April 23, 2023 The weather can always throw a curve ball. The organizers of the Syracuse Half Marathon, our host for the USATF Masters Half Marathon, decided last year to move the date forward from the third Sunday in March to the third Sunday in April. The intent was to avoid the risk of a major snowstorm or really frigid temperatures. That goal was definitely accomplished. Things were looking good in terms of temperatures being in the 50's, but then came the curve ball. Forecasts started to show temperatures in the 60's at the start, initially with cloud cover and perhaps light rain but, in the end, mostly sunny. and except for the very fastest, temperatures well into the 70's before the finish.
That was a treat for spectators, but not so good for the half marathoners. The water and Gatorade were in high demand at the aid stations. For Masters athletes, it was a day of hydrating and rehydrating. The combination of heat and hills led to slower times than anticipated. It was a day to run smart and live to race another day. The organizers did what they could to make sure everyone ran safe. The bags of ice offered beyond the finish line found more than a few takers. It is a tribute to the competing athletes, as well as the race organizers that, to the best of my knowledge, there were no medical issues connected to the Championship.
All photos used in this article are provided with the compliments of the Syracuse Half Marathon.
WOMEN. The top contenders for the win appeared to be Chelsea Benson Ithaca NY, Sarah Bishop Fairfax VA, and Jennifer Weston Oak Ridge TN. But Fiona Bayly New York, NY, Luciana Bartholomew Fort Worth Distance Project and Abby Dean Greater Philadelphia TC, were also podium contenders. With a 2:37:56 CIM and a 1:18:56 at the Eversource Hartford Half Marathon, Benson was the favorite. After that, credentials seemed closer to being even. Bishop had an 18:18 5K and a 56:57 15K. Weston countered with a Silver medal performance in 19:04 at the 5 Km Championships over a hilly course and a 2:52:20 at the Wineglass Marathon last October. Bayly ran 1:24:05 here last year; her 1:24:22 at the UA NYC HM this year reinforced that credential. In addition, Bayly broke the 55-59 American 15K Record with a 58:55 at the Ted Corbitt 15K last December. She finished 4th overall at the Masters Ten Mile Championships in 1:03:06 at Sacramento two weeks earlier. Bartholomew ran an 18:20 5K and followed that with a 37:52 10K at Cowtown Marathon Weekend, followed by a 1:21:04 HM the next day. Dean, winner of the 50-54 division in the 2022 USATF Masters National Individual Grand Prix, finished 2nd to Bayly in 50-54 here last year in 1:24:57, and sealed her comeback from a hamstring injury and subsequent rehab with a 1:04:02 at the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler the first weekend in April.
The first part of the course at Syracuse starts to rise at about the 1-kilometer mark and climbs, along Adams Street, for 800 meters or so. That is where separation often starts to enter the picture. The runners crest the hill, drop down a bit and then turn into a flat portion of the course to the 5 km mark. Strava indicates a rise of about 123 feet in that first 3 miles. Dean found herself in 6th, over 60 meters back from Weston. Benson had pulled them up the hill and kept going, crossing the 5 km mat in 18:37. The only one close was Bishop, about 20 meters back.
|Sarah Bishop pulling up the Adams Street Hill on her way to a 2nd place overall at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Bayly was 150 meters behind Bishop, with Batholomew hanging on 25 meters further back. But then there was an 80-meter gap back to Weston, with another 70 meters back to Dean.
|Abby Dean and Roger Sayre attacking the course at the start of the Adams Street Hill at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
The 2nd 5K took the runners more or less around the top of that hill, some flat portions with a few uphills, followed by downhills. Strava shows a net drop of 11 feet in that 2nd 3 miles. It took Benson 20 more seconds to cover the 2nd 5K than the 1st 5 km, crossing the 10 K mat in 37:24. But she stretched her lead as others were forced to slow more dramatically. Benson had almost a full minute on Bishop. Bishop had her in sight much of the time, but it was a discouraging amount of real estate between them, well over 200 meters. Bishop, nonetheless, had also stretched her lead over the others. Bayly was a minute and change behind Bishop in 39:28. Weston had closed the gap with Bartholomew; they were both about a hundred meters back from Bayly. The next 5 km which included a short, steep hill, but was mostly downhill or straight, held the promise that a runner with something in reserve could close gaps or open them. Strava shows a drop of 138 feet in that 3rd 3-mile stretch. Benson did the latter, stretching her lead on Bishop, over the next 5K, to closer to two minutes. Bishop continued to lead Bayly by a good 350 meters. Bayly was running well but could not realize that Weston was running even faster, closing the gap between 3rd and 4th from 26 seconds to 15. Bartholomew in 5th could not close on Weston, nor could Dean in 6th close on Bartholomew. The last portion of the course is around the edges of downtown, with many turns but no real sharp or extended uphills or downhills.
|Chelsea Benson cruising through Mile 10 toward an Overall victory at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Benson extended her lead, crossing the finish line 1st in 1:20:15. Bishop could not close on Benson but was never challenged for 2nd; she claimed silver 3 minutes later.
|Jennifer Weston pushing through Mile 10 on her way to the Overall podium at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Weston continued to come on strong in this final section; when she passed Bayly at speed in the waning stretches of the course, Bayly was unable to match her. Weston took 3rd in 1:24:55, a mere 8 seconds ahead of Bayly.
|Fiona Bayly charging through Mile 10 on her way to 4th Overall and an Age Grading overall win at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Dean, who had fallen back on the hills, moved up on the flat, taking a minute out of Bartholomew's lead, but Bartholomew toughed it out and held on for 5th overall in 1:27:45, a half minute ahead of Dean.
Chelsea Benson 1:20:15 Sarah Bishop 1:23:19 Jennifer Weston 1:24:55
MEN. There was no clear favorite on the Men's side of the Championship. Charlie Ban Washington DC had run 1:12:52 at the Philadelphia Half Marathon last November. Sean Battis Pittsburgh PA had run 2:44:41 at the Boston Marathon but was then noticeably slower at CIM. If I recall correctly, the weather at CIM was more challenging than usual. Perhaps that explains some or all of that difference. Dickson Mercer Takoma Park MD claimed 6th overall at the 12 Km Masters National Championship last September in 40:42 and clocked 2:39:09 at the Wineglass Marathon in October. Two runners from older age divisions might make some noise as well. Gregory Putnam 53 Stoneham MA finished 11th overall last year in 1:15:51. Earlier this spring he ran 56:52 in the Frank Nealon Boston Tune-up 15K. Nat Larson 60 Amherst MA has been shredding the Masters 60-64 Record Book since last fall. he already has the 1 Mile 4:49, 5K 16:35, 8K 27:35 and 10 Mile 57:24 records under his belt. There seemed little in Sanjay Rawal's Jamaica NY recent race performance to suggest he could be an important factor in the race. Last year he ran a few 5K's in times ranging from 16:05 to 16:50, but nothing longer. His only race in 2023 appeared to be a 16:47 5K three weeks ahead of this championship. One could find a 1:20:04 HM in October of 2021 and a 1:17:35 HM in May of that same year. But with no races over 5 Km in the last 18 months, it seemed unlikely he could be a contender.
Rawal ran way better than his recent history suggested. As they headed up the Adams Street hill and then over along a level set of roads to the 5 Km mat, Rawal was actually leading although Battis was right there with him, almost a minute ahead of the chase pack.
|Lead Pack of Sanjay Rawal #174, Sean Battis #105 and Mark Andrews tucked in right behind Rawal and Battis along with an Open Elite Runner charging up the Adams Street hill at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Rawal hit the 5K mat in 17:16 with Battis a stride back, and the chase pack 200 meters to the rear. Had Rawal made a terrible mistake or had he somehow found a good training block that had previously eluded him? Putnam, Ban and Mercer crossed the mat between 18:03 and 18:06.
|Chase Pack of Harley Johnson Left #139, Dickson Mercer Center-GRC singlet, and Marcus Gage far right with Gregory Putnam just visible behind Gage at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Larson, a master at pacing, went out more cautiously, crossing the mat in 18:36. The 2nd 5 Km which included one testing hill, made it clear that Rawal was there to stay; he was no fluke! Rawal and Battis crossed the ten km mat in 34:44. They had almost 400 meters on their closest pursuers. The chase pack broke up in that 5 km stretch. Putnam crossed the mat at 36:13, with a 30-meter lead on Ban. Dickson had fallen back and was now well over a hundred meters back from Ban, and just 20 meters ahead of Larson, the only runner in the top group to run faster over the 2nd 5k stretch compared to the 1st. The third 5K segment has a sharp uphill at its start but was mainly either flat or downhill as the runners made their way back to downtown. Battis made a move that Rawal could not match. By the time he crossed the 15 Km mat in 51:55, Battis had over 75 meters on Rawal, and was still pulling away, ever so slightly but steadily.
|Sean Battis Right charges through Mile 10 on his way to the Overall Victory at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Rawal could not stay with Battis on the downhill but put distance between himself and his pursuers. The gap was now up over 500 meters. Putnam was running a brave race, crossing the mat in 54:12 with almost a minute lead on his closest pursuer. That was now Larson in 4th! He had run the fastest 5 Km stretch except for Battis who ran a second faster. That move brought Larson past, not only Mercer, but Ban as well. The final stretch cemented everyone into place. Battis again had the fastest time, although again just a second faster than Larson. Despite that strong finish, Larson would have to be satisfied with 4th. Rawal and Putnam had forged too large a lead. Battis claimed the win in 1:14:20 with over a hundred meters to spare over Rawal. Rawal stretched his lead over Putnam to over two minutes. But Putnam had third!
|Gregory Putnam coursing through Mile 10 with no pursuers in sight, on his way to the Bronze Medal Overall at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Surely he had not toed the line thinking a bronze medal Overall at the age of 53 was a real likelihood! Larson finished 45 seconds after Putnam, crossing the finish line in 1:17:34. Mercer took 5th in 1:19:51, with Ban 5 seconds back in 6th.
Sean Battis 1:14:20 Sanjay Rawal 1:14:47 Gregory Putnam 1:16:49
MEN 40-44 Battis, Mercer and Ban were all from the 40-44 division. They went 1-5-6 overall and 1-2-3 in 40-44. Tim Wilcox finished 11th last year. He did not run as fast this year, but he finished 4th! He kept the chase pack of Mercer and Ban in sight for the first 5 Km.
|Charlie Ban at Mile 10 on his way to 6th place overall and 2nd in 40-44 at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships |
He was just 65 meters back. That was the high point for Wilcox. He gradually fell back over the rest of the race, finishing 4th in 1:21:09.
Sean Battis 1:14:20 Dickson Mercer 1:19:51 Charlie Ban 1:19:56
45-49 As noted above, Sanjay Rawal exceeded all expectations, competing for the win at the front of the race. The second-place finisher overall, Rawal naturally captured this division along the way. The other top athletes in this division fell fairly quickly into different segments of the throng that was running. Randall Howard Rochester NY kept Harley Johnson's Urbana IL M45 back bib in sight for a while. By the time they hit the 5 km mat, though, Johnson was over 250 meters ahead of Howard. Tim Richmond Williston VT was 300 meters back in 4th. Interestingly, despite the considerable differences in elevation profile over the 4 segments of the course, Howard hit a remarkably even pace. After his 19:10 at the first timing mat, he hit the 2nd one 19:10 later, and the third 19:09 later, despite the drop. That caution in the third segment paid off with a final segment that was only 5 seconds slower in terms of pace. In fact, in that last segment, Howard took all but 24 seconds of Johnson's 1:52 second lead away.
|Randall Howard strides through Mile 10 on his way to a Top Ten finish overall and a bronze medal in 45-49 at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Johnson had spent a lot of energy building that lead, did not know where his closest pursuer was, gritted his teeth and kept his race moving. In the end he had the silver medal with a 1:20:42. Howard was 24 seconds back in 3rd, with Richmond taking 4th in 1:29:23.
Sanjay Rawal 1:14:47 Harley Johnson 1:20:42 Randall Howard 1:21:06
50-54 Gregory Putnam was competing for the Overall win and took the Bronze. He collected the age division Gold Medal at the same time. Marcus Gage Palmyra NY finished 7th in this race last year with a 1:19:49. Had things gone better for Marco Cardoso at the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler the first weekend in April, he and Gage would likely have had a real battle. Cardoso's 55:31 at the Spring Distance Classic 15K in mid-March equates roughly to a 1:19:10 HM. Unfortunately, there was a pileup at the CUCB 10 Miler that Cardoso was caught up in. An injured knee left him a scratch for this race. Andrew Bucci Rochester NY focuses more on cross country and shorter road races than half marathons. He ran a 15 mile trail race in December so he can certainly run long races and likely hard ones. Christopher Rinaldi finished 17th here last year in 1:30:08. His 1:03:34 in the Spring Distance Classic 15K suggested he carried similar fitness into this race. All three of those athletes ran sensibly and, largely, in different sections of the championship field. Gage hit the first mat in 18:26, with Bucci almost two minutes back and Rinaldi a minute and change further back. They kept those same places with widening gaps the rest of the way. Gage took the Silver behind Putnam's Gold in 1:23:54.
|Marcus Gage on his way to a silver medal in 50-54 at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships |
Bucci finished 3rd, 3:20 behind Gage. Rinaldi took 4th in 1:33:41.
Gregory Putnam 1:16:49 Marcus Gage 1:23:54 Andrew Bucci 1:33:41
55-59 There were no returning runners from last year in the field for this division. Scott Humphrey Marcy NY clocked a 55:11 in the Stockade-a-thon 15K last November, roughly equating to a 1:18:47. Michael Mertens finished 12th at the 5 Km National Championships in Atlanta with a 19:29. He ran 1:28:41 at the Carlsbad HM in January of 2022. Mike Nier did not compete in those championships this year but he finished 4th in the division in 2022 in 17:44. Nier prefers Track and Cross Country distances but is feared at distances on the roads up to 10Km. A Half Marathon is a stretch but when duty calls, Nier answers, running for his Genesee Valley Harriers GVH team. His 38:48 at the 10 Km national championships in Dedham last April scales up to a 1:25:04 HM, although scaling up is trickier than down or across distances. On the other hand, Nier was not at full fitness at that race, coming back after a hamstring issue, if I recall correctly. Scott Siriano is another well-known competitor. A very solid runner, he has been an important component of a few different teams in past seasons; he currently competes for the Atlanta Track Club. Siriano is comfortable at the longer distances. He finished 7th at the 12 Km Championships in New Jersey last September in 46:29 and 2 weeks before this event, took 8th in the division at the Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento with a 1:03:35. Both are roughly equivalent to a 1:24 half marathon. Humphrey went out at the front of the division as his performance last year suggested he would. He hit the first timing mat in 18:58 with a 100-meter lead on Nier. Siriano was another 75 meters back but certainly within sight. Mertens was 300 meters further back. Humphrey had more in the tank after that first 5 Km. When he threw down a 19: over the 2nd 5K that pretty much opened the field up. Hitting the 10 km mat at 38:14, he had almost 400 meters on Nier. Nier stayed strong in that 2nd 5 km stretch no doubt, but Siriano was able to keep the gap from growing. Indeed it shrunk by 2 seconds. Siriano had certainly not given up hope of moving up on that M55 back bib, just 65 meters ahead. Humphrey was off and away.
|Mike Nier on his way to a 2nd place finish in 55-59 at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
But Nier recovered well in the 3rd section, putting some extra distance between him and Siriano. When Nier hit the 15 Km mat in 1:00:04, the gap had grown to well over a hundred meters. That was a good thing for Nier. Over the final 3.8 miles, Siriano put on another push, taking 16 seconds off of Nier's lead. It was a brave effort at the end but not enough. Humphrey took the win by a large margin, crossing the line in 1:22:08. Nier claimed 2nd in 1:26:18, with Siriano in 3rd, just 12 seconds back! Mertens kept his focus the whole way, earning a 4th place finish with a fine 1:29:58, only a minute and change off his Carlsbad time when many racers were clocking 2-3 minutes slower than one might expect.
Scott Humphrey 1:22:08 Mike Nier 1:26:18 Scott Siriano 1:26:30
60-64 It is amazing when a competitor from this division contends for the overall win at a Masters national championship and comes within a minute of the podium. Nat Larson Amherst MA, as noted above, finished 4th in 1:17:34. That makes me think there will be a record try at the Half Marathon distance later this year on a flatter course. Had the weather been a little cooler, that might have been enough; Larson's time was less than 45 seconds off the record.
|Nat Larson heading for the finish line and 4th place Overall, a win in 60-64 and the top age grading prize at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
At the same time, he captured yet another national age division championship. Steve Schmidt Clarkston MI, known as one of the first two members of the 6DS3 club, six decades of registering a sub-3-hour marathon, proved himself a pretty fair XC runner as well. In December he finished 2nd to Larson over a highly competitive field, finishing just 19 seconds back over 8 Km. He ran 2:52:52 at London last fall, roughly equivalent to a 1:22:26. But those who saw how close he finished to Larson at Club Cross thought something closer to 1:20 or under was more likely. Lester Dragstedt Atlanta GA has been acclimating to longer distances after a focus on the 5 Km which he typically covered in the 18:20 to 18:30 range in 2022. In February he took 4th in the 5 Km national championships in Atlanta with an 18:47. He matched that finishing place over a longer distance at the Masters Ten Mile National Championships in Sacramento the first weekend in April. His 1:02:53 time there suggested a 1:23 to 1:24 HM would not be out of his reach. Larence 'Larry' Sak Lake Orion MI finished 3rd here last year in 1:24:24, suggesting he and Dragstedt might be close competitors. See overall recap above for Larson. Like Larson, Schmidt was aiming for negative splits, at least on effort. He decided early on that it was not worth chasing Larson. He hit the first mat in 19:46, 250 meters behind Larson, but well ahead of any other division rivals. Schmidt covered the 2nd 5 km in 19:07, one of the few other than Larson to have a faster 2nd than 1st segment. And on the segment where they returned to the downtown area below, Schmidt took another 7 seconds per mile off his pace, clocking 18:46 for that 5 km section. Schmidt claimed Silver to Larson's Gold in 1:21:15.
|Steve Schmidt powers to the finish line with Silver Medal performances in both 60-64 and age grading overall at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Sak and Dragstedt matched each other over the first uphill kilometers, Sak hitting the 5 Km mat in 20:22 and Dragstedt at 20:24. By the time they reached the 2nd timing mat at 10K, the hills and heat had started to take their toll on Sak.. He decided to let Dragstedt go. Sak was 80 meters back from Dragstedt at the 10 km mark. That gap continued to grow as Dragstedt finished 3rd in 1:27:52, with Sak 4th at 1:30:40.
Nat Larson 1:17:34 Steve Schmidt 1:21:15 Lester Dragstedt 1:27:52
65-69 It seemed likely that Roger Sayre Golden CO would take this division title by a large margin. He finished 2nd in the 60-64 division here last year in 1:21:46. His performance at the Masters Ten Mile Championship two weeks before this one cemented his role as favorite. Sayre took the division crown there in 1:01:09, roughly equal to a 1:21:07 HM effort. John Blaser Cedar Falls, IA finished 4th at the 12 Km Championships in 50:59, equating roughly to a 1:32:13. A week later he ran 1:30:34 at the Quad Cities Half Marathon. His 1:35:21 HM at Atlanta this February could signify that his fitness for the distance was a bit lower, or that the course in Atlanta is hillier than the 12 Km and Quad Cities courses, or that he took it relatively easy after running in the 5 km Masters National Championship the day before. Ward Freeman Ypsilanti MI ran a 1:34:33 HM in February of 2020 which, according to age grading equates roughly to a 1:37:26 three years later if his fitness is similar. Freeman's 44:44 10K at the Portage Winter Blast in late February equates to a 1:38:24. Timothy Riccardi Marietta NY finished 7th here last year in 1:30:51. His 42:09 in the 10 Km at the WMA Indoor championships in late March equates to a 1:32:43 HM. Reno Stirrat has been battling injuries off and on for the last few years. If Shore AC has a team that needs him, and that could be a B team as well as the A team that he usually runs for, he will, unless he can't, compete. Anyone witnessing the Mile in Rochester last year would have told him not to run. But Stirrat seems to know his limits; he knows how hard he can push it without causing aggravation of the injury in a race. True, they might have to carry him off on a stretcher but that's not the worst thing he would say. His piriformis was acting up coming into the race. A week before it looked like it was touch and go as to whether he could race in Syracuse. Stirrat finished 3rd here last year in 1:33:08.
At 7:53 AM, there Stirrat was, lined up with the other athletes, waiting for the gun to sound. Sayre took off; he would have a 300-meter lead on the field when he hit the first timing mat at 5Km.
|Abby Dean, 6th Woman overall and Roger Sayre, first in Men's 60-64 and 3rd Overall in Age Grading at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Next was Riccardi, with 50 meters on Blaser. Freeman and Stirrat must have found each other heading up the Adams Street hill. Freeman crossed the 5 km timing mat in 23:32, with Stirrat a single second behind. Sayre continued to throw down 6:30 miles and grew his lead the rest of the way. In the end he had the win in 1:24:46 with nearly ten minutes to spare. Blaser, meanwhile, was keeping Riccardi's back bib in sight 50 meters ahead; they ran identical 22:25 times for the second 5 Km. Blaser made a significant move on the third segment with the long downhill stretch, cutting all but two seconds of Riccardi's lead away. Across the 15 Km mat and up a short rise and Blaser was likely past Riccardi and pulling away, despite Riccardi's best efforts. In any case, Blaser took 2nd in 1:34:36, with Riccardi finishing in 3rd, three and a half minutes later. After being essentially even at 5 Km, Stirrat pulled away to a hundred-meter lead over freeman by the next timing mat. Freeman was able to grab 8 seconds of that lead back on the 3rd stretch. But Stirrat was able to right the ship and add to his lead over the final 3.8 miles. Stirrat was 4th in 1:42:37, with Freeman 5th in 1:43:41.
Roger Sayre 1:24:46 John Blaser 1:34:36 Timothy Riccardi 1:38:03
70-74 James Foster Chittenango NY and Eugene Myers Columbia MD were co-favorites. Foster finished 2nd here last year in 1:35:33. His 1:06:24 in the Utica Boilermaker 15K in July is consistent with a 1:35 HM. .Myers ran a 1:05:11 15K in October, roughly equivalent to a 1:33:16 HM. H ran a 1:36:32 in the Susquehanna River HM in September. But on April 1st of this year, his effort in the HM at the WMA Indoor Championships was 1:39:55. With recent evidence pointing towards 1:43 to 1:46 fitness for both, Allan Bates Pittsfield MA and Steven Segien Southlake TX would likely battle for the Bronze. Bates ran a 1:46:54 at the New Bedford HM in March of last year. More recently, Bates ran a 1:13:45 in the Frank Nealon Boston Tune up 15K, suggesting a somewhat lower time might be in his grasp. Myers, despite having run the WMA HM a few weeks earlier, went out strong up Adams Street, crossing the 5 Km Mat in 23:30. By the time Foster strode across at 24:18, Myers was well over 150 meters ahead, far enough to be barely in sight. Bates was nearly 300 meters behind Foster but had over a hundred meters on Segien. Things looked pretty similar up front at the 10 Km mat. Foster had taken a barely noticeable nine meters out of Myers's 150-meter lead. But Segien had not only wiped out the hundred-meter lead of Bates, he created a 90-meter gap of his own on Bates! Myers and Foster soldiered on as the lead pair. Foster took another 8 meters out of Myers's lead in the third 5 km stretch, but Myers still had 150 meters on Foster. Segien had quickened his pace again, pushing his lead over Bates to over two minutes. Perhaps it was the fatigue in his legs from the HM in Poland, or form running so many race sin a short time there, just two weeks earlier. In any case in the final 3.8 miles, he had no answer when Foster made the catch and then passed him. Foster hit the finish line with the win in 1:42:05.
|Jim Foster on his way to the 70-74 Division Win at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Myers's pace had slowed by a half minute per mile but he hung on, ceding just a minute of his lead to Segien. Myers took 2nd in 1:43:00 with Segien 3:17 back in 3rd. Bates was 4th at 1:50:34.
James Foster 1:42:05 Eugene Myers 1:43:00 Steven Segien 1:46:17
75-79 Ever since Masters Championships returned after covid, Dave Glass Glenville NY had been untouchable at distances 10 Km or over on the roads. He won at shorter distances too but not always. At the Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento, Gary Ostwald beat Glass fair and square. Did that mean that Glass was at risk in Syracuse. Probably not. Ostwald was not making the trip. None of the others entered had recent performances that suggested they could challenge Glass unless something was wrong. Glass had a minor Achilles issue before the ten mile. But after working with his chiropractor, the only effect was to interrupt Glass's training somewhat. Glass said after the race that the Achilles had not been a factor in the race. Glass won here last year in 1:41:54. All other entrants save two, had run here last year and finished several minutes behind Glass. One of the two newcomers was not a threat for the podium. He had no recent half marathons under two hours. The other was definitely a podium contender, but it was his first race as long as a half marathon. Keith Yeates has been running very well on the turf and the roads this year. He finished 3rd at Cross Nationals over 8 km in Richmond and followed that with a silver medal at Atlanta in 23:35. I find plenty of 5K's, 8K's and 10K's but he has not run at the 12 km Championship nor at the 15K championships when they were in Tulsa nor in the ten Mile championships at Sacramento. There was no doubt from recent evidence that he would run well for the first 10-15 K, but would he be able to finish well? Paul Carlin Three Oaks MI (your author) is finally running a little better after a year of 'comeback' races after returning from a 6-month bout with a persistent Achilles problem. I finished two minutes behind Yeates on the turf at Richmond, finishing 5th to his third. At Atlanta I took the bronze medal behind his silver, finishing 1:06 back. I ran well at Sacramento, cutting two minutes off my 2022 time but just moved up from 5th to 4th. My 1:22:34 at Sacramento translates to a few ticks under 1:50 on an equivalently flat and fast course with good weather conditions (except for the wind). Yeates's most recent 10K, a 50:29 at the Dunkin' Dash, was equivalent to a 1:51:24. That suggests we might see each other on the course. Last year Jim Glinsky Pittsford NY and Dennis Moore New Paltz NY finished a minute and a minute and a half back from me in 5th and 6th. I hoped the better fitness I felt for this race would mean they would be farther back in 2023. As expected once the gun went off we could see Glass a few strides ahead, and then more, and then we could not see him. Yeates and I started off, side by side. Yeates joked that we should agree on a strategy: "How about if we run together and then at the end you let me win!" "Sounds like a great strategy except for the last hundred meters!" I joked back. After that we wasted no more energy on talk. We ran together for the first 500 meters or so but then Yeates started to gradually put some space on me. I noticed that he was moving up with a GVH 60's teammate and running with him. This was on the Adams Street Hill. They were just a half dozen meters ahead. I was thinking about whether I should push and try to close up with them. Just then it was a mile into the race, my Garmin buzzed, and I glanced down seeing it register 8:30. Considering we had done some uphill already I was pretty happy with that pace. I decided to let them pull away if they could. Perhaps they would come back to me later in the race if I continued running well. Glass had over two minutes on the field by the first timing mat and added another two minutes with each 5 km section of the race after that. He cruised to victory in 1:43:54, very consistent with his victory last year; most runners ran a couple of minutes, or more, slower this year compared to last.
|Dave Glass charges to the finish line adding yet another division victory to his long list of national championships, at the at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
If my conservative strategy was to work, I hoped to keep Yeates in sight over the 2nd 5 km stretch and then see. Unfortunately for me, Yeates's strategy was to keep pushing. He widened the gap from 40 seconds to 1:25. He was 250 meters ahead, but I did not know that. I could not spy him up ahead. The split chart shows that I cut 7 seconds out of Yeates's lead in the next 5 km stretch. Had I known, would that have buoyed me? [You are starting to catch him.] or would it have been disappointing? [only 7 seconds closer?] But, as noted, I could not see him. I hoped no one other than Glass and Yeates was ahead of me, but I did not know that for sure. With about a mile to go, I got some hope. I spied a GVH singlet ahead. But he did not have an M75 back bib; it was an M65; it was the GVH teammate Yeates had been running with. Perhaps I would catch Yeates yet. But alas, the first sight I had of him, after a strong finish, was on the other side of the finish line. I took another 27 seconds out of his lead-too little, too late. Yeates took 2nd in 1:54:22. I was less than a minute back in third. I learned later that Moore had been 8 seconds ahead of me at the 5 Km mat, but I had passed him and was over 150 meters ahead of him by the 10 km mat. He was almost 9 minutes behind at the finish, claiming 4th place, a half minute and change ahead of Glinsky. What a great victory for Glass; he continues to amaze. And hat's off to Yeates. He ran a gutsy race and held on! As it was his first HM ever, it was also a PR! And for me, a second Bronze-not bad, definitely better than last year. It was the exact same podium as at Atlanta for the 5 Km. My guess is that we will not see that podium again this year.
Dave Glass 1:43:54 Keith Yeates 1:54:22 Paul Carlin 1:55:13
40-44 Chelsea Benson, Sarah Bishop and Luciana Bartholomew went 1-2-5 in the Overall competition. They go 1-2-3 in this division.
|Luciana Bartholomew on her way to 5th place overall and the bronze medal in her 40-44 division at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Amani Terrell, a Fort Worth DP teammate of Bartholomew's had run a 1:26:37 half marathon at Houston in January of this year. Terrell could not keep up with Bartholomew, falling almost 2 and a half minutes behind her at the 10 Km mark. But she rallied and closed some of the gap. In the end she had 4th place in the division in 1:29:19,
Chelsea Benson 1:20:15 Sarah Bishop 1:23:19 Luciana Bartholomew 1:27:45
45-49 Jennifer Weston captured third Overall and in so doing, took the 45-49 Gold medal in 1:24:55. See the overall recap above. Rebekah Kennedy Forest Hills NY, Michelle Lavigne Albany NY, and Susan Moore Bronx NY appeared to be the chief contenders for the final two podium spots. Kennedy ran a 3:16:32 marathon at London last October, suggesting a 1:35 HM is within her reach. If she has the same kind of fitness she brought to the Bronx Ten Miler last year, she might be ready to break 1:30. Lavigne ran a 3:24:36 marathon at Boston and a 1:06:32 15K at the Stockade-a-thon. That puts her close to Kennedy on paper. Moore ran the Fred Lebow HM in January in 1:33:33 and then ran the UA NYC HM on a tough March weather day in 1:32:18. Westron ran with the leaders, but Kennedy and Moore ran together for the first 5 km, crossing the 5 km mat with the same 21:59 time. Lavigne was more cautious, at 23:06. Kennedy gained a hard-earned 6 seconds on More over the next 5 km stretch, but Lavigne fell further back. This would not be her day. Kennedy tried to shake Moore, gaining another 5 seconds on the downhill 3rd 5 Km segment. Once they were back down on the flat, winding around the downtown area, Moore gathered herself, caught and passed Kennedy. Moore crossed the finish line in 1:32:43, thirteen seconds ahead of Kennedy.
|Susan Moore moving up through Mile 10 on her way to the Silver Medal in her 45-49 division at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Lavigne claimed 4th in 1:42:11.
Jennifer Weston 1:24:55 Susan Moore 1:32:43 Rebekah Kennedy 1:32:56
50-54 Abby Dean Wilmington DE, as noted, finished 6th overall. At the same time, she claimed the 50-54 win in 1:28:20. The race for the remaining podium spots was between Caroline Bucci Rochester NY, Cassandra Crane Chittienango NY, and Alexandra Marzulla Red Bank NJ. Bucci has been running mostly in XC but did run in the 10 Km Masters Championships last year, finishing 4th in 45-49 in 45:32. She ran a 1:43:20 HM in 2018, equating roughly to a 1:49:30 5 years later by age grading. Crane finished 9th here in 1:42:18. Her 8th place finish at the 12 Km in 58:51 is not quite as strong but that was a tough run due to the heat and wind. Marzulla finished 5th here last year in 1:35:41. She was 2 minutes slower at a half marathon in May of last year. She has no recorded results that I can find since then. It might be optimistic to think she could run a sub-1:40. Dean ran with the front of the pack overall more than 500 meters ahead of the rest of this division. Marzulla ran well, though, certainly the equivalent of a sub-1:40 had the course been flatter or the day cooler. She crossed the 5 km mat in 23:38 with over 120 meters on Crane.
|Alexandra Marzulla running strong through Mile 10 on her way to the Silver Medal in her 50-54 division at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Bucci, Crane's GVH teammate, was another 140 meters back. Marzulla stretched her lead over the two GVH athletes at every split, taking 2nd in the end in 1:41:31. Bucci trailed Crane by 49 seconds at the 10 Km mat. After that she cut into the lead gradually on the downhill and the flat. Bucci must have passed her teammate in the final stretch down state street, taking 3rd in 1:50:33, just two seconds ahead of Crane! It must have been a fun sprint into the finish knowing it would be either your teammate or you on the podium!
Abby Dean 1:28:20 Alexandra Marzulla 1:41:31 Caroline Bucci 1:50:33
55-59 Fiona Bayly New York NY ran with the overall leaders, finishing 4th in 1:25:02, just 8 seconds off the podium. That gave her the win in this division with over a kilometer to spare. Were it not for Bayly, Suzanne La Burt would have been a big favorite for the win. She finished 2nd last year in 1:29:18. Her 1:03:46 in the Spring Distance Classic 15K equates to a 1:30:24. La Burt appeared ready to roll. The runner most likely to finish off the podium was Jacalyn Lembo Penfield NY. Lembo ran a 1:40:05 half marathon in Rochester in September of 2021. Anabelle Broadbent is a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a solid runner. She is not quite at the same level as those three but should any of those have an off day and Broadbent have an on day, she might climb onto the podium. Broadbent ran a 1:22:48 10 Miler on April 1st. That equates to a 1:49:41 HM, a bit faster than the 1:50:26 she ran at the Atlanta HM the day after competing in the 5 km Masters Championship. The day went as expected for this division. La Burt could not run with Bayly but hit the 5 Km split in 21:16. Lembo was a minute and a half back in 3rd, with Broadbent another minute and a half back. All three ran sensibly and according to plan. Those gaps, therefore, grew bigger as the race unfolded. In the end it was La Burt claiming the silver medal in 1:31:27. Lembo finished third, six minutes later, with Broadbent in 4th at 1:45:35, faster than I projected.
60-64 Last year, Doreeen McCoubrie West Chester PA dominated the longer distances in this division. This year, Mary Cass Westport MA has stepped up her game. This year Cass won the division at Club Cross, with McCoubrie absent. In 2023, Cass has come in ahead of McCoubrie at Cross Nationals in Richmond and at the 5 km in Atlanta. Last September, McCoubrie took a 21 second win over Cass at the 12 Km Championships in Highland NJ. But Cass has already run a 1:31:06 half marathon at Hyannis on Cape Cod and a 1:35:44 at New Bedford. Cass's teammates, Lauren Leslie and Victoria Bok provide a strong supporting cast but they are not on a par with Cass and McCoubrie. Leslie has the stronger recofrd on paper so is the favorite to take the final podium spot. For example, at the Frank Nealon Tune Up 15K run on April 1st, Leslie ran 1:08:45 to Bok's 1:14:08. When the gun sounded, Cass and mcCoubrie found one another and toiled up Adams Street in close order. Cass was able to find a way to push forward. When they reached the 5 km mat it was Cass in 21:59 with a 6 second lead. In the next 5 km stretch around the top of the hill, Cass was able to surge and increase the gap from 6 to 20 seconds. that was huge. try as she might, McCoubrie could not close the gap. On the way back down to the city, Cass stretched her lead again. It was now up to 26 seconds. McCoubrie is no quitter though. She made a last attempt to close the gap. She was only able to cut three seconds out of th gap as Cass held strong all the way to the finish. Cass took the win in 1:34:26, with McCoubrie earning Silver 23 seconds later.
|Mary Cass notches the 60-64 win and earns the Bronze Medal overall in Age Grading at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Leslie finished 3rd in 1:41:27, with her teammate, Bok taking 4th in 1:53:41. At least for now, it appears that Cass is on top of the 60's!
Mary Cass 1:34:26 Doreen McCoubrie 1:34:29 Lauren Leslie 1:41:27
65-69 Susan Stirrat Rockaway NJ and Helene Myers Columbia MD were the only two entrants. Myers has run two half marathons this year, one in 3:15 and the other in 3:48. Stirrat, who won the 65-69 Grand Prix for 2022 competed here last year, finishing 2nd in 2:08:41. The race unfolded as one would expect. Stirrat won in 2:03:29, one of the few runners to improve on her 2022 time at this race.
|Almost there! Susan Stirrat approaching the finish line with her victory in the 65-69 division assured at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Myers finished 2nd in 3:15:22.
Susan Stirrat 2:03:29 Helen Myers 3:15:22
70-74 The three Team Red Lizard teammates, Jeanette Groesz Redmond OR, Sue Herscher Winter Garden FL and Suzanne Ray Jacksonville OR, were the only entrants in this division. The teammates would take 1-2-3 if they all finished, which seemed highly likely. Goresz and Ray ahd recently run the Half marathon at the WMA Indoor Championships in Poland. At that time, Groesz prevailed at 1:47:21 and change to Ray's 1:50:10. Herscher ran 2:09:45 at the same event. That suggested that Groesz was the favorite, with Ray a close second and Herscher the clean-up runner for the team, making sure they had a complete scoring team and got the win and the Grand Prix points. Herscher's race went as expected with no drama. She claimed third in 2:09:14. The first 5 km segment went as expected. Groesz charged up the Adams Street hill and Ray kept her in sight. But it was Groesz crossing the timing mat first in 25:02, with Ray at 26:09. Whether that was a mistake in going out too hard, or the heat started to get to Groesz, or something else went wrong, is uncertain. But Groesz's 2nd 5 km section was much slower than her first, which was unusual. Ray took a half minute out of Groesz's lead without increasing her pace. By the tme they descended to the downtown area again and crossed the 15Km mat, it was Ray in the lead and Groesz 13 seconds back.
|Jeanette Groesz on her way to the Silver Medal in 70-74 and 5th place overall in age grading at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
That continued to the finish with Ray claiming the win in 1:51:48, with Groesz in 2nd 2 and a half minutes back.
Suzanne Ray 1:51:48 Jeanette Groesz 1:54:18 Sue Herscher 2:09:14
75-79 Jo Anne Rowland had this division to herself0. Two weeks earlier she had won the Ten Mile division championship in 1:26:43. That equates to a 1:54-ish Half Marathon. Her team was not here, and she had no division rivals in the race. Rowland had no reason to risk anything on a hot day. She took the gold medal in 2:03:04.
|Jo Anne Rowland on her way up the Adams Street Hill on her way to victory in the 75-79 division at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships|
Those with the top age graded scores are considered the athletes with the best performance, for their age, across the age divisions. Graded against the best times recorded in the world for their age, scores 80% and above are considered national class, with scores above 90% considered world class. Because conditions made for slower times, age grade scores, too, are lower.
WOMEN Fiona Bayly 55 who finished 3rd in age grading at Sacramento, and just off the overall podium there, and here in Syracuse, dealt with the conditions better than anyone else, taking the Women’s age grading Gold with a 1:25:02 for 92.83%. Suzanne La Burt 59, who finished 4th in age grading here last year, moved up a couple of notches to claim the silver medal at 1:31:26 and 90.88%. Mary Cass 61 finished third. Her age grade from her division winning time of 1:34:22 was 90.43%. Age grading prizes went five-deep. Doreen McCoubrie 61, whose 2nd place time was just 22 seconds slower than Cass, took the 4th spot with a 90.08%. Jeanette Groesz 73 was beaten in the 70-74 division by her 70-year-old teammate but reversed the order in age grading. Groesz took 5th; her 1:54:13 net time earned 89.19%.
MEN It was not a day for breaking records, but Nat Larson 60, who broke the American Ten Mile Record two weeks ago was, once more, with his 1:17:31 net time, atop the age grading podium. He earned a nifty 91.90%, the only men’s score above 90. Steve Schmidt 62 who ran 1:20:1:12 for an 89.43, earns his second age grading Silver medal this year; he did the same at Atlanta. Roger Sayre 65 took the Bronze with his 1:24:43, graded at 88.31. At Sactown, Larson graded over 93% and Sayre was over 92%; Schmidt was over 91% on the hilly 5Km course in Atlanta. Gregory Putnam 53, who took the overall Bronze medal, running 1:16:47 net, took 4th at 86.96. Sanjay Rawal 48, who finished 2nd overall earned the last cash prize with his 1:14:46 for 85.48%.
Team championships are determined by adding up the times of the first three finishers on each team, low score wins.
40+ This was a club from the region, the Genesee Valley Harriers, out of Rochester NY, vs. the Shore AC out of New Jersey. GVH's Randall Howard shot across the finish line first in the team competition in 1:21:06. When his teammate, Evan Dumrese finished 2nd in 1:23:24, it was clear they would be hard to beat. Christopher Moye, of Shore AC, was not ready to concede. The first finisher for Shore clocked a 1:26:56. If they could get two more in before GVH's 3rd runner, they might have a chance to overcome GVH's early advantage. But the next runner across the line was GVH's Michael Mertens. His 1:29:58 gave GVH a cumulative score of 4:14:28 that could not be matched. When Chris Rinaldi 1:33:41 and Scott Linnell 1:52:13 finished, that gave Shore 4:52:50 and 2nd place. GVH was happy with the win. Shore was happy with 2nd. Rinaldi dropped down from the 50's and Linnell from the 60's so they could have a complete scoring team.
Genesee Valley Harriers 4:14:28 1:24:50 avg. Shore Athletic Club 4:52:50 1:37:37
50+ This division featured a local/regional shootout, GVH vs. the Syracuse Track Club. This time Syracuse got on the board first. Their Scott Humphrey ran a nifty 1:22:08. But GHV had it their way after that, with Marcus Gage, Mike Nier, and Andrew Bucci taking the next three spots in 1:23:54, 1:26:18, and 1:27:16. That gave GVH a three-athlete total of 4:17:28 and the clock was ticking. Syracuse only had 45 seconds to get their next two runners across the line. It was not going to happen. About twenty minutes later, Don Hughes and Robert Mozo, both dropping down from the 60's, crossed the finish line in 1:47:07 and 1:48:37, to give Syracuse a cumulative time of 4:57:52 and 2nd place.
Genesee Valley Harriers 4:17:28 1:25:50 Syracuse Track Club 4:57:52 1:39:18
60+ It had been a great start for GVH-2 divisions, 2 wins. Could it continue? This time they would face the Ann Arbor Track Club out of Michigan and the Shore AC out of New Jersey. AATC had most of their strong runners; Shore did not. Steve Schmidt and Larry Sak did the 1-2 trick for Ann Arbor; their 1:21:15 and 1:30:40 gave AATC 2:51:55. GVH's John Van Kerkhove and Timothy Riccardi came across the line next giving GVH a 3:11:12 total from their 1:33:09 and 1:38:03. They were 20 minutes but down but where there are runners out on the course, there's hope. But the next runner across the line was AATC's Ward Freeman in 1:43:41. Freeman brought the hammer down; this one is done! AATC had a complete team in and 4:35:36 showing on the scoreboard. The best GVH could do was 4:54 and change. That gave AATC the win. Would GVH get 2nd? Shore AC had other ideas. They took the next three finishing spots. It was Reno Stirrat, Kevin McCormack, and Harry Pino in 1:42:37, 1:42:42, and 1:50:14. That gave them a complete scoring team and 5:15:33. GVH's 3rd athlete had to come in under 2:04:21. No worries, said Gene Jensen, who crossed the finish line in 1:56:01! That gave GVH 5:07:13, the silver medals and the 90 points for the Grand Prix! AATC also got the prize for being the only men's team to bring insurance runners. Neither was needed but if we had been needed, it would not have been a disaster. In fact, if either our #2 or our #3 runner had gone down for any reason, we still would have taken the team win. Paul Carlin (that's me, folks, dropping down from the 70's!), ran 1:55:13 and Michael Mester ran 2:09:53.
70+ In this division it was the local club, the Syracuse Track Club, matching up against their rivals in the region, the Genesee Valley Harriers and their national rivals, the Atlanta Track Club. The top runner for each of these three teams would win either gold or silver individually in their division. the rest were here strictly for the team. Jim Foster who won the 70-74 division, came first in 1:42:05 for Syracuse. After that it was the 75-59 winner, Dave Glass with a 1:43:54 for Atlanta. Keith Yeates finished 2nd to Glass and posted a 1:54:22 for GVH. All three teams were on the board. Syracuse kept the pressure on. Ted Larison finished just 36 seconds behind Yeates. That gave Syracuse 3:37:03 and the lead. Atlanta followed with Jerry Learned's 2:00:35. Six months ago that would have been in the 1:40's. Learned continues to run hard despite some medical difficulties. Atlanta was at 3:44:29. Just 7 minutes back, they could still win. GVH came next with Jim Glinsky. Unable to find the time to train up as much as last year, he gritted it out and turned in a 2:04:47. GVH was at 3:54:09. They continued in order; James Miner, from Syracuse finished next in 2:29:29 to give Syracuse the win! They scored a total time of 6:06:32. Joseph Lenahan finished 3 minutes later at 2:32:55. They were at 6:17:24. GVH had convinced Doc Rappole, who was a key component of their 60's team in the late teens, to lace up and run, despite a lack of training. Just based on overall health and fitness, Rappole turned in a 2:45. That gave GVH bronze medals and 80 points toward the Grand Prix.
Syracuse Track Club 6:06:32 2:02:11 Atlanta Track Club 6:17:24 2:05:48 Genesee Valley Harriers 6:44:09 2:14:43
40+ The Genesee Valley Harriers, and Roadkill Racing, both out of Rochester NY, geared up to take on the Shore AC out of New Jersey and the Fort Worth Distance Project, who made the trip from Texas. A team does not travel that far unless they have a pretty good idea that they can make it worthwhile. That was certainly the case with Fort Worth. They went 1-2-3 in the team competition with Luciana Bartholomew 1:27:45, Amani Terrell 1:29:19, and Neringa Kaulinaite 1:30:47. Their 4:27:51 was unbeatable. Had any of those three run into difficulties, Mary Cox provided valuable insurance with her 1:38:26. They still would have got the win! So now the race for the silver medals was down to three. Karen dos Santos and Suzanne La Burt, dropping down from the 50's, gave Shore a killer start, coming in just 14 seconds apart in 1:31:13 and 1:31:27. At 3:02:30 on two runners, they would be tough to beat. GVH had Elizabeth Matthews at 1:37:49 to stem the tide. But the next runner in wore Shore colors and the race for 2nd place was over. Ali Marzulla, also down aging from 50's, slammed the door with her 1:41:31. That gave Shore 4:44:11 and the 2nd place medals. Susan Stirrat dropped down from the 60's to provide insurance in the form of a 2:03:29. Third place medals were still up for grabs. Carolynne Pouliot, GVH's 2nd runner, scored a 1:47:47, before Roadkill's first runner, Danielle Clark, scored at 1:50:01. When GVHs #3, Erika Duthiers, finished at 1:56:34, that gave GVH a total of 5:22:10 and 3rd place. Her teammate, Carol Reif was right with her at the finish, with a recorded finish at 1:56:35. Marie Davis and Kaye Treanor finished up the scoring for Roadkill with a 1:58:38 and a 2:08:56. They had a total of 5:57:35 and 4th place in a national team championship competition! Valerie Kean 2:22:14 and Martha Doody 2:28:19 provided insurance. It was a dominant win for Fort Worth DP!
Fort Worth Distance Project 4:27:51 1:29:17 Shore Athletic Club 4:44:11 1:34:44 Genesee Valley Harriers 5:22:10 1:47:24
50+ It was Rochester vs. Philly in this division, GVH vs. the Greater Philadelphia Track Club GPTC. Her GPTC+ 60's 'teamies' did not make the trip so, like others mentioned above, Doreen McCoubrie dropped down from the 60's. GPTC's Abby Dean scored first in the team competition with her 1:28:20. McCoubrie added a 1:34:49, and GPTC had 2 runners in and a cumulative score of 2:33:09. Things were looking good for Philly! But Jacalyn Lembo said, 'Wait just a minute; GVH isn't done yet!' Her 1:37:26 got GVH on the board. But 8 minutes later it was Anabelle Broadbent closing things down for GPTC with her 1:45:35. That gave Greater Philly a total score of 4:48:44. Broadbent had done well to stay ahead of the GVH pack. Five minutes later the #2,3, and 4 runners for GVH came across the line between 1:50:25 and 1:50:35. That gave them a total of 5:18:24 and 2nd place.
Greater Philadelphia Track Club 4:48:44 1:36:15 Genesee Valley Harriers 5:18:24 1:46:08
60+ There were no teams from Syracuse or upstate New York in general in this division. It was East vs. West, the Liberty Athletic Club out of Greater Boston and the Impala Racing out of the San Francisco Bay area. To be frank, the Impalas did not send their strongest 60's runners. Those who came were primarily focused on finishing the race in order to get the 90 Grand Prix points for 2nd place. Luckily, Jo Anne Rowland, who is always competitive for individual honors, had no rivals in her division. She could focus her energy on finishing with a decent time. She did not have to risk losing to her division rivals; they were not in this race. There was little suspense. Liberty AC went 1-2-3 with Mary Cass 1:34:26, Lauren Leslie 1:41:27, and Victoria Bok 1:53:41. Their cumulative time was a very handy 5:09:34. The Impalas were content with Teresa Quan, Jo Anne Rowland, dropping down from the 70's team, and Irene Suzuki finishing 4th through 6th in 1:56:15, 2:03:04, and 2:07:55 for a total of 6:07:14.
Liberty AC 5:09:34 1:43:12 Impala Racing 6:07:14 2:02:25
70+ The strongest 70's team in the country at the longer distances, Team Red Lizard, faced no rivals. Suzanne Ray 1:51:48, Jeanette Groesz 1:54:18, and Sue Herscher 2:09:14 went 1-2-3, collecting the gold medals and the 100 Grand Prix points.
Team Red Lizard 5:55:20 1:58:27
The Genesee Valley Harriers came down from Rochester and went home with six sets of team medals including Gold in Men’s 40+ and 50+. The Ann Arbor Track Club, out of Michigan, claimed the M60+ Gold, with the hometown Syracuse Track Club taking Gold in M70+. Visitors from further afield took the top spots in the Women’s team competition. The Ft Worth Distance Project from Texas took home the Women’s 40+ top prize, with Greater Philadelphia TC on top in 50+. Liberty AC, out of Boston MA, took Gold in W60+ and Team Red Lizard, out of Oregon won the 70+ competition. There was spirited competition among the teams that showed up ready to run!
Another Masters National Grand Prix event is in the books. It is on to Dedham MA and the USATF Masters 10 Km Championships this coming weekend. If you have not signed up yet, it is time to do so. Don't miss it; the 10 km championships are among the biggest and best championships of the year.