Sunday, August 30, 2015

Light a fire under couch potatoes

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, August 30, 2015

Note from Madeline:
I’m taking a summer break so am sharing one of my classic columns from 2003.  Published in January of 2003 it has relevance for anyone beginning a running program whatever the time of year, with or without a horse.  In addition, the Dr. Robert Atkins Ketogenic diet plan mentioned here has recently been validated.   A revolutionary aid to putting the body into Ketosis has just come on the market to help people to burn fat and generate energy.  I am testing it now.  Email me at if you would like information.


Now about those Couch Potatoes.  Many of you can probably remember back when you came under that less than flattering heading.  It may even have been a January New Year’s Resolution that sent you out the door to remake your body into the well-oiled machine it is today.  OK, maybe you don’t quite have it at perfection yet, but you are a whole lot better off than that day you took your first halting steps at running.

Long time readers of mine may recall that my first attempts at running had an unusual twist.
I was exercising a small string of horses and one in particular needed a lot of work.  With no time for my own condition program I combined her jogs with mine.

Once down the trail that I still use I dismounted and ran alongside the horse.

Not knowing a thing about how to get into this running “fad” that was sweeping the country, I began to run as fast and as hard as I could.  That lasted about thirty yards. 

Breathless with wobbly legs I remounted the horse and took some time to consider the situation.  When I had recovered I dismounted again and this time I just slowly jogged down the trail.

Aha!  That was the key.  Slow and easy was the way to get started and soon I was jogging more than I was riding.  Soon the horse was gone and I was on my way to being a runner.

I remind myself of my first follies at running when someone asks me for advice on how to get started on a running program.

Those of us who started this activity as an adult need a little coaching to do it right.  If not, the new runners may start with a sprint as I did and end up back on the horse as in my case, or back on the couch, never to give it another try.

My advice to someone who is out of shape is to start first with a good brisk walking program.

I tell them to throw in a short period of slowly jogging and then return to a walk.  Gradually increase the jogging time and decrease the walking time.  At some point the jogging will take over and walking will just serve as the warm-up and cool down time.

Jogging will increase to running and soon jogging will be the warm-up and cool-down and voile, another runner is born.

May I weigh in (quite literally) on another related topic?  Most people who begin a running program are looking to lose some excess weight as well as to increase their fitness level.

A lot of attention has been paid lately to the Dr. Robert Atkins method of losing weight through reducing carbohydrate intake while increasing their fat and protein.

I would suggest to you that you buy the Dr. Atkins book or check it out of the library.

Then you will understand the science behind the doctor’s plan.  Some people do not do well eating a lot of carbohydrates and they will be helped using his plan.

I have discovered that I am one of them.  If I eat too many carbohydrates – not sweets, but bread, pasta, rice, etcetera, I will gain weight.  Switching to protein and fat I can drop body fat quick and easy with no loss of energy.

My cholesterol levels do not go up, but rather, remain at a healthy level.  It may not be the answer for everyone, but it could be the key for many.

Whatever your system, or the system of the friends you are coaching to a new fit life; I wish you all a successful year of healthy running and racing in 2003.


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, August 23, 2015

Runners aren't alone at the Black River game preserve

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, August 23, 2015

Note from Madeline:
I’m taking a summer break so am sharing one of my classic columns from 2003.  In 2012 the connection from Roxbury’s Horseshoe Lake Park to the Black River Wildlife Management Area  railroad bed trail to Chester opened a floodgate of runners, cyclists and hikers to the trail that was known by my running friends as “Madeline Trail”.  No longer mine; it is now shared by many.  Back in 2003 I wrote about my then tranquil trail.


Concentrating on the steep, rocky trail, I was startled by what sounded like a dog’s yelp off to my left.  Looking up, I saw a fox scampering up the trail ahead of me.

I was surprised that I had caught the wild canine so unaware.  It was almost within tagging distance. 

My surprise shifted to suspicion.  Surely the fox had known I was approaching.  I had hardly been silent as I climbed over the rocks.  What was it up to?  I turned to examine the brush alongside the trail.

Three pairs of bright eyes looked back at me from their hiding place.  The trio of fox kits had clearly been commanded by their mother to remain still while she diverted me.

Not wanting to cause any more alarm for the fox family I continued my run up the trail, following Mom as she had planned.

These were not the first wild animals I had encountered on the Black River Wildlife Management area in western Morris County but they were certainly memorable. 

I run on the game preserve often, even during hunting season.  I wear bright yellow and orange and choose the days carefully.

During the firearm deer season I stay on the roads, but during the rest of the fall I enjoy the beauty of the game preserve and its trails.

One particular morning I was lost in thought as I moved down the trail.  Suddenly, there was noise and movement everywhere.

A herd of deer had been spooked by pheasant hunters approaching from the west and they were on a fast retreat.

I was alone and probably familiar to the animals.  They paid me no attention as they charged past.  They dashed across the trail in front and behind and on both sides of me.

For a moment that was suspended in time, I was in the center of this hurricane.  It had to be one of my most exciting running experiences.

Usually though the game preserve trail is tranquil.  For me it starts on Pleasant Hill Road in Randolph. 

It was once a railroad line that carried iron ore out of the area and is responsible for the tiny railroad town of Ironia.

Now part of the game preserve the trail parallels the Black River as it flows southwest to Chester.

The sand and cinder trail is roughly 4 ½ miles long, a nine mile round trip.  I can alter the distance by throwing in a loop of two to three miles running on the rural roads in Chester before heading up the trail again.

Although good for even pacing because of its flatness, I can also give myself a good hill workout by climbing up to the power line trail.  It was here that I encountered the fox family.  Somewhat rocky, sometimes grassy, this trail is good for running cross country.

Not everyone appreciates my wilderness trail.  Some city friends don’t relish encounters with uncaged deer and foxes.

I’ve taken marathon shufflers on it.  They stumbled and fell and went back to the roads.  For me, it’s my favorite running route.


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, August 16, 2015

Fall begins in August in New Jersey racing

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, August 16, 2015


The first two races of the fall championships are getting a head start.  Masters men will race at the Belmar Chase 5K next Saturday, August 22nd, and all divisions will be racing at Natirar Park in Peapack in the 5km cross country championship on Sunday, August 30th.

Interest had begun to lag in the club and team grand prix due to late and even non-existent scores.  A number of issues had plagued the team scoring.  They seem to have been surmounted now that David Siconolfi of Compuscore, the dominant race timing company in the state, has been asked to take it over.

The timing is perfect for starting the fall season. Only championships play host to USATF New Jersey team competition, starting with the masters men. 

Currently in first place in the M40 division is the Morris based Garmin team.  They have a good margin with 44 points to second place Adidas Garden State Track Club that has 31 points.  The North Jersey Masters trail by only one point and in fourth place is Morris based Do Run Running Club with 25 points.

In the M50 division it is the Shore Athletic Club that tops the list, but only one point separates them from the North Jersey Masters 33 points to 32.  The Garmin team is in third with 30 points.  The Do Run team rounds out the top five.

The Shore team also leads in the M60 division with 30 points with the North Jersey team second with 28 points.  The Clifton Road Runners are in third place and they dominate the M70.

The Adidas Garden State Track Club has three teams in the top spots in the open men’s division with the Garmin men in fourth.  The Do Run team is in fifth.  The Garden State women’s teams hold first and second in a tie.  In third and well back are the Garmin women with the Clifton Road Runners in fourth.

The Garmin women are in first place in the W40 and W50 divisions.  In the W40 division the Adidas Garden State Track Club is in a tie for second with the Clifton Road Runners.  Following the Garmin W50 team is the North Jersey Masters and Raritan Valley Road Runners.

The Central Jersey Road Runners are in first in the W60 division, with a three way tie for second with the North Jersey Masters, Clifton, and Raritan Valley.

The Morris County’s W70 and W80 teams are the sole contenders in those two divisions.


Natirar Park in Peapack hosted the 8km cross country championship in 2014.  The 8km course was tough with two ascents into the upper field that also featured a tough hill.  The younger runners loved it and the more senior runners either stayed away or struggled with it.

This year the 8km will be held at Deer Path Park in October and the 5km is now being held at Natirar.  Runners will still have the ascent into the upper field but they will do it only once.

The Belmar Five that is the masters men’s championship next Saturday is also the final race of the Fast Five Summer series.  The top four men are Morris area runners, with Gary Rosenberg of Morristown in first place, Michael Azares of Parsippany in second and Robert Skorupski and David McLaughlin, both of Rockaway in third and fourth place respectively.

Aya Leitz of Jersey City is in the lead on the women’s side.  Julie Scales of Morristown is in fifth with Roberta Groner of Randolph lurking in sixth shy of one race.  Mary Christian of Flanders is in seventh, also shy one race.  If those two women race at Belmar they will shoot to the top.  In the Fast Five the best four out of five races are counted. 

Publish only when space permits.  Please do not cut for this tag.
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, August 9, 2015

Team Bloke 5K topped five hundred

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, August 9, 2015


For a first time race, drawing over five hundred on an August morning says something.  The Team Bloke 5K in Mendham this past Saturday drew 512 finishers and registered 618 runners.   Hmm, over 100 no shows.  Now that is unusual.  Normally only10% of the preregistered runners are no-shows.

Then you remember what this race was all about.  Doug Clark was hit with a truly horrific brain tumor last November.  The race was organized to raise funds to be shared with Stomp the Monster, a charity that looks out for families of cancer patients, and with the Clark family to help defray not covered medical expenses.   Many people registered for the race with no intention of actually running.  They wanted to be part of the event and donate through their entry to the Clarks.  In fact, 82 people registered from afar and ran in a virtual race, donating to the cause. 

Doug and Hillary Clark were very much present for the event.  Doug Clark gave a moving pre-race talk at the start and emceed the awards ceremony.  Hillary also took the mike to express her appreciation to the runners and volunteers.

The race was won by Karl O’Reilly of Morristown in 16:41.  In second was Brian Crowley of Hillsborough.  The 52 year old phenom finished in 17:21.  In third was Mike Anis of North Brunswick.  He finished just five seconds behind Crowley in 17:26.

Caroline Willian of Short Hills won the women’s race in 19:03.  Danielle Czohla of Lafayette was second in 19:44 and Erin McLaughlin of Califon was third in 19:53.

The race was a first for startup race organizers Garden State Races.  John Williams of Millburn and proprietor of Modern Athlete in Florham Park, Darren D’Alconzo and Gary Rosenberg, both of Morristown are partners in the venture.

“This was our first race we put on, so we wanted to make sure everything went smoothly, for not only our sakes but for Doug’s as well,” said Rosenberg, team captain for the Garmin team. 

“Although I know Doug’s reach on the triathlon and running scene goes deep and wide, it was nice to see so many people show up just to support him.  Garden State Races couldn’t be happier to have our first race turn out to be so successful and raise so much money for Doug,” he said. 

Garden State Races will be giving 100% of the profits to the Clarks and to Stomp the Monster.


Perfect weather greeted the runners in the Morris County Striders cross country 5K in Boonton this past Tuesday.  Two former high school standouts impressed the spectators with outstanding runs.   Ethan Gallagher of Morris Plains ran alone to win in 15:49.  Had he been pushed he might have been able to break the course record of 15:34 set by Dan DeBlock in 2014. 

Second place went to teenager Joey DeFeo of Randolph who finished in 16:07.  DeFeo has the course record of 18:58 in the 11 and 12 year old division.  He now owns the 14 to 15 record, taking nearly a minute and half off the 17:31 held by Earl Mulligan.

Former Villa Walsh athlete Megan Curham of Warren demolished the course record of 18:53 for women held by Diana D’Achille of Denville.  Curham was the third finisher overall in 16:49. 

Runners who competed in at least three of the four races qualified for titles in the series.  Robert Skorupski of Rockaway, who won race #2, topped the series, with Reno Stirrat, also of Rockaway second and Michael Azares of Parsippany in third.

Twelve year old Amanda Houston of Randolph won the series after winning two of the races and placing second to Curham on Tuesday.  She set the course record for 11 to 12 year olds in the first race with her 20:43.   Katie Andrews, 16, of Parsippany was second.  There was a tie for third between Christine Carney, 15, of Denville and Sarah Dalfol, 35, of Sparta.

Next up for cross country lovers is the USATF NJ 5km cross country championship on August 30th at Natirar Park in Peapack.


 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