For the second year in a row, the James Joyce Ramble 10k also served as the USATF masters national 10k championship. Local masters took advantage of the opportunity to go toe to toe with some of the nation’s best, despite the fact that many of them were fresh off racing the Boston Marathon. When a national championship race is in your backyard, it’s hard to avoid silly the temptations like rest and recovery. Plus, it’s not too often the masters group gets a three minute head start before the rest of the field is sent charging after them.
Mike Galoob continued his journey from seemingly out of nowhere to the top of the ranks in New England. New England might be an understatement of his position since he now can add ‘national champion’ to his resume. The 40 yr old from Peace Dale, RI ran a 32:37 to secure the title. It wasn’t an easy win, and Peter Hammer (BAA) damn near surged back to steal it in the end. Although it’s safe to say Peter’s not leaning on excuses to explain coming up short, we’ll throw one reason out: a 2:33 marathon. Yes, the 47 yr old Hammer ran a 2:33:02 at the Boston Marathon only six days earlier and almost fought his way to a national masters title. Almost. Peter came up four seconds shy of Galoob’s winning time. “It was awesome to have Peter Hammer come up and put in a strong surge there at the end, that really woke us up and it was go time then.”
The race itself started out very tactically, with the main, large pack of contenders sticking together through the first four miles or so. After that, things started to stretch out a bit as runners began to fall off. According to Mike, the first half of the race was more like a ten mile race pace, while the second half ended up being more like sub-16 minute 5k pace. “We sped it up a lot after the halfway point.”
Melody’s 35:15 not only earned her the national title, but it also enabled her to pull off what the masters men couldn’t: beat her open competition as well. Jess Minty was the top open runner on the day and ran a 35:35. Would things have unfolded differently had Jess and Melody started at the same time? Hard to say, but one could make the argument that Jess having to hunt down a woman three minutes ahead of her was extra motivation.
That was the task that Amos Sang and Galrius Rop were charged with as well. Right from the gun they were bounding out in front, the two training partners matching each other effortless stride for effortless stride. Their relentless pursuit was just too much for the masters men to hold off. The top three all got in ahead of Mike’s winning time (Stephen Polito was the third), and it got interesting in the end as Amos and Glarius were charging in after some of the elite masters runners.
Kent Lemme of the Greater Springfield Harriers was the 9th masters runner in 33:22, and he just barely held off Amos Sang’s 30:26. Kent kept throwing glances back as he surged toward the finish line, not wanting to give up one more second on the younger runner. Glarius Rop (30:51) wasn’t too far behind Sang, and he dug in and overtook Ethan Nedeau (33:53) just before the line. The Sang/Rop combo impressively caught all but nine masters.
In the team scoring, the BAA 40+ team won a close one over the Atlanta Track Club. There was a scant three seconds separating the two units. Peter Hammer and Wayne Levy (35:39) both raced the Boston Marathon, while Chris Magill (32:58) was the top masters runner at the BAA 5k. On tired legs they stepped up and defended their home turf.
The BAA women’s 40+ team lost a close one to the Athena Track Club, and it’s quite possible that the 67 second gap separating them could’ve been covered by Mimi Fallon had she not had to hobble in on a bad hamstring over the second half of the race. A 40:25 for the 48 yr old on a bad leg is still quite impressive. Really, a 40:25 for most people on a bad leg, no matter the age, is impressive.