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Masters 5Km Cross Country Championships Kick Off the Fall Season


BUFFALO, NY—Over 200 top Masters Distance Runners head to Delaware Park in Buffalo NY for the 2018 USATF Masters 5Km Cross Country Championships on Sunday September 23. The course at Delaware Park has continuously hosted Cross Country events since the Pan Am Exposition in 1901. The Championships will be contested over two 2500-meter loops of the grassy course. The weather is cooperating with near perfect conditions forecast for Sunday, temperature sin the low 60’s under cloudy skies. There will be 4 races with Masters Men 60+ going off at 11 AM, with the 50+ Men following at 11:30AM. Masters Women 40+ run at high noon, followed by 40+ Men at 12:45 PM.


The fields are led by the 2017 USATF Runner of the Year, Sabra Harvey and the 2017 Men’s Runner of the Year, Kevin Castille. Harvey, 69, is returning from Malaga, Spain, where she won two Gold and three Silver Medals at the World Masters Athletics Championships. One of the Golds was in Cross Country! Her focus is on winning another age division championship and taking the Women’s Age-Grading crown. Harvey typically age grades close to or even sometimes above 100%. Her main rivals in age grading include Marisa Sutera Strange who is almost always on the age-grading podium. Katherine Wolski and Suzanne Cordes will also contest the outcome.


Sonja Friend-Uhl who finished 3rd at the Masters 5K Championships in Atlanta in August is the favorite to win the Women’s race. She won the Club Cross Country Overall Championship in Tallahassee Florida in 2016. Abby Dean and Marisa Sutera Strange will give her a strong challenge. Dean finished 6th at Atlanta and Strange finished 5th at the 1 Mile Masters Championships in August and 4th behind Friend-Uhl’s 1st place in Tallahassee in 2016.

Castille is coming off of Masters wins at the AJC Peachtree Road Race (10K) and the Utica Boilermaker (15K). He took the Masters Division Overall Championship at the USATF Cross Country National Championships in Tallahassee Florida. Here he will seek to dominate the Men’s 40+ race and earn the Age-Grading prize as well. His main rival is David Angell who has won the 8K, 10K and 5K national Masters Championships this year. Others in the hunt include Philippe Rolly and Jonathan Frieder.

The Men’s 50+ race has Adam Engst, Mike Nier, and Tim Van Orden as the favorites, with Chuck Novak the wild card. Engst has the credentials from the 5K Championship in Atlanta but none of the other three competed there. Nier has missed the last two Championships after taking the division win at the Half Marathon championships in June. Van Orden has been absent from the Masters Grand Prix circuit for even longer but has continued to run at the front of the Masters pack in New England road races. Novak is known for his Middle-Distance prowess, not Cross Country, finishing 2nd at the Masters Road Mile Championship in Flint last month and capturing a Gold Medal in the 800 Meter Run at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Spain.


The Men’s 60+ race could be the closest of the day. Brian Nelson will again try to maintain the half minute margin over Mike Anderson that he enjoyed at the 5K Championship in Atlanta. Gene Dykes and Reno Stirrat who finished just 6 and 7 seconds behind Anderson will try to reverse the gap.

The top Age Grading prize in each of the three Men’s races should go to Kevin Castille, 46, Casey Carlstrom, 59, and Gene Dykes, 70. Castille and Dykes should win handily; Carlstrom could be pressed by Novak and Jonathan Kline.

Top contenders for Age Division Championships include: Angell 41, Castille 46, Van Orden 50, Kline 58, Nelson 61, Kirk Larson 67, Dykes 70, Doug Goodhue 76, John Elliott 80, Eric Seiff 85; Heather Webster 44, Friend-Uhl 47, Wolski 52, Strange 55, Sharon Moore 64, Harvey 69, Deborah Bliss 71, Catherine Radle 75, and Tami Graf 82.


Submitted by Paul Carlin

Masters LDR/Media Coordinator

Running Professor, LLC/


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