So what IS this USATF thing we all keep hearing about anyway??

USATF ( is the national organization that sanctions and supports Track & Field, Cross Country, and Long Distance Running (LDR) in the US.  It is best known for providing members race fee discounts as well as group accident insurance coverage and various special discounts and offers.  More information can be found at here.

USATF also conducts the state Grand Prix (GP) competitions.  It uses the 200+ long distance races in the state to determine the best runners in NJ.  The three individual grand prix championships – Overall, Mini-1, & Mini-2 – are grouped in five-year age groups.  The three top competitors in each are recognized and honored at a year-end banquet.

This is how it works:

  1. Become a member and ensure to name De Novo Harriers (#07-1101) as your club affiliation. USTAF-NJ also requires residency verification . You can verify once completed here.
  1. Complete the required number of sanctioned Grand Prix races of either 500 or 700 points. The winner of each gender gets the highest point and the last gender gets the minimum points. The rest are calculated in relation to their finish position.  You can determine your estimated number of points earned at these races here.
  1. You can check your standings throughout the year by click on the link entitled “Individual Grand Prix Standings.”
  1. After the last race of the year and final results are calculated, winners are invited to the annual banquet in January where plaques, and in some cases, cash awards are presented to the first three finishers in each category/age group.

Plan it out!

  1. Decide which competition(s) you would like to pursue in the upcoming year; the “Overall, the “Mini-1,” or the “Mini-2.’ See chart below and/or read the Grand Prix Overview and the Individual Grand Prix Rules.
Grand Prix Competition Race Distances Total # Req Races Max Championship Races (700 pts) Other USATF-NJ Races (500 pts)
OVERALL 5K & 4M 3 2 1
8K, 5M, 10K 3 2 1
> 15K 3 2 1
MINI-1 5K & 4M 9 3 6
MINI-2 8K, 5M, 10K 7 3 4


  1. Review the Championship Races ( and find the ones that are run at the race distances for the competition of your choice. Select and schedule the maximum number of Championships from those that fit your competition.
  1. For the 500 pt races, consult various race calendars including the USATF-NJ Road Race Calendar, Compuscore, or Best Racing


Additionally, the USATF-NJ offers its member running clubs, a team competition similar to the individual competitions.  In Team racing, the championship races are the only races that count.  However, if you are a member of the USATF-NJ, your address has been verified, and you have signed up for a Championship Race as an individual, you can also sign up to run with the De Novo Harriers team.  Simply email the Harriers Team Captains Amalie Park – Females, and Christopher Jentile – Males to let them know that you are pre-registered.  They will add you to the team and you will be running for the club and yourself.

The column entitled “Championship” on the Championship Races list indicates the age group the race targets. “Open” is for runners under 40, “Masters” is for those over 40 (in 10 year age groups), and “All Divisions” means both “Open” and “Masters”. Older runners are allowed to run in younger categories, but younger runners are not allowed in older groups competitions. The standings can be tracked on the same website LDR page as the Individual competitions.