Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, February 3, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013
With the second wave of the running boom, or is it the third wave, finding a bunch of pals to run and race with should be easy. In Morris County there are so many running clubs that, like trying to pick the right toothpaste, there may be so many a runner will want to “taste” more than one.
That’s actually not a bad idea. It takes awhile to feel the vibes from a club so joining the members in several of their group runs will give a person time to feel that connection or to move on. New runners often think that they have to be very competitive to join a running club, but that is far from true. Almost all the running clubs have fast, slow and in between runners. Club members, in general, range from just out of college to those who could be their grandparents.
The first place to start looking for a club is at usatfnj.org as this is the parent organization that governs the sport. On the website is a listing of all the member clubs. It’s a long list, but the list includes track and field, and youth clubs. Adult running clubs usually have the word running, or runner, in their name. The last column in the listing gives the ages of the members of the club members, and will have “O”, and “M” and that tells you the members are Open, and Masters.
The Morris County Striders have been around since the late 70’s. Back then the club members met at Randolph High School every Saturday morning. Now they run on Saturdays, Sundays, Wednesdays and during warmer weather on Tuesdays to do track workouts. Each weekly run is at a different location - none from the high school. The club website gives the locations and times.
The Sneaker Factory club began as a racing team and has evolved into a social club as well. The club’s official home is in Millburn where the Sneaker Factory specialty running store is located, but its members are mostly Morris residents. Group runs take place on Tuesday evenings and at several other locations during the week.
The Rose City Runners Club is another long time club. Members are centered in the Morristown and Madison areas. They have held their Saturday morning runs from the Duck Pond in Loantaka Park since the club beginnings. It may be the longest continuous group run of all the clubs.
The Amazing Feet Running Club also has a Saturday run at Loantaka Park but other runs during the week are in Peapack and Basking Ridge. The club is home to a number of ultra marathoners.
The Original Geezers running club’s core membership is in Randolph Township and the club’s members are mostly masters division runners. The group runs from Freedom Park in Randolph every Saturday morning.
The Do Run Running Club holds a group run also at Freedom Park in Randolph on Saturdays, and when there are enough daylight hours the club has a weeknight run from there as well.
The newest club is the Garmin Runners. Many of the members had been with the Running Company club that dissolved in 2011. Their members are envied for the speed they bring to the sport in the younger masters divisions.
Although the clubs are a diverse group one common denominator is the social aspect of each club. Having friends who share your enthusiasm for running and racing enhances the experience. Frequently after a group run or a race, the members gather at a local restaurant for more socializing, or for a tailgate party in warmer weather right at the location of the run.