Michigan Masters Runners

Michigan Masters Runners

Michigan Masters Runners

In 2010, Michigan masters runners once again shone on the national scene.

As it has for years, Fred Vanhala’s Front Line Racing Team made a strong showing at December’s USATF National Masters Club Championships in Charlotte, NC. The Front Line 50+ squad was fifth, while the 60+ team finished second.

And the March 2011 issue of Running Times includes its “Masters of the Year” listings. Michigan is well-represented. RT considers several criteria in making its selections since head-to-head competition isn’t always available. Runners’ times are age-graded for comparisons. Also, the number of races and variety of distances are weighed. “We look for runners who seek out the best competition they can find at prestigious regional and national races. Michigan masters and senior runners certainly did that.

Tracy Lokken, Doug Goodhue, Jerry Johncock, and Sharon Dolan ranked first in their respective age-groups. Paul Aufdemberge, who was first in the 2009 40-44 rankings, added a third place as he moved up a division last year. Age-group “Honorable Mention” went to Marybeth Reader (40-44), Laurel Park (45-49), Carl Rundell (40-44), Dave Bussard (50-54), Doug Kurtis (55-59), and Jim Carlton (65-69).

Goodhue (65-69), from Milford, is a many-time repeat age-group winner. He holds a number of national age records at a variety of distances. He was cited by RT for outstanding 2010 performances including a 5K time of 18:14 at the Syracuse Festival of Races, just two seconds off the existing US record. At the Crim 10 Mile, Goodhue ran 63:53. He did break the existing national age-group record at the New Haven (CT) 20K, posting a 1:20:05, which shattering the old mark by 1 minute and 40 seconds. Along the way in 2010, he won five USATF championships/gold medals. “I won my age-division in all 25 races I ran in 2010. I was very pleased with my race results,” he admitted. And, Goodhue is raring to go this year, saying, “If you’re like me, you can’t wait for spring to show up.”

The 40-44 age-bracket was Michigan-laced. In addition to Rundell’s HM, Lokken continued his national successes. Lokken was noted for his winning results at the Shamrock (VA) 8K (24:18), Dexter-Ann Arbor 10K National Masters Championships (31:38), Gate River (FL) 15K (48:38), and Boston (2:24:04, 3rd masters overall, 1st American). To show his versatility, Lokken also posted a 4:24 indoor mile in Ithaca, NY.

The Upper Peninsula (Marquette) masters ace has had a string of remarkable successes. “I had a wonderful, a great year. It started back in 2009. 40-44 was great for me,” enthused the recently-turned 45-year old.

All this was accomplished in spite of some down time due to injuries. At Grandma’s Half Marathon (Duluth, MN), he suffered a hamstring pull, followed by a 2:32:05 at Twin Cities that found him limping at the finish. He had “a meniscus tear. They trimmed back the meniscus and removed some cartilage. I was down for the second half of the season.”

He’s back to “training, since December 25. I haven’t missed a day. Everything’s cleared up. Knock on wood—everything’s fine.” Although “a bit leery,” he recently ran a 5K in Marquette and was pleased with the effort. And, he’s gone as far as 18 miles. Optimistically he added, “The legs are coming around really good.”

In addition to his third place standing in RT, Aufdemberge (45-49) was also Michigan Runner’s Masters Runner of the Year for 2010, not the first time he’s won an MR Runner of the Year award. He was cited for his 31:57 at Dexter-Ann Arbor, 15:27 at the Brian Diemer 5K, and 1:08:57 at the Melbourne (FL) Half Marathon, which won him the USATF National Masters Half Marathon Championship.

“It seems like Michigan is always well-represented in the Running Times rankings and I am pround to be a part of that. It’s amazing to look through the [RT] age-group rankings and see how competitive the times are for both men and women!”

In addition to the Diemer, Aufdemberge said his favorite races of 2010 included some Michigan events: the Crim, Fifth Third Riverbank Run (25K), and Meteor 10K (Dearborn), and the Bayshore Half Marathon (“the first time I have raced there”). The Melbourne, Meteor (30:54), and Buffalo 15K (47:52) “were probably my best races.”

He added, “The River Days 5K in Detroit deserves special mention. Winning Detroit Tiger tickets and throwing out an honorary first pitch was a memorable experience.” It also gained him a cover shot and a family photo (with wife Jeanne and children Emily and Jacob) at Comerica Park in the November/December Michigan Runner.

West Side Michigan resident Jerry Johncock (Shelbyville) rounds out the Michigan men in the RT masters rankings. The 83-year old jumped up from a 2nd place 2009 standing. RT noted his Labor Day 30K (Milford) finish (2:55:11), Rockford 5K (26:47), Crim (1:33), and Run for Health Half Marathon (Kalamazoo, 2:03:40).

Other than the Honorable Mentions, the lone Michigan woman in the rankings was Sharon Dolan (Westphalia) in the 65-69 division. The 68-year old is yet another repeat winner. Her 47:02 10K at Dexter-Ann Arbor National Masters Championships was nearly three minutes ahead of the next age-group competitor. She also posted a 1:18:19 at the Crim and 1:46:11 at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon (Phoenix).

To cap off their successful years, in December Lokken, Goodhue, Johncock, and Dolan were recognized by the USATF as Outstanding Athletes, Masters Long Distance Running of 2010.

Complete rankings, with more races and times and formulas for age-grading, go to www.runningtimes.com/mar11.