Sunday, July 23, 2017

Remembering back in the day

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 21, 2017


My decision to add the DVR element to my cable service was one of the best I’ve ever made.  I can record a televised marathon and watch it the next day, or I can delay watching the coverage by an hour or more, and then catch up by fast forwarding through the commercials.

During the summer season with the Diamond League  track and field series in Europe where the elite athletes compete I am in heaven, watching at my leisure, backing up to do my own “instant replay”.  I came across a column I wrote more than twenty years ago and now, watching female athletes compete, it hit me again, what a change has occurred in my lifetime.

Wilma Rudolph, the Olympic triple gold medalist had died, and I wrote of the difference between Rudolph’s experience and my own.  I grew up in Washington state on an island in Puget Sound that was, and still is, isolated yet near the bustling cities of Seattle and Tacoma.  We lived on a small berry farm surrounded by giant Douglas firs – a perfect environment for the tomboy that I was.

When I wasn’t doing chores, I was free to run and explore and play.  My dad was an amateur athlete – a good boxer, diver and gymnast.  My sister and I were willing students and he taught us how to box and do basic gymnastics.  At school, I looked forward to playground where tag was a staple game and where we sometimes held impromptu races.

In a game of tag I could never be caught.  In a race, no girl could beat me and there were two boys who could only sometimes outrun me.  On field days, I would win all my events.  It was my favorite day of the school year.  I was in heaven.  Then I moved up to high school and everything changed.  Girls were no longer encouraged to participate in sports.  Indeed, I learned that running and jumping would somehow injure me.

My grade school running rivals became stars of the football and basketball teams where their leg speed was put to good use.  Me, well, eventually I learned how to twirl a baton and became a majorette.

Oh, we girls could pay volleyball, tennis, baseball and basketball in our physical education classes and intramural sports.  That was because they weren’t considered too vigorous and didn’t involve serious running.

Girls’ basketball allowed only three steps with the ball.  No running and dribbling down the court.  You must pass almost as soon as you receive the ball.  I would look with envy as the boys played their basketball and puzzle with resentment at the restrictions placed on me because of my gender.

On my own time, when no one was looking, I did run.  I ran on the logging trails near my home with my horse.  There I was safe from prying eyes that might find me foolish or unfeminine.

Then when I probably first became aware of the Olympics, I heard and read of this Wilma Rudolph – an American girl who was competing with other women in track running events.  It blew my mind.  How did it happen?  Who let her and the others run?

Obviously, they had been encouraged to do so by adults who were coaching and training them.  But why had my school and all the others that I knew, never allowed girls to run or compete in serious sports?

While Rudolph was blazing down the track, except for those occasional runs with my horse, I long abandoned my tomboy ways.  If I was not quite a demur young miss, I was certainly not an athlete.  That didn’t come for twenty more years.  My first competition was in 1982 when I was now a master.

Which brings me back to those Diamond League meets.  Friday night, New Jersey’s Ajee Wilson set an American record in the 800 meters, while finishing in third place in 1:55.61, Caster Semenya was first in 1:55.27, with Francine Niyonsaba second in 1:55.47.  What a thrilling race to watch as the three women battled three across down the home stretch.

We can look forward for more meets this summer and this tomboy can enjoy and remember back in the day when girls weren’t allowed to run.


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, July 16, 2017

Verizon Corporate Classic went off without rain or lightning

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 16, 2017


Would they have to cancel the Verizon Corporate Classic 5K again in 2017?  Heat was building on Thursday morning with dreadful thunder and lightning storms predicted.  But in Morristown the heat began to drop and a mild rain was all that fell as race time at 7:30 p.m. approached.

Not that is wasn’t uncomfortable.  The humidity was heavy as the nearly three thousand runners began the race down Maple Avenue and then down Route 202, Mt. Kemble Avenue.  Out in front a lead pack formed with close to ten runners a half mile into the race.  Down they sped to the turnaround just north of Harter Road, and back up on the same road that they had gone down. 

The lead pack had spread out after mile two with only a few left in the fight.  In the end Kyle Price of North Brunswick managed to make it to the finish line first, with Joe Mummert of Mahwah running for Merrill Lynch next and Liam Boylan-Pett of Clinton in third.  Their chip times were 16:25, 16:31 and 16:44 respectively.

Not far behind those lead men was Ashley Higgonson of Morristown.  She finished in seventh place overall in17:12.   Higgonson, running for Riker Danzig then and now won the 2014 race in the nearly identical time of 17:10.

The second place woman was Diana D’Achille of Denville, running for Verizon who finished in 18:33. D’Achille won the 2015 race in 18:17. Karen Auteri of Belvidere, running for Quintilesims finished third in 18:38.  Auteri finished second woman overall in 2014.

While the speedier runners were challenging themselves in the humidity on the deceptive course that drops down on the way out on Route 202 with the subsequent climb back to the finish on Maple Avenue with a short serious climb on Market Street, other participants were happily walking the length of the race.

  When Price was finishing five hundred participants had not yet hit the one mile marker.  One hundred sixty-two participants finished in over an hour - averaging each mile in slower than 19 minute per mile pace.

This is not to be scoffed at as the race invites people to come out and work toward fitness and health and if that means a 20 minute pace so be it.  The participants were out there and who knows, an elite runner may be hiding undiscovered in their ranks needing just this one event to inspire them to future fitness.  It happens.


Looking for another race this summer?  Look no further. 

 The Morris County Striders summer series 5K cross country race is this Tuesday, July 18th at Johnson Park
 in Boonton.  Each race is part of a series that scores the best three out of the four races in the series.  
Robert Skorupski, 44, of Rockaway is in contention on the men’s side with two teenagers, Tommy Carney, 
14, of Denville who finished ahead of Skorupski in the first race, as did Noah Schagelin, 16, of Rockaway.  
Skorupski came back in the second race to finish in second place to Carrington Retzios, 17, of Budd Lake
 who finished in 17:30.  While the two teens finished in third and fourth.
On the other side of the ledger, Kayla Schramm, 12, of Goshen NY won the first race in age division 
course record time of 19:35.  Astonishingly right behind her was Allison Lounsbury, 13,
 of Franklin Lakes in 19:44.  Christine Carny, 17, of Denville was third in 22:05.
Schramm returned in the second race to win in a slower paced 21:00.  Carney returned for the second 
race making those two the leaders in the series on the female side.   Any runner who has completed
 just one race can hop back into the series by competing at this Tuesdays race and the next one on
 August 1st.

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, July 9, 2017

Verizon Corporate Classic Thursday changes course

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 9, 2017


How does that old song go?  “There’s gonna be some changes made today.”

Well, maybe not today, but on Thursday there will be changes to the Verizon Classic 5K that could have some people unprepared.  Yes, last year the staging area was changed from the Headquarters Plaza to Morristown High School, and then, yes, a really nasty storm changed everything.  No race at all.  A make-up run was held a couple of weeks later.  

Well, here it is 2017 and the Verizon Classic is sporting a new venue and a new course.  Nothing like the course of 2016 and nothing like 2015.

Nope, runners will leave from the Verizon Building at 37 Maple Avenue and head down Mt. Kemble Avenue.  Yes, Route 202.  Down and back as in a true Out-and-Back course.  The turnaround will be just before Harter Road.

An out-and-back course with 400 people is pretty easily managed.  An out-and-back with 4,000 runners, which is possible on a good night for racing is not so easy.  In 2015 when the race was last conducted as a race, the winning time was 16:22.  When he was finishing the 3,491st runner was passing mile marker One.  Get the picture?

The course marshals will be experienced runners from two running clubs whose job will be to keep those slower runners on their own side of the road, while making sure that the returning runners coming back to the finish have their side of the road free from – well – slow moving bodies.

The staging has all been figured out with traffic posts and tape delineating the course right down the middle of Route 202.  Those runners-turned-course marshals will be making sure that the returning runners have their space.

With a field that could be as large as 4,000 runners and walkers, the timing has to change.  The runners chip time will be their actual time when scoring the event.  This means that each runner is timed only when he or she crosses the computer timing mat at the official start point of the race, and when they have crossed the finish line.

This race does not score age divisions as the focus is on the many corporate teams that compete.  However, runners with no affiliation are also free to register and run, although there are no age division awards.

The race has a 7:30 p.m. start time. For more information check out

Continuing to use old metaphors:  what we have here is a horse of a different color.  As in the Ellie’s 5K at Horseshoe Lake park in Succasunna.  The course has to be the most challenging that anyone has ever run, and yet it has no hills.

The park has a perimeter path of less than two full miles, so to run a 5K the race organizers have been creative to find a full 3.1-mile course.   It is all for a good cause.  The race benefits the Ellie Reynolds ALS Foundation.

At the Race for Recovery 5K at Central Park on the July 4th, 44-year-old Elena Rozhko of Morristown almost won the race outright.  She finished in 18:52 for third overall.  Youngster Patrick Mullen, 16, of Morristown won the race in 17:43, with Sean Thoulitus, 18, of Gillette second in 17:55.   An enthusiastic group of supporters of the Market Street Mission boosted the number of finishers to 240, many of them walking the 3.1-mile cross-country course.


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, July 2, 2017

Thirty-six teams at Fitzgerald's Lager Run

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 2, 2017


Whew!   Championships all done for the spring season.  The Fitzgerald’s Lager Run 5K this past Sunday drew a full field of young men to compete for the open men’s championship, along with a full field of others who are enthusiastic fans of the race that takes place in Glen Ridge each year.  There will not be another championship until August with the Midland Mile and the first of the USATF cross country races.

Joshua Izewski of Doylestown, PA won the race in an impressive 14:27, with Eric Chirchir of Irvington second in 14:40, and Aaron Leskow of Morristown third in 15:05.

Leskow was on the winning Garden State Track Club C team.  The club put five teams in the top five spots with three other teams also in the mix.  The abilities of the top tier men on the teams is so well balanced that it is not always the A team that places first.  At the race on Sunday the C team was first, the B team second and the A team third.

Justin Scheid of Succasunna placed fifth overall in 15:17 to lead in his Shore Athletic Club team to eighth place.

Thirty-six teams competed, but that number is misleading, as many of the teams were made up of masters men.  As there was no masters team competition the older men were free to run in the open division, and they did.

Roberta Groner of Randolph won the women’s race in a personal best time of 16:24. Nora Cary, 62, of Morristown was the top masters woman with her 21:34 hitting 88.03%.  Brian Crowley, 52, of Hillsborough was the top masters man going up to 90.88% with his 16:28 finishing time.  Gary Leaman, 58, of Hardwick was next with his 17:38 at 89.00% PLP.

If you like to race on the Fourth of July but hate the travel to Fourth of July races like the Cranford Firecracker we now have a fun race in Morris County.
The Race for Recovery 5K is being held on the high school cross country course in Central Park in Morris Plains.  The race is a USATF cross country grand prix race.  Except for the Morris Country Striders 5 K race series in Boonton there has not been any other local cross-country races in the series that is close to home. 

The course is a mix of hills as well as flat sections on well groomed trails.  It is not only used by the local high schools but also by the younger set.  The youth Lakeland League uses the course and it was the New Jersey Junior Olympic site in 2015 and 2016.  Roadies should be able to handle it

The race is being put on by the Market Street Mission in Morristown that helps people who are struggling with addiction.   Stay for a picnic for the participants with hot dogs and hamburgers included on the menu.  It is suggested that you bring a lawn chair or a blanket.  Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. with the race start at 9:00 a.m.  The pre-entry deadline has passed. The day of race entry fee is $35.00. 

While a morning race on the Fourth of July is great, an evening race on the Fourth is not.  The Morris County Striders moved their 5K race for this one week to Thursday, July 6th.  Registration begins at 6:00 p.m. with the race start at 7:00 p.m.

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, June 25, 2017

President's Cup Night Race almost a washout

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, June 26, 2017


And then there are those days.   Days, or in this case, nights, when things don’t go exactly as planned.  The President’s Cup Night Race 5K in Millburn didn’t plan for lightning, thunder, and downpours for most of the day leading up to the race at 8:00 pm this past Monday night.

Hmm,  let’s see, “go out in the pouring rain and deal with likely rain-induced-travel-nightmares to go to run in the rain, or stay home nice and dry and unfrazzled”.  About three to four hundred  runners, who were either pre-registered for the race or who had planned to post enter decided to choose the later and stayed home.

The number of finishers was the lowest in recent memory.  The highest number of finishers was just seven years ago in 2010 when Justin Scheid, then of Sparta and now of Succasunna won the race in 14:50, with 1,496 runners finishing behind him.  There has been an almost steady decline in number of runners since then, with last year at 973 finishers the lowest until Monday night at 649 finishers.

It wasn’t a championship race and that may also have contributed to the lower numbers and the thinner New Jersey elite field.  At less than a mile into the race only a small number of men were in the lead pack.  Past the mile and that small pack had already broken apart with the original leaders now strung out, and strung out they stayed for the rest of the race.

Joshua Izewski of Doylestown PA won the race in 15:16, with Rob Nihen of Glen Rock, second in 15:31 and Stephen Rathbun of Seattle, WA third in 15:59.

The women’s race was actually much closer with Corey Weiss of Short Hills finishing first in 18:12 with Aimee Chegwidden of Hamburg second in 18:26. Alyssa Vassallo of Florham Park was third with Lauren Jackson of Augusta just three seconds back in 18:38.

The Coed teams made for interesting reading after the race with some local clubs doing better with coed teams than in straight USATF competition. 

The New Jersey Racing Project club with several Morris County residents won the open division and the Morris County Striders were fifth, and the Rose City Runners took sixth place.

The North Jersey Masters with Do Run Runner Nora Cary of Morristown scoring with the highest PLP of 84.1%, topped the masters coed division based on age grading.  The Morris County Striders placed fourth.

The Garmin masters team won both the open division and also the masters division.  Not all clubs participated in what was an exhibition event with no points going into the team and club grand Prix.

The New Jersey Racing Project won the women’s open division and the Rose City Runners were third with the Morris County Striders fourth.  Several clubs had incomplete teams indicating that weather or traffic kept runners away who had planned to compete.


It was all about the young at the Morris County Striders cross country 5K on Tuesday night at Johanson Fields in Boonton.  Sixteen-year-old Karos Sadeghi-Nejod of Essex Fells won the race in 17:41, with Tommy Carney, 16 of Denville second in 18:07 and Andrew Goldsmith 16 of Rockaway third in 18:12.

Young girls were the winners on the other side.  Kayla Schramm, 12, of Goshen NY placed first in 19:35, with Allison Lounsbury not far back in 19:44.  Christine Carney, 17 of Denville placed third in 22:05.

The Fitzgerald Lager Run 5K is this evening in Glen Ridge as noted in last week’s column.  It is the open mens championship and should draw some fast young men.

Everyone may feel “run-out” but there is good reason to go to Bloomfield this Thursday night for the Tom Fleming Sunset Classic 5 mile.  Running legend Bill Rodgers, who was a very close friend of Fleming who died earlier this year, will be there signing autographs for fans.  The race starts at 7:30 pm.


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, June 18, 2017

Rozhko wins masters championship

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, June 18, 2017


The race was billed as a masters women’s championship and the first woman across the line was indeed a master.  Forty-four-year-old Elena Rozhko of Morristown finished the New Milford 5K Saturday morning in 18:01.  She was one of six over age forty women in the top ten and her time put her in 9th place overall.

Out of all masters women the finest performance was put in by Morristown’s Nora Cary who at age 62 bested all women in the age graded Performance Level Percentage by scoring 91.64% for her 20:43 finishing time.

Rob Albano, 26, of Mahwah won the race in 15:42, but the best man’s performance might have been fifty-eight-year-old Gary Leaman of Hardwick who finished sixth overall in 17:36.  That time put his performance at the top of the age graded Performance Level Percentage list at 89.17%.  Next was Reno Stirrat, 63 of Rockaway whose 18:45 finishing time age graded at 87.24%.

Although the race was held in Bergen County the top two masters W40 teams were from out of the county.  The Morris based Garmin Runners were first in the division with the Shore Athletic Club second.  Twenty W40 teams finished the race.
Cary who now competes for the North Jersey Masters club was second on the clubs winning W50 team, and the first scoring member of the W60 team that won the W60 division.  Mary Ann Murphy of Livingston led in the North Jersey Masters W70 team to claim first in that division.  In all the North Jersey Masters club with their runners from the Do Run Runners swept all but the W40 and W80 division.   The Morris County Striders took second in W70 and their B team was third.  They also won the W80 division.


Runners can have their fill of races in the next week.  As you read about here last Sunday, tomorrow the President’s Cup Night Race 5K is taking place in Millburn at 8:00 p.m. 

On Tuesday evening the first of the Morris County Striders 5K cross country race will take place at Johanson Memorial Fields in Boonton.  This is a no-frills, low cost series of four races that take place every other week on Tuesday evening.  The exception is Tuesday, July 4th.   Instead, the race will be held that week on Thursday, July 6th.

Runners who run in the President’s Cup Night Race with its hill that is run twice on the double loop course, will appreciate the Striders cross country course.   There isn’t a hill in sight – the location was once a small airport.  At one time the race was run all on grass but a cinder path now lines most of the course with footing better assured.   

Although this is a no t-shirt race, recognition is given in five year age divisions and there is always a plethora of trophies to choose from for all age division winners, thanks to new face plates on donated trophies.  Other items are also offered for selection.

Next Sunday is the Fitzgerald Lager Run 5K in Glen Ridge.  The race is the Open Men’s Championship.  Like the President’s Cup race, cold beer is on tap for adults after they finish, along with an assortment of foods.  The course is considered fast with a net downhill and the finish is on the track at Hurrell Field.   All pre and post-race activity takes place in the track infield.

Contact Madeline Bost at

Sunday, June 11, 2017

President's Cup Night Race with a twist

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, June 11, 2017

It has often been a 5K championship race for open women and more often open men, but this year the President’s Cup Night Race, taking place in Millburn next Monday night, June 18th. has a real twist.  USATF teams will compete in a special coed division.   Most corporate coed teams count the top three on a huge team with the top three fastest runners, usually two men and one woman. 

These USATF NJ teams will score men and women equally.  They can declare four men, and four women.  These teams will count the top two men, and top two females combined times to determine the winners. 

The masters teams will be made up of the same configuration, four and four, but here’s where it will get fun.  The top two men and top two females will be selected by using the Performance Level Percentages age grading percentages of the runners, not their actual times.   The team captains are studying their members to see who would score the best using their PLP’s, not their times. 

Those teams will have a combination of ages with the club’s older runners as valuable as their younger counterparts.   For instance, Rockaway’s Reno Stirrat, 63, will certainly be on the Shore AC’s A team.  His wife Susan, 62, could be on the team as well. 

 Now that the Do Run Runners are running with the North Jersey Masters, who will bet against that club with Misa Tamura, 51 and Nora Cary, 62, on the A team.  The Garmin team should have Mary Christian of Flanders and Susan Kinsella of Millington, both in their fifties declared on the A team, along with Elena Rozhko, 44, of Morristown.   Terry Davidson, 45, of Randolph, and Gary Rosenberg, 46, of Morristown will be on the Garmin A team.

Other local clubs, like the Morris County Striders will use Bruce Langenkamp. 67, of Wharton on the team.  Beau and Gretchen Atwater of Bernardsville will be high scorers on the New Jersey Racing Project team.

It won’t end with the coed scoring.  The computer will also calculate the top three women and the top three men on the teams for a separate team division.   All this fun will give the President’s Cup Night Race a 700 point value for the New Balance grand prix, but the team scores will not be counted in the overall and team division grand prix scoring.

The whole weekend is packed with opportunities to compete.  Masters women will be heading to New Milford for the 5K state championship next Saturday, June 17.  This is the second year as a championship where in 2016 Roberta Groner of Randolph placed in the top ten with her 16:35 and Charlie Murphy of Philadelphia the overall winner in 15:32.

A lot can change in one year.  Last year Groner was racking up points for a perfect score in the New Jersey New Balance grand prix and this year she is affiliated with a New York club so no longer a member in New Jersey.

Last year the race was a championship for both masters men and masters women and this year the masters men will be having their championship at the Giralda Farms 5K in November.  Will it make a difference in the number of runners?  Last year 695 runners finished the race with 374 of them male.

The weekend is crammed with other events, including the New Jersey USATF Track & Field Championship being held at the Peddie School in Hightstown.  The distance events, 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters will be held on Friday, June 16 and the shorter track distances on Saturday, June 17. 

The fields are really thin for these distance events.  In an effort to make them more attractive to roadies both have a 500 point value in the New Balance grand prix.  In reality though, only the winner can profit from this.  Imagine second place’s score in a ten person field.

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