Auld lang syne
By Fred Deckert
At the end of the year, it’s conventional and appropriate to look back on the old year and plan for the new. This is especially useful for competitive runners, especially those who are calendar challenged. Fortunately the running community has instituted age group scoring which helps alleviate the pain of slower times as we age. In Gulf Winds Track Club this is the time for those in the categories over 40 to especially look back and check for the hotshots who are graduating into their age group. GWTC uses 5 year divisions so the typical 50 year old will be looking for fast 49 year olds who had a birthday in the past year moving them up to their group, since GWTC uses the age as of Jan. 1 as the year long competitive marker.
In 2003, starting with the oldest male categories, these are some of the point getters to keep your eye on; Bert Horowitz, Mike Schneider, Clint Watkins Tom Ratcliffe, Jerry Ongley, Joe Donoghue and most especially Bill McGuire who as Grandmaster is a favorite in any race he runs. Mike Sims, Ithel Jones and speedster Larry Mengelkoch graduate to the 50’s. Felton Wright, if he tears himself away from Triathlons will be a factor his new 45 group as will Jeff Nielsen. New Master’s will be Mike Johnson, Richard Baker and Walt Loomis.
For the women, Dot Skofronick and Jean Anne Bowling are new age group graduates, as are; Kay Holland, Pheona Kaiser, Barbara Yonclas, Cynthia Christen, Nada Stauffer, Anne Van Meter, Mackie Hempel, Mary Jane Tappen, Fran McNeal and Sandy Stark. Donna Whitworth will be the new Master to watch. Susan Ledford and Janet Coke will graduate to that status also.
Of course those left behind may feel more comfortable now that their competition has left, the male 50 – 54 age group will be ecstatic to lose Ratcliffe, Ongley, McGuire and Donoghue, but there’s always new blood to keep you on your toes. No doubt I’ve missed some of the new threats and there’s always the chance of the “Have Racing Flats, will Travel” outsider to consider.
You can keep track of all this competition and much, much more at the Gulf Winds website. It’s a treasury of information, stories, schedules and running news of all kinds. If you haven’t used it, make a resolution to do so in the New Year. Regular story contributors David Yon and Gordon Cherr are a joy to read. Jeff Bryan will update you on Ultra’s and movies and is joined by a number of other interesting writers. So, use that link below!