30th Market Street Mile

By James Moreland
Frederick, MD
September 8, 2012

It is ladies first as the first of three heats gets underway

Until recently the MSM used to be the first weekend in October which put it in competition for the cult classic Great Allegany Run 15K. GAR is famous for its PR demolishing times as it screams down Mount Savage to a more than 600 foot drop. MSM used to start a quarter mile back of the YMCA and featured about 600 meters Milquetoast rise of maybe three meters. Now the race starts at the YMCA and before the adrenaline rush has passed you have turned the corner and headed downtown in to big city Frederick, where all the lights are bright.

There is a reason the all day event is called In The Streets. And no it is not because it would take me that long to cross Carroll Creek at the base of the hill and finish the mile. All the way down the final three quarters of a mile both sides of the street are filled with vendors, solicitors, well wishers, dancers and bands. Food is everywhere and it would not be surprising if a runner stopped along the way enticed by the aroma. At the finish the promenade along Carroll Creek also went east-west offering even more reasons to stroll through the town.

The records for the open and masters are all from are all more than 10 years old. The newest was when Maria (Pazarentzos) Spinnler won it all in 2002 with an excellent 5:20. She would be top masters three more years as well. Cassie O’ Neil set the open record (4:50) in 1990. Only one other woman would break 5:00, two-time all American at Penn State, Paula Renzi. Charles Cheruiyot was the only man to break four minutes, winning in 1986 with 3:58. Masters legend Steve Ruckert started the 90s with an unbeatable 4:27.

This year the race had a women and men’s race but no division for masters. The 90s masters runners would have done well in the open division. In 1992 the top three masters all broke 4:36 and fifth place was 4:50. Before this year’s race the clouds were a little ominous and the air was definitely muggy. Tony Clement, 25, won handily in 4:27 ahead of Erik Henrichson’s 4:32. The cash only went one deep this year for open and master. New master Josuha Henson won in 4:51 ahead of Joseph Daniels, 46, (4:53). Daniels had been the overall winner more than once and a favorite that was upset on Saturday.

The women’s race was a rout. Sage Norton was the only Ranked Runner among the open women and she pulverized the field with a solid 5:26. The next three runners had only sixty years between them. The top two were the only other women two break the six minute mark. Top master Ruth Taylor was fifth overall in 6:07.

The race draws fast runners from all around the state as it is part of the Maryland RRCA State Championship Series. James Anderson, 50, had perhaps the best age graded time, racing home in exactly five minutes. Top ranked Maurice Pointer, 57, was a close second running his first MSM in 5:16. Malcolm Senior, 61 had a national class race in 5:42. Ronnie Wong, 65, got out kicked by Art Gregory who was racing on home turf 6:29 to 6:31. Lou Shapiro, 70, is back to his winning ways in 7:29. Former Steeplechaser president George Waxter (81) was the oldest man.

In the women’s race Bev Black was delighted with her grandmaster win in 6:37. Harriet Langlois, 55, was on top with 7:12. The race wisely uses five year age groups. In the past it was three deep but in some areas ten year. This year it was five year as high as it goes and two deep. Dee Nelson (left) celebrated her 69th birthday by winning in 7:27. She beat every woman sixty and older. That is important because next year the race will be on September 7 and she will still be 69 and gunning to be a winner twice at the same age. Tami Graf, 76, is still belting out the wins running a formidable 9:29.

In the older groups often races go 60 and older or 70 and older and it is hard for some of the older runner to compete. They do this because they say too few older runners race. Balderdash! It becomes the chicken and the egg – offer age group prizes and you will get the runners. Barbara Potzick of Potomac, MD (right) entered only her third race of the decade and she had just turned 72-years-old during the past week. The advice was follow and experienced runner who was good at pacing. She chose 81-year-old Yvonne Aasen who has been racing scores of races every year for decades. A steady pace is important in the mile even if the last part is downhill. Both of them were first in their division.

After the race, runners collected their awards and picked out places to eat on their walk back to the car. The threatening skies turned blue and the stroll past the In the Streets made for a wonderful with music playing all the way back. It was near impossible not to win some fun gifts from one of the many vendors along the way. Who could resist refueling at one of the scores of food courts?

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