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.]

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