Sunday, December 18, 2016

Groner wins the New Balance grand prix with a perfect score

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, December 18, 2016


It’s a wrap.   The racing season is over and the final numbers and places have been posted for the USATF New Jersey Grand Prix series.  The only way Roberta Groner of Randolph could not win the women’s New Balance individual grand prix was to not show up.  But show up she did and she ran up a perfect score of 5,700.  Karen Auteri of Belvidere was second and Misa Tamura of Ridgewood was third.

Local runners did well in the age divisions.  Joanna Stevens of Basking Ridge took third in the W45 division and Susan Kinsella of Millington took third in the W50 division.

The top three women in the W60 division were all Morris area women, topped by Nora Cary of Morristown.  Lorraine McPhillips of Basking Ridge was second and Susan Stirrat of Rockaway third.  Roseanne Svihra of Gillette was third in the W65 division and Mary Ann Murphy of Livingston was first in the W70 division.  Diane Stone of Chatham won the W85 division and Shirley Pettijohn also of Chatham was third in the W80 division.

Atilla Sabahoglu of Manville won the men’s division after placing second in 2015 when Kyle Price of Milltown jumped into first place with two late races.  This year Sabahoglu had no surprise stalkers and stayed in first with 5,679 points with Matthew Slocum of Montclair in second with 5,661 points.     Karl O’Reilly of Morristown was third with 5,649 points.

Only 15 points kept Gary Rosenberg of Morristown from third place.  Rosenberg topped his M45 division as well.   In one of the best rivalries in the state Beau Atwater, 58, of Bernardsville outscored Gary Leaman, 57, of Hardwick by five points to place first in the M55 division and Leaman second, but seventh and eighth overall, 5,550 to 5,545.

When the top three men are taken out of the file, Mark Minervini of Stanhope moves into first in the 39 and younger division. 

Robert Skorupski of Rockaway placed second in the M40 division and John Sabatino of Morris Plains was second in M50.  Reno Stirrat of Rockaway won the M60 division with Charlie Slaughter of Parsippany in second.

Bill Bosmann of Rockaway won the M65 division with Bruce Langenkamp of Wharton taking third.  Hilary Peterlin of Oak Ridge won the M75 division, and George Studzinski of Kinnelon placed third in the M80 division.


It was a runaway by the Clifton Running Club in the Investors Bank Foundation club and team grand prix.   The club racked up first place in the W40, W50 and W60 divisions and second in the open women’s division.  Their M40 team took third in their division and their and M70 A,   M70 B teams took second and third.  The clubs strength was in those B and C teams, picking up points in many divisions.

The adidas Garden State Track Club had a similar effect in the open divisions with several teams competing as well as some masters divisions that placed well.  The Shore Athletic Club placed third with the Garmin Runners in fourth.

Some teams were able to put two bonus points in their club’s tally by racing in all of the championships throughout the year.   This new scoring system allowed each team to drop their poorest score in a race, but their consistency was rewarded with the two point bonus

Local clubs included the Morris County Striders in eighth place, the Do Run Runners in ninth, the Geezers in eleventh, the New Jersey Racing Project in 13th and Rose City Runners in 14th out of 19 clubs competing.


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 27, 2016

Groner does it again, wins 8K championship

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 27, 2016



Randolph’s Roberta Groner continued with her winning streak, taking first place woman in the Horace Ashenfelter 8 kilometer race on Thanksgiving morning.  Groner finished in 27:15 ahead of over 1,400 other women in the race that was the USATF state championship.   The race was won by Steven Flynn of Edison in 23:56 with Justin Scheid of Succasunna second in 24:35.

Scheid was the USATF New Jersey champion as Flynn is not a member of the association.
Groner’s win will give her a near perfect score of 4,699 in the New Balance grand prix series.

Local runners scored well with Elena Rozhko, 43, of Morristown finishing fifth woman in 29:58, and Mary Christian, 53, of Flanders seventh masters woman in 32:28.  Nora Cary, 61, of Morristown finished tenth masters woman in 33:19 and topped the age grading at 93.04%.

Jonathan Frieder, formerly of Randolph and now of Rye Brook NY was the top masters man with his time of 26:30.  That put him fourth in the age graded list, with Mark Zamek, 53, of Lavallette first with his 27:19 at 89.78%.  In one of the closest rivalries in NJ masters running, Gary Leaman, 57, of Hardwick bested Beau Atwater, 58, of Bernardsville 89.25% to 88.77%.  Leaman finished in 28:26 to Atwater’s 28:50.

The adidas Garden State Track Club put four open men’s teams ahead of the next scoring team, the Garmin runners.  Garmin took first in the M50 division, with the aGSTC second and North Jersey Masters third.  The places stayed the same in the M50 division

Reno Sirrat of Rockaway led his M60 Shore Athletic Club team to first in that division with his 32:08. 
 The Do Run Runners were fifth out of 16 teams.  The Morris County Striders M70 team took fourth in 
their division.
Although the Clifton Road Runners women’s team could rest on their laurels after clinching their divisions,
they came to play and took first in the Open women’s division, W50 and W60 and second in the W40 division. 
 Groner’s open women’s team, the NJ Racing Project, placed second in that division.  The Garmin women 
won the W40 division and placed third in the W50 division.
A dozen or more races drew runners from the top half of the state on Thursday.  New races may account for
 the drop in numbers for the established races.  The Flemington Turkey Trot was down about one hundred 
runners but still drew the largest group of runners in the state at 4,094.  The event attracts fast young runners 
who are not involved in the NJ grand prix races.  Matt McDonald of Atlanta won the race in 14:49 while
 Lauren Ciambruschini, just 16, of Lebanon was the first woman in 16:30.
Those were the fastest 5K times on Thursday.  You had to take a second look at the winning time for the
 Somerville Turkey Trot.  The winner of that race finished in 14:26, except that the course was deemed to
 be 2.8 miles instead of 3.1.  The Krogh’s 5K in Sparta was down almost 250 runners.   The 5K race in
 Morris Township was down 325 runners from last year.  Maybe some of those runners were at one of the
 two Chatham races.  The Trot the Manor 5K had 253 finishers.   The Chatham Turkey Trot 5K has not 
printed their results but the website claims close to 950 runners.
Tracking down the results from some of the races is a challenge and some timing companies just don’t print 
results.  It makes for a long day at the keyboard for yours truly.
Dean Shonts, who was featured here two weeks ago finished the Great Swamp Devil 15K in 
1:45:35 in fulfillment of a pledge to run 15K to celebrate his 70th birthday.  Shont’s was heard 
to repeat several times in the course of the race, “Whose idea was this anyway?” 
Justin Scheid of Succasunna won the race in 49:51.  Scheid came to the race specifically to honor Shonts, 
whose long history in the sport dates back to his grade school days.
There will be several interesting races in December, many themed to the Christmas Holiday, think Jingle Bells
 and Santas.  The Rutgers Big Chill in New Brunswick on Saturday, December 3rd, has an entry fee of one 
unwrapped gift valued at $15.00 or more.  Over five thousand have registered so far.  Eleven thousand ran in 
the race in 2015.  Check it out on  

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 20, 2016

Randolph's Groner wins the Giralda Farms 10K

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 20, 2016


Sunny skies, a slight breeze.  It could not have been any better for a fast 10K on the challenging Giralda Farms 10K that was run this past Sunday in Madison.  Roberta Groner of Randolph handled the tough course with ease to finish first woman in 35:09 and amid the top ten men.

Sean Stetler of Quakertown PA was first overall in 32:32.  Jonathan Frieder, formerly of Randolph and now from Rye Brook NY finished in sixth place and was the first masters man to finish.  The race was the masters men’s USATF championship.  Frieder’s time was 34:05, which age graded to 84.89% PLP.

Karl O’Reilly was the first Morris area man to finish and Elena Rozhko the first masters woman and third woman overall.  Both O’Reilly [33:56] and Rozhko [38:30] are from Morristown.

Also from Morristown was the 61 year old Nora Cary whose finishing time of 43:27 earned her 90.69% on the age graded scale.  Beau Atwater, 58, of Bernardsville was the top age graded man at 88.00% for his 36:35.  Gary Leaman, 57, of Hardwick was next on the age graded scale with 86.79% for his time of 36:46, just eleven seconds back from Atwater.

Eleven M60 teams entered the race and twelve M50.   Both divisions were won by the Morristown based Garmin teams.   The Morris County Striders team placed sixth in the M40 division.

Fueled by the Baby Boomers, the largest division was the M60 with fourteen teams.  Reno Stirrat of Rockaway was on the winning Shore Athletic Club team in that division and Mark Washburne of Mendham lead his Do Run Running club team to third place.

Ricardo Garcia of Carteret won the 5K in 16:19 and Chelsea Callan of Westfield won the women’s race in 19:06.  A surprise entry in the 5K was 800 meter world masters champion Anselm LeBourne, 57, of Maplewood who finished sixth overall and whose 18:07 was age graded at 85.93%.


Only four more days and everyone can race again.  For the USATF competitors, the Horace Ashenfelter 8K in Glen Ridge will be the place to be on Thanksgiving morning.  A quick unofficial tally of the team grand prix with the addition of the Giralda Farms 10K and only two masters men’s teams can afford to stay away; the Shore Athletic Club’s M50 team and it’s M60 team have insurmountable leads in their divisions.  All the other masters men’s teams need to race to hold their position or move up. 

The Garmin open men’s team can take the day off, as can the Clifton Road Runners W40, W50, and W60 A teams. They can’t be caught.  On the other hand, some of those various squad members may need to make it to the race in order to improve their individual standings in the New Balance Grand Prix.

There is a plethora of races on Thanksgiving morning and many quite large and well organized.  The Flemington Turkey Trot, the oldest Thanksgiving Day race in New Jersey will attract over four thousand runners and some of those up front could be quite fast like last year’s winner Liam Boylan Pett who finished in 15:37, and the women’s winner Heather Wilson and Ashley Higginson whose times were a near tie at 16:47.   That trio of talent is with the NY/NJ track club. 

The upper Saddle River Run 5K will attract about 2,500 runners, and the Ashenfelter will have three thousand.  The Krogh’s Turkey Trot in Sparta will have over two thousand.   Closest to home will be the Interfaith Food Pantry and Literacy Volunteers Turkey Trot 5K that will take place at the Ginty Field location in Morris Township that could have over 2,600 runners.   That means a lot of hungry runners Thanksgiving afternoon.


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 13, 2016

Dean Shonts celebrates turning 70 with a 15K run

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, November 13, 2016



This is 2016 and there are many runners out there who can say that they have been running all of their life.  But when you are celebrating your 70th birthday that is saying something.

Dean Shonts, formerly of Morris Township and more recently of Belmar, was running before the first running boom that was fueled by the Jim Fixx The Complete Book of Running in the late 1970’s.

Shonts was a sophomore in high school in 1962 when he won the first race he entered and set the course record.   That got him on the track and cross country team, but he really liked playing basketball more than running.  Not that the training was all that hard.  Back then the coaches didn’t require much from their runners. 

“We ran maybe 8 or 9 miles a week,” recalls Shonts.

At Trenton State College Shonts was coached by renowned coach Rick McCorkle who had his runners doing more than a few miles a week.

“He was a very, very good coach,” said Shonts, who ran on both the cross country team and longer distance events on the track; half mile, the mile and the two mile that was most common during that time.

For the next several years Shonts coached:  Cinnaminson high school, Trenton State as assistance coach, William Patterson and Bergen County Community College.

In 1978 Shonts turned a part time operation selling New Balance running shoes from the trunk of his car into a full fledge sporting goods store in partnership with another entrepreneur.  In 1981 Shonts bought out his partner and became the sole proprietor.   Initially the Sneaker Factory store in Millburn sold soccer cleats, volleyball clothing, and a hodge podge of sports equipment.  Back then there really weren’t enough shoes to have just a running store. 
“There were no women’s running shoes at the time,” said Shonts.  “As time went on they started having women’s shoes, racing shoes.  Things just started to develop.”

 Shonts was able to drop those other lines and stay with running shoes and clothes.

During that time Shonts organized a running team, and was the head of the long distance running program with AAU, which became TAC (the Athletics Congress) later renamed USATF where he was tasked with organizing races.  He never thought to keep a list of all the races he has organized, but those that stand out to this day include the President’s Cup Race in June, the Newark Corporate 5K that takes place at noon in the city, and of course, the Great Swamp Devil 15K, and 5K, in Basking Ridge taking place this year on Sunday, November 20th.

Over the years Shonts had been hampered by a bad knee that kept him as just a fitness runner.  Two years ago he underwent knee replacement surgery and it has allowed him to get back into more running.  This year with his seventieth birthday looming he decided to set a goal of running in the 15K that he started years ago. He’s done three training runs of over seven miles and feels he can finish the race.

“I needed a goal,” he said.   “I haven’t had a goal in years. You need a goal to get a little bit better.   I figured for my seventieth birthday I would try it.”

“It’s a flat course,” said Shonts.  “I don’t think I could run any hills and since I started the race I thought it would be a good time.” 

Shonts couldn’t recall when the race was started but I was able to find the 1993 results on the old CompuScore website.  A 24 year old Tom Metz from Lake Hiawatha won the race in 47:50 that year, and Lisa Mudrick, then 33, of Mendham won the women’s race in 58:01.

In the most recent edition the race was won in 2015 by Atilla Sabahoglu of Somerset in 51:36 while Ingrid Wells of Upper Saddle River was the women’s winner in 54:19.

Shonts turned the race over to the Amazing Feet Running club a few years back and most recently Tom Miller of Chatham has served as the race director.  Miller is expecting a large turnout that will be there to support Shonts as he runs in celebration of his seventieth milestone.  The 5K race will start at 11:00 a.m. and the 15K at noon. 


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