Published in the Daily Record of Morris County
The Dover Renaissance 5K may have a mostly flat course but it has had a very bumpy recent history. An act of God in some cases and in some an act of the public works of Dover has caused headaches but this year the race may be the only race “in town”. At least the only race in Morris County and set at 9:00 a.m. in late summer should make for a good draw. It may also be the only 500 point New Balance Grand Prix race in the entire state that day.
Originally schedule each year at the end of October, the 5K was pushed around in recent years escaping conflicts with other races or severe weather. Race director Peter Lee of Randolph has hit on what he hopes is a better fit by situating the race on Saturday August 23rd.
Lee recalls that in 2009 he noticed that the race was drawing fewer runners than in previous years. Some rainy race days and a wicked Nor’ Easter in 1996 may have set people’s attitudes against the race. Then in 2010, barely two months before the race Lee got a call from the Dover police. Construction along the race route and the rerouting of utility lines would make it impossible to hold the race. It was cancelled.
“I made sure we sent a note out to our main Sponsors stating that we would be back in 2011,” said Lee.
Little did he know what 2011 would bring. That year Hurricane Irene in August rocked New Jersey and that only set the stage for Mother Nature’s cruel trick – the Halloween snow storm. Races scrambled to reschedule.
“We had to let everyone catch their breath,” said Lee. We decided to hold it in early December, but we were competing against some other races who were under the same fate.”
Surely 2012 would be benign. Not so. The race had been scheduled for early November but Hurricane Sandy wiped that out. Lee moved the race to early December once again. Race t-shirts carried the November date.
Last year the race moved to early November and though no natural disasters interfered, it didn’t help to be on Marathon weekend. The perpetual moving and rescheduling of the 5K didn’t help either and only about 120 runners came to race. It was disappointing, especially since the newly designed and certified course should have attracted more runners. Lee made a huge move to August this year in an experiment of sorts.
“People told me it might be too hot but I’ve noticed that by mid-August lately the leaves are falling,” said Lee. “The bad heat is in June and July.”
He added a wry comment that the area could have a heat wave next week in keeping with weather related attacks on the race. However the start is at 9:00 a.m. and even with a heat wave the runners should enjoy fairly cool weather. Lee is aware that some families will be taking the last week of the month for vacations going into the Labor Day weekend. But he is hopeful that runners will give the race another try. The long sleeved 50/50 t-shirt has morphed into a cool short sleeve wicking shirt in keeping with the summer schedule.
The out-and-back lollipop course is considered very fast with only one hill and it occurs fairly early in the race. It could be a P.R. course to start the fall racing season. On-line registration has been extended to Wednesday, the 20th.