Saturday, July 22, 2023

5000 Meters in the Hot! At the 2023 USATF Masters Outdoor TF Championships

July 22, 2023 Greensboro, NC. On Thursday, July 20th, the temperatures were in the low 70's for the Women's 60 and up and the Men's 80 and up at 7:15 AM. By the time the Women's 45-59 races were scheduled to start, it was already over 80 F.  By the time the Men's 45-49 race went off, 40 minutes late, at 11:30, it was 85F with a dew point of 71 degrees, definitely dripping weather. Somehow the athletes all managed to adjust; times were probably a bit slower than they would be had the temperatures and humidity been less extreme. They did have a table set up on the backstretch with water. Several runners took advantage of it. Note: Team affiliation is listed in a small font after the athlete's name; athletes with no team listed are racing as  'Unattached.'

World Record

Women 60 and Up

75-79 The big news from the early Women's 60 and up heat was that Jeannie Rice, the USATF 2019 Masters Athlete of the Year, broke the Women's 75-79 World Record. Seven seconds ahead at the 400 meter mark, she added to her lead throughout the race, clocking 22:41.46, seven seconds under the existing World Mark. Nancy Rollins and Andrea McCarter Atlanta TC (ATC) chased her around the track, finishing 2nd and 3rd. Rollins ran more than 20 seconds under the American Record with her 26:32.39. But, of course, Rice will have the AR as well as the WR. 

Jeannie Rice 22:41.46     Nancy Rollins 26:32.39      Andrea McCarter 39:58.01

Rick Lee left & Jeannie Rice right warming up for their 5000 M races at the 2023 USATF Masters Outdoor TF Championships in Greensboro NC Posted by Rick Lee on Strava

85-89 Joyce Hodges-Hite ATC took the division title unopposed in 51:04.91.

70-74 Francoise Levinson ATC trailed her teammate, Norma Hudnall ATC, for the first three kilometers, but had taken a two second lead by the 3800 meter mark and did not relinquish it. Their teammate, Terry Ozell, was close to Hudnall for the first two kilometers but fell back after that.

Francoise Levinson 27:14.41     Norma Hudnall 27:25.02     Terry Ozell 27:58.02

65-69 Patrice Combs ATC was 5 seconds ahead of the field by the second time they passed the (eventual) finish line--only 11 laps to go. Combs added to her lead steadily, taking the win with over a minute to spare. Her teammate, Cynthia Williams, trailed Debbie Lee Southern California TC (SCTC) for the first 1400 meters but took the lead on the next lap; she held the 2nd place position the rest of the way to the finish.

Patrice Combs 22:33.52     Cynthia Williams 23:48.71     Debbie Lee 24:35.28

60-64 Doreen McCoubrie Greater Philadelphia TC (GPTC) was just a second ahead of Deb Torneden at the 1 kilometer mark; a lap later, that lead had ballooned to 9 seconds. McCoubrie had no trouble the rest of the way. Torneden took second, well ahead of Robin Tanner ATC.

Doreen McCoubrie 21:07.61     Deb Torneden 25:30.74     Robin Tanner 26:17.52

Men's 80 and Up 

85-89 Robert Randall New England 65+ Runners Club (NE 65+) led through 600 meters. Colben Sime SCTC took over at that point and held the lead all the way to the finish.

Colben Sime 37:48.79     Robert Randall 39:44.58

80-84 Jim Assal GPTC took the title in this division with no opposition, winning in 29:04.78.

Men's 70 - 79

75-79 Gene Dykes GPTC, the celebrated marathoner and ultra marathoner, enjoyed his first USATF victory as a 75 year old. Dykes led Leon Cook Greenville TC by a fraction of a second at the 600 meter mark. Two laps later, Dykes had stretched the lead to 9 seconds. Cook fell back but had little difficulty staying ahead of Richard Weinberg, who finished 18 seconds back in 3rd.

Gene Dykes 22:07.44     Leon Cook 23:03.61     Richard Weinberg 23:21.82

70-74 Eugene Myers Potomac Valley TC finished ahead of Kirk Larson ATC earlier this year on the turf at Club cross in San Francisco and at Cross Nationals in Richmond VA. Once the Grand prix turned to the roads it was another story as Larson came in ahead of Myers at the 5 Km and 10 Km Championships. It was the same story on the track. Myers stayed in touch with Larson through the first three kilometers but slowed over the next two laps. Larson enjoyed a 12-second lead at 3800 meters and cruised the rest of the way, taking the win with a half minute to spare. He enjoyed some friendly sparring with Dykes, in his first track competition in his new 75-79 age division. Both pushed toward the finish line together, as they did at the 5 Km road championships in Atlanta. The honors went to Dykes again, but Larson still had the gold medal for 70-74! Interestingly enough, both had been trailing Perry Linn River City Rebels over the first two kilometers. Linn had taken it out hard; he had a 13 second lead at 600 meters, and two laps later it was 17 seconds but then things started to fall apart. Larson caught Linn at the 3-kilometer mark and two laps later, Linn was a half-minute behind Myers. At that point, John Roeske Boulder Road Runners (BRR) was 47 seconds back. But, as Linn continued to struggle, Roeske closed in. But Linn persisted to the end, just outlasting Roeske for the bronze medal by a fraction of a second.

Kirk Larson 22:12.39     Eugene Myers 22:43.46     Perry Linn 24:04.80

Men's 70-74 5000 Meter Podium- From Left: Perry Linn Bronze Kirk Larson Gold Eugene Myers Silver at the 2023 USATF Masters Outdoor TF Championships in Greensboro NC Posted by Kirk Larson on FB 

Men's 60 - 69

65-69 Fred Torneden let Timothy Conheady GPTC set the pace, staying within a couple seconds until making his move with a lap to go. Conheady had no answer as Torneden sped out to a twelve second margin of victory. Robert Reynolds GPTC was not far back, in contention but unable to move up.

Fred Torneden 19:19.82     Timothy Conheady 19:32.14     Robert Reynolds 19:51.65

60-64 Rick Lee Shore AC, known for racing everything from a leg of a 4 x 400 m relay to a six-day race across the Sahara Desert, shot out from the starting line when the gun went off. When he was around the first turn, he checked his watch and found a more reasonable pace. Mark Neff Shadow Project TC  matched that pace for the first 600 meters. Lee was two seconds ahead at that point and added a second per lap to the lead until the 1400-meter mark. Lee doubled his lead in the next lap and Neff was done; he focused on staying ahead of Jeff Mann all the way to the finish.

Rick Lee 18:00.35     Mark Neff 18:21.77     Jeff Mann 18:51.74

Rick Lee leading the field on his way to a 60-64 Gold medal at the 2023 USATF Masters Outdoor TF Championships in Greensboro NC Posted by Rick Lee on Strava 

Women 45 - 59

55-59 Michelle Rohl GPTC, the American record holder for this division in the 800M and 1500M, had a twelve second lead on the field by the 600 meter mark. She added to that lead the rest of the way, cruising to a win with a 1-minute margin. Kris Huff ATC could not stay with Rohl but led the rest of the field around the track. Melissa Chiti Pursuit of Excellence Track Team (POETT) kept within striking distance of Huff for the first half of the race but then Huff pulled away.

Michelle Rohl 21:09.97     Kris Huff 22:11.98     Melissa Chiti 22:48.78

50-54 Sonja Friend-Uhl Florida TC East returned to a national Outdoor Track championship after a period of rehab and reset. She returned in style. Friend-Uhl took off with the gun, running with the 45-49 leaders as she covered the first 200 meters in 42 seconds. If she had kept that pace up, she would have run 17:11. Of course, that was not to be. As Friend-Uhl returned to a more reasonable pace, Hilary Cairns gradually closed the 7-second gap Friend-Uhl had opened up in the first 200 meters. By the 1800-meter mark, less than 2 seconds separated the two leaders. Another two laps and Cairns inserted herself in front. Friend-Uhl did not give in. She stayed close; with two laps to go, Friend-Uhl made a decisive move, turning a 2-second deficit into a 4-second lead. Adding to the lead in the final lap, Friend-Uhl had the victory with fifteen seconds to spare. Cairns had the silver medal by 2 minutes and the satisfaction of knowing that she had made Friend-Uhl earn her gold medal. Yuko Whitestone PVTC claimed the bronze.

Sonja Friend-Uhl 20:11:29     Hilary Cairns 20:26:32     Yuko Whitestone 22:28.18

Hilary Cairns leading Sonja Friend-Uhl in the 50-54 5000Meter Run at the 2023 USATF Masters Outdoor TF Championships in Greensboro NC Photo by Clint Santoro posted by S Friend-Uhl on FB

45-49 Jennifer Sober took the early lead, establishing a 5-second gap back to Euleen Josiah-Tanner in the first 600 meters, and another 4 second gap back to Rebekah Kennedy Central Park TC (CPTC+). The gap between Sober and Josiah-Tanner grew gradually to 8 seconds by the 1800-meter mark. Then Josiah-Tanner started to reel Sober in, cutting the 8-second gap to a 2-second gap by the 3800-meter mark. Josiah-Tanner had spent a lot of energy closing the gap. Sober fought to stay in the lead. Josiah-Tanner stayed two seconds back for a lap. But then Sober accelerated just before the bell rang and kicked it in for a 7-second victory. Kennedy had no trouble keeping the rest of the field at bay, claiming the bronze medal with 40 seconds to spare.

Jennifer Sober 18:59.38     Euleen Josiah-Tanner 19:06.35     Rebekah Kennedy 19:48.91

Teammates, Jennifer Sober left and Sonja Friend-Uhl right celebrate their 45-49 and 50-54 Gold Medal performances at the 2023 USATF Masters Outdoor TF Championships in Greensboro NC Posted by S Friend-Uhl on FB

Men 55-59

55-59 This was the most competitive division at the top. Karl Welke led at the 600-meter mark, with Mike Nier Genesee Valley Harriers (GVH) tucked in behind in 2nd, followed by John Borthwick and Scott Harmon, running shoulder to shoulder, in third, a second back. Borthwick took over the lead on the next lap, followed by Welke, Harmon and Nier, with less than 2 seconds of separation. They remained in that order until the 3400-meter mark when Welke fell back behind Nier. On the next lap, Nier surged into the lead. Borthwick was just two seconds back, with Harmon and Welke right behind. Nier was able to keep his next lap under 91 seconds and opened up a ten-second gap back to the three chasers. Nier was tiring but was still able to add another 5 seconds to his lead. It is a good thing because the three chasers all had plenty of kick left. With a sub-85 second last lap, Harmon went from 18 seconds down to just 7 seconds behind Nier. He did not threaten Nier but stayed a second ahead of Borthwick and Welke, who finished 3rd and 4th, separated by a fraction of a second!

Mike Nier 18:35.14     Scott Harmon 18:42.25     John Borthwick 18:43.15

Mike Nier far right leading John Borthwick, Scott Harmon, and Karl Welke in the Men's 55-59 5000 Meter Run at the 2023 USATF Masters Outdoor TF Championships in Greensboro NC Posted by M Nier on Strava

Men 45-54

50-54 Allen Baddour Bull City TC sped to a 5 second lead in the first 600 meters and doubled that lead on the 2nd lap. No one could stay with him; Baddour took the win with well over a minute to spare, lapping every runner except the silver medalist. It was much closer between Jeffrey Townsend Athletics East TC (AETC)Jason Newport Indiana TC (ITC) and Guian McKee. Newport and McKee stayed within a few seconds of Townsend up through the 1800-meter mark. Over the next two laps, Townsend grew that gap to 9 seconds. At the same time, McKee took over chase duties from Newport. With a lap to go, Townsend had 18 seconds on McKee and 21 on Newport. Newport turned in a blazing 80.06 last lap to pull within 6 seconds of Townsend, while leaving McKee 6 seconds back in his wake.

Allen Baddour 17:22.56     Jeffrey Townsend 18:42.54     Jason Newport 18:48.73

45-49 David Angell, fresh off his 45-49 win in the USATF Road Mile Championships in Indianapolis, sped off to a 5-second lead at the 600-meter mark. In the next two laps he increased it to 13 seconds and was never headed. Angell claimed the gold medal with over a half minute to spare. There was an even greater gap between 2nd and 3rd. Christopher Wolf create a gap of a few seconds in the first 600 meters but grew it steadily after that, claiming the silver medal with a minute gap back to 3rd. Tommy Boles and Brian Bramer Twin Cities TC (TCTC) battled for the bronze. After the first kilometer, Bramer tucked in behind Boles, staying there until two laps to go. Bramer surged past Boles with two laps to go and Boles could not answer.

David Angell 16:38.68     Christopher Wolf 17:13.93     Brian Bramer 18:18.89

Women 25-44

Note: USATF Masters Track and Field includes athletes from 25 to 39 in their championships. USATF Masters LDR, consistent with practice in the road racing industry, defines 'Masters' as 40 and up. Since I focus on Masters LDR, I will report the 25-39  winners with no commentary.

40-44 April Lund GYS TC won the overall Masters race at Cross Nationals in Richmond VA and earned a Team Silver and a Women's 40-44 Gold at the initial WMA XC Championships in Bathhurst Australia. She would match up against Jennifer Pesce Garden State TC (GSTC), the Overall women's winner at the USATF Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta. Pesce led for the first 5 and a half laps, with Lund content to run just off her pace. On the lap after the 2200-meter mark, Lund cut her lap time from 1:28 to 1:23 as she surged past Pesce. Pesce was not able to recover; Lund upped her lead from 2 seconds to 8 seconds on the next lap. Lund won by over a half minute. Pesce had over a minute and a half lead over the third-place finisher, Emily Boles.

April Lund 17:53.98     Jennifer Pesce 18:29.87     Emily Boles 20:19.31

35-39 Hana Baskin 18:40.34     30-34 Emily Maass 19:40.13     25-29 Sarah Kittle 19:54.62

Men 25-44

40-44 Josh Whitehead and Adam Otstot Colonial Road Runners (CRR) finished the first full lap in a virtual tie, with Ryan Mills one second back and Matthias Wilder another three seconds back. Whitehead had a two second lead by the end of the next lap. The rest of the way Whitehead carried a pace that added anywhere from one to five seconds to the gap. Otstot finished 17 seconds after Whitehead, with a half minute lead on Mills who took 3rd. Wilder was in 4th 15 seconds behind.

Josh Whitehead 15:36.95     Adam Otstot 15:54.23     Ryan Mills 16:24.43

35-39 Kevin Kuhn 16:42.25     30-34 Jesse Jones GPTC 17:26.47     25-29 George Carbaugh Sir Walter Running 16:16.4

First race in the books--Next up the 10,000 Meter Run on Saturday, July 22nd!

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