DEDHAM, Massachusetts – Fifty degree weather, light winds, mostly sunny skies and the quaint New England town of Dedham made for a near perfect setting for the USATF Masters 10 km Championships on Sunday. Prize money of $10,000 was at stake for Masters athletes as Martin Hanley, Race Director for the 32nd annual James Joyce Ramble, put together a terrific field for these championships and was rewarded with two American records.
Setting off from the spacious grounds of the beautiful Endicott Estate, the USATF Masters runners raced over the roads, up and down the gentle rolling hills around Dedham in their quest for national championships and American records. The celebrated long distance runner, Christine Kennedy, who hopes to be the first woman in the world aged 60 or over to break 3 hours in a marathon this year, was the main focus of attention. She did not disappoint, shattering Kathy Martin’s year-old record for the 60-64 age category by almost 45 seconds in a stunning time of 39:26. Another sterling record-holder, Jan Holmquist, appeared to defend her title and see if she could improve on her existing American record for 70-74 year olds. She was able to do both, crossing the line in 45:22 and lowering her own record by 23 seconds.
Kristian Blaich achieved the rare feat of winning the men’s master’s race despite being in the M45-49 age group. And in an even rarer accomplishment, Marisa Sutera Strange, who is in the W50-54 age group, took the crown in the women’s masters race in 37:00 flat.
Notable age-group results included the closest race of the day, a 4 second victory in M60-64 withJohn Barbour defeating Reno Stirrat in 37:01 in addition to Mark Reeder upsetting Brian Pilcher in the M55-59 to take the title in 34:37.
The overall winners identified above were on the basis of first across the finish line. In Master’s races, however, it is also important to recognize those who run fastest for their age. This allows older runners, who maintain their fleetness, to compete on a more even basis with their younger counterparts. Age-grading is a procedure that rates each individual relative to the fastest possible time an individual of their age (and gender) could achieve. Scores range from zero to 100. When an American record is broken the score is likely close to 100. In this case, the age-grading score for Holmquist, 99.09% was just a little higher than the 98.62% for Kennedy, so Holmquist took home the top age-grading prize. Sutera Strange’s dominant performance earned the third highest overall age-graded score of 93.75%, and Pilcher got his revenge on Reeder by taking the fourth best with 91.72% while Reeder was fifth at 90.60%.
National Media Coordinator
USA Track & Field-Masters Long Distance Running