Tuesday, July 17, 2018

If it's July, then it must be Verizon Classic time

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 15, 2018


Is it the biggest race in the state wondered Robert Barwick when we talked on Friday.  Barwick works with Dan Brannen on the Verizon Corporate Classic 5K and other events in the state and outside the state as well.

Well, the Spring Lake Five miles must take the prize for the most participants, but for the northern New Jersey title I have to guess that the Verizon Corporate Classic 5K must attract the largest fields.  It routinely signs up over four thousand runners, although in 2017 the numbers were down, probably due to a last-minute course change.

Barwick said that they are expecting close to 5,000 runners to run an out-and-back loop from Morristown High School next Thursday, July 19th.  The final number won’t be known until this Wednesday when the individual registration closes.  On Friday all of the corporate teams had to be registered which is where the bulk of the field is found.

Barwick praised organizer Dan Brannen for his decision to allow non-team members to run as individuals.   That is not allowed in most corporate races like the Verizon race.

In 2014 Tradelle Ward, running for Stryker Orthopaedics won the race in 15:55 and elite steeplechase runner Ashley Higginson, running for Riker Danzig placed ninth overall in 17:10.  Higginson is becoming a regular now as she won the women’s race in seventh place overall in 2017 in 17:12.  Kyle Price running unattached won the race in 16:25.  Higginson will be back this year and is now the team captain for Riker Danzig.

The race in 2017 used a totally different course thanks to construction issues in Morristown that forced the organizers to route the race down Route 202 and back. 

Bad luck with the weather has created problems with the race.  As recently as 2013 the race was converted into a non-competitive run when the temperatures soared to near 100 degrees, forcing the organizers to shorten the course in the interest of safety for the runners.

In 2016 the race was cancelled late in the afternoon on race day when a terrific storm literally blew through the area, downing trees on the course.  A make-up fun run was held a few weeks later, but not as a race.

That 2016 course, from Morristown High School, would have been the first time for that location had it not been for the storm.  It is now being used for the first time on Thursday.

All activities will be taking place from the parking lot at the high school.  Runners will recognize many of the streets being used, although they may be running in a different direction then on the old course from the Headquarters Plaza on Speedwell Avenue.  A pleasant factor in the change is the elimination of a hill in the last half mile and an actual downhill to the finish.

Free parking is still being made available by the Headquarters Plaza up to a generous 10:30 p.m.  This will allow runners to hit local restaurants after they have finished their race and not have to worry about parking.

Because of the quarter mile distance from the Headquarters Plaza and the start at the high school, runners have the option of picking up their race swag after the race and will not need to return to their cars with it prior to the start.  This has always been true said Barwick but now this could be more important for late arriving runners.  The race starts at 7:30 p.m.

Due to the size of the field all runners will be timed from when they cross the start line, using computer technology.  Only the top three men and top three women will have their actual “gun” time recorded.  There are no age division awards but all the runners time and place will be recorded by the timing company, BESTracingsystems.

Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
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 madelinebost@verizon.net

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Groner does it again, Scheid and Leskow in top three

On Sunday, July 8, 2018


There I was in an Air Canada jet with my family two Sundays ago, while all the New Jersey runners were gathering in Glen Ridge for one of the state’s most loved races.  We were on our way to Calgary, Canada with our final destination Banff, for an unforgettable week-long vacation.

Back in New Jersey the Fitzgerald’s Lager Run 5K lived up to its reputation despite oppressive heat and humidity.  Thirty-four men’s teams and twenty-three women’s teams finished the race with three other incomplete teams finishing but not getting scored.

Three local runners earned headlines with their performances.  Roberta Groner of Randolph won the women’s race with her 16:11, finishing 15th overall and earning the top masters age grade of 93.64% PLP. 

The race was won by Nicholas Filippazzo of Valley Stream  in 14:51, with second taken by Justin Scheid of Succasunna in 15:22 and third by Aaron Leskow of Morristown in 15:27.

Not to be overlooked is Nora Cary of Morristown who is 63 and finished in 21:21 for 90.06% PLP, second only to Groner.

Of course, as a championship the teams become the focal point and what is interesting is the new teams this season.  The Garden State Track Club was well represented and their A team took first in both the men and women’s division.  But the Shore Athletic Club’s women’s team placed second, with the Garden State B team in third, with the fledgling New Jersey Racing Project taking fourth.

On the men’s side Garden State’s B team took second but the Leonia Track Club was third, the Freedom Running Club fourth and the Garmin Runner fifth.  In sixth place was another new team, the Race Faster team that placed seventh.  Also competing were the long time local clubs like the Rose City Runners and the Morris County Striders although both of those teams featured  mostly masters age runners.  

Maybe the weather finally did in the runners or maybe it was just too close to the Sunday Lager race, but the Tom Fleming Sunset Classic on the 28th had a light field and at a slower pace than the Sunday race.  Sean Prinz of Bloomfield was first in 27:26 with Hortencia Aliaga of Garfield the first woman in 31:45. The feature within the race was the USATF NJ coed teams.   Only two clubs fielded open teams with Fleet Feet Essex winning over the Raritan Valley Road Runners.

There was more enthusiasm for the masters division with the Fleet Feet Essex club winning that division, the Clifton Road Runners second and the North Jersey Masters taking third.  Also fielding teams were the New Jersey Racing Project, the Morris County Striders and the Central Jersey Road Runners.

This past Tuesday was the hottest day of the week and that was a tough break for the second race in the Morris County Striders cross country series at Johanson Park in Boonton .  Runners may have stayed away because of the heat, or they were saving their legs for a Fourth of July run the next day.  Only sixty-one loyalists showed up, and the irony was that a weather pattern had just come through and cleared the heat and to some extent the humidity.  Conditions for a summer race were not bad at all.  Steve Manole of Great Meadows won the race in 18:32 and Christine Carney of Denville won the women’s side in 22:36.

Two hundred and seventy-five runners turned out the next day for the Market Street Mission 5K cross country race in Central Park.  Colin Schweitzer of Lebanon finished first in 18:26 and Ariana Bauer of Morris Plains was first woman in 22:37.

Meanwhile, in Banff  the temperatures were cool but the altitude in the Canadian Rockies are not to be dismissed by us flatlanders.  Our hike from Lake Louise at 5,249 feet to Mirror Lake and Lake Agnes at 7,005 was interrupted by catch-your-breath stops.  Even the two runs in Banff had to be done at a slow pace.  Now looking forward to more summer racing.


Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
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 madelinebost@verizon.net

Sunday, July 1, 2018

There was no running column this week -  Sunday, July 1. 2018

I was on a wonderful family vacation stay in Banff, Canada -  cool and beautiful in the Canadian Rockies.  

Look for a column on Sunday, July 8th.