Sunday, March 29, 2015

Randolph's Groner wins women's division of Miles for Music 20K

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 29, 2015


Randolph’s Groner wins women’s division of Miles for Music 20K

Two days after a snowstorm covered New Jersey the first race of the spring racing season began on Sunday, March 22nd.   Although the snow had almost completely melted the 20K Miles for Music championship course in Johnson Park it had more the look and feel of winter than spring.  March winds that should have been sighing like a gentle lamb were in full lion roar. 

A double loop course of the park meant a strong tailwind running north and a headwind going south.  Mile splits were recorded with as much as 20 seconds difference even amongst the strongest and fastest runners.

With that kind of scenario one would expect the elite front pack to stay bunched to collectively shield from the wind.  And that is what the lead men did.  All but Hector Rivera of Clifton.  The forty four year old didn’t hesitate to break away right from the start and he maintained a lead of fifty yards for the first half of the race.  

Then spectators began to sense that the gap between Leader and Pack was narrowing.  Kyle Price, a 27 year old runner from Milltown noticed it too.   Price picked up his pace and began to run after Rivera.  With Price’s move the lead pack became a string of men, no longer a pack, with Michael Dixon of Fanwood now in the third position.

Knowledgeable spectators noticed that Rivera had not slowed down, but had actually increased his pace but not to the extent that Price had done.  With less than a mile to go Price passed Rivera and headed for the finish for first place in 1:07:35.

 A time clock had been set on the course with a sign indicating it was for a 5K split.  Although the runners had passed it on their first pass when it was a legitimate 5K split, the clock was still running as Rivera approached for a second time and it became a booby trap for him.  He saw the sign ahead and confused, mistook it for the finish line.  Rivera went into another gear, and when he reached the spot he was spent.   Slowed and momentarily stopped, Rivera was passed by Dixon who finished second in 1:07:57.

With the finish another eighth of a mile away, Rivera gamely resumed running to stay ahead of the rest of the field that he had lead for so long.  He finished in 1:08:06.

Surprises emerged in the Women’s race.   In 2014 Cheyenne Ogletree of Port Reading won the 20K in 1:15:28 with Greta Sieve of Lawrenceville second in 1:17:26.  Clearly last Sunday’s was not a good day for Ogletree as she finished third in 1:20:32, with Sieve ahead of her in second place with a time very close to 2014 – 1:17:55.   The surprise winner in 1:16:03 was newcomer Roberta Groner of Randolph.

 The 20K was a championship for all divisions.  Reading the results is like reading a directory of which teams are gone, which are improving and which are new.  Coupled with that is discovering which teams the former Sneaker Factory runners have moved to.

Still claiming first in the open division was the Adidas Garden State Track Club on both the women and the men’s side.   Second on the men’s side went to the Pearl Izumi Mid-Atlantic team followed by the Garmin Runners.  On the women’s side second place was taken by the Garmin team and the North Jersey Masters were third.

The Pearl Izumi team placed first in the M40 division.  The Garmin Runners second and the North Jersey Masters third, but only one minute separated the two teams which is almost a tie when running a 20K.   The Do Run Running club was fourth.

The North Jersey Masters kicked everybody’s tail in the M50 division, winning by seven minutes over the Garmin team, which in turn outran the Do Run Runners by fourteen minutes.  Reno Stirrat of Rockaway brought his Shore Athletic Club home first in the M60 division with the North Jersey Masters second and the Raritan Valley Road Runners in third.  The Clifton Road Runners took the M70 division.

The Garmin Runners W40 team has not lost any speed over the winter.  They won their division by over nine minutes while their W50 team also placed first in their division.

Plagued by either injuries and/or switches to other clubs the Morris County Striders, Rose City Runners and the Geezers were all missing from the team line up. 


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, March 15, 2015

Manhattan not Morristown

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 15, 2015

Manhattan not Morristown

It’s pretty cool when a local runner is getting national headlines like John Trautmann of Morristown did last week.   Let’s Run and Masters Track picked up the story that Trautmann had almost captured the world record for the 1,500 in his age division.  His time of 3:59.47 came close to the record of 3:57.91 held by Tony Young of Washington state.  Trautmann had already broken the indoor M45 mile record in 4:12.33 in February.

Runners in New Jersey who follow track racing were scratching their heads about a former Olympian living among them who they had never seen out training or at any local competitions.

Turns out Trautmann, while certainly a star athlete is not a star athlete living in Morristown. 

“I was born at Morristown Memorial hospital,” relates Trautmann, whose family moved from their home in Chester when he was still a young child.  He grew up just across the border in New York state, where he developed as an athlete at Monroe- Woodbury high school.

How did a mistake like that happen?  It started with his needing to send a copy of his birth certificate to the national USATF office in Indianapolis to establish his credentials of being 46 years old.  Then in order to run at the national meet two weeks ago in Boston the meet director asked for proof of age also.

“When I sent it to him he wrote up a little bio on me for the meet. For some reason he used that [Morristown] as my home town.”

While Trautmann may not live in New Jersey, he is close, living just across the river in Manhattan.  He does have connections though as a summer resident at Ocean Grove.

Trautmann’s story has appeal wherever he lives.   He was an outstanding high school athlete and broke Steve Prefontaines 3,000 meter high school record in 8:05.8.  After college he went on to the highest level, making the 1992 Olympics team.  Suffering from a troublesome toe he did not reach the finals at the Olympics and with the toe still a problem he dropped out of competing entirely.  Like many of us less elite folks, over the next few years he managed to gain a bit of weight – in his case over 60 pounds.

Six years ago Trautmann took a hard look at what he had let happen to his body.  He reconnected with Frank Gagliano who had been his coach at Georgetown University.  Gags, as he is known is now the coach for the NJ/NY Track team that has many members living in New Jersey.   Troutmann changed the way he ate and began to run again.  He has lost those 60 plus pounds and under Gagliano's coaching has brought himself back to the elite level where he once was.

Troutmann recognizes that his story may be inspiring others to look at improving their health and fitness as he has done.

“The one thing that excites is that when you get older and out of shape you can still get back again,” he said.

“It takes awhile and you make small goals and achieve them and if you stick with it you can still do it,” he said.  He acknowledges that not everyone can set records but they can still be back to where they once were.

Inspiring stories have their setbacks too.  This past Tuesday night at the NY Armory Troutmann was set to lower his M45 mile record and catch a 1,500 meter split that could be a record as well.  He was well seeded with men who could help in the effort.  But only 200 meters into the first lap another runner caught the back of his shoe and tore it off.  Troutmann ran for a lap with one shoe on and one shoe off, then realizing that it was foolish to continue he stepped off the track.  He says the season is over for him and he will wait until the 2016 indoor season to go for that elusive record.

First New Jersey Championship next Sunday in Piscataway

The Miles for Music 20K in Johnson Park in Piscataway is next Sunday, March 22nd.  It marks the beginning of the USATF New Jersey championship races.

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, March 8, 2015

USATF National Championship quite a show

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 8, 2015

USATF National Championship quite a show

The US national track and field championships were held this past weekend in Boston at the Reggie Lewis facility.  It is a place that is well known to New Jersey track racers, especially masters runners.  The masters indoor championships have been held at Reggie Lewis many times over the years.

The event was covered on television on both Saturday and Sunday, and it occurred to me that the races were far more interesting when they are a national championship.  Why?  At a national championship there are no rabbits.

Rabbits are hired to control the beginning of the distance races.  They take the lead and their talent is to be able to run an exact pace, sometimes to carry the favorite to a new record.  After the proscribed number of laps, the rabbit steps off the track and the star now runs the rest of his/her time trial alone.  Ooops.  Did I just call it a time trial?  But that is what these races often become. 

With the rabbit in the lead and at a fast pace, the field gets strung out pretty quickly and all you see is a string of runners circling the track.  Sometimes the star does not finish first in the event so there is a small element of suspense while watching the race, but more often the outcome is predictable.

At the national championship last weekend the races were actual races.  The commentators noted several times how slow a race was, how bunched the field, as though that was a bad thing.  With no rabbit, the runners had to set their own pace, make it slow or fast.  A fast pace will take the kick out of a kicker and a slow pace will allow a kicker to wait, cruising with the pack and then bolt to the front for the lead.

All that strategizing makes for an interesting race to watch.  New Jersey television viewers were treated to an exciting 1,000 meter men’s race on Sunday.  Robby Andrews, the former high school sensation from Manalapan, was favored in the race.  All eyes were on Andrews in his orange singlet when he moved around the pack and took the lead.  But wait.  Then he was dropped back falling into third, then fourth place.  Those men who pulled ahead no doubt hoped their surge would take the fire out of Andrews, who is known for his ferocious kick.  And kick he did.  With just over a lap to go Andrews swung wide moving toward the front.  Coming off the final turn, still trailing the leaders, Andrews hit high gear and sprinted to the front for the win in 2:21.91.  

Each of the races had their excitement.  Sometimes races can become a contact sport.  Ajee Wilson, of Neptune ranked as the best US 800 meter runner, was expected to battle against American 600 meter record holder Alysia Montano but in close quarters one misstep can change the game.  Wilson’s misstep halfway through the 600 meter race threw her to the track in a painful to watch face plant.  With the other runners leaping to avoid their own fall, one stepped on Wilson’s left arm.  She gamely got up and finished the race but significantly back in 1:39.39, while her unchallenged rival won the race in 1:26.59.

One disappointment in watching the television coverage was the lack of television coverage in the broadcast of the Masters exhibition 1,500 meter race.  Fortunately it can be found on the USATF national website. 

Four New Jersey runners were in the event; John Troutmann of Morristown who won the event in 3:59.47, a near record time for his M45 division, Peter Brady who lives in Jersey City, but who competes for the Central Park Track Club, who finished in second place in 4:02.54, Mark Williams of Columbia, who runs for the Morristown based Garmin team who finished in 4:02.61 for fourth and Anselm LeBourne of Maplewood who finished seventh. 

LeBourne is 55 years old and was running against men as much as 15 years younger.   No, he did not win the race, but he set a new age division world record with his time of 4:13.77.  Watching the video it was disappointing that LeBourne received no recognition from the television commentators for his accomplishment. 

St Paddy’s Day 5K on Saturday

Morris area runners can expect that they will not have quite the drama of track racing when they run in the St. Paddy’s 5K this Saturday, March 7th in Morris Township at 10:00 a.m.  For the past eleven years the race has taken place prior to the Morristown St. Patrick’s Day parade and opens the racing season in the area.  The race is being organized by Super Hero Racing in partnership with the Morristown Running Company. 


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, March 1, 2015

Girls on the run registration opens today

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 1, 2015

Girls on the run registration opens today

Registration opens this morning, March 1st at 9:00 a.m. for the spring session of Girls on the Run.  Most of the readers of this column will not fit the criteria for this running group but their daughters or granddaughters might.

You’ve seen them at some of the road races that you enter – eager girls, sometimes walking, sometimes running but at the end of the 5K they are beaming.   No, not beaming because of their fast time, but beaming because they were finishing a 5K – doing something impossible that they had proved to themselves was possible.  And that is what Girls on the Run is all about. 

Program director Anne Klein was enthusiastic when we spoke this week.  The Morris area is growing from when it was featured here in 2013.  Klein’s enthusiasm is evident as she talked about how the program has expanded year after year.  In Morris there are 18 locations including three in my town of Randolph, and they are being hosted by three of the elementary schools.

“Randolph has been wonderful,” said Klein.  “They’re fantastic - the whole town.  The teachers are just loving it.  They seem to enjoy the program and want to get involved.” 

Each council has paid staff but all of the coaches are volunteers who are trained in the curriculum and the mission of the program.  The size of each team is from fifteen to twenty girls and that is determined by the number of coaches for each team.

What Klein said might be surprising about a program that sounds like a girls running program.  Not so, exactly.  There is so much more than running to Girls on the Run according to Klein.

“We have some girls who love running that come to Girls on the Run.  We have girls who hate running that come,” she said.  “It really doesn’t matter.”

Some of the coaches are runners like Klein, and some who only walk.  All are welcome.  The coaches follow a nationally written curriculum developed by a social worker.  Self esteem comes first said Klein and running is just the means.

“The program is teaching the girls to appreciate the gifts that they have on the inside,” she said.  “We teach the girls how to use those gifts to form friendships and to communicate well with others.   They learn to do great things within their team and then within their community.  The growth and self esteem is the sought for result.”

The running is the tool.  The girls learn about goal setting and how good it feels to get your body active, to accomplish that goal of completing a 5K in the end.

 “Quite honestly the majority of the girls run and walk it.  It’s not about them running an entire 5K distance,” said Klein.  “It’s really about putting them in a position that they can have success and accomplish a goal.  That means just getting to that finish line.  That’s where the self esteem building concept comes in.  These girls feel like rock stars when they cross the finish line.”

“As coaches we see these quiet girls, unsure and closed off little girls and they just blossom into butterflies by the end of the season,” she said.  “Their confidence grows.  They get more comfortable.  They start believing in themselves and enjoying their experience with teammates.  It’s life changing.”

For more information and to see if your community has a program and to register your daughter go to 

Men and Women on the Run in Summit

Big girls and boys are being offered an opportunity to be coached starting next Tuesday, March 10th.  in Summit.  In these training sessions the emphasis is on improving race times and the side effect may be self esteem as well, bringing a little bit of Girls on the Run smiles as the runners hit their personal bests. 

Aileen Flanagan of Parsippany posted a note to her Rose City Runners that Coach Dave Hoch is offering a nine week coaching program for runners in this area.  Flanagan credits Hoch’s coaching with her personal record in the Charleston SC half marathon in January. 

The sessions will last for nine weeks and will be tailored to each runner’s goal race distance and their current fitness level.  For more information contact Hoch at


 Have you seen the jaw dropping two minute video yet?