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Fast times at the USATF Masters 8 Km Championships


VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia –Fair skies and 54 degrees made for near perfect running conditions but the runners had to lean into the 12-13 mph winds from the NNE from Mile 2 to Mile 4.5.


Overall Race Championships. Roberta Groner, who finished 6th American woman at the 2018 New York City Marathon, dominated these championships bursting out to a 2.5 minute lead in the first two miles and coming home in 26:48, with well over three minutes to spare. Marisa Sutera Strange, the defending champion, came from behind to overtake Michelle Brangan for second place and enjoy a 5 second margin in 30:37. In the Men’s race, David Angell, completed his ‘three-peat’ in Virginia Beach with his 3rd victory in three years, clocking the same time as last year—no easy feat with the sustained winds. Paul Jones and Brian Sydow chased Angell up the Boardwalk, about 5 seconds ahead of Mike Cole and Jonathan Frieder. Cole and Frieder closed on those two with 700 meters to go and they were tight over the last stretch until Cole pulled away to take 2nd in 26:21, with Jones 2 seconds back in 3rd. Sydow and Frieder could not match the finishing kicks of their rivals, finishing 4th and 5th a few seconds back.


Near Records. Had the wind been a little less fierce, we might have seen a couple of American Records fall. Nat Larson ran five seconds faster than last year but still could not get within twenty seconds of his own mark of 26:19 set in November 2017.  Strange’s 30:37 was 27 seconds away from Shirley Matson’s 30:10 set in 1997. Roger Sayre ran 28:19 to finish 12 seconds short of Norm Green’s 1993 record. The closest of all today was Tom Bernhard whose net time of 29:47 was only 6 seconds away from the 29:41 run by Joe Fernandez in 1994 to set the record.


Age-Grading symbolizes the top performance relative to age across all age divisions. Not surprisingly the three men who came close to breaking records, Larson, Bernhard, and Sayre went 1-2-3 in Age Grading with scores of 94.02, 93.18, and 92.82. Rounding out the top 5 Age grading Money winners were Doug Goodhue, whose 34:22 at the age of 77 merited a 92.73% and Ken Youngers whose 29:03 at the age of 62 earned a 91.34%. Strange topped age-grading for Women at 93.85%, with Groner 2nd at 92.85. Finishing off the podium was Suzanne La Burt’s 31:15, which earned a 91.95% age-grading mark. The other two cash award winners were Patrice Combs whose 34:29 at age 61 merited an 89.90 and Michelle Brangan’s 30:42 at age 49 an 87.19%.


Age Division National 8 Km Champions were crowned: Women 40-44 Roberta Groner 26:47 45-49 Michelle Brangan 30:41 50-54 Amy Fakterowitz 31:59 55-59 Strange 30:37 60-64 Patrice Combs 34:26 65-69 Kathleen Allen 43:06 70-74 Suzanne Gibson 46:35 75-79 Madeline Bost 1:05:47 80-84 Tami Graf 1:04:28. Men 40-44 Angell 25:39 45-49 Brian Sydow  26:26 50-54 Kent Lemme 27:42 55-59 Nat Larson 26:46 60-64 Roger Sayre 28:19  65-69 Tom Bernhard 29:47 70-74 Lloyd Hansen 32:35 75-79 Doug Goodhue 34:21 80-84 John Elliott 48:20 90 and up Richard Soller 1:20:40. The closest race of the day was in Men’s 45-49 where Sydow edged Jonathan Frieder by just 4 seconds. Soller, our oldest finisher and oldest Champion at age 92, received the biggest ovation of the day.


Team Championship (scored as the cumulative time of first 3 finishers on each team)

Women The Impala Racing Team in 40+ over the Atlanta Track Club by 7:44; 50+ going to the Atlanta Track Club over the Clifton Road Runners by 55 seconds; and 60+ to the Atlanta Track Club over the Colonial Road Runners by 7:58.

Men The Garden State Track Club in 40+ over the Willow Street Athletic Club by 3:30; the Greater Springfield Harriers in 50+ over the Shore Athletic Club by 6:00; the Atlanta Track Club in 60+ over the Boulder Road Runners by 4:08; and the Ann Arbor Track Club in 70+ over the Genesee Valley Harriers by 6:31.


The 2019 USATF Masters Grand Prix series next heads to the rolling hills of New England for the USATF Masters 10 Km Championships on April 28th in Dedham MA, outside of Boston. This is the largest and, arguably, the most competitive Championship race on the Masters Grand Prix circuit. The James Joyce Ramble puts on a great show each year. Join us! The entry form is at:


Submitted by

Paul Carlin

USATF Masters LDR/Media Coordinator

Running Professor LLC/


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