Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, October 6, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013
SHADES OF DEATH HALF MARATHON ADDS A DEVILISH RUN
Yes, half marathons are big now in road racing. While they are not as plentiful as 5k’s that dot the state like raisins on an oatmeal cookie, they are showing up more and more often on race calendars.
With the closing of Sandy Hook national recreation area and thus the cancelling of the Jersey Shore Half Marathon that was to have taken place today, disappointed runners may be searching for an alternative race. While the Sandy Hook course features a beautiful setting with water on both sides of the route, another race also features a beautiful setting.
No water views for the Shades of Death Half Marathon but the bucolic farms scenes of Allamuchy have their own charm. The Shades of Death name and theme come from one of the roads on the course that has been featured in Weird New Jersey.
When the half marathon was first conceived in 2011, a relay was also run. Since the course is a double loop a relay seemed to make sense; two people could run the race, one loop each. But it really didn’t work out that well, according to race director Pam Fales of Boonton, who said that the relay had remained stagnant with little growth.
“This year we added the Devil’s Run. We run on Shades of Death Road so in keeping with that theme, and knowing that the first loop of the half marathon is roughly 6.6 miles, we thought we could make it be 6.66,” she said, “and have it be called the Devil’s Run.”
They’ve done even better than that and Fales said that the course length is actually 6.666.
The change from a relay to a Category Two New Balance Grand Prix race has clearly paid off. As of Friday over 130 runners had registered for the race, getting close to double the number of runners in last year’s relay.
Entries for the half marathon are also on track with the online deadline closing tomorrow, the 7th. The runners who could not run in the Jersey Shore Half Marathon can get their entries in today or tomorrow before the deadline and the price goes up.
One thing that hasn’t changed according to Fales is the long sleeve technical shirt with the skull and crossbones logo. It will be black, as were the 2011 and 2012 shirts, but this year with red accents and red stitching on the front. The half marathon runners will get a long sleeve shirt and the Devil’s Run runners will get a short sleeve shirt with similar design.
“Our shirts are high quality technical shirts, not fake technical shirts,” said Fales. Her statement brings into the open a growing complaint among runners about souvenir shirts that claim to be technical shirts that are mere knock-offs.
With the half marathon as young as it is with only two races, course records are there for the picking. In 2011 Mike Anis of Highland Park won the race in 1:18:40. In 2012 Anis took over two minutes off his time to finish in 1:16:15 but the course record went to Atilla Sabahoglu of Piscataway who finished ahead of Anis in 1:13:19. On the women’s side Laura Swift of Woodbridge won the 2011 race in 1:28:11 but lost the title to Kavitha Manley of Piscataway who finished in 1:27:26 in 2012. The course records are listed in the athletes booklet that will be picked up on race day.
How many people can predict how fast they can run 6.666 miles? A 10K is 6.2 miles so just add another .466, or about a half mile. Everyone who wins their age division in the Devil’s Run will be establishing course records for the new race.
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.