Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Two American Records Fall Amid Thrilling Races at the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships


May 22, 2024 It was a picture-perfect day for a race around the picture-perfect small town of Danville, CA. Under blue skies with bright sunshine and 60 degrees, three waves of Masters runners traversed the two circuits around downtown. The Women ran first at 9:35 AM, followed by Men 60 Plus, followed by Men 40 Plus. A record number of Masters Mile entrants, 211, divided themselves evenly over the three waves. Team Blue Sky, who put on the event, and the town of Danville, did themselves proud! The races went off like clockwork.


One American Record was equaled and one broken. Sue McDonald Unaffiliated is the 60-64 World Record holder for the Mile and 1500 Meters on the track. She matched the 5:44 Road Mile record, set by the legendary Kathy Martin in 2013. 

Sue McDonald wins the 60-64 Division, the Women's Age Grading, and Ties the American 60-64 Record for Women at the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Captivating Sports Photos

Carol Mikkelsen Impala Racing, from the oldest age group, 85-89, broke one of the newest American Mile Records, the 15:25 set by Joyce Hodges-Hite last year. Mikkelsen smashed it by almost a minute, racing to 14:28! Several other athletes got close. To be fair, although the road conditions were excellent except for one under construction turn, the course does involve 8 righthand turns; a number of other record-eligible courses have as few as two. Jacob Nur SRA Elite finished three seconds over Tom Bernhard’s M65 record. Sonja Friend-Uhl Florida Track Club SE finished within seven seconds of Doreen McCoubrie’s W50 record.

OVERALL Men’s 40+ This was Neil McDonagh’s Square State Striders third Masters Championship competition and his first on the roads. He finished fourth at the 2022 Boulder 5 Km Masters XC Championships. Three months later, he chased Ben Bruce around the 8 km Pole Green course in Richmond VA, finishing second in 25:26. 

Men 40 Plus Race at the Start in the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit-Strava post by Darren Morgan

McDonagh, who lives and trains at altitude in Colorado Springs, is originally from San Francisco. I can imagine that family and friends might have been in the crowd. Whether or not, McDonagh put on a show. 

The M40 Plus Race is On! At the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Kristin Schleicher

He enjoyed a 5-meter gap on the field when they made the first turn at 300 meters. It never got any closer, despite the best efforts of Grant Johnson Excelsior Running Club and Mario Fraioli West Valley Track Club. Two weeks earlier, Johnson had won the Pacific Association Championship s at the Patagonia 5K with a swift 15:37. Fraioli won the Masters race here last year in 4;38. McDonagh gave neither of them a chance, winning wire to wire in 4:31. 

Neil McDonagh cruising to a significant Overall Win in the Men's 40Plus race at the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Captivating Sports Photos

Johnson was second, two ticks slower than the winning time last year, with Fraioli another three seconds back in third. 

Mario Fraioli #108 and Grant Johnson vying for the silver medal in the Men 40Plus Race at the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Kristin Schleicher

Halfway through the race, Mike Madsen Run Flagstaff was able to move past Cesar Lira Excelsior RC into 4th. He was not able to close on Johnson or Fraioli but claimed fourth in 4:44, three seconds ahead of Chikara Omine, in fifth. Lira, with the same time as Omine, was sixth. 

Cesar Lira with a slim mid-race lead on Lee Klarich in the M40 Plus Race at the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Strava post by C Lira 

Juan Rivera, just off of Lira's elbow, finished seventh with the same time. Chettle finished eighth, just one second behind Rivera. Madsen finished fourth overall out of the 50-54 division for the second consecutive year; he must be doing something right! McDonagh enjoyed his first Masters National Championship!

Neil McDonagh 4:31     Grant Johnson 4:38     Mario Fraioli 4:41   

In the Women’s race, the top five contenders were: Elizabeth Camy Cal Coast TC, who just claimed the silver medal overall at the Masters 10 Km national championship at 36:42; Sonja Friend-Uhl Florida TC-SE, the 45-48 American Record holder at 5:07, who won this overall championship at the 2019 Mile Championships in Flint MI; Courtney Quirin Strawberry Canyon TC, who, in 2017, ran 4:41 for a 1500M. roughly equivalent to a 5:07 Mile; Kristen Rohde who claimed the first Masters spot in Portland, OR's Shamrock Run this spring at 18:36; and Megan Syal who took the overall win at the Livermore Half Marathon in 1:25:34. 

Mid-Race Action-Top Three Women--From Left: Elizabeth Camy, Courtney Quirin, Kristen Rohde at the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Posted by E Camy on Facebook

On paper it did not look as if Rohde had the mixture of speed and endurance to get the win. But no one told Rohde! Over the last 200 meters, Rohde separated herself to take the win in 5:15, three seconds ahead of Quirin and six ahead of Camy. 

Kristen Rohde gets the Overall Win in the Women's Race with three seconds to spare, at the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Captivating Sports Photos

Friend-Uhl, who appeared to lose a second or two at the start, finished fourth in 5:25. Three seconds later, Syal finished fifth.

Kristen Rohde 5:15     Courtney Quirin 5:18     Elizabeth Camy 5:21

Men’s 60+ This race featured three fleet runners from 60-64 and two extra fleet, for their age, 65-69-year-olds. Daniel Filip Wolfpack Running Club was the wild card. He ran a 23:56 4-Miler in the 2019 edition of the Los Gatos Great Race. I could find nothing more recent in Athlinks, nor in the 2024 Pacific Association race results, nor by searching on Strava. Updating that four-miler by five years and adjusting for distance if relative fitness has not changed, gives an equivalent 5K time in 2024 of 19:15. That is a very good time for a 60–64-year-old but not competitive at the top end nationally. Kevin Ostenberg HOKA Aggies, in contrast, ran a 17:25 5K to win the 60-64 division at the Carlsbad 5000. Ostenberg's 5:14 mile time in 2022 was good for 5th place in the 60-64 division at the Masters 1 Mile Championships in Rochester NY. Ray Knerr Cal Coast TC has no more easily searchable road race results than Filip. Unlike Filip, Knerr has participated in a number of Cross Country championships over the years. The most recent found was the 2022 USATF XC Championships in San Diego. Knerr ran the 8 km course in 33:29, finishing a half minute ahead of John Borthwick. Borthwick, who finished 5th in the Mile Championships in Indy last year with a 5:11, would have been a top contender here, but pulled out due to injury. Like Filip, I can find a 2019 road result for Knerr, an 18:12 5K that can be aged up to about a 19:01 5K five years later. Apparently, Filip and Knerr are aging more gradually than age grading would suggest. They ran with Ostenberg the whole time and were right there at the end. It was a near blanket finish! Filip got the win in 5:20 with Ostenberg and Knerr at 5:21 and 5:22 for second and third.

Daniel Filip headed for the win in Men 60Plus. Two competitors are out of sight behind Filip, with J Nur white singlet and D Westenberg orange cap in fourth and fifth. At the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Captivating Sports Photos

Scott Lacrosse SRA Elite, who had finished third in the division at the Sactown Ten Mile recently, was three seconds behind in fourth.

Daniel Filip 5:20     Kevin Ostenberg 5:21     Ray Knerr 5:22


Women 40-44 See discussion of Women's Overall above. Rohde, Quirin and Camy are all from the 40-44 division. When they went 1-2-3 overall, they also picked up 1-2-3 in 40-44. 

Megan Syal finishing fifth overall ahead of Amy Crain in the Women's Race at the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Strava post by M Syal 

Syal, fifth overall, was fourth in the division in 5:27.

Kristen Rohde 5:14     Courtney Quirin 5:17     Elizabeth Camy 5:20

Men 40-44 See discussion of the Overall Men 40+ race above. McDonagh, Johnson, and Fraioli all belong to the 40-44 division. When they went 1-2-3 overall, they went 1-2-3 in 40-44. Lira and Rivera, fifth and sixth overall finished fourth and fifth in this division.

Neil McDonagh 4:31     Grant Johnson 4:38     Mario Fraioli 4:41

Women 45-49 Alyson Barrett West Valley, Jacqueline Cooke Impala Racing, Amy Crain Unaffiliated, and Claire Saxton Wolfpack appeared to be the fastest four entries in a strong field. Cooke, Barrett and Saxton were all here last year. Cooke took the W45 win in 5:23. Barrett ran 5:42 to finish third in 40-44, while Saxton ran in the Open race, clocking 5:45. Crain, meanwhile, had clocked a 19:56 at a Turley Trot 5K last November. She ran 2:57:18 at Boston this year. In 2019, Crain had clocked 5:30 at the Fleet Feet Liberty Mile in Pittsburgh; that ages up to a 5:42 equivalent for 2024, putting her right in the thick of things. Cooke, meanwhile, had run 3:01:20 at Boston. As Boston was warm this year, perhaps that experience a month earlier would still be affecting their fast-twitch training? Saxton had not run at Boston nor at any other marathon recently. Whether that made the difference or not, Saxton had more on Sunday, pulling away over the final stretch for the win, with 20 meters to spare, in 5:37. Cooke followed at 5:41 with Crain third in 5:49. 

Christy Peterson taking the turn for lap two at the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Posted by C Peterson on Facebook 

The next five seconds saw four more athletes crossing the line in rapid succession. Barrett was fourth in 5:49, followed by Shan O'Shea, Julie Anne McCarthy, and Christy Peterson in 5:52 to 5:54!

Claire Saxton 5:37     Jacqueline Cooke 5:41     Amy Crain 5:49

Men 45-49 Peter Gilmore West Valley TC, Lee Klarich Unaffiliated and Sanjay Rawal Unaffiliated brought the strongest credentials to the race. Gilmore is nationally known for his Cross Country prowess. He finished second overall at the highly competitive Club Cross Country races of 2019 in Bethlehem PA and in 2021 at Tallahassee. His 4:35 at the 1 Mile Bang in Los Gatos translates to something like a 4:46 five years later. He was fit in early 2023, running a 2:31:53 at the Napa Valley Marathon, finishing eighth overall. The 16:30 turned in by a Peter Gilmore in the Elite section of the Oakland Twilight 5000 last August is likely the Gilmore entered here. Klarich won the division here last year in 4:49. He clocked 16:52 to finish second M45 at Stow Lake last year. In July 2021, Rawal finished first in a road mile on Long Island, first overall by half a minute in 4:50. Had Rawal faced a more competitive field, Rawal might well have run faster. Rawal's other recent claim to fame is at a much longer distance, his silver medal performance over a hilly Syracuse Half Marathon on an unseasonably warm day in April, 2023. His 1:14:46 netted Rawal second place in the USATF Masters Half Marathon there. Those three were able to separate from the field. Klarich matched his time here last year to the second. It is good he did, because he had only 1 second on Gilmore in second and another second on Rawal. Jason Lee Excelsior was seventy meters back, in fourth, crossing the finish line in 5:05. 

Lee Klarich 4:49     Peter Gilmore 4:50     Sanjay Rawal 4:51

Women 50-54 Friend-Uhl, the American 45-49 Record holder, finished fourth overall. In doing so she left the 50-54 field a hundred meters back when she crossed the finish line. The two main contenders for the remaining podium spots were Samantha Forde Impala Racing and Felecia Negley Unaffiliated. Forde won the division here last year in 5:56; she also took top W50 honors at the Stow Lake Stampede, racing to a 19:31 5K. Negley was faster over the Mile at the recent Indoor Masters Championships in Chicago. She clocked 5:50.01 to finish second behind Friend-Uhl. As in Chicago, Nedley could not stay close to Friend-Uhl but heading up the final 200 meters, she had a big gap on Forde which grew to fifty meters by the time Negley crossed the finish line. Forde was probably not pushing at the end, realizing the silver medal was out of reach, and the third-place runner was well back. Forde's time, seven seconds slower than last year, was 6:03. Julie Markley Red Lizard finished thirteen seconds behind Forde in fourth, with Kari Rust West Valley another eleven seconds back in fifth.

Sonja Friend-Uhl 5:25     Felecia Negley 5:50     Samantha Forde 6:03

Men 50-54 Mike Madsen, the defending USATF M50 Champion, in finishing fourth overall in 4:44, had a comfortable, but not huge, margin of victory. The rest of the field was only twenty meters back. Battling for the remaining podium spots were Jaime Heilpern HOKA Aggies and Todd Rose West Valley, along with John Gardiner Cal Coast and Julian Marsh West Valley. Heilpern and Rose have met often at national cross country championships, with Heilpern having the edge. Similarly at the Stow Lake 5K last year, Heilpern was able to finish a good twenty seconds ahead of Rose. But athletes come into each race off of slightly different training blocks; there are a myriad of other things, from health to stress, that may slow or speed the runner. A second or two can make a huge difference in a Mile. Rose pushed for all he was worth and nearly got it done. 

Jaime Heilpern left digs deep for the extra stride that will give him the 50-54 Silver Medal just ahead of Todd Rose at the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit:Strava post by J Heilpern

But, in the end, Heilpern had just enough to hold him off, claiming second in 4:48, with Rose a single second back in third. Gardiner has not raced at national road championships as often as he had pre-Covid, but he has been racing well on the West Coast. He is remembered for his 2nd place finish in the 2017 USATF Masters Road Mile Championships in Flint MI in 4:37. Aging that up would suggest a 4:53 might be within reach for Gardiner. His second-place finish in M50 at the Carlsbad 5000 last month in 16:36 suggests he is entering with good fitness. Marsh counters with a 16:29 at the PA Championship, Patagonia 5K on May 4th this year. The last time they met on the turf was at the 2022 Club Cross Championships in Golden Gate Park. Gardiner was not at his best and Marsh finished well ahead. On Sunday it was much closer, and it was Gardiner who enjoyed the edge, claiming fourth in 4:55, with Marsh two seconds back. 

Mike Madsen 4:44     Jaime Heilpern 4:48     Todd Rose 4:49

Women 55-59 Elizabeth Guerrini Cal Coast entered in the last few days of registration. When she did, Guerrini immediately became the favorite. She won this division at the Carlsbad 5000 in early April in 19:27. That was more than four minutes faster than the 5K times turned in recently by her swiftest competitors. Annamarie Louie ran 24:02 at Morgan Hill last July, and Veronica Marzorini ran 24:10 at the Davis Stampede this February. Guerrini also dominated at the Mile distance, with her 6:12 at the Abbot Kinney 1 Miler in Mach. That compares favorably with the 6:55 and 6:56 recorded by Marzorini and Louie, respectively, in Davis and Danville last year. Guerrini had no problem delivering on the promise of a victory. She had a lead of 200 meters when she crossed the finish line, matching her Abbot Kinney Mile time to the second. The Louie and Marzorini duel never materialized; Louie did not race. Marzorini enjoyed second place in 7:26. Rachel Vinkey Lake Merritt finished third at 8:40 with a substantial lead over Su Maw who finished fourth.

Elizabeth Guerrini 6:12     Veronica Marzorini 7:26      Rachel Vinkey 8:40

Men 55-59 Christian Cushing-Murray came in, on paper, with the best shot at a win. Last year in Indy he set the 55-59 AR for the 1 Mile at 4:47. He had some issues to deal with over the fall and winter; Club Cross was his only major competition during that period. But by early April, Cushing-Murray was able to finish second to Emmet Hogan at Carlsbad in 17:10. That suggested he was in shape to run in the low 5 minute range. That looked to be enough. His main competitors were Roger Dix HOKA Aggie, Eric Hartmann Bowerman TC, and Darren Morgan SRA Elite. Dix was fifth here last year in 50-54 with a 5:29. He ran 18:27 at the Morgan Hill 5K last July. Hartmann did not run the Mile of Truth last year. Based in Oregon, Ackermann did run a dandy 17:28 at the Bowerman 5K last August. His 28:43 at the Shamrock 8K in Portland this March equates to 17:42. Morgan has run some fine times but they have mainly been longer races, at least recently. Morgan clocked 1:18:53 at the Urban Cow HM in September, equating to a 36:00 10K. He validated that with an actual 36:14 10K in November at the feed the Hungry race. This spring he finished fourth in 50-54 at the Sactown 10 in 58:29, equating toughly to a 35:22 10K. But even if one pushed age grading equivalence over big differences in distances, it appeared that the fastest of those would suggest a 5:06 Mile. But that is pushing age grade equivalence. Still, Morgan's strong times at longer distances suggested he could be in the mix if he has been focusing more on speed work recently. That must have been the case. Morgan actually finished at 5 minutes flat, to take first. Cushing-Murray had a 20-meter edge over the other two in 5:13. Dix and Hartmann were close, with Dix enjoying the single second edge, taking third in 5:17.

Darren Morgan 5:00     Christian Cushing-Murray 5:13     Roger Dix 5:17

Women 60-64 When you have the World Record holder for the 1 Mile on the track in the field, you do not expect a close race. Sue McDonald, as noted above, managed to tie the American Record. Nancy Simmons Impala Racing, if they were closer in age, would have made it much closer. In August of 2019, Simmons won the 60-64 Masters Championship in Flint MI with a 5:54. Later this summer, Simmons will, apparently, join the next age division. Still very competitive, even as she is about to exit the division, Simmons won here last year in 6:02. 

McDonald won in 5:44, with a hundred meters to spare. Simmons, who finished second at 6:09 had a similar gap on the third-place runner, Allison Orofino Buffalo Chips RC. Orofino broke up the lead three of the Impalas by claiming third in 6:36, ahead of the two Impala runners, Suzanne Cordes, 6:44 and Eileen Brennan-Erler, 6:46, in fourth and fifth in the division. McDonald, as noted in the RECORDS section above, won the 60-64 division race, and tied Kathy Martin's 5:44 American Record.

Sue McDonald 5:44     Nancy Simmons 6:09     Allison Orofino 6:36

Men 60-64 The report on the Men's 60+ race covered the basics. The first three runners were all from this division. Hence 1-2-3 overall was also 1-2-3 in this division, Daniel FilipKevin Ostenberg, and Ray Knerr. Scott Lacrosse finished fourth, just three seconds behind Knerr. Jeff Mann was another six seconds back in fifth.

Daniel Filip 5:20     Kevin Ostenberg 5:21     Ray Knerr 5:22

Early Going in the Men 60 Plus Race at the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Strava post by Jeff Soares 

Women 65-69 Four athletes would compete for the win: Ruby Ghadially, Stella Gibbs, Lesley Hinz, and Michele Montgomery. Ghadially won this division here last year in 6:37. In July, she ran a 22:23 5K at Morgan Hill. Gibbs finished over a minute ahead of Ghadially at Morgan Hill, winning the division in 21:12. She demonstrated similar fitness this February with a division win at the 2024 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta. in 21:14. Gibbs has no recent 1 Mile results, but her Morgan Hill effort required a 6:49 per mile pace. Hinz is a gifted middle-distance runner. Until Sue McDonald's latest Indoor Mile performance is ratified, Hinz holds the 60-64 AR at 5:43.75. It is not surprising, then, that Hinz finished two minutes behind Gibbs in Atlanta. Hinz ran a 6:38 road mile in Atlanta in January. She won the 60-64 championship in the Mile Run at the USATF Masters Indoor Championships in March. Montgomery's most recent result is a 1:16:12 at the Sactown 10 Miler this April. If one stretches age grade equivalence to such a larg3e difference in distances one can find an equivalence at 22:19. On the other hand, Mongomery also clocked a 20:25 at Stow Lake in 2018. Updating that to 2024 suggests a 21:32 might now be within Montgomery's reach. Gibbs appeared to have the edge on paper with Ghadially, Hinz and Montgomery pretty even matched. Montgomery might have a slight edge. The race was thrilling! Gibbs was able to get away from the field and hang on as Montgomery closed strongly. Gibbs won by just two seconds in 6:30. Three seconds later, Hinz claimed third with thirty meters to spare. What a race! Ghadially finished fourth in 6:44.

Stella Gibbs 6:30     Michele Montgomery 6:32     Lesley Hinz 6:35

Men 65-69 Nur SRA Elite and Westenberg Greater Lowell Road Runners enjoyed a terrific duel, with Westenberg in perfect position, close behind Nur, as they rounded onto the final 200 meter straight shot to the finish. Had things gone Westenberg's way, he would have accelerated, closed, and passed for the win. But Nur was able to match the acceleration and hold Westenberg off by a single second! Nur is the National 65-69 Champion for 2024 in 5:23. Ken Youngers Atlanta TC finished second at Rochester two years earlier in 5:28. just three seconds off the win. Unable to compete in Indianapolis last year, Youngers was looking forward to another run for the podium. HOKA Aggie teammates, Bobby Hastings and  Doug Steedman would try to keep that from happening. Youngers had a bronze medal from Atlanta for his 18:55 5K. Steedman came in with a 19:38 from Morgan Hill last July and Hastings with a 19:53 at Sactown in early April. That  ability to carry a pace more than ten seconds faster per mile carried Youngers onto the podium; he finished third at 5:42, with over 30 meters to spare, followed by Steedman at 5:51 and, a second later, Hastings!

Jacob Nur 5:23     David Westenberg 5:24     Ken Youngers 5:42

Women 70-74 All five entries were teammates from Impala Racing. Donna Chan, Melinda Morse, and Irene Herman competed at Stow Lake last year, with times of 25:06, 25:46, and 28:08. Morse and Herman finished second and third at the Mile of Truth here last year in 8:09 and 8:41. At the 2023 Great Race in Saratoga, the finishing order, over 4 miles, was Terri Rourke 35:30, Morse 35:41, Kathleen Harriman 35:49, and Herman 36:52. As the times at Stow Lake suggest, Chan had no trouble taking the division win. Her 7:36 provided a 40-meter margin of victory. Harriman found that the shorter distance worked in her favor; she finished second at 7:49. In a tight finish, Rourke got the third-place finish even though both she and Morse recorded the same 7:58 time. Herman closed things out at 8:48 in fifth.

Donna Chan 7:36     Kathleen Harriman 7:49     Terri Rourke 7:58

Men 70-74 The Boulder Road Runners were primarily in Danville on a mission--to win the Men's 70+ team competition and guarantee a 2024 Grand prix win with a perfect 500 points from their best five events. But along the way each of the athletes were looking to compete for the individual podium as well. The two team members in the 70-74 division were Doug Bell and Douglas Chesnut. Last year in Indy they finished 3-4 in 6:10 and 6:11, respectively. At the most recent Masters Championships, the 10 km in Dedham MA at the end of April, they again went 3-4 in 43:45 and 43:48. They are closely matched. Although Bell beat Chesnut these last two times, that is not always the case. For example, last year in Atlanta they went 2-3 with Chesnut in 20:50 and Bell in 20:54. They were going up against Joe Reda unaffiliated, the favorite, Keith Duncan Tamalpa, and Gerhard Fischer Buffalo Chips. Five years ago, Reda won the 65-69 national masters championship in Flint MI with a 5:33 effort. But Reda mostly races longer distances. In 2022-23 the shortest race I found for Reda was a 10 Miler. This April, however, he competed in the Masters 10 km Championships, taking the win in 43:17, a half minute ahead of Bell and Chesnut. In 2022, Duncan finished 3rd in the Men's 40 Plus race here, his time of 6:01 leaving him well ahead of all others in 65-69. Fischer won the 70-74 division last year with a 6:14 here. This March he ran 45:14 at the Shamrockin 10K in Sacramento. Reda was up to the challenge. He withstood all surges in the final 200 meters, taking the win with two seconds to spare. Chesnut separated himself from the three-man chase pack to take second just two seconds back from Reda. Bell and Duncan tied on time with Duncan given the nod for third place. Fischer was three seconds back from Bell, in fifth.

Joseph Reda 6:15     Douglas Chesnut 6:17     Keith Duncan 6:19

Women 75-79 Jo Anne Rowland, Andrea McCarter, and Nelda Williams toed the line. Last year Rowland won this division here in 7:45. She clocked 25:17 at Stow Lake. Williams ran 10:02 here last year and ran a 34:09 5K at Stow Lake. It appeared Williams and McCarter might be closely matched, with Rowland a level above. McCarter finished 2nd in 75-79 at Indy last year in 10:43. This February she raced to a 2nd place finish in Atlanta with a 34:38 5K. Even though it was an off day, Rowland had no trouble winning in 8:03. two hundred meters ahead of her competition. Mc Carter rose to the challenge from Willaims. McCarter cut over a minute off her mile time from last year, finishing 2nd in 9:32. Williams finished third.

Jo Anne Rowland 8:03     Andrea McCarter 9:32     Nelda Williams 10:24

Men 75-79 Two local stalwarts, Donald Porteous Tamalpa Runners and his teammate, Leonard Goldman, veterans of many a Club Cross championship, would try to repel the efforts of Jerry Learned and Rick Katz to take medals home with them. Porteous and Goldman went 2-4 in M70+ at the 2017 Club championships in Lexington KY. More recent efforts included Porteous winning here last year in 6:39 and racing to a 22:50 5K at Stow Lake. Goldman did not run the Mile here last year. He was eleven seconds slower than Porteous at Stow Lake. Goldman's most recent Mile of Truth effort was a 6:38 six years ago. Aging that up suggests an equivalent 2024 time of 7:18. That seems too pessimistic based on his Stow Lake time last year. Perhaps Goldman had an off day in 2018? Learned was slowed by a health issue in the first half of 2023. Since putting that behind him, Learned returned rapidly to his former times. Since turning 75 he is always a threat for the podium at national championships. Last year he was still in 70-74. Learned did not run at Indy but did take 5th in 70-74 at the 1500M at the Outdoor Masters Championships in 6:22, roughly equivalent to a 6:56 mile. Learned was probably not fully recovered at the time. This February he averaged 7:35 per mile, over the Atlanta course, slightly hillier than Stow Lake, racing to a third-place finish in 23:35. His fitness shot up over the ensuing two months; Learned ran faster per mile in taking third at the 10 Km Championships than he did over 5 Km in Atlanta. His 46:35 represents a 7:30 per mile pace. Katz is strong at longer races; he notes that he is not a Miler. He finished 14 seconds ahead of Learned in Atlanta, taking second in 75-79. But in Rochester in 2022, he ran 6:45. Last year in Indy he ran 7:01. Learned was, indeed at the top of his game. He had the lead and stretched it over the second loop. No one would catch him! Learned had his first Age Division gold medal at a Masters LDR Championship in a long time. His 6:42 gave him thirty meters on the field! Porteous pulled away from his teammate, Goldman, to take the silver medal in 6:51. Goldman had third in 6:57, with Katz finishing eleven seconds later in fourth. Paul Carlin, your author, was way back, finishing fifth. I provisionally blame the poor performance, fifty seconds slower than last year, on a head cold, whose worst symptoms appeared later that day.

Jerry Learned 6:42     Donald Porteous 6:51      Len Goldman 6:57

Women 80-84 No entries

Men 80-84 Three were entered but only two made it to the starting line, Jan Frisby Boulder Road Runners and Fred Martin Tamalpa Runners. Frisby has been a regular on the national Masters road and cross country racing circuit for decades. Martin has raced nationally only sporadically. In 2016, Frisby and Martin finished 4th and 5th, just five seconds apart, at the USATF Masters 8 Km Championships in Brea CA. In December 2022, Martin finished 12th of 16 at Club Cross; Frisby did not compete at that championship. In terms of Mile races, Frisby won the 2019 Masters National 70-74 One Mile Championship in 6:18. Four years earlier Martin had clocked 6:19 at the Miracle Mile in El Dorado Hills CA. In May of 2022, Martin ran a 25:56 5K at Stow Lake. Frisby finished fourth in 75-79 at the Masters 5 Km Championships this February. That old history from 2016 suggested it could be close. But the more recent results favored Frisby. Both parts of that history were correct. It was close; they were just separated by a single second at the finish. Frisby got to enjoy the win at 7:24.

Jan Frisby 7:24     Fred Martin 7:25

Women 85-89 As noted in the Records section above, Carol Mikkelsen Impala Racing not only took the win unopposed in this division but took down Joyce Hodges-Hite's American Record from last year. Her 14:28 smashed the record by 57 seconds.

Carol Mikkelsen 14:28

Men 85-89 Donald Hillebrandt Tamalpa Runners enjoyed his tour of downtown Danville. He claimed the gold medal at 12:52

AGE GRADING Age Grading measures each athlete’s performance against the best possible time for that exact age, yielding a percentage that can be compared across age divisions to figure out who ran best for their age. McDonald, 61, not only matched an American Record, she topped the age grading tables at 93.46%. Nancy Simmons, 64, recorded 6:09 for a 90.49 Performance Level Percentage (PLP). Sonja Friend-Uhl’s 5:25 at age 53 finishes off the age grading podium at 90.05. 

From Left: Sue McDonald and Sonja Friend-Uhl Gold and Silver Age-Grading Medalists at the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Posted by S Friend-Uhl on Facebook 

Jacob Nur, American 65-69 Record holder at 5 Km, 10Km, 10 Mile and Half Marathon, clocked 5:23 at age 68. That earned him a 92.86 PLP and the Men’s age grading win. 

Jacob Nur #198, age 68, wins the Men 65-69 title by a stride over David Westenberg, age 66, and takes the Men's Age Grading title at the same time. At the 2024 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships in Danville CA Photo Credit: Captivating Sports Photos

Jaime Heilpern, 54, raced to a 4:48 and second place at 92.33. Mike Madsen’s 4:44 at 511, earned a 91.41 PLP and the bronze medal.

TEAMS Note: Team score is the sum of the times for the first three team members to finish. A team with their first three runners finishing in 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 would have a score of 17:30 and an average of 5:30 per runner. Lower scores prevail.

MEN Northern California teams dominated the men’s team contests. 

40+ Four teams from Northern California and one from Southern California were entered. The Excelsior Running Club and West Valley TC finished 1-2 in M40+, just 25 seconds apart, in 14:11 and 14:36, an average difference of less than 9 seconds per runner. Each athlete for Excelsior came in ahead of their counterpart from West Valley. Cal Coast broke onto the podium at 15:36, an average of 5:12.They edged the West Valley Joggers & Striders by ten seconds, an average of 3.3 seconds per runner. Wolfpack Running Club finished fifth.

Excelsior RC G Johnson, C Omine, C Lira 14:11 avg = 4:44     West Valley TC M Fraioli, P Gilmore, W Rezende 14:36 4:52     Cal Coast TC J Gardiner, C Cushing-Murray, K Whittington 15:36 5:12

50+ Three Northern California teams entered. West Valley TC rose to the top with a 48 second victory, or 16 seconds per runner, at 14:48. The HOKA Aggie RC had the first scoring runner at 4:48 but then all three of West Valley's athletes scored before the next two for HOKA Aggies. HOKA Aggies had over two minutes to spare. Lake Merrit Joggers & Striders finished third at 17:40.

West Valley TC T Rose, J Marsh, I Lieben 14:48 4:56     HOKA Aggie RC J Heilpern, R Dix, E Ackermann 15:36 5:12     Lake Merritt Joggers & Striders B Black, A Stonehouse, D Green 17:40 5:54

60+ Five Northern California teams worked to repel the best efforts of the Atlanta TC out of Georgia. One succeeded, the HOKA Aggies. Atlanta's #1 was able to break up HOKA's 1-2 punch but HOKA's #3 came in before Atlanta's #2 runner so that settled it! HOKA took the win, 17:04 to 18:43. The West Valley J&S team's top two runners came in well behind Atlanta's #1 but a few seconds ahead of Atlanta's #2. When West Valley J&S's #3 runner came in ahead of Atlanta's #3, they had a shot at the silver medals. Atlanta's #3 got the job done, though, with nine seconds to spare! West Valley J & S took the bronze in 18:52, a minute and 9 seconds ahead of Lake Merritt.

HOKA Aggies K Ostenberg, D Steedman, B Hastings 17:04 5:42     Atlanta TC K Youngers, G Oshust, M Spencer 18:43 6:15     West Valley Joggers & Striders N McAllister, R Rodriguez, B Davis 18:52 6:18

70+ Two NorCal teams, Tamalpa Runners and River City Rebels went up against two teams from other regions, the Boulder Road Runners out of the Mountain West and the Atlanta TC. Boulder's #1 goal was to win this team championship and cement their M70 win in the USATF Masters National Grand Prix. Boulder was strong up front. Their top two went 1-2 although the #1 runner for Tamalpa had the same time as Boulder's #2. When Tamalpa's # 2 runner came in before Boulder's #3 they saw that Boulder had a half minute lead. Tamalpa's #3 was next, and the clock started ticking. If Boulder's #3 did not arrive in the next thirty seconds, Tamalpa would get the win. But only 17 of those seconds went by; Bouder enjoyed the win at 19:43. Tamalpa had the silver medals at 19:58, with a good margin on the third place Atlanta team, at 20:26. Atlanta had more than two minutes on the River City rebels who finished fourth.

Boulder Road Runners D Chesnut, D Bell, R Katz 19:43 6:35     Tamalpa Runners K Duncan, A Beckert, D Porteous 19:58 6:40     Atlanta TC K Larson, J Learned, N Feather 20:26 6:49

WOMEN It was all Impala Racing in the Women's team racing; they won all four division championships! 

40+ Impala entered an A and a B team in this division. There were three other Nor Cal teams challenging, West Valley, Wolfpack, and West Valley J&S, and Atlanta. Impala A was fast and had a tight 1-2-3 pack. West Valley's #1 was able to break up Impala's 1-2 finish. But the Impala #3 was across the line before West Valley's #2. It was the same story for Wolfpack. For the other three, the Impala #3 was in before their first runner. Impala A got the win at 17:37, almost a minute ahead of West Valley. It was closer between West Valley and Wolfpack. Wolfpack had the first runner in, but West Valley had the next two. When Wolfpack's #2 came in just one second before West Valley's #3 it was all over. West Valley took 2nd in 18:36, twenty-eight seconds ahead of Wolfpack. Wolfpack was not assured of the bronze medals until their #3 runner finished. Wolfpack #3 came in sixteen seconds before the medals would have slipped away to West Valley J&S.

Impala Racing J Cooke, J A McCarthy, E Gottlieb 17:37 5:53     West Valley A Barrett, S Chung, K Rust 18:36 6:12     Wolfpack C Saxton, I Rosenblum, L Renteria 19:04 6:22

50+ In this division the only entries were Impala and Lake Merritt. Impala's runners took 1-2 and then their #3 runner finished before Lake Merritt's #2. There was not much suspense; Impala took the win with two minutes to spare in 19:38.

Impala Racing S Forde, S Gibbs, G Wahl 19:38 6:33     Lake Merritt S VQ Smith, K Sepetys, M Briones 21:43 7:15

60+ There was even less suspense in this division. The two entries were Impala A and Impala B. The A team took the gold in 19:24 with over four minutes to spare. To be fair, they had a very fast time and would have taken the gold in 50+ had they entered in that division.

Impala Racing A N Simmons, M Montgomery, S Cordes 19:24 6:28     Impala Racing B K Berman, F Ghobadian, K Koller 24:01 8:01

70+ It was the same story in this division except that Impala A won by ten minutes over Impala B.

Impala Racing A D Chan, K Harriman, T Rourke 23:21 7:47     Impala Racing B I Herman, N Williams, C Mikkelsen 33:38 11:13

The Masters National Grand Prix takes a pause for summer. The next event for individual points is the WMA Outdoor Championships in Sweden in mid-August (Best of three Non Stadia events: XC, 10K, Half Marathon), followed by the Ten Mile Championships in Flint MI on August 24. Two weeks later are the 12 km Masters Championships in Highlands NJ.

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