James McFarlane once again entered into the Police Officer Chris Hoban five-mile Memorial Run. He and the rest of the field once again enjoyed it still better than in past years on a recent Sunday morning. The directors decided to switch from the ‘old fashion’ timing to a more modern way and contacted an outside organization who is accustomed to do such a job.
And one of the runners also went along with this new way of scoring a race and certainly preferred it than the system the directors used over previous years..
Originally from Panama, McFarlane, well known in the running community, migrated to the United States from Panama in 1965. He started his running career during the days of Frank Shorter, Alberto Salazar, and Bill Rodgers in the early 1980s. At the time, with the growth of the New York City Marathon, McFarlane decided to pick up the running sport more seriously than over previous years.
“All the three great runners made me run even more,” he said after he completed the Chris Hoban race in a time of 38:24 for 99th place overall in Brooklyn. Now 56-years of age. McFarlane is still going strong.
A day prior to the Chris Hoban run, he tested another race this one at a distance of 5K at Eisenhower Park conducted by Hofstra University. Over this 3.1 mile distance, he was timed in 20:31 which earned him 22nd place overall and first position in his age group (55-59).
At this age, it becomes a little more difficult running back-to-back.
During the 24th annual Hoban event, his strategy was to get to the bridge and use the rolling hills on Third Avenue in Brooklyn going north to the finish line.
“But I had a car get in front of me and a pedestrian dashed out between cars and I almost collided in front of him,” he said. “The next thing I knew I started to feel a tweet in my hamstring. I wanted to finish because I wanted the Michael Hanley award for the Sanitation Department so I could mail it to the commissioner to put it on display.
The weather was a little on the warm side for the Hoban event as it was very favorable to the runners.
“I love coming here (to the Chris Hoban race),” he continued. “I’ve been running in this race for maybe 20 years. I believe the directors of the race then gave us sweaters for winning. I have a lot of them.
The directors of the race marked the first time electronic chips were used on the bibs for scoring and timing purposes.
“The scoring was done properly instead of (the officials) taking off tags,” McFarlane said. “If someone ran in front of us at the finish line it doesn’t matter because the chip time is already recorded. The chip time is better than the hand time, except when it is on the sneaker….”
McFarlane’s next race is the United States Track and Field event Cross Country race on Oct. 27, a week before the New York City Marathon, which he has done 18 times.
“I’m not built for a marathon” he added. “I used to do it for the Department (Sanitation). It’s very expensive now.”
Meanwhile, the overall winner of the Chris Hoban race was Brian Nersten, who just edged Troy Squire at the finish line. The former was clocked in 27 minutes to the runner-up’s 27:01. Angel Confessor (27:29), Jay Brown (28:24) and Glen Carnes (28:56) rounded out the field of 510 finishers.