Edited and updated version of column
Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, December 7, 2014
New Jersey running in Pennsylvania
There will be a little uptick in travel from New Jersey to Lehigh University in Bethlehem Pennsylvania next weekend. New Jersey runners have an opportunity to compete on Saturday, December 13th in the annual US national club cross country championship races. This is the closest geographically that the race has ever been in the history of the event.
In 2013 it was held in Bend Oregon and only one club from New Jersey made the trek. In 2012 Lexington Kentucky hosted the meet and in 2011 the meet was held in Seattle.
The New Jersey association has been strongly urging its clubs to send runners and to make it a bit easier each team will receive a small stipend to help cover the cost to enter. All open teams and Men 40, 50, and 60 teams will receive $100.00. All masters women’s teams, and Men 70, and Men 80 will receive $60.00. No, that’s not discriminatory. Teams receiving $100.00 require five runners to score, while the others only require three.
A good number of clubs have responded. The Adidas Garden State Track Club was the only club to send teams to Bend in 2013 and they have the largest number of runners from New Jersey and perhaps the largest number from anywhere in the country. And that is saying a lot. In the open men division about one hundred teams have entered and Garden State has five of those teams with a total of 35 runners at last count.
The club also has three open women’s teams. The Raritan Valley Road Runners has an eight member open women team.
Masters women’s teams need only three women to score, making it easier for a club to send runners. The Adidas Garden State Track Club has a W40 team, as does the Raritan Valley club, Fleet Feet Essex, Shore Athletic Club and a new shore area club, Bella N Motion. That club also has a W50 team. Four clubs are sending a W50 team, Garmin racers, Do Run Runners, Morris County Striders and the Shore Athletic Club. The Rose City Runners are sending a W60 team.
Six New Jersey M40 teams are entered with complete teams; the Adidas Garden State Track Club, Do Run Runners, Garmin Racers, Morris County Striders, New Jersey Shore and Team Pearl Izumi. Only the North Jersey Masters and the Shore Athletic Club has a complete M50 team. The Shore Athletic Club is sending both an M60 and M70 team. The Raritan Valley Road Runners M60 team is registered as is the Clifton Road Runners M70 team.
There was a price change at 11:59 p.m. last Sunday taking the registration fee from $40.00 to $65.00. That prompted a surge in registrations. Sunday afternoon there was a total of 482 masters men registered. Monday morning there were 603. The masters women’s head count went from 205 to 256. These are huge fields by cross country standards.
The Seattle meet had the largest number of runners up until this year. But Seattle had only 152 masters women finishers and 356 masters men. Those numbers have nearly doubled for the Lehigh meet.
With over six hundred masters men you might think that was far too many to go charging across a field at the start. But with any masters race, men or women, there will always be the younger runners quick off the starting line and the older division runners moving a bit more slowly.
In a really ironic twist, the open men’s field for the Lehigh meet by rough count was a bit less than the masters men field. It’s the full fields for the open race that can become a crush of runners in one pack, at least early on, before the field thins out.
The first race of the meet is the masters women 6 kilometer that will start at 10:30 a.m., then at 11:30 a.m. the masters men will start their 10 kilometer race. At 12:45p.m. the open women run their 6 kilometer race and they are followed at 1:30 p.m. by the open men. It is an all day affair that follows with a happy hour at 5:00 p.m. and awards program at 6:00 p.m. followed by more partying.
The US Club Cross Country link is http://www.usatf.org/Events---Calendar/2014/USATF-National-Club-Cross-Country-Championships.aspx
Contact Madeline Bost at firstname.lastname@example.org.