The President’s Cup 5K moved from a June night race to the third Sunday in May and reminiscent of when the Midland Run 15K in Far Hills that once had that Sunday, the weather turned from cool to hot in a shake of sneaker. Millburn was at 85 degrees according to some, at 4:00 in the afternoon. Not only was it hot, but also humid.
The heat and humidity hit all runners, including the winner Nicholas Filippazzo of Valley Stream NY, and slowed them all. Filippazzo broke away from his Garden State Track Club New Balance teammates accompanied by Matt Gillette of Orefield PA nearly from the start, and it didn’t take him long to distance himself from Gillette. But remember that heat and humidity? Filippazzo crossed the finish line in 15:18, well over the 15-minute goal time that many President’s Cup winners achieve. Gillette finished second in 15:51 and Kyle Price of North Brunswick was third in 15:56.
All three men are members of the Garden State Track Club but Filippazzo was on the club’s B team that placed second. Gillette was on the club’s D team that was an incomplete team with only four finishers and for a day or two Price was missing from any team. A data entry error that was discovered on Tuesday changed the results as Price’s time put his Garden State C team in first place.
Shouldn’t the A team place first, and the B second, and etc.? Well, with a club as large as the New Balance sponsored club, the teams really compete against the other club teams. On Sunday, the C team beat the A team, which placed second, and they in turn beat the B team. The combined time of the top five members of the teams made for a close score; 1:24:45, 1:26:03 and 1:26:51. The Garden State E team placed fifth, with the Freedom Running Club’s A team in fourth place. As noted above, Garden State’s D team was one of three incomplete teams out of 23 declared teams.
Brianna Deming of Morristown finished the race in 18:13 to take first place in the women’s division, with Izzy Gladstone of Maplewood second in 18:40 and Robyn Evangelist of Egg Harbor third in 19:07.
Although the race was an open men’s championship, good performances were turned in by Sam Teigen, 44, of Hawthorne, Beau Atwater, 61, of Bernardsville and John Hogan, 53 of Washington Township. Teigen finished in 16:38 (84.73%), Atwater in 19:20 (83.28%) and Hogan in 18:23 (82.05%).
Nora Cary, 64, of Morristown scored the highest of either gender with her 22:13 (87.66%). Joann Coffee,70, of Somerset finished in 25:53 (81.51%) and Gloria Huberman, 61, of Fairlawn finished in 24:28 (76.65%)
The number of participants was quite low, topping out at 500 runners. Any number of factors might be responsible. A Sunday in May might have kept some likely participants from the Shore area from attempting the drive with Sunday shore traffic clogging the Garden State Parkway.
The Millburn police have in recent years closed all the streets in to the town an hour ahead of the race’s start time, which will keep later arrivers from reaching the race site at all. This is the only town where I have seen roads closed so early for a race. It’s as though the police don’t realize that most of the racers are coming from out-of-town and need to be able to reach it.
The change from a Monday night race at 8:00 in the middle of June to a Sunday afternoon in May could have also been the culprit. Many runners have pointed their training toward this race and the changed date might not have fit their racing schedule.
A Sunday in May might have been expected to be cooler than a Monday in June, but that is not what they got on Sunday. The weather could have been a factor in the slow times, but did the change of the start and finish lines also contribute?
On Sunday the runners faced the one hill on the course quite soon from the start. Did that affect their race? Using the old start the runners had nearly a mile before hitting the hill. The old start gave the runners a downhill in the last mile that propelled them to the finish while Sunday’s course had a basically flat last mile.
RIDGEWOOD RUNS AND SPRING LAKE FIVE THIS WEEKEND
The weekend coming up will be busy with two very popular races drawing crowds of runners. The Spring Lake Five closes registration each year after only a few hours. You have to be quick of hand to just get in. Over 10,000 runners will be running the race. Last year it was won by Brian Quilty of Brick in 25:28 with Amanda Marino of Asbury Park the first woman to finish in 29:23.
You can hardly get any further from the shore than Ridgewood which will hold their 5K and 10K races on Monday, along with the elite mile races. The Ridgewood races do not attract the crowds of Spring Lake. They have a different niche in that the race offers prize money to any and all, and not restricted to only New Jersey USATF runners. With the close proximity to New York that prize money draws professional runners who will finish a 5K in well under 15 minutes and the 10K in around 30 minutes. In 2018 Robert Groner won the 10K women’s race in 33:31.
Speaking of Groner, she won the Brooklyn Half Marathon in 1:13:05 this past Saturday. Groner has been making the headlines in running circles and rightly so. One only needs to Google her name to read several articles on the transplanted Pennsylvanian and now New Jersey running sensation.