Friday, January 24, 2020

53rd Running of Hartshorne Mile this Saturday-Preview

January 23, 2020.  My posts tend to relate to road races and cross country. Occasionally I have recapped on noteworthy middle distance and distance events on the track. One of those is coming up this Saturday, January25th at Cornell University's Barton Hall. Started by Jim Hartshorne in 1968, this is the 53rd edition, a classic! To attract elite fields the race offers cash prizes to the top 5 Age Grade finishers in each of the Elite 40 and Elite 50+ heats. The first three across the finish line receive commemorative medals. It attracts primarily from the Northeast although this year they have elite entrants from Florida, Virginia and Wisconsin. I preview the races below but am too far out of my usual haunts to venture a specific podium prediction.

The Women Elite 2 (50+) is at 10:45 AM. In terms of first across the finish line, it looks like a tight battle between Julie Barclay, Karyl Sargent, and Kristin White; the seeded times are 6:05, 6:00, and 6:03. Sargent finished 5th in a loaded 55-59 field at the USATF 8K (road) Championship in Virginia Beach, despite running under 6:55 per mile pace. Last year Sargent had the 5th fastest time in this race with a 6:06, graded at 87.21%. A regular on the Pete Glavin XC race series, Barclay did not compete last year at Hartshorne. Primarily a tri-athlete, White dips her toe in the XC waters and, apparently the track, from time to time. In 2018 she ran 21:16 at the PG 5K XC last September. By comparison, Sargent, Mary Swan, and Barclay ran 21:00, 22:11, and 23:21 in the PG 5K XC this year. Swan's seed time of 6:24 ranks 6th in the field. I imagine Cross Country finishes are a rough guide, at best, to success on the track. Sandra Gregorich ran 6:35 at the Flint Road Mile, which must be her seed time. It si possible she could run a bit faster here as that course is not fast. If Coreen Steinbach, 68, can come close to her seed time of 6:37, she will win the age-grading going away. It grades at 97%+; she took the win with a 93%+ last year. The most recent outing I can find for Steinbach is a 38:14 8K at the Philly Marathon Weekend the weekend before Thanksgiving; that's a 7:42 pace, suggesting a 90%+ is likely this year.

The Men Elite 2 (50+) at 11 AM sports a few runners who appear on the USATF Masters Grand Prix circuit, mostly from GVH , although 3 of the top 4 seed times are from Massachusetts residents. David Westenberg won his 60-64 division crown at the Rad Mile National Championship in Flint with a time of 5:13. He enters with a 5:09 seed time, #3 on the list. But #2 on the list is Francis Burdett, with a 5:00. Burdett has been a marvel at recovering from injury over the past few years but it would be a surprise if he can get close to 5:00 this year. Last summer Burdett finished 6th in the NCCWMA Toronto 50-54 Championships in 4:46; that's roughly equivalent to a 5:12. And Burdett was clearly off his game at the 15K and Club Cross Championships in the fall. He ran a minute behind his running comrades, Dale Flanders and Joseph Mora, at Lehigh, albeit at 10K rather than 8K, presumably because he was just running for his team, the Greater Springfield Harriers. Westenberg's 31:38 was over the 8K Club Cross course; it scales up to 39:30 with no adjustment for a slower pace over the extra 2K. An estimate of something like a 40:00 10K time is probably more accurate. That was Westenberg's first XC outing in many a year and likely that made a difference. As noted above, XC is just a rough guide to a mile on the track. If Westenberg can get close to a 5:09, which seems likely, he will age grade over 90% making him a favorite to end up 'in the money.' Mora's seed is only a second slower but he is 4 years younger. Casey Carlstrom, 60, ran 5 seconds slower than Westenberg at Club Cross; his seed time in the mile is 16 seconds slower. John McMahon, with the 2nd fastest seed time of 5:06, ran slower than Flanders and Mora at Club Cross with a 40:03, and only a half minute ahead of Burdett. Westenberg seems to be a safe favorite for the top age grade. To the extent that XC is a guide, Grandfield looks the favorite, with Westenberg and McMahon in close pursuit. It will be interesting to see how Burdett and McMahon sort themselves. I would not be amazed to see Burdett run better than my words above suggest. I am less familiar with McMahon, who was apparently running without a complete team at Club Cross. That could make it a less accurate gauge for him.
Lined up for the 2018 Edition of the Masters Miles-Elite Heat -Photographer shooting Mike Nier, with Francis Burdett two runners to his right, your left, among others I cannot identify (apologies, gentlemen). [Photo courtesy of Finger Lakes Running Club]
Women Elite 1Susan 'Lynn' Cooke has the slowest seed time of 6:00, but you can be sure competitors won't be taking her lightly, especially for the age-grading cash. When she was at the top of her game, she took the 55-59 division at XC Nationals in Tallahassee ahead of Lorraine Jasper. She also took the division title in the 1500 meters at the 2018 Outdoor Masters TF Championships in 5:25, roughly equivalent to a 5:54. Cooke is on the comeback trail, but if she can run close to her seed time, she age grades over 90%. Lorraine Jasper finished 2nd in the 55-59 division at Club XC at Lehigh so no reason to doubt current fitness. She also finished 2nd in the division at the Saucony Mile this past summer in 5:47. Her third place time last year was 5:49.35. If Cooke is not quite ready for a 6:00, Jasper could well take the top age grading prize. Alisa Harvey has the 2nd best seed time at 5:32. A strong runner from the Mile to the Half Marathon, Harvey ran 1:11:19 in the Army Ten Miler last fall, and took 1st in her division at the USATF1 Mile (road) Championship in 2017 with a 5:36. She was first 'grandmaster' at the Loudoun Street Mile last May in 5:56. That suggests it may be a stretch for her to approach her seed time of 5:32. Dianne DeOliveira has a seed time of 5:28; that's the time she ran at Hartshorne last year. Her 5K times running up through the fall are comparable to what she ran last year. She also ran credibly at Club Cross so there is no reason to think she would be far off  from a  5:28. Michelle Rohl ran 5:38 here last year and then a minute faster at the USATF Indoor Championships to finish 1st in her division. She ran 15 seconds faster than Jasper at the 8K on Philadelphia Marathon weekend. Amy Fakterowitz has the same seed time as Rohl, She ran 5:55 and then 5:44 at road miles two weeks apart last summer, so a 5:36 does not seem too far off. Fakterowitz had a strong year at USATF National Masters Championships on the road and the turf, winning the 50-54 Grand Prix. Her Club Cross time of 25:40 suggests strong fitness coming into the Indoor Track season, Based ont he above it looks like DeOliveira is the one to beat in terms of finishing first across the finish line, with Jasper, perhaps, enjoying that distinction for age-grading.
2018 Hartshorne Mile Elite 1 Race-L to R Alisa Harvey, Christy Peterson and Sascha Scott [Photo courtesy of Finger Lakes Running Club]

Men Elite 1 Peter Brady and Dave Welsh have the fastest seed times coming in at 4:34. Brady has been one of the top Masters Milers nationally for the last few years. He has had a plantar fascitis issue and, after being in control for a bit, reared up again after an Indoor Mile in mid-December. He would have to rely on cross training for fitness again, so he may not be at the top of his game. Last October Welsh finished 2nd Overall and first Master at the 5000 Yard Dash in Philadelphia with a 15:58. He finished 3rd in his division at the USATF Masters Indoor 800 Meter Run in 2:07.2, and clocked 4:38.8 to win the Mile at the USATF NY/NJ Championships. Tim Van Orden who broke the 50-54 American (road) Record in Flint this year with a 4:46, is also in the field with a seed time of 4:41. The Flint course is not fast so a 4:41 seems within reach. Van Orden ran a credible time at Club Cross so his fitness seems fine. Charles 'Chuck' Novak won the previous year's edition of the USATF Road Mile Championship in 4:47 so he and Novak would appear to be closely matched. He ran a 17:10 5K in September and a 4-Mile Run in 21:19, which seem in line with his usual efforts. Kenneth Barbee ran a 4:50 in the West Chester Mile last summer, a 16:51 5K in November, and was clicking on all cylinders at Club Cross where he finished just off the 55-59 podium. Should he get close to a 4:50 at age 55, he would be the favorite for age-grading; it would get a score of 91.45%. Mike Nier is the same age and comes in with a seed time 5 seconds slower than Barbee's at 4:55. Everyone else is younger so there is a good chance that whoever wins the battle between Barbee and Nier will take top age grade money out of the Elite 1 race. Don't think it won't be close; they had the same time to the second at Club Cross this year in Lehigh! Brian Lazzaro ran 4:54.9 here last year; his times in the PG XC series were slightly faster this year but it seems unlikely he would beat that by much. Jay Hubisz ran 4:56 and 5:03 at two Indoor Miles last year. His performance on the PG XC circuit and Club Cross suggest Nier and Barbee are better on the turf. It looks like Welsh has the inside track for the win with Barbee and Nier fighting it out for age-grading superiority.

It looks like an exciting morning of races, both to be first across the line, but also to keep it going no matter what your place if you have a shot at age-grading $!

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