Monday, November 27, 2017

Local races for Morris runners

First published in the Daily Record
on Sunday, 11-12-17


Like to run long.  Like to run short.   Morris runners can do it all this coming weekend.    On Saturday the   Florham Park PBA is hosting a 5K run or walk and as of the end of October they had 382 registered.  A list of those are posted on-line and many appear to be children so it is a good guess that many will be walking the 5K, not running.  In 2016 Laura DeLea of Sparta won the race outright in 21:00 and over one thousand finished behind her.  The race is not a New Balance Grand Prix race and appears that the course has not been certified.

On Sunday in Florham Park is the Park Avenue Friendship 5K.  The race does offer a certified course and  is in the grand prix.  In 2016 the race had far fewer finishers than the PBA race;  only 109.  In 2016 Michael Logue, whose home "town" is listed on CompuScore's results as Ireland, won the race in 18:42.

The Great Swamp Devil races offer both a 5K and a 15K.  At one time the Swamp Devil race was a big draw as it was a last chance for runners to fill out their New Balance Grand Prix score card.  In those years Category Three races were rare and if you couldn't get to the Great Swamp race you were sitting with a big goose egg.  These days with so many half marathons most runners have all three Category Three races.  

Still this race has a loyal following.  It is uncommon to have such a flat 15K course in northern New Jersey.  But a swamp does not feature hills and the 15 kilometer course stays on the roads that cross through or around the Great Swamp that was once targeted as a perfect site for an international airport.  Nothing doing said the folks in the area.  They mounted a defense of the site, and the Great Swamp was allowed to remain a swamp.  Perfect for a flat and fast 15K. 

 In 2016 Justin Schied of Succasunna finished the race in 49:51,  two or more minutes faster than the winners in the last few races.  Hortencia Aliaga of Garfield was the women's winner in 1:04:55.  One hundred sixty-five finished the race.  Karl O'Reilly of Morristown won the 5K in 16:33, ahead of 99 other runners.

The addition of a Category Three Mini grand prix is both an opportunity and a complication.  Avid USATF grand prix runners who might finish out of the top three in the New Balance Grand Pix in their age division have the opportunity to win one of the mini grand prix.  When the mini's, as they are called, were established several years back, it was decided that the overall top three in the New Balance Grand Prix would be taken out of any Mini at the end of the season. 

 Thus, for instance, the amazing Brian Crowley of Hillsborough, who at age 53 appears to be winning the New Balance Grand Prix, will disappear from all the Mini's, thus moving all the men in the M50 division up.  

Not only that, the next three men in that division will be pulled out of the Mini's as well.  If the scoring were final as of November 9th which is the day that the grand prix were just posted, that would mean that in the M50 Division, John Hogan of Township of Washington, Boris Gavilanes of Hackensack and Sergio Cano of Kearny would be pulled out of Mini Three.  

The next three men, Mike Hespos of Wharton, Nolan McCarty of Princeton, and Karl Leitz of Jersey City are missing one race on the Mini Three score card and are sitting in that order.  Where do you think they are this morning?

Can anyone guess how many Thanksgiving morning races are being held this year in New Jersey?  Plenty, that's for sure.  We'll take a look next week.  


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