On Sunday, October 15, 2017
SPOTLIGHT ON YOUTH
Two cross country events are coming up that most readers will not qualify for. You have to be under 18 years old for one, or in sixth, seventh and eighth grade in the other.
Most adult runners are aware that USATF and AAU offer cross country competition to our youthful runners. Last year the Morris area Lakeland League hosted the regional USATF meet at Central Park, Greystone in Morris Plains. Lakeland hosts meets throughout the season at Central Park. The state meet was held at Deer Path Park in Hunterdon County.
This year the state meet is back again at Deer Path, on November 5 and the regional meet will be in Youngwood PA.
Youths in USATF are in two year age divisions with every child the age they will be on December 31 of the competitive year. In cross country the youngest run 2 kilometers, and the oldest run a full 5 kilometers. In between are 3km, and 4km.
If you are an adult runner with kids you may have your kids participating in your towns program through the Lakeland League, as it is well known and highly regarded.
Another less known event is taking place on October 28 at the Montgomery School in Skillman for New Jersey middle school children. Begun in 2013 by Andy Martin, standout runner for Hunterdon North, Martin has remained active in the sport. Martin for a time was the managing director of the New Jersey association of USATF and then lured to the national office in Indiana where he still resides. But Martin hasn’t quite left his roots and he said that he had seen how successful the Indiana middle school cross country program was and wanted to bring it to New Jersey.
This is the first year in Skillman. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 the meet was held at Six Flags, Great Adventure in Jackson. Skillman is more centrally located for all of New Jersey kids.
The format of the races is somewhat different from USATF, although USATF rules are applied. All of the children run 3 kilometer. Like USATF they are split by gender.
Take a look at the course map on the event website http://www.njmsxc.com. It is a spectator’s dream course with four opportunities to watch your kid. One at the start, one on the first loop and going out to a dog leg turnaround, one when coming in from the turnaround and then at the finish.
You’ve got to love this. The individual winners in the championship races will be given a trophy, a 361 Champion Jacket and a pair of 361 shoes, thanks the Jorge Lopes, the 361 rep and Runners Haven in Randolph, both sponsors. In fact, Maryellen and Kevin Higgins of Runners Haven will be on site with merchandize available for purchase. Lopes, who is a competitive runner like Higgins will also be onsite.
The top 3 teams will receive medals. The winning team will take home the state champion trophy and the top seven athletes on the team will also get a 361 Champions Jacket.
Here’s where it deviates from USATF in a big way. The head coach will also receive a jacket and a pair of 361 shoes. Not bad, coach.
And guess who is going to be handing out the awards. None other than our own New Jersey super star, Olympian Robby Andrews.
Children who are unattached can enter either event or run on the recreation department team. For the USATF event they must be current members of USATF.
The Middle School championship invites schools to send children to the event, but children whose school is not participating can enter unattached. Membership in USATF is not required.
SHADES OF DEATH AND 6.66 MILE RUN
When you see Reno Stirrat, 62, of Rockaway on the start line, you know everyone else in the M60 division is running for second. At the 6.66 mile run that was held alongside the Shades of Death Half Marathon this past Sunday in Allamuchy, Stirrat went one better. He was the first finisher overall in a time of 44:31. Alexandra Niles of Fairfield was the women’s winner in 43:35.
The Shades of Death was won by Sam Teigen of Hawthorne in 1:19:05. Lauren Jackson of Augusta won the women’s division in 1:29:00.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org