Doc Masser crosses his final finish line
Longtime runner, partner and close friend Dr. Lee Masser ran through his final finish line Sept. 4, as he left the crowd of runners, friends and family at the age of 84. Doc Masser and I, with the partnership of longtime Timeout Sports owner Bruce Springer, and local runner and realtor Richard Tikiob, created the Seashore Striders Summer Racing Series back in 1990. Doc was very active up until the last few years, taking thousands of photos in the early years, along with keeping the stats for the series (which he did by hand) for the first 25 years. For more than 30 years in a row, Doc ran more than 100 races a year. Many years he would near his high of 142 races, averaging nearly three races a weekend all year long, which is pretty incredible.
My wife Monique met Doc for the first time at the inaugural Masser 5-Miler in early ’90s, and, as a joke, I had her bring him a Fisher-Price doctor bag. He looked at her and said, “This is great, thank you. I have surgery right after the race.”
Doc had houses in Edgewater and Silver Spring, Md., Rehoboth, then Lewes, and Naples, Fla., and enjoyed spending time in all of them, while being a fixture of area running races at each location. I remember asking Doc when he was in Florida at a race how he was able to talk Mary into allowing him to run so many races. He said, “It’s simple, I just tell her I’m going out for milk and bread.”
Doc was also one of the top age-group tennis players in the Maryland/Washington, D.C. area, but you would never know because he never mentioned it. I had to pull it out of him about 10 years ago after seeing a tournament champion plaque hanging on his wall during one visit to Maryland.
Doc was true old school and always did things first class when it came to awards, series gifts, T-shirts, race bibs and anything else that he could purchase for the series. It took me over 10 years to talk him into purchasing a laptop computer and teaching him how two programs called Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel could help him out. Finally, he switched over and was amazed that he could save his results and find them again the next day.
Doc gave thousands to the Seashore Striders cross country team, and he loved to see the young runners at the races and help fund their way to the National Championships over the past 30 years. Young runners seem to have a bond with the doctor, always warming up with him or racing side by side separated by more than 60 years, and those youngsters who finished ahead of the doctor would go back out and bring him to the finish. Runners like Jodi Moore, Brennan Killeen, Evan Mock, Bethany Pavlik, Tiff Melendez, Matt Riggin, Lainey Shockro and Bennett Brumbley, just to name a few of the hundreds, all will carry the bond from Doc into their future.
I visited Doc in January for lunch in Maryland and would call him every few weeks to check on him. “Are you still making house calls?” I would ask him. “Of course I am; are you?” he would answer. This past Wednesday I spoke to him by phone and he had gone for his daily run (orange shorts and no shirt) and had his afternoon cocktail before he turned on the news or a tennis match.
I know that Doc enjoyed the life he lived. He enjoyed the runners he touched. He enjoyed his late wife Mary, his children, grandchildren and extended family. Most importantly, we all enjoyed Doc and the sincere, kind, caring, funny, witty and passionate person the Doctor was to all of us.
Doctor’s note - Everyone knew Doc as a doctor and most folks believed he was a retired doctor; however, the truth is he was never a real medical doctor. Some called him "The Doctor of Road Racing," while others called him "The Doctor of Love." Sometimes he would tell folks he was any type of doc they wanted him to be. I would tell people he was a gynecologist or sometimes a heart doctor because he could capture your heart. This week has been a tough week for Monique and me, as our hearts are a little broken and we feel like we may need a doctor.
Last Blast Live 5K
A small 5K of 50 folks lowered their masks and took off 6 feet apart from Grove Park Sept. 5 for the 30th annual Last Blast Prediction 5K. It was the first live event since early 2020 and the final event of the summer for the Seashore Striders. Joey Andrisani captured the overall male title in 17:18, while young Ursuline runner Amanda Ballard won the female title in 21:35.
The highlight of the day was the top 20 runners closest to a predicted time. They ran the 5K with no mile markers, watches, GPS tracking devices, splits or luck.
Here are the results: 1. Tim Young, 0.5 seconds; 2. Mike Piorkowski, 0.8; 3. Paulina Perkovich, 1.4; 4. Jennifer April, 5.6; 5. Ed Jordan, 5.8; 6. Sharon Breita, 6.0; 7. Joey Andrisani, 6.6; 8. Jackie Quigley, 7.7; 9. Rick Poppleton, 8.9; 10. Carla Yngve, 13.1; 11. Maya Yngve, 15.1; 12. Sophia Ruffcorn, 15.2; 13. Marian Dowling, 15.9; 14. Jack Vassalotti, 19.5; 15. Jimmy Rubin, 21.1; 16. Jules Woodall, 22.7; 17. Jackie Rams Martin, 24.5; 18. Elizabeth Gerritt, 24.8; 19. Linda Marvin, 26.9; 20. Connie Marshall, 27.7.
Last Blast Virtual 5K
James Harden and James Landis teamed up to win the Last Blast Virtual 5K with a combined guess of 1:21, while David Kittell and Margaret Colvin teamed up to take second in 1:42. David and Sonny Landis were third with a 1:53 difference, while Robin Clark and Jen Murray finished fourth at 2:00. Karen Eller and Cathy Haut were fifth in 2:24, while Peter Tracey and Laura Buckland were sixth in 6:50. Tim Abbott and Jack Noel finished seventh with a difference of 7:08. The individual top three were: 1. Sonny Landis, 8 seconds; 2. Jack Noel, 14 seconds; 3. James Harden, 17 seconds.
Jake Bamforth competed in his first triathlon in Colorado, the Lookout Mountain Triathlon, in a town south of Fort Collins called Golden. The tri had just under 300 participants and consisted of an 800-meter pool swim, a 10-mile bike, and a 5K run which the USF graduate completed in a time of 54:58, almost two minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Jake averaged just under 22 miles per hour on the bike, climbing 1,100 feet, and ran the 5K in 18:40, climbing 375 feet. The three-day weather report from Jake this week was 95 degrees to raining fire ash to 5 inches of snow and a 60-degree drop in temperature. Only in Colorado.