Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

USATF Masters Championship 5K

Funny thing about running, new experiences can occur after decades of racing the same distance.  Running a weekend 5K generally isn’t noteworthy.

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Last weekend’s Syracuse Festival of Races was for me – for at least three reasons. It was:

1) a first experience running in a USATF Masters race (I’m a little late in starting, since I was age-qualified 26 years ago).  The Festival of Races hosted the USA Track & Field Masters 5K Championship Race for 2013.

2) a first experience standing within four feet of the Start line before the race start.  USATF Masters participants lined up at the Start in front of runners in the general 5K.

3) a first experience having my shoe come untied during a race, not just at a 5K but at any of the hundreds of races I have run.

Within 20 feet after crossing the start line, I felt the sting of a shoestring tip snapping against my shin.  My initial hope was the shoestring belonged to someone running beside me.  No such luck.  I was near the outside of the course and quickly hopped to the curb to avoid becoming a hazard to any of the other women running.  Within 30 seconds, my shoe was retied and I worked myself back into the moving stream of runners. but not before the Masters pack had left me far behind.  Now, I was where I usually start at a 5K – back in the middle of the pack.

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F65-69AG awardees Sue Gustafson (24:32) , Jan Holmquist (22:08),  Lenore Webber (25:04) with USATF LD Runners Div. Chair Don Lein

That 2) and 3) would occur at 1) was a disappointment.  That I finished 5th out of 7th in my F65-69 age group with a 27:05 was not. The level of performance among the Masters runners was inspiring.  I felt honored to be running with such talented women.

Stumbling across this race was a gift to begin with. My travels were taking me through Syracuse NY and as usual I looked for a local running group or race.  I could have registered for the 5K without registering for the championship, but why not step it up?  I looked through the information on registering. To participate in the Masters 5K, registrants were required to be U.S. citizens (✔) , members of USATF ( ✔) but no performance standard required (✔).

I’m pleased I made that decision.  The USATF staff were welcoming.  At the reception room pre-race evening, I picked up training trips from other runners, both members of track clubs from around the country, including runner and author John Farah, and a few unaffiliated runners like me.

John Farah after a 23:47 finish in the 70-74 AG

John Farah after a 23:47 finish in the 70-74 AG


Race day, USATF had a tent for Masters runners offering water, coffee, bananas and a temporary dry space as sporadic rain came down. We left warmup clothes in that space as well. I could get spoiled with this treatment.

Awards were presented at an optional brunch following the 5K. I could rave about some of the finish times announced, but will instead leave you with a link to the results

If USATF membership and their races, Masters and overall, are of interest to you, take a look at their 2014 National Championship Series race schedule.ffl

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13 Comments»

  CultFit wrote @

Inspiring post, I truly mean this! The inspiration you put forth is amazing. 🙂

  Still a Runner wrote @

Thanks. I’m convinced inspiration is a byproduct of following a passion. I also think it is what kicks up all that energy in the atmosphere at a race start.

  Red Hen wrote @

Meh! You`re F65? Never would`ve thought that from your pic. You look AMAZING! Terrific run. I`m dead jealous. And. of course, had your lace not come undone you`d have hit into the 26 minute band.

  Still a Runner wrote @

Actually, I’m 66. The photo is now a year old and I’m a year older. I’ll work to hit that 26 band in my next 5K and redeem myself.

  Red Hen wrote @

No work needed. Apart from tying laces! 😉 I think there are laces to be had that don`t need tying! Just a thought. I really should investigate that myself though as mine have become undone a couple of times during races.

  paigesato wrote @

I’ve always wondered about masters races and what that actually meant. Thanks for explaining and taking the intimidation factor out of it!

  Plodding Along Nicely wrote @

Brilliant time, sorry to hear about the shoelace incident, but otherwise sounds like a great race!

  Still a Runner wrote @

Thanks. Yes it was a great race and a great learning experience.

  Still a Runner wrote @

You’re welcome. I think it gets a bit more nuaced when you are running for a track team. The ins and outs of that I have yet to learn.

  john wrote @

maybe I will see you in Tulsa, it is a 15K, more time to warm up.
jwf

  Still a Runner wrote @

I like that distance but that weekend is already committed. Hope to see you at another event.

  missadventuresinrunning wrote @

Sorry to hear about your shoelace! It sounds like things still turned out very well for you!

  Still a Runner wrote @

Thanks, but yes. It was a great experience and lesson learned.


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