ATLANTA GA—The 2019 USATF Masters 5K
Championships are hosted by the Atlanta Track Club’s Atlanta’s Finest 5K. Last year the consensus from runners who had been worried about heat and humidity beforehand was that conditions were' not that bad, really.' According to the weather records, the temperature at race time was 75 degrees, with 87% humidity, winds at 8 mph under mostly cloudy skies. The forecast for Saturday, August 17th, at the 7:25 am race time, is 74 degrees, with 82% humidity, winds at 3-4 mph under partly cloudy skies. Despite the heat warmings from this past weekend, that forecast looks a little better than last year's. Runners will need to watch their hydration, but it appears it will be '...another day at the office.' The times should be sizzling but not the weather.
Previews below are based on entries as of Midnight Monday, August 12th. Check back for updates based on entries between that time and the close of online registration, Wednesday evening at midnight.
Angell is the defending Overall
Masters Champion; in 2018, he charged up a long, hard hill, shaking off John Gardiner to win in 15:45. Defending his title will take an exceptional effort.
|David Angell takes the tape and the 2018 National Masters 5 Km Crown at the Atlanta Track Club's Atlanta's Finest 5K [Photo by Jason Getz] |
Kevin Castille, the 2017 Masters Road
Runner of the Year, is fresh off a 30:47 Masters 10K National Championship at the end
of April. Castille holds the 45-49 American 5K record at 14:29. Other challengers include Mark Andrews and Greg Mitchell. Andrews has focused recently
on regional running, but is ready to return to the national scene; he
took the 2016 Masters 10K Championship in 32:45.
Mitchell won the Masters Half Marathon Championship last
year in 1:10:36,
|Mark Andrews kicking away from Peter Hammer to win the 2016 Masters National 10 Km Championship at the James Joyce Ramble |
|Gregory Mitchell winning the 2018 National Masters Half Marathon Championship at the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run [Photo Credit: RunPhoto.com]|
and the Masters 5K Championship in 2015.
Kevin Castille Gregory Mitchell David Angell
Kevin Castille winning the 2019 Masters National 10K Championship at the James Joyce Ramble [Photo by Michael Scott]
WOMEN Laurie Knowles looks to defend
her title; she won by over half a minute last year, clocking 17:29. Neither Molly Watcke nor Jennifer Bayliss, who rounded out the podium last year, have entered as yet.
|Laurie Knowles captures the 2018 Masters National 5 Km Crown at the Atlanta Track Club's Atlanta's Finest 5K [Photo by Jason Getz] |
But the 4th and 5th place finishers from last year, Sonja Friend-Uhl and Fiona Bayly, return with strong credentials. Friend-Uhl took top honors at the 800 meter and 1 mile runs at the USATF Masters Indoor
Championships this year, and the 2018 5 Km Masters National Championship last fall.
|Sonja Friend-Uhl on her way to victory in the 2018 Masters National 5 Km Cross Country Championship at Delaware Park in Buffalo NY [Photo by Andy Martin]|
Bayly ran 57:48 in the Gate River Run (15K) and 37:31 at the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K and took the 15K National Masters Championship in both 2017 and 2018.
|Fiona Bayly takes the 2018 National Masters 15 Km Championship at the Tulsa Federal Credit Union Tulsa Run [Photo by Tom Gilbert]|
Both elite runners should be ready to run in the low 18's or better. Others in contention
include Jill Braley, 2nd in the Masters 5K Cross Country last September, and perennial contender, Marisa Sutera Strange, who took the 10K
honors in 2016 over Friend-Uhl in a tight finish!
|Marisa Sutera Strange captures the 2016 National Masters 10 Km Championship at the James Joyce Ramble|
Her 18:30 at the Freihofer's 5K Run for Women in June shows that she has regained the form she enjoyed prior to last year. If Knowles comes to the starting line with the same fitness as last year, she should win. But there are doubts; Knowles ran a nice 58:33 in the PNC Atlanta 10 mile run last October and then a very credible 47:51 in the Road to Gold 8.0 mile in early March. Two weeks later Knowles apparently ran 1:29:33 in a steady effort at the Publix Atlanta Half Marathon. The time reported for Knowles's Peachtree effort was also surprising at over 46 minutes. Unless there are two Laurie Knowles's running in these Atlanta races, it looks like Knowles is working her way back from injury and carefully testing with controlled efforts. Will we see the Knowles of 2018 this coming Saturday or will she be using this as another measuring stick on a recovery, helping her Atlanta team at the same time?
Laurie Knowles Sonja Friend-Uhl Fiona Bayly
AGE GRADING Age-grading is the top prize awarded
for the best performances relative to age across all Masters Age Divisions.
Fiona Bayly is the defending women’s champion; her 18:20 at age 51 last year earned a 91.11%. Maria Sutera Strange is always a contender; her 18:30 at the Freihofer's 5K for Women this past June earned a 94.4%. Patrice Combs,
|Patrice Combs winning the 60-64 division in 21:48 at the Atlanta Track Club's Atlanta's Finest 5K [Photo by Michael Scott]|
Hronn Gudmundsdottir, and Katherine Wolski will also be factors. Combs's 43:28 at the 10K Championships in April, at age 61, earned a 90.69. In the same race Gudmundsdottir, 53, ran 38:51 for a 91.48%.
|Hronn Gudmundsdottir winning the 50-54 division in 38:51 at the 2019 10 Km Masters National Championship hosted by the James Joyce Ramble [Photo by Michael Scott]|
If Wolski can replicate her effort here in Atlanta from last year, she can score an 89.28%;
|Katherine Wolski kicking in for an 18:55 in the 2018 5 Km National Masters Championship at the Atlanta Track Club's Atlanta's Finest 5K [Photo by Michael Scott]|
that's what her 18:55 at age 52 earned.
Larson, is the Men’s defending Champion; his 16:24 at age 56 last year earned a 94.3%. Larson also took the honors at the 8K Championships this past March with 94.06%.
|Nat Larson crests the final hill on the way to the Age-Grading Title at the 2018 National 5 Km Masters Championships at the Atlanta Track Club's Atlanta's Finest 5K [Photo by Michael Scott]|
He then missed the 10K Championship in Dedham; I can find no record of race results since March. He will need to beat Castille, who took the honors at the 10K in Dedham with a
95.2%. Larson would need to be at the top of his game to beat Castile and that seems unlikely. Other podium contenders include Hall of Famer Doug Goodhue, Mark Hixson, Tim Meigs, Roger
Sayre, and Ken Youngers. Goodhue has been climbing the age-grading tables since returning from injuries and a lengthy rehab. He is looking more and more like the 'Silver Bullet' of old; his 34:22 at the 8K Championships at the age of 77 graded at 92.73%.
|Doug Goodhue on his way to the Men's 60+ Age-Grade Championship the 2018 Masters National 5 Km Cross Country Championship at Delaware Park in Buffalo NY [Photo by Andy Martin]|
Meigs, 51, beat Hixson by 15 seconds in this race last year but Hixson has 2 years on Meigs;
|Tim Meigs finishes off his 4th place Overall Finish in 16:28 at the 2018 National 5 Km Masters Championships at the Atlanta Track Club's Atlanta's Finest 5K [Photo by Michael Scott]|
the age grading tables put Hixson ahead of Meigs, 90.31 to 90.28! Meigs will need a bigger edge!
Sayre, and Youngers also compete in the same division.
Sayre has had the edge for the last year or so but Youngers is gradually getting back to the level of conditioning he enjoyed before back surgery a couple of years ago. At the 8K Championships, Sayre,61, bested Youngers, 62, by 40 seconds and that was enough to enjoy an age grade advantage of 92.85 to 91.36. At the 10K, Youngers continued to move up, running 36:19 at age 62, for 92.02.
|Roger Sayre on his way to 60-64 victory in 17:29 at the 2018 National 5 Km Masters Championships at the Atlanta Track Club's Atlanta's Finest 5K [Photo by Michael Scott]|
|Ken Youngers kicking to his 60-64 victory in 36:18 at the 2019 Masters National 10 Km Championship at the James Joyce Ramble [Photo by Michael Scott]|
Sayre was not at that event; it will be interesting to see if Youngers can continue to close the gap to Sayre.
Kevin Castille Nat Larson Roger Sayre
Watch out for these great Masters Champions on Saturday. Check back later this week for the Age Division and Team Previews.
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