Sunday, January 25, 2015

Parks receives President's Award at USATF New Jersey banquet

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 25, 2015

Parks receives President’s Award at USATF New Jersey Banquet

“And the winner of the W60 Age Division, Jane Parks, of Morristown who finished in . . . . . ,“
fill in the blanks.

She is a force to be reckoned with and there isn’t a woman who is in her age division who is happy to see her at the starting line.  When they see Jane Parks they know they are racing for second place.  

Not only that, while one might expect an elite runner to slow down, Parks seems to keep improving.  Her race times generally range above 86% PLP to 87% which usually puts her at the head of the list of masters women in the age grading.  In at least two races in 2014 she went over 87%; the Cherry Blossom 10K in April in Newark where she hit 88.04% for her 45:09; in November at the Ashenfelter 8K in Glen Ridge where she finished in 36:12 for an 88.32% PLP.

As she has done for the past twenty-one years, Parks was awarded first place in her division in the New Balance Grand Prix at the USATF New Jersey annual Awards Banquet in Edison this past Saturday.

As a racer, Parks is well known, but only her closer friends know that being a top New Jersey runner is not the only facet of the sport where she excels.  She wears many hats; she is the chair of the USATF New Jersey Long Distance Running Women’s committee and a Trustee of the New Jersey Board.  She is a reliable staff member for On Your Mark Productions (OYMP) and is often the race director at OYMP events.

Parks is probably the most active road race course measurer in the state, and her work doesn’t end at the state line.  She also measures courses in Connecticut and is that state’s official course certifier.  She has measured courses in Houston and Boston, on Riker’s Island, and in the middle of the night she has measured the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge course.

Parks is a regular delegate to USATF national meetings and is on the Long Distance Running Technical Council.  She is also an international course certifier.

On Saturday night when USATF President Ed Neighbour began to describe the person who was receiving the President’s Award, it may not have been apparent to everyone in the room.   He began by saying, “The person who is receiving the President’s Award is someone who probably measured the course that you ran on when you raced this year.”

Parks immediately knew that she was the one, although it may have taken others a little while to recognize her contributions to the sport – her race directing, her volunteerism by being on the Board of Trustees, and being on the Long Distance Running Committee.  By the time Neighbour said her name it was clear who he was talking about.

“I’m presenting the President’s Award this year to Jane Parks,” he said, and there was  loud and enthusiastic applause as she walked to the podium.

Olivia Baker wins 600 meter, Mary Cain gets fourth

Applause was customary throughout the evening, but one announcement had nothing to do with the award winners in the room.  New Jersey’s standout high school runner Olivia Baker of Columbia High School, now a freshman at Stanford beat Mary Cain at the University of Washing preview meet in Seattle last Saturday.  Baker won the 600 meter race in 1:29.42.  Cain finished fourth in 1:30.03.  Baker’s achievement was announced at the banquet to cheers from the five hundred attendees who have followed her career.


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