Boulder Road Runners Capture Second in USATF Grand Prix Nationals
By Devin Croft
The BRR Men 60-69 team went down to the wire this year for the USA Track & Field (USATF) Grand Prix National Championship race series for the Men’s 60-69 division title. It could not have been any closer in the 2016 USATF Grand Prix series for the 60+ Men’s division title. After competing across the country in 9 events from 5K to the half marathon, defending 2015 national champion BRR and Cal Coast Track Club finished in a dead heat atop the rest of the field at 480 points each. Both teams had each won 3 national team titles during the year and the tie- breaker depended on the results of their head-to-head matchups during the year. With two wins apiece against each other going into the final event at the Club Cross Country Championship in Tallahassee, FL on December 10 meant the national team title would be decided by the end of the 8K course. Cal Coast’s 32 points and 3rd place finish overall was enough to conclude Boulder Road Runners’ hold on the title as they ended up in 5th place with 45 points in the very competitive 16 team field.
BRR’s team for the race consisted of Dan Spale (3rd), Doug Bell (8th) Bruce Kirschner (34th), Jan Frisby (37th) and George Braun (46th). Despite the loss they managed some impressive individual performances with USATF Masters Hall of Famer Bell winning the top spot in the 65-69 age division and the 3rd best age- graded score of the entire event at 87%. Spale was equally impressive in his 3rd place overall finish in the 60-64 division and 5th highest age-graded score of 85% in the field of 98 Master’s runners.
During the year BRR earned national team titles in the 60+ Division at 10K in Dedham, MA, 5K at Syracuse, NY and 15K at Tulsa, OK, all on road courses. They earned a pair of 2nd place finishes in cross-country at 8K in Bend, OR and 5k in November at Tallahassee, FL.
After their overall Grand Prix win in 2015 and the narrow defeat this year, the BRR 60-69 Men’s team has already vowed to return to the top of the podium in 2017.
That last race was a tough loss. We’ve had too many of our best guys out with injuries most of the year. We worked our hardest yesterday and every single USATF national championship race we did this past year. We are all a bit discouraged about not winning the top spot again,” said team captain Bruce Kirchner. “We’re already planning strategy for next year: #1, everyone gets healthy.”