Friday, September 8, 2017

Masters Runners Win National Road Mile Championships in Flint Michigan-Recap 2-Teams and Age Divisions

September 8 2017. Sixteen Age Division and seven Team National Road Mile Champions were crowned in Flint Michigan on Friday evening, August 25th. The relatively challenging road course at the Crim Fitness Foundation's Michigan Mile provided the perfect setting for the USATF Masters Championships. With a few elevation changes and six turns, some 90 degrees, one acute and the rest obtuse [gentle], this is not your straight, flat fast mile course! The Crim did its usual professional job, including lining up perfect weather for a fast mile run, and everything went off like clockwork. After covering the Overall and Age-Grading Championships in the first installment, this final one covers  Teams and Age Division in that order, just to mix it up.

Team scoring is based on total time of each team's top 3 runners-average time per runner is given just for interest. Only runners on complete teams are scored. When I refer to finishing place in the TEAMS section it is among the declared team runners.

Awards and some of the race pictures are from Frog Prince Studios/Carter Sherline and may be viewed/purchased at:


Men 40+. The Cal Coast Track Club came to this Championship for the first time in 2015 and won the 40+ team contest by 1:31; last year they came and won by 1:31. This year they came and won for the third straight year, but not by 1:31. Their margin was only 50 seconds this year. John Gardiner, Christian Cushing-Murray, and M.j. Stanley took the top 3 spots with an average timme of 4:48. Their 4th runner, Matthew Yacoub, provided great insurance, coming in well within the 3% margin the team hopes for, in this case only 5 seconds back from their third runner. Michigan's Patient Endurance Racing(PER) Team A ran a tight 5-runner pack, with only 17 seconds separating their 1st and 5th runners. Michael Kessler, Eric Green, and Steve Menovcik, were their scorers, with a 5:04 average. Thomas Preiss also did a great job finishing only 5 seconds back from Menovcik. And PER brought a B team also and they finished third, with Brian Fahey, Henry Hofman, and Eric Larsen providing the scoring and averaging 5:18 per runner. Luckily they did not need the nsurance fo a 4th runner.
[L to R: M. Yacoub, M.J. Stanley, J. Gardiner, C. Cushing-Murray]-Cal Coast Track Club-Winner of the 40 and up Team Competition at the  2017 National Masters Road Mile Championships in Flint Michigan

Cal Coast 14:22     Patient Endurance A 15:12     Patient Endurance B  15:52
Women 40+.  Patient Endurance Racing (PER) also came to these Championships first in 2015. They won that year by 42 seconds but then widened their margin to 1:16. This year was the tightest of all at just 22 seconds. It was 3 runners against 3 runners, with no insurance. For the second year the Genesee Valley Harriers(GVH) came from greater Rochester NY to challenge for the win. Each of the Patient Endurance runners prevailed against their counterpart. It was very tight at first, when Tammy Nowik came in just 2 seconds ahead of Heather Webster. When Erin Larusso was able to gain another 6 seconds for PER over Wakenda Tyler, PER could breathe a little easier but it was not until Serena Kessler came in ahead of Melissa Senall that PER knew their 8 second margin would hold up. PER enjoyed a 5:45 average compared to 5:53 for GVH. TNT International Racing came to these championships for the second time and for the first time, went home with a podium finish. Kimberly Anderson, Amy King, and Dabeth Manns averaged 8:30.
[L to R: E. Larusso, T. Nowik, and S. Kessler]-Patient Endurance Racing-Winner of the Women's 40 and up Team Competition at the  2017 National Masters Road Mile Championships in Flint Michigan

Patient Endurance 17:15     GVH 17:37     TNT International 25:28

Men 50+. Cal Coast brought a 50+ team to this Championship for the first time and, like their 40+ clubmates, went home with gold. They had a 53 second margin of victory but it was a heck of a race for the other two spots on the podium. Cal Coast's Jim Bowles and Rob Arsenault were the first two runners in, and with the same 4:54 time. Jerome Vermeulen came across the line 11 seconds later and they had their win with an average of 4:58. Playmakers Elite/New Balance was going for their 4th consecuitve win but it was not to be. GVH and the Atlanta Track Club were giving it their all to displace Playmakers on the podium.Among those 3 teams, GVH's Mike Nier came across first in 4:57. followed 4 seconds later by Dave Bussard of Playmakers. Nine seconds later it was Atlanta's Jeff Haertl, Playmaker's Eric Stuber and Atlanta's Jeff Dundas coming across in that order within a second of each other. Three seconds later GVH's Dale Flanders zipped across the line to give all 3 teams 2 runners in. At that point Playmakers and GVH were dead even at 10:12, with Atlanta 10 seconds back. Thirty seconds later the 3rd runners for each team were approaching the line within a few yards of each other. That meant Atlanta could not win, but Michael Strickland did not know that when he pushed as ard as he could at the finish line and edged Playmaker's Michael Hammond in a photo finish. GVH's Timothy Riccardi was only 2 seconds back and Playmaker's had a second place award to go with their three first place awards from 2014 to 2016. They and GVH, who took 3rd, both averaged 5:16. Atlanta, in 4th, had a 5:18 average--a terrific race to sort out 2nd through 4th!

[L to R: J. Bowles, J. Vermeulen, R. Arsenault] - Cal Coast Track Club-Winner of the 50 and up Team Competition at the  2017 National Masters Road Mile Championships in Flint Michigan
Cal Coast 14:53     Playmakers Elite/New Balance 15:46     GVH 15:48

Women 50+. The Athena Track Club has owned this division since it was contested for the first time in Pittsburgh in 2013. That year and in the following three years in Flint Michigan Athena has taken the Road Mile National title. It has been getting more competitive though; they enjoyed a 3:37 margin in 2013, 2:21 in 2014, 1:47 in 2015 and then 1:27 last year. And there was a new team in town, challenging for the win, the New Balance Tampa Masters Racing team. It was a much tighter race this year. But Athena's 1st and 3rd runners, Lorraine Jasper and Mary Swan were able to edge their New Balance Tampa counterparts, Susan 'Lynn' Cooke and Lesley Hinz. Even though NBT's 2nd runner, Michelle 'Shelly' Allen was able to match Athena's 2nd runner, Julie Pangburn, it was not enough. Athena had their 5th consecutive win, altough this year just by 16 seconds, averaging 6:05 to NBT's 6:10. GVH's Patricia Pirnie, Kathleen Hayden and Carol Bischoff finished 1:24 behind NBT, in 3rd, for their 4th consecutive podium finish in the Road Mile Championship.

[L to R: M. Swan, J. Pangburn, C. Bellaire, and L. Jasper] - Athena Track Club-Winner of the Women's 50 and up Team Competition at the  2017 National Masters Road Mile Championships in Flint Michigan

  Athena 18:14     New Balance Tampa 18:30     GVH 19:54

Men 60+.  In 2016, the Atlanta Track Club, the Ann Arbor Track Club and the Genesee Valley Harriers took the top 3 spots in that order and were returning with only minor changes to their squads. But there were two new teams who would likely contest for the podium. The Boulder Road Runners have entered two events this year, the 8K and 10K Championships, and won them both. The Shore Athletic Club has not done that well, but they did beat Atlanta in the 8K Championship and had not lost to them this year. Like last year, GVH had only 3 runners and one was taking it easy because of injury. GVH would just be running for the Club Grand Prix 5th place points. Ann Arbor hoped to improve on last year's finish; they hoped their new team member, Michael Young, could run with the top guns from Atlanta, Boulder and Shore. But two of their mainstays, John Tarkowski and Wally Hayes, were coming off tough injury years and any given day it was hard to predict, in advance,  how they would finish. At,lanta's Ken Youngers arrived first at the finish line, running 8 seconds faster than in 2016. But last year he had an 11 second margin on the 2nd place finisher; this year he had only two and four seconds on Kyle Hubbart and Dan Spale, Boulder's 1-2 punch. Young came in next for Ann Arbor, only 3 seconds astern of Spale.Seven seconds later, Shore's top two,Kevin Dollard and Reno Stirrat came in only two seconds apart. But Stirrat just edged Boulder's 3rd runner, Doug Bell, by a single second. Bell' finish gave the victory to Boulder even though Shore's 3rd runner, Harold Leddy, finished 6 seconds later. But leddy did close things out for Shore even though Atlanta's Kirk Larson came in just 5 seconds later, with Jerry Learned another 9 seconds back. Boulder had the win with a 5:32 average, followed by Shore, with a 5:42 average, and then Atlanta in a tight 3rd with a 5:46 average. Ann Arbor ran faster this year than last but that was not quite enough to get on the podium as they finshed 4th with an average of 5:56.

[L to R: J. Frisby, D. Spale, K. Hubbart, D. Bell] - Boulder Road Runners-Winner of the 60 and up Team Competition at the  2017 National Masters Road Mile Championships in Flint Michigan
Boulder 16:35     Shore 17:05     Atlanta 17:17

Women 60+. Last year the Atlanta Track Club took the title, defeating the Impala Racing team by over a minute. Last year Impala was missing Jo Anne Rowlands and Dianne Anderson was their thrid runner; this year Rowlands would be competing, but after missing a couple of months to injury. Anderson would run, but most likely as insurance. Last year Jill Miller-Robinett came in first for the Impalas, followed by Atlanta's Mary Richards. Miller-Robinett ran her usual strong race, finishing one second slower than last year; Richards was on fire though, lowering her 2016 mark by 16 seconds to give Atlanta the early edge. A half minute later Margaret Taylor came in for Atlanta, followed ten seconds later by her teammate, Terry Ozell and Impala's Dona Chan in a dead heat. Even if the photo finish had not given the edge to Ozell, that would have been enough for Atlanta to repeat as Road Mile Champion. Six seconds later Rowlands came in but this year it was too late to make the difference. Four seconds later Atlanta's 'insurance' runner, Elizabeth Unislawskii crossed the line. It was a much tighter battle this year. Atlanta's average was 7:02, with the Impala's at 7:09. If all runners come in healthy next year the race might be even tighter!

[L to R: T. Ozell, E. Unislawski, M. Taylor, and M. Richards] - Atlanta Track Club-Winner of the Women's 60 and up Team Competition at the  2017 National Masters Road Mile Championships in Flint Michigan
Atlanta 21:04     Impala Racing 21:27

Men 70+. Last year the Shore Athletic Club took the Championship by about a minute over the Atlanta Track Club; the Ann Arbor Track Club was much further back in 3rd. Tis year the personnel for Ann Arbor was different in two important respects. Many time Age Division Runner of the Year, Doug Goodhue was returning from injury rehab. Paul Carlin  [That's me!], who had to jog around the course in 2016 when he was still in injury rehab, has been cautious with his training this year but was entering his 10th consecutive month without injury and was getting closer to his norm. He came in with second place finishes at the 8K and 10K Championships and a first in the Half Marathon Championships. They would likely give Ann Arbor a strong 1-2. Whether it would be strong enough would depend on how fast Goodhue could go. He ran 5:55 two years ago but no one expected that. He would probably need to come in well under 7 minutes to make the critical difference. Even though Shore's Przemek Nowicki was running while still in rehab, they would be a little stronger this year. Their 3rd runner from last year, J.L. Seymore, is now inactive but replaced by middle distance specialist, Harold Nolan. Nolan will not add as much to Shore's 5K effort, and perhaps not at all to the 15K race. But in a road mile, he is in his sweet spot. Atlanta would rely on their usual tight bunch of runners but might struggle to be close enough to the front-runners. Nolan did everything that Shore could ask of him, coming in first with a 7 second margin over Ann Arbor's Carlin. But to my amazement, if not anyone else's Goodhue not only ran under 7:00, he smashed that barrier, finishing a bare second behind Carlin. That 1-2 punch would give them the title if their third runner, David Cohen, was not too far back. As the seconds ticked by, things were looking better and better for Ann Arbor. Atlanta's Sam Benedict and Joe Carter came in next in 4th and 5th but they were 40 seconds behind the Ann Arbor duo. That gave Ann arbor a 1:20 lead off of the first two runners, surely too much for the third runner to overcome. What about Shore? They had a 7 second lead off of the first runner. When Shore's 2nd runner, Ed Smith, came in 2 seonds behing Carter, that meant that Ann arbor had a 39 second bulge over Shore after the first two runner results were tallied. Atlanta's 3rd runner, William Shaffer, finished in 7:04 and Nowicki came in for Shore in 7:11. As long as Ann Arbor's Cohen came in before 7:50, Ann Arbor would have the win. They only had to wait ten seconds to have a first place team finish to celebrate; Cohen came across in 7:21 to ice the win! Ann Arbor averaged 6:38 for the win, with Shore averaging 6:48 in 2nd and Atlanta 7:02 in third.

[L to R: M. Cohen, P. Carlin,D. Goodhue, P. Kroll] - Ann Arbor Track Club-Winner of the 70 and up Team Competition at the  2017 National Masters Road Mile Championships in Flint Michigan
Ann Arbor 19:54     Shore 20:23     Atlanta 21:04

Your 2017 National Road Mile Team Champions

Men 40+         Cal Coast Track Club
Men 50+         Cal Coast Track Club 
Men 60+         Boulder Road Runners
Men 70+         Ann Arbor Track Club

Women 40+  Patient Endurance Racing
Women 50+ Athena Track Club
Women 60+ Atlanta Track Club 


Women 40-44.  This division mirrors the overall race as 5 of the top 6 overall were from this division. Melissa Gacek and Renee Tolan had a back and forth duel over the first three quarters of the race before Tolan pulled away for good and stretched her lead to 5 seconds over Gacek by the finishing tape.Defending Champion, Tammy Nowik, hung with them as long as she could. Hampered by a plantar issue, she was passed by Alice Kassens and Alisa Harvey who had formed a small chase pack behind the top three. By the final turn it was Tolan, Gacek, Kassens, Harvey and Nowik, with Heather Webster trying to gain ground. Kassens held on though, finishing 5 seconds behind Gacek to claim the bronze medal, 5 seconds ahead of Nowik and 7 ahead of Webster.

Renee Tolan Pours It on To Win the Overall Masters and the Women's 40-44 Title in the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint Michigan

Renee Tolan 5:25     Melissa Gacek 5:30     Alice Kassens 5:35

Men 40-44. Second and third overall came out of this division but 4th through 6th were from other age divisions. As John Gardiner and David Angell battled for 2nd and 3rd overall, they were, at the same time settling 1st and 2nd in this age division. Angell tucked in behind Gardiner for the first three-quarters, biding his time and hoping he could kick past Gardiner. But Gardiner was too strong as he was eventually the one with a bit more of a kick as he generated a gap in the last quarter mile to win the division by 2 seconds.
John Gardiner (lime green singlet) running with Todd Straka at the quarter mile mark with Philip Potvin (black singlet) and David Angell  hot on their heels [Photo by Melissa Gacek]

Philip Potvin had battled Gardiner and Angell through the first quarter mile but was not able to maintain that pace as he lost about 30 yards to them on the middle half mile. Thomas Knowles had run with a chase group about 10 yards behind Gardiner, Potvin and Angell through the first quarter mile. But as Potvin was losing ground to Gardiner and Angell, Knowles was losing ground to Potvin as he crossed the 3/4 mile mark about 20 yards back. Knowles was able to make up some ground ont he final straightaway but by then had too much ground to cover as Potvin hung onto the Bronze medal by 3 seconds!

John Gardiner 4:37     David Angell 4:39     Philip Potvin 4:52

Women 45-49. If time elapsed between first and 3rd place is the right measure, this was the most hotly contested age division of the day on the women's side; a mere 7 seconds separated Gold from Bronze. In the early going it was Amy Nemeth who went out fastest, with Serena Kessler tucked in right behind her. Kessler's teammate and the defending age Division Champion, Erin Larusso, took a slightly more measured approach, a few strides back. But Larusso threw in a surge just before they went over the bridge at the quarter mile mark. That  took her past Nemeth and Kessler to take the lead as they made the turn to head to the 1/2 mile mark. From that point Larusso poured in on, but try as she might, she could not completely shake Nemeth and Kessler. In the end, Larusso had 4 seconds over Nemeth and 7 over Kessler. USATF Chief Information Officer, Jill Geer, a Wisconsin High School Cross Country champion, acquitted herself well, finishing in 4th a dozen seconds back from Kessler, holding off Melissa Senall by 2 seconds.

Erin Larusso takes the Women's 45-49 Gold Medal at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint Michigan

Erin Larusso 5:44     Amy Nemeth 5:48     Serena Kessler 5:51

Men 45-49. Undoubtedly the fastest Masters Distance runner in the country right now outside a few celebrities that go by first names like 'Meb', 'Abdi', and 'Bernard', Kevin Castille won the overall Championship by 13 seconds. He took this division by 25 seconds. Castille simply powered away from the starting line, took the lead and grew it steadily throughout the race, a dominant win. Christian 'Cush' Cushing-Murray, despite being on the comeback trail, ran a strong race. No one was going to catch Castillle, but Cush ran as if he expected to be 2nd across the line in this division. He headed up the second chase pack overall, ahead of Jeff Conston, Eric Green, Michael Kessler and M.J. Stanley. By the time they came back over the bridge at the 3/4ths of a mile mark, it was still Cush a few strides ahead of Kessler and then about 10 yards back to Stanley, with another 15-20 yards back to Conston and Green, matching each other stride for stride. As they headed onto the final 300 yard straightaway, Cush closed it down, celebrating his last year in the age division, with a Silver Medal Mile, finishing with a 7 second margin over the 3rd place finisher. Stanley threw down  a great closing kick to take the measure of the others, passing Kessler and holding off Conston, both by a single second. Green finished right behind those two.
Kevin Castille, with a huge lead as he approaches the quarter mile mark at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint, MI. [Photo by Melissa Gacek]

Kevin Castille 4:24     Christian Cushing-Murray 4:49     M.J. Stanley 4:56

Women 50-54. Alisa Harvey, former middle distance track star at Tennessee, contended for the Overall win and had no problem picking up this age division gold medal. By the quarter mile mark, Harvey already had a substantial lead, with the other podium contenders, Michelle Allen, Julie Pangburn, Christine Vincent, and Lisa Veneziano, closely bunched. As they headed toward the halfway mark, Vincent pulled away to get a firm hold on 2nd, followed by Veneziano. Pangburn had a slight edge on Allen with a quarter mile to go. On the final straightaway Veneziano tried to close on Vincent but Vincent hung tough. That effort enabled Veneziano to claim the Bronze Medal though, with a 4 second margin on Allen and Pangburn, both charging for the finish line for all they were worth! Allen was awarded 4th on a photo finish with Pangburn.
Alisa Harvey's finishing kick closes out her race with 4th place overall and 1st in Women's 45-49 division at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI.

Alisa Harvey 5:37     Christine Vincent 5:54     Lisa Veneziano 6:02

Men 50-54. Despite the presence of Todd Straka, who finished 5th overall in 2015 and was looking for a finish as good or better this year, the division was very competitive. Rob Arsenault was looking to demonstrate his fitness after losing a few months to injury; his teammate, Jerome Vermeulen was also a threat. Despite limited racing this year, history had Vermeulen inishing ahead of Straka in 2015 and finishing 2nd overall last year. Mike Nier, the perennial podium threat from GVH, was also in the field. Although he only ran 5:05 last year, he was probably dealing with some nagging issue; the year before he ran 4:52. Arsenault and Veremeulens' teammate, Jim Bowles, came in under the radar. He ran 4.5 minutes slower than Arsenault at Club XC last December and had only an 18:34 5K and a 5:17 mile in 2016; he ran much better than that.Straka, never known for a tentative approach, went off with the leaders chasing Castille right from the start. By the quarter mile mark he had 30 yards on a pack that included Nier, Arsenault and Vermeulen, with Bowles a couple of strides back. It seems that the lack of races for Vermeulen was correlated with fitness; otherwise he would have been up close to Gardiner and Straka. Right after that, Arsenault surged past Nier who was followed a few yards back by Bowles and then Vermeulen another ten yards back, running for team points. When they came back over the bridge with a quarter mile to go, Straka was no longer up with the overall leading chase pack but had a huge lead within the age division. Arsenault was leading the rest back in the second chase pack behind Straka, with Nier and Bowles running side by side, stride for stride about ten yards back from Arsenault. Onto the final straightaway and Straka closed it out with energy, taking the Gold by 6 seconds. Bowles unleashed a terrific kick at the end, pulled even with Arsenault and nipped him at the tape. Nier couldn't quite find the kick he needed and finished just off the podium, three seconds back, followed by Vermeulen.
Todd Straka passing the three-quarter mile mark with a signficant lead on his way to finish 4th Overall and 1st in Men's 50-54 at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI. [Photo by Melissa Gacek]
Todd Straka 4:48     Jim Bowles 4:54     Rob Arsenault 4:54

Women 55-59. I previewed this as primarily a battle between Athena's Lorraine Jasper and Mary Swan and New Balance Tampa's Susan 'Lynn' Cooke, with a chance that Cooke's teammate, Lesley Hinz might be a factor. Jasper had taken Cooke's measure at a recent track mile so she was the favorite. Somehow I missed Lynn Malloy of Katy Texas despite the fact that she beat both Jasper and Cooke at the 10K Masters Championship at Dedham and her recent 5K times were a bit faster than Swan's. In fact Swan's times had been faster in 2016 so that may have been a sign that something was not quite right. Cooke went out hard, trying to stay with Jasper. Malloy was a few yards behind Cooke at the quarter mile, with Hinz a few strides back and then Swan a few strides behind Hinz. By the time they crossed the bridge t the half mile mark, Jasper had a large margin over Cooke, but Cooke had a good 15 yards on Malloy, with a small gap back to Swan and then Hinz. Jasper sped up the final straightaway to take Gold by a dozen seconds as Cooke held on to claim the Silver Medal. Then it was six seconds back to Malloy who held off both Swan and Hinz.

Lorraine Jasper [#20067] sprints to the finish to take 10th Overall and the Gold Medal in the Women's 55-59 division at the 2017 USATF National Road Mile Championship in Flint, MI.

Lorraine Jasper 5:51     Susan 'Lynn' Cooke 6:03     Lynn Malloy 6:09

Men 55-59. This division was also loaded and included two of the top 3 men in Age Grading. I figured Nat Larson had the edge because he won the 50-54 division here last year in 4:50 whereas Dave Bussard ran 4:57 here in 2015. Three others expected to be in the mix for the final podium position were Atlanta teammates, Jeff Haertl and Jeffery Dundas, as well as Fred Zalokar, famous for winning his age group at all of the Abbot World Marathon Majors. Dundas has been one of the top runners in this divisio when healthy but some health issues off and no have limited his effectiveness for the last couple of years. A regular competitor for the atlanta Track Club before that, his last USATF road race was in November 2015. But he won his age group with good times at the Cooper River Bridge Run and the Crescent City Classic (both 10K's) this spring so a time below 5:20 should be within his reach.Haertel ran 5:05 here last year. Zalokar prefers the longer races but proved he can handle the sorter distances last fall at the Masters 5K Championships in Syracuse where he finished 3 seconds ahead of Haertl in 17:13. Bussard broke fast when the horn sounded and had a few steps on Larson when they reached the quarter mile, By the time they came back over the bridge, larson was flying! Moving up toward the overall leaders, he had 40 yards on Bussard. Thirty yards back from Bussard, Zalokar had a few steps on Haertl and Dundas. Up the final straightaway and it was Larson taking the Age Division Gold with a dozen seconds on Bussard, who took the Silver medal by 8 seconds. Haertl and Dundas hurtled toward the finish line but could not overtake Zalokar who finished strong to take the final podium spot by a single second. Haertl and Dundas finished in 5:10 and 5:12. Not quite on the podium, but welcome back to USATF competition, Jeff!
Nat Larson's focuses on the finish line as he captures 6th Overall, 2nd Age-Grading and the Gold Medal in the Men's 55-59 division at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI

Nat Larson 4:49     Dave Bussard 5:01     Fred Zalokar 5:09

Women 60-64. Jill Miller-Robinett, the defending champion, was the favorite with Mary Richards and Margaret Taylor, Atlanta teammates, expected to give her a good run.Terry Ozell and Susan Stirrat could factor into the podium race. When the horn sounded, Miller-Robinett and Richards went off apace; by the qurter mile mark, Richards had a step on Miller-Robinett who was trailed by Taylor, Ozell, Elizabeth Unislawski, and Stirrat. Miller-Robinett made a  move ont he bridge and as they turned the corner to head toward the half mile mark, now had a few steps on Richards, with Taylor, Ozell, Stirrat and Unislawski following. But Richards was able to answer as she closed the gap over the next half mile and sprinted to victory in 6:35. Miller-Robinett took the Silver Medal six seconds back, with a large gap back to Taylor who, nonetheless, took the Bronze Medal with nearly a dozen seconds to spare. Ozell, Stirrat and Unislawski followed.
Mary Richards races to the finish line and the Women's 60-64 Gold Medal at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI

Mary Richards 6:35     Jill Miller-Robinett 6:41     Margaret Taylor 7:09

Men 60-64. This division is always tightly contested and this year was no different as only 11 seconds separated the top 5 places and 20 seconds between 1st and 7th. I had Dan Spale and Kyle Hubbard 1-2 as they have been tearing up the roads for the Boulder Road Runners over the past year. I had some concern about Spale's fitness based on a couple of 5K's in the upper 19 to lower 20 range and a low 40's 10K. But he had just run a 5:13 road mile on August 16 so I put those worries aside. Michael Young, who ran 5:34 last year, appeared to be a good bet for 3rd but in this division, you can never tell. Gary Radford ran only 3 seconds slower than Young. Ken Youngers, who ran 5:32 last year, had surgery during the off season and had not yet returned to full fitness by mid-summer. In fact at the Peachtree 10K he ran over a minute slower this year. The intervening 7 weeks must have been good for Youngers as he was definitely in the mix. Tom Dever was another top runner who had had surgery within the last year and appeared to be off his game earlier in the year. Reno Stirrat was another who has struggled with fitness over the last year but could certainly factor into the podium race. Radford let me know before the race that he had sustained an injury and would just be running easy so that the team would have 3 runners finish and could score some Grand Prix points. When the horn sounded, Dever and Youngers showed they were ready to rumble as they matched stride for stride through the first quarter mile. Hubbart and Spale started a bit off the pace as they often do. Stirrat and his teammate, Kevin Dollard were running together a bit back. By the time they came back over the bridge at the half mile mark, Dever had 5 yards on Youngers, with Young about ten yards back, and Hubbart another 10 yards back, with Spale 5 yards behind him. Unlike some of the other longer races this past year, it did not look as if the two Boulder runners would be able to make up the ground. Dollard was a dozen yards back with Stirrat a few strides behind. This would not be Stirrat's day. Up the final straightaway, Dever was able to grow the gap slightly as he took the gold medal by 4 seconds. Younges held off a hard charging Hubbart to claim the Silver medal by 2 seconds. Spale was right behind Hubbart, with a 3 second margin on Young, who was grittily closing out a tough race!
At the 3/4 Mile mark, Tom Dever [sunglasses] with a 3 second lead on Ken Youngers, which he would stretch to 4 seconds by the finish as Dever takes the Gold Medal and Youngers the Silver Medal in the Men's 60-64 division at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI. [Photo by Melissa Gacek]

Tom Dever 5:20     Ken Youngers 5:24     Kyle Hubbart 5:26

Women 65-69. Sabra Harvey was the overwhelming favorite for this division even if it were only based on her excellent road racing results from 5K to the 15K. But in addition she is a middle distance specialist, being the current World Record Holder. on the track, of the 800 and 1500 meter titles for the age division.Harvey did not disappoint; she went out with the top group of those a decade and more younger and kept up the pressure all the way, finishing 20th Overall and taking the age division by over half a minute. She also captured the top Age Grading prize. The margin would have been much greater had it not been for the excellent field. The second and third place finishers would have merited the same finishing position had they been competing in the next younger division. Jeannie Rice, who took second, also took 2nd in Age Grading.Despite the killer pace, Barbara Broad was able to keep within a few yards of Rice for the first quarter mile. As they cleared the bridge and turned the corner to head to the half mile mark, Rice started to pull away. Broad was tenacious though and only gave up a total of 11 seconds to Rice by the finish. And she left the rest of the field nearly a half minute behind.

Sabra Harvey [L] trailing Women's 55-59 Silver medalist Lynn Cooke, as she strides to victory as the Overall Age-Grading Winner and the Gold Medalist in the Women's 65-69 division at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Champiionship in Flint MI.

Sabra Harvey 6:07     Jeannie Rice 6:39     Barbour were at it againara Broad 6:50

Men 65-69. The Fantastic Four were at it again. We are getting used to seeing Tom Bernhard, Peter Mullin, Doug Bell and Kirk Larson vie for the 65-69 division. At the 8K in Virginia Beach it was Bernhard-Mullin-Bell-Larson in 1st through 4th. Bill Dixon, who has since moved out of the division, changed that to 1st through 3rd and 5th but it was the same order otherwise. How would it come out this time? No one had much hope of catching Bernhard. Even though he is not in quite as good condition as last year, when he broke the 5K age group record, Bernhard has been widening his winning margin. At the 8K he finished 19 seconds ahead of Mullin; in the 10K the margin was 1:20! Bell had plenty of reason to think he might reverse the order with Mullin. Twenty-eight seconds behind Mullin at the 8K but only 19 seconds at the 10K. Larson always gives us his best shot but it is tough with those three always in the group. Bernhard took off with the horn and set a terrific pace, running with the Shore AC 60's guys, Stirrat and Dollard. Mullin was determined to stick with him as long as he could. As a result, he was still within 10 yards as they made the turn off the bridge heading for the halfway point. Bell was about 15 yards back from Mullin, but giving no quarter. Larson was hanging tough in 4th When they came back across the bridge with a quarter mile to go Bernhard had picked up on the Boulder 60's guys, Hubbart and Spale. Even though he was pushing the pace, Mullin was gamely hanging on, keeping the gap to no more than ten yards. And Bell was still about 15 yards behind Mullin, really gritting his teeth and digging deep now. Onto the final straightaway to the finish and bernhard shot away from Mullin, opening up a lead of about 50 yards by the finish. Mullin was cranking as hard as he could but so was Bell and he saw the gap shrinking  10 yards and then less but then he ran out of race course as Mullin crossed the finish line in second, just 3 seconds ahead of Bell--some race! Larson took his reliable 4th place, only 11 seconds behind Bell.
Tom Bernhard [#20104] with his concentrated drive to the finish line capturing 4th place Age-Grading and the Men's 65-69 Crown at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI.

Tom Bernhard 5:28     Peter Mullin 5:38     Doug Bell 5:41

Women 70-74. It is no exaggeration to say that Dianne Anderson was the class of the field. In the 8K she was in a field of 5 and took the Silver Medal; unopposed here, she took the Gold. She came to help her Impala team take home as many Grand Prix point as possible. This was just a bonus! Last year she had two competitors to worry about; this year she could cruise into the finish line at a leisurely pace, 11 seconds slower than last year, without having to worry about hearing footsteps behind her.
DianneAnderson strides to the finish and her Gold Medal in the Women's 70-74 division at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI.

Dianne Anderson 8:37

Men 70-74. There was a field of ten vying for the podium in the Men's division. Based on the longer races, Paul Carlin, yours truly, and Jan Frisby, appeared to be the favorites. But appearances are sometimes deceiving. Harold Nolan, a middle distance specialist on the track, who views 5K's as painfully long races, had this race cut out for him. In my preview I guessed that if he could get in much under 6:15, he could well take the Gold Medal. Sam Benedict and Joe Carter of Atlanta were also podium threats if any of the top 3 faltered. I am told that Nolan shot off when the horn sounded. To be frank, I had not located him at the start and so could not mark where he was. No matter, when the horn sounded, I started running about as fast as I could. nonetheless, it appears he had about 20 yards on me by the end of the first quarter mile. Frisby was within ten yards of me, with Carter only a few yards behind him.Benedict was nearly 20 yards back from Carter. By the time we came back over the bridge, Nolan had nearly 40 yards on me, a huge gap to overcome in the final quarter mile. Frisby tells me I was making up ground on the final straightaway, but not much. My guess is Nolan got the win with a good 30 yards to spare--maybe next year it will be closer (I hope!)! Frisby ran a good, steady pace to claim the bronze medal. He had almost a half minute on Benedict and then Carter.
Harold Nolan [Black singlet] trails Men's 60-64 John Tarkowski but leaves all of his age division rivals behind as he claims the Men's 70-74 Gold Medal in the Women's 70-74 division at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI.

Harold Nolan 6:09     Paul Carlin 6:16     Jan Frisby 6:31

Men 75-79. Man, was my preview off on this one. I predicted that my Ann Arbor teammate, Doug Goodhue, because he was just coming out of rehab, would be just running for team points, and wold come in 3rd behind Ed Smith and Charlie Patterson. I was overly swayed by Goodhue's one race this year, a 49:40 10K, which is way off his norm. What I forgot was that breaking 50 in a 10K is no small feat for a 75 year old. I should have predicted Goodhue to win by 15 seconds. I still would have been underestimating him but not by as much. The only thing I got right was to write that the 5:55 he ran in 2015 would be out of his reach.By the quarter mile mark, Goodhue had 20 yards on Smith who had almost that much on Patterson. Goodhue did not let up a bit and kept it going all the way to a finish line victory margin of over 45 seconds. Smith did not let that bother him; he ran a steady race, claiming second place by 14 seconds over Patterson.
Giving everything he had to nail down his victory in the Men's 75-79 division and his team's victory in the Men's 70+ division is Doug Goodhue, the 'Silver Bullet' at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI.

Doug Goodhue 6:17     Edward Smith 7:03     Charlie Patterson 7:17

Men 80-84. Jim Askew owned this age group as he was the only one entered. Perhaps others were scared off. With a 45 minute 5K and a sub-29 minute 8K, Askew is a formidable distance runner in the division. He waltzed home, finishing 86th of 91 runners, to claim the gold medal.
Jim Askew cruising to the finish line and his Gold medal in the Men's 80-84 division at the 2017 USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI.

Jim Askew 7:47

Your 2017 National Age Division Road Mile Champions

40-44     John Gardiner           Renee Tolan

45-49     Kevin Castille          Erin Larusso

50-54     Todd Straka            Alisa Harvey

55-59     Nat Larson              Lorraine Jasper

60-64     Tom Dever              Mary Richards

65-69     Tom Bernhard        Sabra Harvey

70-74     Harold Nolan           Dianne Anderson 

75-79     Doug Goodhue

80-84     Jim Askew   

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