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.

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