Sunday, January 1, 2017

Understanding the New Balance Grand Prix

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 1, 2017


Go to the USATF New Jersey Long Distance Running page and you will see the rules for the New Balance Grand Prix.   All those words can befuddle a newcomer to New Jersey racing.  So let’s see if this explanation does it for you.

Score in nine races, three of them short, three of them a little longer, and three longer yet.  In each of those three categories you can count the points from just two championship races and the third from a non-championship race. 

That pretty much sums it up.  Of course those distances can be spelled out but is not necessary for the novice grand prixer.

Here is where there is a bit of a tangle in the grand prix.   There are actually three grand prix within the one grand prix.   Those short races fall into: Mini One – a mile, up to four miles, Mini Two, longer than a mile and up to but not including 12km, Mini Three, 12km and longer.

Here’s the real tangle.   If you do well in your age division in the New Balance grand prix, and score either first, second or third, you will be removed from any Mini grands prix where you have placed and those below you will move up.

For example, Atilla Sabahoglu won the New Balance Grand Prix, and his name is on the top of the list for the Mini One grand prix.  Sabahoglu gets taken out, as does Beau Atwater who is listed in fourth place but who won the M55 New Balance division.  So second and third become first and second.   Fourth becomes third.

It may seem confusing but for the specialists these rules are sacrosanct and they focus on running in the required number of races to maximize their scores.  For the Mini One series, they must complete nine races, Mini Two; seven races, and Mini Three; five.

These specialists count on having those top New Balance grand prix runners taken out of the Mini grands prix.  In the Morris area there were two runners who have placed in each of the three Mini grands prix.

One can imagine that those two runners did a lot of racing in 2016.  Indeed.  Lisa Davenport of Lake Hopatcong is one.  She took first in Mini Two, second in Mini Three and third in Mini One in the W55 division.   The other is Mark Washbourne of Mendham who took first in Mini Three, second in Mini Two and third in Mini One in the M60 division.

Two local women hit first overall in a Mini grand prix; Laura Delea of Sparta, first Overall in the Mini One and Stacey Slaughter of Parsippany was first overall in the Mini Three grand prix.

Two local runners scored in two of the three Mini grand prix; Chris Giugliano of Sparta, first in Mini One in the M50, and second in Mini Two; Arch Seamans of Rockaway, first in both Mini One and Mini Two in the M80 division. 

The other local runners who earned awards in the Mini grand prixs include; Gretchen Atwater of Bernardsville, second W55 in the Mini One, Anne Balfour of Morristown, second W40, in Mini One, Brian Davenport, of Lake Hopatcong, second M55 in Mini Two, Nancy Gitin of Pequannock, second W45 in Mini One, Carla Holusha of Budd Lake, third W55 in Mini Two, Betty Langenkamp of Wharton, first W65 in Mini One,  Ed Neighbour of Sparta, third M50 in Mini Two and Elena Rozhko of Morristown, first W40in Mini One.

All these runners have been invited to the USATF New Jersey awards banquet on January 21 at the Pines Manor in Edison where they will be recognized for their accomplishments.

SAD FOLLOW-UP:  Doug Clark of Mendham, who was featured here most recently in 2015 lost his two year battle with a malignant brain tumor on December 15th.  Clark was named Masters Triathlete of the Year in 2009 and won numerous age division titles in his years of competing.  Condolences have gone out to his wife Hillary and their daughter Ellie.


Race Results can often be found at or at 
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

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