Monday, February 27, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, February 26, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

The USATF New Jersey Long Distance Running committee February meeting always draws the largest crowd of the three meetings held each year. Thursday night’s meeting had over fifty attendees, mostly members of running clubs who wanted to have a say in the proposed rule changes.

Of the three changes, only one made it through. Another was given some consideration and some support. The third was dead on arrival.

That was the proposal to allow only one club team per division, with an unlimited number of members while scoring only the traditional five, or three as the divisions dictate. It seemed that no one liked the idea and once the discussion ended the vote was a resounding no vote.

With that proposal eliminated the way was opened for the other two proposals to be reviewed. Finding widespread support was the proposed rule submitted by John Sabatino of Morris Plains who is team captain for the Sneaker Factory club. Sabatino sought to have all of a club’s members included in team races. That was achieved by doubling the number of team members by the number of those who actually score.

Now, if a division scores five members, the team is allowed to declare ten. If a division scores three the teams may declare six. Open women’s teams will declare eight and score four. Once the maximum number is reached the squad can be broken into an A and a B team. The vote was nearly unanimous in favor.

The third proposal would have established how teams would be scored when a club’s B team managed to finish ahead of its A team. The proposed procedure would make the first team that finished the A team regardless how it was declared prior to the race. Many of the team captains in the room said that they liked strategizing on who they put on their A, B, or even C teams. One captain said it would be “shame on me” if one of his B teams beat his A team. That viewpoint held and the proposal was rejected.

In an association in California a successful grand prix includes a one mile road race. The Garden State Track Club would like to host a mile road championship in June that would be in the New Balance Grand Prix, mimicking the California series. Currently the grand prix restricts the minimum length of the Category One races to 3K up to but not including four miles. A mile race would obviously not meet that criteria.

While many of the runners in the room were in support of a serious mile road race or even several , the group was not receptive to adding the club’s race in 2012. It could be considered for 2013 if the club brings a comprehensive proposal to the committee meeting in September. However a look at the California series reveals that it is profoundly different from the one in New Jersey. The difference calls into question whether a mile race would fit in to the established New Jersey series. The club members were encouraged to hold the mile race and it was suggested that they work to create a road mile series in the summer months that could be a stand alone grand prix series.

Several New Jersey runners traveled to national championships in 2011 and division chair Ed Neighbour reminded the meeting attendees that travel stipends are available for those runners who meet the criteria that is posted on the association website. A club team can qualify for a travel stipend as well.

Neighbour announced that the association will be issuing e-newsletters through the internet service Constant Contact in lieu of paper newsletters sent via USPS snail mail. One part of the travel stipend criteria is a submission of a report by the runner or team on the experience at the national championship that could be published in the e-newsletter.

In a sure sign that the team competition is growing was the hand-out from David Siconolfi of New Providence whose scoring company CompuScore times and scores the grand prix and many of the championship races where teams compete. Siconolfi had to completely redesign the number system for the clubs and teams as the one that had been in use did not allow for the increased number of teams.

The first USATF New Jersey championship is the Miles for Music 20K on Sunday, March 11 in Johnson Park, Piscataway.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost

Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, February 19, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

Sparta’s Ed Neighbour, the USATF New Jersey’s Long Distance Running committee chair has a full agenda for the annual rules meeting this Thursday, February 23rd . Proposed changes or new rules governing the conduct of the championships and the various grand prix are submitted in September to be decided at the February meeting. This method is used to give the committee and the general membership time to research the feasibility or desirability of a rule.

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” could be the motto of the committee. As a doctor is advised to “first do no harm”, so too is the admonition to the committee.

This year’s proposals may not be quite as volatile as in some years, but will still cause some discussion. My prediction is that two will be approved and one will be voted down.

One proposal is more a clarification as to how the teams are scored when a clubs B team actually scores higher than the A team.

How’s that again? Here’s how. The team designated before the race as the A team has a member drop out and not finish. Their back up runner finishes the race but is well back, or there is no back-up runner. Meanwhile all of the B team’s runners finish and that team has a better score than the A team. That would not be a problem in most circumstances, but in New Jersey we have a grand prix where the A team needs to be the primary team.

For that reason a proposed new rule is to clarify that in any division, the first team for a club that finishes is the A team and the next team is the B team and so on. This same issue has come before the national committee that instituted a very similar masters team grand prix in 2011. They had just such an event in which an A team did not finish but the club’s B team did.

A team captain proposed a rule that if passed will make life a lot easier for team captains. Presently in the divisions that score five members, the team is allowed to declare eight members on the team. For the divisions that score three, five are allowed on the team. Open women declare seven and score four.

But what happens if a captain has nine runners, or ten available? What do you do with the extra runners? Well, you leave them off the team, and that makes no one happy. The new rule will allow for up to ten to be declared. In that way the team will be full and no one is left out. After that, if there are eleven or more runners, the captain can split the squad into two teams.

The same would be true for teams that score three. They would be allowed to have six on the team. Open women’s teams would declare eight and score four.

The proposed rule that is sure to be defeated was proposed in order to solve the dilemmas outlined in the previous discussion. In this scenario it is proposed that each club may declare only one team and that it contain an unlimited number of members with the current number for each age division scoring.

If this change were made the participation of the clubs would surely go down. I refer back to “First, do no harm”. The man or woman who is usually on a B team will almost never be a scoring member under the multiple member plan. They would soon lose interest in running for their clubs and look elsewhere for competition. Under the current rules some B teams do place in the team scoring and their points are added into the overall club scoring.

Other items on the agenda are a review of the fall 2011 championship races. Also a review of the 2012 championship line-up, important this year because of the races that were selected as championships for the first time. The full agenda is available on the USATFNJ website as are directions to the meeting location at the Alcatel-Lucent headquarters in Murray Hill. The meeting will start at 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, February 12, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

She was a newbie runner. He was an old hand at the sport. In fact, he was the team captain of the Roche Running Club. So it was not unexpected that she was introduced to him by a mutual friend.

She was somewhat in awe of him. He was just annoyed. No, not at the pretty woman in front of him. He was in the middle of a speed workout and as any runner can attest, he didn’t want any interruptions.

Susan had been running only three or four weeks when she was introduced to Will DeRoberts of Boonton at the Roche health center.

“This is Will and he’s been running a long time and if you ever have any questions he’s the one you should ask,” she was told.

A week after that introduction they met again as volunteers at a Roche health fair.

“I spent an hour and a half with him and I asked him a million questions about running,” said Susan.

A little over a year later, in November 2007, they were married. True to the theme of their life they ran in a 5K race in Mountain Lakes the day before the wedding. Will ran on the day of the nuptials also.

“Susan insisted that I go out and run four miles,” said Will. “I ran up and down the Boulevard.”

Will was in training for a marathon when they met, but Susan wasn’t into marathons yet. In fact, she said she hated them at first.

“I didn’t like it, but you know how it is, a couple of days later you say maybe I can do better at it, train a little harder,” she said. “So first it was a life list thing and I crossed it off my list, and then it turned into a lifestyle.”

Lifestyle indeed. Susan has now run in 34 marathons, 18 of them just last year. She plans to do 20 in 2012.

“I’m not very fast so I had to find my own thing,” explained Susan. “So I can run a lot and that’s what really got me into it.”
The impetus of the marathon madness is an organization called Marathon Maniacs. In order to belong to the group you must qualify as a maniac. The minimum requirement is to run three marathons in ninety days. Susan and Will first met members of the group at the North Olympics Discovery marathon that takes place on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. At each marathon members get together.

“At every marathon it is kind of like a reunion,” said Susan. “They have a race calendar on their website and they show who is going to be there. They have a dinner the night before and things after it.”

While Susan has gotten deep into marathoning Will passes on most of them. He competes in the USATF grand prix and won his M55 age division in 2011. Just this past week he ran in the Super Hero four mile race in Morristown where his 26:05 age graded at 76.93 % for sixth in that category.

Will is supportive of Susan and her marathoning. She said that she knows that not all of the locations are vacation spots but he’s been a good sport about supporting her. Although she would be happy if Will only meets her at the finish line he always finds her at various spots along the course as well as at the finish.

On a recent weekend Susan ran a marathon in Jackson Mississippi on Saturday and another marathon the next day in Mobile Alabama. Susan says that she is not fast, but she is certainly consistent. At the marathon in Jackson her finishing time was 4:11:25. The next day, her time was barely five minutes slower at 4:16:53. Her best time has been 3:50:53 that she ran at the Soldier Marathon in Columbus Georgia, wearing the name of a soldier who lost his life in Afghanistan.

One thing is for sure, Susan DeRoberts has far surpassed her first running goal. When Will is doing a slower paced recovery run and Susan is looking for more speed they can run together.

“I just wanted to be able to run with him,” she said. “That was my goal when we started dating.”

Now six years later Susan and Will DeRoberts will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a trip to Myrtle Beach for Susan’s 35th marathon. They are surely a running couple that keeps their love and the love of running alive.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, February 5, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

Sorry about that headline. I couldn’t resist using a football game term to let readers know that the Super Hero Four mile race being held today has, well, kicked back the start time to 12:30 p.m. today. Originally scheduled for 11:30 a.m., a conflict with another Morristown event dictated that a later starting time would work better.

“We’re close to a thousand,” said race director Heather Gardiner of the number of runners who have pre-registered as of Friday.

Asked if the runners were beer drinkers, or runners, Gardiner replied with a smile, “A little of both.”

Runners will be invited to check out the Super Hero, Super Bowl specials at Tashmoo and Sona 13, as well as other bars in the area of the race activity on DeHart Street once they’ve finished the race.

In keeping with the party atmosphere, winners in the ten year age divisions will win pint glasses to carry their after-race beer in. Some lucky folks could win gift certificates for an Italian dinner at Pazzo Pazzo or steak at Arthur’s Steakhouse.

With the weather being an un-Februarish balmy 40 degrees at noon, there may be several contenders in another division according to Gardiner.

“We’re having a polar bear prize too. That’s another kind of fun thing that we’re doing,” she said. “Whoever is wearing the least will win a prize for that too.”

Nudity is not advised, however.


New Jersey masters runners were recognized with Honorable Mentions in the annual masters rankings in Running Times magazine. Roger Price, M60 of Randolph and Jim Leitz, M70, of Jersey City on the men’s side and Imme Dyson, W70 of Princeton on the women’s.

Here in New Jersey, Price, who runs for the Raritan Valley Road Runners, had his best 5K in 2011 at the President’s Cup Night Race 5K in June in Millburn where he finished in 18:29 to score at 88.32%PLP. He placed third in three national championships; the 8K in 31:12, the 15K in 1:01:36 at 15K and 20:27 at the cross country 5K.

Leitz, who runs for the Clifton Road Runners, placed fourth in the 5K national championship in 23:11 and second at the 15K in 1:12:38. Leitz routinely finished in under 24 minutes at 5K.

Dyson, who will be 75 in 2012, does well at both long and short distances. She scored an 87.63% PLP at the Great Swamp Devil 15K in Basking Ridge with her time of 1:26.23. Her 5K times range from 27 and a half to under 29 minutes.


If you haven’t already done so, it is time to renew membership in USATF. In addition to getting a discount in grand prix races when you pre-enter, there are several other perks for members. One that often gets overlooked is a fifteen percent discount at national chain hotels.

Of course for road racers, being able to participate in the various USATF New Jersey grand prix could be reward enough. Membership is required to run for a club team. For more information go to to see how to sign up. Adult membership is only thirty dollars per year.