2002 USATF Adirondack & Eastern Regional 5k Open Racewalk Championships. Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs NY October 20, 2002 1:00 pm
A small but stellar field found strong competition, personal records and “2nd lifetime” PR’s in an ideal afternoon race for entrants of the Eastern Regional 5k Race Walk. The course was a smooth, flat 1k loop on a pine tree-lined road with wide turns. The sky had cleared, and a crisp fall air was warmed by a brightly shining sun that also highlighted the fall foliage of the Saratoga Spa state park. The lead pack of Jose Duce, Allen James and Bill Vayo started out with a blistering speed set by Duce. When James saw they were going to hit 1k at 4:12, he settled into a more reasonable pace and Vayo held back with him as the! y let the leader go. Duce, a Spaniard who arrived in the US in August and began his season in September, won the Eastern Regional 30k last week in NYC and wanted to test himself at the shorter distance. A 21 minute 5k was not in the cards, however, and James’ patience paid off as he walked to victory in 22:18. Duce was not disappointed in his loss as he did what he set out to do: determine his current fitness level and hold his desired pace as long as possible. He finished in 22:33, followed by Vayo in 24:25. The women got sucked into the men’s quick start with Laura Feller staying on Cheryl Rellinger’s heels for the first half of the race, coming through the first 1k in just over 5 minutes. The pace slowed a bit after 3k, but Feller finished in a PR of 26:41 behind Rellinger’s 26:22. The next pack consisted of 3 men master walkers, with Bill Crone leading the trio in a time of 28:37. Not a PR, but his fastest since he li! ved in Riverside, CA back when a young Susan Armenta was walking that same pace (in other words, quite a long time ago). Next was Jim McGrath, making up a 10m deficit with 400m to go to pass Mike Piplani for 5th overall male in 29:21. Piplani wasn’t too disappointed to finish so close behind McGrath, who had lapped him 3 weeks earlier in the national masters 1 hour. Rather, he was happy to break the 30 minute barrier with a 29:36 for the first time since he was a high school walker. Rounding out the race was Keisha Pearson, a 15 year old who also got a PR of 32:54 today, in her first abbreviated season. The talented junior competitor began race walking in the spring of this year, but was busy sailing in Holland and Bermuda as a member of the US national team. It was time to begin cross country training upon her return, but the `distance’ workout today will provide a little muscle memory before her return to walking in the! indoor track season. With her efficient, legally sound technique, this girl will be a contender for the junior team if we don’t lose her to another sport. Her efforts today brought the team title to Walk USA. And as a spectator noted, (yes, we had quite a few) what a mixed team it was: a masters man, open woman and high schooler. A good representation of how all-inclusive our sport can be.
Results (Place Name Age Team Time Award):
- 1 Allen James 38 Park Racewalkers 22:18.4-1st M
- 2 Jose Duce 29 Park Racewalkers 22:33.4-2nd M
- 3 Bill Vayo 38 Eastside T.C. 24:25.4-3rd M
- 4 Cheryl Rellinger 36 Walk USA 26:22.3-1st F
- 5 Laura Feller 23 Unattached 26:41.2-2nd F
- 6 Wilson Crone 42 Upstate Walkers 28:37.4-4th M 1st Adir Assn.
- 7 Jim McGrath 65 Walk USA 29:21.3-5th M
- 8 Michael Piplani 41 Upstate Walkers 29:36.4-6th M 2nd Adir Assn.
- 9 Keisha Pearson 15 Walk USA 32:54.5-3rd F
Open Mixed Team Title: Walk USA
Many thanks to George Regan, president of the Adirondack Association who believes every association should contest a racewalk, for making the race happen, Bruce Vandewater for registration and results, Allen James for course discovery, permission and measurement, head judge Elaine Humphrey (and for refreshments), judges Kathy Sullivan, Sharon and Chet Boehlke, Earl Daniels, and to our local association for officials, judges and volunteers. And of course to all the competitors who made the trek on fairly short notice and provided worthy competition for one another!