Friday, July 23, 2021

Masters LDR Athletes Head to Ames - Preview 2 - 5000 Meters

July 22, 2021. I did not realize the 5,000 meters event was starting in the morning of Thursday, July 22. These previews were done a bit late, but were done without looking at early results from Ames. I will check the results tomorrow morning and see how the previews here stack up against the actual outcomes. With the 10,000M scheduled for Saturday and the 1500M for Sunday, perhaps those previews will appear before the actual race takes part.

July 22 at:

7:30 AM. W85, W80, and W75 all have one entrant each. If Tami Graf, mentioned in the July 20 preview of the 800 meters, Janet Baumann, and Kathleen Frable, make it to the starting line and the finish line, they will be crowned Champions of their respective divisions. 

W70 Isabel Bentz is a strong runner, able to carry an 8 minute a mile pace through 5K, but Nancy Rollins  has her beat, unless something goes wrong. Rollins is typically well under 8 per mile for a 5K. See July 20 post for more on Rollins.

W65 Terry Ozell, one of the Atlanta Track Club middle distance aces, should have a good shot at a podium finish; she typically runs somewhere between 27 and 29 minutes in her road races in the Atlanta area. But if Amy McCormack Unattached can run anywhere near her seed time of 22:09, she will take the Gold.

W60 None of the 4 entrants have a seed time. The one I know, Suzanne Cordes Impala Racing is a very strong runner. A frequent competitor at National Championships on the turf and sometimes the roads, Cordes finished 6th of 40 in her division at 2019 Club Cross in Bethlehem PA, clocking 27:20 over 6 Km.  

Suzanne Cordes #2046 leads this group at the 2019 USATF National Club Cross Championships in Bethlehem PA Photo by Michael Scott


That suggests, with the same fitness today, Cordes might hit around 22:00 for a 5K on the track. Is that enough for a win? I do not know the others by reputation so we shall find out.

10:15 AM 

 W55 The two runners with the fastest seed times are well know to the Masters Championships in XC and Roads. Kathy Wolski Unattached has a seed time of 18:41 and Marisa Sutera Strange Greater Boston TC has a seed time of 19:07. Ordinarily, based on performances over the last few years, I would expect their seed times to be in the reverse order. Not that Wolski is not an impressive runner, but Strange has been at the top of her age division when healthy. At the 2019 Masters National 5K Championships, Wolski ran 19:12 to Strange's 18:38. 

Marisa Sutera Strange takes the final turn as she heads to the W55 win at the 2019 USATF Masters National 5K Championships in Atlanta Photo by Michael Scott


It is possible, certainly, that Wolski has come out of the pandemic in better condition than Strange, but otherwise I would expect Strange to be at the top of the podium.

 W50 Of the four entered in this division, Kara Parker Run Minnesota is the only runner known to me, primarily through XC. She finished 6th overall in 19:20 at the Masters race at the 2016 USATF XC Championships in Tallahassee when she was 47. On the roads more recently, in 2019, though not National Championships, she ran 19:20 at the Brian Kraft 5K and 38:16 at the MDRA Victory 10K, so she has good speed!

W45 In this division, the top two listed runners are both known. Melissa Gacek Run N Fun often runs in Masters LDR Championships on the road, where she is a sure bet for the Overall podium and sometimes the win. Euleen Josiah-Tanner has run non-stadia events at the WMA Championships. In this case, the seed times are likely good indicators. Gacek's 18:33 to Josiah-Tanner's 19:27. Gacek is likely to win with Josiah-Tanner perhaps needing a good outing to get 2nd.  


Melissa Gacek finishing 2nd Overall and first in W40 at the 2019 USATF Masters 15Km Championships in Tulsa Photo by the Tulsa World.

 Janet Bain's  seed time is 19:30.

W40 Laurie Knowles, the 2018 and 2019 USATF Masters 5K Overall Champion, would have been a lock for this one, but she apparently scratched. I am not familiar with the others, but wish them well. 

7:30 AM 

M90 & M85 With one entrant each, Gunnar Linde and Colben Sime both Southern Cal TC will have a smooth path to the Gold.

M80   In contrast, the M80 group has ten entrants. I discussed John Elliott Potomac Valley, and Elmo Shropshire, in the July 20 800M preview. Elliott looks stronger right now, but Shropshire was able to defeat him in early 2020 at the USATF XC Championships. John Becker is not known to me but his times at road races in and around Milwaukee suggest his 24:56 is a good indicator of his performance capability.  If so, Becker likely takes first place. Two longtime competitors will also meet and aim for the podium, Roland Cormier Shore AC and Andrew Sherwood Atlanta Track Club. At their most recent meeting in San Diego in early 2020 on the turf, Cormier took Sherwood's measure. Cormier should be able to crack the 30:00 barrier. That may not be fast enough to land on the podium though.

 9:05 AM

M75 With only three entrants in this division, the podium is secure for all who finish. The class of the group is undoubtedly Gary Patton, whose seed time of 20:41 shows that he is in record-breaking shape. See my July 20 800 M preview for more details.

M70 Three of the four athletes with the top seed times are well-known to Masters LDR. The seed times should foretell their order of finish as well. Gene Dykes Geater Philadelphia TC is one of the few Masters runners with a wide following outside of Masters LDR. He has run faster than the World M70 record, held by the legendary Canadian runner, Ed Whitlock. At the age of 70, inDecember 2018, he made his second attempt, running 2:54:23 at the Jacksonville Bank Marathon. His elation at breaking the record was short-lived, however, when he realized the race was not sanctioned by USATF; only sanctioned races are recognized for World Records. Still, that gives the reader an idea of his prowess. He also cracked the 10K American record in April of that year with a 39:02. Dykes had a tougher year than normal with some niggling injuries in late 2020 to early 2021, but you would hardly know it from his mileage. Dykes loves to run! He is apparently largely recovered now. He ran 32:42 at an 8K in NJ in June. It looks like a low 20 or possibly sub-20 outing is within his wheelhouse right now; that should put Dykes atop the podium.  

Gene Dykes heading for the Finish Line and another win at the 2019 USATF Masters 10K Championships in Dedham MA Photo by Michael Scott


Peter Mullin has also been atop the podium in Masters LDR races, although more frequently in the M55 and M60 age groups than since. Mullin is still a fast guy, though. In February 2020, he ran 41:21 at the Rodeo Run 10K in Houston. That suggests low 20's is also possible for him. It will be interesting to see if he can stay with Dykes this time. 

Peter Mullin celebrating his 2nd place finish as he approaches the finish line of the 2017 USATF Masters National 8 Km Championships in Virginia Beach


Jerry Learned, a tough runner in his own right, will fight hard to land on the podium. His seed time is 23:00, but his AJC Peachtree 10K time of 47:09 on Independence Day, suggests he might well go faster than that if necessary. Donald Loewe Southern Cal TC has a 22:45 seed time. It might go down to the wire.

M65 The top two seed times belong to Rick Becker Club Northwest at 18:15 and Stephen Chantry Colonial Road Runners at 18:29. Becker excels on the Cross Country turf but he is very strong on the roads and track as well. I am not sure how his current fitness is, but based on a conversation earlier this year, he will be hoping to go well under 18:00 so he can have a shot at Tom Bernhard's American record of 17:44.03. Chantry is a very strong runner, but my money would go on the 3-time Cross Country Harrier of the Year, Becker.  

Rick Becker approaches the finish line at the 2019 Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA. He took 3rd in his last year in the 60-64 age division and won the age grading championship oto by Mike Scott


Harold Leddy and Pete Gibson should battle for the third spot. Leddy comes in with a 20:26 seed time. Gibson has no seed time, but in 2017 he came in well ahead of Leddy at the USATF Masters 8K Championships in Virginia Beach. I understand he has had some injury issues since then so it may not be fully relevant. He has made enough progress since those injuries that he was able to run a 20:24 5K in a local race in North Carolina on June 4th. It looks like fireworks for third place!

M60 Found among the 11 entrants for this division are some pretty strong Masters LDR athletes. Kerry Barnett Playmakers EliteSteve Brumwell Cal Coast TC, and Stan McCormack Kansas City Smoke. If the seed times are good indicators, none will make the podium. But only a few years ago, in 2016, Barnett ran a terrific race to finish 2nd in M55 at the USATF Masters 5K Championships in 16:55. As is so often the case, Barnett lost a couple of years of fitness, but is starting to come back. After competing in some virtual races in 2020, he has now run two local 5K's in Michigan, two weeks apart, in 19:07. The top 3 seed times are 18:30, 18:45, and 19:01.70. The 18:30 and 18:45 may be a reach too far at this point, but I would not be surprised to see Barnett crack 19:00 if he has a shot at the podium.  


Kerry Barnett #412 in the thick of it as he races towards a 2nd place M55 finish at the 2016 USATF Masters 5 Km National Championships Photo by Gavin Liddell

Brumwell has been a solid member of the Cal Coast 60+ team at the National level. In 2018 his 19:43 helped Cal Coast to the 5th place team finish at the 5 Km National Championships. But he hopes, no doubt, that this is the beginning of a road back to even stronger times. 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. This could be another of those 'races within the race' that will be fun to watch.

M55 The #'s 2,4,5, and 6 seed times belong to athletes who have participated in many Masters LDR Championships between them. Francis Burdett Greater Springfield Harriers, Dale Flanders Genesee Valley Harriers, and Lester Dragstedt Atlanta Track Club are mainstays for their respective M50 teams. Their seed times of 16:57, 17:44, and 18:30 seem like good indicators of ability. Burdett ran 17:58, 17:47, and 17:40 on successive outings last fall. But he carried a 6:07 per mile pace over 13.1 miles this past January; with improved fitness, a time closer to 17:00 seems possible. 


Francis Burdett heads for the final turn to the finish of the 2018 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta; his 17:00 nailed 5th place Photo by Michael Scott

Flanders has run five road 5K's this spring, clocking between 18:10 and 18:30 each time. A track time under 18 seems within his reach. Dragstedt has often run 5K's in the mid 18's. At the 2018 National 5K Championships in Atlanta, for example, he ran 18:56 on a tough Atlanta course. But he may have a surprise in store. He ran 17:16 at a May Day 5K in Georgia and then clocked 39:43 at the tough AJC Peachtree 10K. The wild card in the group of Masters LDR athletes is Michael Collins Unattached. He took top honors at the 2019 National Masters 15Kareem LanierK Championships with a 57:38. He apparently had some niggling injuries but has likely put those behind him. He apparently competed in lots of Ironman and Rock n Roll Virtual Races during the pandemic. This summer he has a 17:10 and a 17:09 road 5K to his credit. That suggests a sub-17 on the track is possible. That puts Collins in the hunt for the win but he will need to be at his best.

10:45 AM

M50 There are four entries. One of them, Scott Siriano Mass Velocity, I considered in the context of the 800 Meters on my July 20 post. Siriano has run several 5K's this year in the 18:30 to 19:00 range. Unless the two seed times, both under 16:30 are wildly inaccurate, it seems Siriano's best hope is to break onto the podium by beating Craig Chasse who, like Siriano, has no seed time listed. Based on the Chasse races I can find, Siriano is the slight favorite to land the 3rd spot on the podium.

 M45 Kyle and Kareem Lanier TNT International were active on the Masters National Grand Prix Circuit from 2015 to 2017. In 2017 at the 5K National Championships in Syracuse, Kyle Lanier ran 17:49 to tie for 13th; his brother, Kareem, clocked 17:52 for 15th. At a Road Mile this spring Kareem Lanier ran 5:30 to his brother's 5:40. That suggests 5000 meter times in the 17 to 17:30 range might be expected. Sam Krieg's seed time of 16:25 seems unreachable for the Lanier's but there is no other seed time below 19 so they should take 2-3.

 M40 Brock Butler Greater Philadelphia TC appears to be a lock for this win. His seed time of 15:21 is 40 seconds faster than the 2nd fastest time. And it is completely credible. Butler is one of the strongest of the Philadelphia M40 athletes, along with Chris Naimoli. Butler took a 16th place (out of 117 entrants in the division) at the 2019 Club Cross Championships in Bethlehem PA. Butler clocked a 15:57 5K on the roads in March and strode to a 4:30.0 in the Memorial Main Street  Mile on May 31st.


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