The USATF-NE 2017 road racing grand prix series got under way last weekend with the Amherst 10 Miler (formerly known as the 5 Jones Realtors 10 Miler? 😝). News broke just ahead of the race of a change in scoring policy from gun time to chip time for age group scoring and awards. This led to some confusion and a whole lot of discussion, but more on that later.
Eric Ashe & Danielle Bessette got the wins. Ashe’s 50:36 gave him some breathing room over second place Ruben Sança (50:58). The women’s race was even closer, with the top 5 all finishing up in a span of about 64 seconds. Bessette’s 59:56 paced the field and gave her a similar cushion over Apryl Sabadosa (second in 60:19).
Not to take anything away from their wins, but as an interesting (and somewhat surprising) side note the elite field seemed to take a hit from the competition over in Hyannis. Couldn’t help but notice that the full and half had some pretty big, familiar names in the field down there so some grand prix circuit regulars must have opted to delay their 2017 series debuts for a trip to the cape. But that race is a for another post.
On the effort, Ashe said (per his Strava log): “🏆🏁💨🏃🔥”. Words of inspiration that will surely end up on a t-shirt someday. What we think it means is that he was feeling good enough to push it up the last hill and was able to gain some separation between him and Ruben. Meanwhile, Sança had this to say (also via Strava): “Legs shut down last 2km, not sure what happened. Likely lack of tempo and long interval work. Happy with how the middle of race went though.” Danielle’s Strava was also right to the point (“Top female, 59:56”), so we might have to work harder on getting actual quotes next time.
The BAA men & Craft Concept ladies both started the defense of their 2016 series titles the best way possible by earning the open team wins.
Regina Loiacano (63:59, CMS) was the top masters woman and 51 yr old Andy Gardiner (54:27, BAA) was the top men’s masters. In fact the senior Gardiner ran faster than all but 12 runners total in the competitive field.
Back to the chip vs gun time issue, there’s so much on Dave Dunham’s Facebook wall about this that’s it’s hard to link to the best one for reference. Let’s start with this one:
A little background here: USATF national apparently says it’s okay to use either chip or gun time for age group awards. In years past, USATF-NE has gone with gun time exclusively. In the week leading up to this first race of the 2017 season, an email went out to entrants from the race explaining that age group and team awards would be based on chip time. This caused quite the uproar (deservedly so as it is a big change) but also led to some good, healthy discussion.
Dave has a list of all the runner’s impacted by this change that he compiled over on his blog. Between his blog and his FB account, you’re sure to find enough material to keep you reading all afternoon. Get your popcorn ready, because you’ll be spending a lot of time on the comments.
For more on this event…