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. 

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