Saturday, April 1, 2023

2023 Ten Mile Masters Championships at Sacramento--Preview

March 31 2023. Masters athletes are flocking to Sacramento for the 2nd installment of the USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships hosted by the Sactown 10. Although it has been an unusually wet season in Northern California, the weather forecast looks favorable. Mostly sunny skies and a temperature in the upper 40’s to low 50's is near perfect for an intermediate length event like the 10 Mile. National champions will be crowned in Overall, Age Division, Age Grading, and Team contests.

Athletes Head Out from the Start in Good Spirits at the 2022 USATF Masters 10 Mile Championships Hosted by the Sactown Ten All Masters 10 Mile photos courtesy of the Sacramento Running Association (SRA)


WOMEN It appears that we will have a new overall champion. Maggie Shearer, who claimed the title last year in 59:19. But there is no lack of speed in the field. Renee Metivier Team Red Lizard, who came in well ahead of Shearer on the turf in San Diego in January of 2022, is entered. She has five appearances for Team USA at the World Cross Country Championships on her Open resume. 

Renee Metivier powers to the Overall Masters win at the 2022 USATF Cross Country Championships Photo by Mike Scott

Last year she ran 16:41 at Carlsbad and claimed the Women's Overall win at the Footzone Dirty Half Trail Race in 1:24:12. Her chief competition should come from two newly minted Masters runners, Katie Hynes Impala Racing and Jenny Kadavy HOKA Aggies RC. Kadavy and Hynes went 1-2 in the 35-39 division here last year, clocking 57:55 and 58:07. Those three should run clear of the field. But if any of those three have an off day, other challengers include: Jacqueline Cooke Impala who finished 4th in 40-44 here last year in 1:03:16, and her teammate, Elizabeth Goya, who finished 2nd in 45-49 in 1:04:37. Cooke also clocked 18:18 in the Stow Lake 5K. Georgia Young Impala could also be a factor. In February and March of last year, she recorded two sub-40 10K’s. Two entrants from the 55-59 division deserve mention as contenders overall. Jenny Hitchings Sacramento Running Association Elite (SRA Elite) took 3rd overall last year in 1:00:38; that time also broke her own W55 American Record at the distance. 

Athletes Heading through Oldtown in Sacramento, well into the 2022  USATF Masters 10 Mile Championships Hosted by the Sactown Ten 

Fiona Bayly Unattached will have a tough time keeping up with Hitchings. But I thought Bayly would have a tough time coming in ahead of American 55-59 track star, Michelle Rohl, at the 5 Km Championships. Bayly finished 5th overall at Atlanta in 18:37, a good 18 seconds ahead of Rohl. 

Fiona Bayly powers uphill on her way to a 3rd place overall Finish in the Masters Race at the 2023 USATF Cross Country Championships Photo By Mike Scott

Bayly had an off day last year but her 58:55 in the Ted Corbitt 15K last December suggests a sub 1:04 10 Mile is not out of her reach. The most likely order of finish is probably Metivier-Kadavy-Hynes but a lot can happen over ten miles!

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Katie Hynes     Jenny Kadavy     Renee Metivier

MEN Riley Cook took top honors last year but is focusing on Marathon prep this year; he qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials at CIM last December. Two athletes will fill in nicely for him. Fernando Cabada Unattached ran a 1:04:51 at the Aramco Houston HM this January. That suggests a sub-50 10 Mile is well within his grasp. He will need it! As a 39-year-old last year Malcolm Richards West Valley TC was first across the line among those 35 and up, clocking 48:46. It will be interesting to see how that battle plays out. Last year Cook let Sergio Reyes go out and build a good lead before reeling him in over the last couple of miles. Will Cabada and Richards be in a game of attrition or will one or the other blast off and dare the other to catch him if he can? If both show up in good fitness it would be a surprise to see anyone else stay with them for more than a mile or two. Cabada’s half marathon in Houston makes him the favorite but Richards will make him earn it, and Richards does have home course advantage. 

Malcolm Richards paying his dues as he leads Ben Bruce and Sergio Reyes at the 2022 USATF Club Cross Country Championships Photo by Pam Fales

There should also be quite a battle for the final podium position. Chikara Omine Excelsior RC ran as an open runner here last year, clocking 54:42, 5 seconds faster than Ben Koss West Valley TC who finished 5th in M40, just four seconds ahead of Juan Rivera West Valley J&S. Jaime Heilpern HOKA Aggies RC, who took 1st in M50 last year in 55:10 could also play a role in the fight for the final podium spot. Joshua Muxen Unattached ran a 1:09:33 at the KP Napa Valley HM and a 15:19 5K last December. He may find himself in ‘no man’s land’ between the 2-athlete lead group and the chase group identified above. The plus side is that he looks like a good bet to make the podium. The most likely order of finish is Cabada-Richards-Muxen, but the race will reveal the truth.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Fernando Cabada     Josh Muxen     Malcolm Richard



40-44 Cabada and Richards should go 1-2. Omine had the fastest time of the rest here last year. That makes him the favorite for the bronze medal spot.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Fernando Cabada     Chikara Omine     Malcolm Richards

45-49 Josh Muxen, mentioned in the overall preview above, appears to be the strongest runner in this division. Jesse Barragan finished 9th here last year in 40-44 with a time of 56:31. He finished 12th at Club Cross in San Francisco this past December, traversing the 1200 meter oval 7 and 3/4ths times in 30:34. Barragan has good speed as well, shown by his 16:19 at the Gold Country 5K. Ed Hill Strawberry Canyon TC did not compete here last year but he, too, has sub-16:30 speed with a 16:23 5K last July. He also cooked a near 1:14 HM at the Urban Cow, roughly equivalent to a 56-minute 10 Miler. On paper it should be Barragan and Hill vying for the division silver medal, with Jason Lee Excelsior RC and Paul Smith SRA Elite pushing them all the way. Lee has a 35:52 10K at the KP San Francisco HM, and Smith a 1:21:51 HM this year at the Bidwell Classic and an 1:18:22 at the same race in 2022. I cannot find any recent races for Lee Piercy SRA Elite, but he cooked a 54:20 at the 2020 NorCal John Frank memorial 10 Mile Run. That makes him a bit of a wild card; f he is in that kind of shape now, he will be involved in the fight for the podium. The most likely order of finish is probably: Muxen-Hill-Barragan.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Jesse Barragan     Ed Hill     Josh Muxen

50-54 This division belonged to Jaime Heilpern HOKA Aggie TC last year. He took the division crown with almost a minute to spare, on a very strong field, in 55:10. It is likely we will see a repeat this year but perhaps with greater separation. His main competition comes from Charles Mullane West Valley TC and Jesus Muniz SRA Elite. Mullane finished 4th in the division at the 12 Km Masters Championships in 42:32 and turned in a 1:18:06 at the KP San Francisco HM, roughly equivalent to a 58-minute ten mile. Muniz finished 5th here last year in 57:26 and ran 16:56 at the Stow Lake 5K. Darren Morgan SRA Elite could also make a bid for the podium. He finished 40 seconds behind Muniz, claiming 5th in the division here at Sactown last year. A 16:48 5K suggests good closing speed should he need it. The most likely order of finish is probably Heilpern-Muniz-Mullane but Morgan could certainly overthrow that.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Jamie Heilpern     Charles Mullane     Jesus Muniz

Athletes Heading Out for the Final 180 Turn Before Covering the Last Miles of the Race at the 2022 USATF Masters 10 Mile Championships Hosted by the Sactown Ten

55-59 The returning runner with the fastest time in this division is Roger Dix HOKA Aggie TC who ran 1:01:56 in the 50-54 division. Cliff Lentz is probably the strongest runner in the field. He ran 59:31 in the 2022 Nor Cal JF 10 Miler, and then 1:19:14 in the Clarksburg HM in November. Jerry Flanagan Pamakids, Ryan Gilliam Santa Cruz TC, and Gary Waggoner West Valley J&S  could push Dix for silver. Flanagan finished 7th in the division in 1:03:02 and clocked 1:24:00 at the Urban Cow HM. Gilliam ran 1:24:35 at the Surfer's Path HM. Waggoner ran a 37:51 10K at the Oakland Running Festival, roughly equivalent to a sub-1:03 Ten Mile effort. On paper it looks like Lentz-Dix-Waggoner, although the order of Flanagan-Gilliam and Waggoner is highly uncertain.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Roger Dix     Cliff Lentz     Gary Waggoner

60-64 Nat Larson Greater Springfield Harriers passed up the WMA Indoor Championships this year. He is probably taking aim at the 57:48 10 Mile record currently held by Norm Green, set in 1993. It takes a remarkable runner to hold an American Record for 30 years. It is a tribute to Larson that he has a legitimate shot at breaking it. He had hoped to add the 15 K to his collection of American 60-64 Records a couple of weekends ago, but the weather in New Jersey was not cooperative. Larson already holds the 1 Mile, 5K and 8K American Records for M60. Can anyone else stay with him? Probably not.

Nat Larson heading for the Finish Line and another Age Division win at the 2022 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Photo By Mike Scott

But John Van Danacker TC Running probably has the best chance of hanging on. Van Danacker finished 2nd at the Masters 5 Km Championships in 17:37 on a tough course. Van Danacker was just over half a minute behind Larson at Club Cross in San Francisco. Mark Murray SRA Elite is a solid bet to take the bronze medal, and perhaps push Van Danacker for the Silver. He finished 4th in M55 in 1:00:57 here last year. His 1:25:29 HM at Clarksburg reinforces his status as a contender. Raymond Rodriguez West Valley J&S finished 4th in the division last year in 1:03:38, Adam Feerst Boulder Road Runners was 13 seconds back in 5th. Barry Farrara West Valley J&S ran 1 second slower than Feerst at the Nor Cal JF Memorial 10 Miler. Lester Dragstedt Atlanta TC ran a couple of sub-18:30 5K's last year and finished 4th in the division at Atlanta this year in 18:47. Taken collectively, that suggests Dragstedt could also break 1:04. He has no recent races of a comparable distance to go by, but he can race over that distance. In 2019 he claimed the M55 Bronze Medal at the15 Km Championships at Tulsa in 2019. It should be Larson-Van Danacker-Murray for 1-2-3 but there is plenty of speed and endurance in the lineup to challenge them for the podium.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Nat Larson     Mark Murray     John Van Danacker

65-67 Jacob Nur claimed this title last year with a cushion of over 5 seconds. He is not entered this year. That leaves the field wide open. Roger Sayre Boulder Road Runners emerges as the favorite. He finished 3rd in M60 at the Masters 12 Km Championships in mid-September, clocking 46:17, suggesting a sub-1:04 10-Miler might be within his grasp. Sayre finished 2nd in Atlanta with an 18:25 5K. 

Roger Sayre captures the Bronze Medal in the highly competitive 60-64 Division
 Race at the 2021 Club Cross Championships in Tallahassee FL Photo By Mike Scott

Michael Lebold Jamul Toads finished 7th at Club Cross in San Francisco behind a very strong field of 65-69 year olds. Taken together, those two suggest that a sub-1:04 ten miler might not be out of Lebold's reach. If he can get close, that should probably put him clear of the rest of the field. Tomas Rodriguez Cal Coast TC= finished 4th in this division last year with a 1:09:47. Brian Davis Unattached was just 20 seconds behind him in 5th. KC Taylor Bowerman TC did not race in Sacramento last year, but he did turn in a 1:10:40 a week later at the Pear Blossom 10 Miler in Oregon. Considering how close those times are and that there has been a year since they were recorded, it is probably a toss-up between the three. I will go with Rodriguez who had the faster time last year. That means I am going for a 1-2-3 order of Sayre-Lebold-Rodriguez.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Michael Lebold     Tomas Rodriguez     Roger Sayre

70-74 With Robert Qualls over in Poland, this division was already wide open. Qualls had won the division at the last 5 consecutive national masters championships, starting with the 12 Km Masters in New Jersey and running through the 5 Km in Atlanta. Gene Dykes has the best returning resume from last year. He took the M70 title last year in 1:07:51. Fresh off a fine win at the Masters Half marathon Championships in Syracuse with a 1:32:48, it appeared that Dykes was putting an injury prone year behind him. But it did not turn out that way. By the end of the year, Dykes was having blood work done and started a treatment. Unfortunately, other injuries have set him back. He posted just 4 days ago that thigh muscle pain had forced him to suspend pacing duties at a half marathon. He indicated he would not be running in Sacramento after all. Jerry Learned Atlanta TC and John Hirshberger Tamalps Runners were 2-3 last year in 1:12:28 and 1:12:38. But Learned has run into health difficulties as well. He ran far slower than his norm at the 5K in Atlanta, clocking 25:49; he ran 21:32 the year before over the same course. Hirshberger followed the ten mile result up with a solid 1:36:20 at the Urban Cow HM in October. But even with Hirschberger I can find nothing after October 29th and, if I recall correctly, heard that he had a minor injury that kept him from running at Club Cross in San Francisco. Will he be at full strength for this championship? Tamalpa has a 70+ team entered and he may be running primarily for team points. Doug Bell Boulder Road Runners who is primarily running this ten-miler as he did last year, for team points, may turn out to be the top runner. He finished 5th last year in 1:14:45. His 3rd place finish at Atlanta in 20:51 shows that he is fit. 

Gene Dykes heading for the Finish Line at the 2022  USATF Masters 10 Mile Championships Hosted by the Sactown Ten

His teammate, Douglas Chesnut Boulder Road Runners may be as strong. He came in 7 seconds ahead of Bell in Atlanta, taking 2nd. On the other hand, there is some evidence suggesting Bell is better at longer distances than Chesnut. At the Bolder Boulder 10K, two months after the ten-mile championships, Bell came in almost two minutes ahead of Chesnut. Gerhard Fischer Buffalo Chips RC could also be competitive. He ran a time virtually equivalent to Bell's at the 10K at the Shamrockin HM earlier this month. Of course, Bell's race was at altitude and is known to be challenging in addition to the altitude. Fischer turned in a 1:16:45 at the Buffalo Stamped 10 Mile Run last fall. It looks like the race may be between Hirschberger, Bell, Chesnut and Fischer. But I am at a loss to predict a finishing order. Let's go with Bell-Chesnut -Fischer for 1-2-3, keeping in mind that if Hirschberger is anywhere near as fit as last year, he could mix in there as well.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Doug Bell     Douglas Chesnut     Gerhard Fischer

75-79 The athletes who went 1-2-3 here last year are all back. They have all been running well in their recent races. Dave Glass Atlanta TC won by almost 4 minutes last year in 1:16:38. Len Goldman Tamalpa Runners and Gary Ostwald Boulder Road Runners had a duel that Ostwald won, 1:19:00 to 1:19:02. Ostwald has one of the most devastating final kicks in the business. Like Gary Patton, you do not want to let him get close in that last quarter mile. There is a little uncertainty. On Facebook a little over a week ago, Glass posted, "I have Achilles Tendonitis, Lord help me!"  However, Glass let me know that he has been training well and the Achilles appears to be under control. He ran a sub-24 5K last week with no flare-ups. Goldman has been running his 5K’s in the 22’s. That is a good sign. On the other hand, he ran at least one slightly longer race, a 10K, leading into this race last year. I can find no road races over 5K for him this year. Ostwald has been active and successful at the last two cross country championships, but he has no road races since the 12 Km Masters Championships in mid-September. He finished 5 minutes behind Glass at that race, capturing the bronze medal. Unless something unexpected happens, Gene French Tamalpa Runners, Jan Frisby Boulder Road Runners and I Ann Arbor TC will be on the outside looking in again this year. It was Frisby-Carlin-French in 4th through 6th last year. Based on training, I should run faster than last year's 1:25:10 but probably not 5 minutes faster. Frisby was a half-minute behind me in Atlanta but was on the upswing in his training. Frisby, the M55 Runner of the Year from 24 years ago, is always dangerous. As he did last year, French included a ten-mile event as prep for this championship. Still, the most likely order of finish is Glass-Ostwald-Goldman.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Dave Glass     Len Goldman     Gary Ostwald

80-84 James Metts Florida TC West and Robert Schmitt West Valley J&S should finish 1-2 in that order. Metts ran 29:56 at the Carlsbad 5000 and 59:18 at the Gaslamp 10 Km. Those suggest a sub-1:40 ten miler could be within his reach. Schmitt has run longer races at a much slower pace. He clocked 1:26:44 at the Across the Bay 12K and 2:51:40 at the Shamrockin HM earlier this month. Taken together those suggest a sub-2-hour tne-miler but not a sub 1:50 is within Schmitt's reach. The likely order of finish is Metts-Schmitt 1-2 but we will know for sure after the race on Sunday.


40-44 As noted above, this should come down to a race between Renee Metivier, Jenny Kadavy and Katie Hynes with that being the most likely order of finish. Jacqueline Cooke was also mentioned in the overall analysis. She could push the lead trio.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Katie Hynes     Jenny Kadavy     Renee Metivier

45-49 Elizabeth Goya Impala Racing and her teammate, Georgia Young, mentioned in the overall analysis, are probably the strongest runners in the field. Goya claimed 2nd in this division last year, running 1:04:37. Young's two sub-40 10K's in February and March of last year, along with a 20:34 5K, suggest she could break 1:06 in the Ten Mile run. Anne Cushman SRA Elite ran a 1:06:45 to finish 6th in the 40-44 division here last year. Since then, she has a 1:07:45 at the Buffalo Stampede ten miler and a 1:25:58 at the Shamrockin HM earlier this month. That HM time suggests she could run faster than last year and possibly break 1:06. It is hard to see any of the other entrants staying with those three. Perhaps Nancy Eubanks West Valley J&S can manage it? She ran 1:08:23 last year to finish 8th in 40-44. She followed that up with a 1:31:46 Half Marathon at the Urban Cow in the fall. Let's go with Goya-Cushman-Young for 1-2-3. But there is not a lot of distance between them.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Anne Cushman     Elizabeth Goya     Georgia Young

50-54 The Impala teammates, Megan Kossar, Samantha Forde, and Jen Bayliss, looked to be the top three in this division. I learned recently that Bayliss will be a scratch on Sunday. Just today I learned that Kossar is listed for the B team. Kossar finished 7th in this division here last year in 1:07:38. Forde did not run at Sactown, but she did run the Nor Cal John Frank Memorial Ten Miler a month before in 1:09, finishing 26 seconds behind Kossar in that race. With Bayliss absent and Kossar on the B team, Kari Rust West Valley TC moves up into podium contention. Her 42:29 at the Wharf to Wharf 6 Miler, along with her 1:38:12 at the Rock N Roll San Jose HM, suggest she can distance herself from the rest of the field. Sue VQ Smith Lake Merritt J&S who clocked a 50:01 10K, also moves up. The most likely 1-2-3 seems to be: Forde-Rust-Smith.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Samantha Forde          Kari Rust     Sue VQ Smith

55-59 They ran this race last year and Jenny Hitchings SRA Elite had it all her way, winning by 3 minutes in 1:00:40. Fiona Bayly Unattached did not have her best day, to say the least, finishing 5th in W50 in 1:06:59. But even Bayly's best day would probably not have matched Hitchings on an American Record Day. Hitchings, if I recall correctly, had misgivings about how well she would do last year. Masters athletes are never quite sure which maladies will assert themselves on race day and which will turn out to be benign. Luckily for her and all of her fans and supporters, Hitchings had a banner day! Hitchings has not slowed down since. 

Jenny Hitchings headingg for the Finish Line and a New 55-59 American Record at the 2022  USATF Masters 10 Mile Championships Hosted by the Sactown Ten

Her most recent effort was a sterling 1:21:38 Half Marathon at the KP Napa Valley HM. That was just 24 seconds slower than the American 55-59 HM Record she set in 2018. That suggests a sub-1:02 is possible. Whether she can truly threaten her own ten-mile record in her last months in the 55-59 division is highly uncertain. But she is expected to run well under 1:04, regardless. And that may well be enough. The analysis of the overall championships above suggests that Bayly, if she has a terrific day, might also break 1:04. If the race for the win would turn out to be close between these two amazing runners, what a treat it would be for fans of long-distance running! Beverly Anderson-Abbs Buffalo Chips RC is probably the favorite for the bronze medal. She did the double a couple of weekends ago, running the Shamrockin HM in 1:32:46, 1 day after running the 10K in 41:39. She will get a challenge from Catherine DuBay Empire RC of Sonoma. She has a 43:57 10K to her credit, and she came in well ahead of Anderson-Abbs in the pouring rain at Club Cross. Still, I view the most likely order of finish to be Hitchings-Bayly-Anderson-Abbs.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Beverly Anderson-Abbs     Fiona Bayly     Jenny Hitchings

60-64 Stella Gibbs Impala is the defending champion; she won this division here last year in 1:10:08. It appeared she would get a strong challenge from Kris Clark Boulder Road Runners who won the 5 Km Championship in this division at Atlanta in 19:44. Clark also ran the Alameda Ten miler last August in 1:10:24. Unfortunately, she posted in Strava recently, that an injury is forcing her to the pool for swimming and aqua jogging, so this Championship is probably off her radar now. That leaves Gibbs as the definite favorite although Allison Orofino Buffalo Chips RC will give her a strong challenge. Orofino came in well ahead of Gibbs at Club Cross in San Francisco but that was cross country, with a downpour and strong winds. This is a much longer road race with comparatively gentle weather. My guess is that Gibbs is still likely to come out on top. Orofino has good speed as evidenced by several 5K's in the 20:30 to 21:30 range last year. Earlier this month she ran a 43:21 10K at the Shamrockin HM. 

Stella Gibbbs left Heading for the Finish Line and the 60-64 Cham[p[ionship at the 2022 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Photo By Mike Scott

But when I look for a longer race, the best I can find is a 1:17 ten miler from 4 years ago. Eileen White Lake Merritt J&S should also be in the podium mix. Her 1:38:30 HM at the Oakland Running Festival suggests a sub 1:15 ten-mile race should be within her range. The only other runner who might stay with those three is Janice Prudhomme Lake Merritt J&S who ran 23:34 at Stow Lake and 38:24 at the San Jose 8K. The Ten Mile appears to be a bit of a stretch for Prudhomme but sometimes a runner can make that kind of jump in distance based on training alone. Most likely it will be Gibbs-Orofino-White in that order but the race holds the answer.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Stella Gibbs     Allison Orofino     Eileen White

65-69 Cory Benson Unattached runs lots of marathons and half marathons. One of her better efforts was her Shamrockin HM race earlier this month when she clocked 1:42:44. But she has a couple of other sub 1:45:30's within the last year. Those suggest a sub-1:20 ten miler is well within her range. It does not appear anyone else in the field can run that close to a 1:20. Debra Cramer Lake Merritt J&S, Danielle Herrerias Tamalps Runners, and Ruth Rainero Impala Racing are all in the hunt for the remaining podium spots. Cramer finished 5th in 60-64 last year with a 1:26:24. She also has a couple of half marathons in the upper 1:50's to lower 2:00's. Neither Herrerias nor Rainero competed here last year. Herrerias ran 1:50:40 at the Golden Gate HM in November of 2021 and turned in a 25:21 5K this past November. Taken together those suggest something like a mid 1:20's would be a reasonable expectation for a ten miler. Rainero has two 10K's in the upper 52-minute area as well as a 1:03:43 in the Across the Bay 12k. All three suggest something on the order of a 1:27 Ten Miler should be possible.  These three are quite close in terms of recent performances. A lot depends on how their fitness is shaping up for the race and the specifics of the competition. Still, let me give my best guess as Benson-Herrerias-Cramer as the podium prediction. But I would not be that surprised if Rainero should prove me wrong and break onto the podium.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Cory Benson     Debra Cramer     Danielle Herrerias

70-74 Last year this division featured a terrific race between Sabra Harvey and Kate Stewart Lake Merritt J&S, with Harvey emerging with the win, 1:23:57 to 1:23:59. Harvey is not back, but Stewart is. And she has another challenger, this time from the Mountain West rather than the southwest. Edie Stevenson Boulder Road Runners set the 70-74 American Record for the 15K in 2019 at the challenging Tulsa Run course when she won the National championship. Her time of 1:13:16 suggests she could have run close to a 1:18 ten-miler on a flat course at that time. That was three and a half years ago. 

Edie Stevenson heading for the Finish Line and the Silver Medal in 65-69 and the Bronze medal in Overall Age Grade at the 2017 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships

If her relative fitness has not declined any more than expected through the normal aging process, something under 1:23 could still be within her grasp. Stevenson did finish behind Harvey at the Masters 5 Km XC Championships in Boulder but that may not be the best indicator. Harvey is known as one of the toughest XC runners and the shorter distance also plays to her strength. That said, it appears Stevenson and Stewart may well have the same kind of race we saw last year--very close and not decided until the final race from the bridge to the finish! With runners like those two entered it appears that Sharlet Gilbert Lake Merritt J&S, a very strong runner in her own right, is competing for the bronze medal. But that would be a couple of steps up from last year when her 1:27:37 earned her 5th place in this division. She retains that kind of fitness. Earlier this month she ran a 5K at 8:15 am in 28:09 and came back at 9:00 am and ran a 59:57 10K. Based upon my single experience with one of Bob Anderson's doubles, that is probably a better effort than a 1:28 15K. The break in the middle is very difficult to handle well for most runners. Even if that is not true, it is likely that Gilbert and a 1:28 would be an accurate assessment of Gilbert's fitness, she could still manage to break 1:35 and that should be fast enough for her to win the bronze medal. I put the most likely order of finish as Stevenson-Stewart-Gilbert, with all of the usual caveats.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Sharlet Gilbert     Edie Stevenson     Kate Stewart

75-79 Jo Anne Rowland Impala Racing was part of a loaded 70-74 field last year, finishing 4th in 1:26:26. Last fall she ran 1:55:36 at the Urban Cow HM and 1:56:47 at the Clarksburg HM. Taken together they suggest that Rowland should be able to run somewhere under 1:30 on Sunday and that should be plenty fast enough for the win. Her competition comes from Barbara Rinker Buffalo Chips RC. Rinker ran a 1:06:47 10K and then a 2:26:49 at the Shamrockin HM earlier this month. Rinker is, no doubt, focused on running well for her team, but will happily accept a Silver age division medal in recognition of her fine achievement. 

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Barbara Rinker     Jo Anne Rowland

80-84 Carolyn Slavich Buffalo Chips RC ran on the community side of this race last year, clocking a 2:03:16, which would have earned a silver medal had she entered the Masters Championships side of the contest. Earlier this month she clocked 2:51:40 at the Shamrockin HM. It is a little harder to figure out Edda Stickle's Tamalpa Runners likely performance. She won the 80-84 division at Club Cross in San Francisco with a 43:59. If one would treat that as a 6 Km road race and look at the admittedly rough equivalent in terms of age grading, it converts to a 2:08-ish 10 Miler. And it might be a little better than that as road times tend to be faster than XC times. The only other race result I can find within the last few years is the 3K Kenwood Footrace from 2018. Adjusting it for both distance and then 5 years of aging suggests a time closer to 2:15. Taking it all in all I am guessing Slavich is more likely to finish first. But Stickle could certainly prove my guess wrong.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Carolyn Slavich     Edda Stickle

85-89 Joyce Hodges-Hite Atlanta TC is the only entrant. She won the 85-89 title at the 5 Km in Atlanta in 48:34. She has prepped for the race by running in a 10 Miler, the Green Valley Road Race, clocking 2:49:10. She looks solid to finish the race and win the division.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Joyce Hodges-Hite


WOMEN Jenny Hitchings and Stella Gibbs went 1-2 last year, with a 100.38% and a 93.17% respectively, but none of the other top finishers in the age grade contest are entered this year. If the two can come close to the performances that generated those scores this year, it is likely they can go 1-2 again. Jo Anne Rowland could move up from her 12th place finish last year with a good performance on Sunday. It seems slightly more likely that Fiona Bayly will put her disappointing (to her) performance last year aside and uncork a good one, that could elevate her towards podium contention. If Renee Metivier can run the 10 Mile Championships as well as she ran the 5K at Carlsbad, she could move onto the podium. That race graded at over 90%. If Stevenson can run as well as she ran at Tulsa in 2019, in age grading terms, she gets a 91.61%. But it is quite a stretch to project from a 5K to a 10 Miler or from a 6 Km XC to a 10 Miler. That would probably be good enough for the bronze age grading medal. My best guess at the age grade podium is Hitchings-Gibbs-Stevenson in that order but Bayly, Rowland and Metivier are all capable of hitting the upper 80's to the low 90's so any of those three could prove this forecast wrong.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Stella Gibbs     Jenny Hitchings     Edie Stevenson

MEN Nat Larson, at 93.11% and Jaime Heilpern, at 90.61%, are the only two from the top 6 age graders last year who are back this year. As noted earlier, either Fernando Cabada or Malcolm Richards could uncork a 48 flat in order to win. Alternatively, they could wind up in a tactical race where neither commits to a fast time. If so, their chances of landing on the Age Grade podium diminish. A 48:00 10 Miler for a 40-year-old scores at over 94%. A 49:30 would still grade at 91.35%. The winning time from last year, 50:01, at 90.04. Joshua Muxen's 1:09:33 at the KP Napa Valley HM, earlier this month, grades at 90.34. Roger Sayre's 1:21:42 on a hilly Syracuse NY course at the Masters Half Marathon in March of 2022 graded at 90.66. If he could match that effort on a flatter course, like Sactown, a grade over 91% would seem likely. Larson looks good for the win although either Cabada or Richards could blow that prediction away. Let's go with Larson-Cabada-Sayre for the podium, with much uncertainty.

Top Contenders in alphabetical order:

Fernando Cabada     Nat Larson     Roger Sayre 


Note: The three first athletes across the line are scored for time. The team score is the sum of those three times. Predciting team scores is doubtful because there are so many variables across so many runners. As always, the prognostications below are just for fun. Best of luck to all!

WOMEN The Impala Racing Team is going for a clean sweep of Women’s 40+ through Women’s 70+ and they may very well get it. W40+ With 5 strong runners entered, Impala could have a score below 3:10 [3 hours and 10 minutes]. A score above 3:20 is virtually unthinkable. The next strongest team. is Excelsior.  It is highly unlikely they could score below 3:30 but they are likely to score below 3:40. A 1:13 average seems attainable for them. If Pamakids adds Fiona McKusker, 58, to their 40+ team, as seems likely, they have a complete team and should take the 3rd spot with a likely cumulative time between 4:20 and 4:30. The most likely order of finish is Impala-Excelsior-Pamakids. W50+ The Impalas appear to be at least as dominant in W50+. A cumulative time from 3:35 to 3:40 seems likely. It would be  a stretch, but not impossible for the Buffalo Chips to achieve a sub-4 minute score, but 4:05 to 4:10 seems very likely.  The Lake Merritt Joggers & Striders team will probably total a time around 5:00, either a little below or a little above. If they come anywhere close to those suggested times, it will be Impala-Buffalo Chips-Lake Merritt in that order. W60+ This division race between Impala and the Lake Merritt J&S team is actually too close to call. If I assign likely finishing times to each runner, the total for Impala comes out to 3:57:54 and the time for Lake Merritt totals 3:58:49. I doubt the confidence in the projected times for each runner is within twenty seconds. That being the case, I put Impala as the more likely winner, but realistically it could go either way with just minor changes in individual runner fortunes on the day of the race.  W70+ The Impalas will take this division. They are the sole entrant and they have four runners declared. Even if one athlete fails to show up on race day or shows up, but has an off day, Impala should have no trouble getting three runners across the line.

MEN M40+ The West Valley Track Club is the favorite in this division. If their top 3 have totally 'On' days, they could break 2:30 cumulative, that is an average of 50 minutes per runner. Wow! They have one runner currently declared for the B team and one undeclared. If both are added to the 'A' team, they have some insurance against 'Off' days. Even without that there is room for error; they have an estimated cushion of about 18 minutes. The SRA Elite team appears to be the next strongest with a likely cumulative time around 2:48:30. Their 4th and 5th runners appear to be closer t their top 3 so they can withstand an off day. But they have a smaller cushion over Excelsior, less than 4 minutes on paper., with a projected time of just over 2:52. West Valley J & S has only one runner competitive in the top ten. Their likely total amounts to around 3:45. With those projections, a finishing order of West Valley TC - SRA Elite - Excelsior seems likely. M50+ This one should feature a battle between the hometown SRA Elite and the Bay Area West Valley TC. It looks close. I give the edge to SRA, in part, because they have a team of 5 if they declare everyone who is entered, and West Valley will rely on a team of 3. The predicted finishing times are within 3 minutes or so otherwise. West Valley J&S looks like they have the best shot at the bronze medals. But they are also relying on just 3 runners and could well be pushed off the podium by Excelsior. Lake Merrit, Pamakids, and River City rebels appear to be closely matched. It should be quite a duel for 4th through 7th! M60+ This is another tight contest! The Atlanta Track Club and the Boulder Road Runners have been the top two clubs in this division over the last few years. Both are coming with teams of three; everyone needs their best effort. If it plays out as expected their scores are likely to be within a couple of minutes of one another. I give a slight edge to Boulder but it is slight. The Lake Merritt J&S look solid for third, but they cannot ignore the River City rebels. M70+ Three strong, well-matched teams come into this championship. All have had their share of glory at one time or another in the last few years. I give the edge to the Boulder Road Runners, partly on time, partly on depth, and partly on no real uncertainties on fitness. Their top three have been running well recently as has their insurance runner. Atlanta and Tamalpa  are probably battling for 2nd. The outcome of that will depend mostly on the '# 2' from Atlanta and the '#1' for Tamalpa. Both ran here last year but their current fitness is uncertain; both have had injury issues. If they both come close to the time they ran last year, Atlanta would probably edge Tamalpa for 2nd. 

That is it for the preview. All of the uncertainties will be resolved by this time tomorrow. There will be some amazing performances! Good racing to us all!

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