Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, April 5, 2015
Eight years away did no harm to Randolph’s Roberta Groner
Roberta Groner’s win at the Miles for Music 20K on March 22nd, came as no surprise to her teammates in the Do Run Runners club. Since moving to Randolph from Pittsburg last summer with her husband and three elementary school age children, she became the club’s fastest female.
Groner won the Jimmy D’s 5K in New Brunswick last August but it was a masters women’s championship and lacked some of the fast New Jersey open women. Her time was not spectacular at 18:22 but she was coming off an injury after the Columbus Marathon in 2013 and had not been seriously training thanks to the family’s relocation. Her usual time for a 5K had been almost a minute faster.
At the Newport Half marathon in September she finished in 1:24:36 for fourth woman overall.
In October at the challenging USATF New Jersey 8km cross country championship she finished in 30:36, again fourth woman overall and only 42 seconds behind first place woman Cheyenne Ogletree.
Groner competed in high school and college; St. Francis University in Pennsylvania - a small division one school. After college she stopped running.
“I was pretty burnt out and I didn’t run for eight years, she said.”
After her third child turned two she began to run again. In 2009 she recorded an easy pace 24:44 at the Pittsburg Race for the Cure. Her times dropped to around 20, then 19, then 18 for 5K. She didn’t do just 5K’s though. In 2011 she ran the Chicago Marathon in 3:12:44. Her favorite 10K is the Great Race of Pittsburg where she has recorded 34:41.
In 2013 Groner finished the Boston Marathon in 2:57:58 and in the fall she was clocked at 2:49:30 at the Columbus Marathon.
That time is now a target for this year’s Boston Marathon that is coming up fast.
“I would love to be around 2:50 or under but I don’t know if I’m quite where I was two years ago,” she said. “But I’ve been training more and I’m hoping that the mileage - doing 65 to 70 miles a week will do it,” she said.
Groner has a compatible running partner in Beau Atwater of Bedminster. Both are running Boston and have used the Hanson Training Plan created by the Michigan running store group that has turned out elite runners.
Atwater won the M55 division in the New Balance Grand Prix in 2014. Groner is still learning the ropes on New Jersey racing and the grand prix.
“This is all new to me,” she said. “I’m still learning the whole concept of everything. It’s just a completely different atmosphere for racing out here from where I was.”
Last summer Groner Googled “running in Randolph” and found the Do Run club and contacted club president Mark Washbourne of Mendham.
“Roberta actually contacted me last summer before moving that she was interested in joining our club,” said Washbourne. “I did a double take when I Googled her name and discovered how fast she was.”
After the Jimmy D race and before the awards ceremony, Washbourne gave Groner the club’s singlet to wear. He was afraid that another team captain might try to recruit her. Indeed she was approached but choose to stick with her new friends and club.
“In that regard, we won the lottery because of her great athletic ability but even more importantly because of her kind and friendly personality,” said Washbourne...
When Washbourne first emailed Groner that he would love to have her on their team she responded in the affirmative, but added that she didn’t know what that meant.
Washbourne and her other teammates are coaching her on the fine points of the individual and team grand prix. She won’t be able to run for the club in the 15K Clinton Country Run because it’s too soon after Boston but will do the Newport 10,000 in May.
Ryan Steidl Memorial 5K in Denville on Saturday
Once named the MK5K, the Ryan Steidl Memorial 5K is in its eleventh year. Registration begins at 6:45 a.m. Saturday at the St. Clare’s Hospital parking lot on Pocono Road in Denville. The start is at 8:30 a.m... The course is mostly flat and very fast. The race is a 500 point grand prix event.
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at email@example.com.