Sunday, April 15, 2018

Leskow wins the 20K Indian Trails championship

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, April 15, 2018


It hasn’t taken Aaron Leskow long to establish his credentials as one fast young runner.  Leskow moved to Morristown in 2016 after graduating from Saint Josephs University in Philadelphia.  Leskow has always been in the top three to five in New Jersey races since his arrival.

This past Sunday he won the challenging Indian Trails 20K championship in Middletown after running down early leader Michael Dixon of Highland Park.  In an email Leskow affirmed that it was the first time to run the race.

“It was quite an experience,” he said.  “Very hilly, but nice terrain and views.”

An understatement of course.  In the final miles of the race the runners climb to what seems to be the top of the world and are rewarded with a wide, unbelievable view of the Manhattan skyline.

Leskow said that he passed Dixon right after hitting mile ten.  “He was up there for quite awhile, so it was fun to go chase for a little bit.”

Leskow finished in 1:09:57 while Dixon followed soon after in 1:10:19.  Ericka Meling of High Bridge was the top woman finisher.  She finished in 1:23:59.

Meling and Leskow share the honor of leading in their respective Garden State Track Club teams to first place in their open divisions.  The Garmin women’s team placed second in the open division and their open men placed third after the GSTC A and B teams.

The Morris area Garmin club won the M40 and M50 divisions while their women’s 40 and 50 teams placed second to the Clifton Road Runners club.

Local runners had a good showing, with  Stacey Slaughter,25, of Parsippany the seventh woman to finish.  Her time was 1:30:39.  Stuart Haynes,42, of Chatham scored as the first masters man and second in age grading with Reno Stirrat, 63, of Rockaway leading in the age grading with an 80% PLP.  Nora Cary, 63, of Morristown finished in 1:38:05 with an 84.6% PLP.  Mary Christian, 54, of Flanders finished in 1:35:38 and fifth in age grading at 77.0%.  It is interesting to note that all of the age grading percentages were a bit on the low side thanks to the difficult course.


Stephen Mennitt, now living in Brooklyn but previously a New Jersey resident was unable to wrap up a transfer to the Freedom Running Club and not able to run the 20K for his new team, instead went to Newark’s Branch Brook Park and won the Cherry Blossom 10K this past Sunday.  His time was 33:01, well over a minute ahead of second place.  Carly Graham of Hoboken was the women’s winner in 39:32.  Heather McDermott of Morristown placed third in 42:23.  Close to a thousand runners finished the race.  Only young cherry trees had begun to bloom in the park, thanks to the brutal New Jersey winter, making the title of the race quite a misnomer.


Joe Sikora of Succasunna has to be New Jersey’s ultimate Marathon Man.  On Monday he will be running in his 33rd Boston Marathon and it will be his 25th consecutive marathon.  His wife Anna Lisa has created a 3 foot by 3 foot banner to mark the occasion.  It reads “BOSTON STRONG,  JOE’S 33RD BOSTON MARATHON, 25 IN A ROW.  Thirty three marathons are quite enough, but it will actually be Sikora’s 189th. 

The sixty-six year old Sikora said that he will be doing only two or three marathons per year for now on the “preserve whatever longevity that I may have left”.

Marathoner David Epstein has posted his weather view for Monday and it will not make the runner’s happy.  He says that a storm system approaching from the west will drag a series of frontal systems through the region. 

Quoting Epstein,   For the runners, it will be quite chilly in the morning as they arrive in Hopkinton. With showers around, the wet will only add to the chill. The good news is that temperatures will get into the 50s, and perhaps even 60s, late in the morning or in the early part of the afternoon.

It seems that the runners can’t win anymore in Boston.  Either it gets too hot or too cold.  I’m not sure when they had perfect running weather for the race.  After all the training and the work to qualify for a Boston opportunity they have no choice but to go for it, weather or not.  Best wishes for all runners to have a good race.


The MK5K, now known as the Ryan Steidl Memorial 5K, has moved from its customary Saturday to Sunday, April 22nd.  The race starts and finishes on Pocono Road at the campus of St. Claire’s Hospital in Denville.   It is a fast course that the race website says has been newly repaved. 


Race Results can often be found at or at
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Ed Neighbour: Dedicated volunteer, dedicated runner

On Sunday, April 8, 2018


Ed Neighbour of Sparta, wears many hats in service to the sport that he has enjoyed since he was a boy.   He is currently the President of the Morris County Striders, but that pales in significant when compared to his service to USATF.   His involvement with the New Jersey association began in 2005 when he was asked to fill a vacancy on the Long Distance Running Committee.  He became the division chair in 2008.

In 2011 Neighbour was elected president of the association and served two full terms of office, vacating the position in 2017.  Presidents and vice presidents may serve for only two three-year terms.

“I always got more enjoyment out of being the LDR division chair.  Not that it hasn’t had its moments”, said Neighbour.  “I’m more in my comfort zone there”. 

One of the USATF president’s duties is to act as the master of ceremonies at the annual awards banquet, which has grown in size to 500 participants.

“That was my biggest apprehension about becoming president,” Neighbour said with a chuckle. 

Neighbour credits his father with turning him onto running.

“My father got caught up in the first running boom and I started going to races with him.  I was probably 11 or 12 years old.”

Back then Ed Neighbour the elder, was a very competitive masters runner and his son remembers how his dad would get wound up prior to races. 

“He was in his own zone,” said Neighbour.  Son and father ran in the early Ridgewood Run 10Ks and the Giralda Farms 10K.  Dad even took him to Deer Path Park to run in a cross country race.

Despite his early start in the sport, Neighbour did not run on a team while in high school nor in college.  He did continue to run while attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy NY and ran several New York City marathons and in Philadelphia.  While in his 30’s Neighbour ran shorter races and turned back to marathons in his 40’s.  By then he was able to choose destination marathons, including Rome, Madrid and Buenos Aires.

Neighbour has run the Big Sur marathon in California three times and clearly loves the scenic Highway 1 along the rugged California coast.  His first Big Sur was in 2011 when the course had to be changed to an out-and-back due to a portion of the highway sliding into the Pacific Ocean.  The other two times he ran the full point to point course.

“You start at Big Sur and you run through the Redwoods for five miles and then you come out and you get your first glimpse of the ocean,” said Neighbour, adding that is when the runners know how much of a head wind they will be running into.

A week after one of the Big Sur marathons Neighbour found a trail race to run and has since added trail racing to his repertoire, an offshoot that he really enjoys.  After two years with no marathons, Neighbour will be doing his 26th this year, although he is still choosing the right one

This morning Neighbour is in Middletown, running the Indian Trails 20K.  It’s a race he describes tongue in cheek as rolling, knowing full well the course is all hills.  He feels that he is ready for the distance having come through December and January training with no trouble.  It has just been February fluctuations and March’s nor’easters that have been a challenge.

“I’d always start out with a plan, a fixed idea of what I wanted to do with mileage, and always bargain myself into running more,” said Neighbour.  “I’d go out and ‘I’ll just do five’ and then, ‘I’m OK, I’ll do six’, and that would turn into seven.”

Neighbour runs with his club on Wednesday evenings, and when he is not at a race, he joins club members for Sunday runs.  Some Saturdays the club will have an impromptu run on the Columbia Trail in Long Valley, which is where they were this past weekend.  Neighbour did twelve miles on the flat converted railroad bed, ready to go the distance at today’s 12.4 miles.  After the race he will put on his LDR cap and hand out championship awards to his fellow USATF competitors. 


Race Results can often be found at or at
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Distance races early in the season

On Sunday, April 1, 2018


Somehow it seems counterintuitive that there is an abundance of distance races in New Jersey this time of year.  With the racing season just starting, we have already had a half marathon in Montclair and a ten miler in Somerset Park.  Next weekend the first state championship of the season will be the 20K in Navesink.

Let’s get real.  With this endless winter, with snow storms week after week, who has been able to train for really long distance races?  Well, apparently quite a few runners. 

At the Baker’s Dozen half marathon last Sunday, Justin Scheid of Succasunna stayed well ahead of New Yorker Mike Horowicz to finish in 1:14:23 with Horowicz finishing in 1:14:57.   Third place was taken by the Randolph’s, Roberta Groner who finished in 1:17:21.  Behind those three was another 1,126 runners.  That’s not all.  The relay had 85 teams; all sporting unique team names that make it impossible to properly identify the top finishers.

At the Garden State ten miler that is run from Colonial Park in Somerset, Aaron Leskow of Morristown led in 453 runners with a finish time of 53:33.  Kristin Andrews of Manalapan was the first woman and finished in 1:03:44.  In the 5K, Kyle Price of Milltown won the race in 15:40 and Emily Rosario finished in 18:30 for first woman.  Over 340 runners finished the 5K.

Only two weeks later and these runners can go to Middletown to run in the Indian Trails 20K that takes them up and down the hills of Navesink in what has to be the most challenging 20K, for sure, and maybe most challenging of any race in New Jersey. 

Last year was the first year that the Indian Trails morphed from a 15K into a 20K and the first year that it was the 20K championship.  Joshua Izewski of Doylestown, who won the New Balance grand prix in 2017, won the 20K in 1:08.06.  Justin Scheid was second in 1:09.53.  Hannah Echstein of Middletown was the first woman in 1:19:29.

Runners have been flocking to shorter races too.  At the Are You Faster Than a Ridge Runner 5K in Basking Ridge last Sunday, 259 runners finished.  There was a race at Duke Island Park on Saturday although I haven’t been able to find the results.


With the snow finally melting, Friday was the first day that I tried to run on what I call the Chester Trail, other’s call it Madeline’s Trail, and what it might be called by others is the Black River Wildlife Management Trail, or the West Morris Greenway.  It runs from Horseshoe Lake Park in Succasunna down to Chester Township.  I start in Ironia at Pleasant Hill Road.  I went in about an eighth of a mile and encountered a tree across the trail. 

It was easy to climb over so I resumed my jogging pace, sidestepping branches and sticks that were littering the trail.  At the little parking area that is at the end of Main and Chester, a very, very large tree is covering the entire parking area.  I climbed over it, and then found myself ducking and climbing for the next mile and a half. 

A railroad bed trail is obviously an out-and-back trail and on my way back I took photos of each tree; duck-under or climb-over.  I didn’t photo the last two because my cell phone ran out of power.  There were 14 blockages in that mile and a half! I don’t know how bad it is on the next three miles of trail down to Pleasant Hill Road in Chester, but I am sure there have to be other trees down.

I’ve notified the Morris County Park trail manager, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes some time to clear the trail.  Similar trails throughout the county are surely in the same condition and as of Friday “my” trail was too soft to hold up under heavy equipment. 


Race Results can often be found at or at
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

Sunday, March 25, 2018

New Jersey runners took home medals at national championships

On Sunday, March 25, 2018


Can there ever be too much of a good thing?  Well sometimes, in running, there is an abundance of events to choose from in which to compete.  Such was the case last week when masters runners had to pick from two national championships.

In Landover Maryland the national masters track and field championship was held from Friday, March 16th to Sunday, March 18th.  Just another state south in Virginia Beach the national 8 kilometer road championship was held on Saturday March 17th.

Most competitive runners are willing, even eager to do both track and long distance running, and the conflict made it hard for some to choose.

Peter Kashulines, Jr. of Mountain Lakes picked the track and it paid off for him with third in both the 800 meters and the 400 meters in his M50 division.  He hit 58.52 in the 400 and 2:11.59 in the 800.

Mark Williams of Columbia placed second in his M45 400 meter race with a time of 55.52.  Williams attempted to break the American M45 record (1:56.10) for the 800 meters.  Running solo with the rest of the field trailing, he was well on his way until the proverbial piano landed on his back in the last 200 meters.  He finished first in what was basically a time trial, but well off his previous time of 1:58.62, instead falling across the finish line in 2:07.67.  

Fellow Garmin teammate Brian Crowley of Hillsborough took third in the 1500 meter race in his M50 division in 4:29.74.  Garmin team captain Gary Rosenberg of Morristown finished just out of the medals, in fourth place in the 3,000 meters in the M45 in 10:03.99.

Other New Jersey medalists included Dianne DeOliviera of Brick who placed second in in the 1500 meters and the 800 meters, and third in the 400 meters in the W45 division.  Harold Nolan of Navesink also took third in the M70 1500 meter run.   Chuck Schneekloth of North Brunswick placed first in the M40 800 meter race and Tony Plaster of Neptune won his M50 division of the 800 meters.


While all that activity was taking place in Landover, down at Virginia Beach on Saturday, under sunny skies and perfect running weather, other New Jersey runners were looking for medals in their division in the 8 kilometer.

The Garden State Track Club’s M40 team did just that, placing first in their division with Sam Teigan of Hawthorne running 26:05 for third in the M40 division and Jonathan Frieder of Rye Brook New York second in his M45 division in 26:09 and Gary Leaman of Hardwick taking second in his M55 division in 28:25, and third scoring member of the team.

In the highly competitive M60 division the Shore Athletic Club took fourth place out of nine teams with Reno Stirrat of Rockaway one of the scoring members of the team.  Wife Susan was dropped down to the W40 division where the team placed third with Christine Hill of Middletown leading them in and placing third in the W45 division.

The Clifton Road Runners W50 team placed second with Suzanne LaBurt of Greenwood Lake NY taking third in her division, and Laura DeLea of Sparta fourth and Kerry Monahan Gaughan of River Vale third in her W55 division.

In their respective divisions, the Clifton M70 team placed fifth and the Shore’s M50 team placed fourth.  Like their women’s team that had older women drop down for the W40 division, the Shore M50 team had one man in his 50’s and two in their 70’s who dropped down to fill out the team.  In national competition, just having a team finish garners points toward the year long team grand prix.

Not to be overlooked in all of the championship reporting, Randolph’s Roberta Groner placed first masters woman in the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon on Sunday the 18th with a time of 1:15:14.  And down in Virginia Beach, Justin Scheid of Succasunna placed second overall in the Shamrock half marathon with a time of 1:09.18.

Race Results can often be found at or at
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

Monday, March 19, 2018

Storm took out the power and the column for three weeks

This page has not been updated since the February 25, 2018 post.  On Friday, March 2, 2018 the power to my home and office was taken out by a powerful nor'easter storm.  A second storm followed within days.  The power company did not restore power until Saturday March 10, 2018.   

Although the power was restored, my well, having been idle for such a long time, failed.  It lost its "prime" and could not be re-primed.  It took several more days before the well was working correctly.  As can be imagined, my focus was not on writing a Running Column, and so three weeks of the column were lost and not to be regained.

The column will return on Sunday, March 25, 2018 in the Daily Record.  


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Get it done!

On Sunday, February 25, 2018


Writing a newspaper column about running means that I am often approached by race organizers asking me to promote their event.  When I ask for details I am faced with a disappointing decision.  Is this a race I should tell my readers about?

Is your race sanctioned?  Is your course certified?  Will it be in the New Balance grand prix?  If the answer is no, then I have to wonder if the organizers really want to put on a quality race that will please and attract the runners.  I don’t want to send them to an unorganized, uncertified, unsanctioned event with no grand prix points.

Sanctioning with USATF, the national governing body of the sport, has a cost.  That sanction though covers the event’s host location, such as a school, or church, and the town in which it will be held.  This sanction insurance is very inexpensive as compared to the prices of most event insurance policies.

Any athlete who is a USATF member and is injured while participating in a sanctioned event will be eligible for secondary medical insurance coverage for the injury.  Think that is not important?  A New Jersey USATF member was injured at a non-sanctioned event last year.  Her medical costs were not covered.

Sanctioning a race in New Jersey means that the local USATF association will have the race listed in its race calendar.  This is important if the race is using a race timing system that is not well known in the area.  Runners in New Jersey know to check the CompuScore and Best race timing website for races.  A start-up timing site will go unnoticed, but if the race is sanctioned the runner can see it at the USATF calendar.

By far the most compelling reason to not only sanction a race, and to get the course certified is to place it in the New Balance grand prix.  Yes, that costs money.  A course certifier will charge for certifying the course and it might be several hundred dollars and the longer the course, the larger the fee.  But the certification remains valid for ten years, so a good accountant will pro-rate the cost over ten years.  If the fee is $300.00 then the cost per year is $30.00.

Now here’s where it gets tricky.  You pay the sanction fee based on the number of runners you attract.  The New Balance grand prix is $ 75.00 if you are holding just one race, $ 100.00 for two.
How many more runners do you need to attract in order to benefit from putting the race in the grand prix?  Let’s just say that your pre-entry fee is $ 25.00 and you give the USATF member a discount on the pre-entry, so let’s say that the average fee – adding together pre and post entries and dividing by the number of runners is $26.00.  I said it was tricky but let’s go with it.

So, your costs are $ 30.00 for the certification, $ 220.00 for the sanction and $ 75.00 for the grand prix for a total new cost of $ 325.00.   Now divide $ 325.00 by $ 26.00 and you know that you need to attract 12.5 runners. Go ahead and say the average entry fee comes out to $24.00, so you need to attract 13.5 runners.  In this area where local runners won’t waste their energies on non-grand prix races, it’s a no brainer.  In fact, here’s another tip - there are runners who won’t go to a race unless it is timed by CompuScore or Best.

If the race is in the late winter, or early spring it’s a double no-brainer.  Runners want to get to the grand prix races early and often.  They may have better races later in the year, but there is no guarantee that injuries won’t pop up.  The early races are insurance against injury lay-offs.

If you know someone who is talking about putting on a race in the state, share this column with them.  Tell them, “It costs money to make money.”  It is sure true in New Jersey road racing.

For info go to 


Race Results can often be found at or at
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Track and Field Championship dual meet was a success

On Sunday, February 18, 2018


In the January 28th running column here, I suggested that road runners could run a 5K indoors.  While my suggestion was slightly tongue in cheek, 11 men, and two women did run the 5,000 meter race at the Ocean Breeze indoor track and field facility on Staten Island this past Sunday.

It was a dual meet between the New York association and New Jersey.  Others from outside the two associations were excluded, causing many other athletes such as ones from the Long Island association and MidAtlantic to be quite unhappy.  As this was the first time for the event to be run as a dual meet, there is talk of making it a “tri-meet in 2019 and scoring all the others as a single group.

New Jersey outscored the home association 264 to 184 on the women’s side and 404 to 183 on the men’s side.  The highest scoring women’s club was Bella N Motion with 120 points over second place Shore Athletic club with 82 points with the Raritan Valley Road Runners third with 80 points. 
The Shore Athletic Club far outscored all the men’s clubs with 485 points but the Morris area Garmin club pulled in 176 points for second place.  Local long distance runners represented a good many of the track athletes.

Reno and Susan Stirrat of Rockaway hung up their cross country spikes and changed into track spikes for the meet.  Susan Stirrat was the work horse in the family.  She started off with running the mile in 7:28.75, then the 800 meters in 3:39.79 and finished her day with the 3,000 meters in 15:15.4.  Hubby Reno focused all of his energies on the 3,000 and finished in 11:22.59.

Kevin Higgins of Randolph traded in his marathon shoes for track spikes to win the M55 division in the mile in 5:32.4.  The mile race that drew the most attention was the heat with Gary Rosenberg of Morristown, still sporting injuries from his fall at the Millrose Games relay, attempting to break five minutes in order to keep his sub five streak alive. 

Rosenberg had missed it in previous attempts this season.  He was ready to go and his Garmin teammates were there to spur him on.  With a 4:21 split with one more lap to go Rosenberg picked up the pace to hit 35.9 for the last lap and a finishing time of 4:57.254.

The Garmin team nearly took over the track for the 800 meter run.  Five Garmin men out of the six in the M50 finished:  Peter Kashulines of Mountain Lakes in 2:10.5 was first, then Tom Metz of Denville in 2:33.63 in second, John Hanlon of Riverdale in 2:37.50 for fourth, Angelo Harasts of Pine Brook in 2:38.7 and Richard Carlson of Boonton in 2:45.43.  Harasts also ran the mile, finishing in 5:43.51

Mark Williams of Columbia, still recovering from the exhibition Masters Mile at the New Balance Games the day before in Boston, won the 800 meters M45 division in 2:02.74.  Robert Skorupski  of Rockaway finished in third in the division in 2:13.07.  At the other end of the age spectrum, John Saarmann, M75, of Stanhope finished the 800 meters in   3:53.16 and the 400 meters in 1:39.27.

By far the biggest buzz of the meet was Nora Cary of Morristown, running in her first ever indoor track meet.  The 62 year old finished the mile in 6:27.75 that age graded at 91.16% and the 3,000 meters in 12:55.39 for an 89.5% PLP.

Lori McGill of Budd Lake did the same double and medaled in both events as well.
The Garmin club put together an M40 and M50 4 X 800 relay team to add a few more points to their tally, knowing that the Shore AC, with all their sprinters and field event men would outscore them.   

Although from outside the Morris area it is worth noting that an enthusiastic group of Raritan Valley Road Runners women ran in distances from the 60 meter dash up to the 3,000 meters and did both the 4 X 400 and 4 X 800 to gather points for their club.


Race Results can often be found at or at
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at