Sunday, July 26, 2015

Team Bloke to help aid Doug Clark on Saturday

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 26, 2015

Team Bloke to help aid Doug Clark on Saturday

In 2004 Doug Clark of Mendham placed second in the Verizon Classic 5K. His best times that year were 16:07 for a 5K and 34:02 for a 10K. At the Verizon race in 2011 he placed third overall. His name shows up in most of the Verizon races in the top runners list and never slower than 17:40.

Running is only part of the picture. In 2009 Clark won his age division of the Hawaii Ironman competition. He has been the age division triathlon athlete of the year seven years straight, including 2014. He is the ultimate Triathlon Bloke.

So why was Clark happy to finish the Verizon race this year in 3,384th place with a walking time of 48:50? Life can hand you a cruel deck of cards once in a while and Clark was handed his on November 4th of last year.

The vibrant, fit athlete suffered a grand mal seizure that was so severe it dislocated and broke his shoulder. The seizure and multiple seizures that day was a sudden symptom that something was dreadfully wrong in his brain. Clark was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. His world and that of his wife Hillary and eight year old daughter Ellie was thrown into a maelstrom of doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, recuperations, setbacks, and triumphs.

Clark credits his physical therapists and the Livestrong program at the Somerset YMCA with help with his progress in physical recovery. However a side effect of the medications that he is taking often leaves him severely fatigued.

While the Clarks have medical insurance through Clark’s employer Alcatel Lucent, not all things are covered and all of the ancillary expenses have been hard on the family.

Enter John Williams of Modern Athlete, a running specialty store  in Florham Park who reasoned that the running community would like to help the Clarks out a bit and he would organize a fund raising 5K.

“John has been remarkably generous with his time,” said Doug Clark. He knows how time consuming putting on a race can be. Hillary Clark was on the committee that puts on the Harvest Hustle in Mendham in September and she was the race director for the Giralda Farms races in November of last year.
Since Clark goes by the nick name of Triathlon Bloke, Williams named the 5K race that will be run this Saturday, August 1st, the Team Bloke 5K for Brain Cancer Awareness.

In addition to helping the Clarks with their out-of-pocket expenses the race will donate to the Stomp the Monster organization that assists families that are coping with cancer. The Mendham Ambulance squad will receive a donation in appreciation for their prompt response to Clark’s emergency when the seizures hit.

Friends who have kept up with Clark’s setbacks and progress have been amazed at his up-beat attitude. Both Hillary and Doug have posted to a medical sharing website and Doug’s posts will leave them chuckling at his humor as he battles the disease.

“He is inspiring so many people around us,” said Hillary Clark, “and he doesn’t think he is doing anything inspirational like racing. “But the fact that he is getting up every day and his attitude is incredible. He’s so positive. One of the things that is motivating is he wants to be a survivor so that he can help other people.”

“I think that speaks a lot about who he is,” she said. “He really is the most humble person I’ve ever met. His positivity is inspiring – for all of us. Nobody wants to go through something like this. It has been devastating for our daughter but what he is teaching her through his example - you have to stay positive and live. She’s learning a lot.”

Doug Clark, who is 46, says that quite obviously his most specific goal is to survive the cancer. Then achieve some of the success that he had in triathlons in the future. He’d like to be the age division national champion once again.

“I don’t think that is unrealistic and that is my goal,” he said. “So hopefully to inspire other people who perhaps have the condition that I have now.”

Clark gets his own inspiration from professional triathlon athletes who have come back from cancer. “I want to be able to inspire people by doing the same.”

As Hillary Clark said, Doug Clark is already inspiring others. The race on Saturday will bring those who have been inspired by him to a race that is not just another 5K. This is a race to help one of their own.


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, July 19, 2015

Tortoise and the Hare at Verizon race

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 19, 2015



Call it a tactical race or another case of the tortoise  and the hare.  At the Verizon Corporate Classic on Thursday evening in Morristown it was the turtle that beat the hare.

When the starting horn sounded at 7:30 p.m. and the over four thousand and more runners began to move, Jeremy Scheid of Sparta quickly jumped off the starting line. 

“I felt good for the first mile, mile and a half,” said Scheid.

With perfect weather – cool with low humidity - Scheid slowly pulled away from the trailing pack of men behind him.  By a mile and a half Scheid would turn a corner in the neighborhood east of Sussex Avenue and he would be out of sight.

It appeared to be an insurmountable lead.  But back in that lead pack Chris Nocera of Stamford CT, running for Stryker Orthopaedics, noticed that the lead was narrowing.

“I’ve been running for a long time,” said Nocera, who is 30.  “I’m a steady pace kind of guy.  Most people tend to go out a little faster because they feel good.”

Nocera maintained his pace through mile one, which Scheid passed in 5:01.  At mile two he still had the same lead but his pace had slowed and he went through in about 10:20.

“When we came to two miles he still had about the same lead he had, which was about 30 seconds,” said Nocera.  “I just held that same pace and that last mile I started to see him creeping back toward me a couple seconds every 100 of meters.”

Scheid said he was feeling good going out, but he noted that when he hit the hills in the last mile he slowed a bit and then tied up at the end.

By the time the two runners were on Mills and heading toward Speedwell and the finish Nocera had caught up to Scheid.

“You are taught when you are running, when you catch someone like that you want to immediately go, trying to make them quit on you, and not make it a sprint finish,” said Nocera.

“That’s what I did and he fell off just enough for me to get the win.”

Nocera finished in 16:23 if you go by his gun time, 16:22 by chip time.  Scheid finished in 16:36 with Peter Ehmann of Mendham third in 17:06. 

At press time for this column we have not been able to reach Diana D’Achilles of Denville who won the women’s race.  In a mixed gender race the drama is usually missing.  The fast women are lost in the crowd of men upfront.  Look for a feature here next week with D’Achille who won the women’s race in 18:17.

By last Friday, the race had stopped accepting registrations at 5,000 entries.  Races generally average a 10% no-show and the Verizon race was only slightly over that with  4,262 finishers.  .

The Downtown Westfield race is this Wednesday evening, and the Morris County Striders cross country race is this Tuesday.  But things are slowing down for the summer.  Look for it to pick up in August.


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, July 12, 2015

New Balance Grand Prix is top heavy with masters

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 12, 2015


The New Jersey racing season is half over.  The summer will be light on New Balance Grand Prix races, although some are still to come like the Westfield race on July 22nd.  At this time of the year it is interesting to
take a look at the grand prix series to see who is leading.  Not that it is a surprise but the top level people are over age 40 an in the case of the top men, it is fifty year old John Hogan of Washington (Bergen County) who has the lead with all nine races and a point total of 5,409.

Fifty-one year old Sergio Cano of Kearny who cools off after races with unbelievable dance routines is in second place with 4,946 points.  In third is sixty year old Charlie Slaughter of Parsippany.  The youngest in the top nine is 46 year old Scott Isgett of Rockaway in sixth place with only one more race needed to cap his grand prix points.

Ah, but who is in tenth place with seven races?  None other than 37 year old Atilla Sabahoglu of Somerset who won the overall grand prix in 2014.  He is certainly on his way.  Stalking him is last year’s second place finisher Ken Goglas of Port Reading who is currently in 51st place and needing four more grand prix races.  There is plenty of time to get those in the fall.

What about last year’s third place finishers and multiple-year overall grand prix winner Mike Dixon of Fanwood?  Dixon is literally nearly off the charts.  He is in 300th place with only two races.  Rumor has it that Dixon is not pursuing grand prix stardom in 2015 and I would say this proves the point.

Masters women also dominate the top ten but not as heavily as the men.  In first is also an over fifty runner.  Mary Christian of Flanders has the lead with all nice races in.   Nora Cary of Morristown, who turned sixty this year and who has been topping age grading charts in most of her races is in third place, also with all nine races.

In 2014 as a newbie New Jersey racer, Roberta Groner, 37 of Randolph had just moved here in August.  She knew next to nothing about the grand prix.  While she ran in a few grand prix races in the fall she was an also-ran in the grand prix.  Not so in 2015.  Groner is in twelfth place and missing only two races – Category Threes.  She should be able to work them into her fall marathon training.


The streets of Morristown will be under siege by swarms of corporate teams on Thursday evening.  The Verizon Corporate Classic is marking its tenth year.  In 2014, 4,264 people finished the race and notice that I did not use the word runner to describe the folks.  Oh yes, plenty of people run the race but the event puts the emphasis on fitness and the benefit of fitness and not all of the participants are able to run 3.1 miles.  Many walk the entire distance and some while pushing baby carriages. 

In 2014 Tradelle Ward of Hoboken, running for Stryker Orthopaedics won the race in 15:55, with teen Paul Ehmanns of Mendham second in 16:07.  The winning time was not the fastest time ever for the race.  That honor was earned by Chris Pannone of Whitehouse Station in 2009 when he won the race in 15:01. 

Last year’s female winner very definitely set a new course record.   Ashley Higginson, running for Riker Danzig placed ninth overall in 17:11 smashing Elena Rozhko record of 17:49 set in 2011. 

There will be a crowd in Morristown for sure.  The race has reached capacity and is no longer taking registrations.


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, July 5, 2015

Women Ruled at Fitzgerald's Lager Run

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 5, 2015


Women represented nearly 50 percent of the runners at the Fitzgerald Lager Run 5K this past Sunday.  On the other hand men were still the predominate gender – 548 to 513.

Why is this important?  Well, in the past few years the race was host to USATF masters men and this year it hosted masters women.  Would the numbers drop with masters men staying home?  The emphatic answer is no.  In 2014 the race had 1,034 finishers, and yes men were more dominate at 585 to 449.  Last Sunday it had 1,061 finishers.  Clearly the men still like to run in this race.

In fact some very fast masters men came to run.  Forty-four year old Hector Rivera of Clifton won the race in 16:07.  Mark Zamek, 52, who splits his time between Allentown PA and his Jersey Shore home finished fifth overall in 16:39 with Gary Rosenberg, 44, of Morristown finished in16:42.

On the women’s side, the remarkable Roberta Groner, 37, of Randolph finished eighth overall in 16:49.  Four weeks earlier at the Roxbury Community Benefit 5K she finished in 17:11, and on June 22nd she finished second overall in the Sunset Classic in 29:37.  I know of no other New Jersey woman currently competing who is that fast.

The first masters woman was Catherine Smith, 42, of Wayne who finished in 18:31.  Locally, Mary Christian, 51, of Flanders was fifth masters woman in 19:58 which age graded at 83.62%, ranking her fifth in that division also.  Tops in age grading was Nora Cary, 60, of Morristown whose 20:40 hit 89.66%.

Christian’s Garmin teams won both the W40 and W50 division.  The Raritan Valley Road Runners were second W40 and the Shore Athletic Club team was third but only by a whisker.  Their top three scoring members combined time was 1:02:23 while the Clifton Road Runners team added up to 1:02:27.

The North Jersey Masters team claimed second in the W50 division with Raritan Valley third.  The Morris County Striders W60 team placed only fourth but their W70 and W80 teams were first in those divisions.

A total of 38 teams competed; 19 in W40, 12 in W50, 5 in W60 and only the Strider women in W70, and W80.


Racing still goes on this summer with the Morris County Striders Race #2 at Johanson Field in Boonton this Tuesday, July 7th.   Triathlons are also on the menu all over the state.  Close to home is the Randolph Tri that will take place next Sunday at Randolph Lake with the first wave going off at 8:00 a.m.  

The website describes the event as beginner friendly while being competitive for the experienced triathlete.  The swim is half a mile in the lake and then the 16 mile bike course goes out to Chester on Route 513 and back on Pleasant Hill Road, or more aptly – un-pleasant hills road.  The 5K run is mostly flat - part road and part trail.

If you aren’t a triathlete you may be as confused as I was when I saw that the Randolph Tri offers an Aquabike category.  Huh?   You ride a water borne bike?

Nope.  Just like they have duathlons for runners who can bike but not swim, the Aquabike is for those who cannot run but can bike and swim.  I immediately thought of some of the runners I know who are having knee troubles but who still want to compete.  This category was first offered in 2013 at the Randolph event, and a dozen athletes competed.  Last year seven choose it.


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