Sunday, January 26, 2014

Goodspeed Award was presented to Pam Fales last Saturday

Hello Runners,
My apologies today for no Running Column this week.   Last Sunday I began to come down with what turned out to be a “Super Cold of the Worst Kind”.   I was sick and mostly in bed all week.  Submission deadline for the newspaper is Friday at 5:00 p.m.   There was no way I could do that.

I am on pills and potions now and have started to improve.  My column, if I had been able to create one would have been about the Pre-Game four miler on Sunday, February 2nd.  The folks at Super Hero Racing do a good job of putting on the race and it looks like a lot of fun. 

BTW  Last week’s column had a typo that placed the Pre-Game 4 Miler (formerly the Super Sunday 4 Miler) on February 1st when in fact it is on Sunday the 2nd.  My sports editor at the Daily Record spotted the inconsistency but was unable to reach me on Saturday to check it. 

Where was I?  At the USATF New Jersey Awards Banquet.  I was presenting the Goodspeed Award that evening.  It’s the highest award that we give and is only given when we have a suitable candidate whose service to the association has been long term and above and beyond the expected.   Here is what I said:


In 2003 we were looking for a new Managing Director.  As the then President, I was part of the search committee.  We had posted the job at several locations and received some resumes.  It was not like it is now with so much more done on the internet.

One applicant was a member of my running club.   It was I who had suggested that she apply for the position.  Since I did not want to influence the search committee I remained quiet while she was being interviewed.  It gave me a “fly on the wall” perspective.  After the interview, she was thanked for coming in and escorted to the door.

There was silence in the room for several seconds as the committee members looked at each other and then the room erupted.
 “Do you think she will come to work for us?”  Will she accept our offer?”
“Can we offer her enough?”

At the time our budget was pretty low so it was a valid concern.  The committee didn’t breathe their collective sigh of relief until we heard back.  “Yes, she said.  She will work for us”

What she didn’t say was that “there’s going to be a lot of changes here.”  I won’t say she was a tornado, but once the dust had settled, she had pretty much swept the office clean  -  metaphorically, of course.

The management of the office had evolved with no plan.  It needed a real makeover, from the computer system, the phone system, and the way sanctions were being handled.  She saw inefficiencies and wasteful spending and she set about changing that.

First thing on her agenda was to move the operation out of Highland Park to Boonton.  Yes this was a convenience for her, but it also put a yoke around her neck.  Most people can turn off the light where they work and go home for the day. 

When your work place is in your home you really don’t turn off the light and shut down.  You carry it with you with late night emails and phone calls and striking one more thing off your To Do list.

When she took over as Managing Director the summer of 2003, the association had a member base of about 3,500.   We had 70 clubs and had sanctioned just over 200  events. 

At the end of 2013, ten years after her service began we had a membership that is second to only one other association at over 6,500.  We have over 100 member clubs and our sanctions have doubled to over 400.  We are comfortably solvent.

To say that our association has grown is an understatement.  We’ve hosted national long distance running championships, regional meets, Level One coaching schools and youth zonal meets.  For them all she was at the helm.

She has served five Presidents and each one could tell you that she helped them to accomplish their duties and sometimes she helped to keep them out of trouble. 

And it hasn’t always been easy.  Something that she knew instinctively was that the association had to be managed within the rules.  A Managing Director, like the president and the officers must remain neutral even in the face of opposition.   So though some may have disagreed with her they knew that she was looking at the big picture and what was right for the association.

At the national level she has been asked to serve on committees and is currently on the executive committee for Masters Long Distance Running.  Last year she was given the President’s Award at the national convention for her service.

This award we are presenting tonight is given to those who have served the association in the footsteps of Joe and Mary Goodspeed.  They were the ultimate volunteers in the early days of this association.  This year we are presenting the Goodspeed Award to someone who has worked not as a volunteer.  She was hired to be our Managing Director and after ten years with us she has returned to the private sector working in her specialty. 

But her devotion to the association and to what she has built in those ten years has kept her with us a little longer as a consultant, as we transition to an organization without her.  She is here tonight helping this event to run as smoothly as before.

We know that in her heart she will never leave USATF, and we will never forget her and I, along with all those who she has served thank her.

Please tell her how much you thank her.  

Our Goodspeed Award winner, Pam Fales!

And they did show her how much they appreciated her.  She received a standing ovation and was presented with a bouquet of flowers  by board member and sports chair Claire Tafelski, in addition to the Goodspeed Award plaque. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Correction to previous post

In the column of Sunday, January 19th, is an error re the date of the Pre-Game 4 Miler in Morristown.  The race is being held on Sunday, February 2nd.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

CompuScore has a new look

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 19, 2014
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2014


Well look who has had a face lift!   Ok, it’s not a facelift.   It’s a website remodel for CompuScore, the timing company that times the largest number of races in New Jersey and is the timing company that times the preponderance of Morris Area races.

Go back thirty plus years and David Siconolfi of New Providence designed a computer program that would time races that Dean Shonts, owner at the time of the Sneaker Factory in Millburn.  At the time it was quite innovative.  Someone at the finish line would push a button on a computer each time a runner came to the line and then later that time was matched to runner.

A few days after the race the runners would get a post card in the mail telling them what their official finishing time was, where they placed overall and in their age division, even their age graded PLP (Performance Level Percentage).  It was quite innovative and appreciated. 

Those cards were phased out when CompuScore opened a website in 1998.  Now the runners could just go online and see the entire field of runner’s results.  They were listed there from first to last with teams, age group results, PLP, and any other special scoring.  That has not changed.  What has changed is how you will view it.

David Siconolfi’s son Michael is responsible for the redesign of the website, and once you get over your shock you begin to appreciate what he has done.

The first thing you see on the new home page is the upcoming event calendar.  Fifty races from the present date to three or more months out. You used to have to click on the month that you wanted to see, then go back to the home page and then choose another month.   Right now what is showing are the races in February all the way into May.

There is a box to indicate that a race is a “Live”.  That means you can get the results on your cell phone while you are still cooling down at the race.  Go to  “”  You then select the race and then enter a name or a bib number.

If you want to see the recent races you click on “Recent” in the box at the top of the page.  The most recent races will top the page and run back into October.  If you want to see the results of a race that was run farther back you can go to the calendar on the left side of the page.

What will be showing is the current month and year.  You select the month and the year to find a race.   The calendar will change to that month and you then can see that any day of that month that is blue will have a race.  Hover over the date and you can see what race is on that date.  Say, for instance you want to see how you did at the  President’s Cup Night Race 5K in June of 2013.  You know it is on a Monday in about the middle of the month.  Sure enough, there it is, June 21.  Click on the “Results” button and there’s the old familiar results page for the race.  Go back and you can click on all the precious years, as far back as 1999 with just a click of a button.

Two features on the old website are not yet on the new website; the PLP calculator, and the Google search for a person on the site, but they will be back soon.  Michael Siconolfi has plans for more features that will be added in the coming weeks.  Meanwhile, if you want to go back to the old Compuscore just type in

Back on the new home page you will see that the New Jersey Super Bowl has had an effect on the race schedule.  The Run for the Endzone 6K, obviously a tie-in to the big game had to be rescheduled.  Due to the expected pre-game activities on Saturday, February 1st, the police said no to closing down any roads in the area for a road race.  Right here in Morristown the NFL put pressure on the Super Hero race organizers and the four mile race on Sunday, February 1st, originally named the Super Sunday 4 miler has officially been re-named the Pre-Game 4 Miler.

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, January 12, 2014

Some passed and some were defeated at USATF LDR rule change meeting.

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 12, 2014
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2014


Runners who follow USATF long distance running and who participate as individuals and or on teams may be surprised when the 2014 rules are posted on the association website.

Proposed rules that were considered shoe-ins did not pass and those considered to not have a snowball’s chance in July went through with little debate.  What happened!

Let’s just say that time has a way of ameliorating things.  That is why it is helpful to count to ten, or to sleep on it.  The proposed changes are presented at the September meeting for the very reason that all who are voting may need time to study and decided if the change would be beneficial or harmful.

 Knee jerk reactions can sometimes be the wrong reaction.  Take for instance adding the mile distance to the long distance running grand prix.  Obviously a mile is far from long distance.  On the other hand, what harm can it do to allow a runner’s score in a mile be one of the three needed in the Category One division of the New Balance Grand Prix?

At the Tuesday meeting of the long distance running committee the vote to allow the mile was only briefly debated.  When the vote was taken the mile was approved.  Yes, there are some restrictions.  Only one mile race can be counted.  The other two must be longer – generally that will be 5K.  This will also apply to the Mini-One grand prix.

A proposed rule to restrict the return of an item that was defeated previously to a mandatory two year wait was defeated.

Two changes concerning the number of members on a team were passed.  The open women’s teams that had required a minimum of four women will now require five women in parity with the open men’s teams.  In the M60 division, a minimum of four men will now be required, up from three.  That change received more scrutiny with concern that teams would not be able to field four men.  Some teams had only three men on their teams in the previous season.  The opposing view was that if four were required the teams would manage to find four.

Drop or not Drop.  That was the big question of the night.  Should all the teams drop their poorest score in the team grand prix?  Until 2013 that was the policy.  At this same meeting in 2013 the vote had been close with only a one person margin to count all race scores. 

The issue was brought out for 2014 to see if the committee wanted to revert to the old way or to go forward with all race scores counting.  So it was expected to draw plenty of debate and that it did but the sentiment now supported the change that was made in 2013.  There will be no Dropping.

The first rule change on the agenda at the meeting addressed that very close vote in 2013 when a change was made with a one vote majority.  A proposed change to require a 60% majority was met with some resistance, but in the end a majority that just happened to be more than 60% voted to require the “super” majority.  The irony of the change was that in every instance with the new rule in place, each vote, whether to approve or defeat did meet the requirement.  A show of hands vote was taken in each instance.

In other business the Fast Five Summer Series that had been imagined in 2013 but not implemented was introduced by LDR chair Ed Neighbour.  It will consist of five races in June, all being either 5K or five miles and the new mile race, the College Avenue Mile.  The date for the mile race is still being determined.  To be scored in the series a runner can compete in all five but only the best four will be counted toward the final tally.  This makes sense since the month of June will be loaded with the five races.  Runners can be expected to miss one of them.

The open men and women will be scored based on their actual times in the races, but the masters runners will have scores determined based on their age grade percentages.  There will be no individual age divisions in the series. 

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, January 5, 2014

Long Distance Running Committee to vote on changes

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 5, 2014
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2014

The USATF New Jersey Long Distance Running committee will be meeting in two days to make decisions that could have a major impact on racing in 2014.  In September a number of proposed new rules or changes to rules were accepted for consideration.  On Tuesday they will be rejected or accepted, but this time for the first time in its history, the votes must have a 60% majority in order to pass.

That is, if the first of the proposed rules is accepted.  A narrow vote at last year’s meeting has prompted the proposed new rule.  No filibustering allowed.

If the second proposed rule is accepted then an issue that had been voted on in the past year cannot be brought forward again until two years have passed.

The next two proposed rule changes are similar as they would affect the make-up of two of the team divisions and for the same reasons.  Some divisions have grown in such a size that the minimum number of members scoring is deemed as too small.  

Baby Boomers are now in their 60’s and they have swelled the ranks of M60 and M65 divisions, both at the local level and the national level.  Currently the Men 60 to 69 teams require only three men to score.  It is proposed that one more be added.  Eight men could be declared on the team with the first four men scoring for the team.

At one time Open women’s teams required only three women to score.  That was changed to four women in 2011.  Now it is being proposed that the teams require five women, just as is required for the Open men’s teams.  The rationale here is that there are plenty of younger women and if necessary a club could bring down their W40 + runners to fill out their Open teams.

Another change that will bring on debate is one that will revert to the previous method of scoring teams.  In 2013 the scores for each team were all counted, whereas previously only the best eight of a possible nine or nine of a possible ten were counted.  Said another way, each team could drop their lowest score.   Some teams have felt that it is unfair to teams that make it to all of the championship races to allow a team to drop a score of zero that resulted from a missed race, while their team must subtract points.  On the other hand, once a team misses a race, the contest is over for them.  A sister rule change gives a one point bonus for making it to all of the championship races.

A final proposed change is to add the road mile as an included distance in the long distance grand prix, with an exception of only allowing one mile race in a person’s final score, and that would apply also to the Mini One grand prix that has been from 3 kilometer to four miles.

The meeting is being held in Rockaway at Parette Somjen Architects, 439 Route 46 East beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Diane D’Achille of Denville won the women’s division of the Hangover 5K in Westfield on New Year’s Day in 18:44.97.    At the Hamilton Hangover five mile race Jane Parks of Morristown, now 61 years old, was the top masters woman overall and tops in age grading with an outstanding 87.55% for her finishing time of 36:13.

Correction:  In last week’s column a proof reading error slipped past the proof reader, who also happens to be me.  Referring to the 1st Day 5K in Fairlawn on New Year’s Day the copy should have stated that it sprang up in 2003, not 2013.


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