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Hilton Head Half Marathon Hilton Head, SC February 11, 2012
Elizabeth Candela 1:38:46

The Caumsett Park 25K/50K Caumsett Park, NY March 4, 2012
Mike Skara 4:03:21 29th Place
I wasn’t even aware of this race until the Sunday before when a friend from some ultras emailed me about it. Everything about it was perfect: a Sunday morn, not far away in Long Island, not expensive, and sponsored by USATF. I figured it would give me a good indicator how my training had progressed in 2012, I could get in a good long run, and I could prepare for my real 50K race in May at which I hoped to PR.

Well, the best laid schemes… I ran my fastest 50K race ever by a ton. Not only is 4:03 more than 30 minutes faster than my previous best 50K, I almost set a marathon PR with 6+ miles left in this event. I’m insanely happy with that performance!

The various circumstances went right for me. Traffic was almost nil and I got there in plenty of time. The weather was cool and overcast with little breeze. The 10-lap course had two hills, but they weren’t insanely steep or overly long. The rest was rolling, constantly up and down, and full of tangents to keep my mind occupied. The organization was very good, as one would expect from a USATF event. There was plenty of the usual ultra fare at the main aid station and the far aid station at the top of the largest hill had fluids. The crowd was sparse, but one volunteer had a huge voice and stayed enthused the whole time.

Here’s the really crazy part: I didn’t go out too fast. I ran with the friend from that email for the first two laps and then let her go. After a short while I met up with someone running the same pace I was and we chatted for the next several laps. With three laps left, I felt good so I picked it up. After a short while, I saw my friend again, so I decided to try to catch her. She had topped me by one mile at the NC 24-hour run one year so I knew she was a good indicator of strength. With exactly two laps to go I had caught her, so I dug for more. My last lap was easily my fastest and I had nothing left after the sprint at the end, so I know I paced it right.

As I often say after my ultras, I encourage others to come out for these events. They’re really fun and much lower-key than high-tension marathons. For this one, you wouldn’t have to go all the way to North Carolina on New Year’s Eve either.

– Mike Skara

Sneaker Factory 10K, Millburn, NJ March 18, 2012
Elizabeth Candela 45:54

Apple Chase 5K/10K Pompton Plains, NJ March 25, 2012
5K Randy Miller 19:37 (1st AG)
George Studzinski 29:08 (1st AG)
10K    Charlie Slaughter 40:41 (1st AG)
    Daniel Smith 41:42
    Frank Russo 43:18
    Mark Frankel 45:20

My fitness has taken a bit of a hit due to health issues in the past four months, but I was very happy with the results. I started out slowly and was able to push hard at the end. I lost a sprint duel with Pat Butcher by half a second, who I tried to chase down at the end. I should’ve paid more attention to Dr Speed at the March meeting.  –   Mark Frankel

Ocean Drive Marathon Cape May, NJ March 25, 2012
   Mick Close 3:49:07 (2nd AG)

I was very happy to make it down to Cape May on Sunday for the 14th annual Ocean Drive Marathon that follows a one way course up the coast through Wildwood, Angelsea, Stone Harbor and Avalon to the finish in Sea Isle City. There’s also a 10 miler that starts together with the marathon and follows the same course but finishes on the board-walk in North Wildwood.

It was fun seeing Sue Palermo and some of the other Fleet Feet winter warriors in the Congress Hall hotel before the race and to run the first 4 miles with Don Manfria. It was also nice meeting Maggie Morin, sister in law of Chris Jawor-ski, who lives in Cape May and showed up with a large “Go Mick” sign.

The field was larger than I expected with more than 1,200 runners split between the two races and slightly more finishers in the marathon (676) than the 10 miler (541). As advertised, the course was mostly flat except for the bridges which pop up every few miles and are not too steep but do provide a bit of a challenge as the race progresses.

The weather is probably the biggest factor in this race, especially the wind, but after a forecast of rain for most of the week, the conditions on race day turned out to be dry and overcast with temperatures in the low 50’s. There was a head wind most of the way, especially in the second half, but it didn’t seem too strong and it could have been much worse.

This was my 40th marathon and one of my most consistent as I managed to hang onto an 8:45 pace for the entire race to finish in 3:49:07 (2nd AG) after passing the half in about 1:54:30.

Many thanks to the Fleet Feet group and all the winter warriors who helped keep me motivated through the winter on those cold Sunday mornings and dark Thursday evening runs!

There are some photos on my Facebook page if you can get to them. Many thanks to Catherine for taking these and for all her support! She had planned to run the 10 miler but was sick the last two weeks before the race.

The race is scheduled for Sunday, March 24 in 2013 if you’re interested in running it.

Urban Environmental Challenge Van Cortlandt Park, NY April 1, 2012
 Tracy Keller, 67.06 minutes
    Elsa Slater, 70:13 minutes

Scotland Run 10K Central Park, NY April 7, 2012
 John Harvey 49:13
Perfect day for a loop around Central Park. This was a new PR for me and my most enjoyable run in NYC ever. Great Scottish festivities and atmosphere.

Cherry Blossom Run 10K Branch Brook Park, Newark, NJ April 15, 2012
Larry Czaplewski (3rd AG) … 37:57
    Catherine Smith (1st woman overall) … 38:55
    Michael Gorman … 39:49
    Mike Skara … 41:04
    Glenn Trimboli … 41:04
    Charlie Slaughter (2nd AG) … 41:20
    Amanda King (8th woman overall, 1st AG) … 42:37
    Dan Murphy … 42:38
    Mark Frankel … 45:22
    Gary Peters … 46:04
    Mick Close … 46:35
    Phil Coffin … 47:19
    Gerald Velli … 49:15
    Wayne Carlson … 49:51
    John Harvey … 49:53
    Hilary Fandel … 49:54
    Don Manfria … 50:16
    Bill Wilde … 50:41
    Tom Kelly (3rd AG) … 51:08
    Oriana Tejeda … 52:24
    Andi Robik … 52:29
    Susan Fasciano … 53:14
    Amber Andrews … 53:14
    Karen Patton … 53:28
    George Swiatek … 54:43
    Maria Imas … 55:20
    Martta Kelly … 56:07
    Joe Cozzi … 58:37
    Donna Catiolitti … 1:00:19
    George Studzinski (2nd AG) … 1:00:54
    Gina Imperatore … 1:01:24
    Robbin Jordan … 1:03:23
    Val Kenny … 1:08:05
    Dawn Cascio … 1:11:11
    Carol Ann Manfria … 1:16:13
    Joanne Barone … 1:22:41

Essex was well represented at the Cherry Blossom Run in Branch Brook Park today with over 35 runners in a field of almost 900. It was a spectacular day if rather warm with the sun shining and the blossoms in full bloom. Catherine Smith led the way with her outstanding 1st place finish in the women’s race followed by Amanda King in 8th (1st in her age). Larry Czaplewski was our top finisher in 37:57 (3rd in his age) with Michael Gorman next in 39:49 after he finished top master at the Building Tomorrow’s 5K race in Brookdale Park yesterday. Others winning age group awards were Charlie Slaughter (2nd), Tom Kelly (3rd) and George Studzinski (2nd). We also had Fleet Feet Essex teams in the USATF-NJ Women’s Masters Championship with our 40’s team finishing 7th and our 50’s team 9th. Congratulations to every-one who ran today and sorry to anyone I missed.
Complete results are on CompuScore at cherry.htm. – Mick Close

More Half Marathon Central Park, NY April 15, 2012
Aubrey D. Birzon Blanda 1:53:06
I ran the More Half Marathon while most of the Essex Warriors were at the Cherry Blossom. I ran about 30 seconds better than I did the last time I ran it, about 4 years ago. The course was tougher than I’d remembered, especially that second time up Harlem Hill! But overall, a great day for a race! – Aubrey Birzon Blanda

Boston Marathon, Boston, MA April 16, 2012
ERC was well represented today at Boston. Congrats to all our teams (unofficial results for Boston Teams):

Mens Master: 3rd Place
Fleet Feet Essex Racing (New Jersey) 8:42:24
Elliott Frieder 2:43:56
    Jonathan Frieder 2:50:05
    Harold E. Porcher 3:08:23
    Tom Eaton 3:18:55

Mens Open: 13th Place
Fleet Feet Essex Racing (New Jersey) 8:42:05
Justin Scheid 2:39:36
    William Washer 2:55:30
    Paul Kartanowicz 3:06:59

Womans Master: 4th Place
Fleet Feet Essex Racing (New Jersey) 11:11:48
Karen Merz 3:32:38
    Dorothy Auth 3:41:53
    Jennifer Odell 3:57:17

Photo Highlights

Photos on flickr

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