Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 8, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013
BRINGING BACK THE MILE IN NEW JERSEY
Hey! Forget that half marathon stuff. It’s already passé if you follow the sport through the running magazines and online. The newest distance to train for is the mile.
The mile? Yep. A dozen New Jersey masters runners traveled to Pittsburg in August to compete in the GNC Live Well Liberty Mile, a race that is part of a series of mile races taking place around the country. Both Runner’s World and Running Times magazines have featured articles about the mile recently.
While there was a sprinkling of racers, who specialize in the mile or the 1500 meters on the track, a good number at the Pittsburg race, probably the majority of entrants were road racers looking for a change of pace.
Officially the first New Jersey man in the Masters race that was a national championship was Bill Zink of Wykoff who runs for the North Jersey Masters team. In 2012 running in the 40+ mile in Pittsburg Zink hit the tape in 4:56.4 and was the first masters man to finish. The 2013 championship changed the competition bringing in elites from across the country.
Zink, 52, ran the exact same time this year but the field had changed and he finished down quite a bit but still a respectable 18th overall and better yet, 18th in the Age Grading list at 87.64%.
Alan Wells, 50, who lives in New Jersey, but most often lists his town as Orlando FL when he races here, finished in 4:40 for a 91.31%.
Three Morris area men competed at Pittsburg. Charles Castiglioni, 54, of Lake Hopatcong, and a member of the Morris County Strider club finished in 5:41, and fellow teammate Ed Neighbour, 50, of Sparta formed an incomplete team due to injuries that kept their third man home.
The same fate befell the Raritan Valley Road Runners whose member Randolph resident Roger Price, 64, had to run unattached to finish in 5:52.
The Clifton Road Runners had the only complete team and their M70 team finished second to rival Ann Arbor.
On the women’s side a very impressive performance is credited to Erika Campbell. 64, of Ridgewood who finished in 6:30; a time that age graded at 93.91%.
Next week those men and women can renew their quest for a fast mile time right here in New Jersey. On Saturday, September 14th, the Ocean Avenue Mile races will be held in Long Branch.
Mile races are rare in New Jersey but not unheard of. The Ridgewood Run has always had mile races for elite runners in both the open division and in masters. The Garden State Track Club hosted a mile race in New Brunswick in 2012 and again this year. Both the Ridgewood mile and the New Brunswick mile races are loop courses that bring the runners back to near the starting line. The Ocean Avenue Mile is a point to point race, meaning runners will finish a mile away from where they start. The registration area and the starting line are close to Seven President’s Park where the runners can park.
The first of several races will begin at 8:55 a.m. After a children’s mile race the serious racing will begin with the division for males age 14 to 39 at 9:30 a.m. Female racers 14 to 39 will start at 9:45 a.m. Masters women, all age divisions 40 and older, will follow at 10:00 a.m. and men forty and older will run at 10:15 a.m. Recognition will go to the first runner across the line and age grading will not be done. USATF runners will run together with non USATF runners in each of the division races and then will be scored by USATF rules.
The event will wrap up with a seeded elite mile that will offer prize money for the fastest in the field.
The races will have a team component but the scores will not be added to the USATF Team Grand Prix. It is also not in the New Balance Grand prix – it doesn’t quite fit the description of a long distance race. The requirements for the teams for this are to score only three runners on a team.
For more information check it out at www.oceanavenuemile.com. Get a feel for the mile and have some fun next week.
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at firstname.lastname@example.org.