Sunday, March 29, 2015

Randolph's Groner wins women's division of Miles for Music 20K

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 29, 2015


Randolph’s Groner wins women’s division of Miles for Music 20K

Two days after a snowstorm covered New Jersey the first race of the spring racing season began on Sunday, March 22nd.   Although the snow had almost completely melted the 20K Miles for Music championship course in Johnson Park it had more the look and feel of winter than spring.  March winds that should have been sighing like a gentle lamb were in full lion roar. 

A double loop course of the park meant a strong tailwind running north and a headwind going south.  Mile splits were recorded with as much as 20 seconds difference even amongst the strongest and fastest runners.

With that kind of scenario one would expect the elite front pack to stay bunched to collectively shield from the wind.  And that is what the lead men did.  All but Hector Rivera of Clifton.  The forty four year old didn’t hesitate to break away right from the start and he maintained a lead of fifty yards for the first half of the race.  

Then spectators began to sense that the gap between Leader and Pack was narrowing.  Kyle Price, a 27 year old runner from Milltown noticed it too.   Price picked up his pace and began to run after Rivera.  With Price’s move the lead pack became a string of men, no longer a pack, with Michael Dixon of Fanwood now in the third position.

Knowledgeable spectators noticed that Rivera had not slowed down, but had actually increased his pace but not to the extent that Price had done.  With less than a mile to go Price passed Rivera and headed for the finish for first place in 1:07:35.

 A time clock had been set on the course with a sign indicating it was for a 5K split.  Although the runners had passed it on their first pass when it was a legitimate 5K split, the clock was still running as Rivera approached for a second time and it became a booby trap for him.  He saw the sign ahead and confused, mistook it for the finish line.  Rivera went into another gear, and when he reached the spot he was spent.   Slowed and momentarily stopped, Rivera was passed by Dixon who finished second in 1:07:57.

With the finish another eighth of a mile away, Rivera gamely resumed running to stay ahead of the rest of the field that he had lead for so long.  He finished in 1:08:06.

Surprises emerged in the Women’s race.   In 2014 Cheyenne Ogletree of Port Reading won the 20K in 1:15:28 with Greta Sieve of Lawrenceville second in 1:17:26.  Clearly last Sunday’s was not a good day for Ogletree as she finished third in 1:20:32, with Sieve ahead of her in second place with a time very close to 2014 – 1:17:55.   The surprise winner in 1:16:03 was newcomer Roberta Groner of Randolph.

 The 20K was a championship for all divisions.  Reading the results is like reading a directory of which teams are gone, which are improving and which are new.  Coupled with that is discovering which teams the former Sneaker Factory runners have moved to.

Still claiming first in the open division was the Adidas Garden State Track Club on both the women and the men’s side.   Second on the men’s side went to the Pearl Izumi Mid-Atlantic team followed by the Garmin Runners.  On the women’s side second place was taken by the Garmin team and the North Jersey Masters were third.

The Pearl Izumi team placed first in the M40 division.  The Garmin Runners second and the North Jersey Masters third, but only one minute separated the two teams which is almost a tie when running a 20K.   The Do Run Running club was fourth.

The North Jersey Masters kicked everybody’s tail in the M50 division, winning by seven minutes over the Garmin team, which in turn outran the Do Run Runners by fourteen minutes.  Reno Stirrat of Rockaway brought his Shore Athletic Club home first in the M60 division with the North Jersey Masters second and the Raritan Valley Road Runners in third.  The Clifton Road Runners took the M70 division.

The Garmin Runners W40 team has not lost any speed over the winter.  They won their division by over nine minutes while their W50 team also placed first in their division.

Plagued by either injuries and/or switches to other clubs the Morris County Striders, Rose City Runners and the Geezers were all missing from the team line up. 


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