Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Masters Athletes Take Down Three American Records at 2023 Masters 12 Km Championships

 September 21, 2023. On Sunday, September 17, the Sandy Hook National Park greeted over 300 athletes from across the country for the USATF Masters 12 Km Championships. The day dawned fresh and clear. As the morning wore on, the sun climbed but the temperature, unlike last year, just climbed modestly. When the athletes gathered for the 9 AM starting time, the thermometer read 67F, with a dewpoint of 51F; it was not humid. Under fair skies, the wind was calm; during the race the strongest wind was only 6 mph. It was a favorable day for running. One would prefer it cooler but there were no major problems with conditions. USATF-NJ hosted the event at their By Hook Or By Crook Run.

RECORDS Some athletes who looked, on paper, like they had a chance at an American Record, were sidelined and did not compete or encountered a barrier to competing at their best. That still left three who took on the challenge and succeeded. 

Jeannie Rice Unattached/OH was widely expected to bring down Libby James's 75-79 American Record of 1:01:11, set 9 years ago. James was untouchable in the middle part of the last decade. From 2011 to 2014 James set 75-79 American Records at distances from the 5 Km 23:34 to the Half Marathon 1:45:52. But Rice is at another level, as we learned when she ran her 3:33:15 at Boston! She averaged a few ticks under 8:10 per mile, at 75, for those 26.2 miles! If she ran the same pace in this 7.44 mile long 12 Km race, her time would have been 1:00:34, 37 seconds under the American Record.  In the preview I wrote, "Should she run an equivalent age grade at this 12 Km, she would break the existing 75-79 record by over 5 minutes." I dismissed that as overly optimistic. But I was wrong. Rice, the 2019 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year, broke James's record by over 6 minutes! 

Jeannie Rice sets a New American 12K Record for 75-79 Unless otherwise indicated, all photos are courtesy of Jason Timochko.

Rice went off at 7:08 for the first mile and averaged well under 7:20 per mile. Her final, winning time was 54:50!

Perry Shoemaker 52 Potomac Valley TC has been running well after taking a break from national championships. In the middle of the last decade, she won the overall race at the USATF Masters 12 km Championships when they were in Alexandria VA. This spring, at what must be her favorite, iconic road race, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in Washington DC, Shoemaker broke the 50-54 record for the Ten Mile Run! Her time of 1:00:37 meant a pace of 6:03.7 per mile. She would need to run faster; that pace, in a 12K, would bring her to the finish line in 45:06, ten seconds slower than the existing record. Thirty years ago Shirley Matson ran 44:56. In the three decades since, no 50–54-year-old had run a faster 12K, until this past Sunday. Shoemaker needed to average 6:02 per mile or better to take down the record. Shoemaker averaged 6:00 per mile for a 44:39 which gave her the record by17 seconds! 

Perry Shoemaker bearing down for 2nd place overall and a new 50-54 American Record

Shoemaker removed the oldest 12K record from the books. Now the 45-49 record is the only one from the 1990's.

Nat Larson 61 Greater Springfield Harriers has been breaking American Records for years but has been on a tear since turning 60 last summer. Coming into this race he owned the 60-64 records at 1 Mile, 5 K, 10K, 10 Mile, and Half Marathon. The American Record Larso0n was chasing was owned by Tom McCormack, who came to the United States, along with the famed Coach, Ray Flynn, to form part of the renowned 'Irish Brigade' of East Tennessee University. McCormack's record time was 42:50, set on a fast course in Alexandria VA in 2014. That works out to a few ticks over 5:45 per mile--not bad for a 61-year-old. Larson was the right age; he enjoyed his 61st birthday this summer. And he found the right pace! Larson confided earlier this year that he enjoys when it when a runner he knows, who is a bit younger and, reliably, a bit faster, is in the race. That way he can find the right pace without worrying about it much. 

Nat Larson closing in on the finish line and a new 60-64 12K American Record! He also won 60-64 and had the top Men's Age Grade!

He averaged 5:42 per mile for a chip time, used for Masters records, of 42:25. He had the American Record by 25 seconds!

One might ask if any of those three were World Records or close to a World Record? The answer is that there are no World Records for any road races other than the Marathon. The Half Marathon and 10K have WMA Championship Records.

OVERALL CHAMPIONSHIPS MEN Brian Flynn Garden State TC, a newly minted Masters runner as of this summer, snuck in under the radar. Athlinks had no record for a Brian Flynn from New Jersey. Perhaps he moved recently from Virginia? Looking back now, I can see a plausible record for that Virginia resident, Brian Flynn, including a 49:12 performance at the Utica Boilermaker in early July. That translates to something like 38:55, very close to what the Flynn entered at these championships ran. But even now I cannot be sure it is one and the same Flynn. On race day, Flynn was the man of the hour; he took it out hard, leading all others through the first mile. One Open Runner stayed with him, and one was starting to come back to the main chase pack. The rest of the main contenders were in that chase pack. David Angell Unattached/VA and an Open runner led the pack, with Aaron Totten-Lancaster Garden State tucked in behind Angell. Dickson Mercer Pacers Running was there to Totten-Lancaster's left, with Fabian Daza Garden State and Robbie Genzel Unattached/CO in solid contact; Michael Dixon Unattached/NJ was starting to see a small gap develop but was hanging on.  Flynn was applying pressure from the front; it did not look as if anyone would catch him. Angell kept his pace locked at 5:14 per mile for the first three miles; that was enough to leave him solidly in 2nd at that point, with some distance back to the others. Dixon had been dropped, but Mercer was solid through 3 miles, just a few seconds back from Angell. Mercer started to struggle in mile 4 and by mile 5 had dropped back. His inability to train consistently, as hard as usual, over the past months was getting to him. Daza and Genzel came past Angell, and then Totten-Lancaster. Angell ran tough; when those three passed. Angell tried to go with them but had to let them go. Flynn enjoyed a splendid win, taking the finish line tape at 39:01. 

Brian Flynn takes the tape as he wins the Overall Men's 12 Km Championship

It was a full minute before Daza came across in 2nd, with Genzel 120 meters back in 3rd. Flynn and Genzel landed on the podium in their first try at this Masters Championship. Genzel must have felt his trip from Colorado Springs was worth it! Twenty-four seconds faster than last year, Daza moved up from 5th to 2nd! Totten-Lancaster gave it his best effort but could not catch Genzel, finishing 4th in 40:35. Still, he had improved by 1:17 over last year, moving up from 7th overall to 4th. Angell rounded out the top five at 40:41, 19 seconds and 3 places better than last year. Dixon was 5 seconds back from Angell in 6th.

Brian Flynn 39:01     Fabian Daza 40:03     Robbie Genzel

WOMEN Perry Shoemaker, the veteran from 50-54, led out the field, with Alexandra Niles Garden State and Jennifer Pesce Garden State falling in behind to form a tight 3-runner lead pack. Fiona Bayly Unattached/NY, out of 55-59 and Abby Dean Greater Philadelphia TC, 50-54, took the turn, after the first mile, side by side, about 30 meters back from the lead pack. It was another 60 meters further back to Elizabeth Wakeling Garden State and Hortencia Aliaga Garden State in 6th and 7th. They were being tracked, about 20 meters back, by Euleen Josiah-Tanner T.H.E. TC. Shoemaker ran an incredible race, but Pesce showed she is much more than just a 5 K runner. The overall National 5 Km Masters Champion stayed with Shoemaker out and back. When the time came, Pesce made a decisive move and pulled away for the win in 44:31. 

Jennifer Pesce, the Overall Women's Winner Breaking the Tape

Shoemaker was 8 seconds back in 2nd. Niles was a half-minute back in 3rd. Niles did well to land on the podium in her first Masters National Championship. Wakeling eventually dropped Aliaga and set her sights on Bayly and Dean. She reeled them in to take 4th in 46:46. Bayly was 5th in 47:34, with Josiah-Tanner moving past Dean and Aliaga to claim 6th just 9 seconds behind Bayly.

Jennifer Pesce 44:31     Perry Shoemaker 44:39     Alexandra Niles 45:09

AGE GRADING CHAMPIONSHIPS The Age-Grading process assigns a Performance Level Percentage PLP to each athlete based on how fast their chip time in the race was, relative to the projected World's best for that distance and that athlete's sex and age. A 50-year-old male, for example, who ran the 12K in 48:00 would get a PLP of 75.07. If a 60-year-old male ran that fast, his PLP would be 82.05. A 50-year-old woman would earn an 84.99 PLP for a 48:00 12K. Age-Grading is used to level the playing field across ages to identify the athletes who ran the fastest for their age. 

WOMEN Jeannie Rice, not only broke the 75-79 American record by 6 minutes, she also had the top age grade on the day. In fact, her time of 54:50 was so fabulous that it topped 100%. According to the guru of Masters LDR Elite performances, Tom Bernhard, Rice's PLP of 104.02 is the highest road race PLP of all time! That took top honors. 

Jeannie Rice racing alongside athletes, decades younger, as she wins age grading with a remarkable 104.02%

Breaking a record does not guarantee that you will be one of the top age graders. Age Grading is based on a World Standard for a given year of age. American records are, by their nature, based on the best time in America, not the World, and then it is a 5-year record, not for a single year. The second-place finisher, for example is the 65-69 record holder at 51:09. Nora Cary Shore AC ran that time n this course two years ago when she was 66. Her PLP was 97.53%. Now 68, Cary bounced back from injury earlier in the year, to run a 52:33 at age 68. Her PLP actually went up! This time she scored 97.66 to finish 2nd to Rice. Quite a comeback! Third went to Sabra Harvey Team Red Lizard, the 2017 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year. Known initially for her track work and then Cross Country, Harvey moved to the roads in 2017 and added a number of national championships to her collection. But after 2017, she took a break from road competitions. But she joined a team in 2022 and that brought her back to the roads, as well as being a regular on the Cross Country turf. Harvey has been putting in the work and her times have responded. She is just one year younger than Rice. At 74, Harvey ran 58:58 to score a 95.21 PLP and take 3rd place in the Age-Grading Championship. Mary Cass 62 Liberty AC ran a 49:59 for a 94.54 score. She was followed by Suzanne La Burt 60 Shore AC at 93.54 in 5th. Shoemaker followed just a few hundredths of a percentage point back in 6th at 93.49.

Jeannie Rice 75 54:50 104.02%     Nora Cary 68 52:33 97.66     Sabra Harvey 74 58:58 95.21

MEN Last year Nat Larson was, arguably, not at his best, on a hot day. Nonetheless, he made the podium, finishing just a few hundredths of a percentage point off the winning score. This year Larson took down the American Record, ran faster than last year, and earned the highest PLP. His 42:25 at age 61 scored at 93.72%! Rick Lee Shore AC, the American record holder at the 50K and 50 Mile distances, is always a threat for the age grading podium. Lee is not just an Ultra runner. He runs all distances; he just earned Gold medals at the 1500M, 5000M, 10,000M and 2000M Steeplechase at the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships. Lee took it out hard and then could not stay with Larson later in the race. But his 43:25 at age 62 scored a 92.44% for 2nd place. 

Rick Lee sprints for the finish-claiming 2nd Age Grading at 92.44%!

Gene Dykes Greater Philadelphia TC broke up the 60-64 domination of the top of the Age Grading charts by edging Steve Schmidt 62 Ann Arbor TC, for third. Dykes has had an up and down year since he finished 4th in age grading here last year. He seems, finally, to have his health issues largely under control. His training has gone well recently, and Dykes is again performing at the top of his age division at distances from 5000 Meters on up to the Ultra Marathons he loves. At the age of 75, he ran 50:38 to earn a 91.50%. Schmidt ran 44:03 to earn a 91.11%, finishing 4th. Fifth place went to the youngster in the group, who had taken 3rd last year. Brian Crowley 58 Freedom-Garmin Project ran just 8 seconds slower this year, clocking 42:31 to raise his PLP from 90.41 to 90.94%. Roger Sayre 65 Boulder Road Runners ran 45:36 to finish just a few tenths of a percentage point behind Crowley at 90.58%. 

Nat Larson 61 42:25 93.72%     Rick Lee 62 43:25 92.44     Gene Dykes 75 50:38 91.50


MEN 40-44 Flynn, Daza and Dixon went 1-2-4 and 6th, as discussed above in the Overall section.

Fabian Daza finishing off his Overall Second Place Run at the 12K Masters Championships in 40:03

Joe Gaynor Garden State was a half-minute behind Dixon in 4th, followed by Mercer in 5th another 40 seconds later.

Brian Flynn 39:01     Fabian Daza 40:03     Michael Dixon 40:46

45-49 Genzel, Totten-Lancaster, and Angell went 3-4-5 overall. See discussion above in the Overall section. With just 24 seconds between first and third, this was the most tightly contested podium.

Robbie Genzel about to cross the finish line with 3rd place Overall and the 45-49 12K National Championship in his grasp

 Finishing 3 minutes behind the top trio, Shawn Williams Garden State won a terrific battle with Christopher Hernandez Genesee Valley Harriers, edging him for 4th by 2 seconds, in 43:45.

Robbie Genzel 40:27     Aaron Totten-Lancaster 40:35     David Angell 40:51

50-54 Gregory Putnam Central Mass Striders entered as the favorite. He finished 2nd last year in a loaded field. Two runners entered, Steve Bell Atlanta TC and Brent Fields Atlanta, are ahead of Putnam in the Grand Prix. But in their one meeting this year at the 10 Km Championships, Putnam edged Bell for the division win by 16 seconds, with Fields further back. Bell got out well and had almost ten meters on Putnam when they made the turn after the first Mile. Fields was another ten behind Putnam. Christopher Harris Atlanta was twenty meters back from Fields. Bell must have run into difficulty later in the race, whether due to weather or other factors. Putnam had no trouble. He pulled away from the rest of the field and had the win with almost a minute and a half to spare! That was his third consecutive division win at a national road championship this year! 

Gregory Putnam driving to the Finish to claim 1st in 50-54 and 7th Overall

Fields and Harris moved past Bell to take 2nd and 3rd in 42:36 and 43:12. Bell finished 4th, 28 seconds behind Harris. Bell managed to keep the rest of the field at bay, enjoying a ten second margin for his 4th place finish in 43:40. It was a battle to the finish for Gary Rosenberg Freedom-Garmin Project and Joseph Hegge Garden State, with Rosenberg taking 5th by a single second!

Gregory Putnam 41:12     Brent Fields 42:36     Christopher Harris 43:12

55-59 Brian Crowley Freedom-Garmin was back to defend his 2022 title; he won by over a minute and a half last year. It looked to be the same story this year as Crowley got out strong from the start and had 40 meters on the field when he took the first turn after the 1 Mile marker. Joseph Shairs Central Mass Striders was in 2nd, with a similar gap back to Scott Siriano Atlanta, and 10 meters further on to Mark Hixson Greater Springfield Harriers in 4th. Jeffrey Conston Shore AC followed in 5th, 45 meters back from Hixson, with John Hogan Garden State tracking him 20 meters back. Crowley pulled away gradually throughout the race. He ran just 9 seconds slower than last year's 42:23, and was, again a minute and a half ahead of the field. That gave Crowley back-to-back impressive performances last year and this!

Brian Crowley high-stepping it in for victory in the 55-59 Men's 12 k Championship, ahead of Brent Fields 50-54
Shairs hung tough, staying ahead of a fast-closing Hixson. Shairs claimed 2nd in 44:09, just 4 seconds ahead of Hixson. Shairs has started traveling to Masters Championships, along with his training partner from 50-54, Putnam. They were both at Boulder last October. After competing on home ground at the 10K, they both entered here and did very well. Siriano could not stay with Hixson when he made his move. But Siriano kept everyone else well behind him. It was over a minute back to the 5th-place runner. Siriano has had a good year in a highly competitive division; this was his best finish since taking third at the Half Marathon Masters Championships in Syracuse. Hogan was able to outsprint Conston to the finish line, taking 5th in 46:37, a single second ahead of Conston! A second consecutive dominant win in this championship cements Crowley's place among the very top few runners in the division.

Brian Crowley 42:32     Joseph Shairs 44:09     Mark Hixson 44:13

60-64 Nat Larson Greater Springfield Harriers, Rick Lee Shore AC, and Steve Schmidt Ann Arbor TC, who went 1-2-4 in the Age Grading contest are all from this division. See that section for added details. As noted, Lee took the turn after the 1 Mile marker first, but Larson was just a few meters back, biding his time, with Henry Notaro Shore AC right on his heels. Schmidt started more conservatively and was 80 meters back from those two when they made the turn. Lee is in training for the Berlin and, possibly, Chicago Marathons. Lee has an American Record for 60-64 at 2:42:42 as his challenge goal. Notaro is gearing towards Chicago. Both may have found the early pace unsustainable. In any case, Larson, who is the top gun in this division from the Mile to the Half Marathon, had no trouble with the pace. Lee, no doubt, found Larson at his side, and then in front and was unable to respond. 

First Turn-1 Mile In- From Left: Rick Lee #116leads Nat Larson #106 and Henry Notaro #341 in the 60-64 12K Championship with Chuck Terry #116 40-44, Joe Shairs #109 55-59 and Joseph Hegge #293 50-54

Larson pulled away to win by almost a minute. Lee is a fighter though, used to many different paces for many different distances. He was never under pressure from the rest of the field, taking 2nd with over a half minute cushion. It must have been later in the race when Schmidt was able to close the gap to Notaro and pass with determination. By the end of the race, Schmidt had 12 seconds on Notaro, claiming the final podium spot. 

Steve Schmidt powers towards the Finish Line to finish 3rd in 60-64, 4th in age Grading Overall and lead his Team onto the 60+podium

After Notaro crossed the finish line, it was 2 minutes and a tick before Lester Dragstedt Atlanta claimed 5th, almost a minute ahead of Michael Salamone Shore AC in 6th. The Larson locomotive continues to chug along at the front of the 60-64 division! 

Nat Larson 42:26     Rick Lee 43:25     Steve Schmidt 44:05

65-69 Roger Sayre Boulder Road Runners took the division win at the 10 Mile and Half Marathon championships earlier this year. That made him the favorite. The 10 Mile championships in Sacramento were on a flat, fast course like this 12K. At that event, Sayre won with an average pace of 6:07 per mile; if he matched that pace over a distance 2.56 miles shorter, he would run a 45:30 12 K. Of course, Sayre, like some others, is in the midst of marathon training. The Marathon training is in his legs; that might have slowed him down. He ran a 45:38 and was never challenged. He came in over 5 minutes ahead of the field. 

Roger Sayer, white singlet, leads the 65-69 field in the 12 K Championships running with Lester Dragstedt red singlet 60-64 and David Szostak #390 45-49

Michael Lebold Jamul Toads , primarily a middle-distance specialist, was just 15 meters back, but it was over 150 meters back to the rest of the field.  Lebold had a good outing, staying well away from the rest of the field to earn the silver medal. He showed that he is much more than a track guy! Scott Lucking Atlanta, who finished 2nd last year in 50:49, ran a gritty race to take 3rd, over a minute ahead of Joseph Knodel Morris County Striders, 4th in 53:44. Twenty-two seconds later, John Hadcock Greater Lowell Road Runners traveled from New England to claim 5th (and have a beer or two with his running rivals, no doubt). A virus infection on the eye and face kept Reno Stirrat from competing but he will be back in action soon.

Roger Sayre 45:38      Michael Lebold 50:51     Scott Lucking 52:34

70-74 James Linn New Jersey Pacers reminded us of his speed when he ran 5:52 to take 2nd at the 2023 Masters 1 Mile Road championships, in Indianapolis, ahead of a strong field. But he has endurance too, as exhibited by his 52:23 at this championship in 2021, finishing 6th in his last year in the 65-69 division. He would have competition! Fernando Moura Greater Philadelphia ran 52:08 to finish 3rd here last year. Kirk Larson Atlanta finished 20 seconds behind Linn in Indianapolis but the 1 Mile is probably not Larson's best event. He finished 2nd in 70-74 over 10K in Dedham, running 44:03. That is age grade equivalent to a 53:32 12K. Linn is on his game! He went out strong and had a lead of well over a hundred meters by the time he took the turn just after a mile of running. No one gained on him the rest of the way. Linn took the victory in 51:49, over a half minute faster than he had run in 2021! 

James Linn kicks it in for the 70-74 12 Km national championship!

Larson had another good day even though he could not keep pace with Linn. He took 2nd place four minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Moura must have had some challenges with his training; he ran 6 minutes slower than last year, finishing third. Bill Bosmann Shore AC ran four minutes faster than last year, finishing 4th in 58:44, 17 seconds behind Moura. Peter Auteri Shore AC finished 5th, 14 seconds ahead of Ward Irvin Atlanta.

James Linn 51:49     Kirk Larson 54:02     Fernando Moura 58:27

75-79 Dave Glass and Gary Ostwald have been battling all year for the top spot in this division, joined recently by Jim May and Keith Yeates. But late in the year is when the other shoe drops. A few speedy runners aged up over the late spring and summer. Gene Dykes was the one expected to cause the most trouble for that foursome. Dykes is known as a Marathoner and Ultra Marathoner but he typically competes on the track and at shorter distances on the track when it fits his busy schedule. He races much more frequently, and at longer distances, on average, than other runners. He finished 2nd last year, at the age of 74, losing to the 'new kid' in his age division. But his time was 2.5 minutes faster than the winning 75-79 time. It was the ame thing at the 5K in Atlanta this past February. Dykes finished 4th in 70-74 but his 21:22 was a minute and a half faster than the winning 75-79 time. Dykes did not run as often as usual this year; he was trying to get a health issue under control. But he was able to train enough not to lose 5K speed anyway or, if he lost speed, it was just temporary. He ran a 21:24 5K in mid-March. His next race at that distance was a strategic 5000 Meters on the track in 22:07, when he needed to save something for a 10,000M and 2000M Steeplechase a couple of days later. That was in July. And remember that Dykes is better at longer distances. Like Rick Lee, he would leave for Berlin and its famously fast marathon course a few days after this race. Dykes, too, is chasing an American Record for 75-79 at 3:18. In the meantime, there was this race to run. Dykes tends to go out conservatively as he likes to negative split. Ezequiel Garcia must have gone out hard as he was the first 75-79 competitor after Dykes to take the turn after the 1 Mile mark. He appeared to have been over a hundred meters behind Dykes. After Garcia, it was another 40 meters back to teammates, Jerry Learned and Glass. May was 30 meters back, followed a few strides later by Ostwald, with another 15 meters back to Yeates. Over the next 6.44 miles, Dykes pulled further away, winning in the end by over 4 minutes. 

Gene Dykes white cap taking the turn after 1 Mile On his way to the 70-74 National Championship and the Age Grading Podium

Dykes was happy; it was a good tune-up for the Berlin Marathon. Ostwald, like Dykes, apparently started conservatively as he passed Garcia, Learned, Glass and May and, by the end, had left them three minutes back. Ostwald not only had the silver medal, he had 95 Grand prix points, allowing him to wrap up the 75-79 title. There was a tight race for the final spot on the podium. Yeates and May were bearing down on Glass as they approached the finish. Yeates and May both passed, with the result that Yeates, May, and Glass finished in that order, 3rd, 4th and 5th, with 4 seconds between Yeates and May, and another 6 seconds back to Glass. 

Keith Yeates #136 wins the sprint to the finish, taking 2nd in 75-79 ahead of his teammate, Jim May with Jim Nicosia #337 55-59

Learned took 6th in 58:32, twenty-eight seconds ahead of Garcia.

Gene Dykes 50:50     Gary Ostwald 55:12     Keith Yeates 58:08

NOTE: Author's privilege -- I wrote in the preview that I, Paul Carlin, could run my best race of the year and not finish in the top 7 in 75-79, and I was right! I ran almost two minutes faster than last year, enjoyed my best age grade of the year, albeit by just 0.02%, and finished 8th. Great competition right now in 75-79!

80-84 Masters Hall of Famer, Doug Goodhue Ann Arbor continues to make progress in his recovery from knee surgery. He racked up his 3rd win of the year, after being assigned a 2nd place at Club Cross, this time with a winning margin of over 20 minutes. 

Doug Goodhue taking no prisoners as he sprints to the finish for the 80-84 win and a top 30 Age Grade finish!

If he keeps moving up, he will again become a regular contender for the age grading podium. In 2019, he was among the top 5 men in age grade score at three different events. He made it into the top 30 in this event. Tony Fiory jumped into the Masters 12 Km Championship for the first time and enjoyed his 2nd place finish, 2.5 minutes ahead of Daniel Kirsch who finished 4th last year.

Doug Goodhue 1:02:42     Tony Fiory 1:24:25     Daniel Kirsch 1:27:02

85-89 Last year, Roland Ratmeyer Clifton Road Runners finished 7th in 80-84. By aging up to 85, Ratmeyer found himself in a class by himself. He ran a couple of minutes slower but enjoyed the division win!

Roland Ratmeyer 1:36:01

WOMEN 40-44 Jennifer Pesce, Alexandra Niles, and Elizabeth Wakeling finished 1-2-4 Overall and go 1-2-3 in the division. See the discussion above of the Women's Overall Championship.

Alexandra Niles, flying to the finish and 3rd place overall in the 2023 Masters 12 Km National Championships

Kiernan Russo Shore AC finished 4th, 1:26 behind Wakeling. Lauren Jackson Shore AC finished 5th, another 52 seconds back, in 49:04.

Jennifer Pesce 44:31     Alexandra Niles 45:09     Elizabeth Wakeling 46:46

45-49 Euleen Josiah-Tanner T.H.E. TC finished 2nd here last year in 49:44 but has been running stronger this year than last. She wasted no time, getting out fast and opening up a 200-meter lead over her closest rival, Michelle Lavigne Unattached/NY, in the first mile. Lavigne had 20 meters on Hiroko Guarneri Atlanta, who had the lead int he 45-49 Grand Prix coming into the 12K. Guarneri was 30 meters ahead of Karyn Baig, with Crissa Thurman another 20 meters back. Josiah-Tanner kept her pace up and took the win in 47:33. It was a splendid run for Josiah-Tanner, two minutes faster than last year's effort. 

Euleen Josiah-Tanner kicks it in to take the Women's 45-49 national 12 K championship!

It also enabled her to take the lead in the Grand Prix. Lavigne could not keep pace with Josiah-Tanner, finishing 4 minutes behind her in 2nd. Lavigne enjoyed a cushion of just over a minute at the finish. Guarneri had a tougher time of it as first Baig, and then Thurman were able to work their way past her. Guarneri did cement a 2nd place position in the Grand Prix.

Euleen Josiah-Tanner 47:43     Michelle Lavigne 51:56      Karyn Baig 53:01

50-54 You don't break an American Record without winning your age division championship too. Shoemaker Potomac Valley did both. See the discussion at the beginning of this piece. It tops off a very nice year for Shoemaker. A Masters win at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in 1:00:37 and an American Masters win at the NY Mini 10K got things going in the spring. Summer included two fine Mile outings and now this American Record and National Championship. Abby Dean Greater Philadelphia did not have her best day. But it was still good enough for a fine 2nd place finish. 

Abby Dean bringing it home for a 50-54 Silver Medal at the 12 Km Masters Championships

Hortencia Aliaga Garden State was able to keep Dean in sight for much of the race but was not able to close on her. Dean took 2nd in 48:19, with 18 seconds to spare. Aliaga had a bigger cushion as Samantha Forde Impala Racing was 1:07 back in 4th, followed 1:02 later by Christie Nie Shore AC

Perry Shoemaker 44:39     Abby Dean 48:19     Hortencia Aliaga 48:37

55-59 Fiona Bayly Unattached/NY, despite some pain from a dental mishap shortly before race day, had her usual outing atop the 55-59 standings. It was not a day to try for a record, just a solid outing from start to finish. Bayly's 47:34 gave her the win. 

Fiona Bayly driving for the finish and another 55-59 national championship, this time at 12 Km

Lori Kingsley Willow Street AC had a solid 3-minute margin over the rest of the field, claiming 2nd in 50:18. Kingsley improved her time from last year by two minutes and moved up three places! Jacalyn Lembo Genesee Valley Harriers placed third at 53:33, adding this bronze medal to the one she won at the Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse. Fifty seconds later, Noriko Charnly Rose City RC crossed the line in 4th, followed 47 seconds later by Alyssa Risko Willow Street in 5th. Charnly, too, improved over last year, running almost a minute faster and moving up three places! Risko made top 5 in her first outing at this national championship. 

Fiona Bayly 47:34     Lori Kingsley 50:18     Jacalyn Lembo 53:33

60-64 Suzanne La Burt Shore AC and Kris Clark Athletics Boulder entered as co-favorites. La Burt finished 2nd in 55-59 here last year, on a warm day, in 50:10. Clark won the 60-64 division in Atlanta over 5K in 19:44, suggesting she could run well under 50 minutes for a 12 K. Both ran well! La Burt took it out strong, building up a 40-meter lead over the first mile. Clark ran tenaciously but could not cut into that early lead until late in the race. The final results showed her 11 seconds back from La Burt at the finish. But Clark had actually closed and passed La Burt, with a couple of hundred meters to go, before falling. La Burt then won the sprint to the finish when, at the last minute, Clark fell again, right before the finish line. 

Suzanne La Burt #313 kicking away to take the 60-64 national 12 Km title ahead of Kris Clark #174

Clark got up and somehow got across the finish line. Officials at the scene noted that she had crossed under her own power, without assistance. That must have cost her a few seconds. La Burt's time was almost a minute faster than last year at 49:15, with Clark at 49:26. What a dramatic finishMary Cass Liberty AC, having an excellent year herself, with wins at Richmond (XC), Syracuse and Dedham, was just 38 seconds back in 3rd place. Her teammate, Lauren Leslie Liberty AC took 4th in 53:37, with Clark's teammate, Inge McClory Athletics Boulder 32 seconds back in 5th. This La Burt/Clark rivalry could be a good one to watch in the next few years!

Suzanne La Burt 49:15     Kris Clark 49:26     Mary Cass 50:04

65-69 Nora Cary set the 65-69 American 12K Record on this course 2 years ago with a 51:09. In February of this year, she had a non-running mishap, broke her foot and needed surgery. Spring for recovery, summer for training to regain lost fitness and by early September, ran 21:55 at the Verona Labor Day 5K, just ten seconds slower than the year before. At the top of her game again, Cary not only won her age division, she finished 2nd in Age Grading! 

Nora Cary rolls to the finish and a 65-69 national 12 Km Championships along with the 2nd highest age grade score

Cary led a 1-2-3 sweep for Shore; Diane Rothman finished 2nd in 57:48, three minutes faster than last year. Susan Stirrat must have been happy! Not only did her team do well, she finished 3rd in 1:07:35, running 5 minutes faster than last year, and sewed up the 2023 65-69 Grand Prix! Antoinette Marmora Clifton Road Runners followed Stirrat across the finish line in 4th at 1:09:00, edging Judith Hudson Raritan Valley by just ten seconds.

Nora Cary 52:35     Diane Rothman 57:48     Susan Stirrat 1:07:35

70-74 On her way to the win in this division, Sabra Harvey Team red Lizard, the 2017 Masters Runner of the Year, ran a time that put her on the Age Grading podium. See that section above for more details. Her 59:01 gun-time resulted in a 58:58 net time which earned a PLP over 95.0%. 

Sabra Harvey strides to her 70-74 national 12 Km Championship and 3rd place in age grading!

Her teammate, Jeanette Groesz Team Red Lizard finished 2nd in 1:03:46, with a margin of over 5 minutes. Groesz ran two minutes faster than last year. Joann Coffee was 3rd in 1:09:24, with Roberta Geist 4th at 1:24:07.

Sabra Harvey 59:01     Jeanette Groesz 1:03:46     Joann Coffee 1:09:24

75-79 The incomparable Jeannie Rice had the win in this age division along with the American Record and the top age grading performance! Rice overshadowed fine outings by Sharon Gerl Team Red Lizard , 

Sharon Gerl claims 2nd in 75-79 at the 12 Km National Masters Championships

who took 2nd in 1:07:00, and by Barbara Donelik Shore AC, 3rd in 1:11:26, matching her 12K podium finish from last year. Cheryl Kohut Unattached/NY and Andrea McCarter Atlanta finished 4th and 5th.

Jeannie Rice 54:53     Sharon Gerl 1:07:00     Barbara Donelik 1:11:26

80-84 Sandy Folzer Greater Philadelphia repeated as 80-84 Champion. She was disappointed to run slower than last year, but a win is a win! 

Sandy Folzer takes her 2nd consecutive 80-84 National 12 Km Championship

As a repeat winner she is in the company oof runners like Fiona Bayly and Nora Cary, not bad company!

Sandra Folzer 1:28:10

85-89 Joyce Hodges-Hite Atlanta is also a repeat winner, taking this title unopposed, the oldest division winner at 86.

Joyce Hodges-Hite  2:09:05


Note: Teams may declare up to 5 team members; only the first 3 are scored. Times of the first three are added up. Cumulative time determines order of finish with lower times winning. [The order by cumulative or average time is the same; I report average times which are more intuitive.]

WOMEN 40+ Pesce led the Garden State Track Club TC to victory in the Women’s 40+ team competition. She, Niles and Wakeling had the top 3 times in the team competition. Garden state won by an average of 4 minutes per runner. Shore AC's Russo, Lauren Jackson, and Karen dos Santos had the 4th, 5th and 6th best times as Shore easily took 2nd ahead of West Valley TC. West Valley edged Shore AC 'B' for the final podium spot, with Fleet Feet/Essex, Atlanta TC, and Raritan Valley RR in 5th through 7th. This was Garden State's 3rd event, so they are now eligible for a Club Grand prix award. With these 100 points for 1st place at the 12K, they move up to 270 points. But West Valley earned 80 points for their 3rd place finish, raising their total to 280. They retain the lead by a whisker. Shore's 90 points moved them up to 255 points, and into 2nd place in the GP. It could be a shootout in Boca Raton, the last event of the 2023 series. Neither West Valley, Garden State, nor Shore have tipped their hand for Boca. None of the three are entered. If none enter then they finish 1-2-3 in that order. If one of them enters and the other two do not, that team will win the GP if they win the 40+ team race. If all three enter, Garden State needs to win. If they win, it does not matter where West Valley finishes; a tie winds up with Garden State the winner on the head-to-head tie breaker.

Garden State TC J Pesce, A Niles, E Wakeling, (A Bernstein, G Panepinto) 45:29 average

Shore AC K Russo, L Jackson, K dos Santos, K Monaghan-guaghan  49:46

West Valley TC M La Sala, K Rust, S Dusseau, A Knotts 53:12

50+ The same battle for the win took place in 50+ but the outcome was closer. GSTC's Aliaga came in first, 2:09 ahead of Shore's Nie. But then Marzulla came in 1:08 ahead of Garden State's Aspholm. At that point, GSTC had a 1:01 second edge. When Shore's Puma came in at 53:41, the clock started ticking. Shore would win if it got to 1:02. GSTC's Kim crossed the finish line 12 seconds after Puma. That gave Garden State the win by 49 seconds. Willow Street was nearly two minutes back in 3rd, followed by Greater Philadelphia, Impala, GVH, Raritan and Clifton in 4th through 8th. It is not all abut the podium at this stage. What is the implication for the 50+ Club Grand Prix? GVH was leading coming into this event. GVH earned 55 GP points for their 6th place finish, increasing their score on their best 5 events to 415. Impala was 2nd; their 60 points from 5th place raises their total to 370. Greater Philly's 70 points for 4th raised their score to 360. This is only the third event that Shore and Garden state have competed in. Their points raise their GP scores but with just one event left in the Grand Prix, they cannot make the podium

Garden State TC H Aliaga, K Aspholm, A Kim 52:26 average

Shore AC C Nie, A Marzulla, A Puma, (N McQueen, M Paul) 52:43

Willow Street AC L Kingsley, B Stalker, A Risko, (C Brackett) 53:21

60+ Shore got a solid win in this division over a strong challenge from Liberty AC. Shore's La Burt scored first, 49 seconds ahead of Liberty's Cass. Things were looking good for Shore when Cary came in 1:12 ahead of Liberty's Leslie. Grocki crossed the finish line next, giving Shore 3 runners in and the low score. Bok finished next for Liberty giving them a score that was 5 minutes slower than Shore. Clifton was over 26 minutes back in 3rd, with Shore 'B;' in 4th and Raritan in 5th. Despite missing the gold medals, Liberty clinched the 60+ Club Grand Prix. They are 190 points ahead with just one event to go! No one can catch them! Shore pulled into a tie with the Impalas 60+ team at 270. If both clubs enter a team at Boca, the team that finishes higher will get 2nd and the other third. in the GP.

Shore AC S La Burt, N Cary, D Grocki, (D Capko, D Rothman) 52:10 average

Liberty AC M Cass, L Leslie, V Bok 53:53

Clifton RR B Otarola, A Marmora, A Uebbing 1:06:09

70+ Harvey led the way for Team Red Lizard to go 1-2-3 and sweep the division with an average time of 1:03:16. Raritan Valley finished 2nd. With the win, Red Lizard moves into the Club Grand Prix lead, 40 points ahead of Atlanta with one event to go.

MEN 40+ In the team competition, Garden State 'A' finished 1-2-3-4-5 for a total sweep of the division; they averaged 39:53! In a tight contest for 2nd and 3rd, Shore AC prevailed over GSTC's B team by an average of 12 seconds a runner. Maranzani and Coleman came in ahead of their Garden State counterparts, getting enough of a cushion so that Whitehead could slam the door for the team! The Genesee Valley Harriers were 4 minutes behind, per runner, in 4th, followed by Freedom-Garmin, Raritan Valley, and Clifton. Beyond the immediate championship, GVH's 70 Grand Prix for 4th iced the GP win! GVH's GP leading score increased to 305. Shore picked up 90 points for their 2nd place, propelling them from 15th to 4th, with 180 points. Indiana Elite did not compete so they remain at 200, in 2nd place, and cannot catch GVH with just one GP event to go.

Garden State TC 'A' B Flynn, F E Daza, A Totten-lancaster, (J Gaynor, S Williams) 39:53

Shore AC J Maranzani, M Coleman, C Whitehead, (D Campbell, A M Soriano) 46:51

Garden State TC 'B' J Heap, J Demetrick, G Leaman 47:03

50+ Atlanta not only competed in the 50+ division but took the win. Fields, Harris, and Bell went 3-4-5 in the team competition, with just 1:04 between their 1t and 3rd runners. They took the win with a minute per runner to spare. It was very tight for the final two podium spots. Garden State and Freedom-Garmin were separated by just an average of two seconds per scoring runner. Freedom-Garmin's Crowley and Rosenberg came in ahead of their GSTC counterparts but Garden State's Cardoso finished close enough to their first two to settle the duel in favor of GSTC. After Freedom-Garmin in 3rd came the Greater Springfield Harriers, GVH, Shore AC, Clifton, NJ Pacers, Shore AC 'B', Raritan Valley, Atlanta 'B', and Fleet Feet Essex in 4th through 12th. In terms of the Grand Prix, Atlanta picked up 100 points to move from 310 to 410. GVH had been in the lead with 360 points. Their 60 points for 5th place moved their total to 420. Suddenly it is almost a tie for 1st heading into the final event of the season! Greater Springfield's 70 points for 4th place moved them from 180 to 250 and from 4th to 3rd in the standings.  Shore's 55 points for 6th place increased their GP total to 225, leaving them now in 4th place in the GP. Looks like some fireworks in Boca for this division!

Atlanta TC B Fields, C Harris, S Bell, (F Dolan, S Angove) 43:10

Garden State TC J Hegge, M Babin, M Cardoso, (J Hogan) 44:24

Freedom-Garmin B Crowley, G Rosenberg, B Bumgarner, (T Maglione) 44:26

60+ The Atlanta TC has been the juggernaut in this division winning the last 4 events they have entered and compiling a big lead in the 60+ Grand Prix. Shore AC found a way to stop them this time. Notaro supported Lee's winning time in the team competition with his #3 finish. That allowed Salamone to close things off with his 5th place. Their average time of 44:58 was untouchable. Atlanta claimed 2nd with an average time almost 3 minutes per runner slower. But the Dragstedt-Hannan-Black trio still had plenty of speed, enjoying a similar margin over the Ann Arbor TC. Trailing Ann Arbor in 4th through 8th were Shore AC 'B', Shore AC 'C', North Jersey Masters TC, Fleet feet Essex, and the Morris County Striders. Because Atlanta already has 5 events scored, their 90 points only increase their GP total by 50 points to 490. Shore's 100 points for 1st raised their GP total by just 20 points for the same reason. Their total rose from 440 to 460. That means no team can catch them for 2nd place in the Grand Prix. The win got Shore closer to Atlanta but now, with one event left, Shore cannot catch them. A win at Boca Raton would bring them within ten points of Atlanta but that is the limit. Ann Arbor's 80 GP points for 3rd place raises their GP total by 60 points from 315 to 375. That leaves them 70 points ahead of the Boulder Road Runners with one event to go. If Boulder enters a team for the 5 Km XC in Boca, they could still catch Ann Arbor and take 3rd place in the GP. They would need to finish 3rd or better in that race to finish 3rd outright in the GP.

Shore AC R Lee, H Notaro, M Salamone (D Schwartz) 44:58 average

Atlanta TC L Dragstedt, C Hannan, D Black (S Lucking) 47:40

Ann Arbor TC S Schmidt, L Sak, A Pratt (M Mester) 50:38

70+ The Greater Philadelphia TC had the fastest runner by far in Dykes but did not have the depth to win the division. Atlanta had its top three finish 2-4-6 in the team competition. That was enough for a 1 minute per runner advantage over Greater Philly. Greater Philadelphia, in turn, had over a minute per runner on the third-place team, Shore AC. Following in order were: GVH, Ann Arbor, Shore 'B', and Clifton Road Runners. In the Grand Prix standings, the Boulder Road Runners had been leading Atlanta 460 to 440. Boulder did not send a complete team to the 12K. Atlanta's win raised their total by 20 points because the 100 points from the 12k replaced one of their 80-point scores from an earlier event. That ties them with Boulder at 460. It will be a showdown in Boca! Boulder has the edge because their current low score is 60 while Atlanta's is 80. That means if Atlanta would win and Boulder finish 2nd, Boulder's GP total would be 490 to Atlanta's 480. If Atlanta wins and Boulder finishes third, they are tied at 480 but Boulder wins on the head-to-head tie-breaker. Atlanta has to win and hope two other teams beat Boulder. GVH's 70 points from their 4th place finish raised their total to 370 and locked up 3rd place! Both Boulder and Atlanta have complete teams entered with at least one insurance runner. Ann Arbor, the winner of the 2018 and 2019 70-74 Grand Prix did not compete in many events this year. Their 60 points raised their total to 255 and they stand in 5th place, 5 points behind the Syracuse Track Club. They cannot catch GVH, even if they entered a complete team and would win at Boca Raton.

Atlanta TC K Larson, D Glass, J learned (W Irvin) 56:58

Greater Philadelphia TC G Dykes, F Moura, T Jennings 57:58

Shore AC B Bosmann, P Auteri, K Wilson 59:16


The next and last race in the 2023 USATF Masters National Grand Prix is on October 7th at Boca Raton. Details at: 


  1. At about the 7 mile mark I was behind Yates, May, Garcia and Learned and managed to pass only my team mate and Ezekial before the Finish.

  2. Great job, as always. Thank you!

  3. Thank you, Paul Carlin, for your continually impressive devotion to reporting on the races. You're quite a treasure.

  4. Paul:
    You do a fabulous job - predictions & post race analysis. Sure do appreciate it! Thank you.