Girls race for fun, fitness

Girls on the Run exemplifies the many positives of running


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Photos



  • Photos by Laurie Gordon Girls warm up before the race with some dance moves.




  • Runners get ready to take off.




  • Flanked by her Team Eastern teammates, Lauren Huffman, of Branchville, was the female champion of the grueling 8.2 mile Run Around Lake Mohawk. She ran the Boston Marathon just a few weeks ago, yet made the win look effortless.



STAMPEDE

Another local race was held on Sunday at Lodestar Park in Fredon. This one was a cross country 5-kilometer run that took runners through the park's nature trail and grassy paths.
Kittatinny High School's Blake DiGiaimo was the champion with veteran runner Gary Rosenberg, of Morris Township second and another Kittatinny runner, Ian Anderson, third.
"It was a challenging course, but I really liked it," DiGiaimo said.
"It was a great course because it really challenged your fitness level," Rosenberg added.
In the women's competition, it was all about North Warren High School as their runner, Christine Hughes sailed in for the victory. The school's assistant coach, Jessica Kucz, was second with North Warren runner, Regina Duncan, just a second behind.
Proceeds from the Stampede benefit The Bears Youth Running Club and Polar Bears Track and Field Club.

The energy and enthusiasm emanating from Rainbow Trail Park, in Sparta, on Saturday morning was electric.

Girls on the Run
Master of ceremonies Sabrina Lucas kept several hundred girls who were running their first ever 5-kilometer road race pumped up and even had them learn a new dance.

These young ladies were part of Girls on the Run, a program that gets girls active and prepares them to run a 3.1 mile race at the end of the program. The girls' goal was simply to finish the 5K. Time didn't matter — having fun and doing something healthy for themselves were the main objectives.

Though there was a large contingency of girls and women in the 5K, it was also open to men, and Brandon Meyer, of Hackettstown was the overall winner clocking 17:29. On the women's side, Debbie So, of Branchville was the champion.

Run Around Lake Mohawk
In addition to the 5K there was another race that started 10 minutes later that toured runners all the way around Lake Mohawk.

A few short weeks ago Bill Washer and Lauren Huffman both ran in the Boston Marathon. Despite having run 26.2 miles in Boston, the two made winning the men's and women's race, respectively, at the grueling, mountainous 8.2 mile race in Sparta look like a breeze.

For Huffman, who lives in Branchville, it was all about having her "tunes" along.

"I'm just going to listen to my music and see what happens," she said before the race.

What happened was a 57:38 performance and a finish alongside several of her Team Eastern teammates.

"I was definitey still tired from Boston," said Washer. "I just started running again last week."

Also a Team Eastern runner, Washer said he trains about once a month on the course, but, "There's a big difference between a training run and racing it. Those are some serious hills."

Next up for Washer will be a Memorial Day 10K in Ridgewood and then a 5K in Millburn.

For further information about Girls on the Run, e-mail info@gotrnjn.org.

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