Monday, March 4, 2013

Perfect weather welcomes season opener

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 3, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013

Sunny with a high of 53 degrees says the ten day forecast for next Sunday, March 10th.  What better way for the 2013 USATF New Jersey championship season to open than with perfect racing conditions.  The Miles for Music 20K in Johnson Park in Piscataway will host all team divisions, a sort of reuniting of the teams that competed last in December at the Grand Finale ten miler in Mercer County.

A 5K will also be run and one mile as well.  The headliner 20K will start at 9:00 a.m.  The course is two and a half, almost three loops of the Park, making for a great spectator race.  Multiple loops are usually frowned upon by runners because they do the same loop over and over, but in this race, they will at all times be spectators as well.  That is because the loops are not loops so much as multiple out-and-backs within sight of the outgoing and returning runners.   Runners can see who is ahead of them and how closely a rival is trailing them.

While much will be the same for the clubs as in 2012, much has also changed.  At the Long Distance Running Committee meeting this past Thursday, some rules were reaffirmed and some were tossed and replaced with revisions that could have an impact on the Team and Club Grand Prix.

The meeting was well attended with eleven of the twelve participating clubs represented.  Some clubs had only one delegate and some came with a large contingent of members.  There had been eight proposed rules, or rule changes.  When the delegates were able to close their notebooks two had been withdrawn, three were defeated and three were approved.

The first proposed rule change that would have outlawed “double dipping”, the using of one runner on two different age division teams, was unanimously defeated.  It is unlikely that the executive committee will allow a similar proposal to be brought forward anytime in the near future.  “Dead and done”, was one person’s assessment.  “Double dipping” is an integral part of a club’s ability to field full teams in a division.

Was there a problem with how the A teams, B teams, C teams are handled?  Almost the entire group felt that there is not.  Team captains will continue to be able to strategize how they will use their squads.  They will be able to balance an A team with a B team to have them of about equal ability.  They will also be able to create a B team that is stronger and faster than an A team at a particular championship if that will serve the club in the overall club grand prix.  They can even leave their A team at home and let the B team score points.

Call it a paradox, but at the end of the year, if a B team is in the top three it will be removed and the second place award will go to the team that finished below it.  The scores from the B team, and C team, if one exists will still count toward the overall club total, but they will not be recognized at the USATF awards banquet.

In 2013 all races run by a team will be counted.  Until now each team was credited with their best seven out of eight race scores, or put in another way, each team could drop their poorest race.  That safeguard will no longer exist.  If a team misses a race or has a bad one, that score will stand. 
The newly revised rules will be posted on the USATF- NJ website under Long Distance Running.

The Farmer’s Insurance St. patty’s Day 5K is on Saturday in Morris Township at the Ginty Field site on Woodland Avenue.  This race has become the season opener for Morris area runners and last year it drew nearly 1,400 runners.  The 2012 race was won by Chris Croff of Montclair in 15:54 and Elena Rozhko of Morristown in 18:07.  With the great spring like weather predicted for next weekend it should draw another crowd of enthusiastic racers.

Race Results can often be found at or at 
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

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