Glen Ridger takes third place in annual Ashenfelter 8K

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GLEN RIDGE, NJ — Pelle Nogueira, a 2017 graduate of Glen Ridge High School who finished fourth in the 2021 Ashenfelter 8K with a time of 24:57.40, made a strong showing in the annual Thanksgiving Day race last week with a time of 23:52.17 and a third-place finish. Less than 6 seconds separated the first three finishers. And as he was last year, Nogueira was the first borough resident to cross the finish line. The first female from Glen Ridge to finish was Lucia Peyser, who took 145th place overall and was the 19th finisher of the 2,041 female racers.

The 8K course begins and ends near the high school on Ridgewood Avenue. In a Monday, Nov. 28, telephone interview, Nogueira said he was feeling pretty good about his race. 

“While I didn’t win, in the middle of the race, I really pushed up the pace,” Nogueira said. “By the time I got to the finish line, I started to struggle. Everything leading up to that hill on Ridgewood Avenue, that’s where a person can get under pressure, and I paid for it. It’s all part of a learning process.”

He said about 2 miles into the race, he was in a pack of five runners. 

“I felt it was going to be a good day and I was feeling good and there was that hometown excitement,” he said. “Maybe I pushed too much in the third and fourth miles, but there’s no ‘ifs’ in sports.”

He said that had he not been as aggressive in the middle of the race as he had been, he may not have left some racers behind. 

“There’s no right or wrong,” he said. “It’s all speculation.”

Long-time race coordinator Dan Murphy said there were a record 2,528 finishers. 

“It was a perfect race,” he said. “There was perfect 45-degree weather and a tight finish. Pelle was leading the race for quite some time but didn’t have the kick.”

Murphy said two national records were set in the race. 

Nat Larson, 60, from Amherst, Mass., set a record for the men’s 60-64 age group at 27:37.05. Murphy said Larson anticipated the record.

“He wanted to make sure the course was certified,” Murphy said. “And we had to have a starter from USA Track & Field especially for him.”

The other national record was set in the women’s 65-69 age group, by Nora Carry, 67, of Morristown, who finished in 34:20.91 and 263rd overall. Carry was the 52nd woman to cross the finish line. 

Glen Ridge residents following Nogueira were Tsutomu Bessho, 89th place; Robert Riordan, 90th; Wade Zamechek, 123rd, and Samantha Russomano, 201st. Other borough residents followed. Murphy noted that Peyser, the first Glen Ridge woman to finish, recently ran in the New York City Marathon.

Photos by Daniel Jackovino