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Masters legends to vie for 2015 USATF 10 km National Championships

DEDHAM, Massachusetts—Masters legends will compete at the 2015 USATF 10 km Championships, hosted by the 32nd annual James Joyce Ramble in Dedham, Massachusetts, where Christine Kennedy (Los Gatos, California) and Kathryn Martin (Northport, New York) will meet for the first time since Kennedy joined Martin’s 60-64 age group earlier this year.
Race Director, Martin Hanley, has done an excellent job in developing the event, and Dedham provides a lovely, small-town New England setting for a stellar cast of Masters runners for these championships.
At the beginning of the year, Martin, now 63, held virtually every 60-64 age group record from 5 kilometers to the marathon. At the USATF 8 km Championships in Brea, California, Kennedy took one of those away as she lowered Martin’s record by over 50 seconds.
The 10 km is a race that Martin runs often and Kennedy runs rarely. Kennedy is a marathon champion, who notes that one of her 2015 goals is to be the first woman in the world, aged 60 or over, to break 3 hours for the marathon. Martin’s 10 km record was set on this same championship course at Dedham a year ago in 40:10, but she also ran a 40:17 at Joan Benoit Samuelson’s challenging Beach to Beacon 10K. Kennedy’s fastest recent 10 km appears to be a 39:30 run at the USATF 10 km Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when she was 57. If Kennedy can come close to that performance, she should have another record to add to her sterling resume. However, she will have to beat Martin in the race, which will be no easy task.
Two other legends in the making, Doreen McCoubrie (Malvern, Pennsylvania) and Marisa Sutera Strange (Pleasant Valley, New York), teammates at the Athena Track Club, will go head-to-head again. Last year at these Championships, Sutera Strange held the edge, taking first place while McCoubrie settled for second. McCoubrie had the edge for the circuit, however, as she took the 2014 USATF Individual Grand Prix title for the age group.
On the men’s side, two legends in their own right continue their comebacks, though not in the same age group. Brian Pilcher (Ross, California), 2012 USATF Male Masters Road Runner of the Year and 2013 Masters Athlete of the Year, continues his comeback from injury sustained in 2014. He took second place in his age group, 55-59, at altitude in Boulder, Colorado, in early February, and he stormed back in late February to take first in the 8 km championship at Brea.

The favorite in the 70 to 74 category is Jan Frisby (Grand Junction, Colorado). A USATF 50-54 and 55-59 Runner of the Year in the 1990s, nagging injuries slowed him down and kept him from competing as consistently throughout the 2000s. It appears he is now back on his game as he concludes his first year in the 70-74 age group. Earlier this year he finished first at Boulder and first at Brea.
Francis Burdett (Worcester, Massachusetts) looks to continue his streak in the 50-54 category, going for his third victory in a row in 2015. Lloyd Hansen (Salt Lake City, Utah), USATF Male 65-69 Runner of the Year in 2014, would be the favorite for that category in Dedham, but he is being honored by the Road Runner Clubs of America this weekend at their National Convention in Des Moines, Iowa.
Contributed by Paul Carlin, National media Coordinator

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