Saturday, September 12, 2020

PREVIEW: End of Summer Boulder Road Runner Virtual Series Wrap-up--Labor Day Week Challenge

September 12, 2020. The Boulder Road Runners organized a 3-race series for 60+ teams to cover the three major Summer Holidays, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. [See my posts on earlier races on May 28, June 9, July 12 and July 22.] There has been some attrition for the last round as some Clubs are heading into a Fall series or are busy with other races,  virtual or live. The teams participating this week are the Boulder Road Runners, Bowerman Track Club, Greater Lowell Road Runners, Greater Philadelphia Track Club, Shore Athletic Club, and a composite team, the Silverbacks, primarily from the Pacific Northwest. The window for racing is from September 4th through 12 Noon on September 13th. As with the Independence Day event, I have asked the organizers to hold all results until after my preview is posted. I examined the last set of rosters on September 11th; at the time of writing this preview, I have no knowledge on times run by any athlete.

Looking Forward to Race #3 in the BRR Summer 2020 Covid Virtual Series

With the traditional bookends of Memorial Day and Labor Day, this race puts an end to BRR's Covid Virtual Race Series. What are the teams building on? Here is a quick reprise. [Guidelines for Race #3 are given below the preview for the race.]

Memorial Day  

The Atlanta Track Club took the Men's Team honors at 88.00%, followed by Boulder at 83.22 and the Greater Lowell Road Runners at 82.42%. Just off the podium were Shore Athletic Club at 81.41 and Athletics Boulder at 78.98.

Women's Team honors went to Shore Athletic Club with a team average age grade score of 79.84%. Greater Lowell was not far behind at 78.23%.

Top 10 Men: The Individual podium consisted of Ken Youngers 63 17:30 93.52%, Tom McCormack 66 18:40 90.0%, and David Westenberg 62 18:32 87.59%. The next seven were: Martin Lascelles 85.90, Jeffery Dundas 85.84, and Kirk Larson 85.79, Doug Bell 84.86, Mike Anderson 84.84, John Hadcock 84.81, and Jack Pottle 84.02.

Top 5 Women: The Individual podium consisted of: Barbara Donelik 73 24:16 90.80%, Sally Reiley 60 22:38 81.89%, and Liane Pancoast 62 24:00 79.17%. he next two were: Susan Stirrat 75.27 and Julie Haynes 73.64.

Independence Day

In the Women's contest, the Boulder Road Runners, Greater Philadelphia Track Club and the Liberty Athletic Club joined the Memorial Day victors, the Shore AC, and 2nd place Greater Lowell. Shore AC 81.29 and Greater Lowell 79.43 went 1-2 again, with Liberty AC 75.45 slotting into third. They were followed by Greater Philly 73.86  and Boulder 72.89.  [5 scoring teams at 3 each= 15 scoring runners]

In the Men's competition, the Bowerman Track Club, Greater Philly and a composite team named the Silverbacks joined the fray. Greater Philly, at 84.73%, deposed Atlanta, at 82.46%, shunting them to third as Athletics Boulder, at 82.49%, took over 2nd place. They were followed by Boulder Road Runners 82.13, Greater Lowell 81.30, the Bowerman Track Club 79.89, Shore 78.11, and the Silverbacks 76.67. [8 scoring teams at 5 each = 40 scoring runners]

Top 5 Women: Barbara Donelik 73 24:39 89.18% and Sally Reiley 60 22:00 84.09% went 1-2 again, with, Alda Cossi 65 23:29 83.89%, new to the BRR series, closing out the podium. They were followed by Sandra Folzer 81.29 and Lynn Hermanson 80.91

Top 10 Men: Doug Winn 70 19:42 88.49% ran in the series for the first time and took top honors. Another newcomer, Nick Vetere 63 18:32 87.95%, edged the Memorial Day winner, Ken Youngers 18:33 87.87%, for 2nd place. They were followed by David Westenberg 87.61, Martin Lascelles 87.28, Dan King 86.50, Tim Conheady 86.17, Kirk Larson 85.46, David Longmuir 84.90, Mark Carver 83.88.

Altitude Adjustment Neither the Women's Individual nor the Team podium changed after the adjustment. The Men's podium saw the Boulder Road Runners surge to the top, with Greater Philly falling to 2nd, and the other mile high team, Athletics Boulder, slotting into third. The altitude adjustment elevated (pun intended) Paul Hughes, running at over 7,000 feet, to 1st in the team competition, 90.18%, and Dan King to 2nd at 89.53%, leaving Doug Winn in 3rd.

Preview of Labor Day Week Races


So far it has been the Shore AC winning both Memorial Day and Independence Day. In the initial contest they bested Greater Lowell. In the follow-up it was Shore and Greater Lowell going 1-2 again. The new teams to the contest, Liberty AC, Greater Philadelphia Track Club,and Boulder Road Runners, took 3rd through 5th in that order. The same five teams go at it again.

Shore AC comes in with the same roster but, from FB posts, I know that Susan Stirrat, who was Shore's 3rd runner in on Independence Day, has missed the month of August due to an injury. Lucky for Shore they have added Sue Patla 62 who ran a 26:46 5K last weekend. That age grades a little better than Stirrat's effort for Independence Day. So Shore should have no worries about their top 4 runners. Barbara Donelik should lead the way again, with Patla, Diane Rothman, Kim Hart and Katherine Packowski likely to run 2-3-4-5. And who knows, even with the lost time, Stirrat may find her way back into the mix. Even so, they have Greater Lowell and an improved Greater Philly team to contend with.

Greater Lowell is playing 'catch-up'! With the same roster as last time, they have their work cut out for them if they want to rise from 2nd to 1st. But they have a talented team; they only lost to Shore last time by less than 2 percentage points, 79.43 to 81.29. Sally Reiley, Liane Pancoast and Julie Haynes give them a solid 1-2-3. One or more of those three will need to improve their standing; Michelle Roche and Amanda Maffei provide important support should any of the top 3 fall back.

Greater Philly looks to move up. They return their top two runners, Sandra Folzer and Kyra McGrath. They won't have Mary Fanelli-Lund whose score at 3600' feet of altitude helped, especially after thealtitude adjustment. But on paper they are stronger. They have added Cheryl Bellaire 61, who ran a 23:27 5K last September that age-grades at 79.82, which would make her Philly's #2 age-grader. 

Liberty AC will likely be short-footed, losing both Joan Butterton, recovering from a solo through-hike of the 270 mile Long Trail from Massachusetts to Canada, and Nora Mann, injured. Alda Cossi will likely lead the way again, but two of the other three runners, Drusilla Pratt-Otto, Anne Shreffler, and Karen Lein, will have to step up as Butterton was the second best age-grader for Liberty. 

What about the host team, the Boulder Road Runners? Lynn Hermanson, Nancy Antos, Catherine Groneman, and Sara Cohen return for Boulder. They have added three strong runners in Robyn Balsley, Lorraine Green, and Cindy Sutton. They will help with support but unless one of the four mentioned above run into trouble, neither of these newcomers, with the possible exception of Balsley, are likely to crack the top 4.

The Team Race should come out similar to July if all of the above runners come in as healthy as then, apart from the specific difficulties noted. If Donelik, Rothman, and Patla run as expected, Shore should take top honors again. The big difference should be that Greater Lowell and Greater Philly have a heck of a battle for 2nd. If all run at their best, Lowell should have just enough strength to beat Philly in a contest that could come down to hundredths of a percentage point! With Butterton out for Liberty, it appears that Boulder might be just strong enough to wrest 4th place from Liberty, even without any help from the altitude adjustment. With the altitude adjustment, Boulder should take 4th and Liberty 5th. The other three should still finish 1-2-3.

Shore Athletic Club   Greater Lowell Road Runners     Greater Philadelphia Track Club

The Individual Contest is likely to feature the same podium as in July. Donelik finished 4 percentage points ahead of Reiley, and Reiley was over a percentage point ahead of Cossi, with Folzer another two percentage points back. The lone newcomer who could crack onto the age-grading podium is Bellaire. But it would take a big effort; she would have to improve on her effort at last September's 5K by at least two full age-grading percentage points, a big ask! Once the altitude adjustment factors in, Lynn Hermanson's age grade score approaches that of the 3rd place finisher in July, Cossi. If Hermanson can improve on her July adjusted score by a half percentage point she is virtually tied with Cossi's July score.

Unadjusted: Barbara Donelik   Sally Reiley   Alda Cossi

Altitude Adjusted: Barbara Donelik   Sally Reiley   Lynn Hermanson



Of the teams that are still in the competition, Memorial Day saw the order of finish as Boulder Road Runners, Greater Lowell Road Runners, Shore Athletic Club, and Athletics Boulder. Independence Day saw a shake-up as the Greater Philadelphia Track Club, Athletics Boulder, and Boulder went 1-2-3, with Greater Lowell, the Bowerman Track Club, Shore, and a composite team, the Silverbacks, following in that order. Athletics Boulder is out of this September contest though.With the altitude adjustment, it was Boulder, Greater Philly and Athletics Boulder 1-2-3, followed by Lowell et al, none of whose scores changed. Will this week see a repeat of the July outcomes or has team strength changed?  

Greater Philly is not as strong; their #'s 1 and 5 runners from July, Nick Vetere and Chuck Shields are out this time. They have added Duncan Smith; unless he runs faster than suggested by his 23:54 in the Main Line 5K last year or at Club XC at Lehigh, where he clocked 39:49, he will add depth rathere than eeded top 5 speed. The three returning runners from their top 5 in July, Tim Conheady, Mark Carver, and Bob Reynolds are all strong runners. They will have to run their best to offset the loss of Vetere and Shields. Jeff Hayes, their #6 runner in July, only has to run a little faster to crack the 80% level in age-grading. That would help. But Tim Jones is likely to be in their top 5 as well; he will need to get well up into the 70% range for Philly to have a chance to repeat their July victory.

Boulder can expect a better age grade out of Roger Sayre as he has had another 2 months to recover fully and move up from being the #2 runner in July to his usual spot atop the Boulder team. Has anything else changed? They still do not have all of their big guns in the race but they look determined to take back the win before the altitude adjustment as well as after it. If Paul Hughes can run another top time, whether at 7,000 feet or if he comes down towards mile high, and if Sayre can surge up above 85% with an altitude adjustment around 87 or above, they will be in good shape. Doug Bell, who copped an impressive 84.86% age grade in the Memorial Day race but skipped the July 4th race, is back. Jack Pottle should be close to those three, and Adam Feerst not far behind Pottle. Mike Fronsoe, a nonresident member from Louisiana has been coping with injury and the aftermath of Hurricane Laura; they will miss his strong support. He is listed to compete but it will probably not be at his best. Should they need it, Jeff Barros, Benji Durden, and Jay Survil provide strong fall-back support.

Greater Lowell is loaded this time around; for the first race in this series, they are almost at full strength, lacking only John Barbour. With Mark Reeder, entered for the first time in this series, and Charlie Muse apparently back at full fitness, they are ready to contend for the win. Reeder ran 36:15 in the Lone Gull 10K last year and 36:45 in the 10K Masters Championship; splitting the difference to evaluate at 36:30 gives an age grade of 88.90%. He should lead the way although David Westenberg's 87.61% from the 4th of July is not far off. If Charlie Muse is fit enough to run around 38:00, as he was in summer 2019, that would bring in an 87.81%. John Hadcock has truggled a bit with some niggling injuries but should still be able to come in well above 80%; in JUly he collected an 82.96%. Glenn Stewart and Kevin Christie both came in a bit under 80% in July. Perhaps with extra inspiration from their teammates' drive for the victory they can crack 80. We shall see. Peter LaGoy, Bill Dumont and Peter Wasylak provide additional support if needed. 

Bowerman Track Club will be led again by Doug Winn who, in July, bested all runners in the unadjusted standings at 88.49%. He will be accompanied by the same crew as in July. Steve Kollars, Chuck Coats, Mark Stilson, and Richard Punches all graded in the upper 70's in July, and will be opushing to crack 80 this time around.

Shore AC has corrected something that just seemed wrong earlier in this series. How can there be an M60+ team without Reno Stirrat listed? Stirrat has struggled this summer but appears to be mostly out of rehab and into serious training again. It seems unlikely he can run up to his usual pace, but he is likely to factor in the team contest at least. If we think of Stirrat's normal as being around 19:00, perhaps he can run around 20:00? If so, he grades at 83.67. That may be too much too soon but a score in the very low 80's seems plausible. If so, Stirrat would score in the neighborhood of Shore's top 3 in July. Those three are John Kilduff, David Huse, and Kevin Dollard who graded at 82.90%, 81.19%, and 80.97%. Shore has 11 runners on their roster; they are the only team with the possibility of having an 'A' and a 'B' team this week. Scott Linnell was the 4th runner in last time at 75.46% but this time may not be needed for the top 5. If Harold Nolan runs a fast mile, as seems likely, Linnell can be one of the anchors of a Shore 'B' team. Nolan is more of a track than a road runner. I presume he is entered because the mile is allowed for this third race. When he was 70, Nolan ran 6:07 in the USATF Masters Road Mile Championships at the 2017 HAP Crim Festival in Flint. Using the 2020 MLDR age-grading calculator, that would grade at 83.51. He would need to run 6:22 at age 73 to match that. A 6:29 in the Indoor Mile at the USATF Indoor Championships in March 2019 suggests a 6:22 might be a stretch. But a score in the low 80's for Nolan seems attainable. A 6:34 would get him an 81%.Shore has added two other runners to their roster, Michael Mooney and Spider Rossiter. Mooney ran his 5K's last summer in around 20:45. He was 63 then for an age grade of 78.55%. But he also ran 5:40 in a couple of road miles; those age grade at 84.35%. As the allowable downhill drop is 2% for the Mile, it seems likely Mooney could choose that event. If so, he might score an age grade in the low to mid 80's. Rossiter, in 2017, ran 5K's in the low to mid 22's, at age 66. Those age graded at about 75% so he will likely wind up on the 'B' team. Others who competed in July include Paul Deykerhoff, James Wright, and Mike Washakowski; if they score in the upper 60's to low 70's as they did in July, they will also contribute to the 'B' team.

The Silverbacks will be attempting to move up a notch past Bowerman but has the same crew that finished 3 percentage points behind Bowerman in July. David Longmuir will likely lead the way again. He turned in an 84.90% in July and will look to raise that a bit this time. Les Sharpe also cracked 80%, with Russ Otani just under. If  Otani could also crack 80, that would help their cause.  80. David Anderson came in just over 70%. If Jim McGill can move up from the upper 60's to low 70's, that would also help. Patrick Dwyerprovided solid support as 6th runner in on July 4th. 

Bowerman and the Silverbacks do not appear to be in the hunt for the podium; unless someone drastically improves or has run into injury or other problems, the Silverbacks will compete hard and wind up in 5th, with Bowerman comfortably ahead in 4th. Bowerman finished almost 5 percentage points behind Greater Philly in July. With Philly lacking both Vetere and Shields, they will be hard pressed to stay ahead of Bowerman. If one or two of the Bowerman runners can raise their performance, they are virtually even with the Philly team that is showing up for this Labor Day challenge. Shore should be right in the mix with Philly and Bowerman for the final podium position. If Kilduff, Huse, and Dollard run in th elow 80's as they did in July and two of the three additions, Stirrat, Mooney, and Nolan, can also scor ein the low 80's they will probably outdistance both Philly and Bowerman to take the final podium spot. Boulder and Greater Lowell will be lining up toe to toe and driving stride for stride after the win. If all run up to their potential, they should both average around 85 pct. points. If Sayre is fully recovered and can muster something like an 87% (without adjustment), with Hughes turning in another stellar 90, and Bell posts around 85 or above, they will push Lowell for the unadjusted win. Lowell appears to have just enough though. If Reeder can grade around 89, and Westenberg and Muse can both top 87, all they need for the unadjusted win should be for Hadcock to match his 83% from July and for Stewart (or Christie) to come in near 80%. So Lowell is my pick for the unadjusted win, with Boulder a very close 2nd, Shore third, Philly 4th, followed by Bowerman and Silverbacks. For the altitude adjusted win, Boulder definitely has the edge for the win, followed by Lowell, Shore, Philly, Bowerman and Silverbacks.

Unadjusted: Greater Lowell Road Runners   Boulder Road Runners   Shore Athletic Club

Altitude Adjusted: Boulder Road Runners   Greater Lowell Road Runners   Shore Athletic Club 


Mark Reeder's entry and Roger Sayre returning to full strength makes the Individual contest a bit less certain. Those two are close to the July winner, Doug Winn, on age-grading terms. I give Reeder a slight edge over Winn, and both a slight edge over Sayre when he is competing at altitude without an adjustment. Doug Bell has battled Doug Winn often over the years but again, with Bell at altitude, Winn has the edge. Charlie Muse and/or David Westenberg could also factor in for the podium battle.

With the altitude adjustment, it looks like Sayre, Hughes and Reeder in that order; Winn and Bell most likely battle for 4th and 5th, with Winn slightly favored.

No adjustment: Mark Reeder   Doug Winn   Roger Sayre

Altitude adjusted: Roger Sayre   Paul Hughes   Mark Reeder

Check back in a few days for the recap of this, the final race in the Boulder Road Runners' Summer Holiday Virtual Race Series.

Guidelines for Race # 3

The paragraphs below are adapted from the BRR Official Guidelines [dated 8/30/2020] distributed to Team Representatives by Roger Sayre .

1. Distances: Men's teams select from 1 Mile, 5K, or 10K. Women's teams select from those three or an 8K. Runners can run any of the distances and may run them multiple times. In the end the runner must select the one race and time they wish to submit. Each runner's time is age graded and the team score is based on the age-grade percentage of the team members.

2. Validation of Virtual Race time: Each individual submits a screenshot of their GPS watch or GPS/Strava link to their race course and shares it with their Team Representative for validation purposes. 

3. Distances of races held on the track should be measured by counting laps (12.5 for 5K and 25 for 10K). Note that the 1 mile on a 400 meter track is 4 laps plus 9.3 meters. Runners must also submit their GPS information for time validation (note: we recognize that GPS on a track is not accurate, but the lap information provides confirmation). That is, GPS provides the time and the number of laps provides the distance with the GPS providing a rough confirmation of distance run. 

4. Team Scoring Requirements: No more than three of the scoring team members from men’s teams can run the 5K. That means that at least two of the five scoring team members must run either a 1 mile or 10K. Likewise, only two of the three women’s team scorers can post a 5K time, the third scorer must run a 1 mile, 8K or 10K.

5. Participant Quaifications: Participants should be a current or former, but recent, i.e., 2018-2020, member of USA Track & Field (USATF) and a current member of the USATF-registered member club organization they are serving on. Consistent with USATF rules, age grading would be based on the age of the individual on their chosen race day with no age increment applied, e.g., 66.0. If they had not already completed one for the Fourth of July Weekend event, individuals need to read, agree to terms and conditions of, and submit the online Participant Waiver form, which should be completed prior to the start of the racing period. The waiver can also be found at

6. Courses: The virtual races can be run on any surface, including a track. Roads, bike paths or gravel trails are recommended, if practical. Courses can have variability, but drop in elevation between start line and finish line should be less than 50 feet (16 meters) for 1 mile; 83 feet for 5K (5 m/km) and 165 feet for 10K (also 5 m/km). Courses can be point-to-point, with no maximum distance criteria other than the race distance itself. Times will be age graded using the road race calculator (see “Scoring” section below).

7. Altitude Conversion: Runners racing at an elevation above 3,500 feet will have their finishing time converted to a sea level equivalent based on NCAA altitude adjustment standards. Rankings will reflect both converted times and non-converted.
The adjustment for 5K/10K at 3501-4228 [Bend, OR] is about 1.6/2%; for 4229-4849 [Greeley CO] about 2.6/3.1%; on up to about 3/3.7% at 5270-5398 [Denver CO]; rising to 4.7/5.6% at 6449-6935 [Flagstaff AZ]. Adjustments for the 1 Mile are about 80% as large as the adjustments for the 5K. For example, the 5K adjustment for Denver is 3%; for the 1 mile it is 2.5%.

8. Team Composition: Teams may be composed of five or more individuals. The top five age graded individuals score. If there are 10 individuals competing, the second group of age grade finishers will be considered the B team. 

9. Covid-19 Considerations: Safe racing practices and local social distancing regulations should be followed to best avoid transmission of COVID-19. For this reason, we still recommend that there is social distancing, e.g., spacing at least 6 feet apart, and not drafting. Runners are responsible for their own health and safety and should take all necessary measures to limit exposure to potentially infected participants and non-participants on the course. Individuals should select the time, place and terrain for their races accordingly to minimize unnecessary exposure or the risk of injury. Team Representatives may also want to consult USATF guidance about COVID-19 at

Pacing or group running is allowed for this event if permitted by local guidelines, e.g. gathering of 10 or more runners and running in a group is allowed in this event if local guidelines allow it. In addition, using a race time from a live road or track race scheduled within the September 4 to September 13 time frame is also allowed, if such an event can be found. 

10. Scoring: Based on USATF age grading standards. Team size is unlimited. For teams composed of 5 individuals the average of age grade scores for all finishers represents the team score. The next set of 5 individuals to finish from the same team will be designated the B team and scored the same way. For the Fourth of July Weekend races, only the first three women will be scored for the smaller women’s teams. The latest version (2020) of the following online age grading calculator will be used to calculate age grade scoring: Note that track times will be age graded using the road race calculator. The teams will be ranked by adding highest combined age grade scores. Individuals in the 70-79 age group may drop down to the 60-69 age group, but only the top age grading participant in the more senior age group will be scored in the top five team finishers.

11. Race Results: Results for the Labor Day Weekend Virtual Races will be posted as soon as possible after the racing period. Teams and individuals that participated in all three virtual race events, i.e., those held during the Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day Weekends race periods, will be included in a separate set of cumulative rankings which consolidate the team and individual results for all the events.

12. Fees: There are no registration fees or other costs associated with virtual racing sponsored by the Boulder Road Runner’s M60+ team

Although the guidelines make references to USATF membership and USATF's age-grading calculator for road racing, these virtual race events are not directly affiliated with USATF in any way.

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