USA Track & Field National 50K Championship Set To Return

Preston Johnson hits the tape to win the 2021 USATF National 50K Championship Run at Heckscher State Park.
(Photo courtesy of Greater Long Island Running Club)

The Greater Long Island Running Club 50K run at Heckscher State Park on Sunday, Feb. 27, has been selected by the Mountain, Ultra & Trail Council of USA Track & Field to once again serve as the USATF 50K National Road Race Championship.

The event will once again be conducted over a 5K loop on a paved path at Heckscher State Park, giving runners from all over the United States the chance to explore this beautiful piece of Long Island.

The 50K will consist of 10 5K loops, and the accompanying 25K will consist of five 5K loops.

The run will be conducted under the management of the Greater Long Island Running Club, with GLIRC’s Carl Grossbard and Jim Murray serving as the co-directors of the event.

The first male and first female finisher in the 50K run will be automatically selected to be part of the 12-runner United States team that will compete in the IAU World 50 K Championship to be held on May 28, 2023 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, so long as they meet the minimum qualifying times of sub 3:00:00 for the men and sub 3:30:00 for the women.

Highlighting the 2021 edition of the run was the winning performance of Preston Johnson of Kaysville, UT.  Johnson  had a comfortable lead after nine of the 5K loops, and still had a shot at the race record of 2 hours, 48 minutes, 56 seconds. The effort took its toll in his tenth leg, but he held on with determination to finish in 2:53:19, 38 seconds in front of runner-up Kyle Masterson of Alamosa, Colo. Top honors for the women in 2021 went to Randi Burnett of Dallas, TX in 3:32:01, over four minutes in front of runner-up Regina Lopez of Azusa, CA.

Two National USATF Age Group records were set in the 2021 50K—Rick Lee of Bayville, NJ ran a new 60-64 age group record time of 3:31:44, and Gene Dykes of Bala Cynwyd, PA., ran a 3:56:44 to set a new 70-74 age group record of 3:56:44.

Grossbard was enthusiastic for the 2022 edition of the Championship run.

“Early indications are that every elite 50 Kilometer runner in the country will be heading to Heckscher State Park on Feb. 27,” he said.  “We have a great course, the opportunity for record breaking performances and an overall great day for Long Island.”