In 2018, the Harrington Park 5K, that is taking place tomorrow, Saturday, November 2nd, was a USATF state masters women championship. The race was won by Rob Albano in a pokey 15:52. I can bust on Albano because he is now running in the low to mid 14’s. Karen Auteri finished in 18:25 in 2018 to win the women’s race. She is now back in racing shape after rehabbing an injury to her foot.
This year Harrington Park is hosting the final coed race of the season. Corporate coed teams are pretty easy to assemble. In most race, all you need is three people as long as one is of the opposite gender. Usually two men and one woman will be the scoring runners on a team that may number in the twenties or thirties. The smallest company can go up against a huge company and have a chance to win.
USATF’s coed teams are tougher to create. Each team scores three men and three women. (in the October 28 column I stated erroneously that four and four were needed.)
For the larger clubs it’s easy to form a team and all runners are potential scoring runners. That’s because all the runners are age graded, not just the masters age runners. An older member may be the top runner in age grading.
Jennifer Malavolta, 47, of Reeders PA was the top masters woman in 2018, finishing in 18:45. John Hogan, 53, Township of Washington, was the top masters man at 18:01.
The race was scored by Best Racing Systems and age grading is not usually posted on the website, so it is hard to research who was the highest age graded at last year’s race. We know who the usual suspects are in the masters divisions: Malavolta, Hortencia Aliaga, Nora Cary, JoAnn Coffee, Suzanne LaBurt, Misa Tamura, John Hogan, Gary Leaman, Reno Stirrat, Julio Aguirre, Ezequiel Garcia, and probably others that I am missing.
Here’s something that you may not know – this coed division thing isn’t just for fun. Prize money is riding on the outcome.
That’s right. Three hundred dollars for the top club with two hundred for second, one twenty-five for third, seventy-five for fourth and fifty for fifth place. Seven clubs have put in a team in at least one race, but only five have had a team for both the Sunset Classic in June and the East Brunswick 12K last Sunday.
Using the scoring table of 12 points for first, ten for second, eight for third and then a sliding one point drop thereafter, the Clifton Road Runners are in the lead with a first and a second-place finish for 22 points. Fleet Feet Essex is second with 18 points for their first and fifth places, RVRR is one point behind with 17 points for their second and fourth place finishes, with the North Jersey Masters next with 15 points and the Morris County Striders in fifth place. The North Jersey Masters club should be the favorite with Harrington Park almost in their backyard.
RUN WITH THE DEVILS
Another interesting race on Saturday looks to be the Running with the Devils 5K in South Orange. Runners will literally be running with the New Jersey Devils as part of a fund raiser with RWJBarnabas Health. More intriguing is the free admission to the Turtle Back Zoo for the day for all registered runners.
NEW YORK CITY MARATHON
New Jersey runners are always tracking a friend who is running in the New York City Marathon, but this year we are all going to be tracking one special runner – Roberta Groner, the forty-one-year-old woman from Morris County New Jersey who placed sixth in the World Marathon in Doha six weeks ago. Groner has endeared herself to all with her uplifting attitude and dedication to her goals. Groner is a mother of three boys, has a full-time job, and in her spare time has spearheaded a shoe drive for Soles4Soles. Spare time! Where does she find spare time with the training schedule she has?
All of New Jersey is wishing you good racing on Sunday, Roberta and good racing to all marathoners.