Sunday, September 27, 2015

Morris County Runners big winners at Half

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 27, 2015


Despite gusty winds and sunny skies over two thousand runners hit the bricks in Jersey City for the T-Mobile Newport Liberty Half Marathon this past Sunday.  Two runners from Morris County made it to the line first in their division.  Mark Hess of Morristown, who placed second last year in the race, became the winner this time around.  Hess finished in 1:09.39, three minutes faster than his 2014 performance.

Roberta Groner of Randolph also moved up.   She finished first woman in 1:19.29 – five minutes faster than 2014 when she placed fourth.

The winds that whipped banners and flags throughout the run did not deter either Hess or Groner by their own account.

“Sunday was a great race,” said Hess.  “The wind didn’t have a tremendous effect.”

Hess said he was mostly concerned with maintaining his goal pace of 5:20 per mile in spite of any weather conditions.  He came close with a 5:19 average.

“I went out with the leaders, but at two and a half miles I fell back from the top three guys by 50 to 75 meters,” said Hess.   “I didn’t catch up again until mile seven, or seven and a half.  They were running faster than my goal pace and I wanted to stay consistent, run my own race, and not run over my head.  After seven and a half miles I ran with Steve Mennitt until mile ten when I pulled away.”

Hess is training for the Philadelphia Marathon in November and said that he has been able to piece together good training and good races the last 18 months.  Evidence of that is his second place finish last year and a second at the Atlantic City Marathon last October.  He credits changing his eating habits to a more healthy diet, to sleeping more and to partying less than he did when he was in college and law school.

“After making those changes, I’ve been able to handle a lot more miles and it’s starting to pay off.”

Groner is also training for a marathon.   The one that is just across the river from Jersey City. 

“I did not taper into this race so I did not know what to expect,” said Groner. “The wind did not affect my race. At one point by the water it was gusty but not horrible.”

Groner has found a compatible training partner in Beau Atwater, 57, of Bernardsville who introduced her to the Hanson's marathon training plan.  Their race strategy was to start off slow and work up to 6:10 pace by mile ten.

“I could see two other women early on and they were both 45 seconds to a minute ahead of me,” said Groner.  “I passed the second place woman around the 10K mark.  At mile eight I felt really good and decided to pick up the pace. I ran the last 5 miles under 6:00 pace. I could tell at mile ten that the first place woman was fading.  I passed her before the eleven mile mark.”

Atwater did not go with Groner and finished in 1:21.33 for seventh place master and only third of all men over age 50.  He age graded at 84.98%, second by fractions to Reno Stirrat, 61 of Rockaway whose time of 1:24.40 hit 84.99%

Atwater points out that the problem with half marathons within a marathon training phase is that you usually lose at least two weeks of marathon training: one for the taper to the half marathon and one at least for recovery.

“I'm sure a taper would have shaved off another couple minutes from Roberta's time,” he said. “I am confident Roberta will have an excellent showing at New York.  At this point it's all about staying healthy.”

Not everyone got through the race in as good of shape as the leaders.  The wind, coupled with near zero humidity, literally dried some runners into dehydration.  Runners reported having to stop to work out leg cramps later in the race and some barely made it to the finish due to dehydration.

But finish they did.  Some local teams had a good day; especially the Morris based Garmin runners.  Their open men’s team was the first non Adidas Garden State Track Club team to score.  They swept the M40, M50, and W40, W50 divisions.  The Do Run Runners took second in the M50 and third in the M40 divisions.  In all, seventy-seven teams competed.  

Stirrat and Atwater weren’t the only local masters to score big in age grading.  Nora Cary, 60, of Morristown topped the chart with her 1:38:47 age graded at 85.17%.  Second was Mary Christian, 52, of Flanders who hit 80.81% with her 1:33.55.


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, September 20, 2015

Cross Country running is for kids too

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 20, 2015


“This is my Grandma.  She’s obsessed with running.” said my granddaughter, as an introduction to a couple of the other girls on her town’s Lakeland cross country team.  I had brought her to the first cross country race of the season this past Sunday.  Clearly not as obsessed as her grandmother, my budding runner has found a sport and a potential obsession that will last her a lifetime.

As I have pointed out more than once on these pages, running – whether cross country or track - is a sport where you are never cut from the team.  Kids who love the team sports but can’t quite make the cut very often find something else to do and that something else may not be in their own best interest.  Not surprising that this obsessed grandmother had steered her to running (younger sisters will follow in her footsteps).

Here in Morris County we have a wonderful program for kids.  Recreation teams from towns in Morris County make up the Lakeland League, along with some towns outside of the county.  

Age divisions begin with the age eight and under, then 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14.  The divisions end there as once a kid is in high school they are out of the program.  My granddaughters group holds practices three times a week plus the races on Sunday.  It is a commitment for parents but no worse than the other youth sports.

The meets are held at Central Park, aka Greystone Park.   It was full of parents, grandparents, and of course kids, lots of kids.

 At the meet the boys and girls started together although scoring was done separately.  There will be meets at the park every Sunday until the league championship meet on November 8th.  On November 1st, pending various approvals, Central Park will be host to the USATF New Jersey Junior Olympics cross country championships, a first time for USATF to use that location.  Teams and individuals from around the state will be at the meet.  If your kids or grandkids aren’t in a sports program, help them give cross country running a try.  Maybe they will become as obsessed as you and me.


I’ve been a Greenie since before it was fashionable.  I dry my clothes when I can on clothes lines tied to conveniently located trees in my backyard along the tree row separating my backyard and the large field to the west.  Last week, tired of stretching to reach one of the lines, I finally went out to the barn for a stepladder so I could adjust its height. 

I had noted some cars stopped out by the road where the West Morris Greenway crosses Pleasant Hill Road, but that wasn’t unusual.  People pull over there to turn around or – who knows, catch a cell phone call.  So I had only glanced their way intent on my task.

It was on that task, three steps up on my little ladder that I spotted the bear strolling down the field between the clothes line tree row and the greenway path.  He is an old bear by the look of him.  I had seen him a couple of times before.  His coat is not glossy and even his muzzle seems a little Willie Nelson- like. 

About eight yards separated him from me up on my ladder perch.  He was swinging his head from side to side, bear like I guess.  I think he saw me, but he took no alarm and just kept on strolling down to a field that has been taken over by Russian Olives and disappeared into the greenery.

That was when I saw that the occupants of the cars that had stopped were snapping photos of the bear.  Too bad they weren’t up on my ladder.  They could have had some real great close-ups.


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, September 13, 2015

T-Mobile Newport Liberty Waterfront Half Marathon next Sunday in Jersey City

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 13, 2015


The T-Mobile Newport Liberty Waterfront Marathon will be held next Sunday in Jersey City with a course that goes into Liberty State Park and takes the runners to the harbor edge giving all a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline.  Is it the most beautiful course in the state?

“As far as beautiful is concerned, mostly I just look straight ahead, so the only things besides loopbacks that make a course beautiful, are a good running surface, shade (like in the RVRR Training Run), no sharp corners, and few corners, and flat if you want a good PLP or pace,” said  Carl Weaver of Morris Plains.  “Scenery is noticeable to me mainly at the start and finish.”

Pete Lee of Randolph has done the Liberty race five times.  He will be running in it again next Sunday.

“I like the race but don't love it,” Lee said.  “The course is mostly flat and I like cheering my friends that I might see ahead of me or behind me if that's the way the course still goes.”
[Editor Note:  the course is the same as in 2014, and 2013]

“The first year was 2001 shortly after the 9-11 attack and lower Manhattan was still smoldering,” remembered Ed Neighbour of Sparta who will be running in his 15th Liberty Half Marathon.
 “The course has gone through multiple changes over the years with the last re-route due to Sandy taking out the sea wall and promenade by the railroad station.”

“The backdrop of lower Manhattan does give you nice views but I would not call the course the most beautiful in the state,” he said.  I like the bucolic views along the Shades of Death Half Marathon course in Allamuchy, which is a USATFNJ Wild Card Race in 2015.”

Neighbour did give the race a thumbs up in the regards to the New Balance Grand Prix.  He pointed out that the race with its huge field bumps up the grand prix points for USATF runners.

Good point.  In 2014 close to 2,800 runners finished the race.  Ken Goglas of Port Reading won the race last year in 1:11:26


The overall club and team grand prix has been updated and to no one’s surprise the Adidas Garden State Track Club is leading the overall club grand prix by a wide margin.   All team scores are added into the tally and when you can field an “H” team in some races as has the club, you are going to pull in the points.

The Garmin Runners are in second, ahead of the Shore Athletic Club by a 12 point margin.  The Morristown based Garmin club fields teams in only the open division and the 40 and 50 division with both genders.  The Shore club has strong men’s teams in the masters divisions with some support from their womens teams.  The highest ranking other local club is the Randolph based Do Run Runners in 7th place.

The Garden State club has managed to tie for first with their A and B teams in the open men’s division with their C team in third place.  The Garmin men are in fourth and Do Run is in sixth. 

The Garmin M40 team is leading that division with the Garden State team second and Do Run in third, trailing by only two points.   In the M50 division the Shore club is first but the Garmin men are but three points back in second.  The next three spots are separated by a single point; Raritan Valley, Do Run and the North Jersey Masters.  No local teams are in the top places in the M60 where the Shore team has a solid lead.

The Clifton Road Runners is the team with a solid lead in the M70 division with no local teams competing in that division.

The open women division has the Adidas Garden State Track Club in the two top spots with the Garmin women in third.  The Garmin women are in first in the W40 division with a three-way tie for second between the Garden State team, Raritan Valley and Shore.  Ties seem to have come easy in the series with the Clifton team and Shore tied for third in the W50 division where the Garmin women have a good lead.  In the W60 division Central Jersey Road Runners and Raritan Valley are tied for first with Madison based Rose City Runners in fourth place.  As always, the Morris County Striders W70 and W80 teams are the sole competitors in their divisions.


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, September 6, 2015

Stampede at Natirar Park

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 6, 2015


William Appman of Hoboken won the USATF-NJ cross country 5 kilometer race this past Sunday at Natirar Park in Peapack.  All runners raced together which gave me a birds-eye view of the top men as they hurtled down the graveled road from the upper field as I was still ascending.  Out in my home state of Washington they have a huge cowboy event called the Omak Stampede.  It is also known as the Suicide Race.  Look it up.

While the cross country hill that the New Jersey elite runners were coming down might not quite compare to a suicide race, watching those runners stampeding down toward the finish certainly reminded me of that Washington horse race.

I was told that the lead positions didn’t change after the hill so it was Appman who was leading the charge.  He finished in 16:13, with Robert Nihen of Glen Rock second in 16:28 and Mark Hess of Morristown third in 16:33.

Corinne Fitzgerald, from Rockaway finished in 18:46 to win, a good minute ahead of second place Nicola Hallenborg of Summit.  Third place was Katie Castroagudin of River Edge in 19:53.

Outstanding performances by masters runners were recorded.  Mark Zamek, 52, of Lavalette was the first over age forty man to finish followed by Brian Crowley, 50, of Hillsborough and Gary Rosenberg, 44, of Morristown.  Their times were 17:36, 17:53 and 18:04.   It is worth mentioning that all three are on the Garmin racing team out of Morristown that won the M40 team division by a margin of 29 points and the M40 by only four points – being chased by the Shore Athletic Club.

Masters women also had their stars.  The first masters woman to finish was 47 year old Karen Perlman of Neshanic Station who finished in 19:56, followed by 49 year old Misa Tamura of Ridgewood whose time was 20:35.  Although she finished after those two, 52 year old Mary Christian of Flanders finished in 21:12 and placed third as well in the Age grading list, bested only by Perlman and the remarkable Nora Cary of Morristown whose time of 22:16 at age 60 was age graded at 83.23%.

On the men’s side, Zamek and Crowley were split by Reno Stirrat, 61, of Rockaway whose time of 18:57 hit 84.95% on the age grading tables.

The open team division was dominated by the Adidas Garden State Track Club.  On the men’s side they took the first six spots.  Their women took the first three spots.  The Garmin women were fourth.

The Garmin team was seventh in Open men and won both the M40 and M50 divisions.  The Do Run team placed third in the M40 and fifth in the M50 division. 

The unbeatable Garmin women took first in both the W40 and W50 divisions and their B team was fourth in the W40.  In the W50 the Do Run Runners were tied with Raritan Valley Road Runners for third.

The Morris County Striders had an A and B team in the W70 and a team for the W80 division.  Their W60 team placed fourth in their division.

At the Belmar Chase 5K on August 22nd, the Garmin men won the M40 division of the Masters Men division.  The Do Run Runners were third and third as well in the M50 division.  The Garmin team was pushed back to second place in the M50 by the Shore Athletic Club competing on their home turf.

Next up is the Newport Liberty Half Marathon on September 20th.


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