Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Recap of Garden State Track Club's Quarantine [Virtual]Games-3000 Meter Masters Races

November 14, 2020.  During the week surrounding Halloween, Masters runners from the Boulder Track Club, Cal Coast Track Club, Garden State Track Club chased around a track for 7.5 laps in a time trial format. Although, to be frank, the two primary contending clubs, Garden State and West Valley both designate one day, often a Saturday morning for a day to gather at the track and run your time trial. Runners observe social distancing, but more than one runner can go at a time, building team camaraderie and making for slightly faster times due to the sense of competition. This is the third time trial (individual) event in the series along with one relay event. These events help to relieve boredom and provide motivation for training. West Valley also has an upcoming goal 'race' that is just a few weeks away. West Valley's John Markell noted in September: "After all, we're optimists.  If Club Nats is a no-go, we plan to run a 10 x 10,000m relay, on a track, in December, around the time when Nats would have been.  Note: this is a relay race, so one runner at a time adheres to social distancing rules, nationwide.  Why 10 x 10,000m? We've decided to take a stab at the masters world record for the event, found here:  http://www.recordholders.org/en/list/relay.html  So, why not?" The Masters Record for the 10 x 10,000 meter is apparently 6:08:33; that requires the 10 runners to average  36:51.3 average. It seems a worthy goal, not impossible, but a worthy challenge.

INDIVIDUALS M40+ Top runners from the 8K trial on September 19th and the 5K trial on October 10th returned to contend for the 3K title. Duncan Nyasinga and Clint Wells have finished 1st and 3rd respectively in those two events. Peter Gilmore, who finished 2nd in the 5K, 24 seconds behind Nyasinga would try to stay closer this time. The 4th through 6th finishers in the 5K, Mark Yuen, Chris Grauch, and Todd Rose, were also in the field, as were Matt Yacoub and Chris Grauch, who finished 4th and 5th in the 8K. Chuck Schneekloth, chief organizer of these Quarantine Games [QG] and the winner of the 2019 USATF Masters Road Mile Championship competed for the first time in the series. John Gardiner is a perennial podium finisher at USATF Masters Championships. In 2017, he finished 3rd in the USATF Masters XC Championships on that tough course in Bend OR, and followed that up with a win in the USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships and seconds in the Road Mile and 15K. That might have been a trifecta; the runner who finished ahead of Gardiner in the Mile and 15K Championships has since accepted a USADA anti-doping sanction based on a 2019 Masters Championship race. Kevin Shirk, who finished 9th in the Quarantine 8K, has wheels that might come in handy. On July 25th, he took the Masters title at the Loudoun Street Mile in Winchester VA in 4:24. When Gilmore was in his late 20's, he ran sub 2:15s at the Boston and New York Marathons. But he has not run a marathon in the last decade. Nyasinga, by contrast, has run at least two marathons in each of the years, 2017-2019. His most recent  effort at the NYC Marathon was 2:33:27 as a newly minted Masters athlete. Both are fine athletes; perhaps Gilmore has more pop for a short race now than Nyasinga does? They would put it to the test, although on tracks 3,000 miles apart.

As it turned out, Gilmore did close the gap on Nyasinga, from 24 seconds to zero! They had the same time, 8:58! Sub-nine--Zing! If they had met on the same track, no doubt one or the other, would have taken the title in a photo finish. In this Virtual outing, they were declared co-winners! Nyasinga is still unbeaten so far in the QG.

Duncan Nyasinga Hip #2 taking the turn in lane 2, with GSTC Open Runners


Shirk's miler 'cred' was polished by a fine 9:02 to finish off the podium. Wells finished 4th, in 9:19,his first finish off the podium in the QG. The remainder of the top 10 poured in over the next few seconds: Grauch 9:21, Rose, 9:22, Gardiner 9:23, Dave Ferrugia & Matt Yacoub 9:25, Yuen & Konrad Knutsen 9:26, and Schneekloth 9:27. 

Duncan Nyasinga & Peter Gilmore 8:58   Kevin Shirk 9:02

M50+ The West Valley trio, Ivan Lieben, Mark Callon, and Chuck Mullane, who took 1-2-3 at the QG 5K time trial, returned to attempt a repeat sweep. All three ran stronger in the 5K than the 8K. So an event like the 3000 meters that requires speed may be even more to their liking. Garden State's Todd Wiley and Mark Zamek, would try to break them up; they finished only one second and 6 seconds, respectively, behind Mullane in the 5K. If anything the West Valley threesome ran stronger in the 3000 Meters. Lieben took the win in 9:28, with a 20 second gap back to Callon and Mullane in 9:47 and 9:49. 1-2-3 for West Valley again! Zamek was 4th in 10:01, followed 10 seconds later by his teammate, Steven Segaloff, who moved up from a 9th place finish in the 5K to a 5th in this 3000 meter race. 

Steven Segaloff eyeglasses leading the pack on his way to a 10:11 3000 Meter time and 5th place finish in the QG


They were followed by Rob Arsenault and Ed Randolph, both in 10:12, 

John Hogan getting the job done on a rainy day! As 5th runner in, he sealed the deal for the GSTC M40 team.


Wiley 10:14, Joe Hegge 10:18, and John Hogan 10:28.

Ivan Lieben 9:28   Mark Callon 9:47   Chuck Mullane 9:49

M60+ Seven runners from Cal Coast participated in each of the first two events, the 8K and the 5k. But no other club entered a complete team. That may have made it harder to get folks to show up for this event, or it may be due to other factors. Mark Core who took the crown in the first two events, was absent for the 3000 meters. Brian Nelson, who finished 2nd in the 8K and 3rd in the 5k, was the returning favorite. Garden State's Gus Stanzione, who finished 3rd in the 8K behind Nelson would try to reverse that outcome.  


Gus Stanzione surges off the turn on his way to a 2nd place finish in the QG M60+ 3000 Meters in 12:02!

Tom Albright, who finished right behind Stanzione in the 5K, would try to join his teammate, Nelson for a 1-2 finish. In a Virtual Race it is probably more likely that Nelson gradually pulled away than made a sudden move, but we will never know. Either way, Nelson took the win comfortably in 12:02, with Stanzione  in 2nd place, and Albright a distant 3rd. Mark Hemmel 12:42 and Paul Cook 12:53 finished 4th and 5th.

Brian Nelson 11:47   Gus Stanzione 12:02   Tom Albright 12:39

W40+ Elena Rozhko and Allison Steele would renew their rivalry. Steele came in 18 seconds ahead of Rozhko in the QG 8K. But Rozhko blew the 5000 meter field apart with a stunning 18:25. Steele took 2nd a half minute, with Jen Martin another half minute back in 3rd. Heather McDermott finished just off the podium in 20:16. All four returned to see how the shorter distance would shake out. Although the times were closer than in the 5K, Rozhko was still able to build a substantial gap, winning in 10:39, with Steele second in 11:00. 

Elena Rozhko and friend/supporter at track for her 3000 Meter time trial in the QG event, which gave her the Virtual win in 10:39!


Martin was a half minute back in 3rd, followed by McDermott in 11:48. Natalia Crawford, a newcomer from Boulder, finished 5th in 12:41.

Elena Rozhko 10:39   Alli Steele 11:00   Jen Martin 11:33

W50+ Kim Aspholm 50 competed for Garden State's 40+ team but was the only 50+ runner entered so took the W50+ title unopposed in a fine 12:19!

Kim Aspholm 12:19 

Kim Aspholm puts in a rainy day 3000 Meters to take the W50 Individual title and contribute to GSTC's W40+ team triumph


TEAMS M40+ In the 8K event, Garden state got the win on a tight threesome of Jonathan Frieder, Dave Ferrugia, and Kevin Shirk finishing 7th through 9th. Duncan Nyasinga led the way in 1st and Elliott Frieder closed off the scoring by slamming the door at #13. West Valley finished 2nd, six points back. Cal Coast took 3rd with 72 points, a single point ahead of Boulder in a tightly contested event!

In the 5K event, West Valley was able to reverse the tables.Although Peter Gilmore and Mark Yuen were not able to stay with Garden State's Nyasinga, they broke up Nyasinga and Shirk. Even more critical to the win, Shirk was followed in by West Valley's Todd Rose, Konrad Knutsen, and Neville Davey, who finished before Garden State's 3rd runner. That sealed the win for West Valley, 32-42. Boulder took 3rd with 55 as Cal Coastdid not field a complete team.

Now in the 3000 meter event, it was the same story for Cal Coast; their 3 runners competed in the individual contest only. Boulder has top end runners but currently lacks the depth to compete with West Valley and Garden state for the win. As noted above, Gilmore, this time, was able to match Nyasinga; both teams were awarded a single point. Four seconds later, Shirk sprinted in to give Garden State 4 points from their top two runners. Boulder's Clint Wells and Chris Grauch kicked away from the chase pack, to take 4th and 5th in 9:19 and 9:21, just ahead of West Valley's Rose, 6th in 9:22. Cal Coast's John Gardiner finished next in 9:23, with his teammate, Matt Yacoub two seconds back. Neither received a finishing position in the team race. But Ferrugia, who came across level with Yacoub, nailed 7th place for Garden State. One second later, West Valley's Yuen and Knutsen claimed 8th and 9th, a single second more ahead of Garden State's Schneekloth. Both teams now had 4 runners in. For West Valley, the scoring, so far. was 1+6+8+9 =24; for Garden State 1+3+7+10 = 21. Eight seconds later, it was all over; Garden State's Shawn Williams clocked 9:35 to take 11th place and slam the door on west Valley. Garden State's total for 5 runners was 31. 

L to R Marco Cardoso, Shawn Williams and Jason Timochko clocking their  3000 meters along with a runner from the Women's Open team.

Jonathan Frieder clocking his 3000 Meter Run in splendid, socially distanced, isolation

West Valley's best possible potential score was 36. In fact, two more Garden State runners, Jonathan Frieder and Jason Timochko, finished in 15th and 16th before West Valley's # 5 runner. A few seconds later Jonah Backstrom took 17th for West Valley, closing their scoring at 41 and assuring them 2nd place, well ahead of Boulder. Aaron Kleinman, of Boulder, had finished 14th in the midst of the Garden State crew. He was joined by Ben Cowan and Flavio DeSimone who ran 10:20 and 10:35 for 23rd and 24th. Boulder finishes off the Team Podium at 70 points.

Garden State Track Club Nyasinga, Shirk, Ferrugia, Schneekloth, Williams 31   

West Valley Track Club Gilmore, Rose, Yuen, Knutsen, Backstrom 41

Boulder Track Club Wells, Grauch, Kleinman, Cowan, DeSimone 70  

M50+ At the 8K, Garden State's Todd Wiley and Mark Zamek took 1st and 5th, but West Valley offset that with Mark Callon and Ed Randolph's 2nd and 4th. More importantly, after Zamek's place, the tide of three West Valley runners, Ivan Lieben, Chuck Mulllane, and White arrived before Garden State's next bunch. That gave West Valley the win at 28, with Garden State 2nd with 44 points, and Cal Coast 3rd, despite Christian Cushing-Murray finishing in the top 5 and Rob Arsenault in the top 10. At the 5K the final margin was closer at 11 points but it was all over after the first three finishers all wore West Valley singlets. Cal Coast had an incomplete team so it was essentially a dual meet. In dual meets, if one team gets the top 3 it does not matter where the other two finish, as long as they do finish. In this case, scoring among complete teams has West Valley gets 1-2-3-6-10 from Lieben, Callon, Mullane, Randolph, and Matt DesJardins for 22. Garden State had Wiley, Zamek, John Hogan, Steven Segaloff, and David Lacouture netting 4-5-7-8-9 for 33 and 2nd place. Cal Coast did not score a complete team.

Like the 5K this 3000 Meter event was essentially a dual meet between GSTC and WVTC, with WVTC's top 3 still the top 3, and the same score. It was West Valley victorious again with Lieben, Callon, Mullane, Randolph and DesJardins at 1-2-3-6-10 for 22 and Garden State 2nd behind Zamek, Segaloff, Wiley, John Hegge, and Hogan at 4-5-7-8-9 for 33 once again. So far it has been West Valley all the way in the M50 competition.

M60+ Only Cal Coast has fielded a complete 60's team yet in this QG series. For the 8K and 5K they brought enough runners to score as a 5-man team and won each with a perfect 15 points. The 3000 Meters saw Cal Coast fall below 5 runners for the first time. But, since USATF scoring on the roads only requires three finishers, Cal Coast again gets the victory by those rules (even though this is not a USATF event), this time with a perfect (3-runner) score of 6 points. Brian Nelson, Tom Albright, and Mark Hemmel took 1-2-3.

W40+ In the 8K event, Boulder sent one runner, Allison Steele, who took 2nd individually. Garden State's threesome, Elena Rozhko, Jen Martin, and Heather McDermott took 1-2-3 for a perfect 6 point team win (again with 3 runners being a complete team). For the 5K, Boulder sent two runners, Steele and Natalia Barrionuevo. The same threesome got the win for Garden state with 6 points again. 

In the 3000 Meter event, Boulder again had an incomplete team with 2 runners, Steele joined this time by Natalia Crawford. Rozhko, Martin and McDermott were joined by Kim Aspholm, who got credit for team 3rd place. Garden State wins with 6.

All photos for this post courtesy of Garden State Track Club. Thanks to Jason Timochko who organized and forwarded to me.