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.

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