Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, June 22, 2014
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2014
Johnson goes under 15, wins the President’s Cup Night Race
On a perfect night for summer racing, Chris Johnson of New Providence won the President’s Cup Night Race Monday in 14:50, Thomas Young of Fort Lee was second in 15:01 and Justin Scheid of Sparta was third in 15:08. The race was the USATF New Jersey men’s championship. On the women’s side Maria Danna of Kenvil took over the lead from Elena Rozhko of Morristown to win her division in 17:34. Rozhko was 20 seconds back in 17:54.
Johnson was comfortable letting his running partner Chris Croff of Summit go right to the lead. “He likes to go out hard”, said Johnson. “I always like to go out kind of conservatively and grow into the race and hopefully negatively split the race if I can.”
“So I knew that guys were getting out as fast as they did,” he said. “I wanted to have a nice conservative first mile and have enough left in the tank and kind of push the next two miles.”
Croff was in the lead going up Millburn in the first mile, with Scheid right with him. There was a small gap and then a handful of guys with Johnson hanging in fifth place. Coming down the hill on Essex after passing the one mile clock, not much had changed.
With a 4:48 on the clock when he went through, Johnson said that he began to move up when reaching the end of Essex. He used the slight downhill where Essex and Millburn merge and went into the lead on the way out to the Millburn High School turnaround.
“I caught up with the pack and once I caught up with them I kept pushing because I knew that they had gone out in a slightly faster pace and they might be hurting a little bit more,” said Johnson.
By the time they reached the school Johnson had only Young on his heels. He said that he put in another little move, to try to create some distance because he knew he had the hill on Millburn in the last mile.
“I like to work the uphills to my advantage and that’s what I was able to do,” he said.
While Johnson is relatively unknown on the local scene he has solid credentials. He was a standout at Governor Livingston High School, and raced both cross country and track while at Colgate University.
In May Johnson was the first New Jersey runner in the Newport 10,000, finishing in 31:28 and fifth overall amongst the professional runners that come to the Jersey City race. At the Ridgewood 5K he finished in fourth with a 15:09, and earlier this month he won the elite division of the College Avenue Mile in 4:20.9.
Johnson was on the Adidas Garden State Track Club C team that placed fourth. The club has enough members that they were able to field seven teams. Up front they were so evenly matched that their D team was first, A team second, B team third with Johnson’s C team fourth. Only 26 seconds separated the first team from the fourth. Thirty teams entered the race.
Masters Men are running tonight in Glen Ridge
The Fitzgerald’s 1928 Lager Run, the USATF masters men’s 5K championship, is tonight in Glen Ridge. With an early start of 6:30 p.m. this race always promises to be on the hot side. The competition is always hot as well, with close to fifty teams expected to enter.
Fast Five leaders have been posted
The Fast Five leaders have been posted on the Long Distance Running page of USATF NJ. Elena Rozhko of Morristown has the distinction of leading both the open women and masters women’s division. Still to be run is tonight’s masters race in Glen Ridge and on Thursday the open and masters women’s championship, the Sunset Classic in Bloomfield.
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.