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Fast Times at the USATF Masters 8K Road Championship


VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA – Hosted by the Shamrock Marathon’s Towne Bank 8K, the race went off at 7:45 AM on St. Patrick’s Day. Sunny skies and freezing temperatures, but little wind, greeted the USATF Masters 8K Championship competitors, fine conditions for fast running. Colorado’s Libby James, 81, a Hall of Famer, took full advantage. She shattereded the American 80-84 Record, lowering Anne Clarke’s 1991 mark of 52:00 to 42:34. James will add this to her collection which already includes the 5K and 15K. Her Boulder Road Runners club mate, Roger Sayre, 60, almost got it done as well, coming within 3 seconds of Norm Green’s 1993 Record of 28:07.


Age-Grade scoring is the best way to compare performance for age across all Masters competitors. James, not surprisingly, scored the top age grade of the morning with 99.04%. Others who walked away with Age-Grading prize money included Athena Track Club teammates in 2nd and 3rd, Marisa Sutera Strange, 54, and Doreen McCoubrie, 56, and Team Red Lizard teammates, Jeanette Groesz, 68, and Suzanne Ray, 65. Their age-grading scores were from 92.57 down to 90.21. The top scorer on the Men’s side was Nat Larson, 55, from the Greater Springfield Harriers, with 92.90%. He can add this to the three titles he captured in 2017. Following Larson in order were Sayre, Club Northwest’s Joe Sheeran, also 60, Hall of Famer Brian Pilcher, 61, from Northern California, just out of hamstring rehab, and Philadelphia Track Club’s Gene Dykes, 69, with age grades ranging from 92.45 to 91.72.


In the race to be first Masters Athlete across the line, Roanoke Valley’s David Angell got the repeat win in 25:39. In his first Masters Championship Road Race, Giovanni Pipia of Atlanta stayed with Angell almost to the end, claiming 2nd in 25:46. Philippe Rolly, of the Capital Area Runners, who finished 2nd last year, had to settle for 3rd another 9 seconds back. Marisa Sutera Strange made the podium for the second year in a row but was happy to exchange her 3rd place finish last year for the 2018 win in 30:41. Utah’s Michelle Simonaitas who tested the waters with the Masters Half Marathon Championships a couple of years ago jumped in with both feet and walked away with the Silver Medal in 31:19. She was able to hold off Heather Webster of the Genesee Valley Harriers, who was 5 seconds back in 3rd.


National Age Division 8K Champions included: Libby James 42:34 [CO] 81, Madeline Bost 1:04:44 [NJ] 78, Suzanne Gibson 46:20 [NC] 71, Suzanne Ray 36:14 [OR] 65, Catharine Utzschneider 36:11[MA] 62, Doreen McCoubrie 31:38 [PA] 56, Marisa Sutera Strange 30:40[NY] 54, Michelle Brangan 32:27[NJ] 48, Heather Webster 31:23 [NY] 44; Tom Markley 43:56 [SC] 80, Robert Hendrick 35:56 [FL] 75, Dave Glass 34:35 [NY] 71, Tom Bernhard 30:11 [CA] 66, Roger Sayre 28:10 [CO] 60, Nat Larson 26:51 [MA] 55, Kent Lemme 26:43 [MA] 51, Philippe Rolly 25:57 [VA] 45, David Angell 25:39 [VA] 41.


Women’s National Team Champions included Genesee Valley Harriers 40+, Athena Track Club 50+, Team Red Lizard 60+, and Colonial Road Runners 70+. For the Men it was Garden State Track Club-New Balance 40+, Greater Springfield Harriers 50+, Atlanta Track Club 60+, and Genesee Valley Harriers 70+.


Next up on the Masters Grand Prix circuit is the USATF Masters 10K Championship at Dedham MA on April 30th.


Note: Official gun times were not available at time of going to press; the times reported are chip time. As almost all competitors started within a few seconds of each other, the finishing order has not been affected by gun time vs. chip time. American Records are based on chip time.


Submitted by

Paul Carlin

USATF Masters LDR/Media Coordinator

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