This race was much different than any other race I have ever run. For the first year in four years I would be hanging up my tennis racquet and sneakers to commit to running full time. I have been running four or five times a week for the past two and a half months and running two local 5Ks up in Rhode Island. However, I had been focusing on this race, hoping to improve from last year. I never expected to succeed so much as an individual but as a team as well.
I was woken up by my father at 7am to get ready and get to the race on time. The Upper Saddle River 5K is, if not the biggest, close to the biggest race in all of Bergen County every year. With over 2000 runners each year, it's a popular event. I had a busy two days and past weekend academically at school so I didn't get as many runs in as I thought I could, but I was feeling confident. My parents and I drove down to pick up my cousins, William and Owen who would be joining us, and we headed over to Cavallini Middle School where the race would go off. We got there and started warming up, and like almost every runner, my cousins and I started by running up the first hill, which is right at the start for half a mile.
It eventually came time to get to the starting line and I knew that I was feeling comfortable and ready. The race went off promptly at 9am and everyone took off. I knew what I wanted to run and I hit the first mile perfectly at 6:45, ten seconds faster then my first mile last year. I continued to push and move up as I knew I was in shape to start pushing the second mile a little. I came across the second mile with a split of 6:35. I really was feeling good and I had been running with three or four runners the whole way. I wanted to see what kind of speed I had left for the last 1.11 miles. I started to push even harder and I didn't feel gassed or uncomfortable so I continued to push and came across the third mile with a crazy 6:05 split and was going nuts realizing I had a chance to break 20 minutes, something I haven't done since high school cross country. I could see the finish line in sight and the clock was certainly NOT on my side and I came across with a time of 20:03 and I felt amazing. Of course I felt like I had to throw up, but like my dad says, 'If you don't throw up after a race, you didn't give it your all'.
I was so happy with my time, but even happier because not only did I set a course PR, but my cousin William set a course PR, with a time of 23:20. My cousin Owen set a course PR as well, with a time of 32:53! Also, as a team, Never End The Fight placed 13th overall out of 65 teams, jumping eight spots from last year as well!
As a team Never End The Fight was supported by nine runners:
Justin Macaluso, 20:03, 61st overall
William Rice, 23:20, 224th overall
Jim Macaluso, 28:58, 751st overall
Courtney Kutcha, 29:29, 811th overall
Steve Greenblatt, 30:06, 894th overall