Hartshorne mile to honor memory of columnist Diane Sherrer
Diane Sherrer, a great friend to masters track as a running columnist in upstate New York, died last May. But I didn’t learn this awful news until yesterday, when I opened attachments to an email note about entries in this weekend’s Hartshorne Masters Miles in Ithaca, New York. “This year we will inaugurate The Diane Sherrer Memorial Award,” said the note. “Diane passed away this past May after a prolonged battle with lung cancer. This award commemorates the decades of service Diane gave to advocating, promoting, and publicizing masters running in upstate New York. Diane celebrated the participation of women in road racing, cross country, and track for both the health benefits and the joy of competition.”
Diane Sherrer (right) is shown with Marie Fitzsimmons, a running partner.
The note from Tom Hartshorne continued:
The women’s elite mile races are integral to the Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile series because of Diane’s efforts.
The Diane Sherrer Memorial Award, to be given to the winner of the women’s 50′s elite race, is being sponsored by Patti Ford, Coreen Steinbach and The Finger Lakes Runners Club. It is a sterling silver picture frame with an inscription honoring Diane. The same sponsors are also offering a $400 incentive award in Diane’s name to the women’s 50′s elite winner who breaks 5:20 for the mile.
All of us at The Finger Lakes Runners Club, and many other athletes throughout central New York, who were influenced by her outgoing personality and boundless energy to help others, will miss her presence at this year’s event. For years, Diane raced in the women’s mile, cheered on the competitors in the rest of the races, and after interviewing the winners, would go home to write up the story for Monday’s Ithaca Journal.
Her articles were often reprinted for the cover story of the National Masters News. It will not be the same without you Dy!
Here’s a perfect example of her work, published January 19, 2007:
Diane Sherrer: Hartshorne’s legacy lives on through masters mile
Forty years ago, the mile was the “it” race. Glitzy, glamorous – a source of national pride.
We had teen phenoms like Jim Ryun and Marty Liquori, the illusive four-minute barrier, live races televised on Saturday afternoons from Madison Square Garden – all hypnotic dramas unfolding in a circular motion.
The perfect mile in an imperfect world.
Missing from that vintage snapshot of milers in 1968 were girls, women and men over the age of 40.
But here in Ithaca, a visionary named Jim Hartshorne was setting his sights on establishing the first U.S. indoor masters mile. It would be known then as the Cornell Masters Mile, and it would be held on a cold winter’s evening in Barton Hall, on the Cornell University campus.
Hartshorne, who at the age of 44 in 1968 became the first national masters (outdoor) mile champion, left a legacy as a pioneer of masters mile races in major track meets on the east coast, and as an advocate to masters athletes.
But his most valuable contribution to masters running is the original race which now bears his name: The Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile.
Saturday, the oldest continuous indoor masters mile in the world will celebrate its 40th anniversary in conjunction with the 27th edition of the women’s masters mile and a Cornell University collegiate invitational meet.
The very best male and female masters milers in the U.S. and Canada, armed with credentials boasting world and American records, national titles and ground-breaking age-group performances, will assemble on the Barton Hall oval to demonstrate the art of aging gracefully.
“On paper, it looks like one of the best fields ever assembled,” said Rick Hoebeke of Trumansburg, in his 20th and final year as meet director. “It’s just incredible. We’ve always been able to attract great performances.”
Hoebeke will pass the directorship baton next year to Tom Hartshorne, Jim’s son, who currently serves as the elite athlete coordinator.
“I remember sitting down with Jim Hartshorne when he was ready to give up directing the mile (in 1988),” recalled Hoebeke, who also was a high school and masters miler. “I did not want this mile to divide and die, so I approached him about directing it. It’s always been teamwork, with lots of people involved and dedicated to it. I always realized we were carrying on a legacy. That has driven me to improve the event every year, but I never thought we’d get to the point where we are today.”
Where we are today is to anticipate records to be set in both the men’s and women’s elite races.
Among the possibilities:
* A new meet record in the women’s elite race (5:02.69)
* A world-record attempt in the women’s 40-44 age group
* A world record attempt in the women’s 45-49 age group
* A new meet record in the men’s elite 40-49 race (4:17.84)
* And a world-record attempt in the men’s 45-49 age group. (The Hartshorne Masters Mile has been the site of three ratified age-group world records for women.)
The starting times for all masters mile heats (slow to fast) on Saturday are as follows:
Women’s non-elite section II: 11 a.m.; women’s non-elite section I: 11:15 a.m.; men’s section III: 11:30 a.m.; men’s section II: 11:45 a.m.; men’s section I: noon; men’s elite veterans mile: 12:15 p.m.; women’s elite mile: 12:30 p.m.; men’s elite mile: 12:45 p.m.
Groton cross country coach Scott Weeks again will serve as the elite men’s rabbit (pace-setter).
Here are the top-seeded elite men to watch:
John Hinton, 43, Chapel Hill, N.C. – Won the 2006 national masters M40 indoor mile title (4:16), and placed second in the 800 meters (1:56). At the outdoor national masters championships, he won gold medals in the 1,500 meters (4:08.99) and 800 (1:59).
Anselm LeBourne, 47, Maplewood, N.J. – Won the 2005 Hartshorne Mile (4:23), and in 2002-03. Won gold medals among M45 in the 800 and 1,500 at the 2005 World Masters Championships in Spain. Holds the M45 world record in the indoor 800 (1:56.29). If he’s in shape, could have a shot at the M45 indoor mile world record (4:21.90).
Allains Boucher, 44, Kanata, Ontario – A former member of the Canadian national team; recently posted a 4:34 mile in an open race at the Dartmouth Relays.
Gladstone Jones, 42, Bronx – Placed third in the 2006 Hartshorne elite mile (4:35:12) by outkicking fourth and fifth-place by micro seconds.
Jim Derick, 41, Big Flats – Placed fourth in the 2006 Hartshorne elite mile (4:35.29); the top-ranked open and masters runner in all distances in the Twin Tiers, winning almost every race he entered in 2006.
Tom Dalton, 48, Schenectady – Two-time runner-up at Hartshorne, third in 2003, fourth in 2005, fifth in 2006.
Top local: Casey Carlstrom, 47, Ithaca – Placed second in the Messenger Masters Mile in December, and won it in 2005.
Those to watch in the elite men’s veterans’ mile (50-59) race, with the top five capable of sub 4:50s (Eric Davis of Ithaca will serve as rabbit):
Jim Robinson, 53, Rochester – Runner-up in the 2006 Hartshorne elite vet mile (4:43.58;); one of the best M50 track and cross country runners in the U.S.; won the M50 gold medal in the steeplechase at the 2006 outdoor masters nationals; former gold medalist in the national masters indoor 800 and 3,000 meters.
Steve Chantry, 51, Williamsburg, Va. – In 2006, won M50 national championship titles in the 3,000, one mile and 800 meters indoors. Third-place at 2006 Hartshorne veterans’ elite mile.
Tom Ryan, 51, Cape Elizabeth, Maine – Won M50 bronze medal at indoor nationals in the 3,000; M50 individual champion at 5K cross country nationals. Fourth at 2006 Hartshorne elite veterans’ mile.
Alston Brown, 57, Mount Vernon – Former M55 world record holder in the 400 meters; won the M50 entire division (not just M55) at the 2006 Fifth Avenue Mile (4:51).
Bob Carroll, 50, Orchard Park – Outstanding cross country season at 5K masters nationals and the Upstate New York Cross Country Series.. . .
Here are the top-seeded women to watch in the elite mile, with hopes for a world record or two. Hollie Rhodes of Elmira will serve as the women’s rabbit:
Alisa Harvey, 41, Manassas, Va. – The No. 1 female masters miler in the world. Owns the W35 (4:48.52) and W40 (4:50.95) world record in the indoor mile. Owns the American indoor 800 meter records for W35 (2:06.62) and W40 (2:07.23), and the W35 1,500-meter record (4:27.00) Two weeks ago, lowered her own W40 indoor mile record to 4:47.2, pending ratification.
Marisa Hanson, 43, Pleasant Valley – Won the 2006 Hartshorne elite women’s mile in a meet record 5:02.69. Ended 2006 ranked No. 1 in U.S. in the indoor 1,500 meters (4:36.7).
Zofia Wieciorkowska, 43, Stratford, Conn. – American citizen, but holds Polish masters records in 200, 400, 800, 1,500 and steeplechase.
Leslie Chaplin Swann, 48, McDonough, Ga. – Current W45 800-meter world champion; holds W45 American records in the indoor 800, 1,500, 3,000 and mile (5:08.81); and outdoors in the 1,500 meters. Currently ranked No. 1 in the U.S. among W45 in all middle distances.
Becky Heuer Carroll, 42, Orchard Park – Long-time, top-ranked sub-masters at Hartshorne, and served as the rabbit for masters milers. Outstanding track and cross country runner. Placed second to Hanson among W40s at the 5K cross country nationals.
Top local: Gillian Sharp, 45, Ithaca – A lieutenant in the Ithaca Fire Department; won the masters title in the Upstate New York XC Series; placed third W45 at 5K XC nationals; won the W40 national indoor mile title in 2003; third W40 at Hartshorne in 2003; world-class biathlete.. . .
Imagine if Jim Hartshorne could stand on the sidelines Saturday and see his race now?
“I’d say, ‘Jim, can you believe it?! Look where this has all gone!’” said Hoebeke. “Jim’s brainstorm continues. Jim was a very proud man who was very proud of his race. It’s now the race which carries his name. It is unique in the world, and that alone is a milestone.”
“Racing well is a balancing act between conditioning and attention to the race itself,” added Tom Hartshorne, who will race in the elite veterans’ mile. “My father’s focus on the masters mile in the late 1960s was his way of bringing public attention to the potential of aerobic exercise later in life.
“This focus brought headlines that older runners could compete at an extraordinary level at advanced ages. But, the underlying emphasis was always that this could be achieved in an enjoyable program of exercise that could be fun day to day. For the fun in the run I now remember the ‘old man,’ and relish the exquisite sense of exhaustion and accomplishment experienced at the end of the mile race.”
I didn’t find this article online. (In fact, the link to it is dead.) Diane sent me this story herself the same day in appeared in print — unselfishly sharing her love for masters track with anyone interested. She was a consummate writer and one of the best masters track reporters ever.
Tomorrow I’ll post the entries to the 2010 races. Today’s blog is dedicated to Diane.