Sunday, February 17, 2019

New Jersey athletes in the Big Apple


It doesn't get a bigger than the Millrose Games track meet in New York City every February.  Once held at Madison Square Garden, the meet is now held at the New York Armory.  The meet was held this year on Friday, February 8th.

What many casual observers of the nationally televised meet do not know is that many events are held that do not make it to the prime time broadcast.  What New Jersey viewers did not see was the several events in which New Jersey athletes competed. 

 The Garden State Track Club New Balance won the men's Distance Medley Relay in 9:58.52.  Their B team placed seventh while the Shore Athletic Club finished in eighth place, with Justin Scheid of Succasunna running the anchor leg.  Garden State's Women's teams placed fifth and eighth in the Distance Medley and their sprint team placed third in the four by two hundred relay.  Their men's sprint team won the 4 X 200.

New Jersey masters teams  ran in the 4 X 400 relays with the Garmin M40 team finishing in fourth place and their M50 team finishing eleventh in the same combined heat.  How the teams were broken out by age is not available on the Armory website.


Morris area runners returned to the Ocean Breeze indoor facility this past Sunday to compete in the USATF New Jersey/ New York indoor championship meet with the New Jersey athletes winning again, as they did in 2018.

Nora Cary of Morristown won her W60 division in the 3,000 meters with a time of 12:54.35.  In a close race in the mile, Cary finished in 6:30.77 for second place just one second behind first.  Susan Stirrat of Rockaway made it a triple in her W60 division placing second to Cary in the 3,000 meter race with her 15:11.91.  She was third in the 800 meter run in 3:39.88 and fourth in the Mile in 7:47.76.

On the men's side, Reno Stirrat won the M60 3,000 meter race in 11:38.03 and placed second in the Mile in 6:04.34.  Bob Skorupski of Rockaway won his M45 division 3,000 meter race in 10:07.81, and placed third in the 800 meter race with his time of 2:13.53.  John Saarman of Stanhope was first in the 400 meter race in his M75 division in 1:44.45.

By far the biggest winner was Mark Williams of Columbia.  The former Lake Hopatcong athlete won all three of his M45 races;  400 meters in 54.60, 800 meters 2:01.51 and the mile 4:38.19.

Williams and some other New Jersey athletes will be competing at the masters national indoor championship in Winston Salem NC the first weekend in March.


The USATF Long Distance Running committee is having their meeting on Thursday, March 7th at the Madison Y.  A major change is going to  be voted on regarding when submissions for rule changes will be made, debated and approved at this meeting.  Interested runners should check out the meeting agenda on the USATF New Jersey website and plan to attend.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

You have to be in it to win it

Published in the Daily Record
on Sunday, February 3, 2019


In the movie On the Waterfront, Marlon Brando's boxer character says plaintively, "I couda' been a contenda'".

Justin Scheid of Succasunna could also have been a contenda' had he just run two more races in the New Balance grand prix in 2018.  Scheid won the Baker's Dozen half marathon in 1:14:23, but did not run in any other Category Three races. 

 If he had and had won them, his score would have been 5,691, the same number of points that Morristown's Aaron Leskow came away with in his win of the series.  The two men are closely matched, but as Leskow discovered; you have to be in it to win it.   Sometimes a runner's career interferes with his running carrier, and that is the case for Scheid.

"With my job as a tax accountant I work a lot of hours leading up to April 15th and then again leading up to September and October 15th that races around that time are difficult for me to commit to," said Scheid.

When Scheid did get to the races he was always a factor.  Scheid had three second places in important races in 2018 that included the Lager Run 5K where he finished in 15:22, and the 5 kilometer cross country championship in 15:40.  He had a third in the 8 kilometer cross country and third in the Ashenfelter 8 km.  Scheid traveled to Spokane in December to run in the national club cross country 10 km and finished in an impressive 31:43

Scheid said that his parents inspired him and his brother Jeremy to run, but did not pressure their sons.  Growing up in Sparta  Scheid remembers how their father, Larry, an outstanding age division runner, took he and Jeremy out on various courses in the neighborhood.  Each run started on a downhill and ended with an uphill.  

"I remember the first workout, probably at age 11 or 12," said Scheid.  "Run hard from one mailbox to the next up Skyline Drive, then jog easy to the next mailbox, and repeat.  I remember because that was also the day I discovered the second mailbox was practically halfway up the hill. Dad asked how the workout went and I said I thought the neighborhood could use a few more mailboxes."  

Scheid's racing career began with youth cross country racing, where he was recruited to run for the Cosmic Track Club. 

"This was my first cross country team," said Scheid.  "We traveled to Junior Olympic championships in Portland, Lexington, and Spartanburg."  

Scheid joined the Pope John high school cross county team in the fall of 2000 as a freshman. He remembers coach Brian Corcoran handing out a hard workout after the team had a disappointing performance against rival Vernon.

" I won't lie, that interval workout in the grass around the track with push-ups and sit-ups during the recovery was excruciating," said Scheid"Nevertheless, I looked forward to workouts, especially the challenging ones because, I believed I improved with each one. I had a successful high school running career that included some great individual and team performances. I owe this success to Mr. Corcoran and my teammates who pushed and challenged me for four years. I loved competing.  It didn't matter if it was an individual race or a relay." 

After high school Scheid attended Georgetown University and ran both cross country and track for the school where he posted some very impressive times; Indoor 3000 meter 8:10.61, Indoor 5000 meter, 14:24.00, Outdoor 5000 meter, 14:17.89. 10,000 meter, 30:12.47. cross country 8,000 meter, 24:15.40.

"I loved Georgetown," said Scheid.  "Coach [Patrick] Henner and my teammates were fantastic, the weather was pleasant, and DC had remarkable places to run; i.e. towpath, polo fields, trails, bike paths, the National Mall  even though I didn't have as much success as I did in high school. My times improved but some workouts were more impressive than my races."
One of Scheid's most memorable college races was the 2008 Big East cross country  championships in his senior year at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. 

"We had a strong team but it was expected to be a close race for the team championship," said Scheid. "This race sticks with me because it was one of those days when everyone raced well. We went 1, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 and won the team title 35-64 over Notre Dame." 

After graduating Georgetown in 2009 Scheid began working for an accounting firm in Florham Park, where Elliott Frieder of Bloomfield also worked.  Frieder and his brother Jonathan, then of Randolph, recruited Scheid to run on their Fleet Feet team, along with Carlos Martins and Jorge Lopes.  The team was picked up by the shoe company Pearl Izumi,  but dropped all teams when they stopped making running shoes.

Scheid was free to join any one of the local clubs, but he chose the Shore Athletic Club.  

 "It honestly felt strange joining Shore AC while living in NJ's northernmost county," said Scheid who was still living at the time in Sparta"People may have thought it a joke to see a Shore AC singlet at a local race. I initially thought I needed to invent an excuse to run for the club, such as growing up down the shore, but my worry dissipated after meeting the large group of Shore AC runners residing in Morris and Sussex Counties." 

 One of those runners is Reno Stirrat of Rockaway, who has coached Scheid for over a year.   He credits Stirrat for his 15:22 at the Lager Run and the top 100 finish at the 2018 USATF Club cross country championships in Spokane, thanks to Stirrat's training plan.  The local Shore group, dubbed Shore AC - El Norte,  get together on weekends for a long run in the Denville, Rockaway area.

Scheid says that he is looking forward to the 2019 New Jersey season.  We expect he will fill out his race card in full this time around and be a contender for the grand prix title.


Sunday, January 27, 2019

DeLea keeps on getting better


Laura  DeLea of Sparta finished the season in second place in the highly competitive W50 division of the New Balance Grand Prix in 2018.  

DeLea has quite a range, from the Midland Mile where she finished in 5:59.5, for third masters woman and age graded at 86.34% PLP (performance level percentage) to the other end of the distance spectrum where she finished the Franklin Lakes half marathon in 1:34.26 for a PLP of 81.43%.  Somewhere in between DeLea may have had her most rewarding performance when she as the first woman overall in the Devil's Run 6.66 mile race in October

Running has been a life long endeavor for DeLea beginning when she was ten and ran with her parents, who took their youngster with them to do laps at the Sparta High track  She said that she instantly fell in love with running and went on to run track, and cross country in high school.

  "I wasn't very good at it," said DeLea.  "I didn't really understand how to race properly so I didn't enjoy it.  After high school I continued to run, but not race."

When DeLea decided to get back into racing, she reached out to Bill Bosmann, then also of Sparta, for advice on how to run a race.  His advice must have helped, because DeLea finished as the second woman in her first race. 

"Although my race times were competitive," she said.  "It honestly was not until the last five years or so that I figured out how to truly enjoy racing."
 DeLea keeps her mileage to between 30 to 45 miles per week, running six days a week.  She includes one long run, one progression run and one track workout.  DeLea's very fit body attests to the workouts in the gym where she lifts weights and does core workouts three to four days a week.

The remaining days are maintenance," said DeLea, "but I live in Sparta where you can't avoid hills.  That's where I believe I get a lot of my strength from.

DeLea loves a good half marathon, but switched focus to the mile this past year.

Halfway through last season she asked her friend Mike Mooney to coach her for  the mile events she had on her schedule.  

"He’s one of the best milers I know so it seemed the obvious choice," she said.  "I was able to tie my PR in the mile as well as smash my 5K time by 15 seconds at age 53 by following his workouts."

"As the season progressed my times did too," said DeLea.  "I was able to up my game and started to train with people I used to feel were out of my league, and that helped me to push myself and continue to improve".

 DeLea place third in her age division at the Masters National’s Road mile in Flint MI this past August in 5:59.  She hit 5:54 at the 5th Avenue Mile mile (87%) in September in New York 

"It added some fuel in the fire to realizing I have more in me and can to do better in this event," she said.

DeLea is enjoying the winter season.  She says she is a cold weather runner and likes nothing better than a run in new fallen snow.

"No cars.  It’s quite and peaceful,"she said.  "And there’s all sorts of friendly people out shoveling their driveways cheering me on or calling me crazy... it’s just fun."
Her favorite running route is  an eight mile loop around Lake Mohawk that she describes as very challenging but beautiful.  

DeLea's favorite race is the Horace  Ashenfelter 8k in Glen Ridge on Thanksgiving morning.

"It’s the final big championship race of the season, great course and very well organized," she said.  
"The best part is that you get to spend Thanksgiving morning with your chosen family and I’d be remise not to mention the delicious donuts. Like many turkey trots there’s just happiness in the air."

DeLea may not have been seeking to run PR's at age 53 but they came to her thanks to cutting back on her mileage and focusing on quality.

This overall strategy and new training regime seems to have worked because she ran her first sub 20 in a 5K, clocking a 19:50.  The 5:54 Fifth Avenue Mile tied with her previous mile PR and she finished  the USATF national masters championship 8K in Virginia Beach in 33:19 in March for another PR.

DeLea is far from a solo runner.  She cherishes the members of her Clifton Road Runners team that dominates in the W50 division of the Garmin Team Grand Prix, where they've finished first for the past three years.

"I have amazing teammates who I call my running sisters," said DeLea.  "We go to battle for each other, win or lose, we do it together."

"We ran sick, hurt, in mud, heat and cold but we did it and laughed our way through the season.  At the USATF Nationals 8K in March we brought home the Silver Medal for 50’s Women’s team category."

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Leskow hits the top in the grand prix

Running Column published by the Daily Record
Sunday, January 20, 2019


Aaron Leskow only needed a year or two before he figured out how to go to the top in the USATF NJ New Balance Grand Prix.  Leskow moved to Morristown in December of 2015 for his career and soon found a running club and the high level of competition in the state. 

"It was a very good career move," said Leskow, "and a great move for my continued success in running, with so many great places to run and so many many other running enthusiasts to accompany me along the way. 

 But "getting" the grand prix was something of a mystery. 

"You need a calculus to fully understand the methodology."

Members of the Garden State club helped him understand the scoring this year.  Of course understanding the system only gets you to the top if you have the speed needed to gather more points than any other runner.  Speed is what Leskow has in abundance.

Leskow started running in fun runs as a kid and then in middle school, and at Tom's River North high school.  Then on to St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia where he competed in cross country and track where he notched some impressive times:  Outdoor 800, 1:55.60, Outdoor 1,500 meters, 3:43.36, Outdoor 5,000 meters, 14:09.44, Indoor mile 4:07.07, and Indoor 3,000 meters 8:07.07.

Post collegiate, Leskow didn't expect to continue at a high level in running, but was pleasantly surprised to find New Jersey offered all the competition that he could want.  He soon joined the Garden State Track Club where he was a welcome member of the club's open men's team, and often the first scoring runner of his team in New Jersey races.  

"After college, I figured my competitive running days were behind me," he said.  "But I was able to find another running family after my high school and college teams, and that really allowed me to renew my passion for running."

That passion put Leskow in first place at the challenging 20K Indian Trails with a time of  1:09.57 last spring.  He followed that with a second place finish of 51:01  at the Clinton Country 15K.

At the Newport Liberty 10K in May, Leskow was the first New Jersey runner, finishing in 32:13.9.  At the Lager Run 5K in June he finished third in 15:27, and in November he was second at the Ashenfelter 8K  in 24:58.  

Leskow is up early to get in a run on Patriot's Path  or in Loantaka Park. His easy day pace may be around eight minutes a mile, and five on a hard day.  He runs mostly alone, and for a reason.  

"There aren't many folks willing and able to wake up at 5:30 a.m. in Morristown to meet and run, so I run most of the miles by myself," said Leskow, who usually runs between fifty to sixty miles per week.  

" I've found that this is the optimal distance for staying fit and healthy," he said.  "Managing fatigue becomes increasingly important as you try to balance running, a career, and a social life."

Although he does most of his training in the early hours of the morning, he tries to get to at least one workout a week.  The Garden State club competed at the club national cross country meet in Spokane in December where they finished a very respectable eleventh out of fifty teams.

Leskow said that he focused on the 1,500 meters while at college but has come to appreciate a classic road 5K. Yet it wasn't a 5K that he remembers most fondly in 2018, but a reverting back to his favorite distance, or nearly so.

"My most memorable performance was probably the Midland Mile, which is a great road mile run at dusk through the streets of Montclair," he said.  

Leskow finished the mile in 4:18.94 in a near tie for first with Steve Lewandowski of Mountain Lakes whose time was  4:18.50.

Leskow has an interesting take on competing, with which older runners will find themselves nodding their heads in agreement.  

"I have a saying that whenever you start running, you become forever slow, because you will never be as fast as you want to be."

Such sentiments have not discouraged him though.  Although he is not targeting any specific race his goal is stay focused, healthy, and competitive. 

"Its simple, but that's really all I've ever tried to do," he said. "Good performances tend to follow suit."


Madeline Bost

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Let's talk track

Published in the Daily Record
on Sunday, January 13, 2019


While road runners are out training in the cold, snow and ice, another band of brothers are making their way indoors and running under cover.

Mark Williams of Columbia and Peter Kashulines of Mountain Lakes headed to Manhattan this past Thursday evening to race in the New York Road Runners, Thursday Night at the races at the New York Armory.  Williams, who moved into the 45 to 49 age division last year finished ninth overall in the 600 meter race in 1:28.55.  Kashulines, who is 55, finished in 1:33.84.

In the 1,000 meter race Williams finished in 2:39.64 and Kashulines in 2:51.08.  Two more Thursday Night at the Races are on the schedule, January 24 and February 28th.  It is likely that other area runners will join the duo.

In previous years, the New Jersey association of USATF had to search for an indoor facility in which to hold it's track and field championship meet.  They've been at the Jersey City armory, and the one at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, and across the river - make that the Delaware River, at East Stroudsberg and Lehigh University.  The bubble facility at Tom's River that is used for many high school meets has been a venue as has Monmouth University.  

The association is in general the last organization in line for use of a facility and often the meet was held very early in the season.  That has changed with the completion of the Ocean Breeze Indoor Facility on Staten Island.  What a beauty it is.  

New Jersey athletes used it for the first time in 2018 when Ocean Breeze hosted a dual championship meet between New York and New Jersey.  In 2018 all other athletes were excluded, which was a mistake.  Athletes from the Long Island association and MidAtlantic would have added to the events and made for a more interesting meet.  

That has been remedied for 2019.  The meet, which will be held on Sunday, February 10th, will again be a dual meet between the two associations, but athletes from other associations will be allowed to compete.  All registrations must be done on-line and no day of the meet registrations will be taken.


Road runners can run in the Passaic County Technical Institute Winter Series in Wayne that kicks off this morning at 11:00 a.m. The series features four races with the fastest three race times  used to calculate the top people in the series.  The  other races will be on January 27th, and February 10th and 24th.   

In February, the Penguin Pace 5K on  February 2nd ,  will be staged from the  Packanack Lake Community Church in Wayne.  In 2019 the race attracted  302 finishers  with Rob Albano of Mahwah first in 15:56.  Kaitlyn Kiernan Bartolone of Hoboken  was the first woman to finish in 19:53.


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Look for a new column on Monday, January 14, 2019

Sunday, December 30, 2018

New Year's Day races a tradition

On Sunday, Dec 30, 2018

By MADELINE BOST,  973-584-9302


The Central Jersey Road Runners Club may have started it, and others have followed.  Run a race on New Year’s Day.  Clear the blood and the head from the previous night’s partying, and maybe begin a New Year’s Resolution.  Start a Running Streak.  All things are possible on the first day of the new year.

On January 1, 2019 at noon, in Westfield, the 37th annual Hangover 5K will go off in Tamaques Park and an expected field of over 500 runners will log in their first race of the year.  Post race refreshments are bagels and hot chocolate.  Preregistration is a good idea for this race as a hooded sweatshirt is guaranteed for all pre-registered runners.  Pre-registration is on-line only, but there is no fee for on-line registration.

The Hillsborough Resolution Run 5K also gives out hooded sweatshirts and in a sense, they are also guaranteed.  That is because this race has no race day registration.  This race also has a cap on the number of runners accepted and as of Friday, December 28th, registration has closed.

The 1st Day 5K in Fairlawn is the newest of the three New Year’s Day races on the USATF New Jersey calendar.  The race will take race day registration.  Both the Hillsborough and the Fairlawn races start at 11:00 a.m.   All three of the races mentioned here are 500 point Grand Prix races.

Ah!  Grand prix races.  Did you renew your USATF membership this week?  If you do one of those races and haven’t renewed, or signed up for the first time, you will have no score. 

All of the three races are a good drive away, and there is a 5K closer to home, although not in the grand prix.  The St. Mark’s New Year’s Day 5K in Long Valley will start at 11:30 am.  Hot chocolate and bagels are also on the menu for this race.  John Montgomery and John Montgomery went first and second last year, separated by thirty years.  Yes, a father, son duo.

One more perk if you are a USATF member and are over age forty putting you in the masters category.  If you are a frequent racer you can add up points to qualify for a Phidippides Award from the national long distance running committee.  Points are assigned based on the distance of the race.  For instance, one mile up to 4 kilometers earns one point, and 5 kilometers to five miles earns two points.  At the farther end of the scale is 25 kilometers to marathon at five points and go over a marathon and you get 6 points.
Your age determines how many points are needed to win gold, silver or bronze.  If you are forty to fifty-nine, you will need 30 points to earn the gold. Sixty to 79 and you need 24 points.  If you are eighty or older all you need are 12 points for gold.  The bad news is that cross country races do not count. 

Those who qualify for five years earn a five-year crystal award.  Local runners who earned the crystal award in 2017 were Lorraine McPhillips of Basking Ridge, and Diane Stone of Chatham.

It looks like 122 New Jersey runners were recognized in 2017 and that’s a total I don’t think is matched by any other association.

The deadline to apply for 2018 is January 31, 2019. The application is on the national website. 


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