Monday, March 12, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 11, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012
It is surprising how many races are on the 2012 calendar for March.  Which calendar is that, you ask.  Good question.
You won’t find all of the races in the state, or to narrow it down, in Morris County in one place.  The first place to look is at  If a race has been sanctioned by the national governing body it means that it has filled out an application that asks questions about the safety of the runners, the plans for water and for toileting facilities.  Most significantly it means that the race and the racers are covered by insurance and that could be very important.
If a race is in the New Balance Grand Prix, it will be shown in the race listing on the USATF website.  If it is a road race then you know that it will be run on a USATF certified course.  Be forewarned that a race may not be in the grand prix series and not sanctioned but still have a certified course.
If a race has not been sanctioned by USATF it still may have another insurance coverage.  That is an unknown when looking at a race listing that is on any other site. 
The exception is the calendar maintained by  That site endeavors to show which of the races that will be scored by CompuScore are in the grand prix.  But CompuScore doesn’t always have it right.  One year a race might be in the grand prix and the next year it is not.  The USATF website will have that change, but there are no assurances that the company scoring the race has been told of that by the race organizers. 
As an aside to that statement, some runners registered for a recent race that was a New Balance race last year but was not this year.  Runners had registered for the race and assumed that it was in the grand prix.  They were not happy.
What this tells you is that you must find a race application and look for the facts that you want see; sanctioned, certified, grand prix and then for some, what are the awards and the age divisions for the awards.
In addition to CompuScore, many local races are scored by Bill Boyajian whose company name is BEST racing.  Boyajian makes no attempt to note a grand prix race on his online race calendar.  Another long time scoring company is Elite Racing and Elite does a handful of Morris area races that will be listed in the Elite calendar.
A big player in race calendars is the Race Forum.  Located in Monmouth County the Race Forum has an online calendar and a print magazine that carries road racing, bike races, swimming and triathlons from even beyond New Jersey.   It is a great resource as races pay to have their race application printed right in the magazine in addition to being listed in the calendar. 
Lately I have found local race listings on only Race Forum.  That tells me that the race is not sanctioned and not in the grand prix, and is being scored by one of the start-up companies that have popped up in the past few years.
There is also  For a time it was the only online calendar.  I used to check it out but have found it to not be very user friendly, at least for this user.
With that somewhat lengthy introduction here are the races that I have found that will take place this month in the Morris County area.
Next Saturday on March 17th is the first time Morris Catholic Saint Patrick’s Day 5K that will start and finish at the school that is located on Morris Avenue in Denville.  The start time is 9:00 a.m.  
The next day, Sunday March 18 the KEA Pot of Gold Scholarship 5K will take place in Kinnelon at 9:00 a.m.  The race is a New Balance grand prix event.
An interesting race is taking place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 24th in Mt. Olive.  The Loschiavo 4 mile run has been around for many years and in the last few years it has become a New Balance grand prix event.  Registration and start and finish of the race is at the Mount Olive high school. 
Another new race is also on that Saturday, in Bernardsville.  The Cross & Crown 5K will take place at the School of St. Elizabeth at 9:00 a.m. 
On Sunday, March 25 is the Are You Faster than a Ridge Runner 5K, in Basking Ridge with a 12 noon start time.
Also on that Sunday is the Apple Chase 5K and 10K in Pompton Plains, both start at 10:00 a.m., with a fun run at 10:45 a.m.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 4, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

March has not come in like a lion here in New Jersey but what has come in is the first of the USATF New Jersey championship races. In years past the Newark Distance Classic 20K was the first race but it seems to have dropped out of the line-up and in its place, quite literally is the Miles for Music 20K. While some may question a 20K so early in the season when people may not have been able to get in the mileage needed for a 12.4 mile race, it seems to have become almost a tradition for the 20K. Point of interest to that is the E. Murray Todd half marathon is being run today in Lincroft.

Miles for Music is a new race but there is some tradition to the course. Johnson Park in Piscataway is the location and the park roads have been used before. A marathon hosted by the Raritan Valley Road Runners was held for two or three years in the 90’s and then more recently for the Equinox 20K. In fact the Equinox was a championship in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Johnson Park lies along the Raritan River and is as flat as a flood plain will be. The course for the Miles for Music will be much the same as the Equinox course but allowing for changes in the intervening years and to make the start and finish closer to the parking areas that will be used by the runners.

The course will use the park road and the bike path that roughly parallels the road. As the crow flies the distance from one end of the park to the other is about four miles so the runners will run more than just one out and back. A doubling back like that makes for an interesting race for the runners who will get to see who is ahead of them and behind them. If they are in the middle of the pack they will see the leaders going past more than once.

Being a championship, the Miles for Music is the first 700 point race in the New Balance Grand Prix, and is also the first team competition for all divisions. Over the course of the year each division, open men, open women, masters men and masters women will compete in nine championship races. Out of those nine races, each team will count their best eight scores, much like the individual runners count only their best nine scores in the NBGP. Getting the season off to a good start then is the goal for all of the teams.

Online registration closes this Thursday, March 8th and mail registrations must be received by tomorrow. Registration and packet-pickup on race day opens at 7:30 a.m. in the park. The race will start at 9:00 a.m. with the 20K awards ceremony scheduled for 11:00 a.m. A one mile race will start at 12 noon.


The one downside to the Miles for Music for Morris area runners is that the race comes the day after the St. Paddy’s 5K on Saturday in Morristown. The race, which has become the kick-off to the county’s race season, will start at 10:00 a.m. at Ginty Field. In past years the race has drawn over a thousand runners and there no reason to think that the same runners won’t be back for more. The popular St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a good follow-up to the run.