Sunday, January 25, 2015

Parks receives President's Award at USATF New Jersey banquet

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 25, 2015

Parks receives President’s Award at USATF New Jersey Banquet

“And the winner of the W60 Age Division, Jane Parks, of Morristown who finished in . . . . . ,“
fill in the blanks.

She is a force to be reckoned with and there isn’t a woman who is in her age division who is happy to see her at the starting line.  When they see Jane Parks they know they are racing for second place.  

Not only that, while one might expect an elite runner to slow down, Parks seems to keep improving.  Her race times generally range above 86% PLP to 87% which usually puts her at the head of the list of masters women in the age grading.  In at least two races in 2014 she went over 87%; the Cherry Blossom 10K in April in Newark where she hit 88.04% for her 45:09; in November at the Ashenfelter 8K in Glen Ridge where she finished in 36:12 for an 88.32% PLP.

As she has done for the past twenty-one years, Parks was awarded first place in her division in the New Balance Grand Prix at the USATF New Jersey annual Awards Banquet in Edison this past Saturday.

As a racer, Parks is well known, but only her closer friends know that being a top New Jersey runner is not the only facet of the sport where she excels.  She wears many hats; she is the chair of the USATF New Jersey Long Distance Running Women’s committee and a Trustee of the New Jersey Board.  She is a reliable staff member for On Your Mark Productions (OYMP) and is often the race director at OYMP events.

Parks is probably the most active road race course measurer in the state, and her work doesn’t end at the state line.  She also measures courses in Connecticut and is that state’s official course certifier.  She has measured courses in Houston and Boston, on Riker’s Island, and in the middle of the night she has measured the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge course.

Parks is a regular delegate to USATF national meetings and is on the Long Distance Running Technical Council.  She is also an international course certifier.

On Saturday night when USATF President Ed Neighbour began to describe the person who was receiving the President’s Award, it may not have been apparent to everyone in the room.   He began by saying, “The person who is receiving the President’s Award is someone who probably measured the course that you ran on when you raced this year.”

Parks immediately knew that she was the one, although it may have taken others a little while to recognize her contributions to the sport – her race directing, her volunteerism by being on the Board of Trustees, and being on the Long Distance Running Committee.  By the time Neighbour said her name it was clear who he was talking about.

“I’m presenting the President’s Award this year to Jane Parks,” he said, and there was  loud and enthusiastic applause as she walked to the podium.

Olivia Baker wins 600 meter, Mary Cain gets fourth

Applause was customary throughout the evening, but one announcement had nothing to do with the award winners in the room.  New Jersey’s standout high school runner Olivia Baker of Columbia High School, now a freshman at Stanford beat Mary Cain at the University of Washing preview meet in Seattle last Saturday.  Baker won the 600 meter race in 1:29.42.  Cain finished fourth in 1:30.03.  Baker’s achievement was announced at the banquet to cheers from the five hundred attendees who have followed her career.


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

Monday, January 19, 2015

Morris area runners compete at indoor track meet

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 18, 2015

Morris area runners compete at indoor track meet

A handful of Morris area road runners came in from the cold to run in the USATF New Jersey Indoor Track & Field Championship last Sunday.  Cassandra Harasts of Pine Brook won her open division of the 3,000 meters in 11:20.12 and placed third in the 1,500 meters with her time of 5:09.9.  

Charlie Castiglioni of Lake Hopatcong entered three events, beginning with the 200 meter dash in which he was clocked in 32.83 getting third in the M55 division, and ending with the 800 meters which he did in 2:40.

Peter Kashulines, Jr., of Mountain Lakes won the M50 division 800 with a time of 2:11.21.

Angelo Harasts of Pine Brook ran in two events, the 1,500 meters and the 3,000 meters where he placed second and third respectively with a 5:13.9 in the 1,500 and 11:01.25 in the 3,000 meters.

Randy Miller of Montville who does the Steeplechase in the outdoor season placed third in the M50, 3,000 meters in 12:02.12.

The highlight of the meet was the world record set by Anselm LeBourne of Maplewood.  LeBourne who is 55 ran with the M35 group in the 1,500 meters.  He actually finished second in the race and was timed at 4:19.8, breaking the existing record time of 4:21.94.

LeBourne finished the Ridgewood Mile race in May of 2000 in 4:29 at age 41.  The 1,500 is only 100 meters shy of a mile.  Do the math.  Fourteen years older, but certainly not slower.

Themed races coming your way next month

It’s all about Love in February.  On Sunday, February 2nd, football lovers, and especially Super Bowl lovers can run four miles in Morristown before the big game.  They can’t call it the Super Bowl four miler anymore, so they call it the Pre-Game four miler.  Same race, different name.  It’s a fun race and at a less often used distance.

On Valentines Day, Saturday, February 14 you can run in the Cupid Chase 5K, also in Morristown.  Interesting about this race is USATF members can take a two dollar discount even though the race is not in the USATF grand prix. 

The next day, on the 15th is a new race with a twist.  Feel the Love 5K will feature a double loop in Morristown that is a couples relay – or sort of a relay.  Both partners will start at the same time but will run  in opposite directions.   When they see each other, which they will do twice while running the 1.5 loop, they can cheer each other on when they pass.  With an equal number of men and women now running in races this is sure to be a popular event and easy to fill.  There are several categories of couples so any pair should be able to qualify. 

Correction to Phidippides story last week

It appears that I did not give enough credit to Phidippides in my column last week.  The Greek runner began his run in Marathon where a fierce battle with the invading Phoneticians was brewing.  He ran to Sparta – a distance of 150 miles, to ask those folks to come lend a hand.

 The Spartans  were in the midst of a celebration of some kind and said they would come later.  Phidippides then ran back to Marathon to tell his brethren that the Spartans were coming but would be a little late. 

That’s when he pitched in to fight in the battle against the Phoneticians that they drove out of Marathon.  He was then asked to run over to Athens and tell the Athenians that the battle had been won.  All that running did him in and he died after completing the 26 mile run, first declaring “We are victorious!”


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 11, 2015

Phidippides Award deadline is January 31, 2015

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 11, 2015

Phidippides Award deadline is January 31, 2015

New Jersey has one of the highest percentages of runners who are also members of USATF, the national governing body of the sport.  As of the end of 2014 the New Jersey association had 6,776.    Long Distance runners account for 2,693 and masters age runners are 1,326.  Youth members make up 3,454 and the rest are coaches and officials or administrators.

In New Jersey it pays to be a member, especially for the long distance running crowd.  If they pre-enter a race that is in the New Balance Grand Prix and that would be well over 200 races, they receive a discount on their registration fee.  Other perks are insurance coverage while at USATF events and discounts to certain hotels and auto rental companies nationwide.

In addition to those benefits, one that many New Jersey masters runners have claimed is the Phidippides Award given each year by the national masters long distance running committee.

Phidippides is the runners who ran from Sparta to Athens and collapsed after the marathon length run.  Heck, anyone could have run those 26 miles you say.  Oh, but did you know that Phidippides, who it is said, was the age of a masters runner, had first run to Sparta from Marathon, a distance of 150 miles.  It was only a two day trip for him.  Once in Sparta he fought in battle and then was sent off to carry a message to Athens.   More than likely he ran the 150 miles at a faster pace than most ultra runners since he was carrying an important message.  The same can be said for his 26 miles a day later.

Although Phidippides was a messenger because he could run fast and for many miles, the award carrying his name is given, not because they are swift, but to those who have competed in many races throughout the year.  Modern day Phidippides.

There is a sliding scale to determine the number of points earned for running various distances.  A 5K earns 2 points, for instance and a half marathon earns four.  The most points earned in one race is six for any distance above the marathon distance.

Age is also part of the equation. Young masters age 40 to 59 need 30 points to win Gold; 60 to 79 need 24 for Gold and those 80 and over need only 12.  Yes, there are Silver and Bronze awards, but most runners do their best to get the Gold.

The deadline to submit the application for the 2014 season is January 31st, and I expect there will be a rush to get them in.  In 2013 about 75 New Jersey runners earned their Gold Phidippides award and 74 have sent their applications in for 2014.  With three weeks yet to go for submitting applications, 2014 will be a record year.  The application is on the national website in the Masters section.

A club is still a club even if members don’t race for it

The theme of last Sunday’s column was that this is the time when runners often switch from one club to another as competing members.  Although runners can belong to more than one club and many people do, they can compete for only one in USATF championships.

This will be the case with the Sneaker Factory Club.  The group will continue to have their twice weekly runs and remain a cohesive group of friends.  Unless someone within that group steps forward to take on the duties of a president it will not continue as a USATF club.

New clubs seem to come along each year.  In Bergen County a new club, De Novo Harriers was formed this past fall.  The Bella N Motion club in Brick was new in 2014 and had a team at the club cross country meet in December. 


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 4, 2015

It's that time of year

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 4, 2015

It’s that time of year

It’s that time of year – no it’s not about Christmas.   It’s the time of year when runners move from one club to another.  It’s the perfect time to make a switch.  There is a 90 day wait period from the time a runner raced for  the old team  to when he or she can run for the new team.   In New Jersey the last state race was the Ashenfelter 8 kilometer race on Thanksgiving Day.  There was also the national race in nearby Lehigh University in Pennsylvania on December 13.  If a runner last raced for a club on Thanksgiving Day he can race for a new club after Wednesday, February 25, 2015.  If he raced at the national club cross country race at Lehigh he would be able to race for his new club after Friday, March 13th 2015.

Since there will be no long distance championships in New Jersey until Sunday March 22 when the Miles for Music 20K is run there is no problem to switch now.  There is the New Jersey Track and Field championship on Sunday, January 11th so a “switcher” would have to run as an unattached athlete in the meet and he or she would not able to bring points to the new club.  Since so few LDR runners also run track it is probably a moot point.

Switching is getting a lot of attention in this area because the entire membership of the Sneaker Factory Running Club is making their decisions on what club they want to run for in 2015.  In December the members received an email from their team captain John Sabatino that the Sneaker Factory store chain would no longer be involved with the club. 

The two Morris County area teams that will benefit the most from the dissolution of the Sneaker Factory will probably be the Rose City Runners, and the Garmin Racing team.  Many Sneaker Factory members have been dual members of Rose City and now it is an easy move to become official with the Madison based club.  Some Sneaker Factory runners had switched to Garmin in the last two years so it is natural that others will follow.

Other clubs that have been mentioned are the Do Run Runners, the Garden State Track Club and the Morris County Striders. 

In a reversal of sorts, the original Geezers club that is made up of mostly Randolph residents are doing an about face in 2015.  In 2013 the Geezers, who have M50 and M60 teams had merged with the Garmin club where they were able to add points to the overall Garmin club scores.

But it was an uneven fit and not all of the members were happy to have lost their identity.  Last year their M60 team moved back to the Geezers and now the move is complete.   They are all back in their home camp once again.

Calling all Track and Field Athletes

Flip the calendar and check out the 2015 track and field schedule and you are in for a shock.  The  New Jersey Track and Field Championship meet is next Sunday, January 11th.  What!  How did that happen?

In the best of all worlds the meet would take place in February or even early March but the date is chosen by default.  Take it or leave it.  There are few indoor facilities that will have room on their schedule for the association meet as there is so much competition from high school events.

Because of this, the meet has moved around like a gypsy caravan – Pennsylvania, Jersey City, Pennsylvania, FDU in Bergen County.  A well appreciated locale was the facility in Monmouth University where the meet was held in 2013.    In 2014 it was back again at the John Bennett indoor facility in Toms River, and that is where it is being held this year.

The first track event is at noon.  There is no day of meet entry; all athletes must pre-enter and the deadline is tomorrow, Monday, January 5th., although it may be extended due to the short notice.   Best to not wait.  Fire up the computer and get yourself entered and tell your track and field friends.


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