Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 15, 2018
IF IT’S JULY, THEN IT MUST BE VERIZON CLASSIC TIME
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.
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