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Masters Athletes to Contest 1 Mile Championships at HAP Crim’s Michigan Mile


FLINT, MI—For the 5th consecutive year, Masters Milers will make their way to the HAP Crim Fitness Foundation’s Michigan Mile to test their speed. Athletes from 41 to 82 will toe the starting line this evening on 1st Street in downtown Flint, Michigan. The Women start at 6:30 pm and the men at 6:45 pm. The Race Director tweaked the course this year on the advice of Masters Runners in hopes of allowing runners to generate more speed. The new course is certified and record eligible.


Tammy Nowik, the Overall Masters Champion in 2016 in 5:25, is back to try to regain the title she lost last year. Melissa Gacek, who finished 3rd in 2016 and 2nd in 2017 hopes that third time is the charm. She beat Nowik earlier this year at the Fifth Third Bank River Bank Run 25K and has since claimed 2nd place in the Masters Division of the TC Medtronic Mile in 5:29. Molly Watcke, fresh off a 2nd place finish at the Masters 5K Championships in Atlanta in 18:07 looks to move up a place. Cristina Burbach, Erin Larusso, and Heather Webster all have the potential to wind up on the podium if things break their way.


The chief contenders for an Overall win among the Men include Alan Black, Tim Rieth, Chuck Schneekloth, and Sam Teigen. Black has run the fastest mile this year, with a 4:37 on the track in May. Since then his times have been inconsistent. Schneekloth ran the Midland Mile on the roads this past weekend in 4:44. That is not as fast but it is more recent and is a road mile. Rieth also has a faster road mile of 4:42, but it was in a race that titles itself the “Graveyard Downhill Mile’ suggesting that the time may be hard to replicate on a course that is essentially level from start to finish. Teigen is an all-around runner. Focusing on the longer distances, up to a Half Marathon, he rarely contests a mile race. He finished 4th in the 8K  and 3rd in the 10K Masters Championships this year. He ran a 16:21 5K in June, but no mile races. If he can figure out the right pace, Teigen’s strength may come in handy to close out the race. Schneekloth, on the other hand, probably has the best pure speed in the field. At the Masters Outdoor Championships in Spokane he took the 40-44 800 Meter title in 2:02.57. If it comes down to a kick, he should have the edge. Matthew Cutrona ran a 4:54 in the famous (and fast) 5th Avenue Mile in 4:54. Should any of the others falter, he will be well positioned to move up.


Age-Grading prizes go five-deep. The Masters LDR Committee considers those scores the best judge of the fastest runners by gender relative to their age. The higher the score the better with 100 typically being equivalent to the best possible time for a person of that age. The 2nd place finisher from last year, Jeannie Rice, 70, is back to see if she can win it this year. Her 6:39 at age 69 scored a very high 98.79% but she was up against the Masters Runner of the Year, Sabra Harvey, who scored over 100. Four other runners have a shot at the Age-Grading podium. Doreen McCoubrie, 56, took 3rd Age Grading at the 5K Championship last week with a 19:41; Marisa Sutera Strange, 55, was on the age grading podium at the 8K and 10K Championships this year; Mary Richards, 64, finished 6th last year but Rice is the only returning runner with a higher score; Molly Watcke, 47, took 5th in Age Grading in Atlanta last week. For the men, the main threats for the podium come out of the 55-59 and 60-64 groups. Mark Zamek, 55, age graded at 89.86 last week in Atlanta with a 17:04. Out of the 60-64 group we have Roger Sayre, 60, who graded at 91.33 with his 17:29 at the 5K Masters Championships, and Ken Youngers, 62, who scored an 88.72 in the same race. Others with a shot at the podium include Doug Bell, 67, Hall-of-Famer, Doug Goodhue, 76, Peter Mullin, 67, and Mike Nier, 53.


Strong favorites for Age Division National Championships include: Watke, McCoubrie, Richards, Rice, Zamek, Sayre, and Mullin from the Age-Grading list above. Overall winners are also allowed to win age divisions. Not surprisingly Schneekloth and Cutrona are favored to take Men’s 40-44 and Men’s 45-49 respectively while Gacek and Watcke are favored for the same divisions on the Women’s side. Additional favorites for Women’s Age Division crowns include Lisa Veneziano 50-54, Terry Ozell 65-69, Catherine Radle 75-79, and Tami Graf 80-84; and for Men’s Charles Novak 50-54, Lloyd Hansen 70-74, and C. Christopher Rush 80-84.


Submitted by

Paul Carlin

Masters LDR/Media Coordinator


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