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Phil’s Running Follies

One of those round-number ages was looming, and I felt the need to mark the milestone in some grandiose way. Chris Jaworski and Mick Close have matched their ages with laps on the track, but I couldn’t do that; I’d need to be turning 30, not 60. But there had to be some truly ludicrous gesture I could make at aging.

And then I discovered I could race a 5K on Saturday, Jan. 12, and be the oldest runner in my age group and follow up with another 5K on Sunday, Jan. 13, and be the youngest runner in my age group. This was just crazy enough to be a plan.

The pairing of these races mocked probability. Races on the second Saturday of January are generally nonexistent. But the Harbor House 5K at First Energy Park in Lakewood had been rescheduled from November after Ocean County was bludgeoned by Hurricane Sunday. Sunday races in January are not much more prevalent, but the Freehold Area Runners Club puts on a fantastic series of winter 5Ks in Tighe Park in Freehold.

The Lakewood race is run mostly in the parking lot of the ballpark, finishing with a tour of the warning track from right field to left and then down the third-base line. It’s a great finish to the race … even for one that was about a quarter-mile short of an actual 5K distance. That 20:09 finish time looks pretty good until you factor in that missing 0.27 miles!

The Freehold race was the full 5K, although my legs might have been willing to end it again at 2.84 miles. The legs lost that argument, even as they were losing steam, and my first 5K in my 60s was 22:53.

There was no candle on my postrace bagel, but it was a huge birthday treat nonetheless. It was a weekend of two days, two decades and too much fun.

And two second-place age group finishes. It really doesn’t get any easier.

Jan. 12 — Phil Coffin, Harbor House 5K, Lakewood, 20:09 (2nd AG)
Jan. 13 — Phil Coffin, Freehold Winter Series 5K, 22:53 (2nd AG)

Photo Highlights

Photos on flickr

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