USATF National Masters 5K Cross County Championships

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It has been some time since my last blog post.  Maybe a bit burnt out of blogging after the Maccabiah Games or maybe just lazy.   My next big race was the USATF National Masters Cross Country Championships which were held in Flemington NJ this year.  I was lucky enough to be selected to run on the “A” 40-49 team for the Greater Philadelphia Track Club (GPTC).   GPTC has so many good runners that I was first hoping to make the “A” team and then once I made it nervous to make sure I ran well enough to deserve the selection.

I have not run a big invitational type XC race in years.  (I have my my HS alumni XC race over the years) The last one was the Paul Short Invitational back in 2006 (?) and that was the first one in MANY, MANY years.  There is something special about cross country, especially when running for a team.  Running as a pack trying to beat the runners from all the other teams.  It is hard to describe but it is so much more fun than running a road race.

This race had such a competitive field and knowing that everyone in the race was a 40-49 master was exciting as well.

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The day was beautiful as there was not a cloud in the sky and the leaves were just beginning to turn colors.  There was a gusty wind and a chill in the air but for a late October day it probably doesn’t get much better.    I drove to the race with Bill Gould and we got to Deer path Park a bit before 9:00am and our race was not until 11:45am.  Parking was tight and there was the open and the women’s masters race before us so we had no choice but to get their early.  I didn’t mind as I was nervous and this gave me a chance to settle into the surroundings.  GPTC had quite the spread and which was nice as well.

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We all had to check in as a team so all 9 of us on the “A” team checked in about 15 minutes later we lined up and were ready to go.  The course was open at the start and narrowed about 300m into the race so I knew I had to get out.  Others had the same idea so even going out hard I was still well back in the pack.  This was fine as the top guys I knew were going to go well sub 16:00 and I have not done that in a LONG time.  I tried to stay with Bill Gould and Joe Warwick early on but just like last weekend’s interval miles on the course Joe slowly pulled away.  I tried to keep both of them in reach but it was tough.  Through the first half only three GPTC guys were in front of me. (Nick, Joe and Bill) After the half way mark Scott Landis went by me.  I was able to fight to hang with him and finished half a second behind him.   Since he still has 55 sec 400m speed the fact that I stayed close in the final kick is amazing in itself!  So I finished 5th for our team which meant I scored.  Our team finished just out of the medals with a 4th place finish.  Not what I hoped for but not bad!  Our 50-59 team was our best scoring team as they won the National Championship!  A good day for GPTC!

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/393310779

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All l in all it was a great day to race and I am happy with the result.  My fastest 5K in many years and it was on a legit tough 5K XC course at that.  Great people in GPTC to have as teammates.  An overall fun day.  So…  What’s next??!!

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