Monday, January 28, 2013


Written by Madeline Bost
Originally Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 27, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013

The most important meeting for USATF New Jersey long distance running committee could be the first meeting of the year, traditionally held in February, before the start of the spring racing season.  That is when rule changes that have been submitted to the committee in September of the previous year are voted on.

The New Balance Grand Prix and the two Mini grand prix have pretty much settled into an accepted format.  The last change, and it was a huge change, was to change the birthdate of each individual to the first day of the new year.  If a person is having a birthday that year that will move him or her into a new age division, they go into that division on January 1st.  So that is settled.

What hasn't been so settled is the team procedures and rules.  In 2012 a proposal was made to establish a rule that the first team of any given age division from any given club would always be the A team, and the subsequent teams, would be B or C, and so on.  This proposal was defeated and thus a rule was established to the contrary.  The A team would remain the A team and the B team would remain the B team, even if the B team finished with a faster combined time then their A team.

So that was settled.  Or was it?  Rules sometimes trigger unintended consequences.  The A team/B team is one such rule.  Did the rule make it possible to create a B team that was equal to an A team or even better on any given race day?  What if only the B team came to race but the team had many of the faster, or A team members on it.  Was that fair to the competitor teams that were now faced with trying to beat both an A team and a B team of one club in the team grand prix?

The rule enacted in 2012 allowed it, but was it what the racing community and the teams really wanted?  The LDR executive committee pondered that question and decided that it warranted another look.   The committee announced that proposed rule changes including the one proposed in 2012 can be submitted for consideration at the February 28th meeting.  The deadline for the submissions is February 1st.

Two Proposals were submitted at the September meeting, and now two more proposals have been submitted as of this writing.  One of the proposed changes would be to raise the points earned by the first place team in the open men and women’s division from ten to twelve.  This would allow for the ninth and tenth place teams to earn points.  The same is proposed for the W40 and M50 divisions but that is to raise the points for first from ten to eleven, thus adding one more team at the bottom of the scoring table.

More proposals may come in before the Friday deadline.


Trail racers have been busy this winter.  The New Jersey Trail Series held at Lewis Morris Park in Mendham/Morristown wraps up the four race series next Sunday, February 3rd.  It will offer a five mile race, ten miles and fifteen miles.

Two half marathon races were run in the series.  In the first, on December 1st, Benjamin Nilsestuen of Warwick New York won in 1:28:14.  Second place was taken by Jim Sonneborn, 53, of Morristown in 1:33:28.  He came back for half marathon number two on December 16 to win in 1:36:31.  Jessi (Jessica) Kennedy of Morristown, who was featured here on April 10, 2011, was the first woman to finish in both races, 1:38:09 and 1:40:38.  In the second race Kennedy was second overall.

The fifteen mile race on January 12th was won by Justin Scheid of Sparta in 1:48:49 and Sonneborn was second in 2:02:01.  In the women’s 15K, a young woman who knows the trails well at Lewis Morris because she ran in several of the Morris Mauler races was eighteen year old Natalie St. John of Mendham.  She finished in 2:33:02 for third overall.

The first race on Sunday will be the fifteen miler at 9:00 a.m.  All race activity is at Sunrise Lake in the park.  More information can be found at

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