New Jersey runners have only hours left today to register for the USATF National Club Cross Country Championship meet that will take place on Saturday, December 14th at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA. In national championships registration typically closes about a week out, and there is never day-of-race registration. Registration closes tonight at 11:59 p.m. PDT.
In 2014 New Jersey partnered with the MidAtlantic association to bring success to the national club meet hosted at Lehigh University, and the national masters 5km meet that was hosted at Deer Path Park in Readington, NJ. The New Jersey racers and teams were scored in the national meet as though they were racing in a New Jersey championship thanks to David Siconolfi of CompuScore and some clever programming. This is not being done this year and the number of New Jersey racers is down.
It is a shame that the New Jersey clubs are not being enticed to run in the meet this time around. Runners who had never dreamed of running in a national championship found the experience exciting and fun. “We would do it again,” they declared. But many clubs are very poorly represented, if at all, in this years edition.
That does not apply to the larger, more competitive clubs. The Garden State Track Club New Balance has wholly embraced this opportunity to compete on the national stage in such close proximity to their home turf. The club has thirty-three men filling five open teams – yes A through E. The Shore Athletic Club has a full team as does the Breakneck club of eight runners. Those clubs run on a 10 kilometer course on the university campus.
On the Open women’s side Garden State has two full open teams as does the Shore club. Open women will race on a six kilometer course as will all the masters women.
The Bella N Motion club has a team in the masters W40, W50, and W60. Garden State has an A and B W40 team. Shore and Raritan Valley each have an A team in the W40 division.
Garden State, Garmin Racers and Shore each have an A team in the W50 division, and Shore also has an W60 team as does the North Jersey Masters.
The M40 and M50 division race on the 10 kilometer course. In the M40 division the Garden State club has a full team as does the Garmin Racers and the Shore club. Those three along with Raritan Valley have full M50 teams.
Masters men 60 plus will run an 8K course. Garden State has a M60 team entered, as does the Garmin racing team. Fleet Feet Essex and Raritan Valley each have two M60 men entered – they need to find another runner to make a complete team in that age division. The surging Shore Athletic Club has an A, B and C team in the M60 division.
In the M70 division the Shore club has a full squad of six men. The Clifton Road Runners have a team as well, although with only the required three. Clifton has a three man team in the M80 division, a first for that club.
A quick tally of the team members shows New Jersey has about 170 runners entered on teams with a handful of individuals who are running as individuals.
Masters men 60+ will be the division that opens the meet at 10:00 a.m. followed by all division of masters women at 11:15 a.m. Masters men 40 and 50 division will start at 12:15 p.m. Open women start at 1:15 p.m. and the open men end the meet with their race at 2:00 p.m. It is a full day of racing with the best from across the country.