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Mansoor takes second in Masters 10,000-meter run

By: Matt Long
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John Mansoor entered the 10,000-meter run at the Masters Track and Field Championships with no expectations. He wasn’t there to win the race and had no time goals in mind; he was there because he enjoys running. The draw to compete in the race was the fact that the event that drew thousands from around the country was so close to his El Dorado Hills home that he decided to enter the event, which was held at Sacramento State University. On July 24, Mansoor lined up with eight other men between the ages of 55 and 59 and ran 25 grueling laps, a little more than six miles, and finished in 36 minutes, 52 seconds, good for second place nearly two minutes behind the winner. Mansoor, 55, is the regional director for USA Track and Field. He used to run all the time, but this was his first race on a track in 30 years. He was more than pleased with his performance. “This had nothing to do with personal success,” Mansoor said. “I enjoy track and I enjoy running and I even enjoy the 10,000 meters. It was fun. I just wanted to have a good experience and try to place well and maybe get a podium finish.” Making the race even more fun for Mansoor, who also is a cross country and track and field coach at Oak Ridge where his daughter, Jackie, will be a senior this year, is that he had plenty of support from the same kids he normally coaches. “It was great and a lot of fun to have them there,” Mansoor said. “It was a role reversal in that they got to be my coach for the day and they were telling me stuff that I’m normally telling them. That made it special.” Mansoor was one of several local athletes competing in the meet. Rusty Barnett, 68, took second in the women’s 10,000 meters in the 65-69 age division, finishing in 59:05.91 and also placed third in the 5,000 meters in 28:29.76. John Nichols, 45, placed eighth in the men’s 45-49 age division 10,000 meters in 37:48.28 and ended up 11th in the 5,000 meters in 17:39.13. Five Folsom athletes won individual gold medals. Amanda Scotti won a pair of gold medals, while Liz Palmer, Midori Sperandeo, George Waxham and Rae Whitten took first in one event to lead a large group of local athletes competing at the meet. Scotti, 52, won the 100 and 200-meters in the 50-54 age group, finishing the 100 in 13.85 and the 200 in 29.29. While she wasn’t happy with times, she was glad to have won two gold medals. “I was thrilled to win,” Scotti said. “I won the same events last year and I was hoping to repeat. It was challenging because I have a left knee injury, but my doctors provided great care and I received good advice. I didn’t train as well as I wanted to, but I guess it was enough. My times, which were not close to my times from last year, illustrated the lack of training.” Palmer, 49, competed in four individual events, but her main goal was simple: defend her 80-meter hurdle championship for a year ago. Palmer achieved that goal, winning the 45-49 race in 12.62 seconds, nearly two seconds in front of the second-place finisher. “It was a big thrill to repeat as age group national champion,” Palmer said. “I plan on competing at the World Masters Athletic Championships next July in Sacramento. The competition will be a lot tougher, but if I run my best, I have a good chance of placing in the top-three and earning a medal.” Palmer also earned two silver medals in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, finishing the 100 in 12.9 seconds and the 200 in 27.41. Palmer earned a bronze medal in the shot put with a distance of 26 feet. Sperandeo, 43, was happy to have won the 5,000-meter race in the 40-44-year-old age division, but was even happier to place third in the 1,500. After all, she’s a distance runner by trade, so she was proud to have run so well in a shorter, faster race. “I’m a marathoner so to medal in a speedster race like the 1,500 is an accomplishment for me,” Sperandeo said. “The race had some tough competition with women who specialize in short, fast distances who are faster than me. I had to make a gutsy move and try to take the sting out of the fast gal’s kick in the middle of the race. I ultimately knew she would pass me in the end, but it was fun to try.” Sperandeo finished the 1,500 in 4 minutes, 47.64 seconds, just less than three seconds from first place and five-tenths of a second from second. She won the 5,000 meters in 17:48.50. Her husband, Leonard, 50, took second in the 1,500 in 4:28.40 in the 50-54 division, while placing third in the 800 in 2:07.59. Waxham, 84, won the triple jump in the 80-84-division with a leap of 11’ 2 ¾”, while placing third in the long jump at 6’3”. Whitten, 43, claimed the 10,000 meters in the 40-44 age group by running a 42:33.01 and also took sixth in the 5,000 in 20:21.85. “My goal was just to compete,” Whitten said. “I had a baby seven months ago, so I did not have any time goals, I just wanted to score points for the team. I’m surprised I won the race.” Her husband, Clark, ran fifth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (12:52.86) and placed seventh in the pentathlon (2,309 points). Whitten, along with Scotti and Palmer, run on the Golden West Track and Field Club. Karen Kunz, 55, didn’t win any events in the 55-59 age group but came close. She earned the silver medal in the 2000-meter steeplechase (9:09.55), the 10,000-meter run (43:11.04) and the 5,000 meters (20:57.04) and took fourth in the 1,500 (5:54.44). Elinor Yee, 37, placed second in the 35-39-division 800 meters in 2:30.06 and was third in the 1,500 meters (5:11.27). For results of the meet go to http://www.usatf.org/events/2010/USAMastersOutdoorTFChampionships/.