Sunday, February 7, 2016

CoCoLuxe 50K draws runners to a challenge

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, February 7, 2016

CoCoLuxe 50K draws runners to a challenge

Fifty runners – 50K.  That seems about right.  If you are a member of the MAPSO (Maplewood South Orange) Triathlon club, or the South Mountain Runners, it seemed about right on Sunday, January 31st.

That’s when the members of those two clubs, along with outsiders who thought it was a good idea also, ran from South Orange to the Great Swamp and from there to the CoCoLuxe Bakery on Main Street in Peapack.   Fifty kilometers for some and half of that for others.  It wasn’t some crazy wild spur of the moment thing either.  No, it was the fifth annual CoCoLuxe Run.

Oh yes, there is a story behind that.  During the cycling season, according to John Bye of South Orange the tri club goes out on a 60 mile ride with a stop at the CoCoLuxe Bakery. 

Five years ago one of the dual member of both clubs suggested that they do a winter run from South Orange to the bakery – about 50 kilometers.

“We do have a logistic problem in that not everyone wants to run 31 miles,” Bye remembers pointing out.

The solution was to let the runners choose – run the full 31 miles or make a break at the midpoint.  Some could run out 25K and stop, and some would start from that midpoint.

“We’d have a sag wagon to take the first half group back to South Orange,” he said, and then it would come back to sag the next half.”

That first year only a handful of runners participated but the event has grown.

“This year we had I think a little over fifty people,” said Bye.

It’s not a race, it’s a run,” he said echoing Joe Jacobs, who is the Sneaker Factory store manager in Florham Park and a competitive runner and cyclist.

“It’s not a race, per se,” said Jacobs.  “There’s a majority that run in groups with their friends.  There’s a group that I fall into every year as I am far too competitive.”

“It’s like a hard training run where you try to break the other guy,” said Jacobs.  “It’s kind of fun because John (keeps) a record; like the first half record, and the second half record, then the overall 50K record.  So it’s fun to chase that.”

“It’s not a race, but you’re trying to beat your rival’s time from last year, and your buddy who dropped you last year,” said Jacobs.  “It’s nothing but pride and bragging rights on the line.”

“ At the end we are at CoCoLuxe.  It’s a big cycling club stop regardless of where you are from,” said Bye.  “The joke is that all roads lead to the CoCoLuxe because of where it is located.”

This year because the group had gotten so large there were three sag vehicles.  They carry everyone’s gear so that when they are done they have dry clothes to change into.  Along the route drinks and sports gels are put out to fuel the runners.

While they enjoyed the balmy high 30’s on Sunday, it wasn’t always so.  The winters of 2015 and 2014 as everyone can recall were not so warm. 

Bye said that in 2014 it was 14 degrees and last year it was around 20 degrees.  In 2015 they lucked out by getting missed by two storms – one on Friday and one on Monday. 

The two clubs are happy to have athletes from the broader community join them.  Bye doesn’t expect the event to attract a lot more runners.  In addition to being a long run, it is also a hilly course.

“It’s a hard run course,” he said.  “It is not easy.  Each of the halves are about 1,200 feet of elevation.”

He may be right, but for fifty runners last Sunday, it was their way to have a fun day.


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