Marty Friedman & Ed Avol, reporting

Do you think that an 8K National Championship for old timers would attract any fast runners? You’d better believe it! Over 260 gray hairs, no hairs, dyed hairs… took to the streets of Brea to compete in one of the few National races held on the West Coast. And fast times wasn’t just for the young’ns…case in point: two 60 year olds (one from Seattle, one from Tennessee) were just nipped at the finish by Club Ed’s fastest Master, Jon “Mach Speed 2” Megeff. Jon’s time of 28:16 was hardly pedestrian; he was 6th in the 50-54 AG (SIXTH!). And our women weren’t standing around either - our fastest flying female finisher (say that 5 times fast!) was Debbie “Rampaging” Richardson, 4th in her AG at 33:01.

Before we get to “us”, words of respect, admiration, and awe for the 260+ Masters who competed are in order. If only the AARP was at the Awards Ceremony! Here are some highlights (and keep in mind this was a rolling 4.97 mile course, with a one mile hill in the middle):

First Male: Greg Mitchell (41), Oregon, 24:27
First Female: Cassandra Henkiel (44), Texas, 29:17
First M45-49: Andrew Duncan (47), Nevada, 25:53
First W45-49: Tania Fischer (48), California, 29:33
First M50-54: Francis Burdett (50), Massachusetts, 26:50
First W50-54: Kathleen Phair (54), California, 32:29
First M55-59: Brian Pilcher, California, 27:24
First F55-59: Suzanne Morris (57) California, 32:24
First M60-64: Rick Becker (60), Washington, 28:19
First W60-64: Christine Kennedy (60), California, 31:27 NEW AMERICAN RECORD
First M65-69: Ignacio Jimenez, (65), California, 31:00
First W65-69: Jo Anne Rowland (66), California, 38:57
First M70-74: Jan Frisby (70), Colorado, 32:24
First F70-74: Norma Thomas (72), California, 43:29
First M75-79: Neal Chappell (75), Nevada, 38:59
First W75-79: Pat Herr (77), California, 57:20
First M80-84: Bob Rice (80), California, 48:06
First M 85-89: Gunnar Linde (86), California, 58:40
There was heated competition in the team event, as well. Team rules: up to five runners on a team, fastest three scored, total time counts). Our W50-59 team (sorry about the age identification ladies) was 4th of 10 teams. Our flying youngsters included “Rampaging” Richardson (33:01), Renee Williams “Scurrying” Smith (34:42), and Diane “Sleek” Silva (35:52)...with newcomer (to Club Ed) Julie “Mischievous” McKinney (40:00) filling out the fleet team. Karina “Ballistic” Bird ran a great race, PR-ing by half a minute in 35:34. Unfortunately we couldn’t field a team in her age group (40-49), so she only competed as an individual…maybe next year?

We had 2 high placing groups in the M50-59 category. The first team, comprised of “Mach Speed 2” Megeff, Jake “Cyclone Courtney (29:18), Rich “Gusting” Gust (29:26) and Mark “Speedy” Shalvarjian (29:38) finished 3rd of 16 teams. Our 2nd team, including Rick “Dashing” Dodson (30:17), Chuck “Kamikaze” Kaminski (31:33), Kevin “Swift” Sullivan (31:45), Mark “Streaking” Silva (31:55), and Jim Tornado” Torii (33:58)  finished 5th.
In the 60-69 division, a team led by Coach Ed “Air Mail” Avol (34:17), finished 5th of 13 teams. He was supported by Steve “Notorious” Notaro (35:49), Marty “Flying” Friedman (36:38), and Jack “Mad Jack” McDowell (39:38). “Flying” had teased “Air Mail” that if he could run under 29, the team could stay out of last place. As it turned out, if “Air Mail” had run sub-29, the team still would have finished 5th!

We had 2 club runners in the Open “regular” race, referred to  several as “the kiddies’ race” . Leo “Butane” Burzynski is continuing his comeback, finishing in 42:29. Aaron “Meteor” Munger might have finished 20th overall in 27:48, but he suffered “a clothing malfunction” – and improperly attached his timing chip, so he wasn’t listed in the official finish. Rookie mistake?

A benefit of being “old” and running in the Masters National race was that it started a half hour earlier than the Open race. Therefore, the Masters finished earlier and had a head start to the food court (where there was LOTS of food to sample --the best finish line expo ever?). “Gusting” Gust sampled everything in sight, and “Cyclone” Courtney ate miniature bundt cakes until he dropped. “Flying” Friedman couldn’t decide if he liked the bundts or chocolate chip cake samples better. Several of us may have added back all the calories we burned off in the race!

Congrats to all; we have some work to do; the 2016 National 8K will also be in Brea next February!