March 6, 2023 Atlanta provided great conditions for the 2023 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships this past Saturday, February 25. Masters athletes toed the line under cloudy skies, with temperatures in the mid 50’s and light winds. The race started at 7:30 Am, about 20 minutes after sunrise. The athletes headed to Centennial Olympic Park. Once in the park, they flocked to the Masters tent, illuminated with lights and good cheer. A quick exchange of greetings among old rivals, now longtime friends, bantering among teammates, and then off for warmups. Athletes could exit the park on the top side, step onto Marietta Street and jog the few blocks to the Starting area. Once there they passed those who were assembling for the Community race which would start a few minutes after the Masters Championship. After a few stride outs, the runners were called to the starting line.
A handful were focused on the Overall win; others on racing at the top of their Age Division. Still more were eager to do their team proud, emerging with a medal if possible and, if not, the satisfaction of a noble attempt. Others were there simply for the enjoyment of running and the thrill of competition regardless of outcome! One came with an American Record on her mind and a plan to take it down. In all, two American records were broken or tied. In addition, ten course records were broken.
AMERICAN RECORDS Masters Hall of Famer, Kathy Martin, has ten 60-64 American LDR Records, from the Mile to the 50 Km, and seven 65-69 records from 10 Km to 25 Km. Now that she is in her 70’s, it is time to acquire some more. Martin knows that Masters Championships courses are always sanctioned and certified, two of the three main requirements for a record attempt to be ratified. It must also be record eligible. That box was checked; the course elevation is slightly higher at the finish than the start. The Finish Line is a few hundred meters from the Start. All that is needed is less than a meter per kilometer drop and a Finish Line that is no further away from the Start than half the distance to be run. And race officials at a USATF Championship are always happy to fill out the necessary paperwork for a record submission. The final part of the equation is ability, and the training necessary to achieve the required time. Martin had no doubt she was ready. The current record, set by Jan Holmquist in 2015, was 22:14. Martin expected to break 22 minutes even on a course as hilly as this one; the elevation gain is over 40 meters. Another challenge is to survive the first few hundred meters in a crowded field of Masters runners striving for fast times. It is possible to get tangled and go down. That would likely end a record attempt. Martin had no trouble, although others were not as lucky. Once out on the course, Martin settled into a rhythm and found her own space in the stream of runners. Martin maintained a steady effort, finished strong and was delighted to see the finishing clock with the first two digits at 21!
After the race, the time was confirmed—21:44 (Gun time)/21:41 (net time)—Martin had the record beaten by over half a minute. That is her first 70-74 American Record. I do not doubt we will see more later this year.
Note: Net time is always accepted for Masters record submissions.
John Glidewell, by contrast, arrived with no Masters records to his name. The only race appearing in Athlinks was a 17:55 5K in 2013, at age 56. Apparently he was a standout distance runner at Ohio State. In 1980, he almost nipped Olympian, Benji Durden, at the finish line of a 25 Km race, clocking 1:16:17, roughly equivalent to a 1:03:41 HM. Now 66, Glidewell embarked on serious training last year. I heard from one of the Atlanta runners that Glidewell had been posting on Facebook that he felt ready to break 18 minutes by a good margin. If that is what he was posting, Glidewell delivered, and then some. He crossed the line at 17:31 precisely. That tied Tom Bernhard’s 2016 record for Men 65-69. Huge congratulations to both Martin and Glidewell. Setting or tying an American Record on a hilly course like this is totally unexpected and a major accomplishment!
Note: These do not become records until they are ratified. There is a 5 Km mark by Jacob Nur from 2022 that is not yet ratified. If that mark is ratified as a record, it will supersede Glidewell's effort. If not, Glidewell's mark becomes the new record once it is ratified.
Once the gun, or the horn in this case, sounds, the runners take off from the starting line.
|The Horn Sounded-Ben Bruce led them out, followed by, from L: John Poray white singlet, Matt Yacoub lime green, Christian Cushing-Murray lime green, Brendan Prindiville white singlet, Mark Zamek white singlet, Shore AC -- Photo Credit: Jouaquin Lara|
The first one to cross the finish line is the overall winner of the Masters Championship. All times are gun times. Ben Bruce HOKA Naz Elite, a late entry after returning from Australia with his WMA Cross Country medals, sprinted to the front when the horn sounded. He put a hundred meters on the chase pack in the first mile, never let up, and led all the way to the tape. He broke the 15:38 course record established last year by 31 seconds! That is his second consecutive win on the Masters National Grand Prix circuit!
|Ben Bruce smashes through the tape at the finish line-He won the Overall Championships, setting a new course record of 15:06 Photo Credit: Jouaquin Lara|
Bradley Merner, Luke Mortensen Athens Road Runners, John Poray Indiana Elite AC, and Aaron Rowe made up the chase pack. Together over the first half of the race, Mortensen started pushing the pace as they approached the Luckie street hill. By the time they had surmounted it, Mortensen had a gap. He held the others at bay, taking 2nd place in 16:01.
|Luke Mortensen finishes 2nd overall at the 2023 USATF Masters 5 km Championships Photo Credit: Jouaquin Lara|
Merner and Rowe battled to the wire, with Merner finishing 2 seconds ahead of Rowe in 16:08. Merner, a Canadian citizen, was ineligible for awards; Rowe captured the bronze medal. Poray finished in 16:22 just off the podium in 4th. Brendan Prindiville Tracksmith Boston Hares and Mark Andrews Genesee Valley Harriers were not far back, capturing the next two spots in 16:28 and 16:30.
Ben Bruce 15:07Course Record (CR) Luke Mortensen 16:01 Aaron Rowe 16:10
Jennifer Pesce Garden State TC, a top New Jersey high school runner, recovered from hip surgery and had returned to serious training last year. Her Masters win in 30:08 at the Philadelphia Marathon 8K last November gave her the confidence to contest for a national championship. Jill Braley Atlanta TC, who finished 2nd last year in 18:21, and Amber Morrison Bellingham Distance Project, a top marathoner from Washington, gave Pesce no quarter. Pesce pulled away of the win in 17:49, breaking the women’s course record by 26 seconds.
|Jennifer Pesce claims the Women's Overall Title in a New Course Record 17:49 Photo Creidt: Joaquin Lara|
Morrison finished 2nd in 17:59, with Braley in 3rd, 12 seconds back and ten seconds faster than last year.
|Amber Morrison-2nd Overall at 2023 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta Photo Credit-Creagh Cross|
Elizabeth Wakeling Garden State finished t4th in 18:38, followed closely by Fiona Bayly, 18:38, Hidi Gaff Three Rivers Racing, 18:40 and Jessica Hruska Garden State, the defending champion, in 18:46.
Jennifer Pesce 17:49 CR Amber Morrison 17:59 Jill Braley 18:11
AGE GRADING Those with the top age grade scores are the athletes with the best performance, for their age, across all runners. The scores are based on worldwide data on the best performances ever at each single year of age. All times are net time. Betty Lindberg, 98, set a world record last year in winning the 95-99 division championship. Lindberg did not break her own record, but she still had the highest age grading performance. Her 58:47 net time earned a score of 100.71%.
|Betty Lindberg, 98, finishing the USATF masters 5 Km Championships with the highest age grading score and winning the 95-99 division Photo Credit-Joaquin Lara|
Almost as impressive was the 21:41 net time turned in by Kathy Martin, 74, 2nd at 98.54%. Michelle Rohl’s 18:57 at age 57 closed out the Women’s podium at 94.36%.
|Women's Age Grading Podium-From L: Michelle Rohl, Kathy Martin, Betty Lindberg Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
Kristine Clark, 60, finished 4th; her 19:44 net earned a 93.75%. Fiona Bayly took the last bit of Age Grading prize money. Her 18:37 net time, at 55, merited a 93.64%.
Betty Lindberg 98 58:47 100.71 Kathy Martin 71 21:41 98.54 Michelle Rohl 57 18:37 93.64
John Glidewell, 66, posted a 17:31 to net the highest score in the Men’s race at 95.53%. He was followed by Steve Schmidt, 62, whose 17:39 earned a 91.50%, edging his 61-year-old rival, Rick Lee, by less than a tenth of a percentage point. Lee’s 17:31 earned a 91.44%.
|Men's Age Grading Podium-From L: Steve Schmidt, John Glidewell, Rick Lee Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
John Van Danacker’s TC Running Company 17:37 at 60, merited a 90.05, leaving him in 4th, just two-hundredths of a percentage point ahead of Roger Sayre’s Bolder Road Runners 18:25 at 65. It was a very tight race for top 5. Mark Andrews was five hundredths of a percentage point behind Sayre.
John Glidewell 66 17:31 95.53 Steve Schmidt 62 17:39 91.50 Rick Lee 61 17:31 91.44
Note: Age Grading awards are based on net time.
AGE DIVISION. Twenty National Champions were crowned. Ten Age Division course records were broken! All times are gun time.
40-44 The Overall podium, Pesce, Morrison, and Braley was the same for the 40-44 division.
Jennifer Pesce 43 17:49CR Amber Morrison 42 17:59 Jill Braley 44 18:11
45-49 Sara Girotto Philadelphia Masters was spotted after the race in the Masters tent with an ice bag on her knee. Another athlete told me that she had been pushed and fell at the start. She bounced up, gritted her teeth, and was still able to compete well in 45-49. But any chance she had of running with the lead pack was gone. Girotto was, nonetheless in good spirits treating the incident as the ‘fortunes of war. She had won the division last year in 19:07, a course record for 45-49. She must have been pleased to lower that time by 13 seconds this year. Had she repeated her 19:07 effort, it would have been a mad dash to the finish to beat Jennifer Weston, who clocked 19:09 for 2nd place. Weston came in with a 2:52:50 at the Wineglass Marathon. Girotto was one of the ten athletes who broke course records this year. Euleen Josiah-Tanner T.H.E. TC finished 3rd last year in 19:36. Josiah-Tanner beat that time by 14 seconds this year as she closed out the podium once again.
|Women's 45-49 Podium-From L: Sara Girotto, Euleen Josiah-Tanner, Jennifer Weston Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
She enjoyed a half minute cushion over the 4th place finisher, Rebekah Kennedy Central Park TC.
Sara Girotto 18:54CR Jennifer Weston 19:09 Euleen Josiah-Tanner
50-54 Abby Dean Greater Philadelphia TC won the division and finished 4th overall last year in 18:40. Rehabbing a hamstring tear from earlier in the year, she did not expect to be competitive overall. She was looking forward to a good competitive race at the front of the division pack. Dean got what she wished for. Hortencia Aliaga Garden State was giving no quarter. Finally, as they rushed up Marietta, Dean felt she had the race in hand. Dean took first in 19:22, a mere 4 seconds ahead of Aliaga. Rachel Hopkins Sirius Athletics , who had been among the early leaders, finished 17 seconds later in 3rd.
|Women's 50-54 Podium-From L: Abby Dean, Hortencia Aliaga, Rachel Hopkins Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
Samantha Forde Impala Racing, who had won the division at Cross Nationals in Richmond, was 22 seconds back in 4th.
Abby Dean 19:22 Hortencia Aliaga 19:26 Rachel Hopkins 19:43
55-59 Fiona Bayly was looking to redeem what was, from her perspective, an unsatisfactory outing here last year. She finished 3rd in 50-54 in 18:57. The race did not unfold as expected. This time she would be in the front of the starting area and go out with the leaders. Her main rival in the division this year, as last, was Michelle Rohl Greater Philadelphia, who set American Records on the track last year in the 800M and 1500M outdoors. Rohl also won the 55-59 division and finished 3rd overall at the Masters (Road) Mile in Rochester in 5:12. More relevantly, she had run almost half a minute faster than Bayly last year in this race, taking 3rd overall. This year the honors went to Bayly, despite some bumps at the start. Rohl was not able to match her splendid time of last year. Bayly improved from 18:57 to 18:40, giving her the division win. Rohl claimed the silver medal in 18:57, with Kris Huff Atlanta 3rd at 21:28.
|Women's 55-59 Podium- From L: Fiona Bayly, Michelle Rohl, Kris Huff Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
Rohl's teammate, Anabelle Broadbent, was a half-minute back in 4th.
Fiona Bayly 18:40 Michelle Rohl 18:57 Kris Huff 21:28
60-64 Kristine Clark Athletics Boulder came in with the credentials of a June 5K last year in 20:29, a September one in 20:48, and a 43:11 on the tough Bolder Boulder 10Km, all at altitude. Clark also hails from Salida CO, above 7,000 feet. Running for Athletics Boulder, perhaps she drops to mile high elevation for some of her training. Dropping another 4000 feet to compete in this race seemed to suit her just fine. She covered the first downhill mile in 6:08, and the second mile in 6:15. She did a good job on the final hilly mile. Many saw their times increase by 8% or more, comparing Mile 1 to Mile 3. Clark only showed an increase of 6.25%. She clocked 19:48 to take the win and get the course record! By any reckoning she beat two pretty fair runners in Mary Cass Liberty AC and Doreen McCoubrie Greater Philadelphia. Cass finished 6th here last year in 21:42 but had seen strong improvement over the year. McCoubrie ran a minute faster than Cass here in Atlanta in February. Cass was just 21 seconds back over 12 km in September. Cass took the division crown at Club Cross in December. Cass's improvement continued through to this event as she nabbed 2nd in 20:17, 14 seconds ahead of McCoubrie.
|Women's 60-64 Podium-From L: Kris Clark, Mary Cass, Doreen McCoubrie Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
Cass's teammate, Lauren Leslie finished 4th, a minute behind McCoubrie.
Kristine Clark 19:48CR Mary Cass 20:17 Doreen McCoubrie 20:31
65-69 Patrice Combs Atlanta, the 2019 Masters Grand Prix Champion for 60-64, celebrated her 65th birthday last year at the Masters TF Outdoor Championships last summer, taking home wins at the 1500M, 5000M, and 10,000M distances. Combs finished 5th in 60-64 here in Atlanta last year, but her 5th place time was over a half minute faster than the winning 65-69 time. The defending champion, Kitty Musante Shore AC, tried her best to repeat, but Combs claimed the win with a 22:32, a good minute ahead of Musante's silver medal effort. Cindy Williams Atlanta, a mainstay of Atlanta's 60+ team, ran 22 seconds faster this year, taking 3rd in 25:06.
|Women's 65-69 Podium-From L: Patrice Combs, Kitty Musante, Cindy Williams Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
Williams had a margin of over 40 seconds on the 2022 MNGP winner, Susan Stirrat Shore AC, who finished 4th.
Patrice Combs 22:32 Kitty Musante 23:34 Cindy Williams 25:06
70-74 Kathy Martin smashed the American 70-74 5 Km record with her 21:41 net time, which was also good for the 2nd best age grade score. She pulverized the 70-74 course record by 2:15 with her 21:44 gun time mark. The latter also gave her the 70-74 win, with over 2 minutes to spare. Jeanette Groesz Team Red Lizard took the division title at Club Cross in San Francisco but was no match for Martin on the roads of Atlanta, finishing 2nd in 24:02. Norma 'Nonie' Hudnall Atlanta prefers the track to the roads. She is a top runner from the 800M to the 5000M and is a feared competitor at the steeplechase. She shows up whenever and wherever her team needs her. Hudnall led the Atlanta effort, taking 3rd in 70-74.
|Women's 70-74 Podium-From L" Jeanette Groesz, Norma 'Nonie' Hudnall, Kathy Martin Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
Kathy Martin 21:44AR,CR Jeanette Groesz 24:02 Norma Hudnall 27:40
75-79 Last year, the Atlanta Track Club trio, Myrna Barnett, Catherine Radle, and Andrea McCarter went 1-2-3 in 35:12, 36:24, and 36:59. This year the threesome had no challengers either. They went 1-2-3 in a slightly different order.
|Women's 75-79 Podium-From L: Myrna Barnett, Andrea McCarter, Catherine Radle Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
Barnett claimed the gold medal again, but McCarter and Radle switched finishing places.
Myrna Barnett 36:46 Andrea McCarter 37:09 Catherine Radle 38:35
80-84 No entries.
85-89 Last year Joyce Hodges-Hite Atlanta TC competed unopposed in 80-84, claiming the win in 50:05. This year Hodges-Hite was unopposed in 85-89, winning the gold medal in 48:51. She took over a minute off her 2022 winning time!
Joyce Hodges-Hite 48:51
90-94 No entries.
95-99 Once again the Masters tent rocked to the chorus of "Bet-ty! Bet-ty! Bet-ty!" Her fellow athletes saluted Betty Lindberg Atlanta TC, 98 years fit! She won this division unopposed, as she did last year.
|Betty Lindberg, in high spirits right after finishing the race and donning her finisher's medal |
She repeated as Age Grading champion!
Betty Lindberg 59:04
MEN 40-44 Bruce, Mortensen, and Rowe went 1-2-3 overall. They all came from this division; they mount the age division podium as well.
Ben Bruce 15:07CR Luke Mortensen 16:01 Aaron Rowe 16:10
45-49 In 2019, Brendan Prindiville Boston Tracksmith Hares, took 4th in the Masters 10 Km Championships with a 33:14. This was his first national championship since that race. He tested his fitness last November at the BIGGSTEPS Boston 5K and in February at the Super Sunday 5K. A 16:10 and a 16:12 demonstrated that he was nationally competitive. He was not quite confident enough to go with the main group chasing Bruce, laying 9 seconds off the pace at the first mile. He held that for the 2nd mile and then cut slightly into Poray's lead over the last 1.1, finishing in 5th at 16:28. That performance allowed him to take the 45-49 win.
|Brendan Prindiville captures the Men's 45-49 Division Title, finishing 7th overall at the 2023 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships Photo Credit: Joaquin Lara|
Matt Yacoub Cal Coast was also competing in his first Masters National road championship in a few years. Yacoub was just off Prindiville's pace at the mile and stayed with him around the 180 degree turn and well into the 2nd mile. At that point a gap started to form, which Prindiville widened to over a hundred meters as they toiled up the final hills to the finish. Christopher Hernandez GVH, who finished 3rd at the Road Mile Championships in 4:48, showed that speed with a good closing effort to take 3rd, 20 seconds behind Yacoub and 18 seconds ahead of the 4th place finisher, Mathew DiPretore Greater Philadelphia.
Brendan Prindiville 16:28 Matt Yacoub 16:52 Christopher Hernandez 17:12
50-54 Mark Andrews GVH, who won the 2016 Overall Men's 10 Km Masters Championship, got out fast, kept it going on the uphill sections, building his lead to over 150 meters by the time he crossed the finish line in first. His 16:30 time broke the course record by 15 seconds! Steve Bell Atlanta pulled away from the rest of the chasers to claim 2nd ahead of his teammate, Brent Fields, by an equivalent distance. Sixteen seconds after Fields took 3rd, John Fernandez and Marco Cardoso Garden State approached the finish line neck and neck. Fernandez had the edge at the line as both received the same 17:42 time.
Mark Andrews 16:30 CR Steve Bell 16:59 Brent Fields 17:26
55-59 Christian Cushing-Murray Cal Coast, who took the 50-54 honors last year in 16:45, was back to try his luck, now in the 55-59 division. With his 16:27 at Carlsbad last spring, and his 34:21 10 Km effort in November, Cushing-Murray entered as the favorite. Even though he could not match his time of last year, Cushing-Murray had no trouble getting an early gap on the field and pulling away. He led by over 150 meters as he sped across the finish line, setting a new course record for 55–59-year-olds, 17:05! A half-minute later, Dean Thompson Chattanooga TC and Kristian Blaich Atlanta raced up Marietta Street in tandem, neither giving an inch. Thompson enjoyed a narrow margin for the silver medal, crossing the finish line just 2 seconds ahead of Blaich. Thompson enjoyed his second consecutive podium finish; he took 3rd in this division at Cross Nationals. Blaich, after taking a few years off, was enjoying his first podium finish at a Masters National Championship since 2018.
|Christian Cushing-Murray sprints for the 55-59 win at the 2023 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships Photo Credit: Joaquin Lara|
Mark Zamek surprised many who knew of his recent rehabbing efforts, dealing with multiple ankle and Achilles issues. Zamek, despite being in the last few months before aging up to the 60-64 division, almost landed on the podium, just 4 seconds back from Blaich.
Christian Cushing-Murray 17:05 CR Dean Thompson 17:42 Kristian Blaich 17:44
60-64 Rick Lee Shore AC, Steve Schmidt Ann Arbor, and John Van Danacker TC Running Company entered the race as co-favorites. Lee is known as an athlete who loves to race, almost any distance, whether a race on the track, a road race from the mile to the marathon or a multiple day race across the Sahara Desert. And he wins most races he enters. Schmidt is famed as being one of the first athletes to run a sub-3 hour marathon in each of six decades. Van Danacker had emerged recently as a Cross Country contender on the national scene. Their recent history includes Club Cross, run over 8 Km on a tough weather day. Schmidt finished 9 seconds ahead of Lee, with Van Danacker 7 seconds behind Lee. Schmidt did not run at Cross Nationals in Richmond, another 8 Km race over the turf. But Lee and Van Danacker did; Van Danacker had the edge over Lee by 26 seconds. This time, Lee hit the mile in 5:31 and ran the second mile in 5:34. At that point, Lee, Schmidt and Van Danacker were in a tight pack. Lee was just a little stronger up the final hills. He had a 25-meter lead as he took the final left turn down into the finish within Centennial Olympic Park. It was enough! Lee took the win with a course record 17:32! Six seconds later, Van Danacker was able to edge Schmidt for the silver medal by 2 seconds!
|Men's 60-64 Podium - From L: John Van Danacker, Rick Lee, Steve Schmidt Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
A minute later, Lester Dragstedt finished in 4th.
Rick Lee 17:32 CR John Van Danacker 17:38 Steve Schmidt 17:40
65-69 As noted earlier, John Glidewell had a standout career as an undergrad at Ohio State and some impressive races shortly thereafter. But this was Glidewell's first Masters national competition. He made it count! He ran away from the field, winning by almost a minute over a strong field. In so doing, he tied the American Record and broke the course record for 65-69. Roger Sayre Boulder Road Runners ran a terrific race; his 18:28 time landed Sayre in the top 5 for age-grading and left him 22 seconds ahead of the 12 Km 65-69 American record holder, Ken Youngers.
|Men's 65-69 Podium- From L: John Glidewell, Roger Sayre, Ken Youngers Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
The 2017 silver medalist in the 60-64 division, Tom Devers, finished 4th in 19:47.
John Glidewell 17:32 AR tie, CR Roger Sayre 18:28 Ken Youngers 18:50
70-74 Robert Qualls kept his streak going. Since returning from the WMA Championships, laden with medals, Qualls has been unbeatable at national masters Championships, He took the 12 km, the 5 Km Masters XC, and the Masters races at Club Cross and Cross Nationals. Qualls made it 5 in a row in Atlanta. The horn sounded and Qualls moved off, gradually accelerating as the crowd thinned out. He hit the first mile at 6:19. There were no M70 back bibs in front of him. He kept that pace up through Mile 2, slowed slightly heading up to the finish, and crossed the line at 20:09. His closest pursuers were over 150 meters back. Boulder Road Runner teammates, Douglas Chesnut and Doug Bell, approached the finish line with just a few strides between them. Chesnut took 2nd in 20:50, with Bell taking bronze four seconds later.
|Men's 70-74 Podium-From L: Robert Qualls, Douglas Chesnut, Doug Bell Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
A half minute later, Gene Dykes pushed up Marietta and was able to edge Kirk Larson for 4th by a single second!
Robert Qualls 20:09 Douglas Chesnut 20:50 Doug Bell 20:54
75-79 Dave Glass won every national championship 10 Km and up last year on his way to the 2022 Grand Prix championship for 75-79. He did not win a road championship under 10 Km in length. He is ahead of that pace this year, with this 5 Km win in Atlanta. Keith Yeates has turned into a podium threat since he aged up into 75-79. He took 4th at the Masters 5 Km XC Championships in 22:54 at Boulder in October, slipped to 7th at the highly competitive Club Cross Championships in San Francisco, then nabbed his first podium with a bronze medal at Cross Nationals in Richmond. He hoped to improve on that showing in Atlanta. Yeates kept Glass in sight for the better part of that first mile, but once they made the 180-degree turn, the gap increased. Glass was lost to sight and Yeates concentrated on holding his pace and not allowing a single M75 to pass. Paul Carlin, your author, felt like 2022 was a transitional year. Coming out of the Covid interruption in good shape, I ran a 48:37 10 Km in late April and was looking forward to being competitive at the national championships that would be held in the fall. Two weeks later my Achilles would not allow me to run. The only training was walking, spin bike or elliptical--no running. I finally worked my way out of rehab shortly before Christmas. By the time the 10 Km Championship rolled around, I felt competitive. Even though I finished 7th in 50:02, I was only 5 seconds out of 5th. If I had finished slightly faster, I might have passed the two runners I was closing in on. I finished 4th in the division at the 12 Km Championships and 4th at Cross Nationals in Richmond. I was hoping this race in Atlanta might be my 2023 Grand Prix podium breakthrough. I actually never caught sight of Glass. I could see Yeates a bit ahead and then a bit further. I kept him in sight until the long downslope after the 180 turn. By the time the course flattened out it seemed clear I would not be overtaking Yeates. I focused on form and keeping my cadence up. I learned later that Jan Frisby was having much the same experience with me that Yeates had with Glass, and I with Yeates. Frisby had finished 4th at Dedham but one of his old injuries had flared up in the run into the finish. That kept him out of national championships for the rest of 2022. He made his re-entry at Cross Nationals, but again ran into some issues with his training in the run up to the race and he could only finish 7th, 4 minutes behind me. I know that, in the past, Frisby has often been able to recover quickly. This time his conditioning was still not quite there. When Glass crossed the finish line, the win in hand at 22:54, Yeates was over 100 meters back, toiling up Marietta. When Yeates claimed 2nd in at 23:35, I still had a couple of hundred meters to cover. I got my podium finish, holding off Frisby to claim third place. Frisby indicated later that I got a good 80 meters or so on him in the first mile and then he started to gradually bring me back in the 2nd mile. But he could not keep that process going once we got onto the closing hills.
|Men's 75-79 Podium-From L: Keith Yeates, Dave Glass, Paul Carlin Photo Credit: Creagh Cross|
When I crossed the finish line, Frisby had a hundred meters yet to cover; he took 4th in 25:08.
Dave Glass 22:54 Keith Yeates 23:35 Paul Carlin 24:39
80-84 Doug Goodhue Ann Arbor TC has been in the Masters Hall of Fame for years. He and the legendary Norm Green are the only two athletes to win 8 consecutive Age Division Runner of the Year awards. He won his 59th national title at the 5K Championships in Atlanta in August 2019. Like everyone else, he had a forced break in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. In 2021, he had knee surgery. One of the motivating factors for Goodhue to come back from that surgery was to win his 60th national championship. Goodhue tested the knee and ran for fun, as he got his 70+ team together for the Club Cross championships. It tested out pretty well and he enjoyed the return to competition and the camaraderie. He entered the championships in Atlanta. Goodhue tweaked his hamstring in the run up to the event; that was his only worry. He resolved to start gradually, not an easy thing for Goodhue. But he had no trouble putting a gap on the rest of the field. When Goodhue crossed the finish line, taking the win at 26:36, the rest of the field had well over 300 meters to go! Ed Bligh Atlanta, who had taken the 80-84 title at Richmond, finished 2nd in 28:45. Seven minutes and change later, Andrew Sherwood Atlanta, the Elder Statesman of the division, at this race, finished 3rd. I have no idea how many podium finishes Sherwood has, but it must be a ton! He shows up to compete and anchor his Atlanta team. Goodhue go t his 60th Championship at the same site and the same distance as his 59th! Atlanta is, no doubt, one of his favorite places to race!
Doug Goodhue 26:36 Ed Bligh 28:45 Andrew Sherwood 36:11
85-89 Adrian Craven, the 85-89 Grand Prix champion for 2022, took the 85-89 win at Club Cross. He entered the race as favorite. Everything was going well until he headed up Matrietta Street toward the turn into the finish., At that point he was probably 1200 meters ahead of his teammate, Sid Davis, the only other entrant in the division. For what happened next, I am relying on hearsay. A runner indicated that he had heard that one of the spectators, a young boy, ran out in front of Craven, they got tangled up and Craven may have fallen down. Whether Craven fell down and whether he was able to get up in unclear. What is clear, in the referee's report is that an adult escorted Craven over the final meters to the finish line. The adult was well-meaning, no doubt, Craven may have been confused at that point. In any case, that action constitutes illegal assistance and resulted in a DQ. With Craven disqualified, Sid Davis is credited with the win in 53:54 and, incidentally, moved up from 4th to 3rd finisher for the Atlanta TC's M80+ team.
Sid Davis 53:54 Adrian Craven DQ 38:50
Team championships are determined by adding up the times of the first three finishers on each team, low score wins. The ‘Home Team’ Atlanta Track Club led the way with four team championships; five other teams won a single championship each.
40+ The Athens Road Runners Luke Mortensen, Kevin Burke, James Berry, out of Athens GA, edged Atlanta Nathan Deeter, Andrew Marshall, Brennan Pratt [Mike Schmitz, Brad Frink] for the win with a score of 51:12. The difference between 1st and 2nd was an average of just two seconds per runner. Mortensen got Athens a lead of about a minute. The #2 and 3 runners for Atlanta clawed back all but 6 seconds of that. Atlanta’s ‘B’ squad Dustin Heslep, Kevin Gibson, Kurt Rowland [Mark Castleberry] took 3rd. Cal Coast, Athens 'B', and Atlanta 'C' followed in that order.
Athens Road Runners 51:12 17:04 average Atlanta Track Club 'A' 51:18 17:06 Atlanta Track Club 'B' 55:49 18:37
50+ Atlanta Steve Bell, Brent Fields, Kristian Blaich [Chip Hawkins, Michael Strickland] took this win at 52:09. The Genesee Valley Harriers Mark Andrews, Dale Flanders, Michael Mertens [Keithe Yeates, Mark Rybinski] claimed 2nd in 54:27, with Atlanta’s B squad Fred Weir, David Waid, Brad Slavens [Jeff Haushalter, Hernan LaGreca] matching their 40+ counterparts in taking 3rd in this division. Andrews got GVH a half minute lead but the #2 and 3 runners for Atlanta were able to close that gap and more. Atlanta 'C', Colonial Road Runners, Athens Road Runners, and Atlanta 'D' followed in that order.
Atlanta Track Club 'A' 52:09 17:23 Genesee Valley Harriers 54:27 18:09 Atlanta Track Club 'B' 55:16 18:26
60+ This contest was tighter, but Atlanta Ken Youngers, Lester Dragstedt, Casey Hannan [Gary Droze, Michael Anderson] again took the win with an average time per runner of 19:01 compared to 19:29 for the 2nd place Boulder Road Runners Roger Sayre, Adam Feerst, John Blaser and 19:42 for Shore AC Rick Lee, Kevin Dollard, Reno Stirrat [Scott Linell, Przemek Nowicki] in 3rd. The Ann Arbor Track Club, Kansas City Smoke, Athens Road Runners, Atlanta 'B' and Atlanta 'C' followed in that order. Shore and Ann Arbor had the top two finishers, but Atlanta had the tightest pack with just a couple of ticks over a half minute between their first and third runners.
Atlanta Track Club 57:03 19:01 Boulder Road Runners 58:26 19:29 Shore Athletic Club 59:04 19:42
70+ Boulder RR Douglas Chesnut, Doug Bell, Rick Katz [Jan Frisby] moved up one position compared to their 60+ counterparts, claiming the 70+ win at 1:04:42, with Atlanta Kirk Larson, Dave Glass, Ward Irvin [Allen Joyce, Jerry Learned] second at 1:07:37, and Ann Arbor Terry McCluskey, Paul Carlin, Doug Goodhue 3rd at 1:15:44. Atlanta 'B' took 4th. Boulder had the top two runners, and their 3rd runner came in ahead of his counterpart #3 on every other team.
Boulder Road Runners 1:04:42 21:34 Atlanta Track Club 1:07:37 22:33 Ann Arbor Track Club 1:15:44 25:15
80+ As sole entrant, Atlanta Ed Bligh, Andfrew Sherwood, Sid Davis took the win in 1:58:50. It was a lucky thing they had Davis; his time was crucial to the win once Craven was disqualified. Never let anyone say a 4th runner is superfluous.
Atlanta Track Club 1:58:50 39:37
40+ The Garden State Track Club Jennifer Pesce, Elizabeth Wakeling, Jessica Hruska [Gabrielle Panepinto] took the win with almost a minute per runner to spare. Their winning total was 55:13. Atlanta Jill Braley, Jamie O'Brien, Amy Koepp ;Hiroko Guarneri] took 2nd in 58:11, with Athens Rhia Kilpatrick, Emily Noble, Suzanne Baldwin [Lisa Patton, Janet Muse Dorsey] 3rd in 1:00:12. Atlanta's B team took 4th. Garden State had the 1st, third and 4th runners across the finish line for a dominant win. Each runner on Atlanta's team came in ahead of their Athens counterpart; they had a convincing #2 showing.
Garden State Track Club 55:13 18:25 Atlanta Track Club 58:11 19:24 Athens Road Runners 1:00:12 20:04
50+ The Greater Philadelphia TC Michelle Rohl, Abby Dean, Doreen McCoubrie [Patricia Heppelman, Annabelle Broadbent] with a cumulative time of 58:50, claimed the win over Sirius Athletics Rachel Hopkins, Melissa Landers-Potts, Jill O'Grady Julie Luft, Laura Johnson] out of Athens GA at 1:00:43 and Garden State Hortencia Aliaga, Kimberly Aspholm, Angela Riordan at 1:02:30. Greater Philadelphia's top two runners came in 1-2. When McCoubrie, dropping down from her usual 60+ team, came in 6th, that cemented the deal for GPTC. Sirius, with less than a minute between #1 and #3, had the edge over Garden State. Atlanta and Impala followed in 4th and 5th.
Greater Philadelphia Track Club 58:50 19:37 Sirius Athletics 1:00:43 20:15 Garden State Track Club 1:02:30 20:50
60+ Athletics Boulder Kristine Clark, Inge McClory, Laura Bruess made sure their trip from the Rockies paid off. They took the win at 1:04:06. Liberty AC Mary Cass, Lauren Leslie, Victoria Bok [Drusilla Pratt-Otto], the longest standing Women’s track club in the country, out of Greater Boston, finished 2nd in 1:04:51, with Atlanta Patrice Combs, Michelle Keane, Barbara Chandler [Mireille Silva] 3rd at 1:08:37. AB's #1 gave them a half minute lead over Liberty, but Liberty's #2 runner eliminated all but 8 seconds of the gap. When AB's #3 runner came in 37 seconds ahead of Liberty's, that iced it for Athletics Boulder. Atlanta's 1, 2, and 3 runners all finished ahead of their counterparts at Shore for a strong bronze medal showing. Shore AC, Atlanta 'B', Atlanta 'C', and the Greater Buffalo Track Club followed in that order.
Athletics Boulder 1:04:06 21:22 Liberty Athletics Club 1:04:51 21:37 Atlanta Track Club 1:08:37 22:53
70+ Atlanta’s A team Norma Hudnall, Kathleen Allen, Marion Finley [Myrna Barnett, Andrea McCarter] took the win at 1:30:15, with their B squad Catherine Radle, Mary Reed, Nora Renzulli [Joyce Hodges-Hite, Betty Lindberg] 2nd at 2:04:13. I do not know if anyone has a record that could clearly establish it, but in my memory, we have never seen a 98-year-old member of a competing team in our championships. That is another first for Betty and the Atlanta Track Club.
Atlanta Track Club 1:30:15 30:05 Atlanta Track Club 'B' 2:04:13 41:25
That concludes this recap of the 2023 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships. The weather was great; the competition scintillating, and the camaraderie filled our spirits to the brim. Next up is the Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento on April 2nd.