March 23, 2023. The 2023 USATF Masters Indoor Championships were held at the Norton Sport Center Track in Louisville KY from March 10th through 12th. As my focus is Masters Long Distance Running, I will focus on the 3000M Run, the 1500M Run along with a brief glance at a couple of 800 M races, one of which was very close and another which was a record performance. Take this as a 'shout out' to the many distance runners who enjoy both the track and the roads, not to mention the turf!
3000 METERS-Friday, March 10th
Friday the 10th was the first day of competition with the 3000 m run. Since many of the competitors expected to run in the 1500M run the next day, many top runners raced tactically to win the race but conserve as much as possible for the 'main event' the 1500M.
W75 Terry Foody BLUEgrass Runners took the win over Sally Moyer Unattached (UN), with over a minute to spare, in 20:07.41
W70 Kathy Martin UN ran conservatively, meaning she did not break a record, taking the win with over 4 minutes to spare in 12:49.94, less than a second off the listed American Record and less than 12 seconds off the listed World Record in the program. Norma 'Nonie' Hudnall Atlanta TC (Atlanta) took 2nd. Perhaps that is because the WMA has already credited her with a new 3000M World record of 12:30.48 in NYC on January 5th of this year. Presumably the record books will eventually all show the 12:30.48.
|Kathy Martin on her way to another fine Indoor Track performance earlier this year FB post|
W65 Debbie Lee So Cal TC (SCTC) took this title wire to wire over a field of 7, in 13:54.97. Ivy Bell Central Park TC (CPTC) finished 2nd over half a minute back.
W60 Mireille 'Mimi' Silva Atlanta was never headed in this contest among 5 competitors. Silva took the win in 13:35.31. In the race for the Silver medal, Cheryl Bellaire Greater Philadelphia TC (GPTC) had a 6 second lead over Jan Teft SCTC with a kilometer to go. Teft ate into that lead gradually over the next 800 meters, seizing the lead on the next to last lap, and entering the final lap with a two second cushion. Bellaire was able to dig deep, find another gear and surge past Teft to take second with 0.7 seconds to spare in 13:56.34.
W55 This race featured two of the strongest middle and long distance runners in the country, Michelle Rohl GPTC and Lisa Veneziano Pursuit of Excellence TC (POETC). Veneziano was no match for Rohl in this race although she had no problem distancing herself from the other 5 runners in the field. Rohl was a second ahead at the 400 meter mark and gradually grew that to a 16 second lead. Veneziano cut into that lead slightly over the last 800 meters but was never close enough to threaten Rohl. The Gold Medal went to Rohl in 10:30.50 with Veneziano second in 10:42.71, nearly two minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Rohl was only 8 seconds off the American Record but was probably conserving her energy for her other two races.
W50 Perry Shoemaker UN had no trouble winning this race; the only doubt was whether she would also claim an American Record. To do so, she needed a 10:11.03 or better; averaging 3:23.6. Shoemaker started out well and had almost 4 seconds in the bank at the 1-kilometer point. She lost a little in the next kilometer but was still 3 seconds to the good! Even though she lost a few more tenths of a second with each lap, she was still almost two seconds ahead of record pace. When Shoemaker was able to throw down a final lap of 39.07, it was all over! She had the new American Record with a 10:07.36! Shoemaker also had the Gold medal; it was over two minutes before Yuko Whitestone Potomac Valley TC (PVTC) claimed Silver.
W45 Elizabeth Wells Dayton TC and Rebekah Kennedy CPTC had a dandy duel in this division. Wells took the early lead with Kennedy a couple of strides back. After 800 meters, Kennedy tightened things up a bit and at 2400m she made her move to the lead. But Wells did not wilt; she stayed within striking distance. Wells moved past Kennedy on the final lap to take the win in 11:17.93 to 11:18.65!
W40 April Lund GYS TC had a banner year in 2022, coming home from the WMA Championships in Finland covered with medals. This year has been just as good. By taking first overall in the Masters race at the USATF Cross Country Nationals in Richmond VA, Lund qualified for funding to compete at the first ever WMA Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia. She teamed up with Ben Bruce to bring home a Silver medal in the 40-44 team competition and brought home Gold in the individual W40 championship.
In this race she would be going up against Jennifer Pesce Garden State TC (GSTC), fresh off her overall win at the Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta, GA. On the track it as no contest. Lund went out with purpose, up by a second after the first lap and up by over 3 seconds at 400 meters. The gap kept building. By the end, Lund had the win in 9:58.43, eight seconds off the American Record. Pesce could not keep up with Lund but had no trouble with the rest of the field, claiming Silver in 10:25.79 with almost 15 seconds to spare.
85-89 Colben Sime SCTC took the win unopposed in 21:32.75.
80-84 With two entrants scratching, Stan Edelson Shore AC (Shore)was also running unopposed. He won in 16:44.44.
75-79 Four competitors toed the line, but all expected Gary Patton SCTC to take the win and they were not disappointed. Patton holds the M70 American records indoors in the 1500M and 1 Mile and the Outdoor M70 American Records in the Mile, the 1500M and the 3000M. From the start it was clear this weas a race Patton was running to win, not set a fast time. Patton settled in behind Harold Nolan Shore who was happy to set the pace and see what developed. With 600 M to go, he accelerated smartly away from the field. Patton took Gold in 15:36.23, almost twenty seconds ahead of Nolan who was comfortably in 2nd.
70-74 Eugene Myers PVTC took the win with no trouble, clocking 12:37.63 and winning by well over a minute.
65-69 This was a rematch of sorts. David Westenberg Greater Lowell Road Runners (GLRR) won this division at XC Nationals in Richmond, with Tim Conheady GPTC a minute behind in third. Would it be a different story on the track? If this were the 1500, Westenberg would be the strong favorite; he broke the American Indoor 1500M mark in his first race of the Indoor season last December with a nifty 4:54.18. But this was the 3000 so there was hope. Westenberg set the early pace but Conheady was able to match it for the first 600 meters. After that the gap slowly started to grow, reaching ten seconds by the 1600 meter mark. At that point, Westenberg put it on cruise control, focused on winning and not expending too much energy to deplete his performance at 1500M, his main focus of this event. Westenberg took the win in 10:54.80, with Conheady 2nd at 11:05.92.
60-64 Patrick Billig TC Running Company (Twin Cities), Rick Lee Shore, and Joe Mora GVH last met at the Club Cross Championships in San Francisco. There Lee prevailed in a torrential downpour, finishing 18 seconds ahead of Billig and 28 ahead of Mora. On the roads in 2022, Mora was able to find a way to beat Lee at both the 1 Mile and the 5 Km Championships. Would he have the same success on the track? And what about Billig? Would he fare better on the track than the turf? Lee was happy to set the early pace and dare the others to stay with him. Neither did. Billig was 4 seconds back at the 400M mark, with Mora another 5 seconds back. Lee stayed comfortably in front the whole way, winning in 10:13.94. Billig could not stay with Lee, but he could not fully shake Mora either. Nonetheless, Billig had a lead of over ten seconds on Mora with just 600 meters to go. That was when Mora started to close the gap. Billig's lead was down to 7 seconds with 600 meters to go and with just 200 meters to go, he still had 4 seconds on Mora. It was not enough! Mora uncorked a 35 second last lap to nip Billig at the wire, for second, by just 0.08 seconds!
55-59 It was a strong field in this division as well with Mike Nier GVH and his teammate, Dale Flanders, toeing the line next to Mike McManus UN and Charles Novak UN. McManus and Novak were expected to contend for the win. Novak set the pace and McManus matched him stride for stride. Novak went through 1600 M in 5:21.49 with McManus within 0.3 seconds. Novak introduced a gradual acceleration from 2000 to 2400 meters that McManus could not match. Up by 3 seconds at 2400 meters, Novak continued to pull away, winning by 15 seconds in 9:45.88. Nier and Flanders took 3rd and 4th.
50-54 John Lomogda Colonial Road Runners (Colonial) let his teammate, Keith Schumann, set the early pace. By 1200 meters, Lomogda was laying almost 6 seconds off of Schumann's pace. A gradual acceleration brought Lomogda closer to Schumann, a half a second a lap at first and then a second a lap. By the 1800-meter mark, Lomogda was just 3 seconds out of first. Lomogda made his move, taking the lead at 2200 meters and never looking back. Lomogda had the win in 9:41.30. Schumann finished second in 9:53.33.
45-49 Mike Jackson Indiana Elite Athletic Club (Indiana Elite), who took the 45-49 title at the 5 Km Championships in Atlanta, set the early pace. Jerry Snider UN fell in behind. Jackson continued to throw down sub-36 200m laps thereafter and a gap started to grow. Jackson claimed the Gold medal in 9:00.41, with Snider a half minute back in 2nd.
40-44 Tom Burns Indiana Elite led wire-to-wire but did not start to drop Jeremy Ruston UN and Scott Wallace Shadow Project TC (Shadow Project) until 1200 meters. After that the gap grew steadily, with Burns winning in 9:03.59. Ruston was 13 seconds back in 2nd with Wallace third.
1500 METERS-Saturday, March 11th
W80 Angela Staab won the division unopposed in 11:48.72.
W75 Terry Foody BLUEgrass Runners (BLUEgrass) let Kathleen Frable SCTC set the early pace. By 1100 meters, Foody was in the lead. Foody was never headed, taking the win in 9:30.09; Frable was almost a half-minute back in 2nd.
W70 Three women stepped to the starting line in this division. Only one, Kathy Martin UN was expected to win. The question was whether she would be able to take down the American record, listed on the program as 5:57.19. She needed to average under 48 seconds per lap--47.5's would do nicely. Martin had no problem hitting better than that pace for the first 500 meters, putting seconds in the bank, but then her splits started to fall away from that pace. At 700M, with 800 meters to go, Martin was almost three seconds ahead of record pace. By 1100 meters, she was a second off of re cord pace and by 1300m, with just 200 meters to go, she was almost two seconds off the pace needed. No need to fret; Martin kicked in with her fastest lap of the race, a nifty 42.75, to take down the American record by exactly three seconds in 5:54.19! Martin also won the race with almost two minutes to spare. 'Nonie' Hudnall Atlanta took 2nd.
W65 Debbie Lee SCTC asserted herself at 300 meters, took the lead and never looked back, taking the win in 6:30.44. Ivy Bell CPTC finished 9 seconds later in 2nd, just two seconds ahead of Alda Cossi Liberty Athletic Club (Liberty AC).
W60 Deb Torneden UN had the early lead, but Charlotte Rizzo Westchester TC ran just off the pace for the first 1300 meters. With a lap to go, Torneden pulled away, winning by 3 seconds in 5:35.48.
W55 It is a good thing Kathy Martin broke the W70 American record. Michelle Rohl GPTC stepped to the track for the W55 1500 with the aim of taking down Martin's American Record, set 16 years ago. They say 'Records are made to be broken.' Rohl would need to average under 40 seconds a lap. She got away quickly over the first 100 meters and settled into a steady pace. Rohl knew she wanted ot be just under a minute at the 300 meter mark; instead she was just over. It is doubtless anyone else noticed, except possibly her coach. And a negative split approach may have been part of the plan. In any case, the next two laps were sub-40's and she crossed the line with 800 meters to go just a half second off the record split. But Rohl had been steadily accelerating ever so slightly and that continued. With 400 meters to go, Rohl was a second under record pace. Her last lap, at 38.08, was her fastest of the race. Rohl's winning time of 4:55.47 was more than three seconds under the AR!
|Michelle Rohl on her way to 2nd place overall and first in 55-59 at the 2023 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships Photo courtesy of the Rochester Mile|
Almost lost in the excitement was the nifty duel between Lisa Veneziano POETC and Judy Stobbe for 2nd. Neck and neck heading into the final 200 meters, Veneziano led the way from 100m to 1300m, but Stobbe was right there, with never more than half a second between them! Veneziano had the stronger kick though, powering away on the final lap. She took the Silver medal with 4 seconds to spare in 5:15.43.
W50 In her first return to national competition after a lengthy rehab, Sonja Friend-Uhl led wire-to-wire, taking the win in 5:05.94, with a full minute to spare. Yuko Whitestone PVTC was 2nd.
W45 Rebekah Kennedy CPTC and Elizabeth Wells Dayton TC enjoyed a rematch at the shorter distance. Wells had taken the 3000 M title with a strong finishing kick. This one was tight for the first half of the race with Wells setting the pace and Kennedy matching it just a stride off the lead. But this time, Wells left nothing to chance. She expanded a one second lead to three seconds between 700 and 900 meters. Wells grew the lead steadily the rest of the way, enjoying a nine-second win in 5:15.55.
W40 Hidi Gaff Three Rivers Racing (Three Rivers) went to the front, with Jennifer Ledford UN on her heels through 1500M. With 200M to go, Ledford was just a fraction of a second behind. But Gaff ran her fastest split of the night to pull away for the win, 5:12.97 to 5:15.74.
90-94 Vance Genslinger Philadelphia Masters, 93, claimed the 90-94 Gold with no opposition, in 13:53.19.
85-89 Colben Sime SCTC, 89, may take on Genslinger next year. Sime thought he would have two rivals in this division, but both scratched. This year Sime was content to win this division unopposed in 10:32.39.
80-84 Like Sime, Stan Edelson Shore anticipated some competition but the lone rival who signed up was a scratch. Edelson ran a nicely paced race and kicked it in at the end for the win at 7:58.91
75-79 There were four entrants in 75-79 but all eyes were on Gary Patton. He had taken the 300m title easily the previous day so folks were looking for something special. So was Patton. Patton let folks know there was nothing to worry about. He needed to average 48.2 for each 200 meter lap. No problem, said Patton! His first full lap was in 44.79.
|Gary Patton winning the 75-79 Division at the 2023 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships Photo Credit: Pam Fales|
He would gradually slow down a bit but even his slowest lap, from 900M to 1100M, was still a few ticks under his target. With 400M to go, Patton started his final acceleration, throwing down a 42.42 on his final lap to post a winning time of 5:44.41, a good 17 seconds under the AR! Wow!
70-74 The legendary distance runner, Nolan Shaheed SCTC, allowed Spider Rossiter Shore to enjoy building a lead, which got up over 7 seconds by the time there was just 600M to go. Shaheed started to reel him in, a half-second on the first of those last three laps, 3 seconds on the next and a whopping 5 on the last lap when he uncorked a 38.27 last lap!
Shaheed had the win in 5:32.68, with Rossiter 2nd in 5:34.08.
65-69 David Westenberg led wire to wire. Three seconds ahead at 300M, he built that gap up to ten seconds by the end.
|David Westenberg headed for the 1500 M win at the 2023 USATF Masters Indoor TF Championships Posted on FB|
Westenberg won in 4:56.93. There was a tight battle for 2nd place. Fred Torneden UN kicked past Tim Conheady GPTC to claim Silver, 5:06.56 to 5:07.23.
60-64 Mark Pinckard and Greg Athayde came down from Canada to try their luck at 1500M. Rick Lee Shore and Joe Mora GVH stood in their way. Pinckard set the pace, with lee right on his heels through 1300M. With 200 meters to go they were separated by less than half a second. Both kicked for all they were worth; in the end, Pinckard had just enough to hold off Lee, 4:42.64 to 4:43.22. Both had run sub-36 for the last 200 meters! Mora also kicked in with a sub-36 split, keeping Athayde off the podium with a 4:51.08.
55-59 Charles Novak set off at the start like a man on a mission. He moved swiftly and fluidly to the front and had a 3 second lead at 300 meters. No one ever got close; Novak won in 4:24.67. Todd Straka took 2nd in 4:34.84, with three seconds to spare.
50-54 Mark Williams led from the front with Keith Schumann Colonial on his heels.
Ahead by less than half a second with 200 meters to go, Williams uncorked a sub-30 second final 200 meter to take the win over Schumann, 4:33.79 to 4:37.93.
45-49 Mike Jackson Indiana Elite led all the way, clocking 4:16.53 to notch his 2nd win of these Championships. Chris Hernandez GVH and Matt Richardson CHT Elite were locked in a duel for 2nd. Hernandez came from just off the pace to claim Silver at 4:23.15, with a dandy 31.97 closing lap.
40-44 Tom Burns and Scott Wallace were content to let others lead for the first few laps. Wallace made a swift move from 5th to 1st after 800 meters; it took Burns a lap before he gradually eased up into the 2nd spot behind Wallace. Burns ran stride for stride through to the 1300 meter mark. With one lap to go there was less than three tenths of a second between the two leaders. Burns tried to accelerate but Wallace was accelerating just as fast up the backstretch. Burns tried to make one more move off the final turn, appeared to be making up ground, but tied up just short of the finish line. Wallace had the victory, 4:16.68 to 4:16.94 for Burns. Jaret Herter GVH ran a close third over the final laps but could never quite move up even with either of the two leaders. He moved closer in the final stretch, taking 3rd in 4:17.48.
800 METERS-Sunday, March 12th
I comment on just two of these middle distance 'sprints'!
65-69 Michael Lebold Jamul Toads was a distant 4th in the 1500-meter race won by David Westenberg GLRR. But Lebold was confident in his fitness and his speed; he would challenge Westenberg for the 800-meter title. Westenberg moved into the lead on the backstretch of the first lap but Lebold held back for a bit. But he moved smartly around three other runners and positioned himself behind Westenberg by the end of the first lap. On the backstretch Lebold briefly moved even with Westenberg. Whether due to a slight increase in pace by Westenberg or the realization that the turn was coming up too soon, Lebold fell in behind again. With 200 meters to go they were still running stride for stride. Lebold made a move to pass on the backstretch but Westenberg held strong, forcing Lebold to run the last turn in lane 2.
|Michael Lebold left and David Westenberg coming off the final turn in the 65-69 800 M race at the 2023 USATF Masters TF Indoor Championships Posted on FB |
But that was it, coming off the turn, Lebold had just a little more speed than Westenberg, easing in front to take the win 2:29.55 to 2:30.46.
55-59 Charles Novak was taking no prisoners in this race. He sprinted his first 200 meters in 31.28 seconds. He slowed by just a tenth of a second on the 2nd lap, hitting the 400-meter split in 1:02.65. He was on pace to break both the American and World Records! Novak did a terrific job of holding it together, but did slow slightly over the last 400 meters, covering it in 1:04.06. That gave Novak the win in 2:06.71. That was under Horace Grant's 2007 American Record of 2:07:05. The Masters Indoor program lists the World mark as 2:06.87. If that had been correct, Novak would have taken down the World Record as well. Unfortunately, the current posting at the WMA site lists a time from February of 2022 at 2:06.41 as the World Record. Hat's off to Novak for his stirring American Record! He was so close to taking down the World Record. He will get another chance at the WMA's in Torun, Poland. Both he and the current World Record holder, Francesco D'Agostino Italia are entered. That should be a fun race to watch!
4 x 800M Relay
Three World Records were broken or established.
W60-64 Julie Hayden and Lorraine Jasper of the GPTC, joined up with Kathy Martin, running UN and dropping down from 70-74, and Deb Torneden, also UN, to form a non-Club 60-64 team that could challenge for a World Record. The WR they were chasing was 12:12.46; they needed an average 800-meter time of 3:03.15. Could a team with a 70-74 year old running the leadoff leg break a World record. They were certainly game to try, and Martin is one of the World's fastest 70-74 year olds over the middle and long distances. Martin did not have to run a 3:03 and change herself but she had to run close enough to let the other three bring the record home. Martin did her job brilliantly, handing the baton off to the 2nd runner a few ticks under 3:10. That meant the other three just had to run 3 minutes each or better. In fact, the 2nd runner, probably Hayden, ran fast enough to immediately get them back on track. A 2:50:58 split meant that the baton was handed off to #3 runner, Jasper, at 5:59.84. They were 6 seconds ahead of WR pace. Jasper covered her 4 laps in 2:49.87. Torneden brought it home in 2:50.08. They smashed the WR by over half a minute in 11:39.79!
W75-79 Running for TNT International, the 4 x 800M team of Angela Staab, Mary Trotto, Nancy Berger and Cora Hill established a new World record. They are, apparently, the first team of 75 and up women to run the event. Their 22:43.88 is now listed as a World Record!
M80-84 As with the W60 effort, one member of the 4 x 800M team dropped down from a higher age division. Innocencio Cantu, 89, from PVTC joined with Hal Lieberman of the CPTC, Gary Muhrke, UN, and Stan Edelson Shore AC, all from 80-84. The existing World Record was listed as 17:52.9. The team needed to average 4:28.17. With two runners capable fo breaking 4:00 on their legs, the team felt confident. Assuming they ran in th eorder listed, Hal Lieberman led off with a 3:56.71, giving them a half minute cushion in the bank. Muhrke's split was the closest to the average they needed to attain at 4:23.16. At the end of his leg, they were at 8:19.87, thirty-six seconds clear of the pace they needed. After that it was a cakewalk! Cantu contributed a 4:21.46 and Edelson brought them home with a splendid 3:52.97 last leg.Their final time of 16:34.30 gave this team from the USA the WR, with a minute and 18 seconds to spare!
Congratulations to One and All for an Exciting Event! As always, so many athletes commented on the incredible camaraderie exhibited where rivals compete hard but also support each other and become lifelong friends!
Full results may be consulted at: