Sunday, January 17, 2010

Old Men Running

Wait no more - the 2009 Muddy Buzzard Masters Runners Of The Year selections are ready to be unveiled.

The master's selctions were pretty muddy (no pun intended); but, still were a bit clearer than the open men. But, for the most part, the master's dudes didn't race a whole bunch. That makes it a bit tougher to analyze results. It also means a limited number of head to head comparisons that can be made. But, as with the open men - there was still enough racing and comparative performances to make a semi objective, quasi rational, seat of the pant choice.

Also, as with the open division, my analysis here is limited to the men only. Just didn't have the time to double the tracking and analyzing of the performances. Maybe for 2010 - we'll see.

But, on to the slections.

The clear choice (at least to me) had to be the Waterloo Wizard (or is it the Deer Lodge Demon?) - Ray Hunt. He didn't race a lot (Ray never does). And, we know that he fights a variety of leg issues. But, he has clearly developed a training program that maximizes his limited running volume and gets him incredibly fit. When Ray shows up at a race - you know that he is there, fit and ready for bizness.

How about this for a list of performances. 2nd (by a scant 0.2 seconds) to Peter Dan Sullivan at the Montana Men's Master Mile (MMMM) in 4:40.6. 2nd overall and first master (2nd to Thomas Jodoin - #2 in the open men rankings) at the AHO St. Paddy's Day Run in Anaconda - 15:09. 3rd overall and 1st master at the Octoberfest 5K XC in Bozeman in 16:55. And, perhaps his best run of the year - 5th overall and 1st Master at the Montana Cup in 21:24 (just a mere 18 seconds behind the winning time of Alan King) (and beating such athletes as Mike Foote, Thomas Jodoin, Dewey Peacock and Mike Telling (master)).

His only "off" performance was a 5th place master's finish in the Wulfman CDT 14K trail. But, that comes after acting as race director, setting up the race course, making sure everyone got out and started on the course, and making sure that the event was fully underway. A tough way to get prepped to race.

But, Ray was clearly capable of winning the master's division (and being compeitive on the overall level) of any race that he entered. At this point, he is clearly the standard bearer for men master's runners in Big Sky country.

#2 on the list goes to Mike Telling of Dillon. He perhaps races even more infrequently than Ray. But, he too runs super fast when he gets to the line. 2nd overall at Jim Bridger (behind Dewey Peacock) in 1:24:40, 7th overall and 1st Master at Wulfman in 60:36 and 14th overall and 2nd Master at Montana Cup in 22:10.

In spite of his limited racing, Mike deserves a place at the top of the list based on the high level of his performances. Much like Ray, when Mike shows up, he's going to be at the top of the list in the masters race; and, he'll be competitive in the open division as well.

#3 was a tough choice. In the mix were Kyle Strode of Helena (thanks to Big Bird for catching my ommission in my initial post), John Herring and Kevin Plumage of Missoula, and Kirk Keller of Three Forks. In the end, the nod goes to Kyle Strode.

Kyle's racing was mostly earlier in the year; but, it was all top quality. 4th overall at the MMMM in 4:56. 1st Masters at Snow Joke in 1:22:12. 8th overall and 1st Master at Ice Breaker, 4th overall and 1st master at Don't Fence Me in 30K; and, his crowning race of the year - 2nd overall and 1st Master at Couer d' Alene (spelling???) in a spectactular 2:49:41. Great string of races for Kyle.

#4 is Kirk Keller. Kirk is a tough, gritty competitor. That pushed him to a pair of top 10 overall finishes at Wulfman (9th overall, 2nd Master, 63:58) and the Bozeman Classic (9th overall, 1st master, 17:58) and a 5th place masters finish at Montana Cup (23:03). It's a stunning display of the fact that the "big 5-0" doesn't have to be all about black baloons :-)

5th on the list falls to John Herring. With a range of 5:03 in the mile to 2:56 in the marathon, he wasn't afraid to get in the mix, regardless of the distance. Top performances for John included his 8th overall and 3rd master in the Riverbank Run Trifecta (including 17:34 5K and 36:23 10K), his 3rd place masters finish at Wulfman and his 10th overall/1st Master in the Missoula Marathon in 2:56:53.

Ever so close behind John at #6 was fellow Missoulian Kevin Plumage. 4th Master at the Riverbank 10K (37:20), 4th Master at Missoula Marathon (2:58:34) and 3rd Master at the Roots Festival 4-miler (23:24). All of these were also top 20 overall finishes.

Some other grat performances came from guys like Jeff Braun of Butte who came on real strong at the end of the year to get 4th Master at Roots Festival and MT Cup.

How about Peter Dan Sullivan of Helena? PDS won the MMMM at 4:40.2, was 4th overall in the Governor's Cup 5K in 17:24 and was the masters champ at the Mount Helena race.

Ed Detzi led the Montana Masters at Bloomsday with his 44:36, followed closey by the buzzard himself at 45:09 and Tim Dumas at 45:27.

The Buzzard also had a 1:23 half marathon leg in the first half of the Montana Marathon relay and a 3rd place overall at the Big Butte Challenge.

So, there you have it. As the Sue Sylvester character on Glee would say - That's how the Buzzard C's it.

Looking for a great year from all these guys in 2010. Plus we get the addition of Pat Judge of Helena added to the masters ranks this year. Should be exciting.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard


Unknown said...

I've got to put in my vote for top three to Kyle Strode. Sub 5 for MMMM and sub 2:50 at Couer d'Alene (2nd overall) marathon. He beat Telling at the Prickly Pear 30k. Add top Master at Snow Joke.

Tony B said...

TJ - thanks for catching that. I concur with you - thanks for catching it. Don't know how I missed him on my first stab.

Dewey said...

Just piping with two comments, well three I suppose, thanks for keeping a good statewide vibe on Montana running, I think it helps motivate a lot of us and keeps us up to date with what's going on. I really think that Thomas deserves the top nod due to the fact he practically won (if not destroyed) every race he entered but a few, and that number has to be in the high teens if not 20-race range. And I think Rob Walker is going to make some waves next year as a master's runner, I'm looking forward to seeing how the MMMM shapes up, although I'm glad that we'll be out in Spokane to hear about it.

hayrunt said...

Who is the top Montana master's woman?

Nicole said...

Ray ran the last 2km of the Wulfman carrying Diamond Jim on his shoulders.

Tony B said...

Ray - not sure on the top master's woman. AS I noted in the post, just didn't have the time this last year to add the women's tracking and analysis. But, maybe for 2010.

hayrunt said...

Yes. I know what you said (twice now), but who was the top master's woman?

Tony B said...

Top Master's Woman - Colleen DeRuek???????

In Montana - I'm not sure. Mary Thane is really the class of the state when she races on a regular basis. After her we have people like Anne Sorenson, Julie Gilchrist, Debbie Gibson, Kathy Aragon and Karen Sanford Gall.

When does Nicole do the big 4-0? It's this year isn't it?


pjudge said...

Nice work on this Tony. I agree with Dewey that you do an excellent job keeping us all up-to-date on the latest happenings in the Montana running scene.
I also like your idea of comparing the top competitors & performances. But gosh, I really do have to take exception with your placement of Mr. Sullivan as merely an honorable mention. Here's why -- in 2009, Peter Dan went undefeated in the masters category in every running race he entered (8 races total, in all seasons and including a multitude of surfaces and distances). Highlights include 1st in the Masters Mile, 4th overall in the Gov’s Cup 5k (17:24 in nasty conditions), 3rd overall in the Aug├║st Road Race (in his fastest time ever -- 20:39 for 3.8 miles = 5:26 pace), 2nd overall in the Veterans Day race, top master in Mount Helena, and top master / 3rd overall in the Helena Turkey Trot “5k” (17:11 -- course is a bit short). He also extended his win streak at the Wolf Creek Relay to at least 6 races (never having been on a losing team, to my knowledge) by running the fastest time for the third leg that year (one second faster than the always-impressive Jake Neil). And for good measure, he put his Distance Medley Relay team solidly in the lead at an informal Carroll College outdoor meet in April (by running 3:26 for 1200 m).
I agree he deserves a serious penalty for not showing up to the Montana Cup (choosing instead to attend a play his son was performing in), but still! (He also jumped into a sprint triathlon and a 38 mile mountain bike race, and did well in both, but I know this is a running purist blog -- and rightly so -- so I won't elaborate on those.)
You did invite feedback, right? :)
Thanks Tony,

Tony B said...

Definately appreciate the feedback. Love having people give their opinions and having some good discourse on the state of the sport in MT.

Don't completely disagree with you about PDS. But, in the end, it seemed that the others had a broader range of performances (a pretty wide array of distances and surfaces); and, generally ran in some races that were, overall, more competitive. Like Alan King on the open men's side, part of the answer woudl be PDS getting outside of the Helena area more often.

hayrunt said...

Nicole will turn 4o a few days before Bloomsday this year.