Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 27, 2016
CHILL WINDS GREETED THE RUNNERS AT THE FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP RACE OF THE SEASON
Mother Nature forgot to check the calendar last Sunday and brought winter type cold and wind to Johnson Park in Piscataway instead of spring for the first day of spring. Chilled runners wearing tights and long sleeves braved the cold winds coming off the Raritan River to run in the Miles for Music 20K. At the finish grateful runners were wrapped in Mylar blankets and warmed with hot chocolate or hot broth provided by the host club, the Raritan Valley Road Runners.
In 2012 Michael Dixon of Fanwood won the inaugural race in 1:05:04. Racing every year since he has never placed lower than third, and that was just one year, in 2013. In 2014 and 2015 he was second. Last Sunday he claimed first again, in a time slowed perhaps by the weather, or the ease of the win. Spectators noted that Dixon ran easily with the lead pack until late in the race when he drew away. His time was 1:09:17 and second place was 1:10:48, posted by Matthew Slocum of Montclair.
Slocum improved by nearly two minutes over his race in 2015 when he placed 18th in a field of 417. This year the field was down to 327 finishers. Clearly the absence of many of the open adidas Garden State Track Club reduced the size of the field by close to one hundred runners.
On the women’s side Roberta Groner of Randolph opened her 2016 season with a course record time of 1:14:00, nearly two full minutes faster than her 2015 win. Greta Sieve of Lawrence Township was second in 1:17:02, her fastest time in the three years she has raced and where she placed second each time.
With the Garden State open men runners absent, the other USATF New Jersey teams were in command with the Garmin men’s team taking first, the North Jersey Masters second and the Shore Athletic Club third. On the open women’s side, the Clifton Road Runners took first, with the Garden State women second and the Garmin women third.
In fact, the Garmin women swept open, W40 and W50 divisions. The Garmin men took first in the M40 and second in M50. The Garmin club was the only local club to make it into the top three spots although other Morris area clubs did place further down.
An interesting contest was the Shore Athletic Club placing fourth in the M40 division by a slim margin of but 15 seconds over the TMB Racing – 6:58:07 to 6:58:22. For a 20K with five men scoring that is just about a tie.
TMB Racing is a Morris area multi-sport club. Other local clubs were the Rose City Runners, Morris County Striders, the Do Run Runners, and the Highland Hashers. All of the teams received a minimum of one point thanks to a new rule instituted for the 2016 season.
Local masters runners topped the Age Graded charts beginning with Beau Atwater, 58, of Bernardsville, whose 1:16:27 hit 86.72%, followed by Reno Stirrat, 61, of Rockaway whose 1:21:14 was next in 83.94%. Nora Cary, 61, of Morristown was the top woman with an 86.22% for her 1:33:39. Mary Christian, 52, of Flanders was third in age grading with 83.61% for her 1:25:57 finish.
EARLY ULTRA RUN NEXT WEEK
Next Saturday, the truly fit will be lining up at the Princeton Blairstown Center in Hardwick, Warren County, for the start of the NJ Ultra Festival races. The starting horn will sound at 9:00 a.m. for the 100 mile ultra run, followed shortly thereafter for the start of the 100 kilometer, then the 50 mile, and then the 50K, and finally the marathon. The course is a ten mile loop in the nature center.
The NJ Ultra Festival was first held in Long Valley in 2011 and thereafter at the Sussex County Fairgrounds. Last year’s 100 miler was won by Randolph’s Paul DeNunzio in 20:46:03.
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at email@example.com.