World-Class Field Competes
at Hartshorne

BY DIANE SHERRER

ITHACA, NY--It’s lonely at the top, with only rabbits for company and the weight of records hanging on every tick of the clock.

An international field of the world’s best Masters runners competed on January 21 at the 39th annual Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile held on the Barton Hall track at Cornell University.

With greatness comes the anticipation of the tumbling of records. For the elite men, there were none. But the elite women claimed two records for their own.

Tony Young, 43, of Redmond, WA won his first Hartshorne elite men’s title in 4:20.72. The top-ranked Masters miler in the world won a prize purse of $300 for the victory and a performance bonus of $400 for breaking the time standard of 4:26.

Mike Egle, 44, of Glenview, IL placed second in 4:33.03, earning $150 in prize money.

In a flurry of microsecond maneuvers over the final 50 meters, 43-year-old Gladstone Jones of the Bronx placed third in 4:35.12. The Central Park Track Club 800m specialist outkicked both Jim Derick of Big Flats (4:35.29) and Tom Dalton of Schenectady (4:35.77) for the final $50 share of winnings.

The elite men’s Veterans (ages 50 to 59) mile was won by Jerry Kooymans, 50, of Markham, Ontario, Canada. Kooymans was awarded the Charlie McMullen Memorial Award named in honor of the Hartshorne Masters Mile multi-champion who died in 2003, at the age of 52, of cancer.

In the elite women’s race, Marisa Hanson, 42, of Pleasant Valley won her first Hartshorne title in 5:02.69, breaking the existing meet record of 5:08.55 set in 2003 by Patti Blanchard of Dieppe, New Brunswick. (Blanchard’s time remains a women’s 45 to 49 age-group world record.)

Hanson, a former two-time All-American in the 400m hurdles at Ithaca College, won a prize purse of $300 for the victory, $400 for breaking the 5:15 performance standard, and a $200 bonus for the meet record.

Lesley Chaplin-Swann, 47, of McDonough, GA placed second in 5:16.74 and 43-year-old Mary Grene of Andover, KS was third in 5:17.28.

Carolyn Smith Hanna, 55, of Pittsford posted a time of 5:43.75, which set a pending American and world indoor-mile record for women 55 to 59. (The old record of 5:43.96 was set in 2002 by Joni Shirley.)

The men’s elite race was expected to be a runaway time trial, with Young racing the clock in pursuit of a M40 American indoor record (sub 4:11), and the meet record (4:17.84), which has lasted for 13 years. Egle, one of the four premier Masters milers in the world, and all the others, were prepared for rabbit (pace-setter) Scott Weeks of Groton to lead the field through the half in 2:05.

“I was hoping if we came through at 2:05 or 2:06 at the half, I could maintain it,” said Young, the 2005 national Masters indoor M40 champion in the 800m and the mile. “I was surprised, when on my own the last two laps, how badly I felt and how tough they were. I didn’t feel so good, so I said to myself, ‘OK, let’s run a 4:12 and be done with it.’”

It was time that was always on Young’s mind, not so much tactics or the probable victory.

“I wanted to do my own thing, and I figured if I did that, I’d win by 10 seconds,” said Young, who has run 800m outdoors in 1:52 and a 4:05 indoor mile at the University of Washington’s 300m track, not acceptable for ratified records. “But every time I attempt a time, it’s physically and mentally frustrating. Sometimes you get it, and sometimes you don’t. But I didn’t feel that pressure at all today; I just wanted to give it a good show. I’m disappointed because a 4:20 is a workout time for me. So, I’d like to say, ‘Let’s go at it again!’”

Egle, the 2004 Hartshorne Mile champion and 2005 runner-up, probably would be willing to go at it again, too. A gold medallist in the 800m and 1,500m at outdoor nationals--and a top Masters at the Chicago Marathon in 2:37--Egle was eager and inspired to race with Young.

“I knew the rabbit would take it out really fast, so I wanted to run for time and go with Tony as long as possible,” said Egle, who competes for Fleet Feet Racing in Chicago. “I hit my best split at the half [2:10], and I was happy with that. But I ran out of gas the last three laps. Tony was too strong for me. He’s the best Masters miler in the world, and I’m amazed by his talent. He sets the bar so high, and every time you have the chance to run against the best, you cherish it.”

The elite women standing next to Hanson on the starting line also knew they were about to race against the very best. They all knew Hanson had run a 5:03 indoor mile a week ago in the Armory in New York City.

Because of that performance, Ithaca’s Natalie Whelan, the elite women’s rabbit, was instructed to pace the women to a split of 2:30 at the 800m mark.

“I was really nervous because of what was expected of me, and of the other women who were racing,” said Hanson, who qualified for the 1992 Olympic trials in the steeplechase. “I was hoping I could at least match the 5:03, and not disappoint myself or the meet directors. At first, I also was disappointed there was going to be a rabbit because I wanted the race to unfold naturally. But I soon realized it was actually to my benefit that [Natalie] was there.”

Hanson, directly on the heels of the rabbit, passed through 800m in 2:31 with plenty of energy reserves to spare. At times, it looked as if she would pass the rabbit.

Roughly six seconds back, a second-tier race within a race was playing out among Chaplin-Swann, the outdoor national Masters gold medallist in the 800 and 1,500; Grene, the 1,500m gold medallist at the World Masters Championships; and Stiner, who holds the still-pending F40 American record in the 1,500.

Not only was Chaplin-Swann racing for position, she was aiming to break what she thought was the F45 indoor mile record (5:18.10) before Stiner could do it.

“I had a pretty good idea Marisa would take it,” said Chaplin-Swann, who recently set pending F45 American records in the 800 (2:22.37) and 1,500 (4:53.62). “My race was really with Sarah, and that’s whom I was concentrating on all the way through. The pace went out a bit slower than I expected, and when Sarah passed me around the third lap, I just sat on her shoulder.”

Meanwhile, Hanson continued to widen the gap, not really knowing what was going on behind her.

“I knew they might be close, but I didn’t see any shadows,” said Hanson. “I said to myself, ‘You’re here to run fast, and you know what you have to run each lap--37s. I wanted to keep rolling with the momentum I had going. Getting the meet record means a lot to me, and I’m thrilled. I didn’t expect it, but I was hoping to be able to do it and I feel lucky.”

Chaplin-Swann edged Grene for the runner-up position, and Stiner, the 2005 Hartshorne Mile runner-up, placed fourth (5:20.22). But at the finish Chaplin-Swann’s joy turned to disappointment when she learned the F45 American record had been lowered last week to 5:11.1.

“I was happy, but a little deflated at not getting the record,” Chaplin-Swann said. “I did beat Sarah, and she’s one heck of a runner. We’ll all meet again, and the F45 record will flip-flop this year. It should be a fun season.”

Reprinted with permission of The Ithaca Journal, Ithaca, NY.

MALE

Section III

1. Jack Meegan 6:29.75
2. Joe Reynolds 6:30.76
3. Harland Bigelow 6:43.14
4. Ken Gordon 6:43.87
5. Don Farley 6:59.80
6. Chuck Collins 7:42.96
7. Richard Sullivan 7:50.40
8. Roger Whalley 8:01.49
9. Ted Sullivan 8:03.14

Section II

1. Andri Goncarovs 5:22.36
2. Tim Payne 5:26.01
3. Greg Grund 5:30.62
4. John Whitman 5:33.65
5. Herb Engman 5:38.25
6. Gerrit Van Loon 5:39.26
7. David Miller 5:39.96
8. Dennis Featherstone 5:41.11
9. Bob Talda 5:57.03
10. Ken Zeserson 6:06.01
11. Steve Burke 6:34.75
12. Phil Mann 6:40.49

Section I

1. Richard Raflaub 4:50.69
2. Earl Steinbrecher 4:50.74
3. Sean Nicholson 4:50.86
4. Boris Dzikovski 4:59.23
5. Simon Hurley 5:01.24
6. John Stiner 5:04.73
7. Jeffrey Juran 5:05.45
8. Howie Beattie 5:08.12
9. Tim Ingall 5:09.43
10. David Bowen 5:24.41
11. Caleb Rossiter 5:26.85

Elite (Veterans)

1. Jerry Kooymans 4:43.32
2. Jim Robinson 4:43.58
3. Steve Chantry 4:46.71
4. Tom Ryan 4:49.30
5. Alston Brown 4:49.86
6. Mark Rybinski 4:56.87
7. Tom Hartshorne 4:58.54
8. Tim McMullen 5:01.05
9. Fred Robbins 5:16.61

Elite (Masters)

1. Tony Young 4:20.72
2. Mike Egle 4:33.03
3. Gladstone Jones 4:35.12
4. Jim Derick 4:35.29
5. Tom Dalton 4:35.77
6. Mike Trunkes 4:46.61
7. Marty Doherty 4:46.61

FEMALE

Section I

1. Ruth Yanai 5:55.77
2. Tara Magner 6:00.14
3. Coreen Steinbach 6:00.20
4. Shirley Woodford 6:15.66
5. Patti Ford 6:18.57
6. Shelly Marino 6:28.59
7. Sue Stage-Derick 6:44.71
8. Diane McGuire 6:53.14
9. Mary Magoffin 7:16.36
10. Lauri Francis 7:17.61
11. Lennie Tucker 7:35.73

Elite

1. Marisa Hanson 5:02.69
2. Leslie Chaplin-Swann 5:16.74
3. Mary Grene 5:17.28
4. Sarah Stiner 5:20.22
5. Mary Beth Romagnoli 5:22.14
6. Murphee Hayes-Falls 5:25.21
7. Agathe Nicholson 5:27.94
8. Becky Heuer 5:34.26
9. Suzanne Myette 5:36.43
10. Karen Millson 5:36.72
11. Lynn O'Malley 5:41.08
12. Carolyn Smith-Hanna 5:43.75