Thursday, July 29, 2021

Masters LDR Athetes Shine in the 5000 Meter Event at the 2021 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships!

July 29, 2021. Record turnout of Masters LDR athletes boosted the fields at the  USATF Masters Outdoor Track and Field Championships, held in Ames, Iowa from Thursday, July 22nd through Sunday, July 25th. Across all age divisions, there were a total of 110 registered athletes for the 5,000 meter event and 92 registered for the 10,000! This article covers the 5000 Meter event only. The next article will cover the 10,000 meters.

Please take a look at the articles posted on July 23 and 24 for my previews of the 5000 and 10000 Meter events. Following Masters LDR definitions, I only report on athletes 40 and over,

Recap. The 5000 Meter age division heats were the first of the Championship, held Thursday morning. The first heat went off at 7:30 AM and the final heat at 10:45 AM. The runners who toed the line at 7:30 had fair skies, 70 degrees, 83% humidity, with moderate winds (5 mph S); by 10:45 the skies were still fair, but the temperature was up to 82 degrees, with 61% humidity, with 10 mph winds, a bit of a challenge.

5000 Meters

7:30 AM M80+ & W 60+

Solo Divisions. Gunnar Linde 93 So Cal TC, was the oldest 5000 M winner. Unopposed in M90, this two-time National Champion at the 8K distance when the Championships were in Brea CA, took the title in 45:32.17. Colben Sime 87 So Cal TC won M85 unopposed with a 36:43.55. Tami Graf 85 Potomac Valley TC won the W80 Masters National Grand Prix in 2017 and 2018, and finished 2nd in 2016 and 2019. She had no trouble in Ames, posting the W85 win, unopposed , in 46:00.64. Kathleen Frable 75 So Cal TC did the same in W75, posting a 35:33.45.

M80 Seven runners toed the line; 6 finished. One of the seven was John Elliott 82 Potomac Valley TC who has numerous national championships to his name. This was not his day though. Roland Cormier 81 Shore AC took the runners through the first kilometer in 5:20.4, with John Becker 81 Unattached two seconds off the pace From here forward runners who are unattached will simply be listed with no Club affiliation, and Stan Edelson 80 another three seconds back. Ten seconds more saw Norman Goluskin 82 Central Park TC finish his first kilometer; Elliot was another half minute back. Toward the end of the next lap, Becker took the lead from Cormier and slowly built it the rest of the way. Cormier, Edelson, Goluskin and Elliott held their places all the way to the finish.

John Becker 27:12.61   Roland Cormier 28:20.8   Stan Edelson 29:15.59

W70 Nancy Rollins 74, one of the top road racers in the Chicago area, squared off against Isabel Bentz 70 Philadelphia Masters. Rollins covered the first 200 meters in 55.69, building a 5 second lead over Bentz, and never looked back. 


She was, no doubt, focused on testing herself against her younger counterparts contesting W65 & W60 in the same race. Rollins's time, shown below, achieved an age-grade PLP of 95.49%.  

Note: Because these performances are on the track, I use the WMA approved Track factors from 2010, as embodied in the calculator at: These factors are to be updated after the next WMA meeting, presumably in Tampere Finland next year. Because the factors are old and performances have improved a lot over the second half of the 2010's, the PLP's shown here are higher, sometimes much higher, than road PLP's using the new 2020 standards.

Nancy Rollins 25:14.22   Isabel Bentz 31:37.08

W65 This group was just a bit faster; Amy McCormack 66 ran the first 200 meters in 48.34, with Mary Lowe Mayhugh 65 Potomac Valley four seconds back and Terry Ozell 68 Atlanta TC, one of the mainstays of the Atlanta TC's W60+ team, another 6 seconds back. Nothing much changed except those gaps got bigger as the race went on. McCormack's time, given below, age grades at 89.6%, with Mayhugh at 83.66!

Amy McCormack 23:27.37   Mary Lowe Mayhugh 24:43.46   Terry Ozell 28:07.28

W60 Suzanne Cordes 61 Impala Racing is always a threat for the podium when she runs a Masters LDR event. In 2018 she competed in 6 events and was just edged out for 3rd by 10 points, 440-430 in that year's Masters National Grand Prix contest. That year she finished 2nd in the 15K Championships and 3rd in the Mile. Two 4th place finishes helped her total as well.  Though Carol  Sexton 64 does not compete at MLDR Championships, she and Cordes were well matched. Cordes went through the kilometer at 4:08.45, with Sexton 7 seconds back. By the 'halfway' mark at 2600 meters, the gap had grown to 12 seconds. The next 1600 meters saw a substantial growth of the gap and by the end Cordes had the win with over a minute to spare. Cordes's performance merited an 83.04 PLP; Sexton also earned a National Class PLP at 82.44.

Suzanne Cordes 23:25.40   Carol Sexton 24:41.01

9:05 AM M65 +

M75 Whenever Gary Patton 75 So Cal TC steps on a track he is the favorite. A Masters Hall of Famer, Patton has so many wins he cannot keep track of them...well, maybe he can, but no one else can! This race was no different. Norman Frable 75 So Cal TC, a teammate of Patton's, was happy to run and secure a second place finish. Patton established a lead early on and cruised through the event, saving some energy for his main event, the 1500 Meters and his second favorite, the 800 Meters.

Gary Patton 24:05.90  Norman Frable 34:13.93

M70 Gene Dykes 73 Greater Philadelphia TC, the fellow who came within a whisker of taking down the legendary Ed Whitlock's World W70 Marathon record in 2018, was a heavy favorite. Dykes runs all events from the Mile to the longest trail ultra marathons you can think of and everything in between. That same year, he broke the American M70 Records in the 10K with a 39:02 and the Half Marathon with a 1:25:05. His winning was not a sure thing, though. 2020 was a difficult year in terms of injury for Dykes and he is not all the way back to the fitness he enjoyed in 2018 and 2019. Peter Mullin 70 Houston Elite, a frequent winner on the Masters Grand Prix circuit some years back, had had some up and down years since, but seemed to be back in good form. In January he ran a 41:21 10K in Houston, suggesting he might be able to break 20 at 5000 meters on the  track. In any case, Mullin stepped out smartly, running his first 200 meters in 47.39, with Dykes tucking in behind, followed by Donald Loewe 73 SoCal and Leslie Sharpe 70 Club NW. Mullin led them through the first kilometer in 4:07.50 with Dykes content to follow a step back, with Share and Loew 30 meters back. Dykes moved to the front on the next lap, but Mullin stayed with him, at first. By the end of that lap, Dykes;s lead had grown to 25 meters over Mullin, and Sharpe was now only another 25 meters back from Mullin. From there Dykes continued to pull away at a sub-7 minute a mile pace that none of the others could match. Sharpe gradually closed on Mullin, passing him before 2600 meters. Mullin faded badly after that; either something went wrong or Mullin decided to save his energy for the 10,000 meters on Saturday morning. Dykes took 1st, followed by Sharpe and Loewe. Dykes's time earned a relatively modest, by his standards, PLP of 86.19%.

Gene Dykes 20:49.56   Leslie Sharpe 21:42.49   Donald Loewe 22:58.46

M65 Always a threat for a National Championship on the Cross Country turf, three time Masters Harrier of the Year, Rick Becker 66 Club NW, is no slouch on either roads or track. Stephen Chantry 66 Colonial Road Runners, known more as a track runner, has occasionally competed at road national Championships. His 2017 effort illustrates the difficulty runners in 60-64 and 65-69 encounter at National Championships. Chantry averaged 6:10 per mile in the USATF Masters 8 Km Championships in Virginia Beach at the Shamrock Marathon weekend. That's flying for a 62-year old, but he barely edged Reno Stirrat for 6th place! Chantry would see if he could push Becker on the track. Chantry went through the first 200 meters in the lead, at 41.88 seconds, with Becker right on his heels, with a gap to Eugene Myers 68, and a bigger gap back to Kevin McCormack 68. Becker moved to the front shortly thereafter and by the 1 Km mark, had a 30-meter gap on Chantry. Shortly thereafter Chantry called it quits, deciding sensibly to save himself for bigger efforts at the 800 and 1500 meters. Becker clicked off 88-90 second laps the rest of the way, coming home with a big win and a 91.02% PLP.

Rick Becker enjoying his winning effort after the 5000 Meters FB post-photo by Becky Denton


While there may be a day for Becker to try for Tom Bernhard's American record of 17:44.03, today was not the day; he had a 10000 meter race to run Saturday morning.

Rick Becker 18:11.02    Eugene Myers 21:22.29   Kevin McCormack 27:13.73

9:45 AM M55 & M60

M60 Of the 7 runners who toed the line, perhaps the most famous was Steve Schmidt 60 of 6DS3 fame. He and Antonio Arreola were the first of the eligible cohort to manage their sixth decade of a sub-3-hour Marathon. They achieved it at the January 2020 Chevron Houston Marathon. Others who are better known within the Masters LDR circuit included Kerry Barnett 61  Playmakers EliteSteve Brumwell 63 Cal Coast TC, and Stan McCormack 64 Kansas City Smoke. Barnett ran hard 5 years ago as a teammate of Dave Bussard in the Playmakers Elite 50+ team. At the 2016 Masters 5 Km Championships in Syracuse they crossed the finish line in 16:54 and 16:55! It has been up and down since then but Barnett has a couple of 19:07 5K's this year. Brumwell ran collegiately for UC Santa Cruz. A stalwart of the Cal Coast 60+ squad, Brumwell ran in 5 Championships for them in the 2018 Masters grand Prix, finishing as high as 6th at the 15K Championships in Tulsa. He was the 2nd runner in for Cal Coast at the 5K Championships in Atlanta, clocking 19:44. His support helped Cal Coast to 4th that year in the Masters National GP. He ran at Club Cross in Spokane the following year, but then injuries slowed him down. It is good to see him back! McCormack finished 5th at the 2019 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Flint, with a 5:38. Later that same year, he took 6th at the National 15K Championships in Tulsa. Last September he ran a 19:46 in a local Kansas 5K. Those four, along with Jeffrey Kirk 62 Santa Cruz TC, sped out as a group, all hitting the 200 meter within a few tenths of a second of 46 seconds. By the 1 Kilometer mark, it was starting to look like it would be a 2-runner battle for 1st between Schmidt and McCormack, with McCormack at 3:42.2 and Schmidt tucked in behind. Ten meters back, Kirk and Barnett crossed in 3:45 and change, with Brumwell 15 meters back from them. 

M60 Field in 5000 Meters--Leading is Stan McCormack, Steve Schmidt and in 4th and 5th Kerry Barnett and Steve Brumwell


At 2600 meters, McCormack was still leading Schmidt and Barnett had a 10-meter lead on Kirk. Brumwell was back, but not all the way back; he could not match that pace. Schmidt took the lead from McCormack at the 3000 meter mark, hitting it in 11:28.7. He pulled away over the final 5 laps to win handily. I guess Marathon training is not such bad prep for a 5K! Schmidt's time age grades to 84.47%. Never seriously threatened by the other two, McCormack had no trouble cruising to 2nd place with a time that age grades to 82.48%

Stan MCormack is free of his pursuers late in the race FB post


Barnett, gutsy runner that he is, still had the edge on Kirk with 800 meters to go. At that point he could not match the 99 second laps that Kirk was throwing down, as Kirk hauled to third place, kicking in his last lap in under 92 seconds, nailing a National Class time, with an 80.62 PLP.

Steve Schmidt 18:33.97   Stan McCormack 19:42.13   Jeffrey Kirk 19:58.42

M55 Francis Burdett 56  Greater Springfield Harriers and Dale Flanders 56 Genesee Valley Harriers  are long time rivals and friends on the USATF Masters LDR circuit.  

Francis Burdett, Alejandro Heuck, and Dale Flanders L to R with Burdett & Flanders in the 5000 and Heuck in the 800 and 1500 Meters --FB-post

Michael Collins 57 ran in a Masters LDR Championship for the first time in October 2019 at the 15K in Tulsa, winning the division in 57:38. It looks like he may make a habit of it; it's great to have another competitive runner in the crew! Burdett, when at the top of his game, can run with the best. In 2015, for example, he won the Masters National Grand Prix title for M50, winning the Cross Country Nationals in Bend OR and the 8K in Brea CA. He also took 2nds that year at the 15K in Tulsa and the 12K in Alexandria. Burdett, like many others, struggles with injuries from time to time. Unlike others, he relishes competing so much that he will enter and race while still rehabbing an injury. I applaud his comptitive spirit, but, as a result, one is never quite sure in advance what Burdett has for a given race. In March of this year, he ran 18:02 at a 5000 meter on the track. Flanders rn in the same race, finishing 20 seconds back. Flanders is more consistent; his highs are not as high, nor his lows as low. Nonetheless, he is a very solid performer on the turf, the track and the roads. A mainstay for the competitive GVH team, Flanders is almost always in the top 10 in the Masters National Grand Prix standings, finishing 4th in 2016 and 2018. Dean Thompson 55 does not compete in the road race part of the Masters National Grand Prix, but is a regular at Club Cross and occasionally competes at other XC Championships. No slouch, he ran at the 2015 Club XC Championships in San Francisco and finished behind Mike Nier and Kevin Zimmer, but ahead of David Olds and Burdett. He has run in almost every ClubCross Championship since then. He is not at the top of the leaderboard, but is a solid performer. That says a lot considering the huge, competitive field at Club Cross. David White 56 West Valley TC is not a regular even at Club Cross, but he ran at Bethlehem in 2019 and finished just ahead of Thompson. After the first 200 meters, it seemed clear that this would not be one of Burdett's best days. Collins, Thompson, White and Flanders were in close order but Burdett was about 10 meters back. Burdett righted himself though and was still only about 10 meters behind Flanders at the 1 K mark. And Flanders was just a couple of seconds back from the 3-pack of Collins, Thompson and White up front, clocking 3:34.08. The rest of the way, Burdett fell further behind Flanders and Flanders fell further behind the leading three, while they sorted themselves out. The lead three were tight through 2600 meters, but Thompson started to crack over the next lap, falling 2 seconds back. The gap widened to 25 meters by the end of  the following lap and continued to widen. But the first two, Collins and White were locked in a duel! With 800 meters to go, White was still on the leader's heels. The bell sounded and Collins was only 0.2 seconds ahead! This would come down to the wire! White could not get past Collins and Collins could not pull away! Collins had just enough in the tank to take the win by a fraction of a second!

Collins's time is credited with an 89.39% age grade score, nearly world class, while White's score  was almost as strong at 88.54. Thompson's PLP was 85.72, giving this division the strongest age graded podium in the 5000 meters.

Michael Collins 17:05.88   David White 17:06.61   Dean Thompson 17:32.31

10:15 AM W40 to W59

 W55 Cindy Blakeley-Cameron 56 KC Smoke and Tina Klein 56 T.H.E. TC raced well. Blakely-Cameron hit the 1K mark in 4:15.98 with a 4 second lead. That gap grew steadily but slowly throughout the race with Blakeley taking a wire-to-wire win. It was a national class time, earning an 83.03 PLP.

Cindy Blakeley-Cameron 21:47.91   Tina Klein 23:06.50

W40 to W54

It will be more fun to treat these divisions as if they were a single competition. They did run at the same time on the same track so they could well have felt like they all were competing with each other as well as by division. Afterwards, I sort them into their proper divisions.

The top 5 athletes were: Jessica Hruska 41 Crown Running, Melissa Gacek 45 Run N Fun, Janet Bain 46 , Euleen Josiah-Tanner 47 T.H.E. TC, and April Flynn 52. Hruska led Gacek and Josiah-Tanner through the first 200 meters, with no gaps, but there was already a 10 meter gap back to Bain and Flynn by the time they passed the timer. Although Hruska still had only a 1 second advantage at the 1 kilometer mark, it had grown to 3 seconds by the 1800 meter mark and slowly expanded to a gap over Gacek and Josiah-Tanner of over 40 meters by the time she hit the bell lap. That was a good thing! Probably she had plenty left in the tank, but one of the two chasers took almost 5 seconds out of her lead on the last lap! But Hruska got the win in her age division and the fastest time among all those 40 and up. 

Jennifer Hruska powering to tthe W40 win Photo by Clint 'Flash' Santoro

Gacek and Josiah-Tanner were locked in a duel from the sound of the gun. Gacek led, but could not drop Josiah-Tanner. Lap by lap went by with less than a second between their times. 

Melissa Gacek leading Euleen Josiah-Tanner in the 5000M Photo by Clint 'Flash' Santoro


At 3800 meters, Josiah-Tanner had allowed it to creep up to 1.6 seconds. Was that the beginning of a growing gap? Not so! By the end of the next lap at 4200 meters, they were again in lock step. The bell sounded! it was Gacek in 17:45.94 and Josiah-Tanner at 17:46.03. Gacek was able to speed up but she had no answer for the 86 second last lap Josiah-Tanner was able to find. Josiah-Tanner, as noted above, closed on Hruska. Not that she cared. Josiah-Tanner knew that she was really only competing against Gacek, and she had that victory. Her time merited an 83.85% PLP. Gacek's performance was national class as well, hitting an age grade score of 81.24%. What about Bain and Flynn? Technically they were not competitors but it must not have felt that way. Bain went through the 1st Kilometer in 4:00.47, with Flynn within 2 seconds. It stayed that way until 3000 meters. By that time, Flynn had crept to within a second. Bain slowed on the next lap and Flynn took advantage, moving into the lead. First by 2, then by 5 and then by 7 seconds as the laps rolled by. Flynn finished 18 seconds ahead of Bain, happy to take the W50 win while earning an 81.14% on the PLP chart

April Flynn kicks to the Finish, taking the W50 title in the 5000 Meters FB post-April Flynn


Bain was, no doubt, happy to be on the W45 podium.

W50 April Flynn 21:08.22   Jill Vollweiler 53 So Cal 22:56.87

W45 Euleen Josiah-Tanner 19:12.11   Melissa Gacek 19:20.81   Janet Bain 21:25.18

W40 Jessica Hruska 19:05.55   Sara Schwendinger 44 So Cal 21:46.15   Melissa Cote 43 GYS TC 24:27.69

10:45 AM  M40 to M54

M50 Mark Elworthy 50 Run N Fun ran a fine race, winning the division Championship by 2 minutes and nailing an 83.18 PLP. Scott Siriano 54 Mass Velocity TC is a solid performer at the National level. Siriano took 3rd at the 2018 Masters Road Mile Championships in Flint with a 5:07 and finished 12th M50 at the Masters 5 Km XC Championships in Buffalo NY. Siriano engaged in a duel with Craig Chasse 51 Potomac Valley. Siriano had 9 seconds on Chasse at the 1000 meter mark. By the 3000 meter mark, which Siriano hit in 11:15.82, the lead was up to 19 seconds, but it would get no higher. On the next lap the lead was down to 13 seconds and then 10 on the next. But that is where the gains ended. Chasse was not able to sustain the faster pace over the final 1200 meters;  in the end he was still 10.7 seconds back.

Mark Elworthy 17:21.16   Scott Siriano 19:26.97   Craig Chasse 19:37.65

M45  Seemont Teotia 45 took the division win unopposed in 22:26.43.

M40 This division contained the athlete with the fastest time on the day, Abraham Mendoza 44, who won the division Championship  by two minutes and age graded at 84.26%. 

Abraham Mendoza cruises to the fastest 5000 Meter time of the day Photo by Clint 'Flash' Santoro  

Adrian Herrera on his way to a 2nd place finish in the M40 5000 Meters FB post

Abraham Mendoza 16:20.33   Adrian Herrera 41 18:30.68   Matthew Holtry 42 Piedmont Pacers 23:17.23


Many of these athletes also ran the 10,000 meters 48 hours later on Saturday morning. The next article will provide a recap.

No comments:

Post a Comment