Sunday, November 23, 2014

Change, Change, Change

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 23,  2014

Change, Change, and no Change

Change is good, and in the case of the USATF New Jersey Long Distance Running committee,
Just having the rules change vote meeting was a change in and of itself.  Normally proposed rules changes in the conduct of the New Balance individual grand prix and the club and team grand prix are presented in September and voted on at the first meeting of the new year, usually in February.

But that could and did actually cause a problem when a rule change affected how the teams dealt with the earlier races.  Two years ago the committee voted to count all nine championship race scores in the team grand prix.  No race would be “dropped”.  Unfortunately at least one team had decided that the race they would drop would be the first of the race season and their members had already made other plans for that date.  They earned a big fat zero and could never make it up.

At the meeting in September it was decided to hold a rules change meeting in November and that meeting took place this past Thursday.   Some of the proposed rule changes were adopted and some were rejected.

In what can be called an experiment of one year, the M60 team composition will go back to requiring only three to score with five declared.  Too many clubs had trouble finding a fourth man over age 60 that was fit to run this year.  On the other hand, a proposal to require four women on a scoring team in the W40 division, instead of the current three was rejected.

In an effort to boost the number of races in Category Three, the distance in that category has gone down from 15 Kilometers to 12 Kilometers.  It is hoped that event organizers will seize on this new inclusion of a 12K in Category Three and create a race of that distance.  The next step would be for the new 12K to bid on hosting a championship, which is an authorized championship distance.  Change, change, change.

In an effort to lure long distance runners to the track, the 5km and 10km at the New Jersey championship track meet in the summer will now be 500 point races in the New Balance grand prix.

My reaction to the next change was, “You’ve got to be kidding!”  That’s because I am a short distance long distance runner and why would anyone want to compete in a mini-series for Category Three races, which as noted above are now 12K and longer.

Well, some people like to run and run and run, so they will appreciate the new mini-series.  In that category will now be a new Wild Card Category.  Yes, back is the chance to grab a 700 point race out of a non-championship race.  The Shades of Death Half Marathon, created and hosted by the New Jersey association will now be either a 500 point race, or a 700 point race.  You pick.

Take your pick of Turkey Day races

Morris area runners do not have to travel far to find a Thanksgiving morning race on Thursday.  The Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot at Ginty Field in Morris Township will go off at 8:30 a.m. giving runners plenty of time to run and socialize and still get back home in time for the feast.
The other race that will draw a good number of Morris area runners is the Ashenfelter 8K Classic that starts at 9:00 a.m. in Glen Ridge.  The race is the final New Jersey championship race.  Both open men and masters men will vie for championship titles.  It will be the deciding race for those division teams.
The one that started it all here in New Jersey is the CEA/JFI Turkey Trot in Flemington.  It still draws the largest number of runners; over four thousand in 2013.  Up in Sparta is the Kroghs Restaurant & Brew Pub Turkey Trot, and getting farther away is the Trinity Turkey Trot in Princeton and the Patanella’s Turkey Trot in Green Brook.

Race Results can often be found at or at 
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

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