Thursday, April 13, 2023

M45 and M60 Records Fall at USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships

 April 10, 2023. The 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships were held on Sunday, April 2nd in Sacramento, CA. With partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the low 50's and winds out of the SSW at 13 mph, it was a little brisk. Athletes had to figure out singlets vs t-shirts, arm sleeves, and hats or not. Soon enough they called the athletes to the line, the gun sounded, and we were off!

RECORDS Masters records are based on chip times, not gun times. Despite the strong winds, two athletes were able to take down American Masters records. Nat Larson Greater Springfield Harriers has been conducting an assault on the M60 record books since aging up last year. He took down the 1 Mile record at the Big Bang Mile in NJ, on July 16th last year, with a 4:49. That took down a record shared by Dan King and David Noyes at 5:00 flat. Four months later, the BIGGSTEPS 5 Km in Boston provided the setting for Larson's 16:35 that replaces Brian Pilcher's 16:38. Eleven days later he moved up another 3 km, returning to New Jersey for the Ashenfelter 8 Km where he scorched a Norm Green record that had stood for almost thirty years. His 27:35 took over a half minute off that record. Now itis 2023 and Larson has his eye on records over some longer distances. First one up is the Ten Miler. Larson noted after the race that he was concerned about the wind. As noted, a 13-mph wind can make it difficult to run fast on a loop course. There were strong headwinds from Mile 2 to Mile 5.4, followed by strong tailwinds from for the 3.5 miles back. It is generally accepted that headwinds rob your performance more than tail winds help it. 

Katie Hynes, women's overall winner center, and Nat Larson, 2nd from right, running in a pack of Open Rummers on the way out to the turnaround at the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

If Larson was going to get the record, he needed to find a pack of athletes to run with and had to be patient and wait for his chance. He had done his homework. Once he made the turn it was time to let it out, and he did. If he had run an evenly paced race, he would have hit the turnaround at 5.4 miles, where they had a timing mat, in 31:00. In fact, he was at 31:44! He made up for it on the way back, crossing the finish line in 57:24 net time, taking down another Norm Green record from 1993, by 24 seconds.

Joshua Muxen Unattached is a newcomer to USATF Masters National Championships, but he has a World Athletics profile. He had at least nine sub-9 minute performances in the 3000M Steeplechase from 2001 to 2004. It also notes his two most recent international events, a 2:29:23 effort at the Valencia Marathon in Spain last December and a 1:09:30 Half Marathon in London in March of 2020. He also ran a sub 1:10 more recently at the KP Napa Valley HM. Muxen's splits were more even than Larson's. Whether that is because he did a better job of tucking in or had a more cohesive group to won with would be interesting to know. An evenly paced 5.4 mile would have been 28:13. Muxen crossed the mat at 28:19.

Joshua Muxen running solo on his way to a new 45-49 American Record at the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

Regardless of the tactics, he still had enough juice to finish strong in 52:15 and take down one of the last of 'Boston Billy' Rodgers's Masters Records. In April, 1997 Rodgers clocked 52:22 at the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in Washington D.C. No one had touched it since. But now Muxen has the honor of taking it down!

NOTE: New records are always pending until ratified.                

OVERALL Based on gun times. Renee Metivier was the pre-race favorite but she was a DNF after going out with the leaders. Let's hope it was just an off day. After Metivier it looked like a 2-way battle between Katie Hynes Impala Racing out of the Bay Area vs. Jenny Kadavy HOKA Aggies, who runs out of Greater Sacramento. Hynes, a Division I Field Hockey player at William & Mary College in Williamsburg VA, switched to distance running after graduation, and found that a good fit. She qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon with a 2:41:37 at the California Intern9ational Marathon CIM. In June of last year she ran even better at Grandma's, clocking 2:39:56. Those times are consistent with a 59 minute ten-miler. Last year as an Open runner, Hynes ran 58:07, finishing 2nd to Kadavy. I find no recent marathons in Kadavy's running history résumé, but she did run 1:18:07 in the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco HM in early February this year, so she has not lost much if anything from 2022.

If multiple W55 American Record holder, Jenny Hitchings SRA Elite, 59, had a really good day, it seemed she could also crash the podium. Once Metivier retired, the podium seemed likely for Hitchings. She might get a challenge from Fiona Bayly Unattached, 55, who ran a recent 15K in a time that equates roughly with a 1:03 plus ten miler. Jacqueline Cooke Impala, who ran 1:03:16 here last year, could also challenge Hitchings. But Hitchings was under 1:01 last year so she would need to have an off day for either of them to be close. 

Hynes and Kadavy did go out together and run at the head of the Women's field. 

Katie Hynes leads Jenny Kadavy mid-race, on their way to a 1-2 finish at the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

But by the time they were approaching the turn-around point, Hynes had over 30 meters on Kadavy. Hynes was in a good rhythm and continued to build her lead up to almost 400 meters. Hynes took the tape, the overall winner in 58:25, with Kadavy following 39 seconds later. Hitchings ran a good race, but not fast enough to catch Kadavay. Whether by plan or happenstance, Hitchings ran one of the most evenly paced races. Her turnaround time was three seconds slower than a perfectly even pace. Considering the headwind/tailwind problem that is remarkable. Hitchings was a half-minute ahead of Bayly at the turnaround point and added about the same amount on the way back. Hitchings claimed third overall in 1:02:05, a minute and 4 ticks ahead of Bayly. Cooke was 19 seconds behind Bayly in 5th.

Katie Hynes 58:25     Jenny Kadavy 59:04     Jenny Hitchings 1:02:05

The men's side featured Fernando Cabada Unattached, who scorched the Masters field in Houston this past January with a 1:04:15 Half Marathon. Cabada's running career is notable for his debut marathon in Fukuoka, Japan in 2:12:27. He represented Team USA in the first IAAF World Road racing Championship over 20 Km in 2006. In 2007, he finished 50th in the Marathon at the World Championships. Cabada let the Open runners in the race know that he would be gunning for Meb Keflezighi’s Ten-Mile Masters record. of 47:39. Two other top runners in the field hoped to stay with Cabada and, if everything lined up, beat him. Malcolm Richards West Valley TC, a Sacramento resident, was the hometown favorite. Originally from Minneapolis MN, Richards ran at St Olaf College. Since then, he has run in the Olympic Marathon Trials three times including 2020.  He has also achieved fame as holder of the Indoor Marathon Record. He set the record in 2016 and lowered it in 2018 to 2:19:01. As an Open runner here last year, at 39, Richards clocked 48:46. Richards could definitely push Cabada. Ben Payne Unattached finished 17th in the 2016 US Olympic Marathon trials and qualified for the 2020 trials. His Marathon best is 2:15:47. He finished 2nd in a photo-finish at the 2015 AJC Peachtree Run (10K). Payne ran in the Open races at the USATF Cross Country Championships in 2022, finishing 25th in San Diego and again in 2023 in Richmond VA where he finished 59th. As a reference point, he finished about a half minute behind Ben Bruce in San Diego and a conversion of his time at the 10K open race to the 8 Km Masters race suggest that he would have been closer to a minute slower than Bruce. Bruce won the overall Masters title in Richmond VA by about a half minute. So Payne is quite fit and a real threat. Should any of those three have an off day, Kevin Pool West Valley TChas the ability to move up. He finished 4th Overall and 1st Masters at the Shamrockin' HM in early March of this year in 1:09:22. That suggests a sub-53-minute 10 Miler is within his range. 

Once the gun sounded, Cabada had no trouble moving to the front of the race to run with the top Open Elite runners. By the time they hit the turnaround, he had over 200 meters on the Masters field but he could see his chances at Meb's record slipping away. He needed to make the turn at about 25:45 to have a shot and he was at 26:10. He found on the way back that he had not saved enough energy on the way out to do the acceleration needed on the way back. Nonetheless, Cabada had run a terrific race. 

Fernando Cabada black singlet vying with the Open Elite Runners at the front of the race at the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

He finished strong in 49:03, taking the win with over 150 meters to spare. Richards soldiered away in 2nd as a marathoner and ultramarathoner will do. Richards claimed 2nd in a fine 49:40. That was faster than the winning time last year.

Malcolm Richards center battles with Open Elite Runners, Jarrod Ottman left & Matt Llano right. Shortly after this turnaround, Richards would drop both on his way to 2nd place at the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

 Chikara Omine Excelsior, Kevin Pool, and Ben Payne had formed a chase pack about 300 meters behind Richards, going through the turnaround point at 28:10. They all fell further back from Richards, but Payne had the best fitness of the three and was able to pull away from the other two. 

Juan Rivera 2nd from left, Kevin Pool 3rd from left, Chikara Omine 4th from left, and Joshua Muxen 2nd from right, mixing it up with the Open Elite runners on their way to top dozen finishes and, for Muxen, 6th Overall Masters and a 45-49 American record! At the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

Payne took the Bronze medal overall in 51:19, with Pool 17 seconds back in 4th and Omine another thirteen seconds back in 5th. Omine ran almost three minutes faster this year compared to last.

Fernando Cabada 49:03     Malcolm Richards 49:39    Ben Payne 51:19 

AGE GRADING Based on chip time. Those with the top age graded scores, are considered the athletes with the best performance, for their age, across all runners. Not surprisingly, Larson’s record-breaking 57:24, at age 60, took top honors on the Men’s side with a 93.65% score. Jaime Heilpern’s HOKA Aggies 54:06, at 53, earned a 93.21 score for 2nd

Jaime 'Jamie' Heilpern left and Jesse Barragan matching stride for stride on their way into the turnaround at 5.4 miles. They would finish 7th and 8th overall, respectively, with Heilpern winning 50-54 and Barragan 2nd in 45-49 at the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

with Roger Sayre’s Boulder Road Runners0 1:01:09 at 65 scoring 92.24 for 3rd. Cabada's overall win was so spectacular that he won age grade prize money, a rare feat for a 40-year-old. His 49:03, at 40, scored a 92.22%. John Van Danacker Twin Cities RC who ran 58:22 at age 60, took the final cash prize with a 92.09%. 

This view of the race out to the turnaround shows not only Hynes and Larson, but John Van Danacker 2nd from right , 2nd row, white singlet with red logo racing with this chase pack of Open Elite Runners. At the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

Surprisingly, Muxen, despite breaking an iconic American record, did not make top 5. How can that be?The age grading tables are based on the best single age marks in the world. It must be that the American Record is not that strong compared to the rest of the world. Or that the 45-49 record has not been as strong as other American Records.

Nat Larson 60 57:24 93.65%     Jaime Heilpern 53 54:06 93.21     Roger Sayre 65 1:01:09 92.24%

Jenny Hitchings set the 55-59 American 10 Mile record here last year. Her 1:02:03 this year, at age 59, earned the top age grade of the day at 99.87%. Kate Stewart’s Lake merritt J&S 1:17:32 at 72 rated a 96.10 for second in the Women’s competition, with Fiona Bayly’s 1:03:06 at 55 scoring 93.36 for 3rd

Fiona Bayly colorful arm sleeves left of center, who finished 4th Overall and took 3rd in Age Grading, makes a turn mid-race, with Masters Runners, Geoff Bradley #122, Ed Randolph #267, and Nakia Baird #107. At the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

Fourth place went to Cory Benson Unattached whose 1:14:12 at age 65 graded at 90.54%. Jo Anne Rowland Impala Racing took the final age grading cash prize with a 1:26:43 at 75, for a 90.12%

World Class is a designation that the USATF Masters LDR Committee applies to age grade scores at or above 90%. All of these individuals who won prizes had World Class times!

Video of Hitchings, the overall Age Grading winner, in the white singlet, finishing the race, courtesy of SRA and Athlinks:

AGE DIVISION Based on Gun Time Each Division winner is a National Champion. 

WOMEN 40-44 As noted in the Overall section, Hyne took the win over Kadavy. Cooke, who was 5th overall, claimed third in the division. It is worth mentioning that Alyson Barrett West Valley TC and Simone Angela Winkler Santa Cruz TC engaged in a furious finish that determined 4th and 5th. Winkler was 25 meters ahead of Barrett when they made the turn. Barrett must have kept Winkler in sight and made her move with the finish line in sight. But Winkler apparently had the answer as she was able to claim 4th in 1:06:01, a slim 2 seconds ahead of Barrett!

Katie Hynes 58:29     Jenny Kadavy 59:08     Jacqueline Cooke 1:03:28

45-49 Elizabeth Goya Impala Racing ran 1:04:37 here last year to finish 2nd in this division. She backed that credential up with an 18:44 at the Stow Lake 5K. Anne Cushman SRA Elite ran 1:06:24 to finish 6th here last year. She clocked 1:25:58 at the Shamrockin' HM in early March. That suggests she is slightly more fit than last year. Georgia Young Impala Racing did not compete in the ten-miler last year but she ran a 39:50 and a 39:44 10K in January and February of 2022. Those suggest a time under 1:06 might be possible if Young retains that same fitness. A 1:08:23 performance here last year suggested that Nancy Eubanks West  Valley J&S might be the best of the rest. Bridget Dawes Sacramento Valley ran 1:33:25 in the Urban Cow HM, suggesting she might be on the upswing from a 1:16:45 at the Buffalo Stampede Ten Mile run. Cushman took it out hard and had a 45 meter lead on Goya at the turnaround, with Dawes another 35 me3teers back in 3rd. Young made the turn 49 seconds behind Dawes, so had her work cut out for her if a medal was to be in her future. Goya made a strong move on the way back to the bridge and claimed the win with a good 50 meters to spare, in 1:04:36. 

Elizabeth Goya sprints away from the bridge to cover the final few hundred meters and claim the 45-49 Gold Medal at the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

Cushman was second, and Dawes third. Young was not able to make up any ground and finished 4th in 1:07:03. Eubanks was 7th.

Elizabeth Goya 1:04:36     Anne Cushman 1:04:51     Bridget Dawes 1:06:08

50-54 Last year, Megan Kossar Impala Racing ran 1:07:38 here to finish 7th after running 1:08:34 at the JF Memorial NorCal 10 Miler. Samantha Forde Impala Racing ran 1:09 in the NorCal 10 Miler but did not run Sactown last year. Until I saw the Impala Racing Team declarations, I thought it would be a tossup between those two, with the edge to Kossar. But when Impala declared Kossar to run alone on a B team, it seemed she must be struggling with an injury. Jennifer Bayliss was a scratch due to Covid so Kari Rust West Valley TC who ran 1:38:12 at the San Jose RnR HM seemed likely to crack 1:15 in a Ten Miler, moved into contention. If Kossar was really struggling, then Francesca Amann Impala Racing or Beth Black Lake Merritt J&S seemed next in line for the podium. Both had sub-25-minute 5K's. The turnaround at 5.4 revealed that Forde was running well, crossing the timing mat at 36:08, she had a 3-minute lead on her closest rival. 

Samantha Forde far right, on her way to the 50-54 Gold Medal, with other Masters runners, Eduardo Vazquez #305 and Jim Molony far left at the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

Surprisingly, her closest rival was Kossar. If she was struggling with injury, she was winning. At 39:05, Kossar had a hundred meters on Rust; Amman was 250 meters further back. Forde finished well to claim the Gold medal in 1:06:46. Kossar grew her cushion to well over a minute, taking 2nd in 1:11:46. Rust had 3 minutes on Amman who took 4th. Black finished 6th behind Sue VQ Smith.

Samantha Forde 1:06:46     Megan Kossar1:11:46     Kari Rust 1:13:06

55-59 As noted above, this was a battle of the titans. Jenny Hitchings SRA Elite was the clear favorite, especially with the home course advantage. But Fiona Bayly Unattached, out of New York City, was a worthy opponent. Hitchings won here last year with an American Record setting 1:00:38. Bayly ran several minutes slower last year on an off day. Since then she has clocked 58:55 in the Ted Corbitt 15K and 1:24:27 in the Brooklyn HM. It seemed likely she would break 1:04 in this ten-miler, but that might not be fast enough to stay with Hitchings. It should be fast enough to leave everyone else far behind, even such strong runners as Beverly Anderson-Abbs Buffalo Chips and Catherine Dubay Empire Runners-Sonoma. The credentials of Hitchings and Bayly were set out in the Overall Championships analysis above. Anderson-Abbs had a strong performance at Club Cross in San Francisco and followed that with a 1:32:46 Shamrockin' HM following a 41:39 10K the day before. Even if we ignore the 10K the day before, the 1:32:46 suggests a sub-1:11 Ten Miler is within Anderson-Abbs's grasp. Dubay's 43:57 10K is consistent with a sub-1:13 Ten Miler. Perhaps not surprisingly with such experienced runners, it all unfolded more or less as expected. At the 5.4 mile turnaround, Hitchings was at 33:33, with a hundred meters on Bayly. Bayly, in turn, had a lead of over 600 meters on Anderson-Abbs. Dubay was 100 meters behind Anderson-Abbs. Those gaps all grew as everyone maintained their pace over th elast 4.6 miles. Hitchings took the win in 1:02:05, over a minute ahead of Bayly. After Nayly crossed the finish line it was almost 5 minutes before Anderson-Abbs finished. That was a Bronze medal performance, as Dubay needed another minute to finish.

Jenny Hitchings 1:02:05     Fiona Bayly 1:03:09     Beverly Anderson-Abbs 1:08:48

60-64 After taking the 60-64 Gold in the 5 Km Masters Championships in Atlanta, and having run a 1:10:24 at the Alameda Ten-Miler, Kris Clark Athletics Boulder entered as a co-favorite with Stella Gibbs Impala Racing. Gibbs won here last year in 1:10:08 and followed that up with a nifty win in Dedham at the 10 Km Masters Championships with a 42:24. Clark, unfortunately, came down with an injury about a week before these championships and had to scratch. There were plenty of strong contenders. Allison Orofino Buffalo Chips ran a strong 43:21 in the Shamrockin' 10K in early March and placed 2nd at Club Cross in San Francisco, finishing 2 minutes ahead of Gibbs. That made me wonder if, perhaps, Gibbs were nursing an injury of some sorts or had missed some training. Eileen White Lake Merritt J&S would also factor into the race for the podium. Her 1:38:30 HM at the Oakland Running Festival suggested a sub-1:15 ten miler would be a reasonable expectation. Whether injured or not, Gibbs woulld do battle with Orofino. At the turnaround, it was Orofino first and Gibbs 2nd, but there was only three seconds between them. it could go either way. White was 20 seconds back from Gibbs, butthat is not an insurmountable lead with almost 5 miles left. Orofino did a great job on thee way back to the bridge, leaving both Gibbs and White far behind. White worked her way up to Gibbs gradually and then passed her. Gibbs held on gamely. White took 2nd, a minute and a half behind Orofino and 44 seconnds ahead of Gibbs. Once Gibbs crossed the finish line, it was 9 minutes before anyone else in the field finished. That is how dominating the top three were!

Allison Orofino 1:13:00     Eileen White 1:14:32     Stella Gibbs 1:15:16

65-69 With a 1:45:22 at the Shamrockin HM in early March, following two sub-1:45 half marathons last year, Cory Benson was ready to roll. A Ten miler well under 1:20 seemed likely. No one else in the field seemed geared up to run close to 1:20, so it was Benson's to lose. Danielle Herrerias looked like a contender for the Silver medal but she could be pushed by Ruth Rainero and Debra Cramer. Herrerias had clocked a 1:50:40 at the Golden Gate HM in November of 2021. If she retained that kind of fitness, a sub-1:25 seemed within her reach. But her only recent road race was a 5Km turkey trot last November. The 25:21 she ran there suggested a time just over 1:25 would be possible but it is tricky to project a 10 Mile time from a 5K effort. Rainero ran 1:03:43 in the Across the Bay 12K and followed that up with a 52:54 in the 10Km race at the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco HM. Both are consistent with a 1:27 or so Ten Mile effort. Cramer ran 1:26:24 here last year. But her 1:57:53 at the Clarksburg HM is consistent with an effort closer to 1:29. Benson had no trouble leading out the field. She hit the turnaround point at 40:31, almost a kilometer ahead of Herrerias who crossed in 45:54. Rainero was a good hundred meters back from Herrerias, with Cramer 75 meters further back. Benson had no trouble the rest of the way. She took the division crown in 1:14:26, with Herrerias second in 1:26:10. Rainero had a strong second half of the race and got within ten seconds of herrerias, claiming the bronze medal in 1:26:19. Cramer finished 4th in 1:28:31.

Cory Benson 1:14:26     Danielle Herrerias 1:26:10     Ruth Rainero 1:26:19

70-74 Kate Stewart could not quite get away from Sabra Harvey last year, finishing 2nd in 1:23:59, missing the win by just two seconds! My conjecture is that Harvey, with her track speed, waited until close to the end of the race and was able to kick past Stewart and hold her off. This year Harvey is not here. But Edie Stevenson who holds the W70 15K American Record, set at 1:13:16 on a hilly course in Tulsa OK in 2019. If she has that same fitness 42 years later, it would equate roughly to a sub 1:19. Although if one allows for usual aging, Stevenson, now 73, would have to settle for 1:22+. Either way, Stevenson is not someone to ignore. Sharlet Gilbert, who ran 1:27:37 here last year, also entered but did not run. No one else in the field would be likely to stay with those two. Terri Rourke and Irene Herman would likely battle for the bronze medal. Herman ran 1:37:38 here last year. Rourke did not compete here but ran Bay to Breakers, a 12K, last May, in 1:10:36, roughly equivalent to a 1:26:35 ten miler. Recent 10K efforts, though, like a 59:44 in the Fort to Fort 10K last November, suggested a more modest ten miler, perhaps over 1:35. Was Stewart still smarting from last year's loss to Harvey in 1:23 and change, or was she was worried that Stevenson might uncork a 1:19, or was she just aiming for an age grade cash prize? Either way, Stewart left nothing to chance. She crossed the mat at the turnaround in 42:01, a 1:18 pace! If Stevenson was aware of Stewart, it was only briefly at the start. She let her go. Stevenson was not aiming for a sub 1:20. Today, at least, she was happy with a 1:25 pace. That put her at the turnaround at 45:50. A kilometer back from Stevenson, Herman and Rourke were battling. At the turnaround, Herman had the edge, but it was narrow, just 5 seconds. On the stretch back to the bridge, Rourke was able to close the gap and eventually cross the finish line in 3rd place, a half minute ahead of Herman. Stevenson had no problem claiming 2nd in an evenly paced 1:25:04. Stewart ran over 6 minutes faster this year, claiming the Gold Medal in 1:17:37.

Kate Stewart 1:17:37     Edie Stevenson 1:25:04     Terri Rourke 1:34:32

Video of Stewart winning the Women's 70-74 Gold medal right after Gary Ostwald wins the Men's 75-79 Gold medal, courtesy of SRA and Athlinks:

75-79 Jo Anne Rowland Impala Racing finished 4th in the 70-74 division last year behind the Red Lizard train in 1:26:26. In October she ran 1:55:36 in the Urban Cow HM; that was roughly equivalent to a 1:27 and change effort in a ten mile run. It seemed highly likely that Rowland would break 1:30. Her rival for the gold was Barbara Rinker Buffalo Chips. Rinker is a fine runner but not up to Rowland's competitive stature. Her Shamrockin' HM in early March was 2:26:49. She also clocked a 1:07:49 10K. It seemed unlikely for Rinker to challenge Rowland. And that is the way it played out. Rowland had no problem. Her turnaround split was 46:36, a 1:26:18 pace. Rowland slowed a little ove rt1he 2nd half of the course but stil clocked 1:26:50 in claiming the gold medal. Rinker ran an evenly ppaced 1:53:10 to finish 2nd.

Jo Anne Rowland 1:26:50     Barbara Rinker 1:53:10

80-84 It looked like there would be quite a contest to be Champiion of Women's 80-84 but Edda Stickle did not make it to the race after all. Carolyn Slavich Buffalo Chips had the race to herself. When she crossed the finish line in 2:07:28, she was the Gold Medal winner.

Carolyn Slavich 2:07:28

85-89  Joyce Hodges-Hite Atlanta TC made the trip all the way from Georgia to compete in the Masters ten mile championships. She had no equals. When Hodges-Hite crossed the finish line in 2:44:51, she was the 85-89 national champion!

Joyce Hodges-Hite 2:44:51

1:13:00 65-69 Cory Benson 1:14:26 70-74 Kate Stewart 1:17:37 75-79 Jo Anne Rowland 1:26:50 80-84 Carolyn Slavich 2:07:28 85-89 Joyce Hodges-Hite 2:44:51 Men 40-44 Cabada 45-49 Muxen 50-54 Heilpern 55-59 Cliff Lentz 59:17 60-64 Larson 65-69 Sayre 70-74 Douglas Chesnut 1:12:40 75-79 Gary Ostwald 1:17:34 80-84 James Metts 1:46:53

MEN 40-44 As noted in the report on the overall Championships, it was Ferando Cabada, Malcolm Richards, and Ben Payne. They are all between 40 and 44 and so mount the 40-44 podium as well.

Fernando Cabada 49:03     Malcolm Richards 49:39    Ben Payne 51:19

45-49 This was clearly Muxen's show. You do not break an American Masters record, typically, with a lot of folks from your division in close pursuit. There were, of course, several other strong runners in this division. The top three all averaged under 5:35 per mile for the ten miles. Muxen's credentials are discussed in the records section above. Jesse Barragan ran 56:31 here last year and a 16:19 at the Gold Country 5K. Ed Hill ran 1:14:05 at the Urban Cow HM and posted a 16:23 5K time last July. Paul Smith posted a 2:43:51in the 2021 CIM, suggesting a sub 1-hour ten miler was within reach. Jason Lee's 35:53 in the KP San Francisco HM's 10K meant he, too, would likely be under the one-hour barrier in the ten mile. Muxen hit the turnaround mat at 5.4 in 28:19 with over a minute on the field already. Barragan crossed the mat in 29:28 with Hill 19 seconds back, still within striking distance but not close. There was a bigger gap back to Smith and another half minute to Lee. There were no changes in order on the way back to the bridge and the finish. Barragan clocked 54:14 to nail down 2nd place, with Hill a minute and change in 3rd place. Smith took 4th 2 minutes later with Lee in 5th at 59:13!

Joshua Muxen 52:16     Jesse Barragan 54:14     Ed Hill 55:32

50-54 At 53, Jaime Heilpern is still at the top of this division. He won this race here last year in 55:10 and took top honors at the Club Cross National Championships in San Francisco in December. Darren Morgan finished 6th here last year in 58:06 and had a recent 16:48 5K. Jesus Muniz finished 40 seconds ahead of Morgan here last year and ran 16:56 in a recent 5K. Charles Mullane ran 1:18:46 at the KP San Francisco HM, making a sub-1-hour ten mile likely. James Scanlan ran two marathons recently in the 2:47 to 2:55 range, making him also a likely member of the one-hour club. Heilpern, as usual, went out with the top 40's guys. The others stayed up there as long as they could. By the turnaround point at mile 5.4, Heilpern had a minute and a half on the field. Scanlan led the way into the turn but had just 12 seconds on Mullane. That could change. Morgan was over a half minute behind Mullane, with Muniz another 45 seconds back behind him. So the podium was looking set. Heilpern took the win in 54:07. But Mullane was able to draw up to Scanlan, passing him on the way back and creating a cushion of 15 seconds by the time he crossed the finish line in 57:18. Scanlan kept the other two at bay, claiming the third spot with almost a minute to spare. Morgan took 4th in 58:26, with Muniz crossing the finish line a minute later in 5th.

Jaime Heilpern 54:07     Charles Mullane 57:18     James Scanlan 57:33

55-59 Cliff Lentz looked to be the favorite. He ran 59:31 in the NorCal 10 Miler last year and backed that up with a 1:19:14 at the Clarksburg HM last November. He would have to repel some challenges to claim the gold medal. Roger Dix ran 1:01:56 here last year in the 50-54 division and was looking forward to competing as a 55 year old. He ran 1:21:53 at the Urban Cow HM. Ryan Gilliam finished 11th in the division at the highly competitive Club Cross Championships in San Francisco; he also clocked 1;24:35 at the Surfer's Path HM. Rigo Chavez did not have as strong credentials, with a 19:25 at Carlsbad and a 1:07:43 here last year. But he ran well. Lentz took off with the gun and built a substantial lead by the halfway point. He had a 300-meter lead on his closest rival, crossing the mat at 5.4 miles in 31:43. 

From Left: Jason Lee 5th in 45-49, Cliff Lentz 1st in 55-59, and Nat Larson 1st in 60-64 with a new American record. John Van Danacker 2nd in 60-64 and 5th overall in age grading has his head visible between Open runners with bib #'s 1144 and 24. At the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

Dix was in 2nd at 33:00, with Gilliam a good 250 meters behind him. Chavez was 75 meters behind Gilliam but still had a shot at the podium. Lentz carried it all the way to the finish, breaking the one hour barrier for a ten-miler again, with a 59:17. Gilliam was able to get closer to Dix but could not catch him. Dix claimed 2nd with a half-minute cushion. In trying to chase down Dix, Gilliam was able to create a bit more space between himself and Chavez. Chavez was almost two minutes behind Gilliam in 1:04:12. Chavez knocked more than three minutes off his time from last year!

Cliff Lentz 59:17     Roger Dix 1:01:52     Ryan Gilliam 1:02:23

John Van Danacker far left has his eyes on the finish line and a top-5 age grading finish, as does Katie Hynes who is sprinting for the Women's overall Win. At the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

60-64 The portion above about records tells the top story of this division, that Nat Larson brought down another American Record of one of the legends of Masters Running, Norm Green. The 60-64 division is so competitive that Larson could not ignore it. John Van Danacker had finished just a half minute or so behind Larson at Club Cross. Three runners seemed well placed to vie for the final podium spot. Atlanta Track Club teammates, David Black and Lester Dragstedt would duke it out with Ray Rodriguez West Valley J&S. Rodriguez ran 1:03:38 here last year. Neither Black nor Dragstedt fran this race last year. But Black ran a 1:27:28 Half Marathon last November, suggesting a ten-miler under 1:06 seemed possible. Dragstedt's recent races were short in distance but high in quality; he ran a few 5K's this winter in the sub-19 minute range, including his 4th place finish in February over a hilly Atlanta course in 18:47. Van Danacker, perhaps to his surprise, had been able to stay with Larson to the turna round point. Theyy both crossed the mat at 5.4 miles in 31:44. But, as noted above, Larson's plan had beeen to tuck in and be patient while they were battling the headwind. Now that they had it at their backs, Larson let it out. As you already know, he broke the American Record. Danacker tried his best but still lost about a minute over the final 4.6 miles. Larson won in 57:26 with Van Danacker 2nd. It was over 4 minutes back to the rest of the field. Rodriguez had gone through the turnaround at 33:31; Dragstedt was about a hundred meters back, with Black another 40 meters back. On the way back, Black was able to close up with Dragstedt and they were able to work together to try to chase down Rodriguez. They made up about ten seconds, but Rodriguez held his pace and kept them at bay. Rodriguez got the bronze medal with a 1:02:35. Black and Dragstedt came across the line together in 1:02:53.

Nat Larson 57:26     John Van Danacker 58:25     Ray Rodriguez 1:02:35

65-69 Roger Sayre Boulder Road Runners has been one of the top runners in his division for a long time. He tends to make the podium at national championships in his last year in the division and is typically a threat for the win in the early years of a new division. Last September, at age 64, he took 3rd in the division on a hot day at the 12 Km Masters National Championships in 46:17. He was beaten by a speedster at the 5 km in Atlanta; Sayre took silver in 18:25. It is time for a 65-69 win. Teammate, Jack Pottle Boulder Road Runners, ran 43:10 at the Bolder Boulder 10K last July. As that is at altitude and a challenging course, it probably suggested a sub-1:10 ten miler at sea level would be in Pottle's reach. K.C. Taylor Bowerman TC is in that same neighborhood; he clocked 1:1040 at the Pear Blossom 10 Miler in Oregon. Michael Lebold Jamul Toads was a bit of a wild card coming up to a ten miler off of a successful Indoor Track season. He also made the trek to Golden Gate Park for Club Cross, finishing 7th in the division in the downpour and wind. His 19:57 in the Balboa Boogie 5K last October shows the quality of his road racing. If he could translate that to the longer distances, he would likely be right with Pottle and Taylor. Sayre had no problems. He took the turn at 32:55 with over 700 meters on the field. 

Roger Sayre #285 about to make the turn at Mile 5.4 on his way to the 65-69 win and 3rd place overall in Age Grading. At the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento CA Photo compliments of Sacramento Running Association (SRA)

Pottle took the mile 5.4 turn at 35:58. Lebold was over a hundred meters behind Pottle at 36:27. Taylor was tracking Lebold 35-40 meters back, making the turn at 36:36. Taylor's patience paid off. He was able to close the gap to Lebold and pass him on the way back. He cut Pottle's lead in half, but Pottle hung on for 2nd in 1:07:24, almost 20 seconds ahead of Taylor. Lebold was 4th in 1:08:20. Sayre, as noted, cruised home in 1:01:13, fast enough to not only take the win in the division but to climb the Age Grading podium as well.

Roger Sayre 1:01:13     Jack Pottle 1:07;24     K.C. Taylor 1:07:43

70-74 Gene Dykes won this division last year in 1:07:51, and was entered again this year. A week before the event, Dykes reported that he had thigh muscle pain in a Half Marathon event he was pacing and had to drop out afteer 4 miles. He also announced that he was dropping the 10 Mile Championships from his race card. It would be more important now for him to recover and then focus his training on his upcoming Ultras in May and June, especially the Western States. That opened up things for the rest of the field. Doug Bell Boulder Road Runners came with his 70+ team to Sacramento last year and clocked 1:14:45 over a distance that is too long to be among his favorites. His teammate, Douglas Chesnut Boulder Road Runners, had finished 2 minutes behind Bell at the Bolder Boulder 10 Km last July. By this February, he was able to beat Bell at a distance he does care about, the 5 K at the National Championships in Atlanta. Chesnut has no other long races that show up in Athlinks, but if that trajectory continues, he should be able to come in ahead of Bell. Gerhard Fischer Buffalo Chips ran a 1:16:45 at the Buffalo Stampede 10 Mile Run and turned in a 44:25 10K at the Shamrockin HM in March of this year. That puts him in the mix. John Hirschberger Tamalpa Runners finished 2nd here in this division last year with a 1:12:28. That would put him in the driver's seat were it not for the foot problem that has limited his training. That makes his effective fitness harder to gauge. The first 5.4 miles answered some of the questions. Bell was not able to stay with his teammate, Chesnut. Bell was a hundred meters behind him. At that point, even though Bell could not quite keep pace with his teammate, he had everyone else behind him. Fischer was a hundred meters back0 in 3rd at 39:23. It was a bigger gap back to Hirschberger, perhaps 800 meters. Hirschberger was keeping all others at bay despite his foot problem. Chesnut was able to carry a good pace al the way to the finish line, building his lead with every stride. Fischer was able to catch Bell and gained the better part of a 3-minute lead on him by the finish. Bell showed his grit in getting to the line in= 1:16:57, claiming the bronze medal in the division and helping his team to the 70+ win. Hirschberger soldiered on, finishing 4th in 1:19:59. Allen Joyce Atlanta TC finished 5th in 1:22:43.

75-79 Since we started having championships after Covid, Dave Glass Atlanta TC has been at the top of pile, for distances, like this one, of over 10 miles. A rare few have been able to surpass him at 5 Km and at 8 Km on the turf. Glass won here last year in 1:16:38, leaving Gary Ostwald Boulder Road Runnersand Len Goldman Tamalpa Runners over 3 minutes back in 2nd and 3rd. Both Ostwald and Glass were back. Glass beat Ostwald by almost 5 minutes at the 12 Km Championships in New Jersey last September. Ostwald was able to come in ahead of Glass on the turf this year at both Club Cross and USATF XC Nationals, winning the M75 division at both. But that did not make it more likely that he would beat Glass on the roads at a distance of 10 Miles. Then, on March 12th, Glass let me know he had an Achilles problem that was limiting his training. He was worried he might have to rest for a while. That is not the way it developed, luckily. Glass told me that he had been able to train, and that the Achilles problem seemed to be going away. It had not hampered him in a 5K he ran. Still, there must have been some impact on Glass's training. Goldman's training had been going well. He had not run long races but had been consistently breaking 23 minutes in his 5K efforts last fall. Goldman ran well at Club Cross, finishing 6th. Those who had finished 4th, 5th and 6th last year, Frisby, Carlin, yours truly, and French, were back. We had all beeen anywhere from 4 to 5 and a half minutes slower than the big 3. It seemed unlikely that any of us would stay with Glass, Ostwald or Goldman. Frisby had an injury last winter that he was coming back from when he finished 4th at Atlanta in the 5 Km Championships behind me. My 24:31 gave me hope that my training was going in the right direction. It was my first podium finish since being restricted, essentially, to cross training for six months in the second half of 2021. Still, Glass had taken that championship in 22:51. When Frisby announced that he had come down with Covid shortly after Atlanta, that seemed to cinch it. French had been racing but his times were no faster than last year and, in some cases, slower. Glass and Ostwald were not in my direct sight at the start of the race and I am sure I would soon have lost sight of them in any case. I did see Goldman, 5-8 meters ahead and to my left, running with his teammate, Hirschberger. They did not seem to be going much faster than I was, but I could not close on them and realized that they were pulling away from me and there was nothing I could do about it, not surprising probably, but definitely frustrating. Glass and Ostwald hit the turnaround point together, Glass in 42:33, Ostwald officially a second slower. Glass reported that they continued together like that for a while. But Ostwald was encouraging Glass to see if he could pick it up a little so they could both beat the Dave Glass time from last year. Eventually Ostwald had to go it on his own and left Glass behind. He crossed the finish line in 1:17:34 with a fine win, albeit a minute slower than Glass 2022. Glass took 2nd in 1:18:46. Goldman had hit the turnaround point in 3rd, 16 seconds after Ostwald. But he had a large margin on me, over two minutes! I had not seen Frisby nor French and guessed they were behind. A bit after making the 180 degree turn, I could see that they were. Frisby made the turn about a minute and a half after me, with French further back. Goldman continued to stretch his lead over me, crossing the line in 1:19:06. Three and a half minutes, I claimed 4th with Frisby 3 and 1/2 minutes back in 5th. French was 6th. The rerun of the 2022 75-79 had the same cast of characters with only a slight change in order. Instead of Glass-Ostwald-Goldman-Frisby-Carlin-French, it was Ostwald-Glass-Goldman-Carlin-Frisby-French. That is remarkable year-to-year consistency and a tribute to the ethos of 'keep showing up, good things can happen'.

80-84 Unlike 75-79, no one came back from last year's race in this division. The lone entrant from last year, Andrew Sherwood, had other things on his calendar. James Metts ran 59:18 at the Gaslamp 10K last summer. That equates roughly to a 1:40 ten-mile run. He also had a 44:39 at the Balboa Park 4 Mile run in September. That tempers the enthusiasm of the projection from the 10K. The 4-mile time equates roughly to a 1:56 ten miler. That range gets close to the likely time for his rival, Robert Schmitt. Schmitt has longer distances in his collection of recent races. He ran 1:26:44 at the Across the Bay 12K, roughly equating to a 1:59-ish ten miler. Schmitt also ran a 2:38:42 at the Urban Cow HM. That, too, equates roughly to a 1:59. Metts ran like the favorite, but Schmitt gave no quarter. Still, Metts had a lead of over a minute at the turnaround, where the timing mat recorded 56:58, and stretched the lead to almost 4 minutes by the end of the race. Metts claimed the Gold and Schmitt the Silver!

James Metts 1:46:53     Robert Schmitt 1:50:47


Team championships are determined by adding up the times of the first three finishers on each team, low score wins.

W40+ Impala Racing picked up the team gold medal with Katie Hynes, Jacqueline Cooke, and Elizabeth Goya scoring 3:06.32. They had a winning margin of 8 minutes per scoring runner. [insurance runners: Celeste Prothro, Georgia Young]. Excelsior Running Sherry Lee, Katherine Debski, Traci Scherdell and West Valley Track Alyson Barrett, Michelle la Sala, Stephanie Downey had a very tight contest for 2nd and 3rd. The final margin was the equivalent of a few seconds per runner. West Valley Track 'B' and Pama Kids took 4th and 5th.

Impala Racing 3:06:32 1:02:11 avg     Excelsior 3:30:47     West Valley Track 3:30:56

W50+ Impala Racing took their 2nd team gold medal with another huge winning margin, averaging 12 minutes per scoring runner. Samangtha Forde, Hronn Gudmundsdottir, and Francesca Amman did the scoring. [Gina Edwards, Angela Longworth]. Lake Merritt J&S Barbara Jung, Sue VQ Smith, Beth Black enjoyed a margin of 5 minutes over Buffalo Chips Running Beverly Anderson-Abbs, Allison Orofino, Barbara Rinker. 

Impala Racing 3:33:10 1:11:03 avg.     Lake Merritt J & S 4:09:20     Buffalo Chips 4:14:57

W60+ Lake Merritt J&S prevented Impala rom sweeping the table. Lake Merritt claimed the gold medal with almost 11 minutes (or 3:40 per runner) to spare. Eileen White, Kate Stewart, and Christine Chapon did the scoring. [Debra Cramer]. Impala enjoyed the 2nd place finish with their 'A' team Stella Gibbs, Jennifer Redmond, Teresa Quan and, 27 minutes back, their 'B' team Suzanne Bryan, Irene Suzuki, Kerry Koller. 

Lake Merritt Joggers & Striders 3:56:29 1:28:50 avg.     Impala Racing A 4:07:22     Impala Racing B 4:34:46

W70+ Impala got their 4th medal, unopposed in this division. Jo Anne Rowland, Terri Rourke and Irene Herman did the scoring. [Donna Chan].

Impala Racing 4:36:24 1:32:08 avg

M40+ West Valley Track, with Malcolm Richards, Kevin Pool, and Ben Koss scoring [Michael Gallagher, Michael Broompicked up their first Team Gold with a 52 minutes per runner average and a 7:49 winning margin. It was tight for 2nd and 3rd. Excelsior Running Chikara Omine, Cesar Lira, Jonathan Kimura nailed 2nd place with a margin of just 1:05 per runner over the SRA Elite Jesse Barragan, Corey Baxter, Paul Smith. The Excelsior B team and the HOKA Aggie Running took 4th and 5th.

West Valley Track 2:36:00 52:00 avg     Excelsior Running 2:43:39     SRA Elite 2:47:04

M50+ The Team race in this division was so close! SRA Elite rose to the top, but with a winning margin of just 51 seconds, or 17 seconds per runner. They were the only team to crack the one-hour average for the scoring runners. And there was a margin of just another 50 secoonds between 2nd and 3rd. With Darren Morgan, Jesus Muniz, and Michael Fadling [Ed brooks, Michael Aguilar] doing the damage, SRA claimed the Team Gold. West Valley Track Charles Mullane, Edward Randolph, Jon Erskine fell just short of Gold but edged Excelsior James Scanlan, Cliff Lentz, Douglas Woods for the Team Silver. Lake Merritt J&S and River City Rebels were well back from the top three but Lake Merritt finished 4th with a 4 minute margin over River City.

SRA Elite 2:59:35 59:51 avg     West Valley Track 3:00:26     Excelsior Running 3:01:16

M60+ Atlanta Track came up with a purpose and a plan; they did not expect to have the fastest runner but they did expect to have the tightest pack of three if everyone did their job. David Black, Lester Dragstedt, and Casey Hannan executed perfectly. With just 3 runners, they had no room for error. Black and Dragstedt finished together and Hannan was just 90 seconds back. Boom! They had their scoring runners in and a total that would give them the Team Gold with a winning margin of almost six minutes. Boulder Road Runners Roger Sayre, Jack Pottle, Adam Feerst had the fastest runner but all three had to do their best to nail the Team Silver. The West Valley J & S Ray Rodriguez, Barry Farrara, Brian Davis were only two minutes back in third. The Lake Merritt J & S and the River City Rebels took 4th and 5th.

Atlanta Track Club 3:10:07 1:03:23 avg     Boulder Road Runners 3:16:01     West Valley J & S 3:18:11

M70+ The Boulder Road Runners took this one going away, with Douglas Chesnut, Doug Bell and Gary Ostwald their scoring runners [Jan Frisby]. They had the fastest runner and the tightest pack. Their 3:45:09 cumulative time meant they had a 1:15:03 average and nearly a 25-minute advantage over the 2nd and 3rd place teams. There was just a 25 second difference between 2nd and 3rd place, 8 seconds difference per runner. That could have gone either way. But the Tamalpa Runners Len Goldman, John Hirschberger, James Morris claimed Team Silver. Atlanta Dave Glass, Allen Joyce, Jerry Learned earned the Bronze.

Boulder Road Runners 3:45:09 1:15:03 avg     Tamalpa Runners 4:10:00     Atlanta Track Club 4:10:25

That concludes this recap of the 2023 USATF Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento, CA. Two American Records were broken, there were some spectacular times at the front of the Masters race, lowering the times from last year for both Women and Men, and, as always, terrifi races within every age division!

Next up are the USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships this coming Sunday in Syracuse NY. Online registration closes Thursday, April 13th at 11:59 pm! See you there!

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