Monday, November 28, 2011


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 27 2011
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2011

Close to 13,000 runners burned off some pre-dinner calories Thursday morning in what is a record number for Thanksgiving morning races in northern New Jersey.

The granddaddy of Thanksgiving morning races, the CEA Johanna Foods Turkey Trot 5K in Flemington continues to outdraw them all with 4,174 finishers. Of course they had a six year head start going back to 1994 when a relative handful, a mere 350 finished the race that started the craze.

By 2000 they could draw over one thousand runners and the first copycat was born. The Ashenfelter 8 kilometer race began that year with 493 finishers in Glen Ridge. In 2001 those two races were joined by the Dick Meighan Memorial 5K in Upper Saddle River. It was big right out of the blocks with 707 runners finishing.

By 2007 the Ashenfelter and the memorial race were over a thousand finishers and Flemington was over two thousand. But wait! The Morris township Turkey Trot came into being that year and drew 610 finishers while up in Sparta, the Krogh Turkey Trot had 720.

In 2009 those two newbies doubled. The Dick Meighan Memorial jumped to nearly 1,800 and the Ashenfelter was just over 1,800. Flemington’s race hit over 3,500 finishers.

Could 2010 show any more growth? It could. Ashenfelter added 245 in 2010. Meighan added 106 and Flemington another 287. And those two newbies? Morris Township jumped by 453 and Sparta by 207.

Along comes 2011. The day dawned cold but not too cold. It was sunny and no wind. It was a perfect day for a nice morning run, a nice morning race. The runners came out in droves.

Flemington finished 4,174 runners. The Ashenfelter had 2,484 and the Dick Meighan Memorial had 2,114. Right here at home the Morris Township race had 2,156 finishers. Only the Sparta race came in with under two thousand, but not by much with 1,829 finishing.

The Morris Township race was won by Michael Franklin of Mendham in 16:07 with Mallory Anderson of Madison taking the women’s title in 18:16.


Mike Soroko of Kinnelon won the Ashenfelter in 24:54, which was the USATF New Jersey 8K championship for all divisions. Two visiting women were the top two in the women’s race with Catherine Smith of Wayne the top New Jersey finishers with her time of 29:12.

Local teams seemed to be almost shut out of first place all around at the 8 kilometer championship. The Sneaker Factory was the lone exception and with a surprise win in a division that until very recently they seldom could field a complete team. This time they had a team in the M50 division and edged out the North Jersey Masters for first with 2:36:09 to 2:36:25. The Sneaker Factory women took fourth in the Open division and W40. Their men had a third in M40 and fifth in Open.

The Morris County Striders had two second place finishes; W50 and W60. Their Open women were well down in the scoring in Open with a seventh place, and a sixth in W40. Strider men placed third in the M60 division but only seventh in M50 and eighth in M40.

The Do Run Runners fared about as well. Their best was sixth in M50 and M60, while their women took seventh in W40 and W50.

All the teams will have two weeks to recover and prepare for the ten mile championship on December 11th.


The next two weekends hold the keys for any runners who have not filled their score card in the New Balance Grand Prix. Category Two races are gone, so those with a goose egg in that division will keep it. There is one more Category Three race, thanks to the moving of the Great Swamp Devil 15K to Sunday, December 4th. Of course the Grand Finale ten miler that closes the season on Sunday, December 11th is also a Category Three race. It is a 700 point race but can be designated by the runner to be counted as a non championship 500 point race.

People needing a Category One race can still find those. The Dover Renaissance 5K on Saturday December 3rd is one, as is the AMBS Reindeer Run in Franklin Lakes on the same day. On Sunday, December 4th is the American Red Cross 5K in Millburn and the Great Swamp Devil 5K on the 4th.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 20 2011
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2011

In one sense there were no surprises at the USATF New Jersey championship 8 kilometer cross country race at Deer Path Park on Saturday. What would have been a disaster on October 30th in the snow was blessed instead with perfect running weather on November 19th.

The new comer Garden State Track Club won the open men’s division as well as the women’s. Their men had won the 5 kilometer back in October so no surprise there. But their women had only picked up fourth.

It was no surprise that there were a substantial number of no-shows. About 10% no-shows is common in road racing but in cross country I would guess that less than 5% of the people who pre-register for cross country do not show up on race day. But the change to November 19 and a Saturday at that threw a lot of people out of the race thanks to previous commitments.

In 2010 eight open teams competed in the men’s division. On Saturday six teams competed and two of them were the Garden State club and they weren’t there in 2010. It is as though the open men, and open women have disappeared, except for the new club.

Justin Scheid, 25, of Sparta won the race in 25:49. He ran alone with a wider lead as the race went on. Second place was Anthony Harris of East Brunswick and he was over a minute back in 26:56. Five men were masters in the top 16 finishers. Thomas Yakowenko of Metuchen who is 43 was sixth overall. Mark Zamek, 48, of Macungie PA was eighth and Rich Burke of Morristown, 44, the first local man to finish, was ninth in 27:46.

Zamek, who won the Midland Run in about 1992, told me after the race that a few years back that his time of 27:32 would have put him in about 30th place in the same race. I did a little research and hit pay dirt. In 1996 Zamek, then 36 finished the same race in 27:53, in 26th place. Twenty-five of the men ahead of him were under age forty. The other one, Tom Bowmaster of Morristown, at age 40 finished in 27:26.

Nine women over forty were in the top 16 in Saturday’s race and three were over age 50. The race was won by Catherine Smith of Wayne in 31:10. She had over a minute on Cheyenne Ogletree of Garfield who finished second in 32:07 after outsprinting Misa Tamura of Ridgewood who clocked 32:08. The first local woman to finish was Stacey Graham of Morris Plains, 47, who finished in 39:33.

Team scoring is always subject to correction, usually due to a data entry error, but preliminary scoring shows the Sneaker Factory scoring third in open men and first in M40. The Morris County Striders open men placed sixth and third in the M40, M50 and M60 divisions.

In the women’s team division the Rose City Runners and the Morris County Striders tied for third with 67 points. In the W40 division the Striders placed fourth and Rose City fifth with the Do Run Runners sixth. In the W50 division the teams traded places with Rose City second and the Striders third. Do Run Runners followed in fourth. The Striders picked up firsts in W60 and W70 thanks to their dedicated senior women. Notable by their absence were the women runners from the Sneaker Factory and the Raritan Valley Road Runners. Those clubs have women who are running this morning in the Philadelphia Marathon, and obviously unable to compete in both races.

Their absence will have an impact on the team and overall club scoring. Each team earns an extra two points for competing at the cross country races. Next up for the teams is the Ashenfelter 8K on Thanksgiving morning in Glen Ridge. After that race the tally for the teams from the race yesterday and the Ashenfelter will tell the teams what they need to do at the USATF ten mile race on December 11th.


Many runners will stay local and run in the Morris Township Turkey Trot to benefit the Interfaith Pantry on Thanksgiving morning. Registration will begin at 7:00 a.m. The headline 5K starts at 8:30 a.m. with a mile fun run at 8:40, and a kids trot for the under 12 year’s olds at 9:15. The distances for the kids are graduated based on ages of the kids. The awards program is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. 

Monday, November 14, 2011


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 13 2011
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2011

The Halloween snow storm that was not actually on Halloween but will forever be tagged with that moniker, has caused even more shifts in runners scheduling. The Great Swamp Devil 15K and 5K that would have been held on October 30th is now scheduled for Sunday December 4th. The start times have also been changed. The 5K will start at 11:00 a.m. and the 15K will go off an hour later, at noon.

This means that those who are planning to run in the Grand Finale ten mile championship on Sunday, December 11th will be running back-to-back longer races. Running 9.3 miles on one weekend and 10 miles on the next might not be too bad earlier in the year, but runners are going to be tired by the time the racing season ends.

They will have run in today’s Giralda Farms 10K, or 5K in Madison and the next weekend, on Saturday, November 19th will be running the USATF New Jersey 8 kilometer cross country championship in Deer Path Park in Readington. That race was another casualty of the Halloween storm.

A new Turkey Trot 5K is being held in Basking Ridge on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 20th. The race in Mountain Park will begin at 9:00 a.m.

As was noted here in last week’s column, they then have their choice of Thanksgiving morning races. For USATF New Balance Grand Prix runners and members of teams, the Ashenfelter 8K in Glen Ridge is almost a must do race as it is the championship for all divisions.

Other races beckon as well. In Morris Township, the Ginty Field course will be used for the Turkey Trot 5K being put on to benefit the Interfaith Pantry and the Literacy Volunteers of Morris County.

The nearness of that race makes traveling to the Flemington Turkey Trot not so enticing. That race has the longest history and has attracted the highest number of finishers – nearly four thousand in 2010. The Morris Township race had a mere 1,800. Of course I say that in jest as attracting close to two thousand runners on Thanksgiving morning is no joke.

Don’t overlook the Kroghs Restaurant and Brew Pub Turkey Trot that takes place on Thanksgiving morning. It has an early start of 8:45 a.m. with a one mile at 8:15 a.m.

A race that was missed last year is back in the line-up but not at its customary place. The Dover Renaissance 5K will take place on Saturday, December 3rd at 9:00 a.m. Of course race director Peter Lee couldn’t have known that the Swamp Devil races would be on the following day when he scheduled the Dover race. An interesting twist on awards is that the depth of each age division is based on the previous year’s participation.


A new novel has just been released that should be on your night table. HOHAs in Love may sound like a romance novel, and it may be that, but it is also a novel whose characters are runners. Set in New Jersey, the author, Laurence Graham does not shy away from placing his characters in the Hoboken Harriers club in Hudson County. Although the protagonists are fictional, there are resemblances to real people in the New Jersey running community that are fun to pick out. Some events are also quite easily identified.

Graham, who uses the less formal Larry, now lives Florida. When he was living in Jersey City he was a regular on the New Jersey racing scene and an extremely talented age division competitor. Graham places his characters at what is clearly the Healthy Heart 5K that was put on by Morristown Memorial Hospital for several years. It was the masters 5K championship for two or three years, and in 1998 Graham, then 46, scored second in the age grading with his 16:09 that hit 87.3%.

He clearly knows about running and racing, and now he shows that he knows about running clubs and the camaraderie that is built among their members. And yes, about love. [ Also see ]

Monday, November 7, 2011


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 6, 2011
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2011

Last Saturday as the snow continued to fall and it was becoming more and more obvious that this was going to be a snowfall for the history books, the USATF New Jersey long distance running executive committee members were making a decision that no race organizer wants to make.

The eight kilometer cross country race that was scheduled for the next day at Deer Path Park would have to be cancelled, or at least postponed. They were not the only ones who were facing that prospect. In this area the Great Swamp Devil 15K in Basking Ridge with its revised course and earlier starting time was also on the line. In Convent Station, the Safe Dating Challenge 5K at St. Elizabeth’s was also scheduled for Sunday, October 30.

As the afternoon wore on it soon became apparent that no race would be held the following day. Roads were closed due to fallen trees and downed power lines. It wasn’t safe to go anywhere. In some towns the public works departments had not anticipated the extent of the snowfall and had not salted the roads and they were treacherous, never mind the downed trees.

Cancelling is actually the easier option. Postponement implies that there is an alternative date. That is usually not the case. A date is set months in advance. Police and volunteers are set for that date and not available for an alternative. Timing companies are booked for other races. It just isn’t feasible in most cases to move to another date.

A perfect example is the Almost Fall Classic four mile race that should have been run in Cranford on August 28 but was postponed thanks to Hurricane Irene. When was it finally run? Yesterday morning, Saturday, November 5th.

For the races scheduled for this past Sunday one was cancelled, the Safe Dating Challenge. Pre-registered runners should go to the OYMP website after November 9th for information on race shirt distribution. The Great Swamp Devil races, 15K and 5K, are on hold while looking for an available date. The cross country 8 kilometer race at Deer Path Park is rescheduled for Saturday, November 19.

Whoa, you say. The Giralda Farms 10K in Madison, which is the USATF New Jersey championship, is on Sunday, November 13. Runners who compete in the championships will have less than a week to recover before running the cross country race. To make matters worse, the 8K road championship, the Ashenfelter in Glen Ridge is on Thursday, November 24th, Thanksgiving morning.

If you think this is folly please refer back to the paragraph regarding postponements. If you want to complain you may want to take it up with Mother Nature. Otherwise plan your training and recovery accordingly. There is really nothing else you can do about it.


For several years the Giralda Farms 10K in Madison has been a USATF New Jersey championship. This year it is serving as the championship for both genders with a purse that begins with $200.00 for first, for both genders going down to eighth place using the age grading calculation. There is also a purse for the open runners that does not go quite as deep.

The 10K course is not an easy course and deceptively starts on a substantial downhill. In fact that hill is the basis of the entire race. One is either running up the hill, across the top of the hill, the bottom of the hill, or running back down. I would suppose that there is a net downhill, thanks to the start, but am not sure.

For those who wish to avoid the challenge of 6.2 miles of said hill, there is a 5K that is no less hilly, but blessedly half the distance.

Both races start promptly at noon and for that reason it is advised to not be tardy as the road into the parking garage can become quite congested by late morning.