Newark, NJ - March 2, 2010 - Mayor Cory A. Booker and Director of Neighborhood and Recreational Services Melvin L. Waldrop announced today that the City of Newark is currently registering runners for its 35th Annual Distance Classic, which will take place on Sunday, March 21, 2010. The annual 5K and 20K run will tip off at 9:30 a.m. This is the first distance event of the 2010 running season.
“The Newark Distance Classic attracts runners from throughout the world who want to test their strength, dedication, and commitment upon the streets and hills of Newark,” Mayor Booker said. “I urge all of our residents to extend a warm welcome to all of the runners who compete in this event, and manifest the greatness of Newark by cheering them on as they race across our City.”
Cash awards will be given out for the top three male and female 20K overall finishers, as well as the top three USA Track Federation for New Jersey -certified male and female finishers, and the top three Masters USATF-New Jersey male and female finishers. First place-winners will receive $2,500, Second place gets $1,500, while third-place earns $1,000.
Awards will also go to 5K winners and 20K winners in various age groups. Businesses, schools, colleges, and other groups may compete with male, female, or co-ed teams for top three finishers in the “team” categories. All pre-registered runners will receive a souvenir t-shirt.
The Division of Recreation/Cultural Affairs is also recruiting volunteers to serve on race day to register runners, to man water stops, and act as race marshals.
The Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation, founded by the four-time Olympian and New Jersey native, is joining to co-sponsor the race for the first time this year. The Foundation has partnered with the City to support other youth fitness and sports program. Joetta Clark Diggs will make a personal appearance at the race to greet the competitors.
The race is the first of the nation’s distance running season, and is considered a warm-up for events like the Boston Marathon and other major marathons. USA Track & Field New Jersey and New Balance North Jersey are co-sponsoring the race. The challenging route takes runners through Newark’s downtown and Branch Brook Park, and will be held rain or shine.
Race award categories are as follows: 20K Age Division Awards: 19 and under; 20-29; 30-39; and all Masters’ five-year age divisions. 5K Awards: Top three Male and Female Overall; Top three in the following Age Divisions: 14-under; 15-19; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60-69; 70-79; 80 and over.
The race is certified by the USA Track Federation for New Jersey. All registrations postmarked before March 15, are $20. Registrations postmarked after that cost $25. USATF-NJ members get a $2.00 discount off the registration fee. Registration closes at 9 a.m. on race day, Sunday, March 21, 2010. Everyone competing in the run will receive a race souvenir t-shirt. Runners muster for the race by 9 a.m. at Rutgers University Gymnasium (Golden Dome), located at 42 Warren Street, Newark, New Jersey. Support Volunteers should arrive earlier.
“The Newark Distance Classic has been a signature athletic event for the City of Newark for 35 years,” Director Waldrop said. “I am proud of how our residents turn out to participate, to support the runners, or to serve as volunteers, showing our City’s great hospitality and warmth. We want to continue to grow and strengthen this event so that it becomes one of the major running events in the nation. It is a great opportunity to showcase our City.”
The race will be preceded by the Mighty Milers Run, in which Newark youth aged 6-15 from all six of the City’s Recreation Centers will compete in a co-ed race over a one-mile route. The youth runners will join in the race as a celebration of their participation in the Mighty Milers, a New York Road Runners Foundation Program that strives to make running a part of every child’s school day. Winners in various age categories, the overall winning runner and recreation center team will receive awards presented by a representative from the Mighty Miler Corporate office.
Creating a healthier Newark is a priority for the Booker administration. At his Fourth Annual State of the City Address on February 9, 2010, the Mayor announced that he will serve as National Co-Chair of First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to fight childhood obesity.
Since 2006, the Booker administration has made the comprehensive rehabilitation of each of the City’s recreation centers a priority to improve the quality of life for Newark's residents. After millions of dollars of capital investment, every city Recreation facility and pool has been successfully upgraded and is now open for expanded programs and community use. In addition, City programming at recreation centers has been thoroughly enriched. Residents can now access a full catalogue of recreation and cultural programs and services.
For more information on competing or volunteering, contact Miriam Santiago at (973) 733-3749. For information about any City of Newark program or policy, contact the Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.