Our championship season
The biggest event on our New England racewalking calendar, the National One-Hour and Two-Hour Championships, will be held on Sunday, Oct. 3, at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute track in Worcester, MA. This is our 11th consecutive year of hosting this major event, which customarily draws top walkers from around the country as well as local walkers of all abilities.
As always, we urge all club members to attend this high-spirited event, as competitors, volunteers or both. Assistance will be needed with entry forms, registration, food, judging, lap-counting and many other aspects of the race. Please contact Justin Kuo at 617-731-9889 if you can help.
An entry form is available at
Or you can e-mail this address:
and an e-mail message containing the form will returned to you.
For a paper copy, contact the New England Track and Field office at 617-566-7600.
More races for everyone
Our fall agenda also includes these major events:
- Sherborn special, Sept. 19
- The town of Sherborn, MA, home of marathoning great Bill Rodgers and racewalking semi-legends Jeanne and Dick Shepardson, will hold a 5K run and racewalk at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19 in celebration of the town's 325th anniversary. The Shepardsons will add to the festivities by inviting the racewalkers to their home for a post-race cookout. For information, contact the Shepardsons at 508-655-6335.
- Regional 10K, Oct. 17
- The Connecticut Racewalkers will hold a 10K on the track at Connecticut College in New London on Oct. 17, and we are hoping for a strong New England Walkers turnout to make this a truly regionwide event. Further details will be announced on the New England Walkers hotline and at the one-hour/two-hour race.
- Our grand finale, Nov. 7
- The traditional end of our outdoor season, the New England Walkers 10K race, potluck lunch and club meeting, will be held at noon Sunday, Nov. 7, at the home of club president Tom Knatt at 83 Riverside Drive in West Concord, MA. Racers and non-racers alike are urged to attend. The food is terrific (please bring a dish, hot or cold, to share) and the club meeting will give us an important start on planning our 2000 season. We hope to lay out a framework for next year's events, and the more club members we hear from, the better. For further information, call Tom at 978-369-7912.
- A call for volunteers
- Club members are needed to work as marshals for the Tufts 10-kilometer road race in Boston on Columbus Day, Oct. 11. Volunteers help earn money for the club and will have their membership extended through 2000. To volunteer, or to learn more, call Justin Kuo at 617-731-9889.
USATF East Region Masters Championships 5K -- Springfield College, August 14. Part of the regional track and field championships. A strong turnout; the location was great for our Western Mass .members, convenient for our Connecticut friends, and not all that difficult for those of us in the east to get to. We may be looking to this area for more events in the near future.
----------- Women 30 ------------ 1 Holly Wenninger 34 Cambridge Sports Union 30:44.92 ----------- Women 35 ------------ 1 Jean Tenan 36 Connecticut Race Walkers 30:09.87 ----------- Women 40 ------------ 1 Maryanne Torrellas 41 Connecticut Race Walkers 25:46.94 2 Ann Percival 41 Connecticut Race Walkers 29:57.60 ----------- Women 45 ------------ 1 Meg Savilonis 49 New England Walkers 34:34.72 2 Sheila Danahey 48 New England Walkers 35:25.30 ----------- Women 50 ------------ 1 Margaret DeCotis 53 Unattached 34:55.91 ----------- Women 55 ------------ 1 Joanne Harriman 56 New England Walkers 35:28.84 2 Vivian Hopkins 58 Unattached 35:35.84 3 Pat Yingling 55 Cambridge Sports Union 36:24.76 ----------- Women 60 ------------ 1 Rachel Beaudet 63 New England Walkers 36:57.44 2 Fran O'Brien 64 New England Walkers 37:34.54 ----------- Women 65 ------------ 1 Lorelei Ruben 66 Unattached 41:05.43 ----------- Women 70 ------------ 1 Florence Dagata 72 New England Walkers 41:59.29 ------------ Men 40 ------------- 1 Randall Stafford 40 Cambridge Sports Union 29:50.72 ------------ Men 45 ------------- 1 Brian Savilonis 49 New England Walkers 26:18.40 2 Fred Anderson 47 New England Walkers 32:10.25 ------------ Men 50 ------------- 1 Robert Keating 52 New England Walkers 23:57.23 2 Larry Titus 50 Connecticut Race Walkers 26:11.82 3 Robert Ullman 50 New England Walkers 28:19.70 4 Bill Harriman 52 New England Walkers 28:20.84 5 Charles Mansbach 54 New England Walkers 31:19.55 6 Charles Mayers 53 Unattached 33:49.90 ------------ Men 55 ------------- 1 David Baldwin 56 New England Walkers 27:45.60 2 Gerald Patrick 59 Connecticut Race Walkers 32:47.55 ------------ Men 60 ------------- 1 Spencer Parrish 63 Connecticut Race Walkers 34:08.38 2 Gustave Davis 61 Connecticut Race Walkers 34:16.83 ------------ Men 65 ------------- 1 Bob Beaudet 66 New England Walkers 32:12.23 2 Louis Free 69 Connecticut Race Walkers 33:51.51 3 Charles Dolecki 68 Unattached 34:42.03 - Dean Kavanaugh 65 Unattached DQ ------------ Men 70 ------------- 1 Louis Candido 70 Unattached 34:24.85 2 Stuart Corning 74 New England Walkers 39:56.33
Judges: Ken Mattsson, Maryanne Torrellas, Steve Vaitones and Justin Kuo.
Danahy Park 5K, Cambridge, MA, August 8 -- The fifth monthly event in the popular series of club races.
Men 1. Bob Ullman, Manchester, NH 28:21 2. John Costello, Needham 30:00 3. Randy Stafford, Jamaica Plain 30:10 4. Steve Vaitones, Waltham 31:33 5. Justin Kuo, Brookline 32:40 6. John Harms, Fitchburg 34:10 7. Dick Shepardson, Sherborn 39:08 Women 1. Holly Weninnger, Malden 31:21 2. Jeanne Shepardson, Sherborn 34:13 3. Pat Godfrey, Winthrop 34:16 4. Joanne Harriman, Tewksbury 36:46 5. Marlene Herous, Medford 41:17 6. Florence Dagata, Pawtucket, RI 41:46
Judges: Bill Harriman, Ken Mattsson, and Justin Kuo.
12th Annual Sugar Bowl 5-Miler, South Boston, July 22. An unjudged racewalk held in conjunction with a running race.
1. Justin Kuo Brookline 55:51 2. Dennis Buckley Marlborough 56:27 3. Ken Mattsson Cambridge 59:32 4. Dave Kahn Medford 1:01:01 5. William O'Leary S. Boston 1:01:17 6. Frances Ryan Quincy 1:01:49 7. Pat Yingling W. Roxbury 1:02:55 8. Maureen Linnane Quincy 1:03:31 9. Marion Ferro W. Roxbury 1:04:07 10. Kathryn Donovan Quincy 1:04:25 11. Cheryl Gorton S. Boston 1:06:32 12. Nancy H Bevington S. Boston 1:07:08 13. Florence Dagata Pawtucket RI 1:07:44 14. Lauren Pike Canton 1:09:46
A report from the 1999 WAVA games
By Charlie Mansbach
Nancy K. Mansbach does not go to road races. ("You keep spitting all over your shirt," she says. "I have to watch this?") But she does go on vacations. So my proposal of a walking tour of the Cotswolds and a sightseeing spree in London for this summer was not a hard sell, even though the plan also included two long side trips to northern England so I could racewalk.
Here, then, is one walker's account of the XIII World Veterans Athletic Championships in Gateshead, England.
July 30: Predictably jetlagged after flying through the night, we arrive at our hotel in Gateshead and fill up at the breakfast buffet. We then take a WAVA shuttle bus to the main stadium, where I pick up my competition packet. There are nearly 6,000 entrants from 74 countries here, but we still manage to run into Meg and Brian Savilonis at one of the booths almost instantly.
At the bus stop, Nancy and I strike up a conversation with a sprinter from Wisconsin. "Is your family here with you?" Nancy asks him. "Nah," he replies. "I get unbearable."
Too harsh a term, perhaps, but our Wisconsin trackman does seem to typify the zeal that is on display everywhere. At the stadiums, the hotels, the restaurants, the shopping malls and the subways, people in warmup suits or new Gateshead '99 shirts are bubbling with talk of races, training sessions, previous WAVA meets attended and even of post-Millenneum events that are already on their personal calendars. Think of our national one-hour/two-hour racewalks, multiply the scene 60- or 70-fold, and you get the picture.
July 31: We meet Meg and Brian for pre-race pasta. Turns out we had made the same afternoon excursion to the North Sea community of Tynesmouth, seen the identical sights, but somehow did not run into each other.
Aug. 1: Race day. When I received the schedule a month ago, I was amazed to see that we 40-54-year-old guys would begin our 20K at 11:30 a.m., with the 55-90 crowd to follow at 3 p.m. "People don't usually schedule distance events for the heat of the day," I remarked then to a colleague whose husband hails from England. "You won't have heat," she assured me. "You'll have cool and damp." Presumably, the race organizers were operating under the same assumption.
They were wrong.
The heat wave that had been clobbering New England crossed the Atlantic about the same time we did. All of Britain is in a tizzy over the weather when we arrive, and Aug. 1 turns out to be the hottest day of the year.
Our 20K course is a 2.5K loop on the roads of an industrial park. "An almost perfectly flat estate," the WAVA brochure promised us. Almost, indeed. The first half of the loop contains a sharp incline of maybe a tenth of a mile, then a sloping decline. "Do the words Rhode Island College ring a bell?" Brian asks.
But the weather is the major obstacle. The sun is baking the pavement, and there is no shade anywhere.
Despite the heat, the international speedsters up front send the pack off to a fast start. By the third or fourth lap, a lot of paces are slowing. Even from my vantage point toward the rear, I see the toll the sun is taking. I pass a walker on lap 4 who wasn't even in view 10 minutes earlier. I pass another guy on the next lap and am preparing to pass a third when he literally collapses on the road in front of me. Three volunteers attend to him as I go by. I hear stories later of several other walkers suffering similar fates.
By mile 8, my hopes of a decent time have pretty much evaporated. But at least I figure I'm not letting anyone else down with my performance. Norm Frable told me before the race that he, Richard McGuire and I would be the USA team for our age bracket. But at the starting line I met a fourth American in the 50-54 bracket, a sturdy-looking Coloradan in US Marine Corps singlet and stars-and-stripes shorts. He left me in his dust in the first mile, so he, rather than I, was bound to be team member No. 3.
The sun may be harsh, but the support on the course is warm and friendly. The volunteers urge us on, and I get added exhortations from Meg on one side of the loop and from our 1995-96 NEW friend Bill Purves, here as part of the Hong Kong team, at the other. And Nancy K. Mansbach, fresh from visiting the Gateshead flower show, makes a special appearance during the final 5K to snap pictures.
After two hours and an appalling 16 minutes, the experience comes to an end. The Chilean walker with whom I'd been having a slow-motion duel over the final three miles puts on a last spurt, my final kick is laughably inadequate, and he crosses the finish line just ahead of me. But trained photographer Nancy ignores him and captures me in all my glory.
I take a cooldown walk with Brian, who of course had long since finished but who had nearly collapsed at the end (Nancy also has photographs of this performance, available in plain brown wrapper). Then I gather my gear and head off with Nancy to the train station for our 250-mile trip to the Cotswolds.
Aug. 7: After five days of hiking through farmlands and fields and touring 16th century villages, we return to Gateshead for my 5K on the track. Brian and Meg update me on what I missed in the interim: The heat claimed more victims during the over-55 20K, to no one's surprise. And I wound up being the third man on the 50-54 team after all -- the sturdy stars-and-stripes Marine evidently never finished. Alas, we placed fourth, six minutes too slow for a medal. If only I'd had a decent race instead of a personal worst ....
I also learn that a controversy erupted at the games early in the week when a female American sprinter was accused of being a male. Tests ultimately confirmed her gender, and she gleefully displayed her X-chromosome charms for the newspapers.
Today's race day is cloudy and cool, exactly the conditions I'd hoped for six days ago. Better late than never.
In the lockerroom, I meet Larry Titus of the Connecticut Racewalkers. We discuss a possible nervousness about racing internationally, even though our times mean nothing to anyone but ourselves. I confess to dreaming last night that I was in the race but kept leaving the track, racewalking first through a kitchen and then through a parking lot.
The 50-54 field is so large that they have divided us in two. Larry is in the faster group, which has to wait while we slower guys show our stuff. At last, mediocrity has its benefits. My field has its stars, but I feel comfortable in this group.
I start fast, keep up my target pace for the first mile, and then fade. No surprise. I've been slow all year, and there's no reason to think I'm going to spring out of my rut here. But I'm satisfied with my 30:38. Slower than I'd hoped for but faster than I'd feared I'd be. And a couple of guys are still a lap behind me when I walk off the track.
I watch the start of the next race before heading off for a shower, a shuttle bus ride to the meet headquarters, and a Metro trip to the train station to meet Nancy.
Brian's race begins an hour later, and he is wondering if he'll be able to go the distance after straining his hamstring at the beginning of the week.
Despite pain with every stride, he does tough it out to the end. The injury, though, keeps him at the back of the fast guys' pack in the 45-49 grouping.
But I miss all of this. By the time he is finishing, Nancy and I are riding in a Great North Eastern Railway car, heading south. London is beckoning.
1999 race calendar
As always, our listing of racewalking events is not engraved in stone. Some races are added during the season, others are changed or canceled. It's always best to verify the time, date and location with the race director before setting out.
12 -- New England Walkers 5K, Danahy Park, Cambridge, 9:30 a.m. Bill Harriman, 978-640-9676 (before 9:30 p.m.)
12 -- Cooperative 5K Challenge Run/Walk, 9 a.m., Tenney Mountain Ski Resort, Plymouth, NH. Prizes for walkers and runners. 603-536-1800, or call Fred Anderosn at 603-536-4136.
19 --5K racewalk and run, 1:30 p.m., Sherborn, MA. Jeanne or Dick Shepardson, 508-655-6335.
19 -- 40K National Championships, Ft. Monmouth, NJ. Year 61 of the tradition, and a longtime favorite for the hardiest among us.
3 -- National One- and Two-Hour Championships, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA. Grand Prix event. Justin Kuo, 617-731-9889.
10 -- New England Walkers 5K, Danahy Park, Cambridge, 9:30 a.m. (See September listing.)
17 -- Connecticut Race Walkers 10K, Connecticut College, New London.
7 -- New England Walkers 10K, potluck lunch and club meeting. Noon, 83 Riverside Drive, West Concord, MA Tom Knatt, 508-369-7912.
Racewalking down memory lane
September 1987 -- The three-mile Governor's Cup race draws 1,534 walkers aged 40 and over to downtown Boston. We few racewalkers in the group position ourselves at the front of the starting line, and when the gun goes off we nearly trample a bunch of 15-minute-per-mile amblers who have made their way into our midst. The race is totally unjudged; one fellow literally runs alongside me for about a half mile while I harangue him about the contact rule. Either properly chastened or just plain bored with my discourse, he finally drops back and out of sight. Race winner Tom Knatt and nonparticipant Brian Savilonis later nearly touch off an international incident with their dueling letters in Ohio Racewalker about the merits of such events.
October 1991 -- Phil McGaw captures the Heart and Sole 5-miler in Needham, MA in 43:27 on a course that winds through industrial parks, over Route 128, past residential neighborhoods and finishes at the top of an absurdly steep driveway of the Sheraton Needham Hotel.
Ken Mattsson continues to conduct racewalking sessions from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Harvard University track on North Harvard Street in Boston in conjunction with the Cambridge Sports Union. For information, call Ken at 617-576-9331.
NEW on the Web
To see New England Walkers news, race results, discussions, photos and more electronically, go to the club web page at
Phone any time
For up-to-the-minute information on race schedules, clinics and other events, call the New England Walkers hotline at: 781-433-7142
The New England Walkers
Send material to:Charlie Mansbach
25 Larkspur Road
Newton, MA 02468
E-mail address: Mansba@nws.globe.com
For membership information, contact Justin Kuo at 617-731-9889
New England Walkers
39 Oakland Road
Brookline, MA 02245-6700
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This page was last updated
September 7, 1999.
Corrections? Contact Justin Kuo (617-731-9889)