Saturday, September 16, 2023

Athletes to Compete In 2023 USATF Masters12 Km Championships on the Jersey Shore

 September 16, 2023. This coming Sunday will see the Sandy Hook National Park provide a spectacular setting for the Masters 12 Km National Championships. A spit of land jutting north towards the Statue of Liberty, it provides glimpses of water and sand and various shore birds. Once the gun goes off, all the focus will be on the race. The USATF-NJ Association hosts the event as part of its By Hook Or By Crook Run; this is their third consecutive year to host the national championship.

Masters athletes from across the country converge to compete, as individuals and teams, for national glory. The competition and camaraderie bring out the best in us. This course can be fast; records were set here two years ago. It looks like several could fall this year if the weather stays moderate. Last year it was warm; athletes dialed back their efforts or struggled. This year the race starts a half hour earlier and the forecast is relatively favorable. Last September it was already 72F at race time and humid, with a dewpoint of 64. This year it is predicted to be 66F at race time; the dewpoint of 53 suggests extra humidity should not be the problem it was last year. It will be sunny again, and the course has little shade.

Record Possibilities. The American Record that seems most certain to fall is Women 75-79. That is because Jeannie Rice is entered. This will be her final tune-up race before going for the Marathon World Record at Chicago. She ran faster than the 75-79 World Record when she clocked 3:33:15 at Boston this past April. Because of a technicality, the course at Boston is not record eligible, although it is known to be, usually, one of the tougher marathons. Should she run an equivalent age grade at this 12 Km, she would break the existing 75-79 record by over 5 minutes.

Jeannie Rice on the Track--Taking the Bell for another Gold medal!

 That is probably too optimistic, but Libby James's 2014 record seems almost certain to fall. Roberta Groner is also entered. The first US finisher at the Women's Marathon at the Doha World Championships, Groner has been taking down 45-49 records this year. She now owns the 10 Mile record at 55:13 and has marks in the 10 Km, 33:41, and the Half Marathon, 1:11:28, that are pending final ratification. She ran a minute faster than the current 12 Km record on this course two years ago. She is running even better now. Should she age grade at the same level as her half marathon, she would be more than three minutes under the record. It is probably too warm and sunny for that kind of performance, but Groner running faster than the current 43:38 record seems very likely. 

Roberta Groner winning the Overall 12 Km Championship in 2021 Photo Credit for this and all other 12 Km Pictures, both 2021 and 2022 go to Jason Timochko

The Record for Women 55-59 is held by Lisa Veneziano, set here in 2021 at 46:13. Veneziano is not entered but Fiona Bayly is. Bayly won the division last year in 47:38, under tough conditions. Her performances this year at the 10 Mile and the 10 Km championships suggests that a time well under 46:30 is more likely this year. Whether the day is good enough to allow Bayly to get under 46:13 is an open question. The record in 50-54 is 44:56, set in 1993. Perry Shoemaker finished 3rd overall here in 2021, clocking 46:08. But she has been running faster recently. She has always run well at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in Washington DC and this year was no exception. She won the Masters race with a 1:00:37. If she can match the age grade she scored there, Shoemaker would be under the record by 20 seconds or so, not a lot of room for error. On the other hand, she will have Abby Dean to push her. Dean finished 2nd overall last year, and first in 50-54, in 46:42; she could well run faster than that this year. Nora Cary could make a run at her own record of 51:09, set here in 2021, but she may not be fully at the top of her game after recovering from an injury earlier this year. Sabra Harvey, the 2017 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year, started competing again after an absence from national championships; her main goal was to help Team Red Lizard in the team championships. That is still her goal but her fitness has returned. Harvey is definitely a threat to acquire the 12 Km record for 70-74; it currently stands at 58:22. Harvey ran 1:16:57 at the Space City Ten Miler in October and 1:44:24 at the Houston Half Marathon. Both performances suggest the 12 Km record is within her grasp. The record at risk on the Men's side is 60-64. Nat Larson has taken down 60-64 American Records from the Mile to the Half Marathon this year. He won here last year on a hot day in 43:43, which is almost a minute slower than the current record of 42:50, set in 2014 by Tom McCormack

Nat Larson winning the 60-64 12K Championship in 2022 

If the weather is cool enough, Larson could well run fast enough to beat that record. If he equals the performance he had in May when he broke the Half Marathon record, Larson could be a minute under it. And he will have competitive pressure from Rick Lee and Steve Schmidt, both of whom should crack 45 minutes!

Overall Championships. MEN The primary contenders appear to be: Fabian Eduardo Daza, Michael DixonDickson Mercer, and David Angell. If any of those three have an off day, others who might factor into the podium race include: Peter Anzovino, Joseph Gaynor, Aaron Totten-Lancaster, Gregory Putnam and Chuck Terry

Daza, Mercer, and Angell finished 5th, 6th and 8th last year. Daza clocked 40:21. His Masters win at the Ridgewood 10K this May in 33:24 suggests his fitness is similar. In April of 2022 Daza ran 1:10:31to take top Masters finisher at the Dick's Sporting Goods Half Marathon. If he could rekindle the flame that burned that day, he might even crack 40 minutes! 

David Angell #305 and Aaron Totten-Lancaster #261 leading out some of the top contenders in 2022

Mercer ran 40:42 last year. He finished 5th at the Masters Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse in April but has been up and down since. He rehabbed a hip issue over the summer and then dealt with some hamstring tightness. Mercer appears to be rounding into good shape again but has not been tested in a recent race. Angell has also had issues, but his injury was further back and involved ankle and Achilles problems. 

He was not fully recovered last year when he ran 41:00; he should be a more formidable opponent this Sunday. His 3rd place finish in the Masters 10 Km Championships in Dedham Ma in April suggest that a time under 41:00 and perhaps under 40:30 is within his grasp. Dickson finished 5th overall at the Spring Distance Classic 15K in 51:29. That equates via age grading to a 40:43 12K. His 33:23 10K at the Ridgewood Run on Memorial Day equates to a 41:09. Those performances suggest he is firmly in the mix. 

Fabian Daza 5th overall in last year's Championship

Anzovino clocked a 1:15:11 half marathon at the April 2022 Delaware Run Fest, which equates to a 41:44 12K. In November he ran the NYC Marathon in 2:51:34. Gaynor ran 41:26 to finish 11th overall last year. His 27:22 at the Tom Fleming Sunset 5 Miler in late June equates to a 41:24. But he finished a minute behind Dixon at the Ridgewood Run. Totten-Lancaster ran well last year at 41:52, right after moving from Colorado to New Jersey. His training has gone well recently but he has not targeted this race for peak fitness. His most recent indicator of fitness for an intermediate distanced race is his Garden State 10 Mile Relay time of 57:13 in March. That equates, roughly, to a 42:00 effort over 12 Km. Putnam, out of the 50-54 division, is a longshot. But he did land on the podium at the Half Marathon championships. It would be a mistake to ignore him. In finishing 7th overall at the 10 Km Championships in Dedham, his 34:21 suggests 41:30 would not be an implausible goal for this Sunday. Terry finished 4 seconds behind Putnam at Dedham. His 53:26 15K at the Stockade-a-thon equates to a 42:17 12K.

Based on this review it appears that Angell and Daza will duel for the win. I opt for Angell taking the win because he is on the upswing. He has won several prior Masters National Overall championships which may provide some advantage. This would be a first for Daza. Mercer could well be the 3rd athlete on the podium, but I will opt for Dixon because Mercer is coming out of rehabbing an injury.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order:

David Angell     Fabian Eduardo Daza     Michael Dixon

WOMEN Roberta Groner is the clear favorite for the win. Her credentials are listed above in terms of her very good chance to break the 45-49 American Record. If she runs close to her potential, under 43 minutes, no one will be able to stay with her. But we still have to run the race; nothing is ever certain.  Kristen Prendergast returns to defend her title; she took the Overall title last year in 46:07. She was the 2nd Masters finisher at the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach in March, at 1:21:57, and took top women’s honors at the Clinton Township Country Run over 15 K in April. Those two races suggest a time around or under 46:00 would not be a stretch. 

Kristen Prendergast taking the Overall win last year

Abby Dean finished in 2nd, just a half minute back from Prendergast, last year. She had some ups and downs over the winter but came back strong to finish 4th at the 10 Km Masters Championships in Dedham in 38:15. A tough outing at Grandma's Marathon meant her subsequent performances at the Mile Championships and the Beach to beacon 10K were not her best. Another 5 weeks of recovery should do wonders though. No doubt she will be in the hunt! Alexandra Niles, new to the Masters division, finished 10th overall and first woman at the Eversource Hartford Marathon last October in 2:43:23. If she can run well enough on Sunday to earn the same age grade, she would need to run around 44:30. A 2020 Olympic Trials Qualifier, Niles knows how to compete. I have no recent results to parse any further. Jennifer Pesce, the Masters 5 Km National Champion, will also challenge at this longer distance. Her 2nd place Masters finish at the Blue Cross Broad Street Run over 10 Miles last May. in 59:16 shows that she can handle the distance! That time is age-grade equivalent to a 43:38. That might be a bit optimistic because the Broad Street Run is known as a fast course. But a time around 44:00 seems plausible. 

Jennifer Pesce winning the 2023 5 Km Overall Championship in Atlanta

Perry Shoemaker, out of the 50-54 division, who ran 46:08 to finish 3rd here in 2021 cannot be ignored. She was the first Masters finisher at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler this past April in 1:00:37. That is age grade equivalent to a 44:33 12K.  A 37:31 at the New York Mini 10K in June suggests a sub-46 12K is likely for Shoemaker on Sunday. Fiona Bayly, now in the 55-59 division, is still a threat for the podium. She finished 5th here last year in 47:38. But she took the Overall bronze medal at the 10 Km Masters Championships last April in 38:10, suggesting something close to 46 might be possible. She also finished 4th overall at the Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento. Her 1:03:06 is also consistent with something under 46:30 for a 12K. 

As noted, Groner is the favorite for the win. After that it is more difficult. I will go for Pesce to take 2nd, followed by Niles. But Prendergast is the defending champion, and she knows the course better than Niles and Pesce. Shoemaker, Bayly and Dean, possibly in that order, will press the other four for the podium!

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order:

Roberta Groner     Alexandra Niles     Jennifer Pesce

Age Grading Championships. The age grade medals recognize the fastest runners for their age across all age divisions. The Performance Level Percentage PLP measures, in percentage terms, how the fast the athlete's time is compared to the projected fastest time for an athlete of that age, in years. If the World's best time is 40:00 and you run 50:00, your age grade score is 80% because the best time, in seconds, 2400, is 80% of your time in seconds, 3000. The Masters LDR Committee recommends the calculator at MLDR Road age-grading calculator (, which is calibrated to the USATF approved road race age grading tables for 2020. The Masters LDR Committee has also promoted the language that a 90% or above is a World Class time, with 80% and above a national class time. 

WOMEN: Top favorites for the overall age grade awards include: Rice 75, Harvey 74, Groner 45, Shoemaker 52Bayly 56, Nora Cary 68, and Kris Clark 60Rice's Boston Marathon time age grades at over 100%. She has competed at some local races over the summer, including a 38:09 5 Miler, that grades at 97.74%, and a 1:41:57 Half Marathon that graded at 101.5%. Harvey's Space City ten Miler grades at 98.33%, and her Houston Aramco Half Marathon at 95.91%. Harvey clearly put in the miles for those efforts. Groner is not far back; her 1:11:27 half marathon graded at 96.87. Her 10 Mile record run graded at 95.38 and her 10 Km record at 95.09%! Shoemaker's Cherry Blossom Ten Miler graded at 93.72. 

Perry Shoemaker finishing 3rd overall in 2021

Bayly's 10K graded a tad lower at 93.52. Cary set the 65-69 American record here two years ago; she is running well again after being injured. Her most recent outing shows she has recovered, at least for the 5K. She clocked 21:55 at the Verona Labor Day 5K.  That age grades at: 93.51! Amazing as that is, Cary will need to improve on that to have a chance at top 5! Clark took 4th in age grading at the 5Km in Atlanta with a 93.75 but then sustained an injury shortly before the 10 Mile Championships in Sacramento. This will be her first national championship since that time; it will be interesting to see if she is as fit now as in Atlanta. And there are many other fine athletes who will grade near or above World Class, including: Mary CassAbby DeanJeanette Groesz, and Suzanne La Burt. I will let the numbers guide me on this one but, of course, it comes down to the unknown mix of preparation and performance on the day. The favorites are Rice, Harvey and Groner in that order. 

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order:

Roberta Groner     Sabra Harvey     Jeannie Rice

MEN Only one runner is missing from the top 7 last year; Rick Becker, who finished first, just .04% points above 2nd place, is in Eugene, Oregon for the final Diamond league meet of the season. Nat Larson 61, Brian Crowley 58, Gene Dykes 75, Henry Notaro 61, Roger Sayre 65, and Dave Glass 77 finished in that order last year, in 2nd through 7th. Larson is a slim favorite. Dykes has gotten a blood platelet issue under control and seems to be running better than last year. He just took home four gold medals from the Masters Track and Field Championships this July, including the steeplechase. Rick Lee 62, the American Record 60-64 holder over 50K and 50 Miles, and 60-64 winner at Boston this past Patriot’s Day, also took steeplechase honors in July. Since then he came in ahead of Larson at the Faxon 20K in New Haven on Labor Day and won his division handily at the Fifth Avenue Mile in the rain.  Steve Schmidt 62, who beat Lee and Notaro in the downpour at the Club Cross Country Championships, will try to rekindle that magic on the roads. 

Larson graded at 90.44% here last year. With cooler weather in the offing, Larson should come closer to his usual level. His 60-64 record performance in the half marathon graded at 94.41%. His 34:24 net time at the 10K championships scored a 94.33. On a warm Labor Day in New Haven, Larson still managed an 89.58%. My guess is that Larson, this Sunday, will be closer to 94% than 90%. 

Crowley's grade last year was 90.40%. Like others in this list, Crowley had some issues to work on these past months. His performances this spring were close to his 12Km performance. His 35:49 10K at the Ridgewood Run in May and his 17:37 5K and his June 17:37 5k both graded at almost 89%. But there have been few races since. It will be interesting to see on Sunday if he is closer to what he was running in the spring or if his fitness is still a bit off. He was rehabbing during that time. He logged good milage from the last week in July 50-60 per week through Labor Day before taking some time off for a family vacation. He should be ready for a good run!

Dykes graded at 89.60% last year, well below his norm. But this has been an up and down year for Dykes. In January he thought he had his problems licked when he ran a modest, for him, 1:31:43 Half marathon in Naples FL. That graded at 89.06%. He expected things to go better. But that has not shown up in races yet. He ran in some 5K's and graded similarly in the high 80's. great for most runners but below what he expects of himself. His workouts have improved dramatically lately. He is building toward the Berlin Marathon later in the month. If he comes in healthy, he could rip off a 12K time that would put him back several percentage points above 90, where he was regularly in 2017-2019. 

Notaro has not been as active this year as last. He apparently had a knee issue in the spring but has come back from that. He has logged a lot of miles over the past two months to get ready for Chicago.  He is no doubt running for team points this year. My guess is that he is also fit enough to compete as well as in the recent past as an individual. 

Sayre graded at 88.39% last year. My guess is that Sayre could move up. His 1:01:09 at the 10 Mile national championships graded at 92.24%. Like Notaro, Sayre has been logging the miles to prep for Chicago. He should be ready for a fast 12K.

Glass graded at 88.11% last year. But this has been a difficult year for Glass, starting with Club Cross where Gary Ostwald outran him. That was not too big a surprise on the turf. But when Ostwald started beating him on the roads, that was a surprise. And Glass's age grades fell. Glass is a fine runner and may yet come back to run high 80's again. He has had some months to recover his fitness.

Lee, as noted, came in ahead of Larson at the 20K on Labor Day, running a 1:15:06 for a 91.63%. That is a fairly typical age grade for Lee. Like anyone he has had his bad days. He races frequently at any distance from 800 meters to 50 Miles. His 2021 12K on this course graded at 89.07% but his half marathon at Gasparilla this February, a 1:19:06, graded at 90.92%. His winning effort at Boston in 2:46:36 graded at 91.40%.

Rick Lee winning the 60-64 12K Championship in 2021

Scmidt, known more as a marathoner, actually had his highest age grade this year at the 5K championships in Atlanta, scoring a 91.50% on that 'Atlanta Flat' course. One of the first members of Amby Burfoot's 6DS3 club 6 decades of sub-3 hour marathons, Schmidt joined the Ann Arbor Track Club's 60+ team this year and has made a big contribution. He has been on the age-grading podium in each of the road championships he has contested, finishing 2nd at the 5K, ahead of Lee and Sayre; 2nd at the Half Marathon on the hilly course in Syracuse, ahead of Sayre; and 3rd at the 10 Km championship behind Larson. Based on those outings, Schmidt seems a good bet for the age grading podium.

I think Larson will rise to the top again. It could be another 1-2-3 for the 60-64 group as it was at the 10 Km in Dedham. Lee and Schmidt should be close and either could come in ahead of him in age grading. If they can stay close in real time, they can outpoint Larson in age grading; they are each 62 while Larson is 60. Crowley or Dykes could break them up. but I go with Larson-Lee-Schmidt in that order. But it could be like last year where the top three are separated by just hundredths of a percentage point.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Nat Larson     Rick Lee     Steve Schmidt

Age Division Championships. MEN 40-44 Daza, Dixon, Gaynor, Mercer and Terry were all mentioned in the analysis of the Overall Championships above. That analysis suggests Daza, Dixon, and Mercer could well go 1-2-3 in that order, but Gaynor and Terry will certainly be in the mix and could easily upset that prediction.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Fabian Eduardo Daza     Michael Dixon     Dickson Mercer

45-49 Angell and Totten-Lancaster T-L, both mentioned for consideration in the Overall Championships, appear to be the strongest two in the field, with Angell likely ahead of T-L. They took gold and bronze in the division, in that order last year, at 41 flat and 41:52. If Angell runs as well as he did at Dedham, a time in the low 40's could be his. Several others look like they could get close to those two. Matthew DiPretore finished two places and a minute and a half behind Angell at the 10 Km Championships. That time suggests a rough 12K equivalent of 42:30. Like many high-altitude runners, Robbie Genzel likes the trails more than the roads. But he ran a road race in March, the Running of the Green Lucky 7K in Denver, in 24:57. That equates to a 43:32 12K. But as that was done at altitude, it suggests a sub-43 is within his reach at sea level if the humidity stays low, as predicted. Christopher Hernandez finished 6th in the division last year, a minute and a half behind T-L. He finished better in Atlanta over a hilly 5K course, suggesting he has the potential to go under 43.  Joseph Maranzani, and Shawn Williams will need to run a little faster than they have been to break up those five. Maranzani finished 7th in the division last year in 44:23. His 1:19:53 performance at the Seaside Half Marathon last October was very comparable in age grading terms. It will probably take a sub-43 to make the podium in this division. Williams's 35:07 at the 10 Km Championships in Dedham was only 8 seconds slower than Di Pretore's time. But I can find no other race results for him since the end of April, which raises some doubts about race fitness for this weekend. There is clearly a fair amount of guess work going on, but I will opt for DiPretore to prevail as final athlete on the 45-49 podium, ahead of Genzel and Hernandez.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

David Angell     Matthew DiPretore     Aaron Totten-Lancaster

50-54 Steve Bell and Gregory Putnam renew their rivalry. They met at the 10 Km Masters Championships earlier this year, hosted by the James Joyce Ramble at the end of April. Putnam took the win in 34:21; Bell was 15 seconds back in 2nd. Putnam has the advantage of knowing the course; he finished 2nd here last year in 42:12. 

Gregory Putnam headed for 3rd Overall at the Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse Photo courtesy of Syracuse Half Marathon

Brent Fields, in the 45-49 division last year, ran 40 seconds slower than Putnam. His 35:38 at the AJC Peachtree Run, not known for fast times, reinforces the notion that he should run around 43:00 or a bit under. That puts him in the mix for the podium this year. Marco Cardoso would be right there with them had it not been for getting caught in a pile-up at the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in DC in early April. The injury sustained there was, no doubt, responsible for the 38:35 10K he ran at the Ridgewood Run on Memorial Day. He ran 36:22 at the Giralda Farms 10K a couple of months after the 12K. If he is fully recovered now, he will push the others for a place on the podium. Joseph Hegge ran 43:48 here last year; his 1:18:49 at the UA RnR Half marathon in DC in March reinforces the notion that he should break 44 again this year. Frederick Dolan and Gary Rosenberg will be in the hunt as well. Still, I like a finishing order of Putnam-Bell-Fields. 

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Steve Bell     Brent Fields     Gregory Putnam

55-59 If Brian Crowley can run as he did here last year when the won the division in 42:23, it does not seem likely anyone will stay with him. The 35:49 10K he ran on Memorial Day of this year was only 40 seconds slower than his 10K in late April of 2022 at the 10 Km Championships. But he was rehabbing a minor injury in the early part of the summer. 

Brian Crowley winning the 55-59 Championship last year

His training has looked good lately with lots of mileage in August. He should be good for the division win. David Waid is a podium contender. His 1:19:37 at the Birmingham (AL) Half Marathon and a 1:00:07 Ten Miler last January suggest he should be able to handle a 12 Km time around 44:00. Joseph Shairs, who trains with Putnam, from 50-54, looks like a real podium threat. He ran a 36:09 10K at Dedham, which equates to a 43:51 12K.  His 1:20:41 Half Marathon at Boston's Run to Remember on Memorial Day equates to a 44:40. Mark Hixson's 37:12 at the 10 Km Championships this spring equates to a 45:09 12K. He reinforced that expectation with a 29:39 at the Branford 5 Miler in June. Simon Angove, Jeffrey Conston, Dale Flanders, Scott Siriano, and Michael Strickland have strong credentials; any one of them might break up the top 4 I have highlighted. My prediction though is for: Crowley, Waid, and Shairs in that order, with Hixson pushing them strongly.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Brian Crowley      Joseph Shairs     David Waid

60-64 Since he turned 60, Nat Larson has won the division at every championship this year and at almost every race he has entered. The sole exception seems to be the 20K at New Haven over Labor Day, which is not a Masters National Championship. And the 60-64 division as a whole is unusually dominant in age grading. I suggested the top three in age grading, Larson, Rick Lee, and Steve Schmidt might all come from this 60-64 division, with Henry Notaro not that far off. I listed the likely order as Larson-Lee-Schmidt. Read there, and in Records, for more analysis. It should be Larson-Lee-Schmidt in this division. But those three are so strong, the order could easily change. Larson ran 43:43 here on a very warm, humid day. He could well break 43 this year. Lee and Schmidt should both break 44. Notaro ran 44:18 her last year and is in the midst of training for Chicago, as is Lee. It will be another barn-burner of a race! I am going for Larson-Lee-Schmidt.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Nat Larson     Rick Lee     Steve Schmidt 

65-69 Roger Sayre was on the 60-64 podium here last year in 46:17. He is favored to win 65-69 this year in a similar time, or better. His 1:01:09 M65 win at the ten-mile championships last April converts to a 44:48 12 Km time. He has been running strong all year and has been logging mileage recently as he gears up for the Chicago Marathon. 

Roger Sayre #316 holding off Joe Mora to his left for the 60-64 silver medal in 2021

This 12 K will probably be his last tune-up race; it will be interesting to see what he can do. Michael Lebold, Scott Lucking, Timothy Riccardi and, perhaps, Reno Stirrat could all bring it home in around 50 flat. Lebold's 4th place effort at the Ten-mile Masters Championships equates to a 49:57. Lucking finished 2nd here last year in 50:49. But with no recent performances since the 5 Km XC at Boulder that I can find, Lucking may be here primarily as a good teammate, with no thought for an individual award. Riccardi finished 2nd in this division at Dedham; his 41:57 equates to a 50:56 12K.Stirrat ran 54:21 here last year. His 10K at Dedham was 43:46, equating to a 53:10. Stirrat has been up and down over the last couple of years. His workouts suggest he is running better although there are occasional flareups of piriformis and other problematic issues. A lot of people are pulling for Reno to have a good day and come in well under 53! Guessing that Lucking is not at his best, I opt for a finishing order of Sayre-Lebold-Riccardi.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Michael Lebold     Timothy Riccardi     Roger Sayre

70-74 Fernando Moura took 3rd last year in 52:02 behind Robert Qualls and Gene Dykes. Moura's 36:36 in the Revolutionary War 5 Miler this spring equates to a 55:40. Qualls is focusing on another goal this weekend and is not entered; Dykes has aged up to 75-79. That leaves Moura the favorite, but he has competition. He will need to run as well as he did here last year to win it this year. James Linn did not run here last year but he ran 52:23 here in 2021. Furthermore, his 1:09:25 at the Clinton Township Country Run over 15K this spring equates to a 54:45. Kirk Larson finished 2nd at Dedham in 44:03. That equates to a 53:32. 

Fernando Moura Taking 3rd place in 70-74 last year

Gene Myers will be pushing those three all the way and could pass one or more of them if they are off the top of their game. Myers took 4th here last year in 55:15. Myers beat Larson on the turf at San Francisco and Richmond but Larson has taken the honors on the roads at 5K, 10K and 1 Mile. I opt for Moura-Linn-Larson.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

James Linn     Fernando Moura     Kirk Larson

75-79 Most of the top 75-79 runners are entered. In 2022 Dave Glass won every national championship at 10 Km and up. He finished off the Grand Prix season by going to Boulder CO and winning on the turf at altitude over 5 Km. Gary Ostwald finished 2nd. But Ostwald has come in ahead of Glass every time they have met since, whether on the turf or on the roads, even at a distance as long as ten miles. Glass beat Ostwald by well over 4 minutes last year, in 53:27 as they went 1-3. But at the two most comparable championships this year it was Ostwald taking 1st, with Glass 2nd, at the 10-Miler in Sacramento, by 1:12 and at the 10 Km in Dedham by 46 seconds. But both may have to move aside for the new kid in town, Gene Dykes, who ran 2:31 faster than Glass in the 70-74 division here last year. 

Gene Dykes finishing 2nd in 70-74 in his last year in the division last year

Dykes has had an up and down 2022-23 but seems to be rounding into better form as the fall Marathon season has approached. He has his eyes on a good outing at the Berlin Marathon. His training has been going well. The question seems to be how much under 7:30 per mile he should be aiming for in the Marathon. Translate that 7:30 pace to a 12 Km and you have a 55:48. And, of course, he should run much faster. Dykes recently brought home 4 gold medals from the Masters Outdoor track championships. With most of them he was running tactically because he had another race coming up or had recently finished one. The time most indicative of current fitness was probably his 22:05 in the 5000 meters. He had a day of rest between that effort and his races on Saturday, the 10,000M, and the Steeplechase. He posted a 10 Mile workout for this Thursday the 14th that included a set of eight '3 minute intervals' starting at 6:55 per mile, working down to 6:30. Maybe that was too much close to this race. But from his Coach's viewpoint this 12 km is just a tune-up for Berlin. Still, Dykes should be somewhere down in the low 50's and that should be enough for the win. Jerry Learned has also aged up to the 75-79 division. His 55:54 last year was 2 minutes faster than Ostwald. But he has had health issues this year. Unless he is over them, his time is likely to be closer to an hour. Jim May could crash the podium party except that 12 Km is a longer race than he usually tackles. But he finished 3rd, within a half-minute of Glass, at Dedham over ten km. This is just 2 km longer. And he will have his teammate, Keith Yeates, who finished 2nd at the half marathon, to run with; they should come home under an hour in this 12K. Paul Carlin (That's me!) has finished on the podium three times this year, at the 5 Km, the Half Marathon and the 1 Mile. I could run my best race of the year and not crack the top 5, maybe not the top 8. Liam Finnigan, Ezequiel Garcia and Terry McCluskey all have credentials suggesting they should or could come in ahead of me. The numbers suggest Dykes-Ostwald-Glass in that order and I will not argue with the numbers.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Gene Dykes     Dave Glass     Gary Ostwald

80-84 Doug Goodhue just ran a 1:28:00 Ten Miler at the Crim in Flint MI. That translates to a 1:04:13 10K. That should be good enough to add another national championship to his collection. 

Doug Goodhue conquering the mud at Lehigh in the 2019 Club Cross Championships

I forget how many he has but I know it is well over 50! Tony Fiory beat Daniel Kirsch by over 5 minutes at the Ridgewood Run. That suggests Fiory could crack 1:25, with Kirsch not far back. The likely finishing order is: Goodhue-Fiory-Kirsch.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Tony Fiory     Doug Goodhue     Daniel Kirsch

85-89 Roland Ratmeyer should repeat his win of last year. He clocked 1:33:53 and is unopposed.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Roland Ratmeyer

WOMEN 40-44 In the Overall Championship discussion above, I predict a finishing order of Niles and Pesce going 2-3 and probably Prendergast for 4th, out of the 40-44 division. So that is my 1-2-3 for the division.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Alexandra Niles     Jennifer Pesce    Kristen Prendergast

45-49 I pick Roberta Groner for the Overall win so I had better pick her to win her division at the same time. Groner has a good crack at the American Record of 43.38. Euleen Josiah-Tanner is not likely to keep pace with Groner but should finish 2nd. She finished 2nd here last year in 49:44. Her recent 19:06 performance on the track at the Masters Outdoor Championships suggests she might improve on last year's time this Sunday. 

Euleen Josiah-Tanner finishing 8th overall in the 12 K and 2nd in 45-49 last year

Gabrielle Panepinto ran 52:52 two years ago and her 33:14 at the Ashenfelter 8K last November suggests she might be faster this year. If any of those three are off their best, Karyn Baig looks to move up.  She ran a minute and change slower than Panepinto here last year. But her 1:35:15 at the UA NYC Half marathon suggests a time closer to 53 minutes might be within her reach. But I will go with a finishing order of Groner, Josiah-Tanner, and Panepinto.

 Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Roberta Groner     Euleen Josiah-Tanner     Gabrielle Panepinto

50-54 Abby Dean took 1st in the division here last year in 46:42; Perry Shoemaker won the division the year before in 46:08. The performances are probably closer than they look; the weather was more punishing in 2022 than in 2021. Dean ran well at the Half Marathon and ten k Masters Championships, winning this division at both. Her 10K winning time equates to a 46:24. But Dean had a tough outing at Grandma's Marathon and was not at her best at the 1 Mile Championships. Dean competed grittily but was no match for Shoemaker, who beat her by almost half a minute. She also ran a slower time at the Beach to Beacon 10K at the end of July. 

Abby Dean finishing 2nd Overall at the 12 K last year and 1st in 50-54

On the other hand, she may not have been pushing there. She took the age division win there anyway. They should go 1-2. I give the edge to Shoemaker and will let Dean prove me wrong if she can. Hortencia Aliaga also might come in under 50 minutes and be close to those two. She ran 50:34 to win the 45-49 division last year. Her 38:41 at the Masters 10 Km championships was only 26 seconds behind Dean's winning time. It is unlikely anyone else will be much under 50:00. Samantha Forde finished 2nd to Dean here last year in 50:19. Forde clocked a 1:06:40 10 Miler at the Masters Championships hosted by the Sactown 10. That equates to a 49:01. But that is still 3 minutes off where she likely needs to be to get on the podium. I will go with Aliaga after Shoemaker and Dean.

 Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Hortencia Aliaga     Abby Dean     Perry Shoemaker

55-59 Fiona Bayly is at the top of this division. Her winning division time of 47:38 netted her 5th place overall here last year. She is, if anything, running better this year. Her 38:10 at Dedham gained her a third place overall. And it is age grad equivalent to a 46:15. Her 1:03:06 10 Miler, finishing 4th at the national championships is equally impressive. Something would have to go wrong for Bayly not to take the division crown. 

Fiona Bayly holds off Karen dos Santos to take 5th overall in the 12 K Championships last year

Lori Kingsley appears to be the only other runner in the division with a good shot at breaking 50:00. She finished 5th in the division last year in 52:03. But her 1:02:54 15K at the Stockade-a-thon equates to a 49:42. If the weather is truly cooler this year, a sub-50 for Kingsley is likely. Jacalyn Lembo is not far off; her 43:16 10K at Dedham last April equates, via Age Grading, to a 52:28. Her half marathon at Syracuse suggests a slower time but that course is hilly, and the day was unseasonably warm. Noriko Charnley who ran 55:17 here last year and Alyssa Risko who ran 1:09:02 Stockade-a-thon are close enough to make a run for the podium if any of the top three have an off day. It looks like Bayly-Kingsley-Lembo.

 Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Fiona Bayly     Lori Kingsley     Jacalyn Lembo

60-64 Mary Cass ran 51:50 last year to finish 2nd in this division. Suzanne La Burt ran 50:10, finishing 2nd in 55-59. It was a similar story at Dedham. Cass won the 60-64 division with a 41:43; La Burt counters with a 2nd in 55-59 at 41:09. They should both come in around 50:00 this year, with La Burt favored. 

Suzanne La Burt  took 2nd last year in 55-59

Kris Clark is the wild card. At Atlanta she took 1st in the division, coming across the finish line a half minute ahead of Cass. But an injury cropped up as she was about to taper into the ten mile championships in Sacramento. She is coming out from Colorado to compete and is not coming as part of a team. That suggests she is ready to run! Lauren Leslie, Beth Stalker, and Mary Swan will push the pace as well. Leslie finished 3rd here last year in 52:34. Stalker's 1:07:19 15K at the Stockade-a-thon equates to a 53:08. Swan finished 4th last year in 53:41. It has been a while since Suzanne Cordes ran at a longer road championship. She is never far from the podium at our turf championships. She finished 4th in the division at Clubs in San Francisco, 3rd at Cross Nationals in Richmond and she won the division at Boulder, coming in a half minute ahead of Swan. Cordes ran at the 1 Mile Championships but was not at her best. Most likely she is coming primarily to help her Impala team garner some points in the 50+ competition. Clark beat Cass at Atlanta. I will guess that she can do it again. She has not gone up against La Burt yet and la Burt is on her home territory. I will go with an order of La Burt-Clark-Cass.

 Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Mary Cass     Kris Clark     Suzanne La Burt

65-69 As noted in the age grading championships section, Nora Cary is certainly in the hunt for a top 5 finish there. Her most recent outing is a 21:55 5K, after recovering from an injury earlier this year. That equates to a 54:53 12K. One should not take that too seriously; any equivalence between a 5K and a 12K time is rough at best. But it does suggest she is not far off from where she was last year. She took the win in 54:05 after setting the American Record at 51:09 in 2021. She would love to have that kind of fitness now--and who wouldn't? 

Nora Cary taking 1st in 65-69 in the 12 Km Championships last year

Diane Rothman is the only other division runner with a shot at breaking an hour. She finished 11th in 60-64 in 1:00:55 last year. Her 1:47:29 at the Runapalooza Half Marathon equates to a 59:23. Susan Stirrat finished 5th last year in 1:12:53. But two spring races suggest she might run as fast as 1:07 or even faster. Her 1:25:36 over 15K at the Spring distance Classic equates to a 1:07:25 12K and her 52:18 10K at Dedham equates to a 1:03:29. That latter time may be too ambitious, but it appears a 1:05 might be within Stirrat's grasp. Sally Bell, Judith Hudson, and Antoinette Marmora all have performances suggesting they might finish in the 1:07 to 1:09 range. Stirrat will have to keep the 'pedal to the metal' if she is to claim the bronze medal. I opt for Cary, Rothman, and Stirrat in that order.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Nora Cary     Diane Rothman     Susan Stirrat

70-74 Sabra Harvey, the 2017 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year, is the only runner in the division likely to break an hour although her teammate, Jeanette Groesz, might just do it as well. As noted in the age grading section, Harvey has a good shot at running ahead of the 58:22 American Record. Her Half Marathon and 10 Mile runs this past January/last October equate to 57:37 and 56:12 respectively. Groesz finished 2nd in the division last year in 1:05:51 but was not at her best. 

Jeanette Groesz finishing 2nd in 70-74 at the 12 Km Championships in 2022

Her 1:54:18 at the Half Marathon championships in Syracuse equates to a 1:03:05 and the times on that day were slow due to it being a hilly course and the weather being warm. Joann Coffee finished 3rd here last year in 1:10:03. Her 26:26 5K in April shows that she was still running well through the spring. No one else seems likely to crack 1:20 so those are my top three: Harvey-Groesz-Coffee in that order.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Joann Coffee     Jeanette Groesz     Sabra Harvey

75-79 This should be Jeannie Rice's in a cakewalk. As noted above, she is going after the American record and should take it down with minutes to spare. She, too, is using the race as a tune-up for Chicago. She should coe home under an hour. Her teammate, Sharon Gerl offers the only close competition, but Gerl's target is probably coming close to an hour on the high side. Her 1:26:03 in the 10 Mile Championships at Sacramento translate into a 1:02 and change 12 Km. That leaves the 3rd place race to Cheryl Kohut and Barbara Donelik. They finished 1-2 last year in 1:07:21 and 1:08:12. The finishing order should be: Rice, Gerl, and Kohut but anything can happen.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Sharon Gerl     Cheryl Kohut     Jeannie Rice

80-84 Sandra Folzer just needs to finish her race to claim the title. She is the only entrant. She won last year at 1:24:15.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Sandra Folzer

85-89 Joyce Hodges-Hite will claim this title unopposed. If she does so, she will be the oldest winner on the day at 86. She won last year in 2:03:08.

Top Podium Contenders in alphabetical order

Joyce Hodges-Hite

That concludes the preview. Let the Championships begin and may the races be swift and competitive!

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