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President’s Corner – Dec 2012

2012: They Year in Review                                          by Mark Frankel

2012 was a great year by any standard for the club. Membership ended the year a little bit under three hundred, which is close to an all-time high. It’s a sign that more and more people enjoy the Essex Running Club. There are even some long-time members who don’t run anymore or live out-of-state who retain their ERC memberships. Here’s a brief recap of what we did this year.

January – February
Each year begins with Fleet Feet’s New Year’s Resolution Run. This is an eight-mile run through Montclair and West Orange, starting and ending at the store on Bloomfield Ave in Montclair. The runners all trek up to the 9/11 memorial in Eagle Rock Reservation and state their goals for the year, before heading back to the store for a light brunch.
One of the more popular winter traditions we have is hosted winter runs. These are three-to-five mile runs on either a Saturday or Sunday morning from mid-December until the end of February, followed by brunch at the host’s house. It’s often said that if you’re running to lose weight, then these events might not be for you. However, these runs are popular among members for being such a wonderful way to meet people – to run with them in a low-key atmosphere and then enjoy a nice conversation over food. There were four hosted runs in January and five in February (there were actually two in one weekend!). There was also the USATF-NJ annual awards banquet. Once again, the ERC did well. Most notable was Catherine Smith, who won the USATF-NJ Grand Prix with an amazing 5,698 points out of a possible total of 5,700, taking first place in seven out of the nine races needed for the title. The beginning of the year also included the introduction of a fully functional website with current news, race results and recaps, membership areas, and an up-to-date calendars of events.

March saw the ERC take on our friends at the Clifton Road Runners Club at our annual bowling party, which is always a well-received event, and again sold out early. It was a great way to pal around with other runners in a non-running atmosphere. The very next day was the first USATF-NJ Championship race.

April – May
April featured the ERC’s own annual awards banquet where we honor top club runners, as well as other accomplishments the club values, such as community service, volunteering, spectating, and hosting runs. Our Boston marathon teams did very well with our men’s open team placing 3rd overall ( Justin Schied, William Washer, Paul Kartanowicz), our men’s masters placed 3rd ( Elliot Frieder, Jonathan Frieder, Harold Porcher), and our woman’s masters team placed 6th (Karen Merz, Dorothy Auth, Jennifer Odell). Quite an achievement in one of the worlds most prestigious marathons. There were also many members who run the New Jersey Marathon, as well as the Long Branch Half Marathon.

While Spring racing season kicks into high gear in April and May, three events in June stand out for ERC members. The first is the Montclair Run, which is sponsored by Montclair Y, and has both a 10K and a 2-mile run. The second is the Lager Run, directed by ERC member Dan Murphy. This is a USATF-NJ Championship 5K, and also features a kid’s race of 400 meters around the track at Hurrell Field in Glen Ridge. The third is the Sunset Classic, which is also directed by and ERC member: Paul Giuliano. This race features a 5-miler and kid’s races on the infield of Foley Field in Bloomfield.
June is also well-known for the Wine and Cheese Party. This is a pot-luck party where all of the members bring an appetizer or a main course, and all of the members of the board bring desserts. The clubs pays for Wine, Beer, Soda, and Cheese. It is always held at a member’s house, and rotates from year to year. This year it was held at Hagit Oren’s house in Montclair. Hosted runs resumed in mid-June and ran through August. Slightly different than Winter Hosted Runs,, summer runs are held on early Thursday evenings instead of weekend mornings, and are then followed by light dinners. This year there were two in June, four in July, and four in August. Mid-week races doubled as three of the Hosted Summer Runs

To add to the heat of July was sizzling competition at the Interclub Challenge, an informal, invitation-only race between local running clubs, held this year in Essex County’s Brookdale Park, which straddles Montclair and Bloomfield. The ICC is actually two races. First is an overall competition between all of the clubs that were invited, and the ERC scored a victory over the Clifton Road Running Club, and combined team of the Do Run Runner the Geezers, and the Rose City Running Club. Second is a competition between the ERC and local rival Clifton, which Clifton won. New this year was the ERC’s Junior Track Series, held at Hurrell Field on July 1, 15th, and 29th, which featured track races ranging from 50 meters to the mile, and the long jump and javelin throw. The event attracted well over one hundred children ranging in age from three to twelve.

While most runners took it easy during the sultry month of August, some instead ran the River to Sea Relay, a 92-mile race from a bridge on the banks of the Delaware River in Milford to the beach at Manasquan. ERC sent five teams to the all-day event, as well as several volunteers and spectators. Longtime member George Studzinski invited ERC members to participate in the Smoke Rise Biathlon up in the well-tended Smoke Rise development in Kinnelon. The race featured a 1/3-mile swim followed by a challenging four-mile run, followed by a beach party. Members had their choice of doing both legs or being on a team where each member did one.

The Reach the Beach Relay in New Hampshire in September is a well-known relay race that draws a more national audience, and the ERC submitted a team for this 203-mile race too. September, though, is best known at the ERC for the Verona Labor Race. The race, which is sponsored by Verona UNICO and administered by ERC member Tom Kelly, features a one-mile fun run in Verona Park and a 5K race through the streets of Verona, ending at the park. Each year the race seems to get bigger and bigger, with over 650 runners between the two races . Immediately after the race, the ERC held its annual club picnic.

The Newsletter was switched to a simpler format reflecting the information posted on the website. This reflects the trend of using the internet to keep up-to-the minute. The Doug Williams Memorial 5000-Meter Run in Montclair was held in October, almost a exactly a year after he tragically died in a hit and run. The race was a revival of the Goodwill 5000, a perennial favorite of Doug’s, who ran the race every year in its existence. Club member Dan Murphy directed this race, which began and ended at the Montclair Art Museum. The proceeds from this race were used to create a scholarship fund in his name.

Hurricane Sandy inflicted much devastation on the Tri-State region in late October, eventually forcing the cancellation of the New York City Marathon, and driving many club members to expend their training elsewhere if at all. Philadelphia was, of course, a popular option. Locally, most races held on the same weekend were cancelled too, though the tiny Beavertown 5K in Lincoln Park went on as planned despite half the town not having power. Thousands of dollars were donated to charities for Sandy Relief from the Verona Labor Day 5k, Doug Williams 5k and the cancellation of the NYC Marathon Bus. The long awaited, password-protected membership list was made available via the web-site. By Thanksgiving, most of northern New Jersey was back to normal, and for us runners that meant the Ashenfelter 8K Classic, one of the premiere races in the state. The race, also directed by Dan Murphy, features the 8K, which is also a championship race, and a one-mile fun run. This race seems to grow every year, with the 8K having over 2500 finishers and the fun run over 350.

The year came to an end in December with the Holiday Party, which was once again held at the Glen Ridge Country Club. The Grand Finale 10-mile USATF-NJ Championship marked the successful conclusion to a wonderful year of running. Hosted weekend runs are already underway for a hearty welcome to 2013.

Photo Highlights

Photos on flickr

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