The 2015 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships were held on Friday, August 21 in Flint, Michigan. Twelve (12) Niagara athletes, all members of the Genesee Valley Harriers (GVH), competed in the championships which were hosted by the Crim Michigan Mile.
Winning national titles were Mike Nier, Doc Rappole, and the GVH men’s 60+ team.
Nier, 50, of Rochester ran 5:52 to capture the men’s 50-54 division and his first national title. Second place was Ruben Henderson Jr of Michigan, seven seconds back. Nier’s time was four seconds faster than last year when he finished fourth in the 45-49 division. “The mile race has that sudden-death winner-take-all aspect that requires total concentration and commitment that we had as kids when we first raced for the pure thrill of it,” Nier offered following the race. Nier’s time scored 88.58% on the age grading tables; where scores in the 90s are considered to be world class and scores in the 80s are considered national class.
Rappole, 66, of Bemus, NY won the 65-69 division running 6:02 to finish 19 seconds ahead of Jerry Learned of Georgia. His age graded score was 81.42%. "“What fun to be at a great running event with a terrific club team like GVH," stated Rappole. "Awesome team support and great weather plus a well run event made for an old runners high.”
Second place finishes were turned in by Mark Rybinski in the men’s 60-64 division and Colleen Magnussen in the women’s 55-59 division. Rybinski, 60, of Manlius, NY and eventual winner Tom Bernhard of California both came to the finish line together and recorded the same finish time of 5:21. His age graded performance (87.06%) was the second best of all of the Niagara athletes. “With 400m to go I was in 3rd and then moved into 2nd with 200m to go. In the end I needed one more stride to catch Tom. It was tough loss but it was to a fine runner who ran through the finish line,” offered Rybinsk.
Magnussen, 55, of Geneseo, NY ran 6:47 to win her championship silver medal. She trailed Maryellen Stornant of Michigan who ran 6:11.
In addition to Nier, Rappel, and Rybinski the following athletes turned in age graded performances over 80.00% - Josh Harter (81.68%), Dale Flanders (82.20%), and Gary Radford (80.02%).
In the team competition, the GVH M60+ team of Rybinski, Bill Beyerbach, and Rappole defeated the Ann Arbor Track Club by 39 seconds to win the team title; 17:14 to 17:53. “For at least the past seven years we’ve been watching Ann Arbor win all the M60+ team championships and today we were able to finally defeat them in their own backyard,” offered an elated Rybinski”
The GVH women’s 50+ team placed second. The scoring team members were Carol Bischoff, Magnussen, and Gail Geiger. The GVH men’s 50+ team of Nier, Flanders, and Radford placed third in a very competitive division.