Ashenfelter 8K Classic set for 9 a.m. Thanksgiving

GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The 17th annual Ashenfelter 8K Classic race will be run on Thanksgiving Day. Last year, 3,101 runners competed in the event, which measures 4.97 miles, according to race director Councilman Daniel Murphy. The race will start at 9 a.m. Preceding it at 8:15 a.m. will be the Tom Fleming Mile. Almost 500 milers competed in that event last year.

“We expect those numbers to hold,” said race director Councilman Daniel Murphy of the entries.

Unless the weather is inclement, Murphy said Horace Ashenfelter, the 1952 Olympic steeplechase gold medalist and borough resident, will be at the finish line.

Murphy became race director in 2000. At the time, the mile race did not exist. There was a 10K race called the Glen Ridge Turkey Trot, but Murphy shortened it and gave it a new name. It will be the fourth year of the Tom Fleming Mile.
“He will definitely be there,” Murphy said of Fleming, a former Bloomfield resident who twice won the New York City Marathon.

The race attracts younger runners. Last year in the 8K race, a 6-year-old girl finished in 2,750th place. In the mile race last year, Murphy said there were a bunch of 6-year-olds.

“There was a 4- year-old who ran it in 11 minutes,” he said. “There were a lot of 4 year-olds. A 3-year-old ran it in 14 minutes.”

The men’s record for the 8K is 23:47, which is the pace for a 4:47 mile. The women’s record for the 8K is 26:54. This is the pace for a 5:24 mile.

The 8K winner will receive $150, a cut-glass vase and New Balance running jacket, with the 8K logo. The mile winner will receive a medal and a cut-glass vase.

Murphy said security will be increased in light of the Sept. 17 pipe-bomb explosion that cancelled the Semper Fi 5K run in Seaside Park.

“No bags will be permitted in the gym and no bags within 100 yards of the finish line,” Murphy said.

Proceeds from the race will benefit the Glen Ridge Educational foundation, which supplements funding to the Glen Ridge School District.