Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 29, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

Next Sunday morning, February 5th, runners will want to get in their workout early so they don’t miss the Super Bowl coverage. As I mentioned a few weeks back there will be a great way to get in that run in Morristown at the first ever Super Sunday 4 Mile race.

As of a posting on January 19th, over 650 runners had signed up. The original order for 500 long sleeved technical shirts has been upped to 800. Runners should get their application in or risk being the 801st runner and no shirt.

This looks to be a really big event and all planned around a run and a party afterward at Morristown’s adult beverage establishments. If you haven’t signed up yet you have missed the early bird registration price but you can still sign up on-line at superheroracing.com or register at the Running Company store on South Street in Morristown. Race day registration will begin at 10:00 a.m. on DeHart Street with the race starting at 11:30 a.m.


A couple of weeks ago I suggested runners run at indoor track events and last Saturday a contingent of New Jersey milers headed up to Cornell University in Ithaca New York to compete in the illustrious masters Hartshorne Mile races. Considered to be the best and most competitive mile race it draws top masters milers from around the country.

While none of the New Jersey runners finished in the top three, all had outstanding races. It’s hard to share the same age division as Nolan Shaheed of California who continues to break records nearly every time he competes. Shaheed dropped the M60 record down to 4:50.96. Tony Plaster of Neptune placed fourth in that division with a 5:24.87 and Harry Nolan of Navesink, just weeks away from aging up into the M65 division was fifth in 5:37.59.

William Zink of Wyckoff was fourth in his M50 division with his 4:49.05 and Dave Hoch, M55, of Bradley Beach posted a time of 5:50.01. Jen Found, 41, of Hopewell had a time of 5:24.56

New Jersey’s open and masters meet is Sunday, February 19th at the Bennett Center in Toms River.


Well you may not have been able to get your snow shoes on quick enough this weekend to enjoy the snow before the big melt on Monday, but spotted on Sussex Turnpike in her snowshoes on Saturday, heading for the Patriots Path was champion snowshoer Janice Morra of Morristown.


Correction to my column of last week [as was published in The Daily Record -ed.]: Due to a transposition error, the age of Kathleen Castles daughter Stephanie Castles-Fonseca was changed from 21 to 12. Alert readers knew that did not make sense since the point of the vignette was that it was unusual that an Olympic marathon qualifier could have an adult age child. Having one who was twelve would not be so surprising.

Dr. Castles was gracious in responding to my emailed apology. She gave a very moving acceptance speech at the USATF New Jersey Awards Banquet January 21 on receiving the George Sheehan award for outstanding achievement in national competition. The award was presented superbly by Jane Parks of Morristown, who is a member of the Long Distance Running committee.


Executive Director Pam Fales of Boonton is to be commended for organizing and directing this huge event that has grown over the years from an attendance of less than 200 to nearly five hundred at this year’s event. In addition to the Long Distance Running awards, an entire second room was devoted to track and field athletes and to the young athletes in the Junior Olympics program.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 22, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

It was cold last Saturday in Houston. The athletes waiting in the holding pen for the US Olympic Trials marathon were told it was 42 degrees. It felt more like 32, and indeed they learned later, it was 32 at the start. Adding to the cold was the wind. There wasn’t supposed to be any wind, but the city streets created a wind tunnel affect. One thing they found to be true – the course, three loops plus a 2.5 mile beginning loop was not really in good shape. In fact it was in really bad shape.

When the women runners started, Kathleen Castles, 40, of New Providence felt the cold and the wind. By mile two, both hamstrings were locking up. Castles was thinking that she would never be able to run another 24 miles with her hamstrings in such a state. Castles had worked hard to get to the starting line and she wasn’t about to give up after two miles.

“Listen Kath, you’re in shape to break 2:40 right now,” she said to herself. “Do you want to do this again or do it right now?”

It was only her fourth marathon. She had run the 2008 trials after qualifying in her first marathon, and in February 2011 she won outright the BI-LO Myrtle Beach Marathon in 2:40:10. She made national news with that win, and now she was in the 2012 Olympic Trials marathon.

No, she wasn’t going to let tight hamstrings stop her. But the course could have. At the technical meeting the night before the runners were warned about the course. In addition to uneven pavement, including a section that was ribbed for a repaving job, sections were riddled with potholes.

When a fellow runner stepped into a hole and fell she sent Castles into another hole. That mishap left her with an injured calf in addition to the cramping hamstrings.

The hamstrings never did loosen up. Stopping to stretch them was out of the question. When she crossed the finish line in 2:39:19 in 38th place out of 152 finishers, she pumped her fists in joy.

But the moment Castles stopped her legs locked up. She was wheeled off to medical in a wheelchair to be rehydrated.

Because she has not mastered the art of drinking on the run, Castles doesn’t take in fluids. She fears a bad reaction will ruin her run.

Once she felt better Castles chatted with the Hanson- Books Distance Project team coaches. Desiree Davila, the woman who came in second in Houston and also in Boston last April, is a Hanson runner. Davila had the same problem the coaches told Castles, and after training to drink while racing she improved.

“They told me I should really work on that,” said Castles.

As they learned more about Castles they offered more advice. Castles does much of her training on a treadmill and when she does run outdoors she is usually alone. She runs at six minute pace for most of her training runs. She is self coached, almost unheard of at the level she is running.

“There are so many things you can do to improve your time,” said one. “A minute for the treadmill, a minute you don’t train with anyone, a minute for no coach, a minute for no fluids. That gives you four minutes.”

He went on the tell Castles he could guarantee that he could lower her times by five minutes, if she were coached. They suggested that she should turn pro and run the masters circuit.

Castles had a full blown case of pre-race jitters in Houston. In the holding pen, filled with runners and coaches, with Meb Keflezighi on her left and Deena Kastor on her right, Castles was ready to head back to the hotel, sure she was in over her head.

“I don’t belong here,” she said to her daughter Stephanie Castles-Fonseca, who had signed in as her coach.

“Mom, if you don’t belong here than 150 of these girls don’t belong here, because you were seeded forty ninth,” her daughter said.

“No, it was a fluke. I just got here on a fluke,” Castle responded.

Her daughter retorted, “Mom, you can run a fluke half mile - you can have fresh legs and run a fast [mile] pace, but you can’t run a 2:40 fluke marathon.”

Castles credits Stephanie with calming her nerves. “Mom I am going to hold your hand and we’re going to go out there and I’m going to stay with you until they tell me to leave you.”

Stephanie and her mother became a side story to the marathon. Not many Olympic trials marathoners have a twenty-one year old daughter. A Newspaper reporter asked Stephanie to write about how she felt. She responded with this tribute to her mother.

“There are no words to describe what my mom accomplished in the Olympic trials this past weekend, or in her life for that matter. Everything she has done has made that weekend even more inspiring. The fact that she had me when she was only 18 years old and continued on with her education, reaching the pinnacle degree in her field and becoming a doctor. The fact the she never gave up on her dreams and trained so incredibly hard for the trials while balancing a life as a doctor, a high school track coach, a coach for the VA running team (which she created), and a college professor. When I saw her cross that finish line in the exact time she wanted so badly I couldn’t stop crying because I knew how much it meant to her and I knew how much she put into it physically and emotionally. I could not have been more proud to be the first one there waiting for her at the finish line.”


One final note: At the USATF New Jersey Awards Banquet on Saturday January 21, Castles was the recipient of the George Sheehan Award for outstanding achievement in national or international competition.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 15, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

Just like the summer time is a time to take a break and look for a change of pace, winter offers the same option.   But while a run on a sandy beach might be inviting in the summer, a run across a snowy field is a better option in the winter.

Although we have been either blessed or cursed with a lack of snow, depending on your outlook on winter, we should be able to count on a few days, if not weeks of snow coming up.  Last year a number of New Jersey runners had their first taste of snow shoe racing and this year, once the snow comes, they will have more opportunities.

Mountain Creek in New Vernon in Sussex County is hosting a Tubbs Romp to Stomp snow shoe event on Saturday January 21st.  It is being held to raise funds for the Susan B Komen Foundation that is associated with breast cancer.  The stomp in the title is to stomp out cancer.  For the uninitiated, Tubbs is a major producer of snow shoes.  The company will have a supply available for rental but you are advised to come early to secure a pair.

The event is on Saturday, January 21st.   A 3 kilometer snow shoe race will start at 10:00 a.m.  It will be followed at 10:30 by a 3 kilometer and 5 kilometer snow shoe walk.  The participants will be treated to all the bells and whistles of a major event, including a ride up the slopes on a ski lift. 

Without any bells and whistles, not even a race shirt is the low key, low cost, local snow shoe race on Sunday, January 28th at the Mount Tabor Country Club in Mount Tabor.  Weather and all else will determine if another five races will be offered. 

For those who are without snow shoes, a limited number of Dion Snow Shoes will be available for small rental fee.  It’s a onetime rental though, as the website, njtrailseries.com, puts it succinctly and to the point, “The reason for the rentals is to introduce the sport, not to keep you from purchasing snow shoes.”

The 5K will go off at 9:00 a.m.  A 3K may be offered for those who find the 5K too daunting. 

For those who think snow should stay up in Canada somewhere, there is another alternative sport – indoor track.  Although it is seemingly out of place so early on the track and field calendar, the USATF East Region Masters Track and Field championship will be on Sunday, January 29, in Providence Rhode Island.  The longest distance indoors is usually 3,000 meters, or twelve laps on the 200 meter track, but this meet is also offering a 5,000 meter race, or 25 laps of the track.  Due to time constraints no doubt, there is a 25 minute time limit for the event, which will be the first on the schedule at 10:00 a.m.   Road runners may find this hard to believe but middle distance track racers will welcome this opportunity to run 5 kilometers on the indoor track.

The New Jersey track and field championship will be on Sunday, February 19th,  at the Bennet Center in Toms River.  This is an open and masters championship.  One word about the terminology here.    In road racing a masters runner is age forty or older.  But in track and field, the masters divisions begin at 30 to 34, on up through all the ages.

What about road racing this winter?  Well, the Passaic County Running Club Winter Series is having a 5K today at Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne at 11:00 a.m.  There will be another on the 29th and on February 12th.

Here in Morris County, on Sunday, February 5th, a new race, the Super Sunday Four Miler, will take place on Dehart Street in Morristown at 11:30 a.m.  Information on it is hard to come by but the grapevine says that four hundred runners have already signed up.   There is an info page in the latest print copy of Race Forum and this four miler looks like a real party race.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 8, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

There is one more award for the 2011 season available for USATF members, if they act soon. The Phidippides Award is given to runners who– well, who like to run. More precisely, who like to run in races.

In 2010 over 100 New Jersey runners received the Phidippides award, which is a handsome plaque. With only a little over three weeks before the deadline the numbers are down for New Jersey runners.

Phidippides of course is the Greek soldier, described as a professional masters runner who ran over 140 miles from the plains of Marathon outside of Athens to Sparta to enlist the help of the Spartan army to fight off the Persian army. The Spartans agreed to help but not until after an important festival. Poor Phidippides had to run back to Athens to give his generals the good news/bad news. If that wasn’t bad enough, after a day long battle, the generals sent him off to run into Athens, a distance of 26 miles, to let the army there know that the Persians were coming by sea. Phidippides was one heck of a runner but he ended up a dead runner from exhaustion.

 Painting of Pheidippides
Luc-Olivier Merson, 1869

While the award is for running in a goodly number of races in the year so far no one is known to have hit the ultimate wall like Phidippides did.

The award is given to those who have run on accurately measured or USATF certified courses, and they can be trail, mountain, cross country as well as road races.

One point is given for 5K up to 5 Miles. Two points for 10K to 15K, three points for ten miles to half marathon, and four points for 25K to marathon. A sliding scale is used based on age so that runners age 40 to 59 need 20 points to earn a Gold award while a runner age 60 to 79 needs only 16 points and someone age 80 and older needs eight. Similar scales are used for Silver and Bronze awards.

It was a slim year for this writer. I did the Indian Trails 15K in April for two points. In May I ran the Run for a Dream 8K in Virginia for one point. In June I did the 10K national masters championship in Ann Arbor for two points. Also in June I ran a 5K cross country race in New Brunswick for another point. Of course there was the President’s Cup Night Race in Millburn for another point. Wait, the Fitzgerald’s Lager Run for one more point. Let’s see, in the spring season I reached eight points. I needed to double that with the fall races to hit Gold.

In October I ran in the Syracuse Festival of Races for one point. Hmm, no long runs so I wonder if I can do it. Wait, I did run the East Brunswick 10K in October for two points. Then in November I caught a cold and had to skip the Giralda Farms 10K. On Thanksgiving morning I ran the 5K in Morris Township and that was the end of my season. Four points in the fall and eight in the spring for a not so grand total of 12 points. That will get me the Silver Award in my age division so at least I have that as a consolation.

So far fifty New Jersey runners have attained the coveted Gold Award for 2011. Five have reached Silver and two have a Bronze. That is about half of what was awarded for the 2010 season.

I spotted a few local runners on the 2011 list; like Carole Chen and Fernando Branco of Wharton, Charles Castiglioni of Lake Hopatcong, Susan and Will DeRoberts of Boonton,Scott Isgett of Rockaway, Lori and Robert McGill, and Tony Massa of Budd Lake, Rene Rovtar of Basking Ridge and Mark Washburne of Mendham.

There is still plenty of time. The deadline is January 30, 2012. Applications are on the national USATF website.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 1, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

While the rest of the folks are watching football games today, runners will be checking out the racing calendar and beginning to plan their 2012 season. The USATF New Jersey championship line-up was recently posted on the association website and the first thing that is noticed is that there will be a 20 kilometer road race this year and it is first of the season.

Sunday March 11th is the date of this brand new race in Johnson Park in Piscataway [Miles for Music]. A 20K in the park will mean more than one out and back on the park’s paths and roads, but a plus for the runners who may not be ready for that long a race in early spring is that the course will be basically as flat as a flood plain. [course map]

No one should get spoiled by the flat course as the next championship is the Indian Trails 15K on April 1st for open men and women. The Indian Trails is about as hilly as one can find in New Jersey and it is not even in the highlands of New Jersey but down in Middletown, near the Jersey shore.

The Cherry Blossom 10K in Branch Brook Park in Newark has often been a championship and this year it will be the host of the masters women’s race. It will be on tax deadline day, April 15th.

Open men will be running the next weekend at the Stomp the Monster 5K in Marlboro. April will finish up with the Clinton Country Run 15K for masters men and women on the 28th.

After a year away from the line-up the Our House 5 Miler in Summit is back on May 6th as the open men and women’s championship. Open men and women will have to be sharp and ready as the following weekend is the Newport 10,000, also for them. Not to pile on but open women will have the Run for Rachel 5K on the 20th, eight days after Newport on the 12th.

Sunday, June 24th will be the only June championship when the Fitzgerald’s 1928 Lager Run 5K goes off in Glen Ridge, hosting the masters men.

Masters women will have their 5K championship on Sunday September 2nd at the Jimmy D in New Brunswick.

Cross country will be early in 2012 with the New Jersey 5K championship for all divisions takes place on September 8th at Deer Path Park. The Liberty Waterfront half marathon for all divisions will take place on September 23rd in Jersey City.

October will be lean with only the 8k cross country race on the 28th. Giralda Farms will host the masters men 10K on November 11th in Madison and the Ashenfelter 8K on Thanksgiving Day will host the masters men and women. The Grand Finale ten mile championship will take place on December 9th to wrap up the championship season.


Do you remember last year’s January 1st? Snow forced the Hangover Run in Tamaques Park in Westfield to reschedule not once but twice. The Hamilton Hangover 5 miler was shortened to a 5K due to snow conditions. So if you are looking for an excuse to not run this morning, you are out of luck.


The Clifton Road Runners M70 team and the Raritan Valley Road Runners M60 team have bragging rights to the USATF national masters team grand prix. The Clifton team made it to four races out of nine to win five hundred dollars and a banner that can be displayed by the winning club.

The Raritan Valley team was locked in a true contest with a club from Ann Arbor Michigan. The team, which includes Roger Price of Randolph and Carl Weaver of Morris Plains, were in the lead up to the final race of the season in Seattle, but were foiled when the team had a poor showing due to various injuries. Ann Arbor finished with 52 points to Raritan Valley’s 51, giving them second place. It is expected that more teams will be attracted to the national series after the kick-off year in 2011.