WANTAGE, NJ – Nestled in between emerging fall foliage and the quiet back roads of Wantage Township, The Lusscroft Farm hosted its first 5K running event, Lusscroft Challenge 5K & Run With Your Dog, the crisp and sunny Saturday morning, October 6.
This inaugural event included a traditional 5K race, as well as a 5K for those who wanted to compete alongside their four-legged companions. The race was followed with the opportunity to purchase bake sale goods, watch equestrian events, and enjoy other farm-related festivities.
Among those who were ready to race with their favorite Fido was Hannah Saunders, a high school student from Minnisink, N.Y.
When asked if it was harder to run as a duo with her dog Maggie, she laughed. “It’s actually easier because it’s like having someone there with you. She stays with me.”
Having a furry companion may have been Saunder’s motivation, but the pooches were not the only thing that made this crowd flock to the starting line.
Meghan Radimer, a teacher from Branchville, N.J., who ended up being the first female to cross the finish line, explained her motivation to hit the pavement.
“I love running," Radimer said. "I’m running a marathon in 23 days. I went out and ran this morning already. It’s like a stress reliever.”
Saunder’s running partner, Tara Christensen, a physical therapist from Lafayette, agreed and added what inspires her to lace up.
“I started just for fitness reasons. It’s good because you can always challenge yourself," Christensen said.
The challenge of the Lusscroft 5K was new to all the participants, and that is one of the reasons the race founder, Elizabeth Perry from Newton, N.J. believed it was a great way for people to find out about the farm, and what it has to offer. It also allowed the farm to raise funds for the maintenance and restoration of its many historic elements.
“We have big gardens that we’ve started here. We’ve [fixed] the rooves on the barn and we have a beautiful collection of handmade carriages,” Perry elaborated as she spoke enthusiastically about the farmland and its many unique elements. “At the top of this hill is a beautiful hunting lodge that was built in the 20s.”
The lodge, which is constructed of old walnut, has local history in its bones.
“It’s in desperate need of repair,” she added.
At about 9:10, the runners stepped up the starting line, as a few joked about trying to run at a 5:30 pace. Perry said a few words to the athletes toeing the line before giving them her good luck wishes, and stepping aside to watch them take off and disappear down the road.
It was not until about 21 minutes later that the first runner emerged in the distance less than a quarter mile from the finish line.
For serious runners wondering about the accurate timing of a small town race, there was no need to worry. Fred Torres of Elite Racing Systems, the company that also does the timing for the New York City Marathon, was there to give runners their digits.
Not only did the runners get precise times, but they enjoyed a PR (personal record) friendly course.
William ‘Bill’ Roemer, a 53-year-old from Hunterdon County, filled The Alternative Press in on the course details, after he bounded across the finish line to capture first place in just under 21:30.
“[The course] was nice. I liked it. There was a hill going down, but it wasn’t steep,” explained Roemer.
The course was out and back and winded through the shaded streets around the farmland.
When asked if he would come back next year, he replied with, “Yes, certainly.”
In first place was William Roemer of Hunterdon Country followed by Meghan Radimer of Branchville.
Click here for full race results.