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USATF Elects a New Class of Top Runners to the Masters Long Distance Running Hall of Fame

INDIANAPOLIS – The USATF Masters Long Distance Running [Masters LDR] Executive Committee announced that three active runners and two legends of the sport have been elected to the Masters LDR Hall of Fame as the 2014 class. Two of the three active runners are well known to all with even a fleeting interest in long distance running, but the third Hall of Fame athlete is not.
Joan Benoit Samuelson gained fame first as an Open Runner, for winning the Marathon Gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games. Colleen DeReuck was a four time Olympian before running as a Masters athlete. But they are elected to the Hall on the basis of their Masters accomplishments; Olympic and Olympic Trial medals play no role. The third member of the active trio to be elected is John Tuttle.
The primary criterion for election is the production of at least 25 outstanding races over a Masters career. The standard is determined in terms of age-grading [AG] standards. AG is a measure that indicates how fast an athlete is running compared to the fastest time an athlete of that age and sex has run. Attainment of a 90% AG in a race is considered to be a ‘World-Class’ performance. The overlooked legends must have had 25 road races where the average AG score is at least 92%; going forward, active runners must attain an average of 90% or better. Active Runners must have at least 10 years of Masters running performance; legends at least 7. While no specific honors are required, most of the runners have received many honors and accolades in their day.
Colleen DeReuck. 04.16.1964. 2004-2014. Boulder CO.  Dereuck has been a Masters LDR Age Division Runner of the Year 8 times from 2004 to 2013 and the Overall Women’s Runner of the year in 2009 (joint with Samuelson). DeReuck had 11 record-breaking performances for her age division, from 2004 to 2010. In the fall of 2006, she held American Masters Records* for women at almost every possible distance from 5K to the Marathon. Her top performances have come at large, iconic events and especially at the great American Marathons at Boston, New York, and Chicago. But from an age-grading standpoint, her two most impressive runs are after she crossed over into the 45-49 year old group. At age 46 she came within a minute of breaking two and a half hours for the Marathon, running 2:30:51 (AG=101.37%). Three years later, at age 49, she was the overall women’s winner at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in 2:39:23 (AG=99.62%).
Joan Benoit Samuelson. 05/16/1957. 1997-2014. Freeport ME. Samuelson has been a Masters LDR Runner of the Year 4 times from 2002 to 2010 and the Overall Women’s Runner of the Year in 2009 (joint with DeReuck). In 2009, at age 52, Samuelson broke the American 10 mile record with a time of 1:00:32. Her three most impressive age-grading performances came in the last few years. At age 53, she ran 2:47:50 at the Chicago marathon (AG=99.70%). Two years later she ran 2:50:29 at Boston (AG=100.86%) and in 2014 ran a 2:52:10 Boston Marathon at the age of 56 (AG=101.28%).
John Tuttle. 10/16/1958. 1988-2011. North Carolina.  Five time Age Division Runner of the Year from 1999 to 2010, Tuttle set American Masters records in 1999 at the 5K (14:19) and the 8K (23:25). Although Tuttle had strong performances at all race distances up through the Half Marathon, his most impressive performances were from 5K to 15K. In addition to the record-breaking performances noted above, he also ran a 29:27 10K [AG=96.47%] in the Crescent City Classic in 1999 and a 45:19 15K [AG=95.30%] at the Gate River Run the same year.
Stephen Lester. 12/29/1942. 1986-1998. Utah. Age Division Runner of the Year in 1988 and again in 1998, Lester also broke the M55 American 12K record at the Lilac Bloomsday Race in 1998 with a time of 41:24 [AG=93.39%]. His most impressive Age Graded scores were achieved in races from 8K to the Half Marathon. At age 53 he ran 23:27 for an 8K race in Utah [AG=105.91%]; the previous year he had run a 31:12 10K at age 52 [AG= 100.00%]. Finally, at age 55 he ran 1:10:24 in the Las Vegas Half Marathon [AG= 99.34%].
Bill Olrich. 09/13/1935. 1982-1996. Lexington KY. Age Division Runner of the Year in 1988, 1992 and 1996, Olrich ran many fine races from 5K up through the Half marathon. His most impressive performances came in the 5K to 10K. At age 53 Olrich ran a 10K race in Pennsylvania in 32:36 [AG = 96.49%] and at age 61 was still able to break 36 minutes, running a 10K in 35:32 [AG=94.79%]. His best 5K race was the 15;49 at age 52 [AG=94.77%].

*There are no official world records for Masters Road Running. However, many American records would also be the fastest time in the world. 
Paul Carlin
National Media Coordinator
USA Track & Field-Masters Long Distance Running

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