Sunday, February 13, 2022

Masters at the Boston Marathon in October 2021

February 13, 2022. 

 [This article appears with permission from National Masters News, where it first appeared in the Feb/March 2022 issue.] 

The Covid restrictions were playing havoc with the 2021 spring marathons so Boston, as well as Abbott World Majors, Berlin and London, deferred their race to the fall. That made a very crowded autumn marathon schedule which allowed Shalane Flanagan to run a record number of fast World Major Marathons over a few months. Usually on the third Monday in April, Boston held its Marathon on the second Monday in October, the 11th, celebrated as the Columbus Day holiday in Massachusetts. It was warm for a Marathon, with temperatures in the mid to upper 60’s, partly cloudy skies and winds out of the NE/ENE 9 -13 mph. That may sound like heavy headwinds, but they were 16-22 mph in the 2015 race and, in 2018, even harsher, with 26 mph headwinds, low 40’s temperatures, and rain. This year’s conditions were difficult if you were not used to Boston Marathon weather, but for the many repeat runners, it was just another Monday’s work!

Note: when a percentage is listed after the net time below, it is an age grade % for the runner, assuming the athlete is in the first year of the age group, 45 for 45-49, for example. Individual ages were not listed in the results. Any runner older than the minimum age in the division acutually age graded higher than reported here. Higher age grades indicate superior performances; 85% and above is the cutoff for a notation in this article. 90% is World Class.

40-44 The top Masters performers at Boston were professional runners, Edna Kipligat, Dot McMahan, and Shalane Flanagan, on her tour of the Major Marathons. They crossed the finish line in 2:25:09 94.61%, 2:38:45 86.51%, and 2:40:34 85.53% respectively, before the ordinary 40-44 mortals. Somewhere between the above three and ‘ordinary mortals’ fall 3 other runners who started in the ‘Pro Women’ wave:  Gina Rouse, Laurie Knowles Atllanta Track Club, with overall wins at the 2018 and 2019 Masters 5 km Championships in her hometown, Running City USA; 

Laurie Knowles wins overall at the 2018 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta Photo by Jason Getz, Getz Images.


and Christina Murphy. Knowles was the fastest to the halfway point in 1:18:34, with Murphy 3 seconds back and Rouse another 4 seconds back. As is often the case at Boston with the substantial downslope for the first ten miles, ’the last shall be first’ and it was true on this day as Rouse finished in 2:41:19 85.13%, followed 3 minutes later by Knowles, and 5 minutes later by Murphy.  

Abdi Abdirahman, 44, finished 24th overall in 2:19:23 92.96%, as well as first in 40-44. Alexander Taylor, Boston Athletic Association finished 2nd to Abdi in 2:22:35 88.00% and 32nd overall. Others in the top ten who are active with USATF Masters Clubs include: Chip O’Hara Syracuse TC 2:25:36 86.17%; Duncan Nyasinga, Garden State Track Club, 6th in 2:28:55; Peter Bromka Bowerman 7th in 2:29:36;  

Peter Bromka helps the Bowerman TC to a podium finish at the 2021 USATF Club Cross Country Championships Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

 Eric Blake Central Mass Striders 8th in 2:30:17; and Tom Burns Indiana Elite 10th in 2:36:32. O’Hara and Taylor both started in the first wave and were running together to the halfway point, which they hit in 1:10:01. Taylor pulled away for the 2nd place finish, after Abdi, from there. Taylor, Bromka, Blake, and Burns all competed for their teams on the turf at Club Cross in Tallahassee two months later, to the day. Blake had the edge  that day, finishing 3rd overall.

Eric Blake left battles Peter Gilmore for the 2nd spot at the Masters 10 km race at the 2021 USATF Club Cross Championships at Tallahassee Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

Burns was a big part of the winning Indiana effort, while Bromka and Taylor were critical to the 3rd and 4th places earned by Bowerman and the B.A.A.  

45-49 Hilary Corno Prado Racing battled the East winds to take 1st Masters overall in 2016 and came back the next year to endure 60’s temperatures rising to the 70’s, but with a tail wind, to take 3rd overall Masters. Corno took 2nd a few months later at the 2022 Cross Country Nationals in Mission Bay in San Diego. 

Hilary Corno #140 battles Mary Akor left edge of photo at the Masters race at the 2022 USATF Cross Country Championships at Mission Bay Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

Corno, starting with the Pro Women, battled head winds and warmth to win the 45-49 crown at Boston in 2:45:07 86.42%. Catherine Moore was 2nd American in 2:59:29, with Nicole Strand 3rd in 3:03:20.  

Guillermo Pineda Morales Westside RC crossed the timing mat at the start a minute before Jerome Ross. Morales let the downhills carry him along to a halfway time of 1:12:41; he had a 2-minute edge on Ross. Ross steadily closed though and crossed the finish line 3 seconds ahead of Morales, to give him a victory on net time, 2:31:53 86.02% to 2:32:55 85.44%. Ross must have been happy to leave Morales behind at the finish line but probably wondered if Morales had started ahead of him or behind him. The 3rd American was Todd Smith, 2:42:29. Knox Robinson, 4th in 2:42:59, also ran in the 2022 USATF Cross Country Nationals at Mission Bay.  

50-54 Christin Doneski took the win in 2:59:23, followed by Susan Mix 3:03:31 and Jill Chisholm Sole Sisters Running Club 3:07:38.

First in this division went to Rico Portalatin Crow Athletics in 2:40:30. Second through 4th Americans were: Taylor Troischt 2:43:41, Alexander Hetherington 2:44:07, and Art Gunther 2:44:48. Matthew Waite, 5th American in 2:44:59 was the number 2 runner for the TC Running Company 50+ 6th place team at Club Cross.  

55-59 This division saw an outstanding performance by Jenny Hitchings, 1st at 2:45:32. Hitchings broke the American 10 Mile record a month earlier, running 1:01:15. Her age at that time was 58, so we know her age grade for this Boston Marathon effort was 101.40%, World Class plus!. Many hope to see Hitchings compete for a national championship at the USATF Masters 10 Mile Championships in Sacramento in early April.  The 2nd place finisher, also a spectacular performance, took down an American Record earlier in the fall, the 12 km record held by Joan Benoit Samuelson. Lisa Veneziano, 2nd in 2:58:23 90.34%, also World Class. Veneziano ran her record-breaking 46:13 when she won 55-59 at the Masters 12 km Championships.  

Lisa Veneziano sprints to the finish and a new American 12 km Record for Women 55-59 at the 2021 USATF Masters 12 km Championships on the Sandy Hook course at Highlands New Jersey Photo by Jason Timochko

Doris Valencia finished 3rd in 3:11:38. Doreen McCoubrie Greater Philadelphia TC, 9th in 3:22:26, was the top runner for her team that placed 2nd at the 2021 USATF Masters 12 km Championships.  

Douglas Baldwin won in 2:47:48. Tim Meigs Bull City TC finished second, just 2 seconds behind Baldwin on net time. Meigs took the 50-54 national title at the 2019 USATF Masters 5 km Championships in Atlanta in 16:28 and 

Tim Meigs #182 heads into the final turn on his way to a 50-54 National Championship at the 2019 Masters Championships in Atlanta


finished 4th in 55-59 at the recent Club Cross Championships in Tallahassee. David Putney took 3rd in 2:50:42. 

60-64 Gwen Jacobson won the division in 3:23:08, followed by Carol Sexton 3:26:19. Becky Backstrom took 3rd in 3:29:58.  

Rick Lee Shore AC enjoyed a solid division win in 2:49:29 88.13%. Transitioning into retirement, Lee joined a USATF affiliated team for the camaraderie, fun and challenge of competing on the Masters National Grand Prix circuit. He also competes in many Ultra and Trail races. He set the American 50 km Record with a 3:31:44 earlier in the year. Lee followed that by leading his 60+ team to victory at the 12 km Masters Championships in New Jersey in 44:16. 

Rick Lee kicks in for a big 60-64 win at the 2021 USATF Masters 12 km Championships Photo courtesy of Jason Timochko

He also ran for his Shore AC team at Club Cross in December. Robert Cipriano Somerville Road Runners finished 2nd at 2:53:10 86.26%, with Joseph Kelly the next American at 2:59:10. James Miller of 5DS3 fame, having achieved the admirable record of running a sub-3-hour Marathon in each of 5 consecutive decades, finished next at 2:59:35. His sub-3 days are not over yet!  

65-69 Abigail Wade claimed the division crown in 3:26:53 89.84%, nearly a World Class age graded performance, followed by Leslie Cohen 3:35:29 86.26%, and Paula Beatty 3:45:10. Carol Poenisch Ann Arbor TC, who finished 8th in 3:52:16, showed, in 2018, that no distance is too short, when she ran in the USATF Masters National Road Mile Championships in Flint MI, landing on the individual podium and helping her team to 2nd place in the 70+ division.  

Dave Walters took the 65-69 title in 2:52:53 90.74%, a World Class performance. Walters finished 3rd at the 2018 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships in Ann Arbor MI, and, this year, briefly  held the American M65 Half Marathon record before it was re-broken by Brian Pilcher later in the year. Doug Jacobson followed in 2nd at 3:15:15, with Joseph Bariyanga in 3rd at 3:16:04. Eighth place finisher, Walter Newcomer F & M Track Club, in 3:20:48, finished 2nd M65 at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships 2 months later.  

70-74 Sharlet Gilbert won the division in 4:17:29, ahead of Char Cooper 4:21:23 and Martha DeGrazia 4:34:48. Gilbert was also the oldest Age Division winner in the Women’s section of the 2021 Boston Marathon.  

Mike Wien Boulder Road Runners claimed the division crown in 3:29:34. Two months later he helped his team win the 70+ team championships at Club Cross in Tallahassee, finishing 2nd in the division. Second place at Boston went to American 70-74 record holder, Gene Dykes, who has been battling various injuries off and on for the last year or so. He ran conservatively (for him), aiming for a 3:30 that would not risk any re-injury and would likely give him a good shot at the win. Dykes achieved his goal time, running 3:30:02, a little over a half hour slower than his 2019 winning time at this race. He never saw the winner because they were in different waves that started 30 minutes apart. In 2018, Dykes competed in several USATF Masters National Championships and won the 70-74 USATF Masters National Grand Prix championship. 

Gene Dykes takes the Men's 70-74 Title and Breaks the American Record at the 2018 USATF Masters 10 km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble in Dedham MA Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

Dykes's winning time at the USATF Masters 10 km Championship that year, 39:02 (net, 39:04 gun) was also an American 70-74 record. Third place in this marathon went to Paul Funch 3:36:40.  

75-79 Theresa Tattersall was the first American in the division with a 4:57:52, followed by Piper Peterson 5:06:21, and Bonnie Bence 5:14:06. Philip Krajewski took 1st in 3:45:26, with William Harrison 2nd 4:13:10 and Gary Gosalind 3rd 4:19:27.  

80-84 No women competed. Tyson Park took the Men’s crown in 4:48:59, also achieving the distinction of being the oldest Age Division winner at the 2021 Boston Marathon. He was followed across the finish line by Peter Teachout 5:31:09 and Philip Pierce 5:51:17.

In 2022, the Boston Marathon returns to its normal spot on the schedule, April 18, 2022. If that comes to pass, the winners listed above will have the distinction of being the only autumnal Age Division winners of the Boston Marathon. Many of them will try to add to their glory this coming April by being the only runners with back-to-back Age Division wins within a 7-month period.

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