On Sunday, April 8, 2018
ED NEIGHBOUR: DEDICATED VOLUNTEER, DEDICATED RUNNER
Ed Neighbour of Sparta, wears many hats in service to the sport that he has enjoyed since he was a boy. He is currently the President of the Morris County Striders, but that pales in significant when compared to his service to USATF. His involvement with the New Jersey association began in 2005 when he was asked to fill a vacancy on the Long Distance Running Committee. He became the division chair in 2008.
In 2011 Neighbour was elected president of the association and served two full terms of office, vacating the position in 2017. Presidents and vice presidents may serve for only two three-year terms.
“I always got more enjoyment out of being the LDR division chair. Not that it hasn’t had its moments”, said Neighbour. “I’m more in my comfort zone there”.
One of the USATF president’s duties is to act as the master of ceremonies at the annual awards banquet, which has grown in size to 500 participants.
“That was my biggest apprehension about becoming president,” Neighbour said with a chuckle.
Neighbour credits his father with turning him onto running.
“My father got caught up in the first running boom and I started going to races with him. I was probably 11 or 12 years old.”
Back then Ed Neighbour the elder, was a very competitive masters runner and his son remembers how his dad would get wound up prior to races.
“He was in his own zone,” said Neighbour. Son and father ran in the early Ridgewood Run 10Ks and the Giralda Farms 10K. Dad even took him to Deer Path Park to run in a cross country race.
Despite his early start in the sport, Neighbour did not run on a team while in high school nor in college. He did continue to run while attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy NY and ran several New York City marathons and in Philadelphia. While in his 30’s Neighbour ran shorter races and turned back to marathons in his 40’s. By then he was able to choose destination marathons, including Rome, Madrid and Buenos Aires.
Neighbour has run the Big Sur marathon in California three times and clearly loves the scenic Highway 1 along the rugged California coast. His first Big Sur was in 2011 when the course had to be changed to an out-and-back due to a portion of the highway sliding into the Pacific Ocean. The other two times he ran the full point to point course.
“You start at Big Sur and you run through the Redwoods for five miles and then you come out and you get your first glimpse of the ocean,” said Neighbour, adding that is when the runners know how much of a head wind they will be running into.
A week after one of the Big Sur marathons Neighbour found a trail race to run and has since added trail racing to his repertoire, an offshoot that he really enjoys. After two years with no marathons, Neighbour will be doing his 26th this year, although he is still choosing the right one
This morning Neighbour is in Middletown, running the Indian Trails 20K. It’s a race he describes tongue in cheek as rolling, knowing full well the course is all hills. He feels that he is ready for the distance having come through December and January training with no trouble. It has just been February fluctuations and March’s nor’easters that have been a challenge.
“I’d always start out with a plan, a fixed idea of what I wanted to do with mileage, and always bargain myself into running more,” said Neighbour. “I’d go out and ‘I’ll just do five’ and then, ‘I’m OK, I’ll do six’, and that would turn into seven.”
Neighbour runs with his club on Wednesday evenings, and when he is not at a race, he joins club members for Sunday runs. Some Saturdays the club will have an impromptu run on the Columbia Trail in Long Valley, which is where they were this past weekend. Neighbour did twelve miles on the flat converted railroad bed, ready to go the distance at today’s 12.4 miles. After the race he will put on his LDR cap and hand out championship awards to his fellow USATF competitors.
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