Tuesday, September 1, 2020

New M60 World Record in the Mile on the Track and Masters ‘Road Mile’ Records 2013-2019 Demystified

September 1, 2020. 

Dan King has been turning heads this summer with his newfound devotion to the Mile Run, whether on the road or on the track. He won the Virtual Brooklyn Mile outright, based on VDOT, earlier in the summer. Then he began his assault on the American and World records for 60-64 in the Mile Run on the track. Before his attempts, the M60 American Record was held by Masters Legend, Nolan Shaheed, at 4:53.01, at Portland OR, in 2012. The M60 World record was held by a 'Kiwi', Tony McManus, who ran 4:51.85, at Timaru NZ, also in 2012. King came up short at the Music City Distance Carnival in Nashville, TN on August 15th. He ran 4:57.27 in the Masters Mile where a pacer and a much younger Masters runner were well out front most of the way and King was leading a second group. Two weeks later, at the South Carolina Trackfest, King, as the only entrant in the Masters Mile, had two pacers to give him his best shot at a record. The pacers did a good job; King rose to the occasion, clocking a sterling 4:49.08 to smash both American and World records. Records may be made to be broken but King will always have the distinction of being the first man over 60 to break 4:50 in the Mile Run! What an accomplishment!

Dan King after running the top VDOT time in the Virtual Brooklyn Mile (after the close-up shot of the GPS watch, and with Covid-Mask at the ready!) [photo by Bruce Kirschner]

Dan King sprinting for the Finish Line at the MCDC Mile-So fast he is a blur! [My amateur attempt to save a snapshot from a Youtube video of the race at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELQQxAq7dy0&t=366s]


Last year at the end of August we were celebrating tremendous accomplishments at the 2019 USATF Masters ‘Road Mile’ Championships in Flint, MI. Like everything else for the past 5 and a half months, the HAP Crim Festival of Races went virtual this year so there was no 2020 Masters Mile Championship. The Mile Run has been a premier event on the track in the US for a long time. Prior to the establishment of the 1500 Meters as the approved distance for international competitions including the World and Olympic Games, the Mile Run was a fixture on the track. The Mile has been making a comeback in the US, in part due to promotion by ‘Bring Back the Mile.’ https://bringbackthemile.com/ There are featured races at both Outdoor and Indoor Tracks. The Fifth Avenue Mile is the longest standing Mile outside a track stadium but ‘Road Miles’ too have been proliferating in recent years.

Technical Background. The first USATF Masters 1 Mile Championship was hosted by Pittsburgh’s Liberty Mile in 2013. There were some terrific performances, but none were US records. The Mile had never been approved as a records-eligible road race, so they would just remain as course records or US bests, or so it seemed at the time. However, USATF began to work on getting the distance recognized for Masters Records. Once it would be approved, then the times would have to be vetted through the usual Records procedure. Many runners are not aware of the specifics that need to be checked for a fast time to become a record. This is more complicated for Road Racing than for Track and Field. For a race on the track to become a record, it must be at a USATF Championship [or a specified international competition]. For those meets, there are no issues of course measurement or timing. Typically it is known within seconds whether a US record has been set, although it may take a few minutes to confirm it. [Note-After posting this article, Gary Patton set me straight that TF records can also be set at non-USATF Championship meets. They then need to qualify in a similar way to that noted below for Road Races. USATF sanction is a requirement.] The world of road racing is not so simple.

USATF does not require that road race records be set at a USATF Championship but allows records to be set at other road events if they meet USATF requirements. The event must be USATF sanctioned and the course USATF certified and record eligible. The Race Director must fill out a short form that provides basic information about the race, certifies that the timing system used for the race conforms to USATF standards, and that the course was run as certified. Both the Race Director and the Race Referee have portions to verify and sign. Sometimes a city will have a construction project that requires the race to alter its course slightly. Any alteration would require a re-measurement and re-certification. The course must be run true on the day of the race; there can be no incidents that require or allow an unplanned rerouting of runners. The 2019 Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run had to announce, after the fact, that the course was a hundred meters or so short of Ten Miles due to a set-up error [because of construction] leading to an early 180-degree turn-around. That negated an American Record set by the winning runner in the Open category. Times run at USATF Masters Championships are now automatically record-eligible subject to the Referee’s assurance that the course was run as certified and that the timing system was appropriate and recorded the correct time for the race.

What makes a Certified course record-eligible? It should not be downhill (much), nor should it be possible that runners would have the wind at their backs for (too) much of the race distance. Specifically the course must not drop by more than one meter per kilometer, and the start to finish separation must be less than half of the complete distance. Many of the faster road mile courses are straight shots. Point-to-point courses are not eligible due to the separation requirement. And, of course, many of the straight-shot courses are also slightly downhill. If the drop on a mile course is more than about 1.6 meters from start to finish it would not be eligible anyway. An example is the Fifth Avenue Mile, arguably the most prestigious of the Road Mile Championships. Many runners turn in fast times there, but they cannot become American Records.

Once the Records Committee is made aware of a potentially record-setting time, the athlete’s name, time, distance, race, and location are entered into a Race Committee spreadsheet as ‘pending.’ The Chair of the Records Committee presents the slate of pending records to the appropriate USATF Committee at the next USATF Annual Meeting, along with a recommendation for ratification, deferral, or denial. Men’s and Women’s Open Records go to the Men’s LDR and Women’s LDR Committees; Masters Records go to the Masters LDR Committee. Typical reasons for deferral include things like paperwork incomplete or not filed, or course verification required. Even on a certified course, the Road Racing Technical Council may indicate that a re-measurement should be done if a record is to be approved. Reasons for denial are typically things like: the race was unsanctioned; repeated course verification attempts failed; or application incomplete/not filed and the normal 5-year time limit expired.

When a new distance becomes record-eligible, it may take a while for the record-processing engine to be up and humming. That was the case with the Masters Mile records. The first appearance for the Masters 1 Mile Run in the Records Committee spreadsheets for MLDR did not happen until spring 2018. Before that, any notion of a record was just that, notional, or folkloric, or ‘word of mouth.’ The clock on the 5-year time limit presumably did not start until spring, 2018. This, unfortunately, led to considerable confusion about exactly what the ‘Record’ was at the time of the 2014 through 2018 Masters 1 Mile Championship races. Delays in getting the paperwork from the 2013 races extended the confusion to 2019.

Evolution of Masters Mile Records from 2013 to 2019

Pittsburgh 2013 The first Masters Road Mile Championship was held in 2013, hosted by Pittsburgh’s Liberty Mile. That course was different than the current course in Pittsburgh, certified in 2019, but I understand the 2013 course was broadly similar. It was quite flat on wide streets, like the 5th Avenue Mile in NYC but, unlike that course, it runs straight for almost a half mile and then cuts over a block and heads back to the finish. It is essentially flat and has just the one 180-degree turn. It has 5% separation and no drop; it is record eligible. A number of Masters athletes showed up at the top of their game, ready to roll. [I will give 2014 MTF Age-Grade percentages with the Mile times as a reference point. That allows all times below to be graded on a single standard. Age Grading for the MLDR Mile was not formally introduced until the most recent revision this year. A new set of age-grading tables specifically for the Road Mile, were beta-tested on the 2017-2019 Masters Championships, so differ with what I list here for those events. Net times are permitted for Masters Records whenever gun time and net time differ; I report net times below. For the fastest runners, they may also be gun times.]

With Magdalena Lewy-Boulet and Sonja Friend-Uhl both entered in Women’s 40-44, everyone knew it would be a shootout. Those two, along with Madrea Hyman, a Jamaican Olympian in the 1500 meters and 3000 Meters Steeplechase, separated early from the field.  Lewy-Boulet, a Polish-born American citizen, outlasted the other two for an incredible 4:50 91.62% to 4:53 92.63%, for Friend-Uhl,  to 4:55 90.07%, for Hyman, finish. Wow!  

Magdalena Lewy-Boulet winning the 2011 Falmouth Road Race [Photo:
Creator: Christine Hochkeppel Credit: AP]

Sonja Friend-Uhl posted a 17:47 in winning the Women's 45-49 Division and finishing 3rd Overall at the 2016 USATF Masters 5K Championship hosted by the Syracuse Festival of Races [Photo Credit: Bob Brock Images/rhbrockj11@me.com]

Alisa Harvey had her eye out for Terry Ballou in 45-49 but was able to prevail 5:17 90.85% to 5:22 87.30%, another impressive duel! Doreen McCoubrie, known more for long distances as a Masters athlete, showed why she has ‘always loved the Mile.’ She split Harvey and Ballou in a magical 5:18 95.22% to take the 50-54 title by 15 seconds over her Athena teammate, Lorraine Jasper. Less than half a minute later, Kathy Martin sped across the finish line to take the 60-64 crown in 5:44 101.05%!

Kathy Martin sets a new W65 American 5K Record at the 2016 USATF Masters 5K Championship hosted by the Syracuse Festival of Races [Photo Credit: Bob Brock Images/rhbrockj11@me.com]


Perhaps even more amazing, she was only 4 seconds ahead of her 60-64 rival, Sabra Harvey 104.51%! What a 1-2 punch in that division! Leslie Chaplin split those two to take 55-59 in 5:45 92.52%. Ruth Thelen captured 65-69 in 7:10 90.16%. No one over 70 competed in the Women's race.

The Men’s race had its duels as well. Nicholas Berra held off Philippe Rolly 4:28 90.60% to 4:31 86.90% in M40.  

Nick Berra after breaking the M45 World Record for the 800 Meters at 1:56.10 [Photo from The Sentinel www.cumberlink.com]

Birgir Ohlsson, a Swedish born athlete with an 800-meter best of 1:47.09 and a 1500 meter best of 3:44.96, took the M45 title in 4:34 89.27%, ten seconds ahead of Mike Nier, 4:44 88.20%. Nier edged Chuck Novak by a single second! David Noyes, Alan Wells, and Mark Wycoff faced off in M50, with Wells pulling away from Wyckoff and Noyes to take the honors in a tight race, 4:40 90.89% to 4:45 89.30% to 4:46 91.19%. Bud Coates, Tom Dever, and Brian Pilcher locked horns in M55. Pilcher, known more in 2013 for his prowess from 5K to the Half Marathon, won the USATF Masters Athlete of the Year Award in 2013. Dever took first in 4:50 92.21%, with Coates second in 4:53 91.26% and Pilcher third in 4:57 90.03%. Tim McMullen, 60, and Peter Mullin, 62, came down to the wire in M60 with just inches separating them, McMullen taking the win in 5:19 86.77% to 5:20 88.03%! Gary Patton, the renowned Track middle distance runner, paced off Terry McCluskey and kicked hard at the finish to claim the M65 title, 5:22 91.55% to 5:26 88.77%.  

Gary Patton wins the M70 Title at the 2016 USATF Masters 5K Championship hosted by the Syracuse Festival of Races [Photo Credit: Bob Brock Images/rhbrockj11@me.com]

Doug Goodhue won the M70 contest by almost a minute, clocking a nifty 5:45 89.25%! Gehrett Smith won the M80 in 8:03 75.09%. Louis Lodovico, at age 89, took the M85 crown in 10:11 80.41%.

All those winners at the first USATF Masters 1 Mile Championship, who were US citizens, became 'folklore record holders'. Word of mouth carried news of their prowess but there was no formal document attesting to a status as record holder.

Flint 2014 The Championship moved to Flint, Michigan where the HAP Crim Festival of Races hosted the Championships as part of their Michigan Mile. Their signature 10-Mile Race was Saturday morning, preceded on Friday evening by the 1 Mile Race. The first three years, the course was arguably tougher than in the last three. It started, as did the 2017 race, on Kearsley, but instead of continuing  on across the river, it took a left turn into the U Michigan-Flint campus for a flat stretch before emerging just before the ¾ mile mark for an uphill 200 meters or so, followed by a left turn onto a flat, followed by a slope down to the finish. Even with the dip at the end, the course finished 4 meters higher than it started.

Whether tougher or not, some fine times were turned in at the 2014 Championships. Most memorable were the 6:08 100.38% turned in by Sabra Harvey, now in the Women’s 65-69 division. 

Sabra Harvey winning the Women's 65-69 5K Title in 20:44 at the 2017 USATF Masters 5K Championship hosted by the Syracuse Festival of Races [Photo Credit: Bob Brock Images/rhbrockj11@me.com]


Cora Hill, 71, was the first 70-74 winner among the women, clocking 9:08 74.42% to edge Ellen Nitz, 74, for the win by a mere 6 seconds! The star on the Men’s side was Tom McCormack, 60, who finished in the top ten, clocking a 5:03 91.35%

Tom McCormack claims the M60 title, by a wide margin, at the 2014 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships in Carmel, IN [Photo Credit: Andy Martin, Exclamation! Services]


Strong, age-division-winning performances were turned in by runners like McCoubrie, Thelen, Patton, and Goodhue, but none matched their Pittsburgh time.

Flint 2015 Over the same course in 2015 there were two new contenders. Ellen Nitz aged up to the 75-79 category establishing the first potential record in that class at 9:28 77.17%


Ellen Nitz, first USATF Masters Champion in the Women's 75-79 division, clocking 9:28 at the 2015 USATF Masters (Road) Mile Championships [Photo courtesy of RunMichigan.com]

On the Men’s side, Gregory Mitchell, Jerome Vermeulen, and John Gardiner came down to the wire in a bunch with Mitchell just holding off Vermeulen and Gardiner 4:29-4:30-4:31. 

Greg Mitchell 155, Jerome Vermeulen 178, and John Gardiner 132 dashing to the finish line at the 2015 USATF Masters (Road) Mile Championships [Photo courtesy of RunMichigan.com]

Mitchell was a second slower than Berra’s time from 2013, but Vermeulen moved to the top of the M45 leader board. Goodhue, now 73, ran a fine 5:55 but did not match his Pittsburgh time. Harlan Van Blaricum clocked the first M75 Mile time at 8:20 65.40%.

Flint 2016 The only improved time from previous years came in the Men's 75-79 division. Sandy Scott ran 6:51 81.00%. Marisa Sutera Strange, 53, ran a 5:27 in the Women’s 50-54 race, only 9 seconds slower than McCoubrie’s 5:18 in Pittsburgh, and finishing 2nd overall to Tammy Nowik.  

Marisa Sutera Strange and Melissa Gacek far left in red try, unsuccessfully to chase down Tammy Nowik at the 2016 USATF Masters (Road) Mile Championships [Photo courtesy of Carter Sherline, Frog Prince Studios]


Ellen Nitz in 75-79 did not match her 9:28 from 2015. John Gardiner’s winning time of 4:31 88.89% was 4 seconds slower than Berra’s 2013 time. 

John Gardiner wins the 2016 USATF Masters Road Mile Overall Championship at the Crim Festival of Races in Flint MI


Nat Larson, in his last year in the 50-54 division, clocked a 4:50 90.69%, but that was ten seconds behind Wells’s Pittsburgh time. Vermeulen was a few seconds slower than his 2015 time.

In July of 2016, Jennifer Bayliss ran a 5:21 in the Women's 45-49 division at the San Rafael Mile. Although not faster than Alisa Harvey's 5:17 at Pittsburgh, that time was not a ratified record. Melody-Anne Schultz ran 8:24 in the 70-74 division, the first potential record time in that division among women.

Flint 2017 Flint revised their course due to construction on the UM-Flint campus, continuing down Kearsley, across the river and then back to the old finish line just down from the Farmer's Market, but from the opposite direction. The Finish was now only 0.7 meters higher than the Start.

Sabra Harvey, 68, was back with a 6:06, lowering her 65-69 best by two seconds! 

Sabra Harvey 68 keeps pace with Lynn Cooke right, lime green kit and Erin LaRusso left, white singlet in the early going; the fast start helped Harvey to run the fastest Road Mile time so far for Women's 65-69 at the 2017 USATF Masters Championships in Flint [Photo courtesy of New Balance Tampa Facebook post]


Dianne Anderson, 71, lowered the 70-74 mark by over half a minute to 8:35 79.18%. Renee Tolan pulled away from Melissa Gacek and Alice Kassens to take the 40-44 win in 5:24 83.77%.  

Renee Tolan puts the hammer down to close out the Overall Win at the 2017 USATF Masters Road Mile Overall Championship at the Crim Festival of Races in Flint MI


Alisa Harvey, now in the 50-54 division, finished 4th overall and claimed the division win in 5:36 90.12%. Lorraine Jasper took 1st in 55-59, with a 5:50 91.20%, 11 seconds ahead of Lynn Cooke. 

The late Jim Askew, 81, lowered Smith's 80-84 mark by 19 seconds with a fine 7:44.  


The late Jim Askew clocking the fastest Road Mile yet for Men 80-84 at the 2017 USATF Masters Road Mile Overall Championship at the Crim Festival of Races in Flint MI

Doug Goodhue, now 75, won 75-79 in 6:17 86.74%, lowering Scott's 2016 time by over half a minute!

Doug Goodhue drives for the Finish Line with Total Intensity, setting a new fastest time for Men 75-79 at the 2017 USATF Masters Road Mile Overall Championship at the Crim Festival of Races in Flint MI


Nat Larson's winning time in 55-59 was 4:49 91.76%, lowering Dever's Pittsburgh mark by a second.

Nat Larson maintains focus all the way to the finish, clocking 4:49, the fastest Road Mile time yet in 55-59, at the 2017 USATF Masters Road Mile Overall Championship at the Crim Festival of Races in Flint MI


 Kevin Castille took the 45-49 title and the record in 4:24 92.65%, six seconds faster than Vermeulen's 2016 time. Castille led Christian Cushing-Murray, who finished 2nd in the division in 4:49. John Gardiner outlasted David Angell 4:37 87.65% to 4:39 in 40-44. Todd Straka clocked 4:48 to win 50-54.  

Todd Straka left and John Gardiner right racing stride for stride at the 1200 meter mark of the 2017 USATF Masters Road Mile Overall Championship at the Crim Festival of Races in Flint MI [Photo courtesy of Melissa Gacek]

Thomas Dever, now 60, was back and pulled away from a highly competitive field to take the title in the 60-64 in 5:19 8.77%. He was chased by Ken Youngers 5:23 86.44%, Kyle Hubbart 5:25 85.91%, Dan Spale 5:28 85.12% and Michael Young 5:30 83.88%. Tom Bernhard claimed the M65 title just 5 seconds off of Patton's Pittsburgh time. Harold Nolan came in seven seconds ahead of your reporter, taking 70-74 in 6:07!

Those races were in August. By the time they ran next in August 2018, the Race Committee had a preliminary list of pending records together.  But, at this point, there were no ratified records so everything was still up for grabs. No one knew for sure that the 2013 records would be ratified nor, for that matter, any of the ensuing faster times. Until there is a ratified record, all winning times could, potentially, be an American Record.

Flint 2018 After the previous year's race, the Race Director, Andy Younger, was talking to a few runners who suggested reversing the race course could lead to faster times. He took their advice; the 2018 race started at the Farmer's Market and ended with an uphill sprint to just past the Kearsley and Wallenberg intersection. It now had an acceptable 0.62 meter drop, instead of a rise, and flowed a little better, especially over the last 300 meters.

Jeannie Rice, later to be the 2019 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year, made her first appearance at a USATF Championship in Flint that year, winning 70-74 in 6:37 100.98%, lowering Anderson's 2017 mark by nearly two minutes!  

Jeannie Rice clocked 6:37 to win the Women's 70-74 title at the 2018 USATF Masters Road Mile Championship and set the American Record as ratified at the 2018 USATF Annual Meeting [Photo courtesy of Carter Sherline, Frog Prince Studios]


Doreen McCoubrie, now in 55-59, captured that crown in 5:33 97.18%, lowering Chaplin's 2013 mark by 12 seconds! 


Doreen McCoubrie holds her lead against a trio of pursuers as she clocks a new American Road Mile Record for Women 55-59, finishing 3rd Overall at the 2018 USATF Annual Meeting [Photo courtesy of Carter Sherline, Frog Prince Studios]

Tami Graf, 82, turned in the first octogenarian time at 11:31 73.33%.  

Tami Graf clocks the fastest Road Mile time yet for Women's 80-84, 11:31, at the USATF Masters Road Mile Overall Championship at the Crim Festival of Races in Flint MI [Photo courtesy of Carter Sherline, Frog Prince studios] 

Molly Watcke won the race overall out of the 45-49 division. Her 5:24 88.89% was only 7 seconds behind Harvey's 2013 effort. Melissa Gacek reversed the 2017 outcome, taking 40-44 in 5:32 81.75%, 5 seconds ahead of Tammy Nowik. Amy Fakterowitz won 50-54 in 5:51 85.19%, Mary Richards 60-64 in 6:50 88.71%, and Cynthia Lucking 65-69 in 7:29 82.27%, and Catherine Radle captured the 75-79 title in 10:15 71.27%.

The times by Rice, McCoubrie, and Graf were all potentially records. We learned after the fact that some good times out of the Men's race could not be considered for records because of a glitch in the timing system. The Finish Line camera and the Finish Line mat are supposed to be synchronized so that the time on the screen matches the time recorded and showing up on the timing device. The timer did not synchronize the devices so when the gun sounded, one system started but the other did not. Once the timer recognized the problem, the 2nd system was started manually. The result was a few seconds difference in the two times. As a result, two athletes, Roger Sayre in 60-64 and Lloyd Hansen in 70-74, were feted for running faster times than in years previously but the paperwork could not be filed for them to be considered in the running for a record. The Referee, Bill Quinlisk, noted the irony that these timing problems are rare, yet this was the second time Hansen had a potential record time wiped out by a timing malfunction. At the 2015 USATF Masters 12K in Alexandria VA, the timing mat at the start failed to pick up Hansen's chip. He had no net time; they had to go by his gun time which was 1 second off the record. As noted above, net time is allowed for in Masters Road Records.

Roger Sayre outran Ken Youngers to claim the 60-64 win in 5:14 88.15%, the fastest time posted since 2013. 

Roger Sayre gunning the engine all the way to the finish as he clocks a sterling 5:14 at the 2018 USATF Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI [Photo courtesy of Carter Sherline, Frog Prince studios]


Lloyd Hansen outpaced his teammate, Terry McCluskey, to win the 70-74 division in 6:02 84.01%, also the fastest time recorded since 2013. 


Lloyd Hansen closes out his 6:02 Road Mile victory in M70 at the 2018 USATF Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI [Photo courtesy of Carter Sherline, Frog Prince studios]

Other winners included Alan Black 40-44 in 4:41 86.41%, Charles Novak 50-54 in 4:46 88.99%, Alan Wells 55-59 in 4:57 89.29%, Peter Mullin 65-69 5:50 84.23%, Doug Goodhue 75-79 6:23 86.92%, and C. Christopher Rush, 82, in 8:41 73.34%.

Four months before the Championships, Mike Fremont, 96, ran 13:56 at the Grand Blue Mile in Des Moines, IA; that was the first potential record time performed in the M95 age division. Three months before the Championships, Jill Miller-Robinett, 62, ran 6:33 at the Devil Mountain Mile of Truth in Danville, CA. A month after the Championships, Sonja Friend-Uhl, 47, ran 5:07 at the Navy Mile in Washington, D.C. Neville Davey, 43, ran 4:22, also at the Mile of Truth in Danville, CA.  

Neville Davey left matches strides with Greg Mitchell in the 2016 USATF Masters 8K Championships in Brea CA [Photo Credit: Portland Running Company FB post]


Both the Mile of Truth and the Navy Mile were USATF certified, sanctioned, and record-eligible races. 

In December of 2018, the initial set of record times were presented to the Masters LDR Committee. None of the 2013 records were quite ready. The paperwork had been submitted but the Road Race Technical Council determined that the course had to be re-certified for record purposes; they would be listed as 'pending' but have to wait until the following year to appear as records. 

The 1 Mile Record Book read as below in late December 2018, with the ratified records listed first, in black print, with pending in blue, and 'pending or ratified, but superseded by a ratified record' in purple. Times run at a non Championship event, have that event indicated following the time.:

WOMEN 40-44 Renee Tolan 5:24 2017 Magdalena Lewy-Boulet 4:50 2013   45-49   Sonja Friend-Uhl 5:07 Navy Mile 2018 Jennifer Bayliss 5:21 San Rafael Mile 2016 50-54 Marisa Sutera Strange 5:27 2016 Doreen McCoubrie 5:18 2013 Alisa Harvey 5:36 2017  55-59 Doreen McCoubrie 5:33 2018 Leslie Chaplin 5:45 2013 Lorraine Jasper 5:50 2017 60-64 Jill Miller-Robinett 6:33 Devil Mountain Mile of Truth 2018 Kathy Martin 5:44 2013 Sabra Harvey 5:48 2013 Jill Miller-Robinett 6:40 2016 Mary Richards 6:35 2017  65-69 Sabra Harvey 6:06 2017 70-74 Jeannie Rice 6:37 2018 Melody-Anne Schultz 8:24 San Rafael Mile 2016 Ruth Thelen 8:11 2016 75-79 Ellen Nitz 9:46 2016  80-84 Tami Graf 11:31 2018

MEN 40-44 John Gardiner 4:31 2016 Neville Davey 4:22 Devil Mountain Mile of Truth 2018 Nicholas Berra 4:28 2013 45-49 Kevin Castille 4:24 2017 50-54 Todd Straka 4:48 2017 Alan Wells 4:40 2013 55-59 Nat Larson 4:49 2017 60-64 Thomas Dever 5:18 2017 Tom McCormack 5:03 2013 65-69 Tom Bernhard 5:18 2016 70-74 Gary Patton 6:07 2016 Harold Nolan 6:07 2017 Doug Goodhue 5:43 2013 75-79 Doug Goodhue 6:17 2017 80-84 Jim Askew 7:44 2017 85-89 Louis Lodovico 10:11 2013 95-99 Mike Fremont 13:56 2018

The names and times listed above in black, bold print were the ratified times and hence the American Records at the time of the 2019 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships. Because the timing problems in the 2017 Men's Championship race were not well known and because many of the 'folklore' records from 2013 were now listed as 'pending', there was confusion about what was a record and what was not. Nonetheless, the athletes ran their best. Their time had to be faster than the current record, not the pending one, to be announced as having broken the American Record. Unfortunately it appears there were again timing problems. One of the announced times at the close of the race was slightly faster than the times submitted to the Records Committee. The times I list below were reported as Official Results, but the up to-date Records list for 2019-20 deviates somewhat from one of those times.

Flint 2019 Sonja Friend-Uhl came looking for a win and a new record. It appeared at the time that she got both. She won the overall race and took the 45-49 title in a reported time of 5:05.7, which rounds up (as required by USATF timing rules for road races) to 5:06 95.26%


Sonja Friend-Uhl drives for the Overall Victory and a 5:07 Mile. That tied her American Record. At the 2019 USATF Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI [Photo by EnMotive]

That's one second faster than her Navy Mile record-setting jaunt. [But there must have been at least a minor timing issue as the time turned into Records for Friend-Uhl was a 5:07, tied with her Navy Mile effort.] Friend-Uhl kept Fiona Bayly at bay for the overall win, but Bayly took 2nd overall and 1st in 50-54. Her 5:22 92.86% was faster than Strange's 5:27 record from 2016. Marisa Sutera Strange and Doreen McCoubrie had a duel with Strange holding the edge at the end, 5:27 98.96% to 5:32. That was six seconds faster than McCoubrie's record run from 2018.  

Marisa Sutera Strange clocks 5:27 to establish the Women's 55-59 American Record at the 2019 USATF Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI [Photo by EnMotive]


Nancy Simmons clocked 5:54 to win 60-64 96.75% and better Miller-Robinett's 6:33 record from 2018. 

At the 2019 USATF Masters Mile Championship Nancy Simmons finishes in 5:54 to register the fastest M60 Mile in the Masters Championships in Flint [Photo by EnMotive]

Jeannie Rice again left  the competition far behind in racing to a winning W70 time of 6:24 106.20%, 13 seconds faster than her record-setting time of 2018.  


Jeannie Rice lowered her own Women's 70-74 American Record from 6:37 to 6:24 at the 2019 USATF Masters Mile Championship in Flint MI
[Photo by EnMotive]

Madeline Bost claimed the title in 80-84 with a 10:55 73.79%, bettering Graf's 2018 record by 36 seconds.  

Madeline Bost set a new American Record for Women 80-84 by running the Mile in 10:55 at the 2019 USATF Masters Mile Championships in Flint MI [Photo by EnMotive]


Jill Braley won 40-44 by a wide margin in 5:44 79.31%, while Jill Miller-Robinett took the title in her new 65-69 division in 6:42 91.89%; and Catherine Radle won 75-79 in 10:13.

2019 featured the closest Overall Masters race since 2015, and maybe the closest ever. Chuck Schneekloth held off Mike Madsen with a lean at the tape; both were given the same 4:37 time. Perusal of the finish line camera timer showed a difference of only 0.04 seconds-Wow!  

Chuck Schneekloth right holds off Mike Madsen to win the Overall Masters Race at the 2019 USATF Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI [Photo courtesy of EnMotive]

Tim Van Orden won the 50-54 division in 4:46 89.72%, bettering Straka's 2017 record by 2 seconds! 

At the 2019 USATF Masters Mile Championships Tim Van Orden #21030 closed out the fastest M45 Mile run in the Flint Masters Championships at 4:46 [Photo By EnMotive]

David Westenberg
won the 60-64 division in 5:13, running 1 second faster than Sayre in 2018 and 5 seconds faster than Dever's listed record from 2017.  

In the 2019 Masters Championships David Westenberg flies to the finish, clocking the fastest M60 Mile at the Flint Championships, 5:13. [Photo by EnMotive]

Bob Giambalvo captured M70 in 6:01, a second faster than the 6:02 posted by Hansen the year before and 6 seconds faster than the times posted by Nolan and Patton.  

In 2019, Bob Giambalvo left gives it his all and nearly cracks 6:00 in running the fastest M70 Mile in the Masters Championships in Flint [Photo by EnMotive]

Jon Desenberg ties the M80 Mile run by Lodovico in 2013 in Pittsburgh; they will share the American Record [Photo by EnMotive]


Jon Desenberg posted a 10:11 to win M85 in the exact same time Lodovico ran in 2013. Nathaniel Finestone took first in M90, establishing an American Record of 12:51

Nathaniel Finestone gives it everything he has to set a new M90 American Record, 12:51, at the 2019 USATF Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint MI [Photo courtesy of EnMotive]


In May 2019, Sherwood Sagedahl, 80, ran 7:08 at the TC Medtronic Mile, erasing Askew's 7:34 from the Record Books.

The times of Friend-Uhl, Bayly, Strange, Simmons, Rice, and Bost were all ratified at the 2019 USATF Meeting. That was also true of the times run by Van Orden, Westenberg, Giambalvo, Sagedahl, Desenberg, and Finestone. But at the same meeting all of the fine times from 2013 were finally ratified so Bayly and Simmons never got to see their names enshrined in the record books posted on the USATF website. The same is true for Van Orden, Westenberg, and Giambalvo who had their new records superseded by the faster 2013 times at the same 2019 USATF Meeting.

The next time the Records spreadsheet, which has already been converted to the USATF format, is posted, it might well read as follows (unless a new pending mark turns up), using black for a ratified record and blue for a pending mark.

WOMEN 40-44 Magdalena Lewy-Boulet 4:50 2013   45-49   Sonja Friend-Uhl 5:07 Navy Mile 2018, Michigan Mile 2019  50-54 Doreen McCoubrie 5:18 2013  55-59 Marisa Sutera Strange 5:27 2019  60-64 Kathy Martin 5:44 2013  65-69 Sabra Harvey 6:06 2017 70-74 Jeannie Rice 6:24 2019  75-79 Ellen Nitz 9:46 2016  80-84 Madeline Bost 10:55 2019

MEN 40-44 Neville Davey 4:22 Devil Mountain Mile of Truth 2018 45-49 Kevin Castille 4:24 2017 50-54 Alan Wells 4:40 2013 55-59 Nat Larson 4:49 2017 60-64 Tom McCormack 5:03 2013 65-69 Tom Bernhard 5:18 2016 70-74 Doug Goodhue 5:43 2013 75-79 Doug Goodhue 6:17 2017 80-84 Sherwood Sagedahl 7:08 2019 85-89 Louis Lodovico 10:11 2013 & Jon Desenberg 10:11 2019 90-94 Nathaniel Finestone 12:51 2019 95-99 Mike Fremont 13:56 2018

And on we go. Dan King will, no doubt, be trying for an M60 Road Mile Record in 2021. It will be fun to see if he can stay fit and hungry! Others will be looking for records as well! The 2021 Championships are scheduled for Rochester NY in June--fingers crossed we'll be ready to roll by then!

*I thank Andy Carr, USATF Records Chair, for access to select Records Committee spreadsheets. 

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