Masters Aces Expected At Freihofer’s Run for Women

Joan Benoit Samuelson will be competing in the Master's division at the Freihofer's 5K Run for Women. Photo:

Joan Benoit Samuelson will be there.

From: Running

ALBANY, N.Y. – (May 19, 2011) – With the 33rd edition of the Freihofer’s Run for Women (FRW) now just two weeks away, organizers have announced another stellar Masters division (40 and older) in which any of the entrants could run away with the coveted 5K title on Saturday, June 4th.

Two of Canada’s top over 40 distance runners, Lisa Harvey and Paula Wiltse, appear to be the division’s strongest contenders. Harvey, a 10K specialist who represented her country at 10,000m in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, will be hoping to improve upon her runner-up finish in 2010 (17:05) behind the Ukraine’s Anzhelika Averkova (16:40).

Meanwhile, Wiltse (Brockville, ONT) cruised to a comfortable victory at Freihofer’s in 2008 in a time of 17:29, followed by respectable 6th (2009) and 3rd (2010) place finishes. The talented veteran, named Running Times’ Master of the Year in 2008, is a front runner who possesses great range from 17:02 in the 5K to 77:40 in the half-marathon.

“This is going to be a hard-fought race,” said Freihofer’s Run for Women Elite Athlete Recruiter John Tope, noting that the course is home to Colleen De Reuck’s 2004 Masters World and U.S. All-Comers record of 15:48. “Each of our entrants could steal the title on any given day.”

Five-time FRW masters champion Carmen Troncoso (Austin, TX) will be another force to be reckoned with in New York’s capital city. The 5-foot-1-inch, 93-pound dynamo ran 17:46 in 2010 to win the event’s over-50 title, narrowly edging out 1984 Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson.

While Troncoso’s experience traversing the undulating course will certainly be her edge, hometown advantage may well be Emily Bryans’ (Schenectady, NY) key to victory. The 44-year-old Willow Street Athletic Club runner has been a fixture at Capital Region road races for more than a decade, and her 5K Masters Championship (17:17) victory last year at the Festival of Races in Syracuse, NY shows she has the credentials to do well.

“We’ve never had a local Masters winner here at Freihofer’s,” noted Event Director George Regan. “There will certainly be some expectation on Emily to finally break that drought.”

Bryans will be joined on the start line by fellow Willow Street Athletic Club member Lori Kingsley, who also brings strong credentials to the meet, including a 1st place finish (45-49 age group) at the 2011 Boston Marathon (2:51:02). Kingsley, who resides in Wysox, PA, is the 2010 USA 15K Masters champion (55:38) and the 2009 Masters champion at Chris Thater (17:35). She is currently training for the World Masters Championships in Sacramento in July, where she will compete in the marathon.

Also hoping to block everyone from the podium will be Ukrainian Master Tatyana Byelovol, 41, who is expected to maintain a brisk pace from the gun. The Morristown, NJ resident has a 5000 PR of 15:36 and a 10,000m PR of 32:14, showing she has decent speed upon which to draw. Her 2011 recent results include 4th Master Virginia Beach 8K and 3rd Master Cooper Bridge Run 10K.

Benoit Samuelson, 53, an icon of the sport and one of its most recognizable names, rounds off the Masters division in style. The Freeport, ME native remains fiercely competitive, and completed her first Boston Marathon since 1993 in April, finishing with a time of 2:51:29 (1st place finish 50-54 age group). At the FRW, she is expected to make an attempt at bettering Monica Joyce’s F50-54 age group 5K record of 17:04, which was set at the 2010 Plymouth YMCA Father’s Day Run.

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