Sunday, August 3, 2014

Running is good for you but you knew that

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, Aug 3, 2014
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2014

Running is good for you but you knew that

Runners - we have been vindicated.   Running is good for you.   You knew that.  Well did you know that now is the time to enroll your children, or tell your adult kids to enroll their children in cross country recreation programs this month?

A study released on Monday in the Journal of American College of Cardiology cites data from several long term studies that revealed that even a small amount of running has benefits that will increase your lifespan.  Several publications have printed articles related to the study this week. 

As parents we are charged with growing our children into healthy adults.  What better way than to teach them the joy of running.

The timing of the article couldn’t be better as I was contacted last week by Tom Metz of Denville.  Metz was at one time a highly competitive open New Jersey runner who also coached at the County College of Morris back when they were fielding teams in track and field and cross country.

Now a masters competitor and a daddy, Metz has become a coach for the new Parsippany Express recreation team.  Although the cross county team is new this year, they are joining with the long established Lakeland League that includes teams from sixteen mostly Morris area towns.

Typically the teams meet twice a week and compete once a week.  Age divisions are in two year groups and are determined by the age of the child on December 31st.  For cross country the youngest group is seven and eight year olds and they compete at 1,700 meters or about one hundred meters more than a mile.  Nine and ten year olds compete at 2,000 meters or 1.25 miles.  Eleven and twelve year olds compete at 3,000 meters which is almost two miles and the thirteen and fourteen year olds do 4,000 meters or two and a half miles.

Once the child has reached high school he is no longer in the program and can be assumed to go out for cross country at his school.  This is a crucial time for a teen.  In any of the team sports, soccer, baseball, basketball, etc., the high schooler who doesn’t measure up will be cut from the team.  In cross country and track and field he will not be cut.  He may not make it to the Meet of Champions but he is still part of the team.  He still belongs.

In a column I wrote several years ago I made this point.  A teen drug abuse counselor told me that when a kid who had loved his team sport hit high school and was cut, that was when he went looking for new pals and often found them among kids who were experimenting with drugs.  Kids who run are less likely to go astray.

Competition for the Lakeland League recreation teams is at Central Park in Morris Plains.  Parents should look for more information on their town’s website or do a Google search.  The amount of information varies with each town.   Some teams have their own website, like the Mendham Magic but others are embedded in the Recreation Department page.  For the Parsippany team the website does not have the cross country information posted yet.  The contact is  or 973-590-8726.

Alan Webb comes to New Jersey

Imagine a young Alan Webb turning out as a freshman for the cross country team, or track.  Imagine that he didn’t make the cut that year.  His name would be missing from the list of the sub four minute high school milers.

But it didn’t happen.  He started setting high school records early, and on May 27, 2001 Webb ran a mile in 3:53.43 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene Oregon  - two seconds faster than the previous mark of Jim Ryun’s 3:55.3 that was set 36 years before.  Webb went on to have an illustrious career in both track and cross country.  He announced this year his retirement from track and a move to triathlons

 Now Webb will be doing a run at the Sneaker Factory’s Florham Park store this Saturday, August 9th.  Runners are invited to join Webb in a four mile prediction run at 9:00 a.m.  No watches allowed of course.  The runner with the closest predicted time will win a free pair of Saucony shoes and other top predictors will win other goodies.  After the run Webb will stay for a question and answer session where light refreshments will be served.   The event is free but those who will attend the question and answer session are asked to RSVP.  More information is available at the Sneaker Factory website.

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