Sunday, November 29, 2015

Beautiful Turkey Day Racing

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 29, 2015


It was a great day for a race this past Thursday.  And did people race?  Oh yes, in record numbers.  Beautiful weather – sunny with no wind made for perfect running conditions.

At the Morris Township Interfaith Food Pantry  and Literacy Volunteers of Morris County  5K at Ginty field, 2,671 finished the race, with Michael Franklin of Washington DC and formerly of Mendham first in 15:58.   Mackensie Barry, of Mendham led in a trio of very fast young women.  Barry’s time was 17:53, followed by Lindsay Eysenback of Belmont MA in 17:56, then Mallory Anderson of Madison in 17:57.

The granddaddy of Thanksgiving races in New Jersey, the Flemington Turkey Trot had 4,009 finishers with two elite national women pushing two men out of the top ten overall file.  Heather Wilson and Ashley Higginson, teammates on the New Jersey*New York club finished together in 16:47.0 and 16:47.67, reportedly running together throughout the race. 

At the Krogh’s Turkey Trot in Sparta Justin Scheid of Sparta won the race in 15:26 with 2,116 finishers in the race.  At the Trinity Turkey Trot in Princeton pre-registration numbers exceeded the bib numbers with a quick SOS between timing company, BEST Racing and CompuScore that was able to help out with another 300 bibs.  The race eventually finished 1,700 runners, up over 450 from 2014.

The Horace Ashenfelter 8K drew many Morris area runners to compete in the state 8K championship for all divisions in Glen Ridge. 

The race was won by Alfredo Santana of Philadelphia in 23:47 with Michael Jordon of Lebanon just two seconds back in 23:49.   Youssef Rochdi of Rockaway finished in fifth place in 24:31. 

Roberta Groner of Randolph was the women’s winner in 28:07 and Elena Rozhko of Morristown was the first masters woman to finish.  Her time was 29:50. 

The top masters men based on Age Grading were Reno Stirrat, 61, of Rockaway whose 29:13 hit 89.98% and Beau Atwater, 57, of Bernardsville whose time of 28:26 was pegged at 89.25%.  On the women’s side, Erika Campbell, 66, of Ridgewood finished in 36:39 for an over the top 90:58%. 

The Adidas Garden State Athletic Club (AGSAC) put four teams in front of the Morris area Garmin team in the open men division, but the Garmin M40 team claimed first in that division with the Do Run Runners fourth.   
On the women’s side a new team, the Oiselle runners pushed the favored AGSAC team to second place with the Garmin women in third in the open division.  The Garmin team took first in both the W40 and W50 divisions.

As this column goes to press the results are still considered unofficial as some runners can be missing from the team scoring.  Once the results are made official the team grand prix will be updated for the 2015 season.

Although the club and team grand prix are a wrap, there is one more weekend to find a New Balance Grand prix race.  Three are close depending on where you live in Morris County.  One is in Caldwell, another in Franklin Lakes and another in Millburn.  All are 5K.


What do you do with 800 runners ready to race and the police say it’s a no go?  You turn it into a group run and reschedule for a later date.   That’s what happened in Ridgewood on Thursday.  The police would not allow the Ridgewood four miler to proceed as there had been no advance coordination with the police.  The race is now scheduled for today, Sunday, November 29th at 9:00 a.m.


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, November 22, 2015

Turkey Trots Abound on Thursday

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 22, 2015



If you want to run in a race Thanksgiving morning you probably won’t have far to go.  The USATF New Jersey calendar is showing nine races that morning and the Race Forum has two Gobbler races down the shore.  Among them is the Turkey Trot 5K in Morris Township that will draw several hundred runners, if not thousands.  There are two 5K turkey races in Chatham.  How did that happen? 

Some area runners will eschew the easy drive and go to Glen Ridge for the Horace Ashenfelter 8K race.  It is the final state championship for all divisions.  Some close team contests could be decided in the race. 

In the M50 division of the team grand prix, the Garmin runners have a one point lead over the Shore Athletic Club – 78 to 77.  Next is The Raritan Valley team one point ahead of the Do Run runners – 55 to 54.  Further down in the listings ties are showing and they could change after the race is run.

There is another group of people for whom the 8K is important.  They are the ones who need to finish out their Category Two Mini grand prix, which includes the 8K distance.  To maximize their points they need to have seven races and three of them can be championship races that have a higher point value.


Four men mentioned these past weeks got the job done at the Great Swamp Devil 15K.  All needed to have a non championship category three race and the only one available was the 15K.  Atilla Sabahoglu of Somerset led the charge and was never challenged to win the race in 51:36.  Karl O'Reilly of Morristown was second in 52:21.

 Gary Rosenberg of Morristown was fourth man overall in 54:57, John Sabatino of Morris Plains was next in 58:52 and Scott Isgett of Rockaway rounded out the foursome in 1:00:32. 

Their order of finish mirrors their places in the New Balance Grand Prix.  I’ll let the CompuScore computer figure out what points each has earned but no question that Sabahoglu is now is in first place and Rosenberg is in second.

Rosenberg can thank his Garmin teammate Mark Williams for pushing him out of third place at the race.  Williams, from Columbia, a world class 800 meter/miler had come to the race planning to run in the 5K that was scheduled to go off an hour before the 15K.  As can happen at races with their many distractions, the keys to the car that he and his sister and mother arrived in got locked in the locked car.

All of Williams racing clothes and racing flats were in the car.  What’s a fella to do?  Well, he waited for Triple A to arrive in the hour between 11:00 am when the 5K went off, and the 12 noon start of the 15K.  Car unlocked - Williams was able to get changed and at the line for his unplanned 15K race.

Finishing just one second ahead of Williams was Ingrid Wells of Upper Montclair – yes third place overall in 54:19.  They had run together for most of the race.  Was it gallantry on Williams’s part to allow a girl to finish ahead of him, or was he just plain tuckered out from running six more miles than he had planned?


While some New Jersey runners were hammering at the Great Swamp Devil 15K, another group was in Alexandria VA hammering at the national 12K championship.  Several elite New Jersey masters runners ran in the race.

Two of those runners were husband and wife duo Reno and Susan Stirrat, of Rockaway.  Competing in the M60 division Reno placed third in his division in 45:03.  Susan placed in the top ten in hers.  The Stirrats compete for the Shore Athletic Club and that club’s M70 team placed first in their division and the M60 team placed third.

Other outstanding performances were recorded by Przemyslaw Nowicki of Holmdel who won his M70 division in 52:41.  Erika Campbell of Ridgewood placed second in the W65 division in 56:50.  Jonathan Frieder of Port Chester, NY, a long time member of the New Jersey association of USATF placed fourth overall masters and second in the M45 division with his 40:59.


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, November 15, 2015

Masters women dominated at Giralda Farms 10K Championship

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 15, 2015


Twenty-three year old Betty Eikelberg of Leonia won the Giralda Farms 10K in Madison last Sunday in 37:48, but the next five women were masters runners, as befitting a masters women’s championship.  Elena Rozhko, 42, of Morristown placed second in 38:38 leading in her Garmin women’s team to first place in the W40 division.  Karen Perlman, 47, of Neshanic was next in 39:18 leading her Raritan Valley Road Runner team to second place in the division. 

Perlman was a standout at Bernards in the mid 80’s when she was known as Karen Ahearn. 
In 1985 Ahearn set the New Jersey girls 2.5 mile Van Courtland Park course record at 14:12.8.   In 2008 Lanie Thompson of Voorhees hit the same time and the record has stood until this year when Brianna Gess of Haddonfield hit 14:10.04 on the course.

Youssef Rochdi of Rockaway broke from the start and was never challenged for the overall title.  Running alone on the hill infested course he finished in 31:59.  Rochdi has been training in Colorado for the past several months, overcoming an injury while out west.  Nick Desantis of Wanaque was second in 33:16 and Jeremy Scheid, formerly of Sparta and now living in Hoboken was third in 33:34

Although Misa Tamura of Ridgewood, who turned 50 this year was fourth in 39:40, her North Jersey Masters team placed only seventh in the W50 team division.  The Garmin women took first with Susan Kinsella of Millington and Mary Christian of Flanders leading the team in.

Top local women included Nora Cary, 60, of Morristown who topped the masters women’s age grading file with her 44:01 that hit 88.33%.   Susan Stirrat of Rockaway placed second to Cary in the W60 division.  Dede Paul of Morristown also placed second, in her W55 division.


The Giralda Farm 10K may have been a masters women’s championship but it had an effect on the men in the New Balance Grand Prix.  Mathew Slocum, 34, of Montclair gained 693 points by placing fourth in the race.  That bumped him into first in the series.  Gary Leaman, 56, of Hardwick placed eighth overall in an age grading chart topping time of 37:20.  He earned 684 points and moved up to second in the grand prix series.

Other shuffles ensued so that Atilla Sabahoglu of Somerset is now in 16th place, Gary Rosenberg of Morristown is in 18th, John Sabatino of Morris Plains is in 21st place and Charlie Slaughter of Parsippany is now 20th.

Sabahoglu and Rosenberg would both move to the head of the class if they have good performances at the Great Swamp Devil 15K that goes off at noon today.  But there is another sleeper in the mix.  Theodore Doyle, 26, of Maplewood also needs today’s 15K.  He too would move up with the other three.

Even further down in the grand prix, in 45th place, is a worthy opponent who could pull off a real upset.  He needs to do the Swamp Devil today and the Ashenfelter 8km later this month.  Jonathan Frieder, 45, of Hartsdale New York, has the potential of go ahead of Rosenberg if he runs in both those races.  When racing head to head, as they did in the President’s Cup 5K, the Ridgewood Run 10K and the Liberty Waterfront Half, Frieder has finished ahead of Rosenberg. 

Last week I wrote that Roberta Groner of Randolph was sure to be the winner in the women’s division of the grand prix series.  I also said that Mary Christian, 52, of Flanders was untouchable in second place.

I now have to eat my words.  Groner is still number one, but Misa Tamura, 50, of Ridgewood had a big payoff in running in the Giralda Farms race.  She replaced a non championship score of 500 points with the championship and is now two points ahead of Christian; 5636 to 5634.   Christian could fight back by running well today in the Great Swamp Devil and adding just three points would put her ahead of Tamura.

It does get interesting this time of year.


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, November 8, 2015

Great Swamp Devil will draw grand prix racers

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 8, 2015



Three Morris area men and one living in Somerset are certain to be found at the Great Swamp Devil 15K race next Sunday, November 15th, in Basking Ridge.  A check of the USATF New Balance Grand Prix shows those men are missing a Category Three non championship race to finish their grand prix.

John Hogan of Washington Township is leading the grand prix series with 5,551 points.  The first ten men have all nine of their races that are required to maximize their scores.

Languishing in eleventh place in the series as of October 22nd is last year’s winner Atilla Sabahoglu of Somerset with 5,121 points and missing a Category Three non championship.  A win at the Great Swamp or even just a bit off a win and he will skip past Hogan to secure his place at the top – a win would give him 5,621 points.

Right behind Sabahoglu in twelfth place is Morristown’s Gary Rosenberg with 5,106 points and also needing that 15K.  Could Rosenberg pull off an upset?  Sabahoglu is 37 years old, while Rosenberg is 45.  Despite the eight year age difference, head to head Rosenberg out scored Sabahoglu at the Ridgewood 10K and at the Newport 10K.  At the one Category Three race they both ran, the Clinton 15K, Sabahoglu finished four minutes ahead of Rosenberg.  The Clinton race was in April.  A lot can change in five months.

Ironically the two other Morris area men needing the 15K are also in Rosenberg’s M45 division.  John Sabatino of Morris Plains has 4,998 points to Rockaway’s Scott Isgett’s 4,961.  On paper Sabatino would appear to maintain his lead over Isgett at the Great Swamp Devil.  And here’s the kicker – if they don’t do the race they will allow 60 year old Charlie Slaughter of Parsippany to beat them both.  Slaughter will win the M60 division and is in 14th place just ahead of Sabatino and Isgett.

No such drama exists on the women’s side.  Roberta Groner of Randolph is just five points shy of a perfect grand prix score of 5,700.  In second place is Mary Christian of Flanders who is unreachable at 5,634 points.

One man’s misfortune is often another man’s gain.  So it can be in road racing.  When a nor’easter blew in the first weekend of October and briefly flooded roads and streets down the shore the Little Silver Classic 5K was cancelled on orders of the police for safety concerns.  The Little Silver race had been chosen as the open women’s championship. 

The USATF long distance running committee contacted the Harrington Park 5K that had been the runner-up in the selection process and asked the organizers if they would take the championship.   They were happy to oblige.  The race will take place on Saturday, November 14th.

On the race’s website is a visual that all races should employ.  A video shot either from a bicycle or a car takes you over the entire course.  The neighborhood roads appear to be nearly pancake flat and that should make it fast.  The handicap to running it fast is the many curves and turns in the roads.  This is one race where knowing to run the tangents will help, assuming the runners have full access to the roads curb to curb. 

In 2014 the race had 568 finishers; mostly local people and many walkers. The championship should add another 100 runners so this will be a good grand prix points race for those who are low in the Category One division.

The USATF Junior Olympics cross country meet at Central Park in Greystone had what is believed to be a record turnout with 630 entrants.  The meet was ably managed by the Morris area Lakeland League that holds meets there all fall. 

Albert Essilfie, co-chair of the youth committee praised the Lakeland volunteers who assisted, said Terry Mullane, managing director of New Jersey USATF.  Essilfie was impressed with what he saw as a true cross country course and a perfect spectator course.

“For me, the event went off without any hiccups,” said Mullane.  “The volunteers and the USATF officials were great in helping to run a successful event.  The clubs and participants praised the location and the course!”


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