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New American Record set at USATF Masters 8 km Championships


BREA, California -- Attracting 280 Masters runners from across the country, the threat of light rain held off for the USATF Masters 8 km Championship under great conditions, Sunday, Feb. 22 for second-time host, the Brea 8K Classic.


There was no surprise that W60-64 runner Christine Kennedy (Los Gatos, California) started her season off perfectly with an American record, finishing in 31:27, to lower a time Kathryn Martin (Northport, New York) reset twice last year with her previous best of 32:20 in November.


Among the M40-44 competitors, renowned Master runner Greg Mitchell (McMinnville, Oregon) handedly won this race in 2015, but he faced former Olympic caliber steeplechaser Jacques Sallberg (Pasadena, California), who joined the Masters ranks this year. Sallberg upset Mitchell three weeks ago to take the crown at the USATF Masters Cross Country Championships on Feb. 7, but Mitchell left no doubt this time. Mitchell attacked the course, creating a gap of over a minute bettering his 2014 winning time by 40 seconds and taking the overall Masters crown with a time of 24:27 in a 4:55 per mile pace. Sallberg finished in 25:48.


The two newcomers in the overall women’s race, Tania Fischer (Santa Monica, California) and Cassandra Henkiel (Austin, Texas), who went toe-to-toe at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships, battled to a different outcome this time. Henkiel took the overall crown in 29:17, defeating Fischer by 16 seconds.


Brian Pilcher (Ross, California), the 2012 and 2013 Masters Runner of the Year, is back! Despite a terrific race by Joe Sheeran (Ellensburger, Washington), who won three national championships last fall while Pilcher was recovering from injury, Pilcher took the 55-59 crown by 14 seconds in 27:24


It came down to the last few meters in the M60-64 as Rick Becker (Selah, Washington) keyed off Tom McCormack (Jonesborough, Tennessee), who had led throughout. Becker passed the .US National 12K Masters champion with a finishing kick, edging McCormack by one second in 28:19.


Francis Burdett (Worcester, Massachusetts) started 2015 out with a bang and made it two-for-two, defeating the veteran Cal Coast runner, David Olds (Los Angeles, California), and Ricardo Maldonado (Scottsdale, Arizona) with a time of 26:50 [5:24 per mile pace] in the M50-54 age group.


Unfortunately the duel between Jan Frisby (Grand Junction, Colorado) and Doug Goodhue (Milford, Michigan), who has been a USATF Masters Age Group Runner of the Year for nine consecutive years, was put on hold as Goodhue’s knee acted up during the race, preventing him from finishing. It is unfortunate as Frisby showed he is ready to compete, winning the 70-74 age group in 32:24, a time only 9 seconds off Goodhue’s winning time last year. Frisby ran a 6:31 per mile pace; that is some strutting for a 70 year old. Frisby pockets his second USATF championship of the season.


Click here for results and age-graded performances.

Age Grading


Age grading determines the overall champion across all age groups. Brian Pilcher was back on top after a year-long absence, grading out at over 94 percent. Christine Kennedy topped the women with her record-breaking performance which age graded at over 97 percent.


A more extensive recap, covering every age group and the team competitions will be posted, within the next few days, at:


Contributed by Paul Carlin, National Media Coordinator




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