Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Part 1 - Who are the top masters at Mt Washington?

Mt Washington – The men’s masters 

What I’ve attempted to do is provide a sneak peek at the top masters (40-49) and seniors (50-59) at this year’s
Mt Washington Road
race.  This year Mt Washington will be the Mountain Running National Championship and will have a great field assembled.  I thought it would be fun to try to predict how it will all shake out.  I’ll state up front that this is not an all-inclusive list, and as always there is a chance I’ve missed people who will finish ahead of some of the guys I’ve ranked.  Such are the vagaries of trying to handicap a race with 1,100 entrants (almost half of those entrants are between the age of 40 and 59).

A little about the process I used: 
I only ranked USATF members.  I only ranked runners between the ages of 40-59.  I only looked at runners with a history of running under 1:30 at Mt Washington or under 1:30 for a recent half marathon.   Note: If you run a sub 1:30 you are among the top 18% of all men finishing the race.  I tried to locate recent results on runners (not easy for some).  I sent out requests for info from all of the people I’d determined had a shot to run under 1:30.  Then the real ranking began!  I believe that the best indicator for how someone will run at Mt Washington is how they HAVE run at Mt Washington.  Nothing predicts a finish better than how you’d finished in past years, of course that doesn’t take into account current fitness.  So for people with past Mt W results I looked at current fitness with a weight given to races in the 20k – half-marathon range.  I’ve often heard that people run right around their 20k to half-marathon time for Mt Washington.  For some people this is a very good indicator, but for others (like me!) that isn’t even close.  For people who have never run the race before I again looked at recent results with weight given to the 20k/13.1m distance.  Then there were some who haven’t run Mt Washington and also don’t have any recent results (or at least nothing in the 20k range) so basically I just guessed.   The times I’ve used are if conditions are “good” whatever the heck that might mean.  The “Range” I use is narrower if I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of the current fitness of the individual (and it is wider if there are few or no Mt Washington results to compare).  Anyway, If you are not happy with the way I’ve done this I say “Too bad!” and if you don’t like your own ranking, I’d be willing to adjust it – See Paul Doe ($$$$$).

I’ll post my predictions in a table format on Thursday.  Today I’ll post the notes about the seniors, and on Wednesday I’ll post notes about the masters.

Notes about the top entrants in 5 year age groups:
Sean Livingston age 43 (CMS) – Sean will be running his 16th Mt Washington.  His PR (1:07:00) was set in 1993 although he came close with a 1:07:13 in 2005.  He still holds the junior record (age 19 and under) with his 1:09:14 from 1987.  Sean has been training “as well as can be expected” but hasn’t raced much on the roads over the last couple of years.  He has shown some excellent results recently including a 15:59 5,000 meters and a 33:27 10k.  He is also one of the rare runners to run a negative split at Mt Washington.  Sean is aiming to “at least break 1:10 and maybe even (weather dependent) be a little closer to 1:08”.            Range: 1:08-1:12

Mark Mayall (NBB) – Mark will be running his 2nd Mt Washington.  “I’m hoping to make a better accounting for myself this time around as I spent the night before last year’s race in a leaky tent while it poured rain”.  Mark recently finished 5th overall and top master at the Big Mountain trail race in Colorado and also “doubled” at the
Groton Road
race 5k/10k taking first overall in 16:14 and top master’s spot in the 10k.  He will be tuning up for Mt Washington with some high caliber track meets (he ran 15:46 at the NB twilight meet this weekend).  Range: 1:08-1:13 

Richard Bolt age 41 (CA) – Richard will be running his 11th Mt Washington. His PR of 1:06:00 was run in 1999 and more recently he ran a 1:07:30 in 2005.  He is hoping “to get back to 1:10 or better” and notes “My training has been going well and I’ve won the 40+ category in 2 of the 3 races I’ve done in the 2012 USATF-Pacific Assoc. raod Grand Prix”.  Richard’s times of 16:15 5k, 41:09 12k, and a 56 minute 10 mile were the result of “after years of unstructured training I’ve also been hitting the track and getting hill repeats done on a weekly basis”.  He was the USATF Mountain chair in New England (and Oregon) and laments “When I lived in New England it was really helpful to have raced in the NE Mountain running circuit but in California there are no such opportunities”.  Richard is planning to incorporate some uphill time trials and looks forward to “be back at the mountain, see my friends and see the latest crop of fast men qualify for the 2012 US Mountain running team”.  Range: 1:09-1:14

Tim Van Orden age 44 (CMS) – Tim will be running his fifth Mt Washington.  He set his PR in 2011 running 1:11:51.  Tim has been training hard all winter including “TONS of rowing machine... My legs are really strong”.  Although he has been “dealing with some injuries...Still doing almost 20 hours a week”.  Tim was the USATF masters Mountain runner of the year in 2011 and has been competing in a number of National championships this year.  His times this year range from a 16:36 5k to a 56:46 10 mile with a 33:19 10k as well.  He will be tuning up for Mt Washington at the USATF New England Mountain series and will also be competing at the Masters World Mountain running championships.
Range: 1:09-1:14

Todd Callaghan 42 (GCS) – Todd will be running his sixth Mt Washington.  He set a PR last year running 1:15:04.  He notes that “my mileage volume is up about 10% over previous years, but I still do not get to run as much as I would like or as many hills”.  Most of his training has been “unsatisfying flat; many, many loops every week on the Charles River”.  He has however done “some miles on the inclined treadmill” and cycles on his off days.  He also enjoys tearing it up on the local trails where he will sometimes be found “racing past the mountain bikers as they yell ‘hey, there’s a speed limit on these trails’”.  Recent races have included 56 minutes for 10 miles and 16:29 for 5k.  Todd will prepare for Mt Washington by racing at the USATF New England Mountain series. 
Range: 1:10-1:15

Joe Donnelly age 44 (WRT) – Joe will be running his third Mt Washington.  He set his PR last year running a 1:14:21.
Range: 1:11-1:16

Allan Serrano age 44 (Shawangunk) – Allan will be headed up the Auto road for the first time.  He has done many of the USATF New England Mountain series races over the last two years.  He was recently diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia and will miss a few weeks of running.  “The good news is if all goes well, I should be cleared for the race”.  He will be supplementing his training with roller-ski and cycling and is “pretty confident that those workouts will help keep me fit”.  He had a good base going into the injury having “never run as much in January through March”.
Range: 1:12-1:17

Fergus Cullen age 40 (GCS) – Fergus will be running his 11th Mt Washington.  He recently joined the master’s ranks.  His PR is 1:06:22 from 1999.  He recently ran “a very encouraging 2:04 (6:15 pace) at the Eastern States 20 miler… (but) had a tough DNF at 22.5 miles at Boston (Marathon)”.  Fergus run 45-50 miles a week and would like to “get back to my roots with some training mountain runs in the Belknap range in Gilford…to prepare for Mt Washington”.  He notes “back in my prime – two top tens at Washington and two 11ths - that’s where I did my best training”.
Range: 1:13-1:18 

Thor Kirleis age 42 – Thor will be running his third Mt Washington.  He notes “(I) shake my head and wonder why I continue to return to mountain running, because I’m not that good at it as compared to other types of running, but I LOVE it”!  In previous years he focused on hill repeats but this year “I am doing those but also focused on boosting my weekly mileage”.  He also incorporated stair running to target leg strength.  He is aiming to run “closer to 1:20, or at least under 1:26”.  He plans on racing the New England Mountain series in preparation for Mt Washington.
Range: 1:19-1:29
Blog = ironboy.wordpress.com/

Darrin Rees age 40 (HTC) –  Darrin will be running his third Mt Washington.  He set his PR last year running a 1:29:11.
Range: 1:22-1:29

Simon Gutierrez age 46 (Team Colorado) – Simon will be running his 12th Mt Washington, and has done more uphill running than ever in preparation for the race.  His emphasis has been on quality hill running along with interval work and cross-training on the ElliptiGo.  Simon’s goal would be a sub 60:54 PR and “earning a spot on the USA Mountain running team”.  He has run as fast as 16:07 for 5k at altitude and will be racing at the Black Canyon ascent in preparation for Mt Washington.  Simon has a storied history at Mt Washington, not only does he own the masters course record (1:01:34) but he also owns 5 of the top 8 masters times.  Simon has won the race three times and finished in the top 5 eleven times.  Range: 1:03-1:06

Francis Burdett age 47 (CMS) – Francis will be running his 19th Mt Washington.  He set his PR (as a master) in 2009 running a 1:06:39.  He feels that “training is going well, but racing has been hit or miss”.  Francis will be tuning up for Mt Washington at the Masters World Mountain running championships in Germany.  Recent results include a 4:33 miles, 15:35 5k, and a 25:55 5 mile.   Range: 1:06-1:12

Dave Dunham age 48 (CMS) – Dave will be running his 23rd Mt Washington, and has put in more miles at the start of the year than any year in the last decade.  He is aiming for a masters PR (1:09:08) and would be “disappointed with any time over 1:10”.  He also notes “on a good day only two or three things will hurt” and continued “I hope to keep everything together at least through Mt Washington”.  Dave will be running the USATF New England Mountain series races and the road 12k and 10k road championship to prepare for Mt Washington.  Dave is a three time winner of the race and has 15 top five finishes and has run under 1:10 eighteen times (both records).  Range: 1:08-1:09

Brian Ruhm age 47 (GCS) – Will be running his first Mt Washington.  Recently he has been training in Washington DC where “I'm trying to make up in distance what I lack in elevation, running two-a-days whenever possible”.  His recent racing included a 1:16 at New Bedford, a 5th place overall finish at the Great Bay Half Marathon, and an overall victory at the New Hampshire 10k championships.    Brian plans on tuning up by racing in the USATF New England Mountain series.
Range: 1:11-1:16

Scott Clark age 46 (CMS) – Scott will be running his fourth Mt Washington.  He set his PR back in 1995 running a 1:07:00, more recently he ran a 1:11 as a master.  Scott does quite a bit of his training before sunrise and his training has been consistent for many years.  He will be tuning up for Mt Washington by running the Canterbury Shaker Village trial race which he calls “a real bastid’ of a course”.  Scott recently ran 60 minutes for 10 miles, 10:26 for 2 miles, and 17:01 for 5k.  Range: 1:12-1:15

David Principe age 45 (TNT) – David will be heading up the hill for the first time.  Recent results include a 1:17 half marathon and a 3rd place overall 2:42 at the Gansett Marathon.  Range: 1:12-1:17

John Pajer age 49 (CMS) – John will be taking on the Mountain for the first time. He recently had a set-back with a bakers cyst and notes “I had my knee drained on Monday this week and it is feeling much better”.  He was “able to get a test mile in today with no problems” and will now “slowly build the miles up (and) work in some hills and track workouts”.  Earlier in the season John ran a 2:02 20 mile, 1:17 for the half-marathon and a 17:09 5k.  He notes that “I have a lot of nervous energy going into the race for the first time and hope to come in under 1:20:00.  Range: 1:12-1:17

David Quintal age 49 (CMS) – David will be running his 6th Mt Washington, and has been “training fairly decent” but raced sparingly.  He will be aiming for a PR at Mt Washington with a goal of 1:12.  David is planning on running the USATF 12k championships and the Mt Wachusett road race as tune-ups for the big hill.  Range: 1:14-1:17

John Hogan age 46 (SF) – John will be running his third Mt Washington.  He set his PR last year with a 1:19:42.  He recently ran a 1:15:05 20k and notes “my ultimate goal would be to break 1:15” at Mt Washington.  John found “pacing is crucial and being overly aggressive in this race can be a big mistake”.  His plan will be to “pace myself sensibly and be satisfied with anything better than my previous best”.  His training has included more hills in his daily runs and “hill repeats and sustained treadmill runs at 10% incline”.  As with many masters runners he “know(s) balancing training with other responsibilities is sometimes tricky business and would like to thank my wife Nancy for help in that regard”.  Recent results include a 1:15 20k, a 59 minute 10 miles and a 36:32 10k.  Range: 1:15-1:20

Brad Overturf age 45 (Mohegan) – Will be running his 2nd time and is “feeling pretty well prepared”.  One of his training tools has been “every two weeks I suffer through a Mt Washington simulation on the treadmill to see how I’m doing on a sustained grade”.  Brad averages about 12-14 hours of training per week and has run a 1:19:15 half marathon and 17:18 5k earlier this year.  His goal for M Washington is to “come in under 1:20”.
Range: 1:16-1:23

Warren Angell age 49 (Narragansett RA) – Warren will be running for his fourth Mt Washington.  He has a lifetime PR of 1:19:59 and masters PR of 1:20:15.  Warren recently discovered snowshoe racing, but the lack of snow this winter curtailed his racing.  He did however run a 17:13 5k late last year, and had a top master finish at the Cox Half Marathon with a 1:18:48 in early May.  He is “currently training for the Mad Marathon in Vermont” and will be using “Pack (Monadnock) and Mt Washington (as) unorthodox marathon tune-ups”.  He notes that “I am more interested in having fun and trying new things than ‘playing by the rules!’”.  His goal on race day is a sub 1:20.  Range: 1:15-1:20

Chris Deming age 45 (CT) – Chris will be tackling Mt Washington for the first time.  He recently ran a 1:22:46 half marathon but has “been working through some hip bursitis, so I haven’t been able to train as much as I would have liked”.  He feels “it is gradually improving and I should be ready to go”.  His hope is to “run the race with a steady effort”.
Range: 1:17-1:22

Michael Vitelli age 48 (BAA) – Michael will be running his third Mt Washington.  He has a PR of 1:26:53 which he set last year.  Michael notes that “Mt Washington will be a challenge but nothing like the challenge that (my) young sons face”.  Two of his four sons have become quite ill with PANDAS, you can read more: http://www.friendsofthevitellifamily.myevent.com/
He is “looking forward to Mt Washington in preparation to crush New York City marathon” later in the year and notes that he is “recently training every day after a significant layoff”.  Range: 1:20-1:30

John Knepper age 45 (SF) – John will be running his third Mt Washington.  He set his PR last year running a 1:23:20.
Like many masters and seniors John notes “my training has been a series of starts and stops, first with a calf injury, and then my hamstring”.  He has been “building mileage over the last 3 weeks” and plans to “do 11% grade workouts on the treadmill for Mt Washington”, which is something he has not done in previous years.  John hopes this will “help me shave a minute or two off of last years 1:23:20”.  Range: 1:19-1:26

Jeff Gould age 47 (NMC) – Jeff will be running his 23rd time; his active streak of 22 consecutive finishes ranks 23rd most.  He has run as fast as 1:18:15 in 1993 and has a masters PR of 1:21:05 from 2008.  He recently ran 65 minutes for 10 miles and a 1:24 half-marathon.  Jeff notes that his “training has gone very well lately, and I’ve run times in the last year or two…that I haven’t seen in a decade”.  He continues that “the only secret I’ve stumbled on was to go back to my roots of simply running more…consistently 10 miles a day”.  He plans on tuning up for the Mountain by running the USATF New England Mountain series.  Range: 1:19-1:27

Todd Brown age 48 (NMC) – Todd will be running his 15th consecutive Mt Washington.  He has a PR of 1:21:32 from 2005.  Todd has run “more miles in the first quarter of 2012 than I have in many years, thanks to the mild winter”.   He has been “doing repeats up Meriden Mountain as training for Mt Washington for the past ten years”.  He noted however “the only flies in (the) ointment of my training is the heat at the Boston Marathon kept me from running a qualifying time…and I had to run Walter Childs on May 6 to get a qualifying time”.  He ran a 3:31 in the heat at Boston and a 3:16 three weeks later.  He notes that his “goal this year is to run between 1:20 and 1:25 up the
Auto Road
”. Todd is an avid “highpointer” who has been to the highest point in 41 states.  He will be climbing Mt Hood in Oregon the week before Mt Washington.    Range: 1:23-1:30

Paul Kirsch age 46 (WMM) – Paul will be running his 12th Mt Washington.  In 2011 he set his masters PR and closed within 80 seconds of his lifetime PR (1:25:05).  Paul is hoping for “that really bad weather day, which suits me best”.  He notes that his training is going well and just as importantly “I’ve stayed healthy”.  He has just started his annual runs up the
Auto Road
.  He completes a minimum of four runs on the road where he will run up to at least 4 miles (but no more than 6).  He has found that “running the road helps keep me from going out too fast to remind me the slog pace of the race is”.  He also confessed to being “the geek that writes my target splits on my arm with a sharpie on race day- which is based on what I did on PR day and also what I do in training in the current year”.  As the USATF New England Mountain running chair, Paul is the driving forces behind bringing National Mountain running Championships to New England and he also serves as the team manager for the US Junior Mountain running team.
Range: 1:25-1:30

Stephen Peterson age 46 (CMS) – “Petey” will be running his 25th consecutive Mt Washington.  He is tied for 21st on the consecutive finish streak and is the second youngest runner with 24 or more finishes.  He has a personal best of 1:08:01 set in 1991 and a masters PR of 1:14:59 set in 2006.  He has been struggling with a hamstring injury and notes that his “long run has been 65 minutes…(at a) slow pace indeed”.  His “primary goal is to avoid going into a death march as we get above tree line….and to hold off Dave Lapierre, who will be catching me as the cog railway smoke fills our lungs”.
Range: 1:28-1:35

David Lapierre age 48 (CMS) – David will be running his 8th Mt Washington.  He has a PR of 1:08:45 from 1991.  David notes “my training is going well.  I am trying to do some slightly longer runs (90 min. plus)”.  He is also planning on racing the USATF NE Mountain series and the Road Grand Prix leading up to Mt Washington.  His “primary goal is to run in the low 1:30’s with a stretch goal of breaking 1:30”.  His “last goal, now that I am so slow, is to not get sunburned”.
Range: 1:28-1:35

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