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

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