Monday, May 8, 2023

2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships--Cool Running!

 May 5, 2023. After an unseasonably warm half marathon in Syracuse on the 16th of April, Masters athletes were ready for a return to spring weather running. Dedham, Massachusetts and the James Joyce Ramble provided them on the 30th of April. The early forecasts called for a wet and windy Sunday morning. The rain slowed to a drizzle and stopped before the race. Temperatures were right around 50 F, ideal for a fast race. The winds, at 18-20 mph out of the NE, were not ideal, to say the least, but, luckily for the runners, they were mostly cross winds. It did not stop two runners from breaking American Age Division Records.

AMERICAN RECORDS Nat Larson 60 and Jan Holmquist 78 took down American Records.  

Jim O'Neill has held the men's record at 34:27 since 1998. Many speedy runners in their 60's have competed at Dedham, but none came close to O'Neill's record on this course. In fact, the 60-64 course record was broken last year by Tim Degrado; his net time was 35:57. Larson lowered O'Neill's record by three seconds to 34:24, a definite feather in his cap. Larson noted that he managed his pacing in part by staying in a small pack, for much of the race, with Gregory Putnam, out of the 50-54 division. Larson adds this record to the 1 Mile, 5 Km, 8 Km and Ten Mile records he has broken since he turned 60 last year. 

Nat Larson Finishing His American Record-Breaking run at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales

The ratified Women's 75-79 American record has stood since 2012. Libby James set it at 50:11 on a challenging course at altitude, the Bolder Boulder. In November of 2021, Nancy Rollins ran a 50:04 in Illinois, but that mark is pending, presumably because the required paperwork has not yet been filed. The USATF Records Chair makes many attempts to secure the records from the Race Director. If they are not forthcoming within 5 years, the pending records are removed. Holmquist took down the women’s 75-79 record by either 10 seconds or three seconds in 50:01. Holmquist currently holds both the 70-74 record, at 45:19 and the 75-79 record at 50:01. 

Jan Holmquist wearing the Bib of Honor, #1-After breaking the record-Congratulated by Martin Hanley, Ramble Race Director Photo Credit: FitzFoto/New England Runner 

Technically both Larson's 60-64 and Holmquist's 75-79 records are pending. Once the paperwork is filed, the course measurement is either accepted by the Road Race Technical Council or is post-verified, and the records are ratified by the Masters LDR Committee, then it becomes a new American Record. That process can take a year or two sometimes, but usually it is a matter of months. This course has not changed, and records have been set here before, so it would be surprising if these records are not ratified fairly quickly.

Age Division Course records will be discussed in the Age Division section below.


WOMEN The main contenders looked to be Beverly Antunes, Fiona Bayly, Karolyn Bowley, Abby Dean, and Melissa Hardesty. I thought that Christina Campbell and Sybil Sanders might play a more prominent role, but it did not play out that way. 

Antunes ran a 36:06 at the Boston 10K for Women in October of 2020. One can use age grading to update that to the present. If so, it comes out to 37:07. Of course, that assumes the level of fitness conditional on age, is the same in both years. 

Always nationally competit1ive, Bayly has turned it up a notch, running superbly in the latter stages of 2022 and into 2023. She finished 4th overall at both the 10 Mile championships in Sacramento and the Half Marathon championships in Syracuse. In addition, she set a Women's 55-59 American 15 K record, 58:55, at the Ted Corbitt Run last December. That equates to a 38:23 10K. In January she ran 38:10 at the Joe Kleinman run, also in NYC.

Bowley ran 38:28 last summer at the Beach to Beacon 10K and in September clocked 37:07 at the Lone Gull 10K. In early April she ran 58:56 at the Frank Nealon Tune Up 15K, age grade equivalent to a 38:25 10K.

Dean finished 6th overall last year in a loaded field, clocking 38:02. Her most recent outing over a comparable distance and reasonable weather conditions was the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in Washington DC 4 weeks prior to this race. Her time of 1:04:02 is comparable to a high 38-minute 10 Km.

Hardesty won here in 2019. Her 37:06 adjusts, via age grading, to a 38:15 4 years later. But Hardesty may have lost less over those years. Last 4th of July she ran a 23:48 4 miler, age grade equivalent to a 37:31.

After the gun sounded, Antunes, Bayly, Dean and Hardesty found themselves at the front of the women's race. For the first mile and a half or so, through the town center and up the Highland Street hill, it was Antunes and Hardesty setting the pace, with Dean tucked in and Bayly biding her time behind Dean. Bowley was not part of the lead group, choosing a more conservative approach. Once they turned onto the High Street, heading towards the Dedham Common between miles 2 and 3, Bayly accelerated, and passed Dean. As they wove through the Noble and Greenough School grounds, heading toward Mile 4, it was Hardesty setting the pace with Antunes and Bayly a few strides back trying to maintain contact. 

Women's Lead Pack between Miles 3 and 4--Melissa Hardesty leading with Fiona Bayly L, arm sleeves and Beverly Antunes R, yellow singlet with gray and Abby Dean just visible in blue behind Bayly at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Matthew Cutrona

Dean was a few more strides back, followed by Bowley, who was still biding her time behind those four. Hardesty threw in an acceleration just after the quick up and down at the school building followed by the turn onto Pine Street and its more gradual but longer uphill. That gave her a real gap on Antunes and Bayly. Hardesty was never headed after that, cruising to a repeat victory, albeit with 4 years intervening, this time in 37:26! 

Melissa Hardesty breaks the tape for her 2nd Overall Victory in Two Tries at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Granite State Race Services 

Antunes pulled away from Bayly a half mile or so later. Bayly was able to keep her in sight but not close on her. Antunes claimed 2nd in 38:02, with Bayly capturing Bronze 9 seconds later. A mere 6 seconds more passed before Dean crossed the line at 38:17 in 4th, holding at bay a fast-closing Bowley, just 4 seconds back in 5th. Hardesty had a brilliant victory and Antunes a hard-fought silver medal. It was one of the closest ever 3-4-5 races! Kudos to all three for running gritty races!

Melissa Hardesty 37:26     Beverly Antunes 38:02     Fiona Bayly 38:11

Men The main contenders among the men were: David Angell, Justin Freeman, Brendan Prindiville, T.J. Unger and Mario Vazquez.

Angell won here in 2017 and 2018 and took silver in 2019 with a 32:22. Heel problems interrupted his training from time to time in 2021 and 2022 but he still was able to compete nationally, finishing 8th overall at the 12 Km Championships last September. He appeared to be closer to his former self at Richmond where he finished 7th at Cross Nationals. With a PRP treatment shortly after that, and a couple of months to recover and train, it appeared Angell might be able to challenge for the podium at this race.

Freeman ran a scorching 31:32 at Lone Gull last September and had a very nice outing at the Tune-Up 15K in early April, clocking 50:04, age grade equivalent to a 32:38.

Prindiville finished 3rd here in 2019 in 33:14. This past February he finished 6th overall at the USATF Masters 5 km national championships in Atlanta with a 16:28 clocking. At the Tune-Up in early April, he proved his current fitness with a 51:02, essentially age grade equivalent to the time he ran here in 2019.

Unger finished 4th in that 2019 running of the 10 km, just 8 seconds behind Prindiville. Unger had an off day last year, finishing 12th overall in 34:13. Five months later he was back to his norm, running 33:32 at Lone Gull. This March he ran 27:10 at the Irish Clover 5 Miler, equivalent to a 33:54 10K. With another 6 weeks to sharpen up, Unger would be ready to challenge for the podium.

Vazquez ran a 32:09 10K last October and followed that up earlier this spring with a smoking 31:39 at the Middletown 10K in his home state of Connecticut. In the years leading up to Covid, it appeared that Vazquez was content to run in local races around Connecticut running half marathons in the 1:15 to 1:17 range. After the break from Covid, Vazquez appears to have increased the intensity of his training. In June of 2021, he turned in a 1:12:27 HM and in September a 1:11:13. A year later, in September 2022, he cracked 1:10 for the first time I can find, with a 1:09:50 at the Hogsback HM in Connecticut. So far, he has rarely run outside of Connecticut.

When the gun sounded, Vazquez shot from the starting line, determined to set the pace. 

800 meters into the race Mario Vazquez has a huge lead already at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit:MickFoto/New England Runner

Freeman tried to match him but had to settle for running in no man's land between Vazquez and a chase pack of Angell, Prindiville, Unger and a few of the B.A.A. athletes made up the chase pack. By the time they were headed through the town center on High Street, Vazquez was well ahead and even Freeman had a good lead on Angell and Prindiville, who had separated from the rest of the chase pack. Heading up the Highland Street hill, Angell and Prindiville hoped to work together to bring back Freeman, but Freeman was having none of that. Freeman could not move up on Vazquez but he had more than enough to keep the others at bay. As they headed out toward the Noble and Greenough School, Angell was mostly setting the pace for Prindiville. When they headed up the Pine Street hill, Angell was able to put some distance on Prindiville. In the meantime, Unger had separated himself from the others and was chasing Prindiville. It was not close for the win. Vazquez had well over a hundred meters on Freeman when he crossed the finish line, first in 31:50, smashing the Masters course record of 32:08 set by Jesse Davis just last year. 

Mario Vazquez claims the Overall Victory at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit:FitzFoto/New England Runner

Freeman claimed 2nd in 32:17. It was a bigger gap back to the chasers. Once Angell broke from Prindiville, he was able to hold it all the way to the line, claiming 3rd in 33:15. That was a faster age adjusted time than his silver medal effort in 2019! Prindiville could not move up on Angell but he stayed strong to the finish line, claiming 4th place in 33:38, finishing just 5 seconds ahead of a fast-closing Unger.

Mario Vazquez 31:50     Justin Freeman 32:17     David Angell 33:15


NOTE: Age Grading for USATF Masters LDR Championships, including Road Racing and Cross Country, is based on the 2020 Age Grading tables developed by Alan Jones with the assistance of Tom Bernhard. These are updates to the 2010 and 2015 tables, using the same methodology but updated data. The best calculator to approximate the results using those tables is: MLDR Road age-grading calculator ( Make sure you are using the 2020, not the 2015 or 2010 factors. If you want to see how the standards have changed over time it is possible to toggle between the different years at that calculator. The WMA has recently issued new2023 age grading tables with much fanfare. Those tables are different, and are not being used by USATF Masters LDR. It is simplest to think of the WMA age grading to be used for the track and Masters LDR age grading to be used for road racing and, perhaps, cross country.

Men At Club Cross in December, four of the top 4 M60 distance runners in the country competed. The age grading results for that race showed a finishing order of Steve Schmidt, Nat Larson, Rick Lee and John Van Danacker. In the National Masters Championships since that time, at least two of those have competed. At Cross Nationals in Richmond, the order was Larson-Van Danacker-Lee. At Atlanta with the 5 Km, it was Schmidt-Lee-Van Danacker. In Sacramento for the Ten-Miler, it was Larson-Van Danacker, and at Syracuse the half marathon results listed Larson-Schmidt. Larson, Schmidt and Van Danacker were entered here. How would it shake out this time? There was another wrinkle. Mark Zamek, one of the top competitors in M55 a few years back, had taken time off to deal with various niggling injuries. Now he was back, had just turned 60, and was eager to join the competition at the front of M60. 

Runners from other age divisions can, of course, break onto the podium as well. Jacob Nur 67 topped them in San Francisco; John Glidewell 66 topped them in Atlanta; Roger Sayre 65 got in between Larson and Van Danacker in Sacramento. But that has been it! And none were entered at Dedham.

Setting an American record means you are likely to top the age grading podium and that is what happened. Larson's 60 34:54 net time topped the charts by almost 4 percentage points. It merited a 94.33%. Van Danacker 60 enjoyed his first age grading edge over Schmidt 62. His 35:43 earned a 90.43%, with Schmidt's 36:52 at 89.65%. 

John Van Danacker closes off a grand run, claiming 2nd in 60-64 and 2nd in Overall Age Grading at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales 

Mark Zamek 60 made his presence felt, just one hundredth of a percentage point behind Schmidt 62, in 4th. Justin Freeman 46 proved you do not have to be older than 50 to achieve a top score in age grading. He took the final cash prize with his 89.00% grade from his sparkling 32:17 net time.

Nat Larson 60 34:54 94.33%     John Van Danacker 60 35:43 90.43%     Steve Schmidt 62 36:52 89.65%

Women Jan Holmquist typically graces the top of the Age Grading podium when she contests this 10 Km championship, practically in her back yard. As noted, Holmquist got the American record she was hoping for. She also took the top spot in age grading. It was not close, despite the terrific performances in several of the age divisions. Holmquist's net time of 50:01 at age 78 garnered a 98.93%. Finishing 4th overall out of the 55-59 age division also tends to mean you have age graded well. Fiona Bayly took 2nd in age grading. Her 38:10 net earned a 93.54%. Mary Cass captured the 60-64 age division. Her time helped her close out the age grading podium; her 41:43 at age 61 merited a 92.17%. 

Mary Cass crosses the finish line, 1st in 60-64 and 3rd in overall Age-Grading at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales  

Suzanne La Burt 59 finished 4th with a 91.09% from a 41:09. Karolyn Bowley 53 earned the final age grading cash award with her 91.00% from her 38:19 net time.

Jan Holmquist 78 50:01 98.93%     Fiona Bayly 55 38:10 93.54%     Mary Cass 61 41:43 92.17%


The winner of each age division championship is a national champion. 

Women 40-44 Beverly Antunes battled for the win at the front of the race, capturing the silver medal overall. Her 38:02 earned Antunes a national championship. 

Beverly Antunes crosses the finish line-2nd Place Overall in 38:02, and first in the 40-44 Division at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales  

Alyson BarrettChristina Campbell, and Amanda Watters were in the hunt for the two remaining podium spots. Barrett finished 5th in the division at the Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento in early April; that performance equated to a 40:08. Last fall, Campbell ran three 5K's in the 18:10 to 18:26 range. That suggests a sub-38 should be possible if she has the same fitness this spring. Watters ran a 1:03:18 in the Tune Up 15K in early April, equating roughly to a low 41-minute range 10K. Campbell was not able to run with Antunes, but captured 2nd at 39:15with a 48 second cushion. Barrett made her trip from the West Coast pay off; she brought the bronze medal home. Her 40:03 left Watters in 4th just over a minute back.

Beverly Antunes 38:02     Christina Campbell 39:15     Alyson Barrett 40:03

45-49 Melissa Hardesty won the overall crown; she took the age division first at the same time. Diana Bowser, Ginger Reiner, and Sybil Sanders contested 2nd and 3rd behind Hardesty. Bowser ran 41:19 at Lone Gull last September. A month later she ran 19:48 at the BIGGSTEPS 5K, which converts to a 40:26. Het 1:02:48 at the Tune Up 15K equates to a 40:59. Reiner is a past overall champion, taking the crown in 2017 with a 37:09. Not that she has exhibited that level of fitness recently. She ran 2 seconds faster than Bowser at Lone Gull last fall. This February she clocked 19:25 at the Super Sunday 5K, equating to a 39:40. Her Tune Up 15K this April was 13 seconds slower than Bowser, suggesting some tempering of enthusiasm; a sub-40 10K might be a stretch. Sanders was a top runner in her 30's until she needed a hip replacement 5 years ago. Fully recovered, she is often atop the podium again. She won her division and took 2nd Masters at the Middletown 10K in early April in 41:29 and clocked 18:46 in a 5K a week before Dedham. The 5K time equates to a 38:20 She appeared ready to roll. Those spring races were good predictors for Sanders. She won the silver medal in 39:22, a good minute ahead of Reiner.

Ginger Reiner crosses the finish line, the Bronze medalist in 45-49, and Top 10 Overall at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales 

 The shorter distance may have worked for Reiner; she reversed the advantage that Bowser had over 15K four weeks earlier. Reiner finished 1:07 ahead of Bowser in 40:29.

Melissa Hardesty 37:26     Sybil Sanders 39:22     Ginger Reiner 40:29

50-54 Finishing 4th and 5th overall, just 4 seconds apart Abby Dean and Karolyn Bowley went 1-2 in this division at the same time. 

Abby Dean crosses the finish line with a 4th place Overall, 1st in 50-54 at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales  

After running 42:13 at the Giralda Farms 10 K last November, Hortencia Aliaga came on strong this year. She finished 2nd in the division at Atlanta. Her 19:26 on the 'Atlanta flat' course equated to a 39:43. Aliaga's 1:02:46 at the Spring Distance Classic confirmed that she would likely run close to 40, either above or below. Indeed, Aliaga gave this division 4-5-6 overall as she crossed the finish in 3rd, just 21 seconds behind Bowley! Those three demolished the division field. The 4th place runner ran a very respectable 45:10.

Abby Dean 38:17     Karolyn Bowley 38:21     Hortencia Aliaga 38:42

55-59 Fiona Bayly, 3rd overall, 2nd in age grading, took the division title. Suzanne La Burt, who took the title last year in 40:06, finished almost three minutes back in 2nd. This ends La Burt's 'farewell tour' as a 55–59-year-old. She is going out in style. She has been on the 55-59 podium in each of the four national championships she has contested, no easy feat in your last year in a division! 

Jody Dushay crosses the finish line just off the 55-59 podium in 42:35 at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales  

Third last year in 42:22, Mimi Fallon bettered her time by 16 seconds! That reversed the 2-3 finishing order of 2022. Jody Dushay, who finished 2nd last year in 41:28, was almost a half-minute back this year in 4th.

Fiona Bayly 38:11     Suzanne La Burt 41:10      Mimi Fallon 42:06

60-64 Mary Cass continued her run at the top of this division. Last year she was working her way up; she finished 5th here last year. This year she took the top spot at the highly competitive Club Cross Country championships in December. She has now followed that with wins at the Half Marathon in Syracuse in mid-April and this win at 10K. Kris Clark was able to come in ahead of Cass in Atlanta but needed a sterling 19:48 to do it! Cass took this win with a 4-minute cushion, beating her 2022 time by two minutes! Mary Swan, competing without her usual teammates, made the solo trip worthwhile. Last year Swan finished 4th; this year she moved up two spots, claiming the 2nd spot in 45:51. Jane Polley, who was running her 10K's last year in 50 minutes and change, moved up considerably. 

Jane Polley finishes off her race, claiming the 60-64 Bronze Medal in 46:37 at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales   

Her third-place effort was 46:37, over a minute ahead of Victoria Bok.

Mary Cass 41:45     Mary Swan 45:51     Jane Polley 46:37 

65-69 Liz Champagne aged up; she finished 8th last year in the 60-64 division with a 49:01. She claimed the 65-69 win this year in 49:52. Last year Anne Shreffler, Susan Stirrat, and Helene Myers finished 2nd, 3rd, and 8th. This race was one of the lynchpins in Stirrat's march to the 2022 65-69 Masters National Grand Prix title. Not only did Stirrat run almost as fast this year as last, but she also moved past Shreffler to move up a spot and take 2nd in 52:13. Shreffler claimed the final podium spot in 52:32. Myers finished 4th.

Liz Champagne 49:52     Susan Stirrat 52:13     Anne Shreffler 52:32

70-74 Last year Jessica Wheeler finished 2nd in this division in 52:48. She ran a 53:23 in the Middletown 10K in early April. She had an easier time of it in Dedham. She ran 54:12 and still had a cushion of well over 13 minutes. Denise Piekos finished 2nd in 1:07:57.

Jessica Wheeler 52:48     Denise Piekos 1:07:57

75-79 Jan Holmquist is a wonder! The current holder of the 70-74 American Record, Holmquist came out and captured the 75-79 American record and attained the best age grading of the day at over 98%. Running only 5 seconds slower than her 2nd place time at age 74 in 2019, Holmquist is the women's 2023 national 75-79 champion in 50:06. Barbara Sauer, a pretty fair runner in her own right, finished 4th here last year. She moved up two spots to take 2nd.

Jan Holmquist 50:06     Barbara Sauer 1:00:19

Men 40-44 Mario Vazquez and TJ Unger finished 1st and fifth overall. They went 1-2 in this division. 

TJ Unger flies to the finish; his 33:43 earned a 5th pace finish Overall and 2nd in 40-44 at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales    

Unger had a half minute on Jason Reilly, who ran 33:07 at Lone Gull and a fleet 16:15 at the Super Sunday 5K in February. Reilly captured 3rd in 34:14. Chuck Terry finished 11 seconds back in 4th.

Mario Vazquez 31:50     T.J. Unger 33:43     Chuck Terry 34:25

45-49 Justin Freeman, David Angell, and Brendan Prindiville, all from this division, went 2-3-4 overall. They claim Gold, Silver, and Bronze in the division, with Matthew Dipretore, who finished 9th in the Masters 5Km 40-44 Championships in Atlanta last year in 17:07, 4th in 34:59. 

David Angell, high-stepping it to the finish line in 33:15-3rd Overall and 2nd in 45-49 at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales    

Freeman got the 45-49 course record, lowering Peter Hammer's 32:41 (net) to 32:17.

Justin Freeman 32:17     David Angell 33:15     Brendan Prindiville 33:38

50-54 Gregory Putnam finished on the overall podium at the Half Marathon championships. He could not repeat that feat, but he had no trouble moving up from third last year to win this division in 34:21. The other main contenders were: Steve Bell, Arthur Besse, and Marcus Gage. Bell finished 4th in the division last year in 34:18 but moved up to 2nd on his home roads in Atlanta in February, clocking 16:58. Arthur Besse ran 34:50 at Lone Gull last September and clocked a 16:30 at the Super Sunday 5K in February. Gage's recent efforts included finishing 2nd n this division at the Half Marathon championships in Syracuse. His 29:32 at the Running f the Green 5 Miler in March suggested a sub-37-minute 10K should be within Gage's reach. Bell netted another 2nd place to match his Atlanta finish.

Steve Bell closes off his 34:37 effort, landing him in the Top Ten Overall and 2nd in 50-54 at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales     

 Bell was well over 50 meters back from Putnam but finished 2nd with a good 150 meters on his closest division rival. Besse claimed third in 35:15, with Gage 4th in 35:37. Gage had a really good run, racing faster than his recent results suggested! Gage ran well in Syracuse; this result today suggests that had the weather been milder, Gage might have cracked 1:20 by a good deal.

Gregory Putnam 34:21     Steve Bell 34:37     Arthur Besse 35:15

55-59 Jason Cakouros, Scott Grandfield, Mark Hixson, Scott Humphrey, Mike Nier, Scott Siriano, and Brett Stoeffler all broke 38 minutes in a very competitive contest. It is unusual enough to have three athletes named Scott in the top 8 in any national competition that I could well refer to this as the Three Scott's division. 

Cakouros had an off day here last year, finishing 14th; he ran a minute faster at Lone Gull in September, clocking 37:44. 

Grandfield, in contrast, had a good day last year, finishing 3rd in 36:19. He ran 20 seconds slower at Lone Gull in September. This February he ran 17:23 at the Super Sunday 5K; he seemed ready to roll! 

Hixson has been turning the corner since coming back from an absence. he finished 4th in the division at Cross Nationals in Richmond in January. His 17:42 at the Shamrockin' 5K in March suggested a sub-37 10K could be within reach. 

Humphrey took the division win at the Half Marathon championships in mid-April. His time was 1:22:07, consistent with a 37:30 10K. And most folks ran that race a minute or two slower than usual, due to the unseasonably warm weather. Looking back at his 55:11 performance over 15K at the Stockade-a-thon last fall, it appeared that a 36-minute 10K would have been within reach.

Nier finished 13th here last year but was coming off of a hamstring injury. His 3rd place at the Masters Half Marathon championships, along with podium finishes in the 3000 and 5000 meters at the Masters Indoor TF Championships, suggested he was ready to contend for the podium. 

Siriano has been a solid runner at distances from 5K to ten miles already this year. Siriano finished 8th last year in 38:10 and moved up to 7th at the 12K championships. His 9th place at Atlanta with an 18:59 5K was in keeping with a 10K in the 18 to 18:30 range.

Stoeffler ran a 1:18:13 20K at the Faxon Law 20K on Labor Day in New Haven, equating to a 37:39 10K. In early April, Stoeffler showed that was a conservative estimate by running a 36:19 at the Middletown 10K.

It turned out that Humphrey's Stockade-a-thon outing was a good predictor. Humphrey had enough in the tank to pull away from the rest and win by over 50 meters in 36:09. 

Jason Cakouros clocks 36:31 to take the 55-59 Bronze Medal at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales     

Stoeffler and Cakouros were closer, finishing in 2nd and 3rd, separated by just 8 seconds. Grandfield was 4th in 36:57, with Hixson 5th at 37:14. Nier edged Siriano for 6th by just 3 seconds in 37:38.

Scott Humphrey 36:09     Brett Stoeffler 36:23     Jason Cakouros 36:31

60-64 You do not break an American record and achieve the top age grade without winning your division. Larson is running so well right now that he won ahead of a very strong field by a minute and a half. His 34:24 (net) broke, by over a minute and a half, Tim Degrado's course record set last year at 35:57. The athlete who finished 2nd, John Van Danacker had the second highest age grade score overall. The top 4 runners in this division all broke 37 minutes! Mark Zamek, back in action this year after a lengthy rehab, and in a new age division, entered it with style, landing on the podium at a national road racing championship for the first time since 2019. 

Mark Zamek closes off his 36:13 effort, taking the 60-64 Bronze Medal at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales    

He had over a half minute on Steve Schmidt, taking third in 36:13. Schmidt had finished 2nd in the division to Larson at Club Cross in San Francisco, 3rd in Atlanta and 2nd two weeks earlier in Syracuse. This was his first national championship off of the podium, finishing 4th in 36:54. The rest of the field was over a minute back.

Nat Larson 34:25     John Van Danacker 35:54     Mark Zamek 36:13

65-69 The runner with the top returning time from last year was David Westenberg who finished 6th in the 60-64 division in 38:12. He backs that up with a second in 65-69 at Club Cross and a win at Cross Nationals in Richmond. He also broke the men's 65-69 1500 Meter Indoor mark last December. If Westenberg was on, it looked like the race was his to lose. 

David Westenberg strides to the finish and the 65-69 Gold Medal at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales    

No one else seemed likely to break 40 minutes. John Barbour, the 2019 division winner in 38:39, was coming back from an injury last year; he finished 7th in 43:31. His 1:03:54 at the Tune Up 15K in early April suggested a better outing was likely this year, probably under 42:00. However, before the race, Barbour confided that he had strained a quad muscle in training earlier in the week. John Blaser finished 4th last year in 41:59; his 9th place finish at Atlanta this February reflected the strength of the field, but otherwise seemed consistent with a sub-42 10K. Timothy Riccardi has the second fastest returning time from last year. He, too, was in 60-64, finishing 11th in 40:28. Furthermore, his 8th place finish at the WMA 10K in 42:09 at the end of March cemented his position as one of the podium favorites. Reno Stirrat was the wild card once again. Last year Stirrat finished 3rd in 41:13. But this year, with a balky piriformis muscle, it was anyone's guess as to how well Stirrat would run. As he noted, he set a PR in the Half Marathon for the most number of times ever needed to stop and walk in a Half marathon-seven. But he still managed to finish 4th. Stirrat is a master at working around his injuries in a way that he usually remains nationally  competitive. Westenberg was indeed 'on'; in fact he was able to cruise and save himself for important paternal pacing duties over a substantial portion of a 100K ultra trail race a week later in California. He won in 39:22, with two and a half minutes on the field. It was much closer with Riccardi, Blaser and Barbour, In the end, Riccardi was able to pull away and take the silver medal in 41:58, just 7 seconds ahead of Blaser. Barbour, despite his annoying quad strain, was just 5 seconds behind Blaser in 4th. And 5th, you guessed it, Stirrat, balky piriformis and all, in 43:48.

David Westenberg 39:22     Timothy Riccardi 41:58     John Blaser 42:05

70-74 Robert Qualls returned from the WMA Championships in Finland last year covered with M70 medals. In September he won the 70-74 national championship at the 12 k in Highlands NJ, and he has kept on winning ever since then. His most recent national championship was the 5 k at Atlanta. He won the division in 20:02. At the WMA Indoor championships in Poland in March, he won the 70-74 gold medal in the 10K road race in 41:12. No one else seemed likely to break 443 and perhaps not 44:00. The primary contenders for the rest of the podium were: Jim Foster, Paul Funch, Kirk Larson, and Eugene Myers. Foster, a perennial contender if he enters a national championship, did not run here last year. But he finished first in the division at the Half Marathon championships in mid-April. His 1:41:59 there translates to a 46:15. As noted earlier, most runners at the Half Marathon championships had times that were a couple of minutes slower than their norm. It seemed likely that Foster would be able to break 46 and perhaps 45 minutes. Funch is a newcomer to this national championship. But he has the qualifications. He ran a 44:14 at the St. Patty's 10K in March and clocked 1:10:29 at the Tune-Up 15K, which equates roughly to a 45:44. Larson finished 2nd in the division last year in 43:58. His 5th place finish in Atlanta in February in 21:23 suggested he was off that level of fitness. But two months later, with a solid training block under his belt, Larson would certainly qualify as one of the favorites. Myers finished 6th in 65-69 last year in 43:14. But he ran 45:13 in the 10K at the WMA Indoors in Poland. Myers ran a lot of races during that week in Poland. Once he returned, Myers also competed at the Half Marathon championships on the 16th, finishing 2nd to Foster in 1:43:00. 

Qualls kept it rolling. He took the win with over two minutes of cushion in 41:43. Larson pulled away from his rivals on the way back in from the Noble and Greenough School and held strong all the way to the finish line for a silver medal run in 44:07. 

Kirk Larson strides across the finish line in 44:07, earning the 70-74 Silver Medal at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble
in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales    

Larson had over 70 meters on his closest rival. Funch, the newcomer, took the bronze medal in 44:26, with Foster 32 seconds back in 4th. Myers was 5th in 45:19.

Robert Qualls 41:43     Kirk Larson 44:07     Paul Funch 44:26

75-79 For much of the last year this has been the Dave and Gary show. Dave Glass was dominant all last year on the roads, winning every championship at 10 Km and longer. Gary Ostwald  was a threat primarily on the turf. His only finish ahead of Glass in 2022 was in San Diego at Cross Nationals. It has been a different story this year. Ostwald must have had an excellent training block in the fall after losing to Glass at the 5 km XC, virtually in his backyard in Boulder CO. At Club Cross in San Francisco, he not onlyu beat Glass, he even nipped Ron Wells, a consummate cross country runner, for the win. At Cross Nationals in Richmond, Ostwald bided his time and kicked away from Glas to take the win. At the Ten Mile Championships came the real surprise. I anticipated Glass reasserting himself. He had beaten Ostwald by over 3 minutes in 2022. But no, Ostwald pulled away from Glass over the last 4 miles, taking the win by well over a minute. So Ostwald entered this race the favorite, with Glass picked for 2nd place. No oone else in the field would be likely to stay with those two, or at least, that is what I thought. The contenders for the final podium spot were: Paul Carlin, your author, Jan Frisby, and Jim May. I learned the morning before the race that Tony Gingello, who took the 70-74 championship from me in 2017 with a blistering kick in the last 300 meters, was entered but would not be a force. He had injured a bone in his foot and was starting to return to form. "But I need more speed work!" he said. After losing the last six months of 2021 to a persistent Achilles problem, last year was a gradual return to fitness. This year had gone better, but May had my number still, coming in 1:11 ahead of me at Cross Nationals in Richmond. This would be our first meeting since then and I hoped it might turn out differently. Jan Frisby is always dangerous. If healthy he can call on decades of experience and a strong motor. His achilles heel is that various muscles do not always hold together when he calls on them. Last year May and Frisby finished 3rd and 4th in 48:41 and 49:08. Frisby had been a lot closer until the final few hundred meters when the calf or Achilles (or another sinew I cannot recall right now) acted up. Frisby had something similar bothering him in the run up to Atlanta. So even though I came in a half minute ahead of him, I was not feeling all that confident going into the Ten Mile Championships; he had beaten me there the previous year. That worry went away, though, when I learned that his training had been interrupted by a bout with Covid. Frisby usually tips me off if he has an injury. When I did not hear from him, I figured he was ready to roll.

Glass took off strong from the start and Ostwald resolved to just keep him in sight and try to close on him later in the race. Glass knew that Ostwald was behind him and he assumed, as he could not see any M75 runners that he was in first. That would have been my assumption also. When they got inside the last mile, Glass, all of a sudden, saw an M75 back bib ahead of him. It was Jim May! Ever the warrior he sometimes goes out hard and just wills himself to keep going. He took an 8K win from me in 2017 that way. I tried to catch him on the last kilometer straightaway, but ran out of racecourse. Later I saw photos of his teammates supporting him after he crossed the finish line, totally spent! But Glass had closed on May soon enough; he was confident he could pass him well before the finish line. But just as Glass caught up to May, Ostwald, who had been closing in on Glass, saw May at the same time and passed both. After that it was just a case of everyone closing out their race. Ostwald took the win in 46:10, putting a large gap on Glass on the rolling rise up to the finish. 

Gary Ostwald just after crossing the finish line, taking his fourth 75-79 Victory in four tries in the 2023 Masters National Grand Prix at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Hosted by the James Joyce Ramble in Dedham MA Photo Credit: Pam Fales     

Glass finished 2nd in 46:56, with May 26 seconds back in 3rd. Like Glass, I had no idea where Jim May was during the race. He could be ahead or behind me. I was more concerned with Frisby, who was definitely ahead of me. I had kept him in sight through the town center and up the Highland Street hill. I did not really start to get close until we entered the grounds of the Noble and Greenough School just after three miles. By the time we turned up the Pine Street hill at Mile 4, I could see Frisby up ahead. I gradually closed on him and passed him after a half mile. I could see no other M75's ahead of me but fell into a friendly rivals struggle with Jerry Learned, from the 70-74 division, that probably helped both of us to a better time. When I saw Jim May after crossing the finish line, I knew that I had finished 4th. My time was 50:08, about the same as last year; Dennis Moore finished 5th, 2 minutes and change later, with Frisby sixth. He said that he had been too aggressive in challenging the hills in the early stages of the race. Ostwald had another fine win and Glass continued to finish well ahead of everyone else in the division. May probably finished closer than Glass would have hoped.

Gary Ostwald 46:10     Dave Glass 46:56     Jim May 47:22

80-84 Six athletes were entered in this division. Hal Bennett won here last year in 54:11; he was the clear favorite. He had run a 25:53 5K in March, suggesting he was not too far off the fitness he exhibited last year. It would likely be a much closer race for 2nd. Ed Bligh ran 54:21 here in 2019; aging that up with the age grading tables puts it at about 58:47 in 2023. Furthermore, Bligh finished 2nd in this division at Atlanta with a 28:31 5K. That suggested Bligh might be able to run faster than 58:30. His chief rival would be George Gilder who finished 2nd to Bennett last year in 58:03. But the 1:04:22 Gilder ran at the WMA Championships in Poland raised some doubts about his ability to break 60 right now. Bennett did indeed enter the race fit and ready todefend his title. He took the win with 5 minutes to spare in 55:10. Bligh and Gilder did duel to the finish. Bligh captured the silver medal in 1:00:11 with Gilder 48 seconds behind in 3rd. Denny Leblanc took 4th 9 minutes later.

Hal Bennett 55:10     Ed Bligh 1:00:11     George Gilder 1:00:59

85-89 Jerry Levasseur finished 8th last year in 80-84 in 1:36:03. He enjoyed the win unopposed in his new division in 1:39:46.

Jerry Levasseur 1:39:46

It was a terrific championship with incredible races. Two American records were set. One overall course record and five age division course records were lowered.



Jesse Davis's  overall Male Masters course record of 32:08 (gun time) was lowered by 18 seconds to 31:50 (gun time) by Mario Vazquez. Vazquez also lowered the 40-44 course record from Davis's 32:07 (net time) to 31:50 (net time). Justin Freeman lowered Peter Hammer's 45-49 course record from 32:41 to 32:17. Nat Larson lowered Tim Degrado's 60-64 course record from 35:57 (net) to 34:24 (net). 


Fiona Bayly lowered Marisa Sutera Strange's 55-59 course record from 38:35 (net) to 38:10 (net). Jan Holmquist lowered Carrie Parsi's 75-79 course record to 50:01 (net).

The recap of the Team Championships will be posted in the next day or two.

1 comment:

  1. It was at mile four (approx.) that I caught up to May, and Ostwald caught up to us both. We ran together briefly and then Ostwald put it in overdrive.