The duel to be 3rd in the Masters race was even tighter over the first half of the race with Corno, from Encenitas CA, and Stucky from Wichita KS, running shoulder to shoulder with identical 37:55 10K and 56:53 15K splits. Both runners slowed over the next 5K but Stucky slowed a little more, allowing Corno to enjoy a 3 second gap. Corno worked that up to ten seconds by the halfway point and then proceeded to stretch it out. Corno crossed the finish line in 2:42:16, finishing third in the Masters race, with Stucky coming across 3 minutes later. All four of these terrific Masters athletes turned in National Class times with Age Grades of 89.23% (McMahan), 87.24% (Landau), 86.62% (Corno), and 84.85% (Stucky). Other notable performances in this category were turned in by Maine’s Christine Hein, 2:55:28 (80.69%) and Ohio’s Wendy Marshall, 2:56:41 (80.13%).

Kate Landau with daughter, Grace, after 2014 Tacoma WA St Paddy's Day Half Marathon [Photo at]

Men. Although they are in the same race, I will distinguish between the two [celebrity] Masters Runners who are still competing with Open Elite Athletes, Abdi Abdirahman and Meb Keflezighi, and those who are primarily looking for Masters wins, like the Minneapolis runner, Eric Loeffler, Pocatello Idaho’s Sam Krieg, and Michael Wardian, who seems to run a marathon every other week, and Clint Wells, the 2015 USATF National Masters Marathon champion. Wells and Wardian finished 1-2 last year. Meb and Abdi ran together easily in the main pack for the first 15K, hitting their 5K splits in 15:24, 30:37, and 45:44 but thereafter Meb struggled with the pace as Abdi enjoyed a killer Marathon. 
Abdi Abdirahman at the TCS NYC Marathon [Photo: TCS New York City Marathon-Elsa/Getty Images]

Meb still hit 2:17:00 which is pretty amazing at age 41, age grading at 92.9%. But Abdi cracked a 2:12:45 at age 40, for a 95.24% age grade, to cross the line first among those 40 and over, and 6th overall.Meb was 2nd Masters and 13th overall.
Mike Wardian leaving for his morning commute [Photo-Washington Post-]

For Loeffler, Wardian and Wells, it was similarly tight over the first 10K, as they hit the splits in 16:37 and 33:27, with Krieg just off their pace at 17:07 and 34:07. Between 10K and 15K the group started to sort itself out with Loeffler hitting 15K at 50:15 with 9 seconds on Wardian and 14 on Wells. After that came the classic marathon unwinding as the gaps among those three grew bigger with each passing mile. Loeffler came across the finish line in 2:26:00 with Wardian 1:35 seconds back. The question that remained was whether Krieg could catch Wells. He was 1:05 behind at the halfway point but Wells really struggled after that with Krieg cutting the margin to 26 seconds by the 25K mark and had taken a 56 second lead by the 30K mark. Whatever struggles Wells was experiencing, he put them behind him at that point, reducing the gap to 51 seconds by the 35K split. Then, after two consecutive 5K splits of 19:24 and 19:00, Wells was able to rip off an 18:15 to retake the lead from Krieg at the 40K mark and cruise in with a 2:30:41 and a two minute gap over Krieg.  Wardian, 43, had the top age-grade at 87.63%, with Loeffler 86.60%, Wells 84.48%, and Krieg 82.76%. Other impressive performances in this division included Colorado’s Chaiwat Entrekul, 2:36:47 (80.64%), New York’s Guillermo Pineda Morales 2:37:01 (83.06%), Alaska’s Jerome Ross 2:38:36 (80.26%), and New York’s Knox Robinson 2:38:48 (80.78%).

45-49. Corina Canitz finished 2nd in 2015 and won in 2013 and 2016, but did not defend her title. Instead two Californians and a Floridian toed the line with their sights on a podium finish. Jennifer Baylis and Cindy Lynch sandwiched the Floridian, Lisa Bentley as they sorted themselves from early in the race. They hit the 5K split in 19:15 (Bayliss), 19:44 (Bentley) and 20:43 (Lynch). Each succeeding 5K timing mat registered a bigger gap as Bayliss came across first in 3:00:11 (81.48%), Bentley 2nd in 3:02:23 (82.35%), with Lynch 3rd in 3:06:50 (77.79%).

In 2016 Thomas Goldsby, Jim Koneazny, and Billy Mertens finished 1-2-3. None of those three turned out in 2017 but there were plenty of high-caliber runners vying for the podium. Nine national class performances were clocked in the Men’s race but Iain Hunter, Ulrich (Uli) Steidl, and William Vanos, from Utah, Washington and Florida, separated themselves from the rest. Hunter and Steidl took off from the start, hitting the 5K mark in 16:39 while Vanos was content with a relatively moderate 17:42. Hunter cracked off a 2nd sub-17 5k, crossing the 10K mat in 33:31, with a 20 second lead on Steidl and a full two minutes on Vanos. That pattern continued to the halfway point with Hunter clocking 1:12:17, Steidl 1:45 back and Vanos another minute behind Steidl. But that one minute gap was down from 1:42 at 15K; Vanos was maintaining his sub-18 minute 5K pacing. Hunter continued to click off sub-19 5K’s but Vanos was still under 18 minutes per 5K, getting a little closer to both Steidl and Hunter. At 25K Hunter had 2:14 on Steidl with Vanos only a half minute further back. Between 30K and 35K Vanos was able to pass both Steidl and Hunter. The wheels came off for Hunter as his 18:46 minute split from 25K to 30K was replaced by a 21:37. There was no heading Vanos from there as he won the division in 2:34:40 (85.02%). Hunter righted his ship enough to hold on for 2nd, in 2:37:28 (83.51%) to 2:38:06 (83.18%) for Steidl. Other fine national class performances were turned in by California’s Van McCarthy 2:43:13 (81.23%), Ohio’s Erik Hunziker 2:43:54 (81.58%), Virginia’s Patrick Bell 2:45:27 (80.82%), Issam Krieche, from Massachusetts, 2:45:34 (80.76%), Indiana’s Rodney Sarkovics 2:45:38 (80.05%), and Maine’s Robert Ashby 2:46:22 (81.06%).
Competitors step off the buses in Hopkinton at the Athlete's Village [Photo-Keith Bedford, Boston Globe]

50-54. Susan Loken, Arizona, won this division in 2014 and 2016 and was back to defend her title; Mary-Lynn Currier, Connecticut, who has been on the podium each of the last 3 years, was also in the lineup.  Heidi Schmidt, a newcomer to the division from Missouri, toed the line to challenge for the Women’s crown in this division. Loken took it out hardest, hitting the 5K mark in 20:09, with Currier 17 seconds back and Schmidt another 20 seconds to the rear. Currier ran the second 5K in 21:21, allowing Schmidt to get a few seconds ahead as both were well over a minute behind Loken. Currier never figured in the race after that point, but was happy, no doubt, to be on the podium in 3:05:09 (86.39%). In the meantime, Loken stretched her lead over Schmidt to over two and a half minutes by the halfway point. But then the Marathon started to take its toll on Loken, as the gap fell to 2:11 by 25K and to 56 seconds by 30K. Schmidt sped past over the next 5K and continued on to victory in 2:58:08 (86.42%), with Loken hanging on for 2nd place in 3:03:52 (86.99%). California’s Dolores Valencia  also turned in a fine run with a 3:10:18 (84.05%).

Kenneth Pliska, Tracy Fifield, and Albert Boyce went 1-2-3 in 2016 but none were back this year. But five new athletes competed mightily for the podium in the M50 category. Minnesota’s Douglas Baldwin, North Carolina’s Tim Meigs, Jim Park of Buffalo NY, California’s Jean Pommier, and Michigan’s Rich Power. Meigs and Pommier battled to be first American across the line, with Meigs hitting the 5K, 10K and 15K in 18:53, 37:59 and 57:16, with Pommier a half minute back from the 5K to the 10K. But by the 20K mark, Pommier had pulled even as they both clocked a 1:16:43 split. Pommier then hit the halfway point in 1:20:52 with a 6 second lead. In many cases that is the pattern that would result in the slower starter passing and pulling away from the early leader. But not this time. Meigs regained the lead in the next 4 kilometers and then gradually pulled away to take first in 2:41:48 (84.80%)with Pommier 2nd in 2:44:50 (85.46%). 
Tim Meigs, foreground, running int he 2017 Boston Marathon [Photo:]

In the duel for the final podium spot, Baldwin raced out to a 19:06 5K split with 11 seconds on Power and a minute and a half on Park. By 10K Baldwin had upped his lead over Power to 18 seconds as Park was now 2 minutes back. But by the halfway mark, Power had pulled even as they both crossed the mat within a second of 1:22:46. Importantly Park was now only 1:14 back. Baldwin surged and pulled away from Power over the next 9K, hitting the 30K mark in 1:58:39. He now had a 51 second lead on Power but only 13 seconds on Park who had passed Power. From that point, Park pulled inexorably away to capture the third spot in 2:47:22 (81.98%). Once Power got within 7K of the finish, he found another gear and was able to lay down a sub-20 5k and in the final 2K speed past Baldwin to take 4th by 7 seconds in 2:48:25 (83.64%).  Baldwin (82.84%) was joined by Utah’s Bill Cobler, 2:49:54 (82.91%)in recording a national class age-grading score.
Start of 2016 Boston Marathon Photo: Tim Bradbury-Getty Images]

55-59. Robyn Roybal and Nancy Corsaro, who finished 1-2 last year were back to defend their title. They were among the seven athletes who cracked the 80% age-grading barrier in recording national class times. Nonetheless three of the athletes separated themselves from the others. Maryland’s Cindy Conant, who had finished 2nd in the 50-54 division in 2015, Pennsylvania’s Doreen McCoubrie, and Connecticut’s Heather Knight Pech. Conant took them out in 21:57 with Knight Pech a half minute back and McCoubrie 4 seconds behind her. Conant maintained her edge through to the halfway point where she clocked 1:33:28 with Knight Pech a half minute back and McCoubrie a full minute behind Conant. The next 4K saw Knight Pech pull slightly closer to Conant as McCoubrie lost more ground. But it took Conant 23:39 to cover the ground from 25 to 30K as Knight Pech threw in a sub-23 and McCoubrie started to gain some ground back with a 23:14. Knight Pech poured it on from there, crossing the finish line in 3:10:30 (86.20%) as McCoubrie stayed strong, pulling away from Conant and hitting the line in 3:13:56 (84.68%) as Conant claimed third in 3:14:17 (85.67%), only 21 seconds back. Other national class performances were turned in by California’s Robyn Roybal 3:25:28 (81.0%), Florida’s Terri Swanson 3:29:40 (80.47%), and Sally Reily 3:29:48 (80.42%) and Nancy Corsaro 3:31:08 (81.02%), both , of Massachusetts.
Heather Knight Pech accepting her Award for first place at the 2017 Boston Marathon [Photo at:]

Doug Fernandez was the only one from last year's podium who returned to contest the division. Neither Robert Cipriano, the defending champion, nor Wolfgang Ketterle who finished third, were in the 2017 race. But there was plenty of quality in the field as eleven runners cracked 80% age-grades. Battling Fernandez for the podium were New Jersey’s Beau Atwater, Maryland’s Jeff Duyn, Wisconsin’s Chris Jungkans, and Florida’s Brian Keno. Fernandez put his stamp on the racer right from the outset, hitting the 1st 5K mat in 18:23, already over a minute ahead of his closest American challenger. Fernandez his every split with a lead as he built his winning margin to almost 5 minutes as he won the division in 2:44:52. It looked like Atwater might run away with the race for 2nd place, tossing out a sub-20 first 5k and hitting the 10K in 39:56. But Duyn stayed close through the 1st 5K and was now only 6 seconds back with Jungkans another 45 seconds back and Keno another 25 seconds back from him. Duyn passed Atwater before the 15K split and hit the halfway mark in 1:24:17 with 45 seconds on Atwater, 1:15 on Jungkans and 1:45 on Keno. Jungkans started to struggle at that point, taking 16.5 minutes to cover the next 4K as Keno took only 15:17, passing him and settling only 19 seconds back from Atwater and a little over a minute back from Duyn, now in 2nd place behind Fernandez. Keno was now clocking sub-20 5K’s and that took him past Duyn well before the 40K mark and into the finish in 2nd place among the Americans at 2:49:40 (84.54%). Maintaining a 20:30 5K pace, Duyn took 3rd in 2:51:11 (85.33%), with Atwater 4th at 2:52:09 (86.46%) and Jungkans 5th in 2:54:29 (82.20%). National clas performances were also turned in by Texan, Richard Simonson 2:57:58 (82.84%), Alaskan Tom Bronga 2:58:11 (81.23%), California’s Christopher Montross 2:59:09 (80.79%), Arizona’s Bernie McDonnell 2:59:13 (80.03%), Pennsylvania’s Joseph Haughey 2:59:31 (80.62%), and Colorado’s Kevin J. O’Brien 3:04:52 (80.51%).
The Boston Marathon is renowned for its Enthusiastic Spectators [Photo: Kayana Szymczak-Getty Images]

60-64. Karen Kunz, Sharon Vos, and Debra Hexsel, who formed the 2016 podium, made way for three newcomers. Two New Englanders and a New Yorker squared off in this division. Connecticut’s Cory Benson and Paula Beatty from Massachusetts were challenged by the Empire State’s Dolores Doman who zipped off to a 25:02 5k split, leaving Beatty 40 seconds back and Benson a minute and a half. Doman kept it up for the next 10K, hitting the 15K split in !:16:10 with a minute on Beatty and 2:20 on Benson. But then Doman found she could no longer manage a 5k in less than 26 minutes, and Beatty and Benson both took over 15 seconds out of Doman’s lead over the next 5K. Despite this changing pattern Doman hit the halfway point with well over thirty seconds on Beatty and well over a minute and a half over Benson. But by the 25k mark, Beatty had taken over, imposing a half minute gap on Doman. Then Benson caught and passed Doman between 30 and 35K. In the end it was Beatty first across the line in 3:44:31 (79.51%), with Benson 2nd in 3:45:39 (77.97%) and Doman 3rd in 3:46:14 (77.77%).

On the Men’s side, it was the same as Dave Walters, Brent Smith, and Tom Cali all passed up a chance for two consecutive podium finishes.  In their absence, a New Englander, David Oliver, of Massachusetts took on Joseph Bariyanga of Hawaii, South Carolina’s Dennis Funk, and Michigan’s Michael Young. Young crossed the 5K mat at 20:43 with Funk and Oliver 12 seconds slower, followed by Bariyanga a half minute off of Oliver’s pace. In the next 5K Young built his lead over Oliver to 31 seconds; Oliver had separated from Funk, leaving him another 15 seconds back with Bariyanga trailing by another 9 seconds. Young hit the halfway mark in 1:27:09 with Oliver a minute off the pace. Bariyanga was 7 seconds off of Funk’s pace at the 20K mark but in the next kilometer passed Funk and established a ten second lead by the half marathon mark.Oliver eased closer and closer to Young over the next 10K and then was able to pass between 30 and 35K, switching from 9 seconds behind to 46 seconds ahead. Oliver was still clicking off sub-22 5K splits and Young could not match it. By the finish it was Oliver across the line first in 2:58:23 (84.23%)—sub-3 hours is sweet at age 60. Young just missed that mark, clocking 3:00:34 (83.21%). Bariyanga and Funk had a bit of a duel after Bariyanga pulled ahead at the halfway mark. Funk fought back , passing Bariyanga between 25 and 30K and holding a 14 second lead at 35K. But then Bariyanga found another gear, dropping his 5K time from 22:27 to 21:02; Funk could not match that uptick in pace. Bariyanga took 3rd in 3:02:08 (83.28%) with Funk next at 3:03:14 (82.78%). Two other national class performances were turned in for this age group; Michael Brosilow, of Illinois, ran 3:06:16 (80.66%) and South Carolina’s Gerald Graf crossed the line at 3:11:09 (80.91%).
Everyone's Goal--Heading Up Boylston Street to the Finish Line [Photo: Charles Krupa, Associated Press]
65-69. California’s Sharlet Gilbert returned to defend her title, but no the other two members of the 2016 podium, Robin St. Clare and Karen Durante. New York’s Martha Degrazia and Colorado’s Alyn Park were the principal challengers. Gilbert hit the first split in 23:35 with a lead of almost 3 minutes over Degrazia and over 3 on Park. Park became the primary chaser after the 10K mark when she passed Degrazia. But Gilbert was taking no prisoners, hitting the halfway split in 1:45:56 with a 7 minute lead. Park chipped away at it, pulling within 6 minutes at the 30K mark, within 4.5 minutes at 35K, and was only 1:42 back at 40K. But it was too late; Park took another minute off of Gilbert’s lead in the last 2K but ran out of pavement as Gilbert cashed in the win in 3:47:27 (84.62%). Park’s 3:49:08 (84.00%) was good enough for 2nd while Degrazia’s 3:56:25 (81.41%) took 3rd. Texan Dorothy Rusch just missed the 4-hour barrier, finishing in 4:02:39 (80.58%)  clocking a national class effort. On the men’s side, Pennsylvanian Gene Dykes, in his last year in the age group and winner of the group the last three years, faced a challenge from a newcomer to the age group, Vinnie Kelley of New Mexico. Kelley hit the 5K split in 21:15, enjoying a half minute lead over Dykes, which he held through 10K. The pace started to tell on Kelley after that and Dykes had pulled even by the 15K mark. By the 20K mark Dykes had almost 45 seconds on Kelley and the gap just grew steadily after that. Dykes was first across the line in 3:09:35 (86.66%)  to make it four in a row with Kelley 2nd in 3:17:51 (79.73%). California’s Barry Wallman nailed 3rd with a 3:29:31 (75.29%).
Ben Beach starting his 50th consecutive Boston Marathon in the 2017 edition [Photo: Mary Schwalm, Associated Press]

70-74. Hansi Rigney, who won this group the last three years, aged up to compete in the 75-79 division. Theresa Tattersall, who was right on Rigney’s heels, did not return;Molly Sherwood, who finished 3rd aged up to 75-79. Pennsylvania’s Udon Beidler and Nancy Rollins of Illinois locked horns in the race for the win. Rollins is an old hand at Boston, having finished on the 65-69 podium in 2013-2015. New Jersey’s Joy Hampton took 3rd in 4:33:51 (74.97%) but never really factored into the race for the top two spots. Despite her veteran status, Rollins must have run into problems with the heat late in the race. She sped to an early lead that was easily in keeping with the kinds of times she usually posts, hitting the 5K in 25:50 and the half marathon in 1:57:22. She led Beidler by over 2 minutes at the first plit and by over 7 minutes at the halfway point. Rollins was 7:48 ahead at the 30K mark but then things started to go terribly wrong for her as her 32:47 5K split before 30K was followed by a 35:06 5K split the 5K after 30K. But she still had a 7 minute lead. After a 37 minute 5K split from 35 to 40K, Beidler was now within 2:22 and Rollins was focused on finishing the race.  In the end Beidler had just enough race left to claim the victory by a mere 4 seconds, 4:23:40 (77.86%) to 4:23:44 (77.84%). But I bet Rollins will be back next year to challenge for the win that she missed this year.

Philip Krajewski, Pedro Galva, and Carlo Glotzbach went 1-2-3 last year but were not top contenders this year.  Montana’s John Duffield and Ohio’s Lanny White had quite a duel as North Carolina’s Jeff Morey ran a very even pace to hit the half marathon split in 1:56:12 and finish 3rd in 3:52:01 (71.56%). Duffield took it our faster from the gun, hitting the 1st two splits in 24:45 and 50:04 with a 38 second margin at the 5K but only 12 seconds at the 10K. By the 15K mark White had taken a 4 second lead which he had built to 20 seconds by the 20K split, hitting it in 1:40:24. At this point most observers would see the classic pattern of Duffield having gone out to fast and yielding more and more yardage to White as the race went on but that was not the case. Something had thrown Duffield off perhaps but in any case when they hit the halfway mark, White’s margin had shrunk to 14 seconds. But White righted himself again and built the margin back up to 25 seconds by the 25K mark and then 42 seconds by the 30K split. That looked like it but again the savvy observer would have been wrong. White must have ‘hit the wall’ after 30K, slowing to 28:56 for that 5K as Duffield clocked 28:07 to take back the lead. Duffield was able to stretch it out from there, coming home as first USA citizen in 3:42:10 (74.73%) with White in 2nd in 3:43:31 (74.28%).
[A ‘shout out’ to Al Wieringa, long-time resident of St. Petersburg, FL, but a citizen of the Netherlands, not the US, who was first across the line in 3:29:38 (79.20%).]

75-79. California’s Hansi Rigney, who finished 2nd in the 70-74 group in 2014 and 2015 and won it in 2016 has aged up to the 75-79 group and was looking for a win in her first year in the new age group. New Hampshire’s Jo Ann McCalister and Maryland’s Molly Sherwood provided her main competition. But in truth Rigney was unstoppable on the day. She had 2 minutes on the field by the 5K split and kept widening the margin throughout the race to win, in the end by nearly 10 minutes in 4:53:58 (76.24%). 
Hansi Rigney, training in seaside CA in 2010 [Photo:Orville Myers, Monterrey County Herald]

But McAllister and Sherwood had a back and forth battle. McAllister had her way in the early going, establishing a 24 second gap in the first 5K and widening that to 2 and a half minutes by the Half Marathon mark. But then the wheels came off for McAllister as it took her nearly 36 minutes to cover the next 2.4 miles from the halfway split to the 25K split. That left Sherwood with a 4 minute edge heading towards the 30K mark. McAllister continued to struggle and by the 30K mark the gap was up to nearly 7 minutes. But then a surprising thing happened; manhy runners hit the proverbial wall between 30 and 35K. Not so with McAllister who finally found her sea legs again and dropped her 5K split time by about 6 minutes to pull within 3:16 of Sherwood. Now that McAllister finally got rolling again, she rolled all the way to 2nd place in 5:03:46 (73.78%) as Sherwood claimed the third podium spot in 5:06:37 (73.10%).

Anthony Cerminaro, who won the division in 2013 and 2014, placed 4th in 2015 and 3rd in 2016, had aged up to the 80+ division. Last year’s winner,  West Virginia’s Walter Seamon, was back to defend his crown. Unfortunately for him, John Ouweleen, from Florida, was also back at Boston, aged up to 75-79. Ouweleen won the 70-74 crown in 2014 and 2015 and took 2016 off from Boston to capture age division gold in the London Marathon in 3:22:58. Ouweleen started with his normal pace that would bring him in under 3:30, hitting the halfway split in 1:43:57 with more than a ten minute lead on Seamon. But by then the heat was cooking and Ouweleen’s pace slowed from 8:40 a mile to 9:40 per mile. Nonetheless he was still building his margin which was over 13 minutes at 35K. Ouweleen was either suffering by that point or taking it sensibly easy. Whichever it was, 40 minutes elapsed between the 35K and 40K splits, just under 13 minutes per mile.  That allowed Seamon to close to within 6 and a half minutes. But then Seamon ran out of race course. Ouweleen claimed the victory in what was for him a very slow time of 4:05:41 (73.45%), claiming the victory by 5 minutes over Seamons’s 2nd place effort of 4:10:52 (71.94%). California’s Takuji Kasamatsu, the 2nd place finisher in 2105, ran his own race, claiming the final podium position in 4:13:37 (73.91%).

80+. California’s Katherine Beiers took the title in this division in 2014 through 2016 and was back to win it again. With no opposition all she needed to do was finish. But that was a major accomplishment on this hot day. Her winning time was almost 20 minutes slower than in 2016 but that was probably just due to sensible running. Her 6:04:07 (79.88%) winning time age graded at nearly 80%, quite an accomplishment! And she retained her title as the Oldest Finisher.
Katherine Beiers, Oldest Finisher at the 2017 Boston Marathon [Photo: Runners World-]

Harold Wilson, who finished 1st in 2014 and 2015 and 2nds last year was not present but California’s Samuel Roake was back to defend his title. But Roake had no answer for the speed that Pennsylvania’s Tony Cerminaro, Jr. brought with him in his first year in the 80+ group. Cerminaro had a minute and a half on Roake in the first 5K and the gap just grew bigger and bigger with each passing mile. Cerminaro took the crown in 4:14:10 (77.06%). 
Tont Cerminaro [photo:]

Unfortunately for Roake there was another new speedster contesting the crown, Jack Yoo, of Illinois. Yoo was closer to Cerinaro in the first half of the race and even though he gave ground over the second half still had a comfortable lead over Roake, claiming 2nd in 4:44:39 (74.45%). On such a hot day, Roake was no doubt happy to finish 3rd in 5:29:49 (60.85%), taking 50 minutes longer than in 2016.


  1. Sir, I dont where you are getting your numbers and names. Doug Fernandez won the 55-59 category in Boston, followed by Guy Dorval

  2. Thanks--not sure how Fernandez got missed. I am only listing top US finishers so that explains Dorval, from Quebec. I just checked the BAA site and you are correct that Fernandez won the age group in 2:44:52. I will correct it.