07/25/10 – Mann Wins National 45-49 Title in 1500m

Mann Kicks Home to Win 1500m

Mann Kicks Home to Win 1500m

It was hot, hotter and hottest in Sacramento, and the Strawberry Canyon Track Club netted some nice hardware in the form of two bronze medals and one gold medal! Yes, Jeff Mann is the Strawberry Canyon Track Club’s first-ever USA national champion as he won the men’s 45-49 1500-meter race in a stellar performance. Teammate Matt Bogdaniwicz wrote the following effusive email:
Strawberry Canyon TC Masters performance of the year- my vote Jeff Mann 92.46% Men’s 800. No open Strawberry Canyon athlete, or Pacific striders open, master, senior etc has ever reached that milestone. There may have been a 90% somewhere, but doubtful that is like a 4:07 Mile, 14:00 5k, or 29:00 10K at the open level. The 2:02.51=1:49.35 open. I just think it should be recognized somehow. I know Pete Magill use to list performance by % on his site.”
Yes indeed!
Backtracking a bit, the first day of competition was Thursday morning, in which Strawberry Canyon TC stalwarts Thom Trimble and Tim Keenan competed in the 5000-meter event. Divided into age group sections, Thom Trimble ran first and posted a mark of 17:41.52 (11th-place) on a day when the temperature was in the upper 80s and muggy at the start of the race.
Keenan - 17:14 5,000m

Keenan - 17:14 5,000m

Tim Keenan lined up in the men’s 45-49 division of the 5000 and ran a solid time of 17:14.27, not under the 17:00-barrier he’d hoped to crack but then again the conditions did anything but favor a distance runner’s physiological requirement for cool air.

The next round of events for the Strawberries was the 10,000-meter event and the weather did indeed disappoint as temperatures crept up all morning. There was a cruel irony in that the 60-89 men’s race went off at 7 a.m. when it was in the 50s and they actually put up some impressive times, lending false hope to the 10K runners competing in their later morning heats.
The men’s 50-59 heat was combined and Thom Trimble and Jeff Teeters were entered. Jeff had been nursing a sore hamstring and made a race day decision to jump in, realizing he could always step off the track if he felt that dreaded twinge. At one point he openly wanted the conditions to be “120 degrees and with high humidity” so he would be able to grind out a race and not be forced to rely solely on his gimpy hamstring with a faster pace a cooler day would predictably allow for.
The temperatures were already pushing the low 80s and the humidity remained, which slowed things down considerably. Thom and Jeff both went out conservatively, perhaps Jeff’s sore hamstring was a blessing in disguise as he really set himself up for a pretty good run. however (in his own words), he “got greedy” and started charging after some attainable guys in the middle of the race. Thom bided his time a bit and caught back up to Jeff. Thom’s 37:06.05 (4th place) barely missed the medal podium, while Jeff managed to fight his way to 37:23.95, likely not what he had been hoping for timewise but considering his significant tweak he was happy to survive the race intact.

Trimble - 4th in 50-54 10,000m

Trimble - 4th in 50-54 10,000m

Next up was the men’s 30-49 age group 10000 and the weather wasn’t doing the competitors any favors. At one point it started to feel like Jeff Teeter’s weather forecast would be uncannily accurate as the 90-degree weather took it’s toll on everybody. Tim Keenan was able to maintain a strong pace in significantly hotter conditions than the earlier morning races and finished with a time of 37:06.61, good for 6th place in that age group. Coach Carl Rose did not enjoy that morning’s jaunt and finished in 10th in 40:12.82.
Sunday was the final day of competition and the Berries heated things up in the middle distances. First off was the men’s 45-49 age group 800-meter run and Jeff Mann was raring to go despite having various niggles and tweaks (hamstring, back, calves) during the course of the season which were reflected by some up-and-down performances. However he ended tangling in an inspired three-man war and came through fighting tooth and nail all the way until the end. His third-place bronze medal was arguably the club’s best all-time performance (see Matt’s endorsement above) as Jeff cranked out a phenomenal time of 2:02.51. He was just edged by Ireland’s Kevin Forde (2:02.40) and Oregon’s Mike Blackmore (2:01.12). This was one of the best races of the meet, going all the way down to the wire. Jeff was very pleased with his season-best breakthrough and bronze medal.
Bogdanowicz Runs 2:01.99 800m

Bogdanowicz Runs 2:01.99 800m

The wounded warrior brigade continued, as Matt Bogdanowicz lined up in the men’s 40-44 800-meter race with an injured achilles. He managed to run an exciting race, running as evenly as possible with his sore achilles. His 2:01.99 was a season-best performance and he finished 6th overall. He should be able to break 2:00 fairly easily next year if he stays healthy and can train with our stable of sub-2:00 middle-distance runners.

After missing the USATF Club nationals meet with a strained soleus and possible inguinal hernia, Joshua Seeherman could not resist the temptation to race in the USATF meet either come away with a season-ending performance or exacerbating a potentially bad injury. He courageously and perhaps ill-advisedly ran the in the 800-meter men’s 30-34 race, and though his 2:04.09 reflected three weeks of lost fitness, Seeherman was still able to secure a prestigious bronze medal in this event. Those do not grow on trees so regardless of his time, getting a medal for the club, while injured, was huge in my humble opinion.

While some runners can only handle a little over 2 minutes at 800m pace, club member Bill Brusher was able to endure this semi-sprint race for over 3 minutes! It’s not that Bill is a bit slower or out of shape, it’s that he is running with about a third of his red blood cells tied behind his back. As many of you know, Bill is in the middle of chemotherapy to treat his cancer. Chemo is good for treating cancer, but not good for helping runners transport oxygen. Bill’s hemoglobin count of around 10 mg/dl is well under the normal 14-18 mg/dl – almost like running with just one lung. If his blood count drops a bit more, Bill could be the only athlete at the meet who was LEGALLY using EPO (a red blood cell producing drug).

Prior to being diagnosed with cancer Bill had his sights set on running in the high 2:20s and making the finals of the 55-59 division. Rather than pull out of the meet, or even worry about finishing last, Bill pushed forward with his plans. He expected to run about 3 flat and finish last in the prelims. He did – 3:01.68 to be exact. It turned out it would have taken a 2:21 to make the finals anyway.

Bill has only four more chemo treatments and hopes to be cancer free and back to serious training and more hemoglobin soon. Bill turns 60 next summer and will be raring to go for the World Championships to be held in Sacramento in 2011.

Last but not least…on Sunday Jeff Mann had more work to take care of and take care of it he did…in the men’s 45-49 year-old 1500-meter event. He was lined up against some great competition, including all-world 45-49 age grouper Pete Magill, coming back from an injury-riddled season himself, as well as Jeff’s nemesis in the 800-meter race, Kevin Forde. Mann went out in 70 holding on to a solid third and fourth place, with Magill shadowing his every move. The runners cranked, as the race thinned out into a five-man race by the 1K mark, with Forde, Francis Burdett, Andi Di Conti and Magill. Things really got hopping after the bell lap as Mann took the lead with about 300 meters to go. Forde and Magill were a half step behind, dangerously riding Jeff’s coat-tails for a punishing finishing kick. Not to be denied, Mann dug down deeper and fought his way down the home-stretch. He was not about to lose to Kevin Forde a second time, and he crossed the line in a spectacular time of 4:13.90, just clear of Forde’s 4:14, and Magill’s 4:15.
Congratulations to all of the Strawberry Canyon Track Club masters and seniors runners for putting together such inspired efforts and represent us so well at USATF nationals. Great job everyone! (Carl Rose)

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