Sunday, July 28, 2013

Query at Westfield race goes the long distance

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey

On Sunday, July 28, 2013

Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013

When you’re looking at race results some things will stand out and ask for an explanation.  Most often it’s a person finishing in a time that they have never done before.  Last year at the Horace Ashenfelter 8km on Thanksgiving morning there were a few runners who were credited with quite unbelievable times.

The course takes the runners past the finish line at about three and a half miles and sends them off to do a small loop to come back to the finish.  It turned out that the fast times were caused by the super sensitivity of the computers at the finish.  They picked up the runners as they went past on their way out to the turnaround loop.

Sometimes a fast time is the result of man wearing his wife’s bib, or some other switch where the faster runner in a family or in the car pool is wearing the slower runner’s bib.  That is usually easily fixed.

Sometimes the fast time is attributable to someone just plain cutting the course.  In those instances it is usually done out of innocence and ignorance.  On an out-and-back course it is easy for a tired runner to say, “Ah heck, I’m turning around now.”  That was the case last week at the Verizon Wireless race that wasn’t a race.  People were hot and tired and cut off a small part of the course.   It didn’t matter since it was just a fun run and no one was being timed.

When people are being timed though, then it becomes a problem to sort out.  If the unexpected person is winning or placing high in an age group they will be queried about their time.  “Did you run the full course?  Were you wearing your own bib?”  Usually that will solve the problem.

At the Downtown Westfield 5K this past Wednesday the race was packed with fast young runners.   Chris Heibell, 26, of Hillsborough won the race in 15:13 with Chris Croft, 24, of Summit hot on his heels in 15:16.  The next thirteen men were no older than 25 except for Mike Anis of Highland Park, an ancient 31 years of age.

Well not quite that ancient if you compare him to the seventeenth finisher.  Fifty year old Andrew Green of Scotch Plains finished in 17:08.  That’s a 5:30 per mile pace and he scored an 86.07% that topped the age grading charts.

Had to be a mistake.  Never heard of Andrew Green.  You can go to the bottom of the CompuScore home page and type in a person’s name and if he or she has run in any CompuScore races that name will appear along with the data from each race that was run.  Andrew Green of Scotch Plains wasn’t there.

How about Athlinks?  Nope.  No Andrew Green of Scotch Plains.  CompuScore did the timing of the Westfield race and they had a camera on the runners as they came in.  No mistake, Green was there.

Super sleuth Gene Gugliotta of North Plainfield cracked the case.  Searching  past the border of New Jersey and the United States, Gugliotta found Andrew Green in the United Kingdom and Green is the genuine article.  He has an M50 PB [personal best, aka personal record] of 32:59 for a 10K that he ran on May 12, 2013.  He was written up in the local club news.

No wrong bib, no cutting the course.  Had Gary Leaman of Hardwick or Rodrigo Caceres of Elizabeth been at the race on Wednesday those M50 division New Jersey stars would have kept Green from standing out and raising questions. 

It was the crowd of young runners Wednesday that made things interesting.  One more item of note.  Green was the first master, first over age 40 to finish, and he was followed by Kevin Higgins, 54, of Randolph in 18:17, Robert Penn, 52, of Westfield in 18:33 and in 53rd place overall Beau Atwater, 55, of Bernardsville in 18:38.   It was the M50, M55 divisions leading all other masters men to the finish line.

In a race with 2,433 finishers it can’t get any stranger than that.  The first woman to finish was teenager Kerry Dyke, 16, of Perth Amboy in 18:32.  Nora Cary, 58, of Morristown topped the age graded chart for women with her 21:51 that scored 85.11% PLP.


The Westfield race was the last big race in northern New Jersey until September.  The Morris County Strider summer series 5K is still going on at Johanson Field in Boonton.  This Tuesday will be race number three and the last race of the series is on August 6th.

Race Results can often be found at or at 
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Verizon Wireless Corporate Classic becomes a Fun Run

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 21, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013

The only record that was broken on Thursday night at the Verizon Wireless Corporate Classic was the number of people who had been registered for the 5K that winds through Morristown; 5,229 people registered for the race.  But it was a race that didn’t happen. 

Maybe another record was broken and that being the high temperature that cause the organizers to post a notice on the race website on Thursday afternoon that the event would not be timed and would be shortened by nearly a mile due to the extreme heat.  Some people may have opted to stay in a nice air conditioned space but from the look of Headquarters Plaza Speedwell Avenue a lot of people were ready to go, racing or not, hot as heck or not.

The Morris County Striders [full disclosure: my running club] provides course marshals for the event and they were able to double up on positions due to the missing mile.  That may have been a good thing because the marshals who were in the “floater” position, Roger Price of Randolph, Ed Neighbour of Sparta and Joe Treimel of Pequannock and Bernie McKay of Morristown  were there to react to any situation and remedy it.  Their roles had called for strong voices and an instinct to react quickly to a situation.  They had no inkling that they would soon be put to the test. 

With those four or five thousand runners and walkers starting out to travel just two miles there was bound to be some problems.  The faster runners fairly leaped off the starting line when the horn sounded on Speedwell, but those further back barely moved for several minutes before they were clear to run or walk.

 The course is basically an out and back and the last three quarter mile or so was still filled with people who had barely begun to move off Speedwell Avenue to the first turn onto Early Street when the faster runners had hit the turn-around and were on their way back.

Ooops!  Those back-of-the-pack folks had filled Early Street from sidewalk to sidewalk and now the police vehicle leading the returning speedsters would soon be turning onto Early and heading right into the crowd. 

“I said to Bernie,” Price recalls.  “Oh my God, look up there!  We’ve got to get them off the street.” 

It’s not easy convincing people that they must clear a road for what appears to be no good reason.  Most of the runners had probably never looked at the course map and did not know that theirs was only one side of the road.

Shouting, the four men desperately began to herd the unwitting runners back to their rightful place on their half of Early Street.

They were mostly successful but when the lead police vehicle turned up Early Street there were still some people on the wrong side of the road.  Siren screaming, horn sounding, lights flashing the police car was using its full arsenal of sound and sight as people scurried either to the sidewalk or back to the other side of the street.

Just in time as Tradelle Ward of Hoboken was in full stride to be the first runner to finish.  If you want to say you had a run of bad luck it would have to top Ward’s.  Last year the runner from Stryker was delayed in traffic and didn’t make it to the start.  This year Ward, a former miler, was primed for action and although he was the first man to cross the finish line it was an empty victory.  No time recorded and no award given.

Meanwhile, out on the course those less fit and much slower were feeling the heat.  If Ward and the other leaders of the pack finished in ten or eleven minutes and were tossing down gulps of water at the finish, out on Sussex Avenue at the turn- around, folks may have been on the run for twenty minutes or more.

Course marshal Marty Rosenberg of Wharton was at the beginning of the large loop that turned the runners back to head to the finish.  Rosenberg said that many of the slower people were looking pretty ragged.  He appointed himself the unofficial “monitor” and began to tell people to just turn back at that point and not make the loop that might have added another quarter mile of agony. 

Rosenberg said that some refused to give in to the heat and their pain and completed the full course, but others gratefully followed his direction and did a one eighty and headed for “home”.  When a race isn’t a race there is no shame in cutting the course.

Back at Headquarters Plaza none appeared to be suffering from doing the two mile race and there were many happy faces around.  Competitive runners had not found the heat to be daunting thanks to the abbreviated course and not feeling the need for speed the less fit were happy too.  A smiling couple with their two children, all dressed in similar attire asked a stranger to take their picture for posterity.  Their happy grins said it all.  Race or not, hot or not, it was a fun event. 

Race Results can often be found at or at 
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Verizon Wireless Corporate Classic this Thursday in Morristown

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 14, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013


Right smack in the middle of summer comes one of the most popular race in Morris County.  For that matter let’s include all of the “northern” counties as the other really big races are down the Shore.

The Verizon Wireless Corporate Classic invites runners of all abilities and with no ability to run 3.1 miles to come and have some fun.  It’s a formula that works and this year will be no exception.  Those who can’t run for the full three miles may outnumber those who can.  Well over half the field of 3,779 finishers in 2012 were clocked at over ten minutes per mile pace.  Which is precisely the point.  The race is held to encourage fitness among corporate employees and if they have to walk a little, jog a little they are participating.

Up front of course are some fast runners.  In 2012 Christopher Johnson of Berkeley Heights won the race in 15:55 putting his time as the eighth fastest.  Rachel Sorna of Hopewell Junction, NY won the women’s side in 17:59, the second fastest time for all women.  Only Elena Rozhko of Morristown has run faster.  Rozhko clocked in at 17:49 in 2011.

Another aspect makes this race different.  The race uses chip time to determine the results.  Many races are now timed with sophisticated computer chip systems but the results show the actual time from the firing of the starter pistol to the person’s crossing of the finish line.  The Verizon Wireless Corporate Classic shows the time from when the runner crosses the start line as well as the finish line.

It’s a feature that is used in many large races across the country but not used here in New Jersey.  For a race with close to four thousand runners it does make sense.  It may take a runner several minutes to even reach the starting line.  Of course just getting to the starting line does not mean that a person is able to run freely in a crowded race.

In fact, a runner who is late to the start might benefit greatly from it.  Let’s imagine that our runner has been caught in traffic and gets into the parking garage.  He hurriedly strips down to racing gear and heads for the start.  Too late!  Even the slowest runners are a quarter mile down the road.

Ah, but that means our tardy runner now has a clear field in which to run, easily slipping past walkers and baby jogging parents.  He is never impeded and as he passes more and more runners he does not have to pass the others in his age division to win it.  His time will be recorded from the time he started running until he finishes and he may well have the fastest time.

Does it matter?  Not in this race.  Only the top three men and top three women are recognized.
Although times are recorded and published, there are no age division awards.  Remember, this is about participation and a night of fitness.

Ninety-nine men’s teams and eighty-two women’s team had at least three finishers in 2012.  It is after all not named the “Corporate” Classic for nothing. 

The race starts at 7:30 p.m. and for more information go to the race website,  Check out the race course map as there has been slight changes.


At the Lawyers for Kids 5K this past Thursday in Morris Township Mount Olive High School 3200 meter standout Sarah Masukewicz, 16, of Flanders was the first female to finish.  Her time was 19:27.   The overall winner was Henley Hage of East Orange with a time of 18:26.

On Tuesday the Morris County Striders are hosting their second race of the cross country series held at Johanson Park in Boonton Township.  Start time is 7:00 p.m.