Friday, April 27, 2018

Preview 3: Age Division Races at the 2018 USATF Masters 10K Championships

April 25 2018. We have 276 online entries for the 10K. This will be the largest field in historical memory for the 10K event! Let’s look at how the Age Division races are shaping up; not only is the field large but it is of high quality. There are so many competitive races it is good I can just go chronologically by age division.

40-44 Ginger Reiner is the defending Overall Champion and for this Age Division in 37:09. She also took the title at the USATF 5Km Masters Cross Country Championship. She is a strong favorite.
Ginger Reiner  (left) heading for the finish line and the Overall win at the 2017 USATF Masters 10K Championships 

Heather Webster and Jennifer St. Jean will contest the final two podium spots. St. Jean, who excels on the track and at Road Miles, ran 38:17 here two years ago and Webster ran 18:34 last year. St. Jean ran an 18:36 on a fast 5K course recently while Webster ran 18:30 at Freihofer’s last year. St. Jean has the speed that allowed her to run 5:03 at the Fifth Avenue Mile. Webster should definitely try to build a lead and hope she doesn’t hear St. Jean's footsteps late in the race.

Ginger Reiner     Heather Webster     Jennifer St. Jean

David Angell is the defending Overall Champion in 32:37 and the winner of the 8K Masters Championship 6 weeks ago in 25:39, the most recent road race  championship contested. The 8K time is age grade equivalent to a 32:08, so Angell is in fine form. But he will be pressed, no doubt.
David Angel leading Derrick Jones out away from the pack in the first mile of the 2017 USATF Masters 10K Championship
 David Bedoya of the B.A.A., finished 22 seconds behind Angell at the Club Cross Country Championships and will try to stick closer on Sunday. He, too, is fit, as evidenced by a 50:49 at the Boston Tune-Up 15K and a 1:12:30 at the New Bedford Half Marathon. Bedoya’s teammate, Ryan McCalmon also has a legitimate shot at the win; he finished 2nd to Angell last year in 32:55. His 16:29 in the Irish Road Rover 5K last month was 18 seconds faster than his effort on the same course last year; that suggests his fitness may be even slightly better than last year. Of course the conditions for an early March 5K in Maine may be more critical than fitness. Four other strong runners will vie for the podium and one or more may break through those top 3. Neither Shawn Powers, Michael Quintal, Patrick Rich nor Sam Teigen can be counted out. Quintal and Powers ran 53:56 and 54:17 respectively in the Tune-Up 15K in late March  while Rich turned in a 1:14:23 in the Hamptons Half Marathon in early March. Teigen finished 27 seconds behind Angell in the 8K Championships 6 weeks ago and ran 57:07 in the Bronx 10 Miler last year.

David Angell     Ryan McCalmon     David Bedoya    

45-49 None of last year’s podium return this year. Jennifer Bayliss who won the Age Division and Masters Overall title at the USATF Cross Country Championships, is the favorite. Her 1:03:01 age division win at the Sactown 10 Miler also argues in favor of that status.
Jennifer Bayliss captures the Overall Masters title at the 2018 USATF Cross Country Championships [Photo Credit: Mike Scott]

But she will be pressed by the BAA’s Karolyn Bowley who ran 1:24:12 at the New Bedford Half Marathon and 1:04:30 at the Blessing of the Fleet 10 Mile Run. There appears to be a gap between those two and the rest of the field. But it should be a ferocious battle for the final podium spot. Sharon O’Grady ran a 1:08:09 in the Tune-Up 15K and a 1:40:52 in the New Bedford race. That gives her a slight edge, but only slight, over three others who will contest the podium.  Vanesa Diana, Sally Drake, and Melissa Senall have all run half marathons in the 1:42-1:43 range and 5K’s in the 21-22 range.

Jennifer Bayliss     Karolyn Bowley     Sharon O’Grady

Philippe Rolly is the favorite among a number of worthy contenders for the 45-49 crown. Rolly took the division at the 8K Masters Championships at Virginia Beach in 25:57 and he is the reigning Chicago Marathon Overall Masters Champ with a 2:34:29. And his 33:49 at the Club Cross Country Championships was the fastest of those entered in this age division who competed there.
Philippe Rolly strides down the Boardwalk heading for 2nd place overall in the USATF Masters 8K Championship [Posted on]

Jonathan Frieder, Derrick Jones, and Greg Putnam are probably the biggest threats. Frieder was a minute back from Rolly at Club XC but Frieder seems to always run better on the roads. He was only 13 seconds back from Rolly in Virginia Beach. Jones ran fearlessly here last year in challenging Angell with surges into the lead. He faded a bit at the end but still ran 33:04, the fastest time of these three. Since then his Championship races have been more prudent but also not as fast. But his 50:20 at the Gate River Run last month shows he is fit and ready to race. Putnam should definitely be in the hunt. He finished behind Jones but ahead of Frieder last year here in Dedham and came in just 3 seconds ahead of Frieder at Club XC. On the other hand, Frieder came in ahead of Putnam in the 5K Championship at Syracuse and at the CVS 5K in Providence.

Philippe Rolly     Jonathan Frieder     Derrick Jones


Despite this being her last year in this division, Marisa Sutera Strange is a strong favorite to take the Age Division title. She is the defending Division Champion, with a 37:55, and also won her division at the 8K Masters Championship.
Marisa Sutera Strange on her way to another Age Division win at the 2017 Masters 5 Kilometer Cross Country Championships

Mimi Fallon and Michelle Simonaitis will fight it out for 2nd and 3rd. Fallon ran 39:10 here last year and Simonaitis’s 31:20 in the 8K last month is age grade equivalent to a 39:41 10K. If any of those three fail to bring their ‘A’ game, Emily Bryans could factor into the podium race. She ran 39:23 here 3 years ago and 19:45 last year at Freihofer’s 5K.

Marisa Sutera Strange     Mimi Fallon     Michelle Simonaitis

Kristian Blaich is the defending Champion, with a 32:58. He beat Kent Lemme by a half minute last year. And many still remember the terrific duel between the two of them for the Overall Masters win in 2015, that Blaich won. But Lemme has been running better than ever the last few months and will be tough to beat. He had over a half minute on Blaich at the Club Cross Country Championships.
Kent Lemme builds his lead at the end of the first loop on his way to a podium finish against a 'killer' field at the 2017 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships

Lemme’s teammate, Mark Hixson will have a good shot at the third spot; he only finished 25 seconds back from Lemme at the 8K Championships, and 16 seconds back from Blaich at Club XC. Others who could factor in include Gregory Picklesimer who ran 34:15 here last year and had a 54:39 at the Tune-Up 15K.

Kent Lemme     Kristian Blaich     Mark Hixson

55-59 It appears that Athena teammates, Lorraine Jasper and Mary Swan, along with Willow Street’s Beth Stalker are the fleetest runners among the current entrants. Jasper ran 42:37 here last year (and 40:54 the year before); Swan’s 33:49 at the 8K is age grade equivalent to a 42:55.
Lorraine Jasper races her way onto the 55-59 podium at the 2017 USATF Club Cross Country Championships [Photo by Mike Scott, cropped by author]

Stalker ran 1:04:36 at the Stockade-a-thon 15K last year which is age grade equivalent to a 42:23 10K. Colleen Brackett, who ran 1:09:12 at the Stockade-a-thon could land on the podium if any of those three falter.
Lorraine Jasper     Beth Stalker     Mary Swan

The 50-54 and 55-59 Runner of the Year in 2017, Nat Larson has owned this division since he entered it last fall and this race should prove that nothing has changed. He ran 33:30 here last year at the age of 54 and just won the Division at the 8K in a time of 26:51 which is age-grade equivalent to a 33:45.
Nat Larson charges to an Age Division win at the 2017 USATF Masters 15K Championship in 52:20 [Photo courtesy of Tulsa Sports Commission]

Derrick Staley ran 35:49 here last year, the second fastest of the returning competitors. But he will need to worry about the challenge from Mark Reeder whose 2017 time here of 37:02 is not indicative of his speed when fit. The year before he ran 34:55 and his Tune-Up 15k time of 55:12 suggests he can run a 10K around 36:00.  John Sullivan, of the HFC Striders, and James Zoldy could also factor into the podium race. Sullivan ran 36:52 here last year and Zoldy’s M55 win at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in 1:01:43 is age-grading equivalent to a 37:36.

Nat Larson     Derrick Staley     Mark Reeder    

60-64 The favorite looks to be Patrice Combs, based on her 20:39 5K at Syracuse last fall and her 1:34:26 at the 2017 Publix Atlanta Half Marathon. Both suggest she should be able to crack 44 minutes in a 10K and no one else in the field looks likely to do that. Claire McManus’s 37:28 in the Doyle’s Necklace 5 Miler suggests a 10K time of 47:19 which is in line with other 10K’s she has run. Joanna Harper, Margaret Taylor, and Cynthia Williams could also factor in. Harper did not run here last year but her 37:57 at the 8K Championships suggest a 38:17 might be possible for a 10K. Last year Taylor ran 48:00 and Williams 48:24. In the fall, however, their order was reversed as Williams edged Taylor at the 5K road in Syracuse, the 5km XC in Boston and at Club XC in Lexington KY. That trend continued into this year as Williams clocked a 38:36 8K in Virginia Beach, despite getting caught up in the tangle just after the horn sounded. She showed she is one tough athlete. She had her arm in a sling after the medical staff treated her at the end of the race.
The Atlanta Track Club [L to R-Cindy Lucking, Cynthia Williams, Kathleen Allen, Margaret Taylor] with their hard but well-earned Team Award

If she is fully recovered, she should be competitive in Dedham.

Patrice Combs     Claire McManus     Cynthia Williams

With Brian Pilcher out with ‘his usual issues’, presumably hamstring related, and John Barbour still in recovery mode, with a 41:04 in the Doyle’s Necklace 5 Miler, the favorite’s role falls definitively to Ken Youngers, who has been steadily improving since coming back from back surgery in late 2016. Youngers ran 28:45 in the 8K Championship, the only runner entered here (save Pilcher) who cracked 30:00. That time suggest he should be able to run a 36:11 or so 10K. It should be a battle royal for the rest fo the podium positions. Youngers’ teammate, Mike Anderson, may have the inside track for the second spot. His 30:47 8K time translates to a 38:44 10K time.
Ken Youngers captures his 60-64 podium spot after a challenging race at the 2017 USATF Club Cross Country Championships

But Reno Stirrat was only 14 seconds back from Anderson at Virginia Beach and ran 39:02 here at Dedham last year. Timothy Riccardi who ran 39:20 here last year and Norm Larson, whose 59:53 in the Tune-Up 15K equates to a 39:11 10K, will also contend. Charlie Muse whose 18:15 at the BAA 5K earlier this month is equivalent to a 37:34, will be in the hunt as well. But he did take 2nd in his age group in 3:09:05 at the Boston Marathon. Considering the conditions, it is likely that Muse’s legs will be heavy. Youngers seems a safe prediction for the win. After that I would go with Muse were it not for his Boston Marathon ordeal. Even though the BAA 5K is a fast course, so is Virginia Beach. I will give Anderson the edge for second, and pick Muse for 3rd; it will be up to Stirrat, Larson, Riccardi or someone else to prove me wrong.

Ken Youngers     Mike Anderson     Charlie Muse    

65-69 It is not unusual for Red Lizard teammates, Suzanne Ray and Jeanette Groesz to place 1-2 in this age division but Whirlaway’s Karen Durante will try to separate them or beat them both if possible. Ray is the favorite based on her 1:08:59 on the tough 15K Championship course in Tulsa. That is the equivalent of a 45:13 10K. Plus her 36:17 8K at Virginia Beach last month suggests a 46:13. Either of those times should be fast enough to win.
Jeanette Groesz (far left) and Suzanne Ray (2nd from right) celebrate their team win at the USATF 8K Masters Championship with their Red Lizard teammates, Joanna Harper and Betsy Miller [Posted on Facebook]
Groesz was slower in both of those races, suggesting a time around 47:30 or so is likely. Durante registered a 1:12:07 at the Tune-Up 15K, an out and back over rolling hills. That is probably not quite as tough as the 2017 Tulsa course but it sounds reasonably challenging. So I favor Durante to split the two Red Lizard teammates and take 2nd.

Suzanne Ray     Karen Durante     Jeanette Groesz

Tom Bernhard should again have no trouble winning this division. The only runner who was able to stay within a minute of him at the 8K Championships was Gene Dykes who has since aged up to 70-74.
Tom Bernhard heading for the finish line and an Age Division victory at the 2017 USATF Masters 10K Championships 

Doug Bell finished 3rd at Virginia Beach and should move up to 2nd in Dedham. He will have to stay ahead of his teammate, Chuck Smead, who was only 18 seconds behind him in the 8K. And  Atlanta’s Kirk Larson keeps knocking on the door; he was only 3 seconds behind Smead in the 8K and closing strong no doubt! I hope to see Peter Mullin return to action in our Masters Grand Prix soon. He ran 39:37 here last year but had an up and down record the rest of the year. He has recently gotten his 5K times in local Texas races down to the low 19’s so perhaps we will see him rejoin the fray later this year.

Tom Bernhard     Doug Bell     Chuck Smead

70-74 Jan Holmquist, the current American 70-74 record holder from her race here in 2015 is also the defending Champion, winning here last year in 47:57. Things are not going quite as well for Holmquist this year. She ran 41:04 in the Doyle’s Necklace 5 Miler which is roughly equivalent to a 52 minute 10K. That is still an age grade of over 90% and suggests she will have no trouble taking the age division win.
Jan Holmquist strides across the finish line with another Age Division win at Dedham in the 2017n USATF 10K Masters Championship

Elizabeth Gonnerman and Diane McLaughlin will battle for 2nd and 3rd.  Gonnerman ran 27:03 in New Hampshire’s Shamrock Shuffle 5K last month and McLaughlin ran 57:54 in the Lone Gull 10K last September. Those two performances are quite comparable in age-grading terms. I will give the edge to Gonnerman on the grounds that her time is more recent, and therefore a better indicator of current fitness.

Jan Holmquist     Elizabeth Gonnerman     Diane McGlaughlin    

Last year Tony Gingello zoomed past Paul Carlin (your author) in the last 300 meters to deprive me of the honor of defending my 2016 championship. If we could repeat our performances this year we might well not even make the podium. The two main contenders are Bill Dixon and Gene Dykes, both newly minted 70-74 contenders. Dixon actually turned 70 last year but had some kind of injury, as his times in the fall were not up to his usual standard. Jan Frisby, the current 70-74 American Record holder at 40:15 had expected his record to fall to Dixon at Lone Gull last September. When he learned it had not, he said, ‘Well that’s surprising, but that record is living on borrowed time.’ And now it is finally spring in New England and Dixon is running well again. He ran 41:00 at the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day 10K in mid-March and I was told by a responsible source that he recently ran a 19:30 5K. If that was on a typical New England road race course, that is, rolling hills, like Dedham, it suggests he should be ready to crack 40:30. Whether he can run just a bit faster and get the record or not may depend on whether he is challenged or not, and how the day goes.
 Bill Dixon strides to 65-69 victory at the 2015 5km Masters Cross Country Championships in Saratoga Springs [photo:]

If Gene Dykes can continue his phenomenal streak of running performances, it will not matter whether Dixon can crack 40:15 or not because Dykes is likely to crack 40 and maybe 39 minutes! On March 17, Dykes, then 69, ran 30:54 (gun)/30:48 (net) at the USATF 8K Championships in Virginia Beach. The gun time is age-grade equivalent to a 38:59 10K. But that’s not all—Dykes went, three weeks later, to Rotterdam for the Marathon, becoming the first American 70 years or older to crack the 3 hour barrier and claimed an American record of 2:57:43. But his exploits were not done! He came back to the States and 8 days later ran the Boston Marathon. You know that it was the worst weather conditions in decades (at least) with howling winds and pouring rain. He did not break 3 hours there but he did run 3:16:20, winning the age division by almost a half hour! Can Dykes really come back after two such marathons in the space of less than 2 weeks and mount a credible effort at Dedham. It does not seem possible. If he can contend for the win in Dedham we will have to say that Dykes is at a whole different level. than we mere mortals. Last October Dykes ran a 238 mile ultra marathon in Moab Utah and then in January and February ran a 50 mile and then a 100 mile trail run. Perhaps we should all be trying some ultras?! Dave Glass ran this race while recovering from an injury last year so his 2017 time is not indicative. But in the fall, he ran the table from the 5K through the 5 km XC and into the 15K, taking first place in each one of them. He took up where he left off at Virginia Beach this year, taking first in 34:38. There is no reason to think that anyone whose name does not begin with a ‘D’ will beat him. But that may mean he is running for third. Ray Eck, Tony Gingello, and Jim May, who finished pretty close together about a half minute back from Glass will try to deny him that podium spot. I have to go with Dixon for the win, but I will pay Dykes the compliment of picking him for 2nd even though it seems almost impossible to run a fast 10K within three weeks of a double Marathon effort, one of them record-setting and the other an incredible ordeal.

Bill Dixon     Gene Dykes     Dave Glass

75-79 Kathleen Scotti took this division title unopposed last year in 1:25:33 and she is poised to do so again.

Doug Goodhue, the ‘Silver Bullet’, dominated his age division from his mid-60’s through his early 70’s winning Age Division Runner of the Year honors for eight consecutive years, almost unheard of. He then took a couple of years from the RoY Award off, due to injuries. But then last year even though he was still battling injuries, he took 75-79 Runner of the Year. He is still on the comeback trail, so it appears that Robert Hendrick, who took the age division win in Virginia Beach, will be able to win the 10K on Sunday. His 36-minute 8K suggests he should be ready to run close to 45 minutes which should be fast enough for the win.
Robert Hendrick races to victory in the 75-79 division at the 2017 USATF Cross Country Championships [Photo courtesy f Mike Scott]

Goodhue Has been running to help the team out even though he is not back to his usual form. He ran 38:23 at the 8K. Even if his fitness has improved since then, it would be a stretch for him to get very much under 48 in a 10K. His time will come later in the year when his rehab is further along. David Pember and George Tooker should have quite a duel for the final podium spot. Tooker has 5K times from the mid 25 minute range to the low 26 minute range. Pember has a 25:36 5K and his 42:17 in the Doyle’s Necklace 5 Miler suggests he can be right there with Tooker in a 10K contest in 52 minutes or so. In fact, he ran 52:27 (gun time)/52:23 (net time) here last year when in the 70-74 division.

Robert Hendrick     Doug Goodhue     David Pember

80-84 No one is signed up for the Women’s portion of this age division championship.

This looks like another knock down battle between the two long-time rivals, Harry Carter of the BAA and Bill Riley of the New England 65Plus Runners Club. Last year Riley took the honors, 53:04 to 53:14. Will Carter get his revenge this year? Time will tell.
Harry Carter from an interview by Valley Breeze, his local newspaper [

In the meantime, I have to pick Riley for the win as he is the defending champ. Carter has a 26:37 at the BAA 5K to his credit but Riley has been running his 5k’s that fast too. In fact he ran several 5K’s last year in the 25 minute range. Joe Cordero seems likely to take 3rd based on his 42:50 4 Miler. That suggests a sub-1:08 10K. Wade Stockman could well push him for the final podium spot if he has a good day. His 33:42 5k time suggests Stockman could come in under 1:10 for a 10K.

Bill Riley     Harry Carter     Joe Cordero

85-89 Anny Stockman is unopposed, so she will win the division unless  a very fleet runner makes a last-minute onsite entry. The main question is whether she will get the American Record or not. See my earlier blog for the story on that.

Anny Stockman [#485] on her way to a new American Record for the 85-89 division at the 2017 USATF 5K Championships in Syracuse NY [Photo by Bob Brock]

Anny Stockman

No one is signed up for the Men’s portion of this age division championship.

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