GLEN RIDGE, NJ — On April 18, a former Glen Ridge High School student, Class of 2012, competed in the 126th running of the Boston Marathon, surprising himself with his athleticism and giving his hometown something to cheer about. In a field of more than 25,000 entrants, Jamie Hartop finished 78th, with a personal-best time of 2:27:41.
In a celebratory email to Councilman Dan Murphy, a former GRHS track runner himself and the race organizer for the Ashenfelter 8K run on Thanksgiving Day, Hartop said he was the 68th male finisher overall; 10 women finished ahead of him, including one American woman. A marathon is 26.2 miles. Hartop averaged about 5:30 minutes per mile.
Currently living in Hoboken, Hartop, 28, grew up on Madison Street and attended Linden Avenue School after moving from Bloomfield when he was 4 years old. He ran indoor track for three seasons at GRHS, but at the middle distances of the 800 meter and the mile. He attended Ursinus College in Pennsylvania and there his events were sometimes increased to 5K and 10K races. He graduated from Ursinus in 2016, majoring in business and economics, and international relations. He works in digital advertising for Quotient Technology in New York City.
In a telephone interview, Hartop said he ran throughout most of his time in college and then took a few months off but really got back into it about a year after graduating. Running, he said, gives him a purpose other than just the workaday world.
“It was something I could put my mind to other than work stresses,” he said.
Hartop also competed in the 2019 Boston Marathon, timing in at 2:42:51, and has competed in the New York City Marathon twice; the Philadelphia Broad Street Run, a 10-mile race on the first Sunday in May; and numerous local races.
“I get better as the distance goes on,” he said. “In high school, I plateaued running middle distances. At college, I tried longer distances and had decent results. And I really enjoy putting in the miles and seeing it come to fruition.”
He ran his first marathon, the Atlantic City Marathon, in 2017.
“I was definitely looking for a change, a goal to work toward,” he said about competing in a longer race. “My goal was just to finish, which I did. I was confident I would, putting in the work. But there’s a lot of mystery going on in those 26.2 miles.”
Hartop said he started the 2022 Boston Marathon in the first wave of nonprofessional runners and at a faster pace than he wanted, but he was “swept up in the environment.” Nevertheless, he kept his composure and maintained effort. The three things he keeps in mind when running, he said, are self-confidence, belief and restraint. Prior to the Boston event, he had run his previous personal-best marathon about a year earlier in the Two Rivers Marathon, in Lackawaxen, Pa. His time was 2:32:50.
Approaching the 2022 Boston Marathon finish, Hartop said he had a lot on his mind.
“During the last mile, I was wondering if I was in the top 200 or 250 finishers,” he said. “I was wearing a watch and earlier in the race thinking how I felt compared to my best time and I felt I was working harder. But I felt pulled along by the other runners and the atmosphere of the marathon, through the suburbs and the city cheering you on. I knew people were tracking me, and it kept me motivated.”
Because of the staggered starting times, he had to wait to learn how he finished. The top 200, he thought, and then found out he had finished 78th.
“It absolutely shocked me,” he said. “I think I personally know 78 people faster than me. But it was a proud moment.”
Learning the results, others were also proud, including Dan Murphy.
“I’ve been watching Jamie Hartop’s progression as a runner since his high school days,” Murphy said in an email. “His Boston Marathon was a remarkable achievement and a personal record for him. It’s been fun to see him mature as a long-distance runner to an accomplished marathoner. To say I’m proud of him is an understatement.”
Hartop said he did not know yet what his next race would be, but he plans on returning to Glen Ridge to compete in the Fitzgerald’s 5K Lager Run, scheduled for June 12.
“Running gives me satisfaction,” he said, “the consistency of getting out the door and running. But with sleep and diet, maybe I can make improvements.”