Sunday, July 12, 2015

New Balance Grand Prix is top heavy with masters

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 12, 2015


The New Jersey racing season is half over.  The summer will be light on New Balance Grand Prix races, although some are still to come like the Westfield race on July 22nd.  At this time of the year it is interesting to
take a look at the grand prix series to see who is leading.  Not that it is a surprise but the top level people are over age 40 an in the case of the top men, it is fifty year old John Hogan of Washington (Bergen County) who has the lead with all nine races and a point total of 5,409.

Fifty-one year old Sergio Cano of Kearny who cools off after races with unbelievable dance routines is in second place with 4,946 points.  In third is sixty year old Charlie Slaughter of Parsippany.  The youngest in the top nine is 46 year old Scott Isgett of Rockaway in sixth place with only one more race needed to cap his grand prix points.

Ah, but who is in tenth place with seven races?  None other than 37 year old Atilla Sabahoglu of Somerset who won the overall grand prix in 2014.  He is certainly on his way.  Stalking him is last year’s second place finisher Ken Goglas of Port Reading who is currently in 51st place and needing four more grand prix races.  There is plenty of time to get those in the fall.

What about last year’s third place finishers and multiple-year overall grand prix winner Mike Dixon of Fanwood?  Dixon is literally nearly off the charts.  He is in 300th place with only two races.  Rumor has it that Dixon is not pursuing grand prix stardom in 2015 and I would say this proves the point.

Masters women also dominate the top ten but not as heavily as the men.  In first is also an over fifty runner.  Mary Christian of Flanders has the lead with all nice races in.   Nora Cary of Morristown, who turned sixty this year and who has been topping age grading charts in most of her races is in third place, also with all nine races.

In 2014 as a newbie New Jersey racer, Roberta Groner, 37 of Randolph had just moved here in August.  She knew next to nothing about the grand prix.  While she ran in a few grand prix races in the fall she was an also-ran in the grand prix.  Not so in 2015.  Groner is in twelfth place and missing only two races – Category Threes.  She should be able to work them into her fall marathon training.


The streets of Morristown will be under siege by swarms of corporate teams on Thursday evening.  The Verizon Corporate Classic is marking its tenth year.  In 2014, 4,264 people finished the race and notice that I did not use the word runner to describe the folks.  Oh yes, plenty of people run the race but the event puts the emphasis on fitness and the benefit of fitness and not all of the participants are able to run 3.1 miles.  Many walk the entire distance and some while pushing baby carriages. 

In 2014 Tradelle Ward of Hoboken, running for Stryker Orthopaedics won the race in 15:55, with teen Paul Ehmanns of Mendham second in 16:07.  The winning time was not the fastest time ever for the race.  That honor was earned by Chris Pannone of Whitehouse Station in 2009 when he won the race in 15:01. 

Last year’s female winner very definitely set a new course record.   Ashley Higginson, running for Riker Danzig placed ninth overall in 17:11 smashing Elena Rozhko record of 17:49 set in 2011. 

There will be a crowd in Morristown for sure.  The race has reached capacity and is no longer taking registrations.


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