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USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Champions crowned in Boston


BOSTON – The 2017 Masters 5km Championships were held at the storied Cross Country course at Franklin Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Course conditions were good and weather conditions were favorable, but with a little too much wind and humidity to describe them as ideal. The terrain is rolling hills, plus a more serious climb up ‘Bear Cage Hill.’ The Men’s 60 and up race went off at 10:30 AM, followed by the Men’s 40-59 race at 11:15 AM and the Women’s race at 12 noon.


Age-Grading Championships, symbolic of the best running across age groups, went to perennial Cross Country Runner of the Year, Kathy Martin, and Men’s 50-54 2016 Masters LDR Runner of the Year, Nat Larson. Prizes went 5 deep and the prize winners included, in order, Marisa Sutera Strange, Trish Butler, Kara Parker, and Mo Bartley, from the Women’s race and Peter Hammer, John Barbour, Kent Lemme, and Pete Bottomley from the Men’s races.


The 5 main contenders to win the women’s race included Janet McDevitt who won this race two years ago. Other contenders included the Masters winner of the 2017 TC 10 Miler, Kara Parker; winner of the 2017 USATF Masters 10K Championship, Ginger Reiner; winner of Pittsburgh’s Liberty Mile and the USATF National Masters Road Mile Championship, Renee Tolan; and winner of the 2016 USATF Masters 10K Championship, Marisa Sutera Strange. Parker, Reiner, McDevitt, and Tolan formed a lead pack for the first mile with Strange just off the pace. McDevitt and Reiner pulled away on Bear Cage Hill and the 1-2 and 3-4 stayed in that order through the 2nd mile when Reiner started to pull away from McDevitt. Reiner took the win in 18:45, and Tolan kicked past McDevitt in the final 100 meters to take 2nd. Parker and Strange closed out the top 5.


The favorite in the Men’s 60 and up race was John Barbour, runner-up at the last two National Club XC Championships. Other contenders included Robert Reynolds, age division winner of the 2017 Blue Cross Broad Street 10 Miler; Ken Youngers, age division bronze medalist at the recent National Masters 5K road Championship; Tom Ryan, who finished 4th at the same race, and Reno Stirrat who took 6th. Barbour won the race handily in 18:30, with Youngers a clear second. Ryan pulled away over the last portion of the race to take 3rd, followed by Stirrat and Reynolds.


The top 5 US contenders in the Men’s 40-59 race were: David Angell, winner of the 2017 Masters 8K and 10K Championships; Peter Hammer, Masters winner of the 2017 Lone Gull 10K and runner-up at the 2016 Masters 10K Championship; Kent Lemme, who finished 5th at the 2017 Masters 8K Championships; Ethan Nedeau, who finished 4th at the 2015 Masters 10K Championships; and Aaron Price, who finished 19th at the 2016 National Club Cross Country Championships. Price took the crown in 16:15 with Angell 14 seconds back in 2nd. Hammer finished another 15 seconds back in 3rd, followed by Lemme and Nedeau.


Age Division National Champions included those mentioned above, Reiner (40-44), Parker (45-49), Strange (50-54), Butler (55-59), Bartley (60-64), Martin (65-69); Price (40-44), Hammer (50-54), Larson (55-59), and Barbour (60-64). Dianne Anderson (70-74), Madeline Bost (75-79), Mary Harada (80-84); Jonathan Frieder (45-49), Bob McCusker (65-69), Dave Glass (70-74), George Tooker (75-79), and Jim Askew (80-84) also claimed national championships in their division.


Team Competition is the life blood of Cross Country, and competition was fierce. Team Championships were earned by the Boston Athletic Association (Men 40+), Greater Springfield Harriers (Men 50+), Shore Athletic Club (Men 60+), New England 65 Plus Runners Club (Men 70+); Genesee Valley Harriers (Women 40+), Athena Track Club (Women 50+), Impala Racing Team (Women 60+).


The next event on the Masters Grand Prix is the USATF National 15K Championships in Tulsa, OK on the 28th of October to be followed by the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships on December 9.


Contributed by Paul Carlin, USATF Masters LDR Media Chair

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