Friday, May 10, 2024

Records & Thrilling Competition at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 km Championships

 May 6, 2024 On Sunday, April 28th the James Joyce Ramble hosted the USATF Masters 10 Km Championships in Dedham MA for the tenth time. The weather was superb, with temperatures in the upper 50's under cloudy skies; winds were moderate. One American Record was broken and one stablished. Counting those two, there were seven age division course records smashed!

Over three hundred of the top Masters runners in the country were entered. They set off at 11 Am to test themselves and their rivals.

AMERICAN RECORDS [AR] Jan Holmquist, 79, lowered the W75 AR she set here last year by 15 seconds. Pending ratification, her new AR will stand at 49:46. Holmquist adds this to her three W70 records from 5 Km to 10 Km and her W75 8 Km mark. At this time next year, Holmquist will be running in the W80 division. Who says you cannot achieve great things in the last year of an age division? 

Jan Holmquist finishing off her Record-Breaking Ramble at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Edna Hyer celebrated her 90th birthday on Saturday and established a new mark for Women 90-94 on Sunday. Hyer’s 1:28:06 becomes the new AR once ratified.

Edna Hyer heads for the Finish Line, setting a new American Record for Women 90-94 at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

COURSE RECORDS [CR] Those two AR efforts smashed the CR's as well. In addition to Holmquist and Hyer, five other individuals set CR’s. Barbara Belanger, 87, broke the W85 CR, set in 2018. She lowered the record by over three minutes, from 1:24:58 to 1:21:41. 

Barbara Belanger set a new Course Record for Women 85-89 at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Joseph Gray, the Men’s Overall winner, lowered the 2023 Masters CR by just over a minute, dropping it to 30:44. That also becomes the new M40 CR. 

Joseph Gray leading out the Field on His Way to a new Masters Course Record at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Mario Vazquez turned 45 this year and lowered the M45 CR by well over a minute to 31:02. 

Mario Vazquez set a new Men 45-49 Course Record at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Gene Dykes, 76, lowered the M75 CR, set in 2022, from 44:38 to 43:56. Dykes adds this to his M70 AR of 39:02, set here in 2018. 

Gene Dykes left Strides to the Finish almost overtaking a 70-74 Athlete and setting a new Men 75-79 Course Record at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Jan Frisby, Two-Time Masters Age Division Runner of the Year in his 50's, turned 80 earlier this week; he celebrated with a new M80 CR of 51:57! 

Jan Frisby, a Towering Presence for the last Thirty Years at Masters National Road Championships, is about to set the Men 80-84 Course Record at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott 

It is worth mentioning that, as a result of Sunday's race, Dykes and Hyer now hold two CR's. Dykes added the M75 to his M70 of 39:02, set in 2018. Hyer added the W90 CR she just established to the W80 CR she set a decade ago that still stands at 1:17:31. Holmquist already held two, the W70 set in 2015 45:19 and the W75 set last year. She just added a little luster of the W75 by lowering it further. Nat Larson also holds two, the M55 set in 2018 at 33:22 and the M60, set last year at 34:24. For a complete list of the Masters and Masters Age Division Course Records, as of May 1, 2024, please scroll down to the bottom of this article.

All photos are courtesy of Michael Scott, ace photographer for the University of Rhode Island sports teams and, in his spare time, Chair of USATF's LDR Division.

OVERALL The mass participation entrants line up behind the Masters area and start four minutes after the championships. The fastest Open runners have the added goal of catching the top Masters athletes. It rarely happens.  MEN The main contenders were lined up at the front of the Masters starting area. These included: David Angell Virginia, Eric Blake Connecticut, Justin Freeman New Hampshire, Joseph Gray Colorado, Ben Jarret Massachusetts, Dickson Mercer Maryland, Brendan Prindiville Massachusetts, and Aaron Rowe Ohio

Angell won the overall championship here in 2017 and 2018 with sub-33-minute performances. Last year he finished third overall in 33:15. He won the Masters 5 Km Championships this February in Atlanta with a 16:03.

Blake took the overall win here in 2019 with a 32:17. He finished second to Vazquez at the Manchester Road Race last November. His 24:04 over the 4.748 Mile course equates via age grading to a 31:23.

Freeman finished second to Vazquez here last year in 32:17. His 49:31 in the Nealon Tune Up 15K in March equates via age grading to a 32:17; Freeman has lost nothing since last year. 

As a 16-time National Mountain Running and 2-time World Running Champion, Gray has the star power. In March of last year, Gray ran 1:05:28 in the Trials of Miles Project 13.1.

Jarrett clocked 33:44 at the Lone Gull 10K last September and followed that up with a 20:46 at the Super Sunday 4-Miler this February and a 51:20 at the Tune-Up 15K in March. All suggest he should be competitive in the mid-32 to mid-33-minute range.

Mercer was not at his best for much of 2023 but started to show a return to form later in the year. He finished fifth M40 in 41:55 at the Masters 12 Km Championships in Highlands NJ. His training picked up this winter/spring and he claimed second Masters at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler with a 53:17. That is age grade equivalent to a 32:16. 

Prindiville finished fourth overall last year in 33:38. His 21:20 at the Super Sunday 4 Miler in February and his 16:04 at the B.A.A. 5K in April suggest he is at least as fit this year.

Rowe finished fourth overall at the 2023 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships a year ago. This January he ran ten seconds faster at a 5 Km race in Florida.

When the gun sounded, Gray took the early lead before Vazquez moved to the front. Gray and Freeman followed closely with a gap back to a chase group in the making. 

Two Hundred Meters Into the Race, Joseph Gray leads, with Mario Vazquez barely visible behind him, followed by Robbie Genzel, Justin Freeman blue singlet, and Ben Jarrett red singlet at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Before they made the turn into the village, the blistering pace was too much for Freeman, who had been dropped, and was in 'no-man's land'. The leaders ran the first mile in 4:43! Vazquez made sure that Gray would have to earn a victory. In the end, Gray was able to work past Vazquez and pull away on the hills around the Noble and Greenough School between miles three and four; he held that gap on the final rolling uphill half mile, taking the victory with a hundred meters to spare. 

Joseph Gray captures the Overall Masters Win in the Men's Race at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

As noted above, his 30:44 set a new Masters and M40 Course Record. Gray reflected on the day in his social media post: "Career has officially come full circle from a young pup to the old man category...A blessing to be here! The ride continues..." It will be interesting to see if the ride continues in other championships this year. No doubt Gray has Mountain Running opportunities to pursue. Apparently, this championship also fit into a family gathering opportunity. Perhaps Club Cross, slated for University Bay near Tacoma WA on December 14th will attract Gray's interest as a chance to revisit his roots. He was just inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Hall of Fame. Mountain runners have often done well on the turf! His comment about going from a young pup to the old man category is ironic in that most of his rivals in this race viewed him as the 'young pup', new to Masters competition.

Vazquez ran 48 seconds faster than his winning time last year. He earned his 'Super Mario' designation again this year! As he aged up this year to the M45 group, Vazquez broke Freeman's record from last year. Freeman, despite having to run most of the racer alone, never let up and cruised across the finish line in 32:04, thirteen seconds faster than he ran in 2023. The rest of the contenders had a spirited race with Blake, Jarrett and Rowe getting out faster in the early stages and Angell and Mercer closing with them mid-race. Eventually Rowe was dropped from the chase group. With a mile to go 4th through 7th could have gone many ways. Blake had the most at the end. Within a ten-second spread, beginning at 32:50, Eric BlakeDickson MercerBen JarrettDavid Angell finished, in that order, 4th through 7th! Rowe and Prindiville finished eighth and ninth.

Joseph Gray 30:44     Mario Vazquez 31:02     Justin Freeman 32:04

A finalist in the 3000 Meter Steeplechase at the 2011 USATF Outdoor Championships, Stephanie Pezzullo North Carolina was gunning for her first Masters Road Racing National Championship. She battled at the Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta with April Lund gaining the win in a sparkling 16:58. Pezzulo's 17:27 is age grade equivalent to a 35:37. In early April she made that equivalence look good with a 35:17 at the Charlotte Racefest 10K. Pezzulo was ready to roll.

Her main competition would come from Beverly Antunes MassachusettsElizabeth Camy California, Erin Genova Massachusetts, Jennifer Lutz Massachusetts, Perry Shoemaker Virginia, and Melissa Stellato Connecticut

Antunes finished second here last year in 38:00. She has, apparently, focused more on tri- and duathlons than road races recently. Would that impact her readiness for this race?

Camy ran a 2:46:09 marathon at Grandma's last June and a 2:46:41 at Bakeline McKirdy's Marathon. More relevant marks include a 1:18:30 at the Surf City Half Marathon this February, suggesting a fitness consistent with a sub-37minute 10K. Camy ran in Boston 13 days before this race, with very warm conditions. That may have been a sensible dialing back of pace or Camy may have had a very tough day over the 26.2 from Hopkinton to Boylston Street. She ran 2:46:51 at Boston in 2023 and almost ten minutes slower this year. Would the thirteen days from the 15th to the 28th be enough to fully recover?

Genova clocked 24:00 at the Super Sunday 4 Miler and 58:52 at the March Tune Up 15K. Taken together those suggested a time between 37:30 and 38:30 over 10K should be within Genova's reach.

Melissa Stellato far left, Stephanie Pezzullo #315, Jennifer Lutz barely visible behind Pezzullo, Beverly Antunes yellow singlet back left, and Abby Dean blue singlet, visible above Pezzullo's left shoulder are among the leaders of the Women's field at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Lutz, at the B.A.A. 10K last June, had the honor of finishing 2nd Masters behind Edna Kiplagat's 32:46. Lutz's 37:32 left everyone else well behind. At Lone Gull three months later, Lutz was the top Masters athlete at 36:47. This spring, her 56:56 at the Tune up 15K demonstrated her fitness; the age grade equivalent for 10K is 37:14.

Shoemaker, out of the W50 division regularly competes with athletes in their 40's. At the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler this April, Shoemaker, now 52, lowered her own American Record by three seconds, to 1:00:34. She came in ahead of every 45–49-year-old, finishing fifth Masters, just thirteen seconds behind the silver medalist. Her two earlier races this year were a 1:21:33 at the Houston Half Marathon and 29:15 at the Town Bank 8K at the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach. All three 2024 races point suggest a sub-38 10Km would be a sure thing and a sub-37 might not be too far a stretch.

Stellato has run an 18:33 and an 18:59 5K this year. That suggests her fitness should enable her to match pace in the upper 37 to low 38 range.

If Pezzullo was looking for redemption after finishing second in Atlanta, it came in spades! Pezzullo traversed the rolling hills in 35:35, finishing more than a minute ahead of Camy, the silver medalist at 36:43. 

Stephanie Pezzullo captures the Overall Masters Win in the Women's Race at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Apparently Camy had recovered well from Boston. Although had she come in fresh, perhaps she could have kept pace with Pezzullo for much of the race. Lutz took third at 37:06, with Genova fourth at 37:30, and Shoemaker fifth just four seconds back at 37:34. Stellato and Antunes finished fifth and sixth. 

Stephanie Pezzullo 35:35     Elizabeth Camy 36:43     Jennifer Lutz 37:06

AGE DIVISION National Women’s Champions were crowned in divisions from 40-44 to 90-94. W40 The top four finishers overall were from this division; see that discussion of the contenders. Pezzullo, Camy and Lutz finished 1-2-3 in this division as well, with Genova just off the podium in fourth despite cracking 38 minutes!

Elizabeth Camy finishes off her Silver Medal run Overall in the Women's Race at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Stephanie Pezzullo 35:35     Elizabeth Camy 36:43     Jennifer Lutz 37:06

W45 Primary contenders included Allyson Casey Massachusetts, Euleen Josiah-Tanner Georgia, Ginger Reiner Massachusetts, and Linda Spooner Massachusetts. 

Casey's two winter/spring races this year were, like so many others from the Greater Boston area, the two USATF-NE Grand Prix races, the Super Sunday 4 Miler on Superbowl weekend and the Frank Nealon Tune Up 15K (for the Boston Marathon). Casey clocked 25:36 and 1:00:32 respectively at the 4 Miler and 15K. Those efforts were consistent with a 10 Km race being run around 40 minutes, perhaps below, perhaps above.

Josiah-Tanner had the 10-K fitness in March of 2023 to finish 4th W45 from a 39:27 at the 10 Km race at the WMA Indoor Championships in Poland. Whether she has that kind of 10 K fitness at this point is questionable. Her recent training had been to sharpen her indoor track fitness. At the USATF Masters Indoor Championships in March, Josiah-Tanner won the W45 division in the 3000 Meter Run in 10:58.54. That would be age grade equivalent to a 38:45 10 Km. But, of course, an equivalency from a 3000M to a 10,000M is probably too optimistic when one has been focusing on shorter races. 

Reiner was the Overall champion here in 2017 with a 37:09. Seven years later, Reiner does not have that kind of speed. But she is still dangerous, especially within her age division. Last year she finished third in this division with a 40:26. Her 25:04 at the Super Sunday 4 Milers and 1:01:58 at the Tune-Up 15K are consistent with a 39:30 to 40:30 10 Km effort.

Spooner races a lot, almost every weekend through much of the year. Her most recent race results that inform us of her fitness for the 10 km Championships include: the Middletown 5K on April 7, 19:30; the Heidelberg to Hudson Half Marathon on April 13th, 1:28:37; and the Lexington 5 Miler on April 15th, 32:22. The first equates to a 39:50, the second to a 41:04, and the third to a 40:30.

There was no clear favorite on paper. It turns out that the athlete who races the mot frequently, Spooner, had the best day. Spooner was able to crack 40 minutes with her 39:50, finishing ten seconds ahead of Casey. 

Linda Spooner closes in on the Finish Line and her Women 45-49 Win at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott 

Josiah-Tanner did a good job with the transition from Indoor Track fitness to 10 Km road race fitness, clocking 40:19 to land the final podium spot. Reiner had a slightly off day, perhaps, but still a fine run, finishing 21 seconds after Josiah-Tanner.

Linda Spooner 39:50     Allyson Casey 40:00     Euleen Josiah-Tanner 40:19 

W50 Perry Shoemaker who factored into the overall championships, finishing just a few seconds out of fourth, had no trouble winning this division. 

Perry Shoemaker approaching the Finish Line in Fourth Place Overall and first in the Women's 50-54 Division at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott 

The next two podium spots would be hotly contested though. Karolyn Bowley Massachusetts, Abby Dean Delaware, Samanth Forde California, and Heather Webster New York formed the primary contender group.

Bowley finished fifth overall last year and second to Dean in the W50 division, with a 38:19. She raced to a 24:35 4-Miler on Super Sunday and a 58:45 at the Tune Up 15K. Those two races reinforced the notion that a sub-39 minute 10K would not be out of Bowley's reach. 

Dean finished four seconds ahead of Bowley last year, finishing fourth overall and first in the division. Dean was recovering from surgery last year and is again this year. But she does not seem quite as far along as she was last year at this same time. In 2023, she was able to win the W50 division at the Masters 5 Km Championships in February with a 19:19. This year she ran a minute slower in finishing third in the division. Breaking 40 minutes would be a nice result this year but might be out of her reach.

Forde finished 16 seconds ahead of Dean in late February at the 5 Km Masters Championships. But two added months of training for Dean might well eliminate that edge. Forde did not run here last year. But her division winning 1:06:40 at the Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento in early April last year is equivalent on age grading to a 40:28. Five months later, Forde ran a 41:28 10K. Somethig around 41 minutes would seem a plausible expectation.

Webster finished second in the 45-49 division five years ago with a 40:55 effort here. She has raced sparingly in recent years. Last summer she ran 26:42 at the Buffalo Subaru 4 Miler, equivalent to a 42:15 and in December ran 19:42 at a 5K, equivalent to a 40:15. Because neither race is well known it is hard to put too much faith in those equivalencies. The lack of 2024 road race results in Athlinks also reduces confidence in fitness on this race weekend. 

Despite the uncertainties, the on-paper predictions worked out pretty well. After Shoemaker took first, Bowley had no trouble taking second in 39:37. Dean demonstrated her improved fitness with a 40:03 effort to take third, fifty seconds ahead of Forde. Webster trailed Forde by 1:41, claiming fifth in 42:34.

Perry Shoemaker 37:34     Karolyn Bowley 39:37     Abby Dean 40:03

W55 The contenders included Jody Dushay Massachusetts, Mimi Fallon MassachusettsHronn Gudmundsdottir California, Susan Mix Massachusetts, and Kathleen Shaw Connecticut.

Dushay finished fourth here last year in 42:30. Her 26:40 4-Miler on Super Sunday was age grade equivalent to 42:07 for a 10K.

Fallon finished twenty-seven seconds ahead of Dushay here last year, finishing third in the division. This year she finished fourth W50 at the Masters 5K Championships in late February at 21:17, 1:05:25 at the Tune Up 15K and a 43:24 10K at the Cooper River Ridge Run. Those times are all slightly slower than one might expect if Fallon had 42 flat fitness. They could be an indication of a training interruption that set Fallon back.

Gudmundsdottir did not run here last year but she did run at Atlanta in the 5 Km Championships this past February, finishing a half minute ahead of Fallon, third in W50. Her 20:45 equates to a 42:33 10Km. That reinforces the impression from Gudmundsdottir's performance in the 2023 Masters Ten Mile Championships in Sacramento last April; she finished second at 1:10:13, age equivalent to a 42:30. 10K effort.

Mix demonstrated great fitness in early February with her 24:52 4-Mile effort on Super Sunday. That equates to a 39:17 10 Km. Her New Bedford Half Marathon time, a month later, of 1:29:23 is equivalent to a 41:08. That tempers the impression from the 4-Miler but it still suggests a time around 40 minutes or so for a 10 Km would be within Mix's reach. And that is better than any of the other contenders.

Shaw finished fifth here last year, sixteen seconds behind Dushay. Her 33:10 in the Manchester Road Race last November is equivalent to a 43:29 10K. Shaw also ran a 1:35:43 half marathon at the UA NYC HM. That would be equivalent to a 44:01 10K. But conditions for that race this year were brutal so that equivalency would provide an underestimate of Shaw's fitness. Still, it appears a sub-43-minute 10 K here would be a good result this year.

Mix's Super Sunday effort turned out to be a better predictor than the New Bedford HM. Mix claimed the win with over two minutes to spare, cracking the 40-minute barrier with a 39:47. 

Susan Mix finishing her winning performance in the Women 55-59 Division at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott 

Gudmundsdottir showed that her 5K margin over Fallon would still hold up over 10 Km. She finished in second place, just ten seconds ahead of Dushay. Fallon ran well but, in the end, traded places and times with Dushay. This year Dushay had the 42:03 and the final podium spot; Fallon had the 42:32 and fourth. Shaw finished fifth a half minute behind Fallon. Places six through eighth were still up for grabs with a half mile of rolling hills left between the athletes and the finish. In the end it was Jennifer Hegarty Massachusetts, Melissa Chiti North Carolina and Julie Craig Massachusetts finishing in that order with just eight seconds between them! It was a dominant victory for Mix.

Susan Mix 39:47      Hronn Gudmundsdottir 41:57     Jody Dushay 42:07     

W60 Mary Cass Massachusetts and Suzanne La Burt New York have dominated this division. Cass won almost every race she entered in 2022 and early 2023. But then midway through 2023, La Burt enjoyed her 60th birthday. Some of the races have been close since then, but La Burt has prevailed over Cass each time they have met. Cass won here last year in 41:43. But La Burt ran a faster 41:09, finishing second in W55. Cass finished 48 seconds behind la Burt in Atlanta this February over 5K, taking second in 20:41. In the 12K last September, Cass finished third in 50:04, 49 seconds behind La Burt. Other strong runners in the field included Trish Bourne Massachusetts and Beth Stalker New York. Bourne clocked 43:08 here last year, finishing fifth in W55. Last August she ran a 35:10 5 Miler at the Bobby Doyle race. Stalker ran 1:08:31 at the Stockade-a-thon 15K last November 12th, equivalent to a 44:32. Two weeks later, Stalker showed that equivalence may have been a bit pessimistic; she clocked 43:52 at the Troy Turkey trot. La Burt was able to win again, breaking 41 minutes this time, and putting a minute and seven seconds between her and Cass. 

Suzanne La Burt heading for the Finish Line and the Women 60-64 Division Win at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott 

That is La Burt’s largest victory margin over Cass so far, showing how competitive their rivalry is every time they meet. But Cass was still well ahead of everyone else. Bourne was 46 seconds behind Cass in third. Stalker, off her best, ran 45:23 to finish fourth.

Suzanne La Burt 40:59     Mary Cass 42:06     Trish Bourne 42:52

W65 Nora Cary New Jersey is the favorite based on history and recent performance. Cary is the American W65 Record holder in the 12 Km at 51:09, set in 2021; that is a 6:52.5 pace over 7.44 miles! In terms of recent performance, Cary ran a 43:23 10K at the Essex County Cherry Blossom 10K in early April. Were it not for Stella Gibbs California entering, Cary would be the prohibitive favorite. The reverse would also be true! Gibbs last competed here in 2022, winning the W60 division with a terrific 42:24 effort. That was two years ago; age grading allows for a loss of 1:09 over those two years, suggesting if she ran with the same effort as a 62-year-old as she did as a 60-year-old, her time would likely be very close to the time that Cary ran in April. Gibbs demonstrated similar conditioning at the Masters 5 Km Championship in Atlanta two months ago when she won W65 with a 21:14, equivalent on age grading to a 43:42 10K. 

There is a substantial gap from those two to the rest of the field. Liz Champagne VermontAlda Cossi Massachusetts, and Debbie Perry Connecticut would battle for the final podium spot. Champagne won the division here last year at 49:25. Her 1:16:12 in the Tune Up 15K in March suggested that she enjoys similar fitness this spring. Cossi did not compete here last year but she ran 51:25 at the Lone Gull 10K in September. More recently, Cossi finished 9th W65 in Atlanta at the 5 Km Championships with a 25:06. Her Tune Up effort in March was 1:17:52, over a minute and a half slower than Champagne. Perry ran a 25:11 5K in March and 50:11 at the Middletown 10K in early April. The paper trail favors Champagne but Cossi and Perry would certainly concede nothing to her. 

As expected, Cary and Gibbs enjoyed a tight battle for the win. Over the final rolling kilometer, Cary had just a little more than Gibbs, escaping with the win by just 7 seconds! 

Stella Gibbs sprints to the finish, missing the W65 gold medal by just seven seconds at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Gibbs had her in sight but could not close when she needed to. It was several more minutes before the three-way duel for the bronze medal played out. Champagne was able to pull away from the other two to earn the bronze medal with a half minute to spare. 

Liz Champagne about to Cross the Finish Line and Collect the Bronze Medal in the Women 65-69 Division at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Cossi was able to hold onto the fourth-place finish by a single second over Perry!

Alda Cossi outlasts Debbie Perry, just, as they finish 4th and 5th in the W65 Division at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Cary and Gibbs will meet again and enjoy renewing and extending the rivalry. But on this day it was a great win for Cary! 

Nora Cary 42:58     Stella Gibbs 43:05     Liz Champagne 49:42

W70 Four competitors entered. Ronni Komarow Massachusetts and Francoise Levinson Georgia would vie for the win. Alice Miller Massachusetts and Denise Piekos Massachusetts would battle for the bronze medal. Komarow won this division in the Open race, not the Championship, last year with a 57:45. She ran 59:39 at the Boston 10K for Women in October. In January, 2023, Levinson ran 48:18 in a virtual 5 Miler, virtually equivalent to a 1:00:40 10K. In February of this year, she ran 27:31 at the Leap Day 5K, equivalent to a much more competitive 56:49 10K. Miller finished second to Komarow in the Open race last year, finishing in 1:02:05. Earlier this April she ran 1:06:15 at the Cohasset Rotary 10K. Piekos ran 1:07:48 to finish 2nd W70 in the Masters Championship last year. This March she ran 53:19 in the Irish Clover 5 Miler, equivalent to a 1:06:59 10K. This spring's races favor Levinson over Komarow. Miller's time last year was much faster than Piekos's this spring. And Miller's time this spring, though closer to that of Piekos, is still faster.

Levinson did, in fact, outrun Komarow, capturing the win with 55 seconds to spare. 

Francoise Levinson about to Cross the Finish Line and Claim the Win in Women 70-74 at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott 

A good seven minutes later, Miller crossed the finish line, having left Piekos three minutes behind.

Francoise Levinson 56:10     Ronni Komarow 57:05     Alice Miller 1:04:51

W75 This division belongs to Jan Holmquist Massachusetts, the defending champion and reigning W65 10K American record holder. She did not disappoint, running faster than last year to win in a new American Record time of 49:46. The silver medalist, Andrea McCarter Georgia, was over twenty minutes back. McCarter was happy with the silver medal, contributing to her team and snatching 95 points for the Masters National Grand Prix. Four minutes later, Joan Tremberth Maine, the silver medalist here two years ago with a 1:09:04, crossed the finish line in third.

Jan Holmquist 49:46     Andrea McCarter 1:11:18     Joan Tremberth 1:15:16

Andrea McCarter finished 2nd in Women 75-79 at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott 

W84 No Entries 

W85 Since joining the 85-89 division, Joyce Hodges-Hite Georgia has become a regular atop the division podium. She won all six championships she entered last year and the first two this year. But at the 10Km she faces opposition from Barbara Belanger Massachusetts. Belanger's credentials include two sub-40-minute 5K's last fall and then in January. That compares favorably to the 50:08 time that Hodges-Hite turned in to win the Masters 5 km Championships in Atlanta. It is quite likely that the course in Atlanta, known for its hills, is more challenging than those courses. But Belanger appeared to have the edge. Belanger delivered on the promise, clocking 1:21:49 to claim victory by a substantial margin. Hodges-Hite enjoyed the silver medal and added 95 points to her quest for a second consecutive Grand Prix title.

Barbara Belanger 1:21:49     Joyce Hodges-Hite 1:48:35

W90 As noted above, there was no one listed as a record holder among women 90 and over. It is possible, perhaps even likely, that a 90-year-old woman has raced in a 10 Km before. But, if so, it was either on a course that was not record eligible or in a race not sanctioned by USATF or not reported to USATF for any reason. So hats off to Hyer for being the first 90-year-old woman to officially hold the 10 Km American record! She has run in national championships before. She won the 80-84 division championship here in 202 in 1:25:12. Two years later Hyer is still running strong. Her 1:28:18 was fast enough to finish ahead of three runners in the Championship who were younger.

If Hyer sets her mind to it and is willing to travel, we could easily see her establish or lower W90 American Records at several distances!

Edna Hyer 1:28:18

National Men’s Champions were also crowned from M40 to M90.

M40 The Overall podium contained one M40, Gray, the winner, and two M45's. The other two M40's who were mentioned as contenders, Dickson Mercer and Ben Jarrett, join Gray on the M40 podium. Aaron Rowe, who finished 23 seconds behind Jarrett, finished fourth in the division.

Joseph Gray 30:44   Dickson Mercer 32:55     Ben Jarrett 32:58

Overall Chase Pack Forming -from Left-David Angell #151, Aaron Rowe sunglasses/headband, Matt DiPretore blue singlet, Brendan Prindiville #180, Dickson Mercer #63, Steve Bell red singlet, and T.J. Unger green/white singlet behind Mercer and a host of Other Top Masters Athletes [Anyone for 'Where's Walldo?'?] at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott 

M45 The top runners in this division were contending for the Overall win. See that discussion above. Vazquez, Freeman and Blake finished 1-2-3. 

Justin Freeman finishes his race, collecting the Bronze Medal Overall and the Men 45-49 Silver Medal at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott 

Blake's strong finish netted him the final division podium spot. Angell, ten seconds behind Blake, finished fourth; Brendan Prindiville finished fifth in 33:45.

Mario Vazquez 31:02     Justin Freeman 32:04     Eric Blake 32:50

M50 Mark Andrews New York, Richard 'Rocky' Falcone New Jersey, and, perhaps, Robbie Genzel Colorado would likely be on the podium. If any of those three were off their best, Steve Bell, Frederick Dolan or Jesus Muniz could take their place. 

Andrews was the overall winner here in 2016. The owner of a Thanksgiving 34:35 10K last fall and a 16:28 third-place finish in the Masters 5 Km Championships in late February, Andrews seemed poised for a run at the gold medal. The 16:28 is age grade equivalent to a 33:33. That is probably too optimistic, as 5K equivalences to 10K performances often are. But a time around or under 34 minutes seemed reachable for Andrews. 

Falcone finished seventh overall and second in the division here in 2022 with a 33:38. His 56:03 at the Credit Union Sactown Ten Miler in early April equates to a 33:54 10K.

In March of 2022, Genzel raced to a 24:57 in the Running of the Green Lucky 7K in Denver. ordinarily that would equate to a 35:52. But as the performance was at altitude it suggests a slightly faster time at sea level, closer to 35:30. That does not seem to be as fast a time as Andrews and Falcone are capable of, but it was also not so recent. Unfortunately, the only recent performance I find is his 14th place in M50 at Club Cross in Tallahassee last December. It is hard to know how a Cross Country result translates to the roads. It is true, though, that Genzel came in ahead of runners, in that race, who have sometimes made successful runs for a divisional podium.

Bell and Dolan are Atlanta Track Club teammates. Bell finished fourth at 17:02 at the Masters 5 Km Championships in late February; Dolan was 53 seconds back in fifth. Six weeks later, Dolan ran 2:56:13 at Boston. Perhaps that Marathon training would pay off better in a 10K than a 5K? With no races since the 5K reported for Bell, it is harder to judge fitness at the end of April. Muniz was almost three minutes behind Falcone at the Sactown Ten Miler. His 59:00 translates to a 35:41 10K. Similar equivalencies can bb drawn to his other work, the 1:18:13 at the Clarksburg Half Marathon and the 22:30 at the Great Race, over 4 Miles, last April. 

When the gun sounded, Gray and Vazquez shot to the front. Not far behind was Genzel. The others adopted a more measured start. One of the top ten finishers commented that Genzel was in the lead pack through most of the first mile and a half. That may have hurt him when the other top division runners closed on him later tin the race. Andrews pulled out the win at 34:09, holding off Falcone by just three seconds! 

Mark Andrews withstands the Challenge from Richard Falcone to Claim the Men 50-54 Gold Medal at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott  

Genzel could not stay with Andrews and Falcone when they passed him, but he kept Dolan, Bell and Muniz well back. Dolan reversed the tables on Bell, finishing a single second ahead of him this outing, fourth in 35:24. Muniz finished a half minute after Bell, in sixth.

Mark Andrews 34:09     Richard Falcone 34:12     Robbie Genzel 34:45

M55 Normally Joseph Shairs and his training partner, Gregory Putnam, are running in tandem at these championships. Shairs was on his own this time as Putnam is rehabbing two stress fractures in his pelvis. Shairs looked impressive on paper. He finished fifth in M50 last year with a 36:09. Being the new kid on the block this year in M55 makes that time look more impressive! His work at the Super Sunday 4-Miler, 22:57, and at the Tune-Up 15K, 55:47, reinforced the view that Shairs should run well under 37 minutes. His main competition would come from Mark Hixson Connecticut, Gregory Picklesimer Massachusetts, and Brett Stoeffler Connecticut

Hixson finished fifth here last year in 37:12. Later in the year, at the Faxon Law 20K, he ran a 17:48 in their 5K race, equating to a 36:22. This past March, he clocked 18:19 at the O'Hartford 5K, more in line with a 37:26. Taking those two races together, it suggested an effort much under 37 minutes might be a stretch for Hixson. 

On March 3, Picklesimer ran 22:43 at the 4-Leaf Clover 4 Miler; a week later he ran 29:28 at the Irish clover 5 Miler. The first equates to a 35:43; the second to a 36:51. Six days after his 3:17 Marathon at Boston, he ripped a 17:34 5K at the Spring Classic, equivalent to a 35:52. Any residual effects of the Marathon had little effect on Picklesimer's 5K prowess. Given that 5K, it is hard to see how that marathon would make a big difference in a 10K thirteen days after Boston. It seemed Picklesimer should go under 37 and perhaps close to 36 minutes.

Stoeffler finished second here last year in 36:20. Earlier this month, Stoeffler showed that was no fluke by racing to 36:37 at the Middletown 10K in Connecticut. He appeared ready for a low 36-minute effort or better. Putnam was at the midpoint at the Greenough and Noble Schools and at the run into the finish, cheering on his running partner. Shairs did not disappoint. Hixson went out right on his heels, but Shairs was able to pull away and cross the line in first with 24 seconds to spare. 

Joseph Shairs strides to the Finish Line and the Men 55-59 Win with Mark Zamek from 60-64 a few strides back-at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott 

Despite Stoeffler's best efforts to close at the finish, Hixson finished strong to keep Stoeffler at bay. The final difference on the line was just two seconds! Pickelsimer crossed the finish line 24 seconds later in fourth. Fifth and sixth went to Jason Cakouros Massachusetts and 2023 M55 Masters National Grand Prix champion, Scott Siriano Georgia

Joseph Shairs 36:07     Mark Hixson 36:31     Brett Stoeffler 36:33 

M60 Nat Larson, who holds every M60 American record from 1 Mile to the Half Marathon, was expected to win this race. With Mark Zamek dialing back his road race expectations to focus on prep for track accomplishments this summer, and Rick Lee dropping off the Shore AC team and participating for fun, the challenges to Larson might be less intense. Last year, Larson set the M60 AR with a 34:25. He ran a 1:16:19 Half marathon in Houston in January. That would seem blazing fast for most sixty year olds but is almost a minute slower than Larson ran in May of 2023, setting the AR at 1:15:27. Still that Houston time is age grade equivalent to a 34:46 10Km effort. 

Zamek was third here last year in 36:12; that was his first road race with a full training block leading into the race. Zamek pressed Larson in the 8 Km USATF XC Championships in Richmond, VA this January before Larson pulled away for the win in the last kilometer. It seemed as if Zamek might challenge Larson. But Zamek is managing proximal hamstring tendinopathy and has decided, for now, to focus on track goals this summer. That meant he would run hard for the team but would not worry about pressing Larson.

Lee did not run here last year but finished 2nd in 2022 with a 36:39. Lee is mainly a marathoner and ultra marathoner but also enjoys racing at almost every distance and over almost any terrain. With Lee, this year as in most, his spring focus is on being prepared to go for an Age Division record at Boston and, barring that, to win the division. He finished second at Boston this year, but first American. His next big goal is South Africa's Comrades Marathon, over 89 Km (about 55 miles). His most recent comparable road race to this one was his first place at the Gate River Run. His 56:10 gave him the single year age record for 62-year-olds, a nice feather in his cap for one of the iconic road races. [Bill Rodgers won the first Gate River run in 1978.]  Lester Dragstedt Georgia and Jay Littlepage Colorado would also be in the mix. Dragstedt was the leader in the 2024 M60 Masters National Grand Prix coming into the 10 Km; he won the Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta with an 18:18. He was seventh last year in 38:43 but has been running better than ever recently. His Atlanta time is age grade equivalent to a 37:26. It seemed a time under 38 minutes might well be within Dragstedt's reach. Littlepage, despite looking forward to aging up into the 65-69 division this summer, is still competitive in this age division and could play a role. His recent 18:59 at the Carlsbad 5000 suggests he can run under 39 minutes. He is a longshot for the podium, but longshots sometimes get there, nonetheless.

But everything unfolded about as expected. Larson won by over a minute but did not match his record-setting pace of 2023. Larson took first in a tick under 35 minutes. 

Nat Larson just after Crossing the Finish Line in 34:59 and Collecting his Men 60-64 Win and his Gold Age Grading medal at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Zamek ran four seconds faster than last year but was still a good minute astern of Larson. Lee arrived 24 seconds later, in third. Dragstedt did break 38 minutes, finishing fourth at 37:48. Littlepage could not stay with Dragstedt but was able to finish at 39 minutes flat, six seconds ahead of David Black Georgia, to claim the fifth spot in M60. Perhaps more importantly for Littlepage, though, he was able to close within fractions of a second of the 65-69 winner. 

Nat Larson 34:59     Mark Zamek 36:08     Rick Lee 36:32

M65 Up until the day before the race it appeared there would be a tight contest between Roger Sayre Colorado, David Westenberg Massachusetts, and Ken Youngers Georgia. But Sayre's hamstring flared up and he decided to play it safe to be sure to race another day. He is focusing, I believe, on being fit for the World Masters Athletics Championships later this summer in Sweden. That left Westenberg, the defending champion, and Youngers, who won in 2022, as the primary contenders. Westenberg was not pressed last year and, with the Outdoor track season coming up, cruised to victory in 39:19. The other complicating factor was that Westenberg trained for and ran in the Boston Marathon, experiencing a tough day with the heat. Would that have an effect thirteen days later?

The winning time for Youngers in 2022 was a sparkling 37:46. But last year at this time, Youngers was dealing with some health issues. Those are largely under control, but recent results do not suggest Youngers would be as competitive as he was in 2022. Youngers finished third in Atlanta in late February, clocking 18:55. That is consistent with a sub-39-minute 10K. Norm Larson Vermont, John Blaser Iowa, and Kevin Dollard New York might also play a role. Larson finished behind Westenberg, Sayre and Youngers at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Richmond in January. Larson's 26:21 at the Super Sunday 4-Miler in February and his 1:05:24 at the Tune Up 15K in March, suggested a 10 Km time in the 41-to-42-minute range would be likely. Blaser finished third last year in 42:01, suggesting he would give Larson a run for his money. Blaser's results this spring suggested some caution in that view. Blaser ran 21:38 in a St Patrick's Day 5K and 44:47 at a 10K in early April. But neither race may have been a 'full effort.' Dollard ran 20:36 to finish seventh at the Masters 5 Km Championships in late February, consistent with a low 42 10K effort.

Whether the marathon had any residual effect on Westenberg or not, he had no trouble cruising to victory again, winning in 39:00 this year, nineteen seconds faster than in 2023. 

David Westenberg strides ot the Finish and 1st place for Men 65-69; Jay Littlepage M60, Staying Close at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Youngers did not have quite as fast a time as I expected; but he still finished second in 40:34, with plenty to spare. Sixteen seconds later, Larson claimed third. Blaser ran almost as fast as last year, taking fourth in 42:09, forty-six seconds ahead of Dollard, who finished fifth.

David Westenberg 39:00     Ken Youngers 40:34     Norm Larson 40:50

M70 Richard Larsen who clocked 40:43 to win here in 2022, did not enter. Robert Qualls won this race last year in 41:43. But he is absent this year, regaining fitness after Covid slowed him down for a bit. Neither James Linn, who finished second to Qualls in Atlanta in 19:43, nor Richard Larsen, the winner here in 2022 in 40:33, were entered. As a result, it turned into a highly competitive race, with lots of strong runners who were fairly evenly matched. The list included: John Barbour Massachusetts, Doug Bell Colorado, Douglas Chesnut Texas, Jim Foster New York, Kirk Larson Georgia, Don Morrison Pennsylvania, Joe Reda Wisconsin, Reno Stirrat New Jersey and a newcomer to Masters national road championships, Richard Boyle Delaware.

Barbour, known as a top Cross Country runner, is also dangerous on the roads. He finished fourth in M65 last year in 42:08. Four years earlier he won the M65 title in 38:37. This spring his 1:06:14 in the Tune Up 15K suggested a time around 43 minutes might be possible. 

Bell ran 43:56 at the Longmont Turkey Trot last November, at altitude. This February he finished fourth at the 5 Km Championships in 21:06, equating roughly to a low 42-minute 10K.

Chesnut, Bell's teammate, started running with them a couple of years ago and has become a staunch supporter who occasionally outruns Bell. Chesnut finished seven seconds ahead of his teammate, 2nd in this division in the 2023 5Km Championships with a 20:44. He ran ahead of Bell at the 5 Km XC and even with him at Club Cross. That suggests he, too, should be in the 42 to 43-minute range.

Foster finished the better part of a minute ahead of Bell and Chesnut at the Club Cross Country Championships. Foster finished fourth here last year in 44:53. 

Larson finished 2nd here last year in 44:03. His 22:06 at the 5 Km Championships in February and 45:23 at a 10 K in March suggest it would be a stretch for Larsen to run a 44 flat this year.

Morrison finished forty seconds ahead of Larson in Atlanta; his 21:25 equates to a 43:37. His 35:47 at the Valley Forge 5 Miler, equating to a high 44 minute 10Km  in April tempers that enthusiasm, but not by much; it is, apparently, a challenging course.

Reda last competed regularly on the circuit five years ago when he won the M65 Masters National Grand Prix. That tour included a second-place finish in M65 to Barbour in 39:30. Reda won his age division at the Carlsbad 5000 earlier in April at 20:23. That equates to a 41:47. His 1:31:06 at the fast Mesa Half Marathon, i February, reinforces the notion that a sub-42-minute 10Km might be within Reda's reach. If so, that would make Reda the favorite.

Stirrat, after a year and more of rehabbing and racing at the same time, appeared to be approaching full fitness. His training had gone well. In 2019, Stirrat finished third to Barbour and Reda in 40:04. He also finished third in 2022 with a 41:11. Last year was an off year where he ran for team points, finishing fifth in 43:46. His 43:19 at the Cherry Blossom 10K in April, built hope that Stirrat might crack 43 at Dedham.

Boyle ran a 35:09 at the Ashenfelter 8K last November, just seven seconds slower than Stirrat. That equates to a 44:15.

Reda did take the win, as the paper record suggested, but not by a large margin. In their rematch, Reda ran 43:20, beating Barbour by eleven seconds. 

Joe reda captured the Win in the Men 70-74 Division at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

With a half mile to go, there were still five runners in contention for the final podium spot. Bell pulled his teammate, Chesnut, through; they claimed third and fourth in 43:45 and 43:48. It was ten seconds back to Stirrat in fourth, followed two seconds later by Boyle at 44 flat! Boyle was followed by Larson, Foster, and Morrison seven, twelve, and sixteen seconds later. All told, there was just a tick over half a minute between third and ninth place! That is a packed, competitive outcome. The race was amazing in that respect!

Joseph Reda 43:20     John Barbour 43:31     Doug Bell 43:45

M75 Gene Dykes Pennsylvania, the American M70 and M75 Record holder in the Marathon, has been the preeminent road racer (and ultramarathoner) of this division for the last six years. He has had some health challenges that slowed him down substantially at times. But otherwise he has been almost unbeatable at most distances on the roads. He set the 10 Km AR for M70 on this course in 2018 with a 39:02 effort. He plans on racing at Boston in the marathon every year. Between that and fitting in other races on the roads and trails, he has not often fit this race in. He was active on the circuit in 2018 when he won the Masters National Grand Prix. He seems interested in running enough events this year to win again. He came into this event with wins at Richmond on the turf and in Atlanta at the 5 Km road championships. His win in Atlanta at 21:15 equates to a 43:15 over 10Km. Projections from 5 Km are always a bit problematic but no one else seems close. Gary Ostwald Colorado, the defending champion, won at 46:07 last year. He finished second at Richmond, almost a minute behind over 8Km of turf. Dave Glass New York finished second here last year in 46:53. But he had heart surgery for a balky valve at the end of 2023 and was not expected to be fully recovered. Jerry Learned Georgia, at this time last year, was just getting over a health problem that had made training, and therefore racing, difficult. He was well back at 49:59. But he improved rapidly after that. By the fall he finished sixth at the 12 Km Championships and second at the 5 Km Cross Country Championships. This February, Learned finished third at the 5 Km Championships in Atlanta with a 23:35 that equates to a 47:35 10Km. That is not fast enough to compete with Dykes and Ostwald but puts him in a good spot to compete for the podium. His three main rivals for that spot were New Englanders, Allan Bates Massachusetts, Gordon MacFarland Vermont, and Marshall Randolph Massachusetts. Bates ran 48:23 here last year, finishing 8th in M70. This March he clocked 48:05 at the Holyoke St Pat's 10K. MacFarland's credentials are not quite as strong. His 31:54 at the Super Sunday 4 Miler in February and 1:21:05 at the Tune Up 15K in March suggest a time in the 51-52 range would be likely. That also fits with his 51:11 at Lone Gull last September. Randolph finished over five minutes ahead of MacFarland at the Tune Up 15K; his 1:15:38 equates to a 49:03 10K. 

Dykes had no trouble cruising to a win in 44:01, winning with a minute and a half to spare. 

Gene Dykes setting out on the 6.2 Mile Tour of Dedham that resulted in a Win in the Men 75-79 Division and a New M75 Course Record at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

That gives Dykes 300 points in the Grand Prix. Based on recent years he will need over 450 points to win the Grand Prix. That means he needs podium finishes, preferably wins, in two more events to lock things up.

As expected, Ostwald was the best of the rest, taking second with a minute to spare. Learned more than lived up to expectations, clocking 46:38 to claim the final podium spot with more than a minute to spare. The three Cambridge Sports Union teammates, Randolph, Bates and MacFarland finished 4th, 5th, and 6th, in that order, clocking 47:57, 48:03 and 48:50. Still in the doldrums, I, your author, Paul Carlin, finished 7th in 51:39. Glass was not as competitive as he hoped but everyone was happy to see him out there competing again. He finished 8th in 54:44. While nothing is ever certain in the late 70's, most of us expect Glass to be competing for the podium again by the time the Ten Mile Championships roll around at the end of August. 

Gene Dykes 44:01     Gary Ostwald 45:32     Jerry Learned

M80 Jan Frisby Colorado turned 80 the week before this event. Everyone expected him to be top of the division. Last year he felt he went out too aggressively on the hills, but still ran 52:12. At the 5 Km Championships this February, he ran 25:01 which equates to 50:35 for a 10K. That is probably too optimistic but a projection of low 52-minute range or better is not. None of his New England 65 Plus rivals appeared to be running nearly as fast. Richard PaulsenPhilip Pierce, and Clayton 'Zeke' Zucker seemed likely to be on the course for close to or over an hour. Paulsen finished 9th in M75 last year at 1:00:25. His 51:35 at the Lexington 5-Miler earlier this spring equates to a 1:04 10K. Pierce ran the Beach to Beacon 10K last August in 1:21:19. That was probably an off day. In November he ran a 34:54 5K that suggests something closer to 1:10 for a 10K. Zucker finished eighth in M75 a year ago with a 56:22. His 38:11 outing in February at the Super Sunday 4 Miler suggests something in the 59 to 60-minute range.

Frisby, indeed, had no difficulty with the win. His 52:02 gave him a winning margin of over ten minutes! Frisby credited the better time this year with being more conservative on the hills. Zucker claimed the silver medal with his 1:02:27. Four minutes later, Paulsen crossed the finish line in third.

Richard Paulsen captured the Bronze Medal in the Men80-84 Division at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Pierce was nine minutes behind Paulsen, in fourth.

Jan Frisby 52:02      Clayton 'Zeke' Zucker 1:02:27     Richard Paulsen 1:06:15

M85 Jerry Levasseur is the defending champion; he won the division last year with a 1:39:35. This year he ran 49:13 in a St Patrick's Day 5K, which translates to a 1:38:51. Ram Satyaprasad joined the 85-89 division last summer. As the 'new kid on the block' he became the favorite. In 2022, Satyaprasad ran 1:17:59 to finish 7th in M80 as an 83 year old. Apply two years of aging to that and age grading suggests a 1:22 to 1:23 equivalent for an 85-year-old with the same relative fitness. In early March this year he ran 1:17:04 in the Irish Clover 5 Miler. That translates to something like mid 1:30's for 10 Km. Either way, Satyaprasad would seem to have the edge on Levasseur.

The Irish Clover 5 Miler was the better predictor as one might suspect. Satyaprasad claimed the gold medal in 1:31:46. 

Ram Satyaprasad claimed the victory in the Men 85-89 Division at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Levasseur crossed the finish line 11 minutes later in second place.

Ram Satyaprasad 1:31:46     Jerry Levasseur 1:42:45

M90 Lawrence Cole was the first 90-year-old to compete at Dedham since Nathaniel Finestone in ran away with the 2019 title in 1:22:28. 

Lawrence Cole won the Men 90-94 Division at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Cole, unopposed, ran for the win. 

Lawrence Cole 1:37:35

AGE GRADING Age Grading awards are based on chip time. The age grading score, the Performance Level Percentage (PLP), identifies the runners, across all age divisions, who had the best performance relative to the best times in the world. Top honors on the Men’s side went to Nat Larson 61, whose 34:59 netted a 93.62 PLP. That gave Larson his third age grading win of the year; he has been the age grading champion at the two cross country events and the 10 Km this season. 

Nat Larson center,  white singlet stays close to the Overall leaders in the Early Going towards his Division and Age Grading win at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Vazquez’s 2nd place Overall effort qualified for the Silver Medal, scoring a 91.84 PLP. Rick Lee 63 closed off the podium with his 36:32 that earned a 91.33 PLP. 

Rick Lee #200 Heads for the Finish Line, earning Bronze Medals in the Men 60-64 Division and in Age Grading at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships hosted by the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Mark Zamek 61 claimed fourth; his 36:08 earned a 90.64. Justin Freeman 47, the bronze medalist overall, finished fifth at 90.38.

In Women's age grading, Holmquist’s AR effort was off the charts at 101.57%. She wins her second consecutive age grade gold medal at these championships; last year she graded at 98.93%. 

Jan Holmquist red singlet sets out on her extraordinary 100%+ Age Grading Tour of Dedham at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott 

Nora Cary 69 was not far behind; her 42:56 earned a 99.81% PLP. That gives Cary her third age grading win this season, adding to her top finishes at Club Cross and USATF Cross Country championships!

Nora Cary closes in on the Finish Line, her W65 Win, and her Age Grading silver medal at the 2024 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships at the James Joyce Ramble Photo Credit: Michael Scott 

The youngster on the podium, Stella Gibbs 65, claimed the bronze age grading medal at 94.12 from her 43:04. Cash prizes at this championship go five deep. Perry Shoemaker’s 37:33 at age 53 netted a 92.85, and Suzanne La Burt 60, nipped Mary Cass 62, for the fifth spot by 0.05 percentage points at 92.68. 

TEAM: WOMEN W40+Three Greater Boston teams vied for the W40+ victory. The Tracksmith Boston Hares, in their first appearance at a national road race championship, took top honors with 1:59:24 39:48 per athlete, three minutes, or a minute per scoring runner ahead of the second place Battle Road TC. Battle Road edged the Boston Athletic Association B.A.A. for second by a mere six seconds overall or two seconds per runner! The top two Hares, Erin Genova and Susan Mix finished 2-3 overall and their number three runner, Jody Dushay was the first #3 runner to score for her team. In the contest between Battle Road and the B.A.A., Jennifer Lutz was the top finisher, giving Battle Road a big initial lead. The B.A.A.'s Amanda Waters clawed back 16 seconds of it and Heather Capello another 2:09 but they fell 6 seconds short as a team. The Manchester Running Company was 4 minutes back in fourth with the Greater Lowell Road Runners fifth at 2:10:01.

Tracksmith Boston Hares 1:59:24 39:48 per scoring runner     Battle Road Track Club 2:02:26 40:49     Boston Athletic Association 2:02:32 40:51

W50+The Impala Racing team traveled all the way from the San Francisco Bay area to take the W50+ title home at 2:05:05 or 41:59 per runner. The new Liberty Athletic Club 50+ team put up a good fight but finished 8 minutes or about 2.5 minutes per runner behind. Liberty took 2nd, however, ahead of the Willow Street AC, out of Greater Albany NY, with over 4 minutes to spare. Finishing second in your debut at a national championship is an accomplishment! The closest contest was between Willow Street and the 4th place Genesee Valley Harriers GVH. The difference in total scoring time was less than a minute or 19 seconds per runner. Shore AC took fifth at 2:25:35. Samantha Forde and Hronn Gudmundsdottir went 1-2 in the team contest, making it easy for their third scoring runner, 65 year old Stella Gibbs, to close things out with her fine 43:05, the fifth fastest time in this team contest. In the contest between Willow Street and GVH, Heather Webster got GVH off to a big lead but Willow Street's Anne Benson won back 15 seconds and then their #3, Colleen Brackett, finishing just 28 seconds behind Benson, took back everything else they needed for their 55 second edge.

Impala Racing Team 2:05:55 41:59     Liberty Athletic Club 2:13:50 44:37     Willow Street Athletic Club 2:18:09 46:03

W60+ The Shore AC prevailed in their W60+ battle with the Liberty AC. Their 2:15:25, averaging 45:09 per athlete was almost two minutes faster overall, or about a half-minute faster per runner than Liberty AC. Liberty was over ten minutes faster overall than the third-place team, GVH. The Greater Lowell Road Runners finished 4th at 2:31:04, or 50:22 per runner. The Manchester Running Company finished fifth at 2:40:48, 53:36 per runner. Suzanne La Burt got Shore off to a good start with a #1 finish in the team contest. Because Mary Cass is such a tough runner, that only gained Shore about a minute. Their #2 runner, Nora Cary, delivered the goods, finishing 4th overall in the team contest and by far and away the top #2 scorer. She bumped Shore's lead up by over 4 minute. That was good. It meant that Debbie Brathwaite could give back some of the lead without Shore losing out. Brathwaite was the second fastest #3 runner but Liberty's Virginia Bok was faster. But she was not close to 5 minutes faster so Brathwaite closed the deal for Shore. 

Shore Athletic Club 2:15:25 45:09     Liberty Athletic Club 2:17:03 45:41   Genesee Valley Harriers 2:27:27 49:09  

W70+ The Atlanta Track Club brought a W70+ team as well, consisting of Francoise levinson, Andrea McCarter, and Joyce Hodges-Hite. They won this division championship unopposed with a cumulative time of 3:56:03, an average time of 1:18:41 per athlete.

Atlanta Track Club 3:56:03 1:18:41

MEN M40+The M40+ contest was local; the top four teams were from Greater Boston. The ‘new kids on the block’, Tracksmith Boston Hares took the win, with an average time of 33:48, almost a minute per runner faster than the Notch Athletic Club and the venerable Boston Athletic Association B.A.A. in second and third. The HFC Striders finished 4th, at 1:46:39 and the Willow Street AC  was the highest finishing team from outside New England, fifth at 1:47:53. Although, to be fair, had the Hares not recruited a super-fast 'Boston Hare' from Connecticut as their outside member, things would have been much closer. The top two runners for the Hares, Eric Blake and Brendan Prindiville finished 1-2 in the M40+ team competition. Their combined time of 66:35 made their third scoring runner's job easy. The best 1-2 score from any other team was for the 2nd place Notch Run Club at 69:22. That 2:47 spread meant that Jason Reilly only had to finish less than 2:46 seconds behind the Notch's third runner to present the victory to the Hares. No worries! Notch's third runner did come in ahead of Reilly, but only by two seconds! Notch had the tightest scoring pack with just eight seconds between first and third.

Tracksmith Boston Hares 1:41:24 33:48 average per runner     Notch Running Club 1:44:09 34:43     Boston Athletic Association 1:45:06 35:02

M50+ The Atlanta Track Club made their trip north worthwhile as they took the M50+ title with a total time of 1:49:23. Their average time of 36:48 was a half-minute per runner faster than the second place Greater Springfield Harriers who totaled 1:50:52. The HFC Striders came out ahead in the battle for the bronze medals, edging the Somerville Road Runners by a minute and 15 seconds, or by 25 seconds per runner. Shore AC took 5th at 2:04:53. 

Nat Larson, dropping down from M60 for Greater Springfield, had the fastest #1 time among the top five teams. The top Atlanta runner, Frederick Dolan, was just 25 seconds behind Larson. More importantly, Dolan and his teammate, Steve Bell, almost crossed the finish line side by side. Bell's time was a second slower than Dolan's. That not only wiped out the 25 second advantage, it put them 41 seconds up on Greater Springfield. Atlanta's #3 runner, Brian Sydow, had the fastest time among #3 team runners. His 38:34 closed out the scoring in style for Atlanta. HFC was able to edge Somerville largely because their top two runners gave them a 1:21 advantage over Somerville. When the #3 runners for HFC and Somerville finished just six seconds apart, it was all over and HFC had the bronze medals.

Atlanta Track Club 1:49:23 36:28     Greater Springfield Harriers 1:50:52 36:58     HFC Striders 1:56:24 38:48

M60+ In M60+ Atlanta and Shore AC out of New Jersey finished 1-2 ahead of the Greater Lowell Road Runners. Atlanta’s 1:57:28, 39:10 average, was almost four minutes faster than the second-place team, 1:18 per runner. The third place Greater Lowell Road Runners were almost 7 minutes slower than Shore but were more than four minutes ahead of the 4th place team, GVH. The total time of GVH, 2:12:18, average of 44:06, was six minutes faster than the HFC Striders, in 5th with 2:18:28, averaging 46:10 per runner. Atlanta's 1-2-3 of Lester Dragstedt, David Black and Ken Youngers had the 2nd, 4th and 6th fastest times within the 60+ team contest. They ran away with it. There were no close team races in this division.

M70+The individual M70 race was very close but the front end of the M70+ team race was not close.  The Boulder Road Runners made the longest trip among the winners and enjoyed a dominant M70+ win at 2:13:05, averaging 44:22 per athlete. That was two minutes per runner faster than the second place Atlanta team. Boulder's 1-2-3 of Doug Bell, Douglas Chesnut, and Gary Ostwald had star power in their top 2-with the #2 and #3 times overall in this team contest. And they had the second tightest #1 to #3 spread at less than two minutes. Ostwald had no trouble wrapping up the victory! Atlanta had over 5 minutes on the third-place team or an average difference of almost two minutes per runner. The contest for the bronze medals was close. The Cambridge Sports Union took third ahead of Shore AC with the classic tight pack vs. the team with two strong runners but who struggled to find a third runner of similar caliber. There was less than a minute between CSU's #1 and #3. Shore's first two runners, combined, gave them an 8-minute advantage but #3 took it all back for CSU. Shore finished 4th at 2:25:46, averaging 48:36. Greater Lowell claimed fifth at 2:27:51, averaging 49:17 per runner.

Boulder Road Runners 2:13:05 44:22     Atlanta Track Club 2:19:05 46:22     Cambridge Sports Union 2:24:50 48:17

M80+The New England 65 Plus Runners Club turned out two M80+ teams and went 1-2, the ‘A’ team of  winning with an average of 1:10:52 per runner. The A team of Zeke Zucker, Richard Paulsen, and Donald Clukies turned in a total time of 3:32:34, averaging 1:10:52 per runner. They defeated their B counterparts by a little over 52 minutes or 17:24 per runner.

New England 65+ Runners Club A 3:32:34 1:10:52     New England 65+ Runners Club B 4:24:46 1:28:16


The new set of Masters Course Records at the James Joyce Ramble, as compiled by yours truly, Paul Carlin, is:

Masters National Grand Prix excitement continues to build; the athletes head next to Danville CA for the USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships on May 19th. They are hosted by Devil Mountain/Mile of Truth for the first time!

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