Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving will be cold this year

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey

On Sunday, November 24, 2013

Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013

Two things are for certain this week.  Thursday is Thanksgiving and no matter which of the many races you choose to run that morning, you will be cold.  None of the locations are predicted to have anything over 35 degrees.  Layer up!

Two Thanksgiving races are in Morris County; the Chatham Turkey Trot and the Morris Township Turkey Trot.  Both are 5Ks but you can enter only one of them now as the Chatham race has capped its field at 500 registrants and is now closed.

The Morris Township race drew 2,284 in 2012 and with no cap will draw the same or maybe a few less.  Those would be the ones who decide to stay in a nice warm house.  The course is both a tough course and a great downhill course.  If you are going to have a hill to climb, let it be at the start while legs are still fresh.  This one does that and runners are rewarded with a great downhill in the last mile.

Up in Sparta the Krogh’s Restaurant and Pub Turkey Trot features a course with one turn, making it probably the fastest course you could run.  It goes out on E. Shore Trail and at 2.5 kilometers the runners make a u-turn and come right back to where they started.  You can’t get any simpler than that.  The race drew 1,909 runners in 2012.

The Dick Meighan Memorial 5K in Upper Saddle River is interesting in that it is one of the few races that is not a New Balance Grand Prix race and appears to not even be USATF sanctioned.  That did not keep people away however as 2,257 runners completed the race in 2012.

The grand daddy of all the races; the one that started it all back when people said you had to be crazy to put on a road race on Thanksgiving morning, the Flemington Turkey Trot drew 4,203 runners in 2012.  They obviously thought it was a splendid idea.

But the one race that stands out from the others; not because it is a USATF New Jersey championship, but because it is two miles longer than the others, is the Horace Ashenfelter 8 kilometer race in Glen Ridge.  With all the competition from those other shorter races, the Ashenfelter still drew 2,552 runners in 2012. 

The 8K is the last championship race of the season and it will determine what teams will be declared the winner in the club and team grand prix. 

Two other races within driving distance take place on turkey day.  One is in Greenbrook that appears to be a new race and another is in Princeton.  The Princeton Trinity Church Turkey Trot drew 923 runners in 2012.

At the end of this running column, when space permits is a tag that tells the reader where to find race results and a racing calendar.  The USATF New Jersey website has a road race calendar that only shows sanctioned races.  A sanction ensures that the races have liability insurance and cover runners who might be injured during a race or while going to or leaving the race. 
Not having a sanction does not mean that a race has no insurance, however.  The event may have insurance through the town or other entity involved with the race.  Being sanctioned does not guarantee that a course is certified, or that it is in the New Balance grand prix.  If the race is in the New Balance grand prix then it must be certified and will be so noted.  On the other hand a race course might be certified but the race is not in the grand prix series.

Other sources for finding races include the various race timing companies like and  A calendar that includes races that are outside of New Jersey is  Runners can find the race forum magazine style publication at most races.  It is always loaded with ads for the races and often the race application itself.


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