Saturday, May 2, 2020

Virtual Social Distanced Competitions-GSTC-ATC-GLRR

May 1 2020. The last major road race was the Gate River Run, held on March 7th. There have been no USATF Masters Championships since the USATF XC Championships in San Diego on January 18th. There is no indication yet about the remaining 3 USATF Masters Championships in the fall, but they are looking increasingly at risk. The New York Road Runners cancelled the US NYC HM and that started the dominoes falling--Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, Boston Marathon [postponed to October], Broad Street 10 Mile Run, and Grandma's Marathon were just a few of the early casualties.Two of the summer races, the AJC Peachtree Road Race and the TD Beach to Beacon 10K, were taking a 'wait and see' approach but capitulated this week, with B2B cancelling for 2020 and AJC Peachtree moving from Independence Day to Thanksgiving! According to Road Race Management, "The Professional Road Running Organization (PRRO) has shifted the dates of the 2020 PRRO circuit into 2021." What's a Masters Elite Runner to do? Train, train, train! But that's tough with no race outlets in sight.

A little trash talk over social media and Strava led the brilliant minds of the Garden State Track Club [GSTC] and the Atlanta Track Club [ATC] to devise a virtual competition. The original idea related back to 2019 when the GSTC had to win a showdown with the ATC at Tulsa to take the 2019 Masters Grand Prix Men's 40+ title. At virtually [ho, ho, ho] the same time, the ATC Men's 60+ team and the Greater Lowell Road Runners [GLRR] M60+ teams were also talking trash and talking competition!
Ben Balaban [R] and Brent Fields [L] at the 2019 USATF Masters 5K Championship in Atlanta

 [Photo: Mike Scott]
Mark Zamek [R] of the Garden State Track Club with Chad Hales of the Atlanta Track Club at the 2019 USATF Masters 5K Championship in Atlanta [Photo: Mike Scott]

GSTC got on the board first in that they had a virtual intramural competition involving just their own teams. That was, apparently, great for team camaraderie, and gave them a little experience with the 'time trial' format. Of course, the times do not carry over. See below the Intramural contest for the rules and rosters for the upcoming dual meets.

Scott Williams [L], Elliott Frieder [C], and Jonathan Frieder [R] celebrate the win in Tulsa that gave GSTC the 2019 USATF Masters Grand Prix 40+ Title [Photo Credit-GSTC Facebook post]

GSTC Intramural 

It started off with a birthday challenge from Mark Zamek:

"Every year on my birthday (April 14), I try to find a 5k race to kick off the racing season. ...This year there are no races being held so I’m holding my own “Social Distancing 5k”.  I’ll be running on the track solo as my first “race” of the year. Would anyone like to join me in the “race?" I will be giving out age group and age graded awards (i.e. club kudos) to all participants.  Just send your Garmin data to me next week along with any comments and we will collect the times and send out to the group. I’ve copied some of the 40’s youngsters on this as well; they just might be crazy enough to jump in on this challenge."

They had 19 competitors, all from the Men's teams; here's how it came out:

(1) Dave Ferruggia - 16:36
(2) Shawn Williams - 16:41
(3) Jason Timochko - 17:24.99
(4) Chuck Schneekloth - 17:45 (Also in the “most humble” category)

(1) Jonathan Frieder - 16:45
(2) Elliot Frieder - 18:00 (Also in the “Most inspiring” category)

(1)  Joe Hegge - 17:24
(2)  John Hogan - 18:26
(3) Nick VanLangen - 21:26
(4) Karl Leitz - 22:45

(1) Mark 'Grandpa' Zamek - 17:13
(2) Harold Porcher - 18:29
(3) John Hendy - 19:31
(4) Dave LaCouture- 20:22
(5) Brian Harris - 20:25

(1)  Gary Leaman - 19:50

65-69 Age Division:
(1) Peter Auteri - 22:45
(2) John Bergacs - 38:52

70 plus Age Division
(1) Francis Beideman - 24:04

Special Kudos for Competing Despite Adversity
See Mark Zamek for details.

(1) John Bergacs - 38:52 (2) Elliott Frieder - 18:00
(1) Chuck Schneekloth

As compiled and reported by Mark Zamek.
(1) Mark 'Grandpa' Zamek - 88.78%
(2) Jonathan Frieder - 85.4%
(3) Dave Ferruggia - 84.3%
(4) Shawn Williams - 83.3%
(5) Harold Porcher - 83%
(6) John Hogan - 82.5%
(7)  Elliott Frieder - 81.3%
(8) John Hendy - 81.1%
(9) Gary Leaman - 80.5%

All National Class performances!

Next up are the friendly competitions between GSTC and ATC, a number of divisions, and an M60+ competition between ATC and GLRR. Just for fun, I will see how the GLRR times in that competition would fare if they were thrown into the M60's division of the GSTC vs. ATC contest.

First the competition structure:
  • It can include Masters Men's and Masters Women's teams. 
  • Each team puts together their expected team roster with predicted finishing times. The team will be comprised of one big team for each club, including 40’s, 50’s, 60 plus men and 40 plus women.
  • The scoring will be based on the team that fields the least number in the age division. For example if GSTC has ten people in the 40-49 age group actually run, and ATC has nine, we score the top nine 40-49 guys. This will be the same for each age group.
  • We will do a series of three races: mile, 5k and 10k, with a week identified for when the race will be run. The race can be run any time during that week.
  • The race can be run on track or roads. Garmin data needs to be submitted to verify times. I will coordinate that on our end and Brian Sydow will coordinate on the ATC end. 
  • The club with the lowest cumulative time across all the runners for the given race wins. Ten points will be awarded for the winner and nine for the loser. For the final race it will be 10 for the winner and 8 for the loser so if a team has lost the first two races, they can still tie if they win the last race.
  • We will have a top 3 podium for each five year age group and for top age graded. 
The goal is to have fun and keep everyone motivated. A little trash talk doesn’t hurt either!
ATC suggested starting with the 5k since it appeals to the widest group of runners. All competitors should run their 5K between May 2nd and May 10th.


Here are the rosters submitted:
GSTC Men's 40's Team. Name Age Predicted Time
Dave Ferrugia 43 16:36  Chuck Schneekloth 43 16:36 Todd Wiley 49 16:45 Jonathan Frieder 49 16:45 Jason Timochko 43 17:25 Trevor Emmitt 42 17:45 Carlos Piniero 42 17:50 Robert Riordan 46 18:00 Chris Sallade 47 18:20 Steven Segaloff 49 18:30 Rob Liberto 44 18:30 Tim Kilroy 43 19:59 Matthew Leingang 47 20:15 David Wise ? 21:00 Shawn Williams 42 NT Elliott Frieder 49 OUT

GSTC's Chuck Schneekloth [R] edges Mike Madsen for the win at the 2019
USATF Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint, MI [Photo Credit: Crim Festival of Races]

I have been informed that both Williams and E. Frieder are covid-19 positive but are recovering. I take the 'OUT' to mean that E. Frieder will not recover in time to run in the 5K, but watch out for him later in this series. I am guessing that the 'NT' for Williams reflects that his state of recovery by March 10th is uncertain, but he expects to join in the race. Presumably he will run late in the challenge to be as recovered as possible. Unless GSTC provides an age for Wise, he cannot be included in the Age Grade competition. He is, apparently, not in the USATF membership data base.

ATC Men's 40+ Team
Brent Fields  48 16:45 Jack Westrick 16:55 Brian Sydow 46 17:00 Aaron Totten-Lancaster 44 17:10 Fred Dolan 47 17:15 Thomas Carroll 47 17:30 Kevin Gibson 41 17:45 Mike Gerber 40 17:45 Mike Castleberry 44 17:50 Nathan Deeter 40 18:00 Steve Bell 48 18:00 Ben McLain 45 18:40 Chris Weiss  45 19:15
Brian Sydow closing things out at the 2019 USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham [Photo: Mike Scott]

No ages were provided for the ATC 40+ runners on the rosters I was given. The ages entered above are from my research and are subject to human error.

GSTC Men's 50+ Team
Mark Zamek 57 17:00 Joe Hegge 51 17:24 John Hogan 54 18:26 Harold Porcher 55 18:29 Rudi Trivigno 51 18:45 John Hendy 59 19:31 Stephen Katz 52 19:55 Dave LaCouture 58 20:22 Brian Harris 56 20:25 Nick Van Langen 53 21:26 Karl Leitz 53 22:45

ATC Men's 50+ Team
Brad Slavens 51 17:30 David Matherne 55 17:30 Mike Strickland 52 17:50 Gary Droze 57 18:10 Lester Dragstedt 57 18:35 Fred Weir 57 19:30 Dave Lee 53 20:20

GSTC Men's 60+ Team
Gary Leaman 60 18:30 Russ Forsythe 61 21:30 Gus Stanzione 60 22:00 Peter Auteri 68 22:00 Francis Beideman 70 23:59 John Bergasc 68 38:00

Mike Anderson, in the red ATC singlet, at the 2019 USATF Masters 5K Championship in Atlanta [Photo: Mike Scott]

ATC Men's 60+ Team
Ken Youngers 63 18:30  Mike Anderson 62 19:30 Kirk Larson 68 20:30 Phil Richey 62 20:30 Davis Vaughn 60 ? Casey Hannan 60 ? Neil Feather 65 ?


GSTC Women's 40+ Team
Olena Rozhko 48 19:00 Maria Metzger 45 19:20 Heather McDermott 41 19:30 Aya Leitz 43 21:00

ATC Women's 40+ Team
Sonja Friend-Uhl 48 18:00 Alicia Eno 42 19:30 Jill Braley 41 21:00
Sonja Friend-Uhl striding for the finish line and the Overall Masters win at the 2019 USATF Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint, MI


Greater Lowell Road Runners 60's Team

Kevin Christie 62 Charlie Muse 63 John Hadcock 61 Peter LaGoy 60 David Westenberg 62

Greater Lowell Road Runners prominent across the front of the 60's from John Barbour #121 on the left, with Matthew Curran on his left elbow, across Reno Stirrat of Shore AC to Charlie Muse #212, at the 2019 USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham [Photo: Mike Scott]

The agreement between ATC and GLRR was to score the first three or, if it is desirable to have more direct contributions, the first four, both by place and by age-grading.


I am not going to do my usual preview where I pick winners and so on. The essence of this is a team competition. The overall competition between GSTC and ATC looks tight. It is harder to tell which way it might go with the inclusive rules they have as strong runners up front may easily be outweighed by slower runners in the 9th through 13th position, for example. (Almost) everyone counts, which is great! And it is all for fun, anyway, and to get a little more fodder for trash talking!

I also need to get this posted while it is still a preview and not a post-view! Best of luck to all of the runners, especially those who have not yet run their virtual 5K!

Kudos to ATC, GLRR, and GSTC for organizing the competition--Best of luck to all and whichever team wins can claim to be 'THE BEST' at least until the next time!

And who knows, going forward? Maybe some of our other teams will want to join in the fun!

[Tune in next week for the recap!]


  1. Thanks for posting - this is great and a needed outlet for so many of us - Jack Westrick is one of our guys 45-49. You had Weslock (sp?)

  2. Thanks for heads up-Weslock (sp?) corrected to Westrick now.

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