Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, June 17, 2018
A RING SIDE VIEW FROM THE CAR AT ROXBURY
It’s not often that I find myself in the lead vehicle at a race. Yes, each July I hop in the police car for the Verizon 5K through Morristown, but usually I am a spectator like the rest, or doing my best to finish a race.
This past Monday night was an exception. The Morris Country Striders were hosting the Roxbury Community Benefit 5K and I was at my usual post, registering runners. It was getting close to the start time when fellow Strider Steve Austin came over to ask me, “Madeline, would you like to ride in the lead vehicle?”
Ride in his wife Karen’s sporty convertible? “Sure.” Was my quick response.
And thus, I was given a ring side seat in watching a three man race with an unlikely twist at the end.
The 2017 and 2016 winner Justin Schedi of Succasunna had entered the race and then, unbeknownst to Scheid, Colin Frost of Randolph, who won the race in 2013 arrived with his application in hand. Ah, maybe a race. It gets better. Randolph’s Seamus Higgins who had just finished his collegiate season arrived. Higgins waved off a possible duel with Frost and Scheid, saying that he was already winding down with his season over.
Perhaps, but a competitive runner is a competitive runner. From my view sitting in the lead vehicle as the field surged forward at the start, Higgins was with the other two as they broke away from the 500 other starters.
Eventually Scheid and Frost separated from Higgins, as he had predicted, and now it was a two man duel. It was an impressive duel as they reached the two mile mark in under five minute pace. It was about there that Scheid began to fall back just a step or two. Could it have been the 15K hilly trail race that Scheid had run on Saturday that took a little toll while Frost had run, and won, the Chatham Fishawack much shorter four mile that same day?
Whatever the edge, Frost was cruising as we entered the Roxbury high school campus and headed toward the finish line at the adjacent middle school. A beautiful night for running and racing capped with a fast time for the winner. Frost finished in 15:20 with Scheid just five seconds back in 15:25. Then it hit. Frost missed Youseff Rochdi’s course record of 15:19 by the smallest of margins – one second.
Higgins held on for third in 16:30. Fellow Randolph resident Rebecca Crawford won the women’s race in 19:28. Thirteen year old Gabriella Dasakova of Succasunna placed second in 20:48.
PRESIDENT’S CUP NIGHT RACE TOMORROW IN MILLBURN
While it won’t be a championship and that will likely draw fewer runners, the President’s Cup Night Race 5K will still be competitive. Featuring a fast course, the race tomorrow night has a long history of fast runners. In particular on the men’s side as the race was often the open men’s championship. It was not a championship in 2017 but that didn’t deter Joshua Izewski of Doylestown PA who was on a roll to win the 2017 New Balance Grand Prix.
Izewski finished in 15:16, which in any other race would be a fast time. Not this race. Since 1999 twenty three racers have finished in under fifteen minutes. Gene Mitchell has the fastest time of 14:34 which he did in 2003 when five men finished in under 15 minutes. That was one heck of a race.
TUESDAY NIGHT IS THE START OF THE MORRIS COUNTY STRIDERS SUMMER SERIES
Johanson Field in Boonton is the site of the annual Morris County Striders summer series. The race features a dead flat 5 kilometer cross country course that is so safe your grandmother could run it. Over the years the township of Boonton has improved the course to the point you will be running not on grass for about half the race, but on a nicely paved path. It is still competitive with course records kept over the years along with a best three out of four series for the loyal followers.
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