Sunday, July 28, 2013

Query at Westfield race goes the long distance

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey

On Sunday, July 28, 2013

Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013

When you’re looking at race results some things will stand out and ask for an explanation.  Most often it’s a person finishing in a time that they have never done before.  Last year at the Horace Ashenfelter 8km on Thanksgiving morning there were a few runners who were credited with quite unbelievable times.

The course takes the runners past the finish line at about three and a half miles and sends them off to do a small loop to come back to the finish.  It turned out that the fast times were caused by the super sensitivity of the computers at the finish.  They picked up the runners as they went past on their way out to the turnaround loop.

Sometimes a fast time is the result of man wearing his wife’s bib, or some other switch where the faster runner in a family or in the car pool is wearing the slower runner’s bib.  That is usually easily fixed.

Sometimes the fast time is attributable to someone just plain cutting the course.  In those instances it is usually done out of innocence and ignorance.  On an out-and-back course it is easy for a tired runner to say, “Ah heck, I’m turning around now.”  That was the case last week at the Verizon Wireless race that wasn’t a race.  People were hot and tired and cut off a small part of the course.   It didn’t matter since it was just a fun run and no one was being timed.

When people are being timed though, then it becomes a problem to sort out.  If the unexpected person is winning or placing high in an age group they will be queried about their time.  “Did you run the full course?  Were you wearing your own bib?”  Usually that will solve the problem.

At the Downtown Westfield 5K this past Wednesday the race was packed with fast young runners.   Chris Heibell, 26, of Hillsborough won the race in 15:13 with Chris Croft, 24, of Summit hot on his heels in 15:16.  The next thirteen men were no older than 25 except for Mike Anis of Highland Park, an ancient 31 years of age.

Well not quite that ancient if you compare him to the seventeenth finisher.  Fifty year old Andrew Green of Scotch Plains finished in 17:08.  That’s a 5:30 per mile pace and he scored an 86.07% that topped the age grading charts.

Had to be a mistake.  Never heard of Andrew Green.  You can go to the bottom of the CompuScore home page and type in a person’s name and if he or she has run in any CompuScore races that name will appear along with the data from each race that was run.  Andrew Green of Scotch Plains wasn’t there.

How about Athlinks?  Nope.  No Andrew Green of Scotch Plains.  CompuScore did the timing of the Westfield race and they had a camera on the runners as they came in.  No mistake, Green was there.

Super sleuth Gene Gugliotta of North Plainfield cracked the case.  Searching  past the border of New Jersey and the United States, Gugliotta found Andrew Green in the United Kingdom and Green is the genuine article.  He has an M50 PB [personal best, aka personal record] of 32:59 for a 10K that he ran on May 12, 2013.  He was written up in the local club news.

No wrong bib, no cutting the course.  Had Gary Leaman of Hardwick or Rodrigo Caceres of Elizabeth been at the race on Wednesday those M50 division New Jersey stars would have kept Green from standing out and raising questions. 

It was the crowd of young runners Wednesday that made things interesting.  One more item of note.  Green was the first master, first over age 40 to finish, and he was followed by Kevin Higgins, 54, of Randolph in 18:17, Robert Penn, 52, of Westfield in 18:33 and in 53rd place overall Beau Atwater, 55, of Bernardsville in 18:38.   It was the M50, M55 divisions leading all other masters men to the finish line.

In a race with 2,433 finishers it can’t get any stranger than that.  The first woman to finish was teenager Kerry Dyke, 16, of Perth Amboy in 18:32.  Nora Cary, 58, of Morristown topped the age graded chart for women with her 21:51 that scored 85.11% PLP.


The Westfield race was the last big race in northern New Jersey until September.  The Morris County Strider summer series 5K is still going on at Johanson Field in Boonton.  This Tuesday will be race number three and the last race of the series is on August 6th.

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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