DeBenedictis and Stone Borkowski
BY WAYNE BAKER
PISCATAWAY, NJ--The first Equinox 20K road race was held in Johnson Park on Sunday, March 23. The park follows a linear plan along the Raritan River. The weather was nearly ideal, sunny and near 50 degrees with a slight breeze. The course was about two and a half loops of a five-mile circuit. The single modest hill was traversed thrice. Registration and check-in was held at the bandstand, and most parking was at least a couple of hundred yards away.
Recounting the events leading up his victory, Anthony DeBenedictis said that he and Rich Byrne led from about the two-mile point. A chase group of about eight racers was tightly bunched through the first third of the race, but had broken completely apart by about the seven-mile point. DeBenedictis and Byrne paced together until Rich sped up with about a mile and a half remaining. Anthony took the lead with about 1200 meters left. DeBenedictis said that he and Byrne ran the last mile in about 4:52.
Catherine Stone Borkowski captured the women's race, going the distance essentially unchallenged. Catherine had a very good weekend. Along with winning this race, running essentially unchallenged throughout, she had spent part of Saturday at the Frontrunners Track Meet at the Armory in New York City. Her Central Park Track Club team set a Masters women's world record in the 4 x 800 relay.
Open team titles were claimed by Running Co. A, whose 5 male scoring runners posted a combined time of 5:36:08; and Asics Club East, whose 3 female scorers posted a 3:56:05 time. Masters team titles were captured by Running Co. A men's 40s team with a 6:13:24 and Sneaker Factory A women's 40s in 4:23:43. The Raritan Valley Road Runners A teams captured both 50s titles in 7:02:21 and 5:28:58. Essex Running Club men's 60s team's 3 scorers tallied a combined 4:52:03 to claim the final team honors.
A postrace party was held at Tumulty's Pub in New Brunswick, long a gathering place for students and graduates from Rutgers University. The racers gathered for a beer, or several, and enjoyed a delicious spread of delicious (though not low-fat) appetizers. This after-race event added to the feeling of camaraderie.
Selecting this race as the NJ 20K championship represented a risk for USATF-NJ. As an inaugural race, with a first-time race director, the likelihood of problems cropping up was much greater than with a pre-existing race. One of the complaints heard most often on race morning was that the bathrooms closest to the registration bandstand were closed (due to a broken pipe), forcing runners to use facilities near the parking areas. While it made for lot a griping, I found nobody who said that the lines were unacceptable. While there were several minor problems, it seems that USATF-NJ's faith in the Raritan Valley Road Runners was well placed.
1. Anthony Debenedictis 1:04:06
Running Co. A (5 score) 5:36:08
Running Co. A 40s (5 score) 6:13:24
Raritan Valley RR A 50s (5 score) 7:02:21
60 and Over
Essex Running Club 60s (3 score) 4:52:03
1. Catherine Stone 1:16:53
Asics Club East (3 score) 3:56:05
Sneaker Factory A 40s (3 score) 4:23:43
Raritan Valley RR A 50s (3 score) 5:28:58