Sunday, April 3, 2016

Cherry Blossom 10K next Sunday

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, April 3, 2016


Masters women have their next USATF championship on Sunday, April 10th at the Cherry Blossom 10K in Branch Brook Park in Newark.  It’s a race with an ungainly uphill start that is slightly mitigated by the flowering cherry trees in bloom along the course.

The season opened two weeks ago with the Miles for Music 20K with many masters women eschewing the race probably due to its length.  The 10K is a more doable distance.  There were nine W40 teams at the 20K and four W50.  No W60 or older. 

As noted here last week, the Garmin Women have made a good start with first for the W40 and W50 divisions. 

A really good incentive to run in the Cherry Blossom if you have a shot at first, second, or third in your age division is a fleece jacket. 


The National Masters News, a monthly newspaper dedicated to masters track and field and masters long distance running hit my mailbox on Friday.  In an article by Paul Carlin of Indiana announcing the results of the 2015 national individual grand prix, some New Jersey names appeared including my own. 

There is a back story that reaches back two dozen years.  In 1992 the USATF association began an individual grand prix.  Maybe a couple of dozen races were in the series that first year.  It took some coaxing to get races to commit to the grand prix and pay a modest fee.  It also took some coaxing to get the New Jersey runners to make it to the required nine races.  On the women’s side, a speedy young woman from Whippany, Kim Keenan saw it as a goal and was an easy winner.

On the men’s side, well, the young fast ones were a little dense and did not make it to all the races.  A speedy, but not so young Pat Cosgrove, then 50 did.  Those young ones took notice the next year and Cosgrove was not going to win again.  In 1993 young and fast Gavin Sloane won the grand prix, as did Keenan again that year.

So how does that tie in to the national grand prix?  Pam Fales of Boonton and I are on the national masters long distance running executive committee.  We convinced the committee to model the national grand prix on the New Jersey series, with some modifications.

For instance the first person in an age division in a national championship is awarded one hundred points, second gets 95, and it goes down by five points to its end.   A minimum of three races must be run with a maximum of the best five races counted.

Some very fast men and women have been competing in the championships and in some age divisions there are several who have run in five and even more races.  It is quite competitive.

However, in my age division only one woman, me, made it to three races in 2014.  I’d like for all the divisions to be as competitive as the few that are.   I have not been training seriously in several years but since I am on the committee and travel to the races I decided to try to use the “Pat Cosgrove incentive” to entice more women in my division to race.  There are several women who can out-run me.  They just needed to get to at least three races.  None did in 2014 nor in 2015.  Thus my name is listed along with some very worthy men and women illustrating the old adage – “you’ve got to be in it to win it”.

Roland Cormier of Jackson won the M75 division.  Reno Stirrat of Rockaway was second in the M60 division as was Przemyslaw Nowicki of Holmdel in the M70 division.   Other New Jersey runners who completed the national grand prix include Susan Stirrat of Rockaway who placed fourth in the W60 division and Roger Price of Randolph, 8th in the M65 division.

The Do Run Runners M60 team placed third in the Miles for Music.  I apologize for overlooking the team in last week’s column.


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