Ondieki and Noe-Schlentz Capture
BY WAYNE BAKER
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ--Running a tactical race as he prepares for the San Diego Marathon, Stephen Ondieki, of Ridgewood, NJ, captured the USATF-NJ 10-Mile Championship held December 15. Allowing Rob DeFilippis, of Tinton Falls, NJ, to set the pace, Ondieki ran much of the race in second place. Keeping the mood light and alluding to their relative strengths, DeFilippis asked, "Does this guy know he's the Kenyan?" as they passed the start/finish area at about 6½ miles. Around the 8-mile point, Ondieki moved alongside, then gradually ahead to finish with about a 60-yard lead.
Talking with Ondieki after the race, he told me that San Diego will be his first marathon, and his goal is to run a 2:15. Assuming he does not have injury trouble next year, he hopes to use the Philadelphia Distance Run to qualify as an elite athlete for the NY Marathon.
Madelyn Noe-Schlentz, of Freehold, NJ, captured the women's race, running in a large pack that included many of her teammates. The strength and depth of coach Jim Schlentz's (Madelyn's husband) Asics Club East was shown by his athletes capturing the top 5 places in the women's race. All finished within two minutes of each other and about 3½ minutes ahead of their next closest competitor.
The race was run in conditions that were nearly ideal for this time of year. Temperatures were about 40 degrees with a slight breeze. The wooded hilltop location of South Mountain Reservation provided a beautiful setting (along with occasional spectacular views of the New York skyline). The course was essentially three laps of an elongated "B" with a small additional loop at the start. Since the start/finish area was at the top of the bottom loop, this course format allowed spectators to watch the race develop.
Men's and women's Open team titles were taken by Fleet Feet and Asics Club East, respectively. Masters team titles went to Raritan Valley Road Runners (men) and Sneaker Factory (women).
1. Stephen Ondieki 53:26
1. Madelyn Noe-Schlentz 1:01:48