Inveterate numbers junkie and longtime Central Mass Striders racing team captain Dave Dunham has compiled all-time performance lists for club members at the gamut of common distances: one mile, 3K/2M, 5K, 8K/5M, 10K, 10M, half-marathon, and marathon. A glance at these reveals two things: one, CMS has been extremely powerful over the years, especially for a local club without the support enjoyed today by entities such as Brooks-Hanson and ZAP Fitness; and two–keeping in line with at-large trends–there are fewer genuinely fast top-tier local runners these days. For example, my 10M (51:33), half-marathon (1:08:22) and marathon (2:24:17) times rank 20th, 24th, and 17th respectively, but with the exception of Justin Fyffe–whose 50:58 for 10M in February was lodged after the compilation of these lists–no CMS runner has run faster at any of these distances since, and I ran those times in 2004, 2000 and 2001. (my 5K, 5M, and 10K times don’t even come close to making the top 50.)
Despite the comparative torpor of the present day, CMS, although having lost its stranglehold on the USATF-New England Grand Prix road series to the Boston Athletic Association some years ago, remains one of the top clubs in the region. With that in mind, I’m imagining how it would change the complexion of the local scene if guys of this caliber materialized:
Darin Shearer 3:59.7/7:55.9 (1998/1999)
Geoff Smith 13:47.0 (1990))
Mark Donahue 23:06, 28:55, 47:25 (1991, 1990, 1990)
Steve O’Connell 1:03:10 (1987)
Andy Ronan 2:11:27 (1991)
No one this fast would be part of a local-yokel racing unit these days. At a minimum they would all enjoy at least modest support from a shoe company or would be part of a training group such as Hanson’s or ZAP.