Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 15, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013
HALF MARATHON IN JERSEY CITY WILL ATTRACT THE NUMBERS
If you recall in last week’s running column I wrote that half marathons were passé and the mile was the new distance. Of course that was a bit tongue in cheek given the number of half marathons now appearing locally. We have the Shades of Death Half Marathon in Allamuchy on October 13 and the North Jersey half in Pequannock on the 19th of October and that is just some of the half’s in the state.
But they all must bow to the Direct Edge Newport Liberty Half Marathon that will take place next Sunday, September 22nd at Newport Town Square in Jersey City. While the sponsors may have changed over the years and the actual name of the event, this race has taken place for nearly twenty years. The first reference to it was in the CompuScore archived files from 1996. Joe McVeigh, then 33, won the race in 1:09:28 and Laurie Corbin, then 28, was the female winner with her time of 1:21:20. The race had a good turnout; 738 finishers.
Contrast the 2012 version of the race. Ken Goglas, 31, of Randolph won the race in 1:09:11 with Cheyenne Ogletree, 25, of Garfield the women’s winner in 1:22:02. So the times are much the same, within less than a minute difference from the 1996 race.
The difference is that in 2012 two thousand, six hundred and forty one people finished the race. Now that’s growth!
Another difference from the 1996 race is the addition of team competition. Thanks to the popularity of team competition and the USATF New Jersey team grand prix 29 women’s teams and 38 men’s teams competed in 2012. They certainly added to the growth of the event but the majority of the runners were not on teams and were part of the newest running boom that is being fueled by half marathon runners. While the road mile is certainly coming back we can’t dismiss the phenomenon of the half marathon.
Some changes at the Jersey City half marathon that will be enforced this year have been brought about by the Boston Marathon bombings last April. Now most high profile races are establishing strict rules for security. Bags will have to be checked before entering the race entry and packet pick-up area, or left in cars in the parking deck. Since these changes may slow down the pre race process people are urged to plan to arrive early and to expect delays.
CLOSE CONTEST NOW IN THE CLUB GRAND PRIX
Can it get any tighter than a one point difference in scores? That’s the spread between leader Raritan Valley Road Runners Club and Garden State Track Club in the overall club grand prix; 200 to 199. Garden State put a lot of open women on the line at the Jimmy D 5K on September 1st. Their A and B teams took first and second; their D team took fifth and their E team took 9th for a total of 30 points to add to their club total.
The half marathon next Sunday will give both of the leading clubs a chance to earn points with the young track club team able to score big in the open division while the Raritan Valley club will have their masters teams to bring in points.
The Clifton Road Runners are in third with 149 points and two Morris County area teams are tied for fourth; Do Run Runners and Garmin. It could be an interesting fall season.
In last week’s column when writing about the configuration of mile race courses I wrote that:
“Both the Ridgewood mile and the New Brunswick mile races are loop courses that bring the runners back to near the starting line.”
I have been corrected by Bill Zink of the North Jersey Masters club that puts on the Ridgewood races that the mile course was changed two years ago to a point-to-point race. I regret the error.
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 email@example.com.