Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, December 28, 2014
More from New Jersey runners on the national race
It may have been three weeks past, but the enthusiasm of the New Jersey runners who competed in the national club cross country championship has not waned.
“It was fantastic to see the Open & Masters Clubs representing our Association at Lehigh University, said New Jersey association Managing Director Terry Mullane. “Competing against Nationally ranked competition, our Association showed the country the quality and depth of running clubs that are in NJ,” he wrote. “Congratulations to the Garmin Women’s 50 team who placed third in a very competitive race. In addition, congratulations to the Team Pearl Izumi Men’s and Adidas Garden State Women’s 40 Teams who placed 4th in their respective Division. A special shout out goes to the Shore AC and Clifton Roadrunners Men’s 70 Teams who finished first and third in their Division. It was a great day on a great course!”
Garmin runner Janie Morra of Morristown said she had a moment of déjà vue. “To me it felt like one of the Holmdel Park high school state sectional/group XC meets,” she wrote. “So happy to see so many folks warming up, racing, cheering teammates on!!! Such camaraderie!!”
Reno Stirrat of Rockaway took a more serious note. “When I looked at the list of entrants to the [meet], I knew this would be a race against the best of the best. All the Shore AC 60 year old team members would need to have great races in order for us to reach the podium,” he said. “As we lined up and the gun went off all of the masters runners went out especially fast. If at any point a runner let up a crowd of competitors would whiz by. “
Stirrat’s Shore Athletic Club M60 team placed fourth out of sixteen teams in their division. “Not bad for racing against the best of the best,” he concluded.
Ed Smith of Mountain Lakes placed third in the M70 division. The meet gave him a chance to reconnect to the days of his youth.
“Best was the people I saw,” wrote Smith. “Running was a teammate from the 1960 Penn State freshman XC team. Another teammate cheered us on.”
He said that two teammates from the Prudential Insurance Company racing team of twenty years ago were racing with another teammate there as well.
“We have all moved on and hadn't seen each other in many years,” said Smith.
Phil Coffin of Bloomfield who races for the Fleet Feet Essex club offered his observations. He came to cross country as an adult and finds it unusually rewarding he said, and the national race especially so.
Note: It was here that the newspaper editor cut the December 21st column. It was not cut from the online column on this page.
“Being part of a national race is special, even when you know you are going to be part of the back pack,” he said. “Seeing the huge field in the men's masters’ race dash off the starting line -hundreds of runners arrayed across the turf was spectacular.”
Coffin noted the group support among the New Jersey runners. With four races in the meet, racers could be spectators and cheerleaders for three other races. He said he got a little extra burst of adrenaline with each cheer from his teammates and that wasn’t all.
“The other New Jersey teams were rooting for us as well,” he said. “Even runners I did not know from Raritan Valley, Clifton and Shore were yelling for us when they saw our Essex singlets. It may sound silly, but there was some Jersey pride out there.”
“The cheers of my teammates and others helped me finish as hard as I could, and that was a rush. So what if I was 452nd,” said Coffin. “It was a great course, and I raced as hard as I could with a throng of runners loving it as much as I did. You can't ask for much more from a race.”