Planet Princeton

Record Number of Runners Will Participate in HiTOPS Half Marathon on Sunday

The 2015 HiTOPS PHM field charging up Mercer Rd. Photo: Serge Trigoubovich.
The 2015 field charging up Mercer Road. Photo: Serge Trigoubovich.

A record 1,750 runners will be in Princeton for this year’s sold out HiTOPS Princeton Half Marathon. The runners will be joined by more than 5,000 spectators for the fourth annual event on Sunday morning, Nov. 6.

“We couldn’t be more excited to once again bring the HiTOPS Princeton Half to our community”, said Bill Schofield, interim executive director of HiTOPS. “This is not only our largest single fundraiser, but it’s also one of the largest scale events in the region.”

Based in Princeton, HiTOPS Adolescent Health Education works statewide to provide comprehensive sexuality education, promote healthy relationships and foster supportive connections for teens and young adults.

“We believe that community health starts with healthy young people”, said HiTOPS Board President Tracey Post. “We teach young people how to navigate adolescence, and make responsible decisions about their health and relationships. Adolescence is a challenging time, and HiTOPS is here to help educators, parents and youth along the way.”

The HiTOPS Princeton Half Marathon is a challenging and scenic course that includes hills and passes through numerous historical and cultural Princeton neighborhoods. Runners will cross the Princeton Battlefield, pass by the campuses of Princeton University, Westminster Choir College, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Institute for Advanced Study, and climbs up Washington and Herrontown roads.

Last year’s course record run for the 13.1-mile race, set by Zach Rivers, age 25, was 1 hour, 12 minutes and 10 seconds.

Every participant will receive a tee-shirt featuring the Princeton Dinky. A contest on social media revealed overwhelming support for the Dinky to be the icon to represent the race. Previous choices included Einstein and a black squirrel.

This year, the top male and female finisher will receive grand prizes. Hamilton Jewelers and Tag Heuer have partnered to donate two Tag Connected Timepieces worth more than $1,500 each.

Ryan Capuzzi, 14, of Belle Mead, is the youngest registered runner in the 2016 Princeton Half Marathon.
Ryan Capuzzi, 14, of Belle Mead, is the youngest registered runner in the 2016 Princeton Half Marathon.

This year the runners represent 32 states and five countries. The oldest runner, Duncan McMillian, is 78. The youngest runner, Ryan Capuzzi of Belle Mead, is 14 and is in the ninth grade.

“He just started on his Montgomery High School cross country team this year, and when he found out his last meet would be November 2, he was excited to be free and clear to do the Princeton half,” said Karen Capuzzi, Ryan’s mom, who is also running in the rave. “I suspect he will come in a good half hour before me. My biggest concern isn’t his age or ability, it’s him staying warm while he has to wait for me to finish.”

The race begins at 7 a.m. Medals and awards will be handed out on Hinds Plaza at 9 a.m. A post-race “kegs and eggs” celebration for runners and spectators will be held at the Alchemist & Barrister, 28 Witherspoon St., from 9 a.m. until noon.

To find a good viewing location for the race, visit princtonhalfmarathon.com to see the course map.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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