Sunday, October 26, 2014

Giralda Farms 10K celebrates 35 years

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, October 26,  2014


Giralda Farms 10K celebrates 35 years

Thirty-five years is a long time to keep a race streak alive.  On June 10, 1979 281 runners finished the Rose City Festival 10K in Madison.  It was the start of the first great running boom.  In 1985 the race moved to the Giralda Farms Corporate Complex and was renamed to reflect the move.  The 35th running will  be held on Sunday November 9th.

Barbara Rushman of Florham Park, the Rose City Running club historian, shared her spread sheet of  the history of the race.   Fabio Mejia won the race in 33:25 and Nancy Seeger; a former Roxbury high school standout won the women’s division in 37:34.  Seeger won it again in 1981 and lowered her time to 36:07.  Tom Donahue won it overall that year in 31:24.

The configuration of the 10K has changed since the move and is different than the one in use now.  Although one can refer to the fastest time ever run in the race; it is not a course record.  In 1991 Joe LeMay, then of Ridgewood and now living in Connecticut, won the race in 29:40, the fastest time in the 35 year history of the 10K.  The course was recertified in 2008 and Chris Heibell of  Hillsborough set the fastest time since the recertification  in 31:16 in 2010.

The fastest time for a woman was run by Alicia Kelly, an outstanding shore area runner.  She hit the tape in 1994 in 34:39.  In 2008 Heidi Wolfsberger of Scranton, PA, won the race in 34:57 establishing the fastest time on the present course.

A 5K was added – quite literally - in 2000.  Both races started together; a practice that still goes on today.  The 5K grew from 178 finishers that first year to 494 in 2013.  The largest fields were in 2009 when 633 finished the 5K and 731 finished in the 10K.

The start of the races at noon is a sight like no other.  The 5K runners start on one of the lanes of the access roads within the complex.  The 10K runners start on the other.  The complex is basically filling the side of a hill and the start lines are nearly at the highest point.  When the horn sounds, the mass of runners become a colorful ribbon of runners filling the two lanes until they merge into one giant serpent snaking its way to the bottom of the hill.

This year the 10K is the masters men’s championship and the team competition will be fierce.  New for this year is in addition to the usual post race food offered to the runners is a vendor who will be selling hot food and drink.

Hillary Clark of Mendham, co race director this year along with Barry Lass of Morristown said that they often have had spectators asking if they can buy some hot coffee from the volunteer’s table.  Having a noon race it stands to reason that some of the spectators, and later, maybe the runners, will want some hot food they can purchase.

What has not changed is the souvenir t-shirt.  While many races have gone to technical wicking t-shirts, the Giralda Farms race will stick to its long sleeved cotton shirt with the unchanged geese flying across the chest with no advertisers on the back.  Technical shirts are great for running in, but they do not keep you warm like a cotton T.  The runners would probably revolt if the shirt were changed.

Clark kept her lips sealed when asked what the color would be.  The tradition with the Rose City Runners, the club that organizes the race is that the color of the shirt is secret and only revealed at the club’s run the day before the race.

Last year the shirts were Boston blue and yellow to honor the victims of the marathon bombing.
Clark said that so far they have been able to avoid repeating previous years color combinations.  Another tradition is for the mugs that are given to the age division winners reflect the same color as the shirts.


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, October 19, 2014

Natirar Park in Somerset County will host 8 km cross country next Sunday

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, October 19,  2014

Natirar Park in Somerset County will host 8 km cross country next Sunday

Be careful what you wish for.   Finding a location for a cross country course is not always easy.  The USATF New Jersey cross country championships have of late been taking place at Deer Path Park in Hunterdon County.  It was once a farm and features rolling farmland like fields as well as level soccer fields.

The 5 kilometer course has evolved into a double loop of part of the park and offers what some consider a perfect cross country course with well groomed paths around the old farm pastures with two not very onerous hills and some nice gradual downhills.

At one time the 5 kilometer and the 8 kilometer went over to the rougher part of the park but a foot bridge over a small creek was deemed unsafe and the courses were reconfigured to avoid that section of the park.

That meant that the 8 kilometer course took the runners on three trips around the park.  In Europe and elsewhere three laps is considered quite desirable.  In other parts of the world cross country draws a considerable number of fans and being able to see the race take shape makes the spectators very happy.

Happy spectators do not equate to happy runners.  The New Jersey runners had already run two loops of Deer Path Park for the 5 kilometer race and they faced three loops for the 8 kilometer race.

And so the grumbling started.  Heeding their constituents, some members of the LDR and cross country committee took at look at Natirar Park in Somerset County.  Natirar is Raritan spelled backward and the north branch of the Raritan River flows through the five hundred acre estate that once belonged to the King of Morocco.  Runners who remember the Midland Run 15K course remember running past the property.

Well now you can run on the property.  Remember when I said “Be careful what you wish for”? 

Picture a pair of handcuffs.   Runners will start at the bottom of the left bracelet on the handcuff and at about the middle of the bracelet they will hang a hard right around a large tree.  From the tree they will run to the connector of the handcuffs.  Picture now that the handcuffs are sitting on two levels with the left bracelet on the lower shelf and the right bracelet on the upper shelf.  That’s right; the connector road has to be climbed to reach the right side bracelet.   In this case a quarter mile connector road that is all uphill.

Yes.  Uphill to the right side bracelet.  A large field will open up and the runners will take the right turn onto the groomed path that encircles the field.  The groomed path will sweep down in a gradual long downhill.  But remember that what goes down must also go up and go up it does.  Only now on the backside of the field the uphill is steep and short.  Only the mighty will run that hill; better to hike it than try to stay at a run gait.

It is about a mile to circle the field and then the runners will reach the connector road.  Now they can speed down the hill and hang a right onto the cinder path of the left side bracelet.  This will be the recovery part of the run.   They will need that flat cinder mile-plus path because when they get back to the connector road they take a right and go back up to circle the upper field again.  That short steep hill will feel twice as steep and twice as long.  Then, like horses smelling the barn, they will know that the end is near.  When they hit the connector they will have only the quarter mile run downhill and across the field to the finish.

When they have recovered they may just ponder why they thought the Deer Path Park course was such a problem. 

The 8km is next Sunday, October 26.  Registration will open at 8:30 a.m. with an early start for the more senior runners possibly at 9:15 a.m. with the main start at 10:00 a.m.


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, October 12, 2014

Big weekend for out of state races for New Jersey runners

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, October 12,  2014

Big weekend for out of state races for New Jersey runners

New Jersey runners left the state this past weekend to compete at national caliber races.

The Syracuse Festival of Races on Sunday again hosted the USATF national 5K masters championship.  Three New Jersey clubs sent teams to compete and all did very well.  In the M40 team division the Garmin team placed second out of a dozen clubs.  What is most remarkable about that is that two of the scoring members are not the most youthful in that division.  In fact, second man on the team was Mark Zamek of Lavallette who is fifty-one.  Zamek won the M50 age division in 16:27 and was eleventh master overall.  Not to be outdone was Brian Crowley of Hillsboro who finished in ninth overall, third in his division and if the race had taken place a few days later, he would have beat Zamek in the M50 division.  His time was 16:21.

Third on the team was Mark Williams, formerly of Lake Hopatcong and now of Columbia who finished in 16:50.  Only three runners are needed to score in national road races, but team captain, Gary Rosenberg of Morristown was next on the team in 16:55 and fifth on the team was Bill Bosman 64, of Rockaway who finished in 19:44.

Running for the Shore Athletic Club was Reno Stirrat also of Rockaway.  Stirrat lead his team to second place in the M60 division.  Stirrat finished in third in the M60 individual age division with his time of 18:33.  Also scoring for the team was Emmanuel Brody of Roselle and Harold Nolan of Navesink.

New Jersey runners truly had their way in the M70 team division.  The Shore team placed second to the always dominant Ann Arbor team.  The Clifton Road Runners with Craig Wunderly of Hackettstown leading them in finished in third, and the Clifton B team took fourth.

Richard Barretto of Morristown was on the Shore’s M50 team that finished in sixth place and Reno Stirrat’s wife Susan was on the Shore’s W50 team that placed fifth in that division.

In the national team grand prix the Garmin team is tied for 7th place with two other teams.  At this point in the series the team has only one race while the top six teams have two.  Opportunities exist for the clubs to run in more races and improve their standings.  The national cross country 5km is taking place in Indiana on November 8th; a 12K road race is in Alexandria VA on November 16th and the closest race will be the club cross country meet in December in Bethlehem, PA. 

The Shore’s teams are doing well in the team grand prix.  They are in third place in the M60 and their M70 team is in a tie for sixth.  The Clifton Road Runners M70 team is in third place in their division.  The Raritan Valley Road Runners were not able to field a team at the 5K.  Only Roger Price of Randolph was able to compete, but they are holding on to fourth place in the M60 division.   Price finished the 5K  in 20:55 for seventh place in the M65 individual division.

New Jersey club at the Paul Short meet on Saturday

On Saturday the Garden State Track Club took a large contingent of men to race in the Paul Short cross country meet at Lehigh University in Bethlehem Pennsylvania.  They placed four of their men in the top eleven in their race that featured nearly five hundred runners.  The first man on their squad to finish was Youssef Rochdi of Rockaway who finished seventh in 24:52.


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

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Rabid coyote on the Black River Wildlife Management Trail

Rabies Warning

Wednesday’s issue of the Daily Record has a front page story concerning a rabid coyote attacking and biting two different people who were in the Black River Wildlife Management area on Sunday.   A cyclist was bitten on the leg and a hunter was jumped and bitten on the face, according to the story.  The hunter used his hunting knife to fight back and kill the coyote.

The West Morris Greenway trail that begins at Horseshoe Lake park in Roxbury and goes over four miles to Pleasant Hill Road in Chester is in the Black River Wildlife Management area.  The old railroad bed is used by many runners and cyclist. 

All are advised to stay alert and to report any aggressive animals to wildlife officials. (I suggest that you carry cell phones)  Other animals that are susceptible to rabies include fox, raccoon, skunks, groundhogs and feral cats.  All of these animals inhabit the Black River Wildlife Management area, including feral cats.

Oktoberfest won the competition for runners

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, October 5,  2014

Oktoberfest won the competition for runners

Last weekend was flooded with local races.  All were 5K’s with one 10K that may have drawn the
 highest number of racers.  Yep.  The Oktoberfest 10K in Boonton Township drew 472 runners. 
 Let’s see, could some of those folks have come for the beer festival that followed the 10K.
The race was won by Chuck Schneekloth of New Brunswick in 35:51, with Gary Rosenberg of 
Morristown next and the first masters to finish in 36:44.   Adrianne Speranza of Morristown was the first woman to finish.  Her time was 43:51.
In Mendham the flavor was all local with most of the 296 finishers of the Harvest Hustle 5K residents
of Mendham or Mendham Township or the bordering towns.  A couple hundred children ran in the one mile
 fun run prior to the 5K thanks to the promotion by the local elementary school.
 Chester resident Ryan Savercool won the race in 16:50 and Mark Williams of Columbia was second in 17:22
 and first masters to finish.  Ironman triathlete Doug Clark of Mendham was one second behind Williams. 
 On the women’s side Jenifer Martin of Morristown was first in 20:51.
The interesting feature of the Spirit 5K in Sparta on Saturday was the tie win of the Scheid  brothers. 
 Jeremy, the younger of the two is credited with first place by a whisker.  He and Justin finished in 18:09 with
 Jeremy credited with 18:09.46 and Justin with 18:09.60.  Perrin Masi of Newton was the first woman to finish.  
 The forty-five year olds time was 23:09.  One hundred eighty four runners finished the race.
The numbers don’t get any higher than that.  At the Fit-to-Food 5K in Chatham 145 finished the race with
Andelaziz Rochdi of Rockaway the winner in 15:39.  Bobbie Mastronardi of Chatham  finished in 20:51 for
the first woman title.
In Long Hill Township at the Force Tiger Tracks 5K 78 runners came to play tiger.  Pete Rovtar of Basking
Ridge finished in 18:15 for first place.  Susan Kinsella of Millington was the first woman.  Her time was 20:43.
Wild West City in Stanhope hosted a 5K where the first finisher was Tina Santos who finished in 22:21.   
Close behind was Tom McDonald in 22:39.  No town names are available in the race that had 129 finishers.
A race benefiting a cancer charity drew only 68 finishers in Madison and one that benefitted the Crohn’s and 
Colitis charity drew only sixty.
One last note about the previous week’s races is the Newark Corporate 5K that is run at noon on a Wednesday.  Nick Reid of Kearney won it in 17:04.  What is of interest is the seventh runner to finish was Kathleen Castles of New Providence.  The 43 year old who is a physician at the VA medical facility in Lyons and who ran in the most recent Olympic Trials marathon finished the race in 18:33.  The Newark race is a “must-do” for Castles who is always the first person on her VA corporate coed team.  Over seven hundred corporate runners took to the street on Wednesday.

Running with the Dogs

Where I run on an off road path I see many people walking their dogs and several who run with their dogs.  Racing with your dog is not encouraged in road races, but eighteen years ago, a race was created to allow you to do just that.  Not just allowed, but encouraged.  In fact – no dog – no run.   That’s right.  It is a team race with each runner leashed to their dog.

The three mile Hounds and Harriers Run is being held in South Mountain Reservation in South Orange this coming Saturday October 11.   The heavily shaded course is surprisingly flat and runs on the ridge on the top of South Mountain with views of New York city.  The start time is 10:00 a.m.    A shorter event will be held for retired running dogs at 9:30 a.m.  More information is at 


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