Monday, November 28, 2011


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 27 2011
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2011

Close to 13,000 runners burned off some pre-dinner calories Thursday morning in what is a record number for Thanksgiving morning races in northern New Jersey.

The granddaddy of Thanksgiving morning races, the CEA Johanna Foods Turkey Trot 5K in Flemington continues to outdraw them all with 4,174 finishers. Of course they had a six year head start going back to 1994 when a relative handful, a mere 350 finished the race that started the craze.

By 2000 they could draw over one thousand runners and the first copycat was born. The Ashenfelter 8 kilometer race began that year with 493 finishers in Glen Ridge. In 2001 those two races were joined by the Dick Meighan Memorial 5K in Upper Saddle River. It was big right out of the blocks with 707 runners finishing.

By 2007 the Ashenfelter and the memorial race were over a thousand finishers and Flemington was over two thousand. But wait! The Morris township Turkey Trot came into being that year and drew 610 finishers while up in Sparta, the Krogh Turkey Trot had 720.

In 2009 those two newbies doubled. The Dick Meighan Memorial jumped to nearly 1,800 and the Ashenfelter was just over 1,800. Flemington’s race hit over 3,500 finishers.

Could 2010 show any more growth? It could. Ashenfelter added 245 in 2010. Meighan added 106 and Flemington another 287. And those two newbies? Morris Township jumped by 453 and Sparta by 207.

Along comes 2011. The day dawned cold but not too cold. It was sunny and no wind. It was a perfect day for a nice morning run, a nice morning race. The runners came out in droves.

Flemington finished 4,174 runners. The Ashenfelter had 2,484 and the Dick Meighan Memorial had 2,114. Right here at home the Morris Township race had 2,156 finishers. Only the Sparta race came in with under two thousand, but not by much with 1,829 finishing.

The Morris Township race was won by Michael Franklin of Mendham in 16:07 with Mallory Anderson of Madison taking the women’s title in 18:16.


Mike Soroko of Kinnelon won the Ashenfelter in 24:54, which was the USATF New Jersey 8K championship for all divisions. Two visiting women were the top two in the women’s race with Catherine Smith of Wayne the top New Jersey finishers with her time of 29:12.

Local teams seemed to be almost shut out of first place all around at the 8 kilometer championship. The Sneaker Factory was the lone exception and with a surprise win in a division that until very recently they seldom could field a complete team. This time they had a team in the M50 division and edged out the North Jersey Masters for first with 2:36:09 to 2:36:25. The Sneaker Factory women took fourth in the Open division and W40. Their men had a third in M40 and fifth in Open.

The Morris County Striders had two second place finishes; W50 and W60. Their Open women were well down in the scoring in Open with a seventh place, and a sixth in W40. Strider men placed third in the M60 division but only seventh in M50 and eighth in M40.

The Do Run Runners fared about as well. Their best was sixth in M50 and M60, while their women took seventh in W40 and W50.

All the teams will have two weeks to recover and prepare for the ten mile championship on December 11th.


The next two weekends hold the keys for any runners who have not filled their score card in the New Balance Grand Prix. Category Two races are gone, so those with a goose egg in that division will keep it. There is one more Category Three race, thanks to the moving of the Great Swamp Devil 15K to Sunday, December 4th. Of course the Grand Finale ten miler that closes the season on Sunday, December 11th is also a Category Three race. It is a 700 point race but can be designated by the runner to be counted as a non championship 500 point race.

People needing a Category One race can still find those. The Dover Renaissance 5K on Saturday December 3rd is one, as is the AMBS Reindeer Run in Franklin Lakes on the same day. On Sunday, December 4th is the American Red Cross 5K in Millburn and the Great Swamp Devil 5K on the 4th.

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