Monday, September 24, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 16, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

It is at the September meeting of USATF New Jersey’s Long Distance Running committee where members may submit proposals for changes in rules and regulations for the coming year’s competitions.  One proposal made by Sneaker Factory team captain John Sabatino of Morris Plains was well received by the attendees at the meeting.  Sabatino pointed out that the points table for team scoring has undergone changes over the years in an effort to keep the divisions balanced.  He feels that the system is currently out of balance.

Sabatino had noticed that older teams were able to garner far more points than is possible in the open and younger masters divisions due to allowing each runner to run on two different age divisions teams.  When the fields in the older divisions are small as in the age 70 and 80 divisions, one team of three runners can win in two age divisions and bring to their club twelve points.  This is important in the overall club grand prix where the scores for all the team divisions are totaled.

His proposal would not cut down the top points in the older age divisions but add points to the younger divisions.  For instance the open men division that currently has ten points for the first place team would be raised to twelve points.

The committee asked Sabatino to analyze the scores for 2012 and make a comparison using his proposed new table.  Once it is done and perhaps adjusted the proposal and the analysis will be posted on the USATF website.

Another proposal, made by Division Chair Ed Neighbour of Sparta, was also addressing the issue of the so called “double dipping”.  His proposal may catch more push back from the clubs.  Each team whose scoring members were in the same age division would receive one bonus point.  A M50 team that had one or two runners who were over age 59 would not receive a bonus point while a team whose members were all in the 50 to 59 range would.

Rule changes are proposed at the September meeting.  This allows for time to review and consider them before the vote at the February meeting.


It is quite common to find races that are run in memory of someone, but memorial races for runners are not as common.  Two such races are coming up on the calendar.

On October 9th, 2011 lifelong Montclair resident and member of the Essex Running Club, Doug Williams was struck and killed by a hit and run driver.  On the club website, Williams is remembered for his caring soul and gentle nature.  He is also remembered for his passion for running marathons.

The 5K race that was formerly known as the Goodwill 5K has been renamed in his honor. The 500 point New Balance grand prix race is being held on Sunday October 7th starting at 9:00 a.m. from the Montclair Art Museum.  The course is described as a USATF certified three turn route.

Proceeds will benefit a Scholarship in his name at Montclair State University, School of Business, where he graduated in 1985.

Also on the 7th is the Jonathan Slusher Memorial 5K in Califon.   According the website that is set up for the high school scholarship fund in his name, Slusher was a lifelong runner.  While in high school he ran in the cross country Meet of Champions and was the second scoring man for Voorhees and 37th in the state with a time of 16.42.  In recent years, the website said that he ran with a running club in Pennsylvania, and his name can also be found in New Jersey races.  Slusher was a journalist by trade who died at age 45 in 2010 from brain cancer.

The race starts out on River Road and then doubles back on the Columbia Trail to the finish at Califon Island Park in Califon.  The race has a late start at 1:00 p.m.  It is not a New Balance grand prix event.


Next Saturday, September 29th, the Mendham Harvest Hustle 5K and a one mile fun run is taking place at Mendham Borough Park on Mountain Avenue.  It features a USATF certified course and it is part of the New Balance grand prix.  The one mile run starts at 8:00 a.m. with the 5K going off at 9:00 a.m.  The race is clearly an event for families with an expo and family fun fair that starts after the race awards ceremony.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 16, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

Two hundred and forty-six runners were on the line at Deer Path Park in Hunterdon County last Saturday for the USATF New Jersey cross country 5 kilometer championship.
Eleven open men’s teams finished the race with the Garden State Track Club taking the top four spots by spreading their talent among all four teams.  Their fastest runner, Anthony Harris of East Brunswick who finished first overall in 15:51, was on the club’s C team.

The Shore Athletic Club took first in the M40, M50, but a ploy similar to the Garden State club backfired in the M60.  Shore had sufficient men in the M60 to field two teams and they split their speedster between the A and the B teams, hoping to push the Raritan Valley Road Runners team that is currently in the lead in the team grand prix to third place.  They were cutting it close and when one of their men went down and another team member stopped to give aid, the Raritan Valley team grabbed first.  Both Shore men finished but they had lost precious seconds.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the Shore’s B team placed second while their A team was pushed to third.  In February a rule was established that a B team would remain a B team even if it finished ahead of an A team of the same club.  This is important for points in the team grand prix.  Fourth place was taken by the Morris County Striders in the division.

On the women’s side, winner Cheyenne Ogletree of Garfield (18:06) brought the Garden State’s open women’s team in for first place, but second went to Raritan Valley and third to the Morris area Garmin Runners.

The Garmin Runners have been dominating the W40 division and they did so again on Saturday.  Second was taken by the Sneaker Factory and third by the Do Run Runners.  In the W50 division first was taken by the Sneaker Factory and second went to the Clifton Road Runners.  The Morris County Striders were third, with the Rose City Runners fourth.  The Morris County senior women took first in the W60, W70 and the W80 division.

Thirty-nine men’s and 28 women’s teams competed.  Even teams that did not finish high enough to earn points in the team grand prix, did win points at the race.  As an incentive to the clubs all teams receive a bonus of two points.  Even a team that finishes in eleventh place is valuable to a club’s score in the cross country races.

The next cross country championship, the 8 kilometer, will be at Deer Path Park on Sunday, October 28.


The Newport half marathon is the championship for all divisions of USATF clubs.  It will take place next Sunday at the Newport Town Square in Jersey City.  Last year over twenty-two hundred runners finished the race and more can be expected this year.


But sometimes a race can’t be held.  No, a little rain won’t stop it but when a tornado appears heading your way, the show stops.  That’s what happened last Saturday afternoon in Morristown when the first annual Run 4 the Seeing Eye had to be cancelled.  Organizers are looking at a date in October for it to be held.  Runners will be notified via email and can always go to for the latest update.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 9, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

The JimmyD 5K in New Brunswick last Sunday was the USATF New Jersey masters women’s championship and it showed. Even in a big race like the Jimmie D with 747 finishers the first men and women to cross the finish line are usually younger runners. Not so on Sunday when Catherine Smith of Wayne finished first woman in 18:55.

Smith has been a top woman for several years in New Jersey and now that she has aged into the masters ranks she is sure to get more notice. Until 2011 Smith had run unattached but now is the top female for the Fleet Feet Essex club and she delivered the club a win in the W40 division.

The Garmin running team, new this year, placed second in that division with Susan Bessin of Madison bringing that team in with her time of 20:38.

Fifty-seven year old Nora Cary of Morristown led the Do Run Runners team in for third. She finished in 21:00, the fourth fastest women over forty. The Do Run runners placed third also in the W50 division. The Rose City running club placed fourth in the W50, with Dede Paul of Madison whose time was 22:51 first woman on her team. The Morris County Striders were fifth.

The Striders hit pay dirt in the more senior divisions. They placed second in the W60 division but first in the W70, and in the W80 division.

The Striders now have three women over 80 who love to run and love to race. Diane Stone of Bernardsville finished in 47:03 while Melva Murray of Bedminster finished in 49:42. Patricia Tummey of Randolph who at 83 has been waiting for her teammates to age up to her age group finished in 56:19.

Of course the men raced at JimmyD also and Anthony Harris of North Brunswick won the race in 15:47. There were plenty of young men racing, but amongst the top ten was 49 year old Mark Zamek of Macungie PA. His time of 16:51 put him at the top of the list in age grading at 86.81%. The first local man was Gary Rosenberg of Morristown who finished in 17:30. Rosenberg was the second masters man to finish.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 92, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

This morning the USATF-New Jersey masters women’s championship 5K is taking place at the Jimmy D race in New Brunswick. The course is a straight out and back and deceptive to the unaware. Going out on Joyce Kilmer Avenue the runners will have a sense that they are having a good race. And they will be. Until they make the turn around. What happened?

No, it wasn’t that the body ran out of juice. It is that Joyce Kilmer has a gentle slope on the way out. It’s not noticeable until you have to run back on it. So the first mile split will be the fastest and for the incautious runners the last will be, well, painful.

Next weekend, on Saturday September 8th, the USATF New Jersey cross country 5K is taking place at Deer Path Park in Hunterdon County. September is a bit early for cross country, but it has been held in some other years in September. Still there will be some grumping if the weather is warm. If you like cross country you will love the Deer Path course. It has the requisite hills around the fields at Deer Path Park and the surface is good and makes for easy running. It is a favorite for many New Jersey runners who prefer it to the Holmdel course and its heart stopping Bowl.

By the way, for those who seek cross country racing, the USATF-NJ website has a separate calendar listing for just cross country races.

Also next weekend is a four mile race that is bound to be a hit. The Run 4 the Seeing Eye is on Saturday the 8th in Morristown. The course appears to be the exact replica of the Super Sunday 4 miler that was held this year on February 5th. If so, then there are probably plenty of age division records that could be reset with such a young course. The Super Sunday race was won by Thomas Poland of Morristown in 20:59 and Elena Rozhko, also of Morristown in 23:52, so the overall times might be a bit tough to break but surely some age division records will be broken.

For a twist on the race. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and that means of course, that post run socializing can take place in one of the many restaurants and bars in Morristown.

Another local race has a 6:30 p.m. start and that is the Share the Care 5K that takes place next Thursday, September 6th in Morris Plains. The certified course starts from Trinity Lutheran Church at 151 Mountain Way. Share the Care benefits Morris Habitat for Humanity. Bring the kids for kiddy dashes once the 5K runners are in.


It’s not always easy finding a date for a race. Sometimes the problem is the venue is not available when you might want it. Other times each weekend date is already booked and it is hard to find an open date that is not in conflict with other races.

This is especially true for USATF New Jersey championships. As hard as the Long Distance Running committee works on selecting races that do not conflict or are not too close to another championship, grumbling about the championship line-up is almost inevitable. The committee does not choose the dates for races and on some occasions has asked a race to move change their date in order to be considered for hosting a championship. But the schedule is never perfect. Is life?