Monday, October 24, 2011


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey

On Sunday, October 23, 2011
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2011

[The Great Swamp Devil 15K and 5K was postponed due to the unexpected October snow storm! ~editor Thinnmann on 10/30/11]

In 2009 the Great Swamp Devil 15K and 5K in Basking Ridge took a bye.   No, not because they did not want to put on the races, but because of construction on a bridge on the course there was no way the races could be held.

When the races came back in 2010, they came back a month earlier than was customary.   The Swamp Devil races had fallen into a pattern of coming a week after the Giralda Farms races in November, which are positioned to come the week after the ING New York City Marathon. 

Last year they were held on October 24th.  This year they are being held next Sunday, October 30th.   According to race director Tom Miller of Chatham the race organizers are considering making the last Sunday in October the date each year. 

Miller believes that a 15K race the week before the New York marathon is a good final tune-up.  Although he is currently dealing with a knee problem and has not been able to race of late, he said that his best marathon times have come off races very close to the target marathon.

The Amazing Feet Running Club is now the official organizers of the Swamp Devil races.  It is a natural progression for the club after several years of supplying members as volunteers.

When the races were held in mid November the start time of 1:00 in the afternoon made sense.  It could be expected that the daytime temperatures would have reached their peak by one o’clock.  Now, with the race in late October it makes sense to move the times up earlier and so the 5K will go off at 10:00 a.m. and the 15K at 11:00 a.m.  Miller also pointed out that we will still be on Daylight Savings time as the switch to Standard time doesn’t occur until the following weekend, November 6th.

Having the 5K start an hour before the 15K will insure that  most of the 5K runners will have finished before the first 15K runners begin to hit the final stretch.  In the past there had been overlap when the 5K race started shortly after the 15K runners took off.

While the new date and new start time are notable, the biggest change is to the course.  The old course was an out and back with one side trip, also an out and back.  These types of course are fun as they allow the runners to see their competition coming back from a turn-around and to see those who are stalking them.  It gives the entire field a chance to see the leaders in a race.

The new course has a third out-and- back and it will make for a great spectator course for the runners.  The first turn around is just after the first mile, meaning that the field will still be relatively bunched.  The second turn around is a dog leg that goes off the main course, White Bridges Road, just after three miles.  The turnaround is more than a mile off White Bridges, meaning that the most of the field will be somewhere on that section of the course when the leaders are coming back to White Bridges.  From there it is a straight line up White Bridges to the final turn around and then straight back to the start and finish line at Lord Stirling School.

In previous years the 15K was a magnet for runners who needed a Category Three race in the New Balance Grand Prix.  This year has seen an increase of Category Three races, particularly the half marathons that have sprung up.  While the 15K race may not be as strong a draw this year, there is no doubt that for those looking for a relatively easy Category Three race, picking a 15K over a half marathon is a no brainer.

Some runners who will be missing the Great Swamp Devil races will be those going to the Safe Dating 5K in Convent Station, and others, especially USATF team runners, will be at Deer Path Park in Readington for the 8K cross country.
[The 8K XC was postponed due to the unexpected October snow storm! ~editor Thinnmann on 10/30/11]

No comments:

Post a Comment