Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 8, 2017
JOIN USATF - REAP THE BENEFITS
Runners who read this column every week know that in New Jersey there is plenty of running events in which to participate. There are races every weekend once we say goodbye to winter and they continue up into December. Even in winter there are a few races for the cold hardy folks, like a New Year’s Day race or, coming up in February, a four mile race in Morristown on Super Bowl Sunday.
Most, although not all are sanctioned by the national organization of USATF and most of those have had their course distances certified as to accuracy. A 5 kilometer course will be 5 kilometers, or actually, just a tiny bit longer than 5 kilometers in kind of a “just to be sure” situation. If you run a personal best on a certified 5K course, you know it’s a legitimate time.
In New Jersey, if you become a member of USATF, a whole lot of benefits come your way. First is the discount on race entry fees when you pre-enter a New Balance grand prix race. The discount is $3.00 for races that charge $49.00 or less to pre-enter, and $5.00 for races over $50.00.
Run in ten races during the year and you have your $ 30.00 annual membership fee paid for.
If any of those ten races are fifty or over, and they are usually those whose distance is longer, like half marathons, your fee is more than paid for.
As a member, you will automatically be scored in the grand prix against your age division peers. Join one of the many running clubs in the area and you are eligible to run for your club’s team.
All masters runners are able to submit an application for a Phidippides award. That award is for consistency for having run in several races throughout the year. It’s not about speed. It’s about just doing it, to paraphrase a sports slogan. The Phidippides award is sponsored by the national Long Distance Running Committee.
You must be a member see the discounts that are available to you, and that is a shame. They are worth the cost of membership if you do any traveling.
For instance Best Western hotels offer a 10% discounts on their rooms. Choice Hotels are even better. Their discount is a minimum of 15%. That 15% makes a difference. It is available only when making reservations through an 800 number, but you can call that number from the hotel lobby, make your reservation, and then go over to the check-in desk and register. I know, because I have done exactly that. An $89.00 room became a $75.65 room. Talk about getting your money back for that $ 30.00 membership fee! Even a casual runner should join just for that discount benefit.
Enterprise and National car rental companies also give discounts. Delta and United airlines offer a discount when traveling to a USATF national event. There are some other discounts and they all require the USATF codes assigned to them. That explains the secrecy on the national USATF website, but the benefits could be listed without giving the codes and special numbers.
It is easy to join online by going to the national website and clicking on Products/Services and then selecting Individual Memberships. Or call the New Jersey office for a paper application at
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.