Sunday, May 17, 2015

Time for a little Track and Field

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, May 17, 2015


It’s that time of year that some runners will put on their spikes and head to the track for some fun running fast in circles.  Long Distance runners for the first time can run a 5,000 meter or 10,000 meter race on the track and earn points in the New Balance Grand Prix.

Other opportunities are there to run the 800 meters, or the mile.   Some adventurous folks will look to run 2,000 meters or 3,000 meters while leaping over steeples.

The New Jersey USA Track and Field calendar shows all of the youth and Junior Olympic meets so the adult athlete needs to look closely for meets where they will feel comfortable.  All comer meets offer a range of events and but are never complete meets.   If they are part of a series they will offer a mile at one meet and the 800 meters at another, for instance...

 All comer meets have an advantage over championship meets that require that athletes compete against their own age division.  At all comer meets the athlete needs to provide a recent time for the event or an expected time, and then they are seeded with others of the same ability.  In championships an outstanding runner will go into the lead with no one able to be “in the race” with him in the age division.  At an all comers meet he would be seeded with younger athletes whose times are comparable to his.

The calendar is crowded with youth meets and short on open and masters meets and they are sometimes wedged into less desirable spots.  There is good reason for this.  For a well run meet to be staffed by officials, the meets need to avoid the same spot as another meet or the meet will be short of officials.  At a road race, the timing company comes with a skeletal crew that is assisted by volunteers.  Not so with a track meet.  You need people who are trained to officiate.

A track meet needs a host of officials to conduct a range of events.  A meet with too few officials will not be able to stay on schedule and may have errors in the way the meet is conducted and timed or measured.

An ideal schedule would have several all comer meets culminating with a championship meet.  That seldom happens and this year the USATF New Jersey championship meet comes before any all comer meets.  It is split with a handful of events on Friday, May 29th and on Sunday, May 31st.  It is taking place for the first time at Thomas Edison Park in Edison. 

Friday night is when the 5,000 meter race is being held and is the last event on the schedule.  The exact time will not be known until the registration has closed on May 26 and posted on May 28.  Friday is also when the steeplechase events will be run.

The 10,000 meters is the first event on the track on Sunday thus kicking off the meet at 8:30 a.m.

June is when the all comers meets begin.  The first of three twilight meets hosted by the Princeton Athletic Club at Princeton High School will be on Thursday, June 4th.   The first track event will be at 6:00 p.m.  Other meets in the series will be on June 11 and June 25.

On Saturday June 6th, Monmouth University in West Long Branch will be the site of the New Jersey International Track and Field Meet.  The Shore Athletic Club holds a series of all comers meets in July in Neptune each Tuesday evening.  While a bit of a drive from Morris County, folks who are visiting the shore might be able to fit one in.

The Run with Pride 5K is this Wednesday, May 20th at the Giralda Farms corporate campus in Madison. 


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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