2002 USA 50 km Road Championship
Pittsburgh, PA
MARCH 23, 2002
7:00 EST Start






50 km
Home Page




Welcome to the 2002 USA 50 km Road Championship!  In addition to serving as the 50 km championship, the race raises money for children suffering from cystic fibrosis. 

Please follow these instructions to make sure your page gets updated regularly throughout the day. We will be posting 2-3 updates prior to the finish, and final results from the race site as they become available later in the day.

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Registered Entrants
(as of March 15, 2002)

Pre-race updates

Sat., March 23, 5:00AM (2 hours before START):  24 degrees F, clear, 16mph wind.  In terms of temperature, the forecast has been steadily improving.  The high is now expected to be 47 degrees F.  However, the wind projection continues to worsen.  Once the sun is up, winds are expected to be 25-35mph, with higher gusts.

March 22, 2002:
Weather Forecast on the eve of the USA 50km Championship
(Friday, March 22): Today's weather report: It is bitter cold (15 degrees F) with snow falling. However, no lasting accumulation is expected.

Tomorrow, race day, it will be cold at the START at 7:00AM (low 20's F), but should quickly warm up, eventually reaching the mid-high 40's with bright sun. Winds of 20-25mph will be challenging.

March 21, 2002:
Weather Forecast for the USA 50km Championship from two days out
(Thursday, March 21): Snow flurries and high winds today, with possible accumulation of up to 1 inch.

Very cold friday (below freezing all day), with 20mph winds.

Race day (Sat.): partly sunny, temperature in the 20's for the start, climbing to the low 40's.

March 21, 2002: The Strange story of the American 50K Road Record

(The American Ultrarunning Association is grateful to Nick Marshall, pioneer American ultra historian, for much of the background information in this article)


The easy part first.  The Women's American 50km Record is 3:13:51, set by Janis Klecker in 1983.  It is a road mark, the Track version being held by Ann Trason at 3:20:23

The record progress can be nicely traced back to 1976, when Penny DeMoss ran what was probably a world best time of 3:48:27 in the very first USA 50km National Championship.  Following that, the record progressed as follows:

1978, Sue Krenn, 3:40:52
1979, Sandy Kiddy, 3:37:08
1980, Jan Arenz, 3:26:47
1981, Mary Bange, 3:23:31
1983, Linda Edgar, 3:21:27

Edgar's time was a world best, set in January in Seattle.  The following December, in Tallahassee, Janis Klecker put the mark out of reach with her still standing 3:13:51 (pace: 6:14/mile).

Now, what about the men?


One of the stranger stories of ultra recordkeeping is the perplexing fact of Jeff Wall's 3:00:00, run in November 1982, sitting for over 20 years as the official American men's 50km Road Record.  Strange that no one has bettered it on the roads in those 20 years.  But stranger still that at least a dozen American men ran faster (some of them MUCH faster) BEFORE that.

Before we explore that anomaly, let's set the "record" straight that Barney Klecker holds what we can legitimately call the "absolute" American record (i.e., either track or road), his 2:52:48 (pace:
5:33/mile) still unchallenged in its 22nd year as the official American TRACK record.

Before we go any further, some bureaucratic and political history is in order here.  From the late 70's through the mid-80's, the practice of official road recordkeeping by the national governing body was in a long, painful state of transition.  It wasn't until about 1983 that all of the rules and standards (timing, course measurement, record submission and review, verification, ratification) became established and and codified in such a way that they could be understood and followed uniformly throughout the country.  Some races from that era (e.g., the Chicago event in which Barney Klecker set his still-standing American 50 mile record of 4:51:25 in 1980) were conducted and documented in line with what the evolving requirements were at the time.  Many others were
not.  Or, if they were, the complete documentation never made it to the governing body, which then could not officially ratify them based on just verbal or press reports.

Now, this was the heyday of American distance racing.  EVERYONE was faster back then, from 1 mile through 50 miles (hardly any Americans raced 100km back then).  Most American ultras were held on the road or track, and trail ultrarunning was a newly-emerging fringe phenomenon.  So, a fair number of decent American marathoners moved up to road ultras, and they brought their legspeed with them.

At the 50km distance, they led the world until the South Africans took over in the late 80's.  It wasn't until the mid-80's that most American road ultra directors had caught onto the fact that setting official records required close attention to things like course certification, recording of laptimes, multiple backup timing devices, etc.  But by that time American male legspeed was in decline, and a mini golden era of the sport had quietly come and gone.

So, at Pittsburgh this weekend (weather permitting) we may well see a new "official" American road record.  Which would be great.  You gotta start somewhere.  But hopefully it will be the beginning of a quest, not the end of an attempt.

Now how about that mini golden era?  Here's a capsule summary of the rich legacy our predecessors have left us....

1976: The inaugural AAU National 50km Championship in Sacramento.  Course certified by the standards at that time (which were just a bit more lenient than today's standards).  Chuck Smead, a sub-2:15 marathoner, goes through the marathon mark under 2:20, then hangs on for a world best 2:50:46.  Still the fastest American 50km ever, by the watch.

1977: National AAU 50km Championship is held in New York's hilly Central Park.  Fritz Mueller wins in 2:58:58.

1978: Ken Moffitt runs 2:58:46 on a hilly course at Las Posas Hills, CA.

5 months later: Mueller defends his national title at the U.S. Championship in Brattleboro Vermont in 2:58:20.

1979: Back to Las Posas Hills: Bill McDermott runs 2:58:35.

5 months later: Back to Brattleboro for the National Championship.  The greatest 50km in American history.  For perspective: Frank Bozanich (who is still winning ultras today) runs 3:03 and barely makes the top 10!  Just ahead of him is Ray Scannell (also still running ultras today), who
had led through 20 miles.  At the front: John Cederholm defeats Fritz Mueller, 2:56:43 to 2:59:05.

1981: TAC/USA National Championship in Roseburg, OR: Richard Holloway wins in 2:55:54.

5 months later: Barney Klecker runs 2:58:38 on a certified, uphill course with a 20mph crosswind at Copper Harbor, Michigan.

1 month later: Charlie Trayer clocks a certified 50km split of 3:00:18 in the Two Bridges 36 miler in Washington, DC.

1 month later: Klecker runs his American Track Record 2:52:48 in Tucson.

1 month later: Klecker runs 2:57:13 on a certified road course in East Peoria, IL.

1982: Tom Fleming (2:12 marathoner) runs his only ultra: 2:52:30 for 50km at Cedar Grove, NJ.

1 week later: Trayer wins TAC/USA National Championship in Washington, DC in 2:59:36.

8 months later: Jeff Wall runs his still-standing official U.S. Road Record 3:00:00 in San Francisco.  The first mark for which the governing body receives full documentation necessary for recordkeeping.

On the very same day: In New York's hilly Central Park, Don Paul, who ironically lives in San Francisco, runs 2:50:55.  Given the tighter certification standards of the time (compared to Smead's 1976 mark of 2:50:46), Paul's is arguably the greatest 50km ever run by an American
to date.  The course measurement, lap-counting, and timing documentation are insufficient.

2 weeks later: Twins Richard and Peter Dodd tie to win a 50km in Madison, WI in 2:59:56.

2 weeks later: Barney Klecker runs 2:51:53 on a certified road course in Wakulla Springs, FL.  Insufficient documentation for records.

1 year later (Dec. 1983): Janis Klecker runs her still standing American Record 3:13:51 at Wakulla Springs.  Ahead of her, husband Barney runs 2:53:45.  Janis' mark has full documentation and is ratified as the official U.S. road record.  For reasons still not clear today, Barney's mark from the same event is not ratified.  Speculation is that Paul's 2:50:55 from the previous year had been widely publicized in the running press as a new American Record, and Klecker was chasing that time, so Barney's 2:53:45 might have been perceived by all (including himself) as a non-record run and therefore full documentation was never completed.

In almost 20 years since then, no American male has broken 3:00:00 for 50km on a certified road course.

Postscript:  Smead, Paul, and Klecker were all marathoners in the 2:15 range.

March 16, 2002: 
New England Quartet Taking Aim at American 50km Road Record

Dave Dunham may feel a bit of "Groundhog Day" syndrome next Saturday in Pittsburgh.  The 37-year old from Bradford, Massachusetts just might find himself pulling away from an elite field and setting a new American Record for 50km, only to wake up one day and find he has to do it all over again.  That's what happened last year, when he pulled away from Dan Held halfway through a 50km race in Chicago in which they were both shooting for the official American 50km Road Record of 3:00:00, held for over a decade by Jeff Wall.  Held faded, but Dunham ran on alone to better the mark by over two minutes.  Months later, a validation measurement found the course to be short, and Dunham found himself looking at doing it all over again in the USA 50km National Road Championship coming up on March 23 on a 5km loop course along the Allegheny River.

Held won't be running this time, so Dunham has recruited some fast-legged fellow New England ultra novices to help keep the 5:45 pace necessary to achieve his goal.  Trouble is, he figures there's a good chance at least one of them may be ahead of him at the finish.  Though Dunham comes in as the favorite, either Kevin Beck, 32, of Penacock, New Hampshire, or Dan Verrington, 39, also of Bradford, Massachusetts, could be the new American Record holder at the finish.

Dunham, a veteran of the USA National Mountain Running Team and a former Mt. Washington Hill Climb champion, is one of the world's top mountain runners, and one of the country's most prolific racers at all distances and all types of terrain.  Over the past two years he has made a successful transition to ultras, winning the Chancellor Challenge 100km and the Chicago Lakefront 50km.  Verrington, also a National Mountain Running team member, has broken 2:22 for the marathon and 1:06 for the half marathon.  Beck is a sub-2:25 marathoner and was 7th American last year at Boston.  Rounding out the speedy New England novice contingent is 2:28 marathoner Mark Behan, 39, of Newton, New Hampshire.

The women's field features a re-match between the gold and silver medalists, respectively, from last year's USA National 50km trailrunning championship, Anne Riddle, 35, of Asheville, North Carolina and Anne Heaslett, 38, of Madison, Wisconsin.  The pair have emerged on the national ultra scene in a big way over the last two years.  Riddle, little known in the ultra community this time a year ago, wound up a double national champion last year, taking the USA 100km crown on this same Pittsburgh riverfront course in March, then pulling away from Heaslett to capture the 50km Trail title at the end of December. Heaslett has steadily come up through the ranks of America's elite ultrawomen over the last 5 years, and is now considered one of the top 5 Americans over a range from 50km to 100 miles.

Race Day Reports

Sat., March 23, 5:00AM (2 hours before START):  24 degrees F, clear, 16mph wind.  In terms of temperature, the forecast has been steadily improving.  The high is now expected to be 47 degrees F.  However, the wind projection continues to worsen.  Once the sun is up, winds are expected to be 25-35mph, with higher gusts.

6:46 AM: The women's race just got more interesting.  The expected two-women's race between Anne Riddle and Anne Heaslett now has a third challenger.  Laura Nelson, two-time winner of the JFK 50 mile, is a late entry.  Keep your eye on another distaff dark-horse, Connie Gardner, winner of the Kentucky 50 Mile, Buckeye 50k, and Mohican 100 miler.

8:12 AM: Both the men's and women's fields got off to a relatively slow start.  A pack of 6 men covered the first mile in 6:02; a group of 3 women hit that point in 7:01.

Temperature at the start was 24 degrees F, with a 16 mph wind.  The course is a long, narrow loop running North-South, and the wind is in a fairly direct North-South direction, so the runners should be getting a headwind-tailwind tradeoff.

At the 5k mark Dan Verrington leads in 18:18.  Running second is surprising Daniel Salazar from Seattle.  Kevin Beck and Dave Dunham are next, followed by another surprise, Virginian Danny Fink.  Although he has never run a marathon, Fink is fresh from a 1:07 half marathon 3 weeks ago.

Anne Riddle, Anne Heaslett, and Laura Nelson are all running together, clocking a relatively conservative 22:16 at 5k.  About 20 seconds back is Connie Gardner.

Following the first 5k the sun is now up and shining brightly in a cloudless sky.  The wind is noticeable but not oppressive....yet.

8:30 AM: Now the wind is picking up noticeably, as the temperature continues to rise past the freezing point.

Verrington is chasing the 3:00:00 official American Record on his own.  He ran through 1:12:48 and won't have a second to spare on any of the remaining 5k laps.  Dunham and Beck are running together almost 2 minutes behind.  Salazar has fallen off the pace appreciably but is still in 4th place.  Looking good in 5th, a few minutes back, is Danny Fink.

Riddle and Heaslett came through 20k together in 1:30:00, having dropped Laura Nelson.  Nelson had a bad lap just before 20k, and was overtaken by Connie Gardner, who looks strong and is still within a minute of the lead pair.

9:40 AM: 

Men's Standings at 30k:

1 Dan Verrington, 1:49:55
2 Dave Dunham, 1:53:28
3 Kevin Beck, 1:53:50
4 Danny Fink, 1:54:56
5 Mark Godale, 1:57:26
6 Mark Behan, 1:57:28
7 David Ackerman, 1:57:29
8 Daniel Salazar, 2:00:06
9 Bob Dion, 2:02:12
10 Ken Plowman, 2:03:00

Verrington's new American Record attempt has fallen victim to the stiff wind.  Dunham has pulled clear of Beck.  Danny Fink looks strong and may be able to challenge Beck.  Mark Behan looks to be giving Mark Godale a challenge for 5th place.

Women's Standings at 30k:

1 Anne Riddle, 2:14:51
2 Anne Heaslett, 2:15:00
3 Connie Gardner, 2:18:26
4 Laura Nelson, 2:19:00
5 Jan Kreuz, 2:30:00

Riddle and Heaslett look almost as if they are doing a planned USA women's 100km team workout, both running well within themselves.  Nelson appears determined to stay close enough to Gardner to give her a race at the finish for the bronze. Jan Kreuz is in 5th.

Trivia time: who remembers Jan Kreuz?  Kreuz was one of those late 80's American women who ran only a few ultras, but when she did they were always top notch.  One of the all-time fastest Americans at 50 miles (6:19), and still American women's 50k road age-group recordholder (3:44), Kreuz has returned to ultras at the age of 54 after a 6-year absence.  The current official American Record for the women's 50-54 age group is 4:58:39 by Sue Ellen Trapp, which Kreuz will demolish.  But the "unofficial" age-group best, run way back in 1984, is 4:15:12 by Matilee Christman.  That mark is also well within Kreuz' sights today.

10:30 AM: Dan Verrington wins his first national title.  As the wind continues to intensify (now a steady 25-30mph), Dan Verrington wins the first USA Ultra Championship of 2002, taking the 50k Road Title in 3:09:15.  Dave Dunham takes the silver in 3:13:19, and Mark Godale closes fast to nip Mark Behan for the bronze, 3:18:09 to 3:19:09.

Anne Riddle and Anne Heaslett are still together at 40k, Riddle passing that point in 2:59:55, 5 seconds up on Heaslett.  Connie Gardner is 8 minutes back, having now extended her lead over Laura Nelson by over a minute.

10:50 AM: Anne Riddle edges out Anne Heaslett for the women's title!  Connie Gardner and Laura Nelson are racing neck-and-neck for the bronze.

11:10 AM: In a tight race for the women's bronze, Laura Nelson beat out Connie Gardner by less than a minute.  Jan Kreuz will apparently finish fifth, and will likely beat the unofficial age group best of 4:15:12 by Matilee Christman.

11:25 AM: Jan Kreuz finishes fifth overall, narrowly missing Christman's unoffical best in the women's 50-54 age group.  Kreuz's 4:16:32 finish time becomes the official age group record, smashing the existing mark of 4:58:39 held by Sue Ellen Trapp.

Complete final results and story from Pittsburgh will follow later this afternoon or evening.

Final Results


USA 50km Road National Championship
5km Certified Loop, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
March 23, 2002

Conditions: Cold (24-44 F), very windy (25-35mph)



1 Dan Verrington, 39, Bradford, MA, 3:09:15
2 Dave Dunham, 37, Bradford, MA, 3:13:19
3 Mark Godale, Streetsboro, OH, 3:18:09
4 Mark Behan, 39, Newton, NH, 3:19:09
5 Kam Shun Lee, 32, Cleveland, OH, 3:19:50
6 Danny Fink, 38, Swoope, VA, 3:22:01
7 David Ackerman, 33, Milford, OH, 3:23:40
8 Stephen Marsalese, 36, New York, NY, 3:30:16
9 Tim Clement, 41, Solon, OH, 3:30:46
10 Kenneth Plowman, 28, Albany, NY, 3:31:58
11 Bob Dion, 46, Readsboro, VT, 3:36:13
12 Mike Ryan, 35, Strongsville, OH, 3:38:03
13 Daniel Salazar, 36, Tacoma, WA, 3:44:22
14 Terry Martin, 56, Barrie, Ontario, CAN, 3:46:29
15 Lou D'Angelo, 40, Allison Park, PA, 3:47:27
16 Bob Jordan, 49, Pittsburgh, PA, 3:50:08
17 Ben Maynard, 25, Hoosick, NY, 3:50:46
18 Marc Friesen, 27, Newton, KS, 3:53:47
19 Roy Pirrung, 53, Sheboygan, WI, 3:54:26
20 Dan Stolick, 29, Pittsburgh, PA, 3:59:22
21 Frank Probst, 58, Burke, VA, 4:12:02
22 Ed Ayres, 60, Manassas, VA, 4:17:07
23 William Ladieu, 52, Harrisburg, PA, 4:22:24
24 Gary Hilliard, 47, Youngstown, OH, 4:23:36
25 Tom Perry, 56, Pittsford, NY, 4:25:52
26 Jim Bowles, 52, Latham, NY 4:26:10
27 Scott Ferrari, 44, West View, PA, 4:28:05
28 Anthony Dicello, 48, Cheswick, PA, 4:31:08
29 Joseph Salwan, 48, Munroe Falls, OH, 4:35:46
30 Sam Bertenthal, 43, Mt. Lebanon, PA, 4:40:46
31 Tim Yanacheck, 54, Oregon, WI, 4:43:15
32 Jay Barry, 48, Pittsburgh, PA, 4:47:57
33 John Edleman, 49, Pittsburgh, PA, 5:09:32
34 Joe Cleary, 61, Georgetown, Ontario, CAN, 5:16:48
35 Kevan Matthews, 42, Pittsburgh, PA, 6:03:39


1 Anne Riddle, 35, Asheville, NC, 3:44:38
2 Ann Heaslett, 38, Madison, WI, 3:45:29
3 Laura Nelson, 36, Waynesboro, VA, 3:59:52
4 Connie Gardner, 38, Medina, OH, 4:00:45
5 Jan Kreuz, 54, Cincinnati, OH, 4:16:32
6 Debra Moore, 49, Louisville, KY, 4:53:07
7 Joyce Hodges-Hite, 64, Millen, GA, 5:53:21
8 Helen Dunda, 36, New Kensington, PA, 6:11:42


MEN 40-44
1 Tim Clement, 41, Solon, OH, 3:30:46
2 Lou D'Angelo, 40, Allison Park, PA, 3:47:27
3 Scott Ferrari, 44, West View, PA, 4:28:05

MEN 45-49
1 Bob Dion, 46, Readsboro, VT, 3:36:13
2 Bob Jordan, 49, Pittsburgh, PA, 3:50:08
3 Gary Hilliard, 47, Youngstown, OH, 4:23:36

WOMEN 45-49
1 Debra Moore, 49, Louisville, KY, 4:53:07

MEN 50-54
1 Roy Pirrung, 53, Sheboygan, WI, 3:54:26
2 William Ladieu, 52, Harrisburg, PA, 4:22:24
3 Jim Bowles, 52, Latham, NY 4:26:10

WOMEN 50-54
1 Jan Kreuz, 54, Cincinnati, OH, 4:16:32

MEN 55-59
1 Frank Probst, 58, Burke, VA, 4:12:02
2 Tom Perry, 56, Pittsford, NY, 4:25:52

MEN 60-64
1 Ed Ayres, 60, Manassas, VA, 4:17:07

WOMEN 60-64
1 Joyce Hodges-Hite, 64, Millen GA, 5:53:21



1 Central Massachusetts Striders (Dan Verrington, Dave Dunham, Mark Behan), 9:41:43
2 Cleveland Southeast Club (Mark Godale, Kam Lee, Tim Clement), 10:08:45
3 Team Utopia, NY (Ken Plowman, Ben Maynard, Jim Bowles), 11:48:54


1 Central (Mark Godale, Kam Lee, David Ackerman, Ann Heaslett, Connie Gardner), 56
2 South (Danny Fink, Anne Riddle, Laura Nelson, Frank Probst, Ed Ayres), 95
3 East, DNF
4 West, DNF

AUA © 2002 All Rights Reserved.