NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–What would have been the fifth annual College Ave. Mile road race on Saturday, June 4, is officially cancelled, leaving unanswered questions and surprised runners.
In 2014 the event became an “all-divisions” USATF-NJ championship race and this year it was slated to garner 700 points in the New Balance Grand Prix scoring system for USATF-NJ members competing in the short, one-mile, “Open Championship,” road race.
The race is organized by the Garden State Track Club (GSTC), a locally-based group made up of mostly more competitive and advanced runners.
“[The event] was cancelled by the organizers,” said a USATF-NJ spokesperson, adding that there was a scheduling conflict with Hub City.
“We in-turn found another race that is hosting the masters division as the championship,” said USATF-NJ, explaining that another mile event already set to take place the evening of August 21 in Montclair, New Jersey, the Midland Avenue Mile, would become the new venue for the Grand Prix event and offer runners an alternative.
“The Midland Mile will pick-up the championship,” said USATF-NJ. “Unfortunate situation.”
The spokesperson said an email would be sent out on Wednesday or Thursday announcing the cancellation, and that pre-entered runners would be refunded.
In an email, Chuck Schneekloth, President of Garden State Track Club, said the club wants to preserve community relations, keep its relationship with the New Brunswick community strong, and not create any tension in town.
It's not clear if the required road closure approvals were requested by the organizer of the event. On social media, some attributed the cancellation to a "scheduling conflict."
“There ended up being a last minute scheduling conflict with the required police divisions (needed for traffic control) that was irreconcilable,” reads a Facebook post.
"With such short notice? I can't beleive it and I'm a bit bummed," said a local runner who added she missed the event only once since it launched in 2012, but couldn't make the Midland Avenue Mile in Montclair on August 21.
“No mention on [the USATF-NJ] website yet. It'll be interesting to see what transpires in the next day or so. In all my years of running I've never entered into a 1 mile race. I don't think I have the desire to either," commented a runner on Facebook.
"The New Brunswick Police Department has no information regarding the cancellation of [The College Ave. Mile]," said Captain J.T. Miller of the New Brunswick Police Department, referring us to City Hall "to see if the City had any involvement or input."
“City government has no involvement in the organization of that event,” confirmed Jennifer Bradshaw, the city's Public Information Officer.
Update: The road closure was approved by City Council at an April meeting, according to Bradshaw.