Sunday, November 22, 2015

Turkey Trots Abound on Thursday

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 22, 2015



If you want to run in a race Thanksgiving morning you probably won’t have far to go.  The USATF New Jersey calendar is showing nine races that morning and the Race Forum has two Gobbler races down the shore.  Among them is the Turkey Trot 5K in Morris Township that will draw several hundred runners, if not thousands.  There are two 5K turkey races in Chatham.  How did that happen? 

Some area runners will eschew the easy drive and go to Glen Ridge for the Horace Ashenfelter 8K race.  It is the final state championship for all divisions.  Some close team contests could be decided in the race. 

In the M50 division of the team grand prix, the Garmin runners have a one point lead over the Shore Athletic Club – 78 to 77.  Next is The Raritan Valley team one point ahead of the Do Run runners – 55 to 54.  Further down in the listings ties are showing and they could change after the race is run.

There is another group of people for whom the 8K is important.  They are the ones who need to finish out their Category Two Mini grand prix, which includes the 8K distance.  To maximize their points they need to have seven races and three of them can be championship races that have a higher point value.


Four men mentioned these past weeks got the job done at the Great Swamp Devil 15K.  All needed to have a non championship category three race and the only one available was the 15K.  Atilla Sabahoglu of Somerset led the charge and was never challenged to win the race in 51:36.  Karl O'Reilly of Morristown was second in 52:21.

 Gary Rosenberg of Morristown was fourth man overall in 54:57, John Sabatino of Morris Plains was next in 58:52 and Scott Isgett of Rockaway rounded out the foursome in 1:00:32. 

Their order of finish mirrors their places in the New Balance Grand Prix.  I’ll let the CompuScore computer figure out what points each has earned but no question that Sabahoglu is now is in first place and Rosenberg is in second.

Rosenberg can thank his Garmin teammate Mark Williams for pushing him out of third place at the race.  Williams, from Columbia, a world class 800 meter/miler had come to the race planning to run in the 5K that was scheduled to go off an hour before the 15K.  As can happen at races with their many distractions, the keys to the car that he and his sister and mother arrived in got locked in the locked car.

All of Williams racing clothes and racing flats were in the car.  What’s a fella to do?  Well, he waited for Triple A to arrive in the hour between 11:00 am when the 5K went off, and the 12 noon start of the 15K.  Car unlocked - Williams was able to get changed and at the line for his unplanned 15K race.

Finishing just one second ahead of Williams was Ingrid Wells of Upper Montclair – yes third place overall in 54:19.  They had run together for most of the race.  Was it gallantry on Williams’s part to allow a girl to finish ahead of him, or was he just plain tuckered out from running six more miles than he had planned?


While some New Jersey runners were hammering at the Great Swamp Devil 15K, another group was in Alexandria VA hammering at the national 12K championship.  Several elite New Jersey masters runners ran in the race.

Two of those runners were husband and wife duo Reno and Susan Stirrat, of Rockaway.  Competing in the M60 division Reno placed third in his division in 45:03.  Susan placed in the top ten in hers.  The Stirrats compete for the Shore Athletic Club and that club’s M70 team placed first in their division and the M60 team placed third.

Other outstanding performances were recorded by Przemyslaw Nowicki of Holmdel who won his M70 division in 52:41.  Erika Campbell of Ridgewood placed second in the W65 division in 56:50.  Jonathan Frieder of Port Chester, NY, a long time member of the New Jersey association of USATF placed fourth overall masters and second in the M45 division with his 40:59.


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