Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 22, 2012
On Sunday, July 22, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012
There is always an energy, always excitement at the Verizon Wireless Corporate Classic 5K that takes place in Morristown each July. This past Thursday was no exception. The plaza at Headquarters Plaza was full of milling crowds of runners, easily identified by their company clothing. Verizon Wireless always has the largest team and they turned the plaza a brilliant red in their classy racing shirts.
While many of the participants in the field of close to four thousand might have wanted to run a competitive race, many were there to be a part of the huge event and part of the excitement. It’s hard to get a good start with a field like that. Even using only your chip time it will be slower than usual. If you are not on the front line you will likely be dodging people while being bumped by others faster than you.
If you can hit five or five-thirty minute miles you are on the front line and on Thursday there were a dozen or so who could do that. From the gun Tyler Gibbons of Basking Ridge immediately went to the front. Chris Johnson of Berkeley Heights and Jonathan Squeri became a dogged duo following in Gibbons wake.
Running seemingly alone Gibbons passed the one mile clock in around five minutes. Up and down with turns at every block at the far end of the course he held the lead, going through the second mile only a bit slower. Then the insurmountable lead narrowed and then it was gone.
“Once I got past the two miles, I started feeling my legs a little bit,” said Gibbons.
As he slowed, Johnson pounced, taking over the lead in that crucial third mile, just as he had planned as he waited to go into another gear.
“That was my plan all along, to let him go out,” said Johnson.
Johnson said he had hoped that no one would go out hard, so that he could steal an easy win. Gibbons made him work for it. It got them both fast times; Johnson finished in 15:55 and Gibbons crossed the finish mat in 16:05. Jonathan Squeri of Princeton finished third in 16:11 and said later that he knew he would have a race on his hands.
“Just looking at these guys I know they are great runners,” said Squeri. “I’ve run against Chris before and I heard that Tyler is good, going to Columbia next year. So these guys are the real deal. I was just enjoying myself. Putting myself behind them and seeing what happens.”
The first woman, Rachael Sorna of Hopewell Junction NY, had no such race. Surrounded only by men, she finished in 17:59, sixteenth overall.
“I was hoping one [another woman] would come up on me and run with me but I didn’t see anybody, said Sorna.”
There was plenty of competition behind her. Ten seconds separated the next three at the finish, and there was a lot of action heading there.
In the last mile, Lyndsay McMeen, whose hometown is not listed, was running in second place. Kavitha Manley of Piscataway was trying to run her down and did so. She moved into second place. Then just before the line Manley was caught by Mollie Pozolo of Michigan, presently living in Hohokus. Pozolo finished in 19:33, Manley in 19:36 and McMeen in 19:43.
“I knew I wasn’t going to catch her [Sorna], but I was just happy to catch second and third place,” said Pozolo.
For Manley the whole night was a heady experience, her first time to race at the Verizon Wireless 5K.
“I never thought I would be part of something huge like this,” she said, summing up what many felt. “It’s a little intimidating I think, but it was good. A lot of energy.”