Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 11, 2015
Phidippides Award deadline is January 31, 2015
New Jersey has one of the highest percentages of runners who are also members of USATF, the national governing body of the sport. As of the end of 2014 the New Jersey association had 6,776. Long Distance runners account for 2,693 and masters age runners are 1,326. Youth members make up 3,454 and the rest are coaches and officials or administrators.
In New Jersey it pays to be a member, especially for the long distance running crowd. If they pre-enter a race that is in the New Balance Grand Prix and that would be well over 200 races, they receive a discount on their registration fee. Other perks are insurance coverage while at USATF events and discounts to certain hotels and auto rental companies nationwide.
In addition to those benefits, one that many New Jersey masters runners have claimed is the Phidippides Award given each year by the national masters long distance running committee.
Phidippides is the runners who ran from Sparta to Athens and collapsed after the marathon length run. Heck, anyone could have run those 26 miles you say. Oh, but did you know that Phidippides, who it is said, was the age of a masters runner, had first run to Sparta from Marathon, a distance of 150 miles. It was only a two day trip for him. Once in Sparta he fought in battle and then was sent off to carry a message to Athens. More than likely he ran the 150 miles at a faster pace than most ultra runners since he was carrying an important message. The same can be said for his 26 miles a day later.
Although Phidippides was a messenger because he could run fast and for many miles, the award carrying his name is given, not because they are swift, but to those who have competed in many races throughout the year. Modern day Phidippides.
There is a sliding scale to determine the number of points earned for running various distances. A 5K earns 2 points, for instance and a half marathon earns four. The most points earned in one race is six for any distance above the marathon distance.
Age is also part of the equation. Young masters age 40 to 59 need 30 points to win Gold; 60 to 79 need 24 for Gold and those 80 and over need only 12. Yes, there are Silver and Bronze awards, but most runners do their best to get the Gold.
The deadline to submit the application for the 2014 season is January 31st, and I expect there will be a rush to get them in. In 2013 about 75 New Jersey runners earned their Gold Phidippides award and 74 have sent their applications in for 2014. With three weeks yet to go for submitting applications, 2014 will be a record year. The application is on the national website in the Masters section. http://www.usatf.org/Resources-for---/Masters/LDR/Phidippides-Award/Application.aspx
A club is still a club even if members don’t race for it
The theme of last Sunday’s column was that this is the time when runners often switch from one club to another as competing members. Although runners can belong to more than one club and many people do, they can compete for only one in USATF championships.
This will be the case with the Sneaker Factory Club. The group will continue to have their twice weekly runs and remain a cohesive group of friends. Unless someone within that group steps forward to take on the duties of a president it will not continue as a USATF club.
New clubs seem to come along each year. In Bergen County a new club, De Novo Harriers was formed this past fall. The Bella N Motion club in Brick was new in 2014 and had a team at the club cross country meet in December.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.