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Records to Fall Amid Spirited Competition at 2016 USATF Masters 15K


TULSA, OKLAHOMA -- The USATF Masters 15K Road Championship returns to the Federal Credit Union Tulsa Run for its fourth straight year, set for Saturday, October 29.


Recent USATF Athlete of the Week winners, Libby James and Brian Pilcher, will make another run at the record books. Even though the course is tough, these two swift competitors have records in their sights. James claimed the W80-84 5K American record just a few weeks ago. Pilcher hopes to bring down his sixth American record in five weeks. The 2013 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year got four records with one blow (Half Marathon, 25K, 30K and Marathon) at the Chicago Marathon on October 9th, one week after his first of the season in the 5K. He takes aim at Norm Green’s M60-64 record of 54:20 (1993).


There should be terrific races for the Overall Masters crown. On the women’s side, Melody Fairchild, the 2014 15K winner and eighth-place finisher in the 2012 World Mountain Running Championships, should be the favorite. But she will have to fight off Fiona Bayly and Melissa Gacek. Bayly took the Masters crown at the Brooklyn Half Marathon, and Gacek took Masters titles at the Medtronic 1 Mile Road Race in the Twin Cities and the Fifth Third River Bank Run (25K) in Grand Rapids Michigan. In the men’s race, Greg Mitchell, also the 2014 15K Champion, returns to battle the second and third place finishers from last year, John Gardiner and Christian Cushing-Murray. David Angell, who finished only a few seconds behind Gardiner at the recent 5K Masters Championships, will also be in the mix.


Nat Larson and Rob Arsenault go head-to-head in the M50-54 division. Arsenault beat Larson at the 15K last year, but Larson had Arsenault’s number just four weeks ago at the Masters 5K Championship. There is a newcomer to the circuit, James Jackson, Jr., who has a sub-1:15 Half Marathon to his credit and will look to shake up the standings. In the W50-54 division, Kathleen Cushing-Murray looks to move up from her second-place finish here last year but will have to get by Mary Alico, who ran a fast 15K in Tyler, Texas in March.


Finally there will be a real battle in the M60+ team race. The Cal Coast Track Club leads the Boulder Road Runners in the Club Grand Prix standings, 390 to 370. Both have brought strong teams and are aiming for the victory. If Boulder can achieve the victory, not only will they move a little closer to Cal Coast in the standings, they have the momentum to pile up the points in the final two races of the year, both Cross Country events in Tallahassee, Florida. If Cal Coast takes the 15K gold, they will have the lead and the momentum.


Contributed by Paul Carlin, USATF Masters LDR Media Chair



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