GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The 19th annual Ashenfelter 8K race will be run tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 22. Scheduled to start at 9 a.m., it will be preceded by the Tom Fleming Mile race at 8:15 a.m.
Speaking late last week, Dan Murphy, the race director and a member of the borough council, said that about 2,000 runners had pre-registered for the 8K. He expected another 400 to join them. The Fleming Mile had 300 pre-registered runners with another 100 expected. These numbers are about the same as last year.
In the Ashenfelter 8K, the winner of the 2017 race, Morgan Pearson, of New Vernon, is registered to compete again. Also, the sixth-place women’s finisher in the 2018 NYC Marathon, Mary Keitany, will be there. Keitany finished 26th overall in the NYC event.
Murphy said the course has been slightly redesigned. The start will now be at Ridgewood and Bloomfield avenues. It was previously farther south at Ridgewood Avenue and Snowden Place, near the Glen Ridge Women’s Club. As before, from the gun the race heads north on Ridgewood Avenue.
“It will be easier to get the race under way,” he said of the change. “The finish line is about the same. The first mile has a bit of a kink because we had to take up the slack there. The second, third and fourth mile marks are the same.”
Because of the changes, the course had to be recertified. Recertification is otherwise done every 10 years.
Murphy likened the event to a well-oiled machine with 100 volunteers.
He became race director in 2000. At the time, the mile race did not exist. What was run was the Glen Ridge Turkey Trot 10K. But Murphy shortened the race and named it after Horace Ashenfelter, an Olympian who made his home in the borough. The Tom Fleming Mile will be run for the sixth time.
It is named after the two-time NYC Marathon winner who resided here and in Bloomfield.
Murphy said he thinks the proliferation of organized, long-distance races has stabilized, although some occasionally pop up.
“I just think our race is better run,” he said. “And we bring out some fast runners.”