More than 400 runners take to the mine

Ogdensburg holds 5K run through Sterling Hill museum site

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  • PHOTOS BY JOHN CHURCH Kevin Good of Franklin runs through the Sterling Hill Mine Saturday morning.

  • Catherine Borkowski of Hamburg finished first of the women, first in the 50-59-year-old women's division, and 22nd overall with a time of 22:24.3.

  • Ben VanWyk of Sussex runs the underground portion of the Ogdensburg 5K race Saturday morning.

  • Overall winner Justin Scheid of Sparta runs on the underground portion of the Ogdensburg 5K race Saturday morning. His finishing time was 16:18.8.

Several roads through Ogdensburg were closed Saturday morning when 418 runners challenged the hills to support the Ogdensburg First Aid Squad.

A play on words, ‘A Major Race in a Miner Town’ was the event’s slogan and for the second year. The race course went through several underground passages of the Sterling Hill Mining Museum mine.

“I expected it to be a little bit longer and a little bit chillier,” said runner Erich Kraemer of Hardyston. “It was the same temperature as outside.”

There were some comments about the subterranean lighting last year and the museum made some upgrades.

“There were one or two parts where it was dark but I could see myself through,” Kraemer said.

The mine is wheelchair accessible and therefore presented no special difficulties to the runners. The gravel access road from Plant Street was a slight problem for Tim Dinan of Sparta, who pushed a stroller. “It was a little tough for me. My wife just had a baby two months ago and this is our first 5K together. I drew the short stick and had to push the stroller.”

He had no trouble with the running/rolling surface inside the mine. This was his first race pushing a double stroller.

“First time with two and there is a difference,” Dinan said

The mine is what makes the Ogdensburg 5K race so unique.

“I loved it,” said Suzanne Osterle of West Milford. “It was a lot of fun. Nice and cool.”

Runners needing some encouragement and a drink of water were served by a collection of boy, cub and daisy scouts at a hydration station located at the exit of the mine.

Joseph Farinella of Newton, a frequent runner, recognizes the true challenge of local running.

“Sussex County is known for the uphill,” Farinella said. “It exhausts you, but it is great when you get done.”

He ran in a five-mile trail run in Kittatinny Valley State Park on Friday and raced the Ogdensburg 5K on Saturday. Even with all his running, he still has a grandparent’s common complaint.

“I have been running races for eight years and I still can’t keep up with my grandchildren,” he said.

Ogdensburg Mahor Steve Ciasullo called it a successful day.

“The weather, the turnout, the organization gets better every year,” he said.

According to Best Race Systems, 101 more runners finished this year than last year.

The race is one of the many events celebrating this year’s 100th year anniversary of the borough of Ogdensburg splitting from Sparta Township. The Ogdensburg Historical Society opened the summer season with an old fashioned barbecue, and is planning a more formal dinner later in the year. Several organizations are coordinating a parade in September.

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