Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Jersey runners make national headlines

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, December 29, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013


Diane Stone of Bernardsville was the featured Phidippides award winner in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of National Masters News.  In a very interesting article Stone relates how she first started running when she was forty-five years old and how she ran her first marathon at age 50 and was timed in 4:30:45.  The next year she squeaked in under 4:30 at 4:29:56.  She made the point that it was all gun time back then.  No chips to track the actual time from start line to finish line.

Stone who is now in the W80 division ran in forty five races in 2013, although that number has probably changed since the story went to press.  She ran for her Morris County Strider team at the national USATF cross country masters championship in October, a division with no other contenders.  She and her teammates were featured in a photo with the newspaper article about the race that was held at Deer Path Park in Readington.


The deadline for submitting your application for the Phidippides Award is January 31, 2014.  The award goes to those runners who compete in a number of races thus honoring the famous Greek runner Phidippides. 

The qualification for the award is based on points assigned to the various race distances.  For instance a 5K is assigned a value of one point.  Ten miles is valued at three points and 25K and the marathon and those even longer are valued at four points.

Younger runners need to tally more points than their older counterparts.  To earn a Gold award in the 40 through 59 ages a runner needs 20 points, while a runner who is 80 and older needs only eight. 

The award is given to members of USATF and membership is also a requirement for the New Jersey New Balance Grand prix.   Enrollment is now going on.   Information for signing up is at

Runners who were members of USATF in 2013 can go to the national website to find the application at the Masters Long Distance Running page.  In the past six years, since the start of the Phidippides Award, New Jersey runners look to be a decided majority of recipients.

Ten New Jersey runners, including Stone, will receive their five year plaque for having qualified for an award in the previous five years. 


2013 racing season is over and 2014 will begin on Wednesday.  Oh yes, it’s time to race again and you will have four races to choose from on New Year’s Day.  Actually, you only have three to choose from now because one, the Resolution Run 5K in Hillsborough, has closed its registration after reaching its cap of 500 runners.

The Hamilton Hangover five mile race will go off at 12:30 p.m.   This will be the 32nd race that last year drew 459 finishers.

Not to be outdone, the Hangover 5K in Tamaques Park in Westfield also will be celebrating 32 years of history.  At one time the event was just a club run for the Central Jersey Road Runners club but it has morphed over the years into a competitive race.  It goes off at 12 noon.  Last year 788 runners finished the race.

Probably the baby of the bunch of New Year’s Day races is the 1st Day 5K in Fairlawn that sprang up in 2013.  It has grown since then to over four hundred finishers in 2013.  It has the earliest start time of 11:00 a.m.

Participation is understandably influenced by the weather on the first day of the New Year.  Forecasts show that it will be seasonable with a high in the low 30’s with a possibility of some snow.

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, December 22, 2013

Morris area runners well represented in grand prix age divisions

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, December 22, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013


No one gets to rest on their laurels in racing.  For three years Michael Dixon of Fanwood won the New Balance Grand Prix outright.  In 2013 Dixon was pursuing other goals, that of an ultra runner and was unable to maximize his score in the series.   That left him out of the overall top three in the men’s division, but still good enough to win the 34 and under division.  Two Morris area men placed second and third to Dixon;  Mark Minervini of Stanhope and Ben Clarke of Morristown, respectively.

The M40 division was nothing if not competitive.  Both Gary Rosenberg of Morristown and Scott Isgett of Rockaway finished in the top ten as was noted here last week and thus Rosenberg placed first in the division and Isgett second.  Antonio Massa of Budd Lake has placed second in his M45 division with John Sabatino of Morris Plains in third.

Morris area men swept the M55 division with Beau Atwater in first, Charlie Slaughter of Parsippany second and James Button of Mendham third.  Bill Bosman of Rockaway won the M60 division and Hilary Peterlin of Oakridge won the M70 division.

The M70 division contest illustrates the maxim that you must be in it to win it.  Edward Smith of Mountain Lakes will outrun any and all of the men who finished ahead of him in the grand prix, including Peterlin.  But Smith missed three of the nine required races and that put him in fourth place.

Allison Dublinski of Morristown is another fast runner who did not score in nine races and by missing just one she finished in third place in the 34 and under division instead of first.
Remove Elena Rozhko of Morristown from the W40 division since she was the overall winner and Polly Harrison of Basking Ridge takes first in that division.  Joanna Stevens also of Basking Ridge moves to third.

The same is true in the W45 division when Misa Tamura of Ridgewood comes out for placing second overall.   
The women in her division move up and Susan Bessin of Madison is credited with third place.

Nora Cary of Morristown placed first in the W55 division, with Lorraine McPhillips of Basking Ridge in third.

No surprises in the W60 division.  Jane Parks of Morristown wins handily with a spread of nearly a thousand points.  Her Rose City Runner teammate, Cande Olsen of Chatham takes second place.  Mary Ann Murphy of Livingston won the W70 division.   

Shirley Pettijohn of Chatham captures first place in the W80 division, leading in the rest of her Morris County Striders teammates Melva Murray of Bedminster, Diane Stone of Bernardsville and Patricia Tummey of Randolph.
Placing in the top three in an age division is not just about bragging rights.  First place earns a runner two hundred dollars, second is one hundred and twenty-five and third gets one hundred.  The overall winners are awarded five hundred, second is four hundred and third is three hundred.

Probably the toughest spot to be in during the year is hovering at third or fourth.  If it is a tight race for third, the runners needs to cover the bases and also pick one of the Mini grand prix to focus on.  Those who place one, two or three in the overall New Balance grand prix are taken out of the mini grand prix and the next three move up. 

Mark Washbourne of Mendham is one runner who falls into the also- ran category and who covered his bases very well.  Washbourne is a Streaker who hasn’t missed a day of running in several years, so it is a natural for him to hit a high number of races.  Washbourne finished fourth in his M55 division of the individual grand prix but captured second in both the Mini One Grand Prix and the Mini Two Grand Prix.

At the most senior end of the spectrum is Patricia Tummey of Randolph who finished in fourth place in the W80 division.  Tummey, who will have the W85 division all to herself in 2014, made the effort to get to enough Mini One grand prix races and she will be accepting her award at the USATF New Jersey awards banquet in January along with all the other grand prix racers. 
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, December 15, 2013

Super Santa 5K next Saturday in Morris Township

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, December 15, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  We have the snow to go with the season and now Morristown will have Santa to go with the snow.  Make that Santas, as in plural.

The folks who have given you Super Hero races, now are bringing you the Super Santa 5K next Saturday in Morris Township.  Yes, of course, costumes are invited and welcomed. 

“We want people to dress up like Santa, anything Christmassy, elves, reindeer, you name it, “   said Chris Russo, co event director along with Heather Gardiner of Morristown.  “We’re going to give out prizes to the fastest runners, naturally, and for the best costumes.”

“Depending on the weather we are expecting anywhere from eight hundred to a thousand runners,” said Russo.  

When we talked on Friday the race had already registered over five hundred and fifty and he could be right.  People tend to wait to sign up and in the case of a December race it might be prudent to wait and see what the weather will be like on race day.

Although just about any runner in Morris County has run the Morris Township course that starts and ends at Ginty Field just off Woodland Avenue, but it is the first for a Super Hero organized race.  Because

It’s the first time that a Super race has used the course though, said Russo, although the Super Hero half marathon is run from the same staging area.

Age group winners will receive medals, but the overall winners will have shiny new Pearl Izumis to run in.  Other prizes will be gift certificates to local restaurants.  The Best Costume division will have three selected from each gender and will receive similar prizes.

In a nod to the season the Morris Township Firehouse will be opened for the runners to shelter from the cold.   The race starts at 10:00 a.m.


After a delay in posting the USATF New Jersey individual New Balance Grand Prix due to a tardy race report the final results have been posted.   As has been reported here Ken Goglas, the former Randolph High School standout has won.  His fellow Garden State Track Club teammate Stephen Mennitt of Edison choose to run in the Big Chill at Rutgers last weekend thus bypassing a chance to add two points to his score and tie with Goglas.  Mennitt could have easily won one of the 5K’s that was held last weekend that were in the grand prix.   The Rutgers Big Chill does not participate so despite his win there in 15:52 he stays in second.

On the women’s side there was no such drama.  Elena Rozhko of Morristown had twenty points on her nearest rival, Misa Tamura of Ridgewood.   Polly Harrison of Basking Ridge finished in seventh place and Susan Bessin of Madison took ninth.

Morris area men were also well represented in the top ten.  Gary Rosenberg of Morristown placed fourth, outscored by his fellow Garmin Running club teammate Brian Crowley of Hillsborough.  In a race tighter than Goglas and Mennitt, Scott Isgett of Rockaway took ninth with 5522 points while Antonia Massa of Budd Lake was just one point back with 5521.

The first grand prix races of 2014 start on January 1st.

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, December 8, 2013

A race everyone and no one will miss

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, December 8, 2013
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2013


What race is no one going to run next Sunday?  Trick question.  Did I get you?

It’s the USATF New Jersey ten mile championship that in recent history was held in Mercer County Park in, well, Mercer County.  That race was a lot of fun.  Remember?

One year the course was flooded in sections and then frozen over.  That year a new uncertified course was quickly redrawn to avoid the ice.  A couple of years the ice might have been welcomed instead of what was presented instead – a steady cold icy rain. 

Further back the race was run on top of South Mountain – three sort-of loops on the park roads up there.  No shelter and only portable toilets.  Hmmm.  Wasn’t that fun?

Oh, further back, if you were running a dozen and more years ago you’ll remember that the race was held at Picatinny Arsenal.  The first was in 1994. Much like the subsequent sites, the Picatinny course was an out and back and back out again with some zigzags thrown in.  One of those races was run in temperatures so cold that the water cups froze between filling and using.  At least at Picatinny there were indoor toilets and even showers at the golf club house.   My, those were the days.  Or is your sense of nostalgia not extending to those nasty races the second Sunday in December?

So why were they held and why do we no longer have the pleasure of running them?

Waaay back in the 90's the team grand prix was sponsored by the Liberty Waterfront Half Marathon. With that sponsorship the race was given 800 point status in the (individual) New Balance Grand Prix. 

The problem was that now that was the one and only chance for runners to be in an 800 point race. If they had to miss the half marathon their chances in the grand prix were nil.

The solution?  Create a second, last chance race.  A Category Three that would have the 800 point value.  Better yet, make it a wild card race; choose 800 points, 700 points or 500 points.  Now the runners could fill in what they had missed during the season.  Despite some really ugly weather it worked pretty well. When the half marathon stopped sponsoring the team grand prix, the 800 point option was also dropped.  But it was still a handy wild card race where runners could choose 700 or 500 points.

Enter the USATF national club championship cross country competition, also on the second Sunday (or Saturday) in December.  Beginning in 2009 the national cross country committee offered a $500.00 travel stipend to the teams, male and female, that had won the association 8km cross country championship. Talk about a conflict! The best team in an association is sent off to compete nationally while back home an important championship is being run without them. 

It wasn’t just the open teams that were affected.  The Raritan Valley Road Runners, the Shore Athletic Club and the Clifton Road Runners had teams that were competing nationally.  Other New Jersey runners also wanted to run at the national race.  They faced the same conflict.  Reviewing the reason for the ten mile championship it now made little sense to offer the last chance race.  More long races have come into the schedule so the need for a last chance 500 point race has lessened.

Having a championship so late in the season affected the USATF New Jersey staff as the grand prix was not over until the ten miler had been run.  The New Balance Grand Prix winners and the winning teams weren’t known until almost the middle of the month of December.  That gave the staff scant time to prepare for the awards banquet that takes place in January.  All places have to be confirmed and then letters of congratulations along with invitations to the banquet have to be sent.

In addition the staff and many of the Long Distance Running committee members were attending the national convention the week prior to the race.  That put a lot of pressure on those people to come home and immediately work on it.

All things considered it was clear that the time was right to stop hosting the ten mile championship and end the grand prix series the first weekend in December.  Now the teams can go to the national club cross country race and know their places are secure within the team grand prix. 


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