Monday, November 26, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 25, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

Well what would you expect with the weather sunny, bright and wind free?  Record numbers of runners for this year’s Thanksgiving Day races.  The Flemington Turkey Trot grew by another 29 runners to 4,203 to top the races.  The Dick Meighan Memorial in Saddle River increased by 143 to 2,257 and the Morris Township race grew by another 128 to finish with 2,257 runners.

At the Horace Ashenfelter 8 kilometer in Glen Ridge, the race drew 2,551 finishers, up by 67 runners.  It was won by John Thou of Patterson in 24:04.  The 8 kilometer was both the masters men and masters women USATF championship and the most outstanding performance was by William Zink of Wyckoff whose 28:15 at age 52 graded at 87.21%.  On the women’s side Jane Parks, 59, of Morristown finished in 35:25 for a score of 87.75%.

 The USATF teams turned out in what could be record numbers.  On the men’s side the M40 division had 15 teams with the Morris area Sneaker Factory taking the top spot.  The Do Run Runners, also a local club, took third.

In the M50 division the race was won by the Shore Athletic Club.  The Shore club also won the M60 division.  Eleven men’s teams entered the M50 division and the M60 division.

Running on home turf the North Jersey Masters club scored in several divisions as did the neighboring team, the Fleet Feet Essex club.  That club placed first in the W40 division, with the Morristown based Garmin team second and the Sneaker Factory third.  Eighteen teams competed in the W40 division and 14 in the W50.  Only three women are required in Masters team competition.

In the W50 division the Sneaker Factory team was first and the North Jersey Masters second with the Morris County Striders taking third.  The Madison based Rose City Runners were first in the W60 division while the Morris County Striders fielded a W70 team to take first once again in that division.

According to my unofficial calculations the always mighty Raritan Valley Road Runners brought in 17 more points to solidify their lead at 378 points and the Clifton Road Runners brought in 24 points to stay in second with 330 points.  Third and Fourth place changed with the Shore Athletic Club bringing in the highest number of points from the race at 32 to total 295 for the season.  The Garden State Athletic Club is in fifth with 293.

The next championship race and the final of the season is the Grand Finale Ten Miler on December 9th in Mercer County Park will be the championship for all divisions and give the younger teams a chance to bring in points for the final count.


Talk about bad luck.  In 2010 the Dover Renaissance 5K could not take place due to road construction on the route.  In 2011 the Halloween snow storm kicked the Great Swamp Devil to the same weekend as the Dover race and people had to choose one over the other.

This year the race was scheduled for Saturday November 3rd and we all know what happened when Hurricane Sandy shut down a good part of New Jersey.  Bruised and battered the race is now on the schedule for this Saturday, December 1st.  It is one of the last remaining chances for runners to better their score in the New Balance Grand Prix.  Race registration and the start and finish are at the corner of Blackwell and Prospects Streets in front of the Casa Di Puerto Rico Club.

Runners are directed to park in the public lot on Prospect Street and not at the club lot or on Blackwell Street.  The race starts at 9:00 a.m.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 18, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

Folks in New Jersey have a new marker in their family calendar – before Sandy and after Sandy.  We’ve had two USATF New Jersey championships since Sandy.  Actually to be technical, Hurricane Sandy hit after the 8 kilometer cross country championship was held, but with no electricity this reporter has not been able to send a column to this esteemed newspaper until this week.

So like everyone, we are catching up.  The 8 km took place on Sunday, October 28th with warnings to not linger because the storm was on its way.  The traditional post race barbeque was cancelled although the runners were able to chow down on potato salad that had been purchased prior to the park closing warning.  It needed to be consumed, or thrown away.

One hundred and sixty six men ran in the race and 86 women, which could be a record for that event.  The now dominant Garden State Track club took first through fourth in the open men’s division.  It has been a long time, or never since the North Jersey Masters won the M40 division but they did so that day, knocking off the Shore Athletic Club that finished in second. The Sneaker Factory was third.

The best that a local team did in the M50 division was the Do Run Runners who finished in fifth place. The Shore AC took first in the M50 and the M60 division and the best local team for the M60 was the Randolph based Geezers.

The Morristown based Garmin Runners placed second in the open women’s division to the Garden State Track Club.  The Garmin women won the W40 division by two points over the Shore club, while the Sneaker Factory took third.

Last Sunday the Giralda Farms 10K was host to the masters men championship. Gary Rosenberg, team captain for the Garmin M40 team came away with a huge smile on his face after his team won that division.  It had been a long time coming with injuries plaguing the Morris County based team.  The Sneaker Factory team took second.

Another group of men with smiles on their faces was the Morris County Striders M50 team.  Although they placed third it was the highest score they had managed in some time.  The Do Run Runners took the third spot in the M60 division and second in the M70 division.

The club and team scores have been posted on the USATF website and they show the Raritan Valley Road Runners in their customary first position.  The Clifton Running Club is in second and trailing by just over fifty points.  That Garden State Track Club is not far behind the Clifton Club but they have only a thirty point lead over the Shore club.  That may sound like a good size lead, but the Ashenfelter race is for masters men and women and the Garden State team is made up of mostly open runners.  Their lead could disappear after the 8K.

The next and final Championship is the Grand Finale Ten Miler on December 9th.  All divisions are represented.  The Garden State club could come back to capture more points but so to can the masters clubs.  It could get very interesting.

Clearly it is Game On for the upcoming Ashenfelter 8 kilometer race on Thanksgiving morning.


Ashenfelter may be the draw for USATF New Jersey masters runners and last year close to 2,500 runners turned out for the race.  But there are rival races throughout the state.  The biggest and oldest is the Flemington Turkey Trot.  Last year it finished over four thousand runners.

Olympian Julie Culley of Annandale won the women’s race in 15:06 to place seventh overall.  Since Culley ran a personal best in London last August of 15:05 at the Olympics in the 5,000 meter race, the stats for the 5K in Flemington last year would have you scratching your head.  But the course was cut short last year through a marshalling error.

In the heart of Morris County is one of the newer Thanksgiving races; the Turkey Trot 5K that takes place in Morris Township at the Ginty Field location.  Last year the race drew over two thousand competitors.

If race days dawns as pleasantly as the long range weather forecast are predicting, all of the races could have record turnouts.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 4, 2012
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2012

The fall racing season is in its final stage with November and December races offering the last chance to improve on USATF New jersey New Balance Grand Prix scores.  A look at the current standings makes for interesting reading and analysis.

Gary Leaman of Hardwick has the lead on the men’s side.  Leaman, who runs for the Sneaker Factory team has had an outstanding year, but at age 53, it is unlikely that he will stay on top as the season concludes and younger, faster men come in.

All non championship grand prix races give 500 points to the first place man or woman, with the points descending from there.  Championship races start at 700 points, which is a wonderful way to maximize points.  But each distance category allows for only two championship scores.

Leaman has all his nine races and scores 5,632 points.  At this point in the season there is always someone lurking below who is missing a race or more.  Michael Loenser of Piscataway is one such “lurker”.  He is in 17th place with 5,101 points and missing one race and only needs to score 532 points to beat Leaman.

Further down the list is Youssef Rochdi of Parsippany.  His score is 4,683 points and with two races missing there is no doubt that he could capture 950 points to go ahead of Leaman as well.

Can a runner who is missing three catch up?  Tim Morgan of South Plainfield has 3,968 points and is lurking in 75th place. He needs one championship and one non championship in the Category Two, and one non championship race in Category Three in order to pick up 1,665 or more points to topple Leaman.  He can find that at the Great Swamp Devil 15K taking place today, or wait until the Ten Mile Season Finale in December.  The next weekend he can run the Giralda Farms 10K, or go to the Ashenfelter 8K on Thanksgiving.  He would still need a non Championship Category Two and the Westfield five mile Turkey Trot on the Saturday after Thanksgiving is back in the grand prix.

On the women’s side there is not as much drama.  Kavitha Manley of Piscataway is in the lead with 5,677 points but that spot is in jeopardy with Catherine Smith of Wayne needing just one race to take over the lead.  Smith won the overall grand prix in 2011 and there is no reason to expect otherwise of her.  She has perfect scores in six races and two 698 point races.

Cheyenne Ogletree of Garfield has been winning races this year but she would need over one thousand points to take the lead.  She would need to score 500 points in a non championship Category One and a Category Three.  Her weakest scores are her Category Two races where she has 697, 683, and 496.  She would need to improve on at least two of them.  Like Morgan, she could find the races but would have to win them all to beat Smith with her near perfect scores.

[Editor's Note: Cheyenne now has a 700 point Cat 2, and Catherine Smith has a 500 pt Cat III.  She could win with just four points under a perfect score.  But the women's race could be very close!]

ING New York City Marathon

Many New Jersey runners will be on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge on Staten Island next Sunday for the ING New York City Marathon.  Each runner paid $255.00 for the privilege or $216.00 if they were a member of the New York Road Runners club.  It raises the question of whether racing, or at least racing in a high profile race, is becoming a sport for only the wealthy.  Certainly costs have gone up to host a huge event like the one in New York but can costs have gone up to that degree?

A recent article in the New York Times pointed out that the fee is “more than the $100.00 more than the fee for any of the four other major world marathons and nearly five times the cost of the London Marathon alone.”

I wonder how many runners have opted to not run in the New York race because of the high fee.  I do not run marathons so I cannot be objective on this but I would like to hear from those who do.

[Editor's Note: Of course the NYC Marathon was subsequently canceled due to Hurricane Sandy.]