2016 Grand Prix Overview
The USA Track & Field (USATF) is the national organization that sanctions and supports Track & Field, Cross Country, and Long Distance Running (LDR) in the US. The USATF-NJ is the New Jersey branch of the USATF. Every year it sanctions over 200 LDR races in New Jersey. Although it is best known for hosting national road races and Track & Field meets, providing its member athletes with group accident insurance coverage, discounts for races, and shopping discounts at many sport retail stores, it also conducts the State Grand Prix (GP) competitions. It uses the 200 plus long distance road races in the State to determine the best runners in NJ.
The four Individual Grand Prix Championships: Overall, Mini-1, Mini-2, and Mini-3 are grouped in five-year age-groups. The three top competitors in each age-group are recognized at a year-end banquet. It is important to note that this competition is open to any athlete as long as they are a USATF member in good standing.
HOW IT WORKS
The Grand Prix process can be confusing so we put together this condensed explanation of how the competition works and the steps you need to take to participate.
After the last race of the year the final results are calculated and Grand Prix winners are invited to the Annual Awards Banquet in January, where plaques and, in some cases, cash awards are presented to the first three finishers in each category/age-group set.
PLANNING YOUR GRAND PRIX
After reading this overview, go to the USATF-NJ Long Ditance Racing (LDR) page; www.usatfnj.org/ldr/index.html. Then read the three writeups: 1) "Grand Prix Overview & Prize Money", 2) "Individual Grand Prix Rules & Regulations", and 3)"2016 LDR Championship Event List". Finally, decide which competition you would like to pursue this year: the "Overall", the "Mini-1", the "Mini-2", or the "Mini-3". Use the chart below to determine the best competition for you.
2016 USATF-NJ GRAND PRIX COMPETITIONS
Review the USATF-NJ Championship Races and find the Championships that are run at the race distances for the competition of your choice. Select and schedule the maximum number of Championships from those that fit your competition. Go to any or all of the various web race calendars: NJM Race Calendar, USATF-NJ Road Race Calendar, CompuScore, Best Racing, and select the number of 500 point races required for your GP competition.
Remember that each Grand Prix is a series of races; speed, perseverance, durability, and planning are equally important. If you have never participated in these events, it is best to start with the Mini-2. The best runners in the state pursue the Overall, the fastest runners pursue the Mini-1, and the rest of us try the Mini-2. Few runners can do all four. As a result the Mini-2 is the one most likely to be shunned by the elite. If successful at the Mini-2 your first year, you can try one of the other three the following year.
GRAND PRIX TEAM COMPETITION
Additionally, the USATF-NJ offers its member running clubs, a Team competition similar to the Individual competitions. In 2015, twenty NJ running Clubs competed for annual awards. The Championship Races are very important for the Individual competitions, but in Team racing they are the only races that count. However, if you are a member of the USATF-NJ, your address has been verified, and you sign up for a Championship Race as an individual, you can also sign up to run with the North Jersey Masters (NJM) team. Simply e-mail the NJM Team Captain (Debbie Brathwaite - Women, and Bill Zink - Men) to let them know that you are pre-registered. They will add you to the team and you will be running for the Club and yourself.
The column entitled "Championship" on the USATF-NJ Championship Races indicates the age group the race targets. "Open" is for runners under 40, "Masters" is for those over 40 (in 10 year age groups), and "All Divisions" means both "Open" and "Masters". Older runners are allowed to run in younger categories, but younger runners are not allowed in older groups competitions. The standings can be tracked on the same website LDR page as the Individual competitions.
North Jersey Masters is a running club that provides a healthy running environment for runners of all ages and abilities. Through coached workouts and weekend runs, members attain their goals and enjoy a lifelong pursuit of the sport within a supportive and friendly club environment.
North Jersey Masters Track and Field Club is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation registered in the state of New Jersey, founded by Fred and Toshi D'Elia in 1976.