Sunday, November 30, 2014

Franklin, Eysenback win Morris Township Turkey Trot, Rochdi wins Ashenfelter

Franklin, Eysenbach win Morris Township Turkey Trot

This past Thursday will be the remembered as the year that Thanksgiving featured a scene more akin to Christmas for runners racing in the annual Turkey Trot races.  In Morris Township the Turkey Trot saw a slight reduction of runners from 2,011 in 2013 to 1,737 this year.  One runner who did not stay away was Michael Franklin, listed as from Washington DC, but formerly of Mendham.  This was his fourth win of the race and not his fastest, nor his slowest.  This year he hit the timing mat at 15:54.  In 2013 he was dueling with Colin Frost of Randolph and out ran Frost by three seconds, 15:41 to 15:44.  Franklin’s fastest time was in 2012 when he was pushed to a 15:37 by Peter Ehman, also of Mendham, who was just two seconds back in 15:39.

On the women’s side Lindsay Eysenbach of Belmont MA won in 17:49, and it was not the first time to run for her either.  In 2012 she finished in a near dead heat with Ashley Ulrich of Morristown in 18:53 for fifth and sixth place.  At Thursdays race Elena Rozhko, 41, was second woman overall in 18:20 and the 2011 winner of the women’s race was Mallory Anderson of Madison in 18:29.

Second place in the men’s race was taken by Jeremy Garrell of Morristown in 16:23 and third went to Evan Quinn also of Morristown in 16:41.

Rochdi wins the Ashenfelter 8km

Snow covered streets were less of a problem in Glen Ridge at the Ashenfelter 8 kilometer race that was the open men and masters men USATF NJ championship.  Although large snowflakes were falling when the gun went off at 9:00 a.m. they soon disappeared as the 2,500 runners and walkers began to move. 

Yousef Rochdi of Rockaway, who had been running with Thomas Young of Fort Lee on his shoulder for most of the 4.97 mile race, pulled the trigger in the last half mile and sailed across the finish line in 24:26.  Young finished in 24:35.  Greta Sieve of Trenton won the women’s race in 28:23.

The Adidas Garden State Track Club took the first five spots in the open men’s team division.  In the M40 the North Jersey Masters running on their home turf placed first but the next three spots were taken by Morris based clubs; Garmin Runners, Do Run Runners and the Sneaker Factory.  The Garmin team was lead by Gary Rosenberg of Morristown in 28:33.

Ever heard the phrase, “you could throw a blanket over them” when referring to a close finish?  The Do Run Runners M50 team fit that description.  The first four men are credited with exactly one second difference in crossing the finish line.  Peter Kashulines of Mountain Lakes finished in 29:56, then Robert Skorupski of Rockaway next in 29:57, followed by Terry Lusardi of Madison in 29:58 with Scott Isgett of Rockaway next in 29:59.  The team finished third behind the North Jersey Masters and the Garmin Runners.

Local clubs were missing from the senior age divisions.  Shore Athletic Club was first in M60 and in M70.  Reno Stirrat of Rockaway, running for the Shore club finished in 30:02 and at age 60 that topped the age grading list at 87.75% PLP.  Not to be outdone, Jane Parks, 62, of Morristown topped the women’s list with her 36:12 that hit 88.32% PLP.

Two Thousand four hundred and fifty-five runners finished the race, down about 250 finishers from 2013.  The Flemington Turkey Trot was also down a few hundred runners with 3,646 finishers.  That race was won by Liam Boylan Pett of Clinton in 15:40 with Katrina Spartford of Califon the women’s winner with an impressive 16:52 for fourth overall.

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, November 23, 2014

Change, Change, Change

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 23,  2014

Change, Change, and no Change

Change is good, and in the case of the USATF New Jersey Long Distance Running committee,
Just having the rules change vote meeting was a change in and of itself.  Normally proposed rules changes in the conduct of the New Balance individual grand prix and the club and team grand prix are presented in September and voted on at the first meeting of the new year, usually in February.

But that could and did actually cause a problem when a rule change affected how the teams dealt with the earlier races.  Two years ago the committee voted to count all nine championship race scores in the team grand prix.  No race would be “dropped”.  Unfortunately at least one team had decided that the race they would drop would be the first of the race season and their members had already made other plans for that date.  They earned a big fat zero and could never make it up.

At the meeting in September it was decided to hold a rules change meeting in November and that meeting took place this past Thursday.   Some of the proposed rule changes were adopted and some were rejected.

In what can be called an experiment of one year, the M60 team composition will go back to requiring only three to score with five declared.  Too many clubs had trouble finding a fourth man over age 60 that was fit to run this year.  On the other hand, a proposal to require four women on a scoring team in the W40 division, instead of the current three was rejected.

In an effort to boost the number of races in Category Three, the distance in that category has gone down from 15 Kilometers to 12 Kilometers.  It is hoped that event organizers will seize on this new inclusion of a 12K in Category Three and create a race of that distance.  The next step would be for the new 12K to bid on hosting a championship, which is an authorized championship distance.  Change, change, change.

In an effort to lure long distance runners to the track, the 5km and 10km at the New Jersey championship track meet in the summer will now be 500 point races in the New Balance grand prix.

My reaction to the next change was, “You’ve got to be kidding!”  That’s because I am a short distance long distance runner and why would anyone want to compete in a mini-series for Category Three races, which as noted above are now 12K and longer.

Well, some people like to run and run and run, so they will appreciate the new mini-series.  In that category will now be a new Wild Card Category.  Yes, back is the chance to grab a 700 point race out of a non-championship race.  The Shades of Death Half Marathon, created and hosted by the New Jersey association will now be either a 500 point race, or a 700 point race.  You pick.

Take your pick of Turkey Day races

Morris area runners do not have to travel far to find a Thanksgiving morning race on Thursday.  The Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot at Ginty Field in Morris Township will go off at 8:30 a.m. giving runners plenty of time to run and socialize and still get back home in time for the feast.
The other race that will draw a good number of Morris area runners is the Ashenfelter 8K Classic that starts at 9:00 a.m. in Glen Ridge.  The race is the final New Jersey championship race.  Both open men and masters men will vie for championship titles.  It will be the deciding race for those division teams.
The one that started it all here in New Jersey is the CEA/JFI Turkey Trot in Flemington.  It still draws the largest number of runners; over four thousand in 2013.  Up in Sparta is the Kroghs Restaurant & Brew Pub Turkey Trot, and getting farther away is the Trinity Turkey Trot in Princeton and the Patanella’s Turkey Trot in Green Brook.

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, November 16, 2014

Rochdi wins Giralda Farms 10K

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 16,  2014


Rochdi wins Giralda Farms 10K

Although it was a USATF NJ masters championship, thirty-one year old Youssef Rochdi of Rockaway won the Giralda Farms 10K this past Sunday in Madison with a time of 31:32.  Rochdi went into the lead from the start and the lead became a two minute chasm as second place Kyle Price, 26, of Milltown finished in 32:33.

Two masters men did finish in the top ten and both from the Morris area; Rich Burke, 47, of Morristown finished sixth in 33:37 and Elliott Frieder, 44, of Montville finished next in 33:47.  Elena Roshko, 41, of Morristown won the women’s division in 37:36.

Only a handful of local clubs put teams in the winners circle.  The Sneaker Factory M40 team took first place in their division with the Garmin Runners next with the Do Run Runners in third.  In the M50 division the Do Run team took first place. 

Cold weather a reminder of TCS New York City Marathon

This week’s weather change coming two weeks after the TCS New York City Marathon that featured wind and bone chilling cold may have brought back memories of that challenging day.

For Joe Sikora, of Succasunna, running his 25th New York marathon, the long wait in the cold was the most challenging aspect this year. 

“I believe that most runners (myself included), were not fully prepared for the wind chill effect of standing in an open field for hours beforehand,” he wrote in an email. “Mentally and physically this was draining.”

Sikora said that he was determined to go out slowly so as to give himself a chance to run negative splits and enjoy the experience.

“I did go out slow but even with that approach, I was drained by mile sixteen.  The remainder of the race into very gusty winds was a survival shuffle,” said Sikora who finished in an uncharacteristic 5:11:27, about one hour slower than predicted. 

For Fran Libasci of Summit who finished in 5:12:38, the wind and wind gusts also drained her. 

“By the time I reached mile six I felt as though I had run the entire 26.2 miles because of the energy expended running into the wind and trying (successfully) to stay upright and not drift into others and not trip over my own feet,” she wrote. 

“The cross winds (on the lower level) were so strong that whenever I'd bring my left leg down it would be blown to the right enough that I wound up stepping on myself and/or kicking my right ankle.”

Libasci also reported that on 4th Avenue in Brooklyn ordinary objects like cups or light trash became projectiles as the winds swooped them up and swirled them around.  Because of the wind some special effects were missing.

“One of the fun parts of the race for me has always been the jumbo sign just as you are exiting Brooklyn (slow down, dangerous curve ahead) and a Jumbotron a block after you enter ‘da Bronx with a view of all the runners,” said Libasci.  “But due to the high winds neither of them was in use this year. The banners of balloons at the starting line, mile markers along the course and at the finish line were eliminated also, making those milestones just a bit less festive.”

“With all this said, we were lucky to have cool temps, deep blue skies and puffy white clouds. It was a fabulous, incredible, and windy day,” she said.  “There is nothing like New York City on Marathon Sunday!”

Eugene Napolitano of Morris Plains was running his twenty-first New York marathon.  With the conditions as they were that day, and he said that at times he was running with his hand on his bib for fear it would be torn off, he said he had fun.  Since no one was going to be running a fast race and all chances of a personal record were lost all the pressure was off.

“In some ways this was not as disappointing as you may think,” said Napolitano who finished in 4:31:07. “It’s like a free pass, so to speak. Yes, there were months of training and several 20-22 mile training runs, but when you wake up on a day like last Sunday and you have to run a course like NYC, which is very tough, all of a sudden you feel relief.”

“All bets are off,” he went on.  “You just push to the finish line.  I, for one, had a blast.  Did I run a good time?  Heck no. Did I have a good time? Without a doubt.”

Like Napolitano, Jodi Lee Alper of Basking Ridge who finished in 4:25:47, looked at the positive side of the race.

“Maybe I am the odd person out, but I thought it was an amazing day. The crowds were out in force, notwithstanding the weather, and the runners all seemed to be holding it together and moving forward with grace.”

“Personally, having wind at my back going down (actually up!) 5th Avenue and into the Park was a gift I do not expect to experience in the near future, though I hope that I am wrong,” she said.  “So, all in all, the wind in our faces, which became the wind at our backs, did not dampen the energy of our beloved NYC marathon.”

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, November 2, 2014

Record numbers at Natirar 8km cross country

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 2,  2014

Record numbers at Natirar 8km cross country

The killer course at Natirar did not deter cross country runners and a record number of 294 runners turned out for their first try at the 8 kilometer course.  Another beauty of a day for racing may have blunted the effects of the very challenging course.

When the leaders came streaming across the open field to the finish it was Youssef Rochdi of Rockaway who crossed the timing mat first.  Rochdi finished in 25:22 with Chris Schneider of Hackettstown only four seconds back in 25:26.  Chris Warren of Newark DE was next in 25:33 with Ken Goglas of Port Reading next in 25:54, the fourth runner to break 26 minutes.

Cheyenne Ogletree of Port Reading topped the women’s field of 102 women in 29:54.  Four women broke thirty minutes including Allyson Black of Denville who finished in 30:33 and Roberta Groner of Randolph whose time was 30:36.

The remarkable Brian Crowley, 50, of Hillsborough topped the masters category finishing in 13th place overall in 26:50.  Gary Rosenberg of Morristown finished in 28:42 for fourth masters runner.  Two local women were in the top ten masters women and they also were top two age graded women.  Janice Morra, 56 of Morristown finished in 36:30 and age graded at 80.60%.  Nora Cary, 59, also of Morristown finished in 36:49 and that performance put her at the top of the age graded women with an 83.23%.

Crowley age graded at 90.31% and Reno Stirrat, 60, of Rockaway was next with a time of 30:52 for an 85.39%.

Cross country is all about teams with the majority of the runners on New Jersey club teams.  The still growing Adidas Garden State Track Club put ten open men’s teams on the line and they took the first six spots.  The Morristown based Garmin men, using mostly their forty plus men captured seventh place.

In the M40 division their team was first and the Randolph based Do Run Runners were third.  The Do Runners M50 took first in the M50 division.  Stirrat lead his Shore Athletic Club team to first in the M60 Division.
The Garden State club took the top three spots in the Open women’s division with the Garmin women placing fifth in that division.  Like their counterparts the Garmin women won the W40 division.  There was a three way tie in the W40 division for third place.  It was broken by comparing each of the scoring women on the three teams if head-to-head by their place.  That comparison put the Do Run Runners in fourth.  Their team took first in the W50 division and their B team was third.  The Rose City Running Club won the W60 division.  The remarkable Morris County Striders W70/W80 team braved the challenging course and walked away with first in that division.

Runners were not too frightened by the description of the course that they read here last week.  While conceding it was a tough course most of the runners said that they liked it and the setting at Natirar Park.

Giralda Farms races next Sunday

If you have not registered for the Giralda Farms 10K or 5K you will now be paying the $28.00 registration fee on race day or this week.  The deadline was on October 31st.   It had been $20.00 for USATF members and $23.00 for non members.

Back in 1979 – the first year for the race, the fee was $4.00 if you were pre-registered and $5.00 on race day.  How far we’ve come!   The Giralda Farms organizers have actually been slow to bump their fee up.  In 2012 the race day fee was $25.00 and pre registration was $16.00 and $18.00 for non USATF members.  The Rose City Runners donate funds raised by the race for college scholarships to Madison high students, among other local charities. 

TCS New York City Marathon

Good luck to our New Jersey runners who are running the TCS New York City Marathon this morning.  Race coverage begins on ABC, Channel 7 at 9:00 a.m.  The professional women will start at 9:10 a.m. and the first wave, which includes the professional men will start at 9:40 a.m.  Three more waves will follow with the last going off at 10:55 a.m.