Sunday, March 27, 2016

Chill winds greeted the runners at the first championship race of the season

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


Mother Nature forgot to check the calendar last Sunday and brought winter type cold and wind to Johnson Park in Piscataway instead of spring for the first day of spring.  Chilled runners wearing tights and long sleeves braved the cold winds coming off the Raritan River to run in the Miles for Music 20K.   At the finish grateful runners were wrapped in Mylar blankets and warmed with hot chocolate or hot broth provided by the host club, the Raritan Valley Road Runners.

In 2012 Michael Dixon of Fanwood won the inaugural race in 1:05:04.  Racing every year since he has never placed lower than third, and that was just one year, in 2013.  In 2014 and 2015 he was second.  Last Sunday he claimed first again, in a time slowed perhaps by the weather, or the ease of the win.  Spectators noted that Dixon ran easily with the lead pack until late in the race when he drew away.  His time was 1:09:17 and second place was 1:10:48, posted by Matthew Slocum of Montclair.

Slocum improved by nearly two minutes over his race in 2015 when he placed 18th in a field of 417.  This year the field was down to 327 finishers.  Clearly the absence of many of the open adidas Garden State Track Club reduced the size of the field by close to one hundred runners.

On the women’s side Roberta Groner of Randolph opened her 2016 season with a course record time of 1:14:00, nearly two full minutes faster than her 2015 win.  Greta Sieve of Lawrence Township was second in 1:17:02, her fastest time in the three years she has raced and where she placed second each time.

With the Garden State open men runners absent, the other USATF New Jersey teams were in command with the Garmin men’s team taking first, the North Jersey Masters second and the Shore Athletic Club third.  On the open women’s side, the Clifton Road Runners took first, with the Garden State women second and the Garmin women third.

In fact, the Garmin women swept open, W40 and W50 divisions. The Garmin men took first in the M40 and second in M50.  The Garmin club was the only local club to make it into the top three spots although other Morris area clubs did place further down.

An interesting contest was the Shore Athletic Club placing fourth in the M40 division by a slim margin of but 15 seconds over the TMB Racing – 6:58:07 to 6:58:22.   For a 20K with five men scoring that is just about a tie.

TMB Racing is a Morris area multi-sport club.  Other local clubs were the Rose City Runners, Morris County Striders, the Do Run Runners, and the Highland Hashers.  All of the teams received a minimum of one point thanks to a new rule instituted for the 2016 season.

Local masters runners topped the Age Graded charts beginning with Beau Atwater, 58, of Bernardsville, whose 1:16:27 hit 86.72%, followed by Reno Stirrat, 61, of Rockaway whose 1:21:14 was next in 83.94%.   Nora Cary, 61, of Morristown was the top woman with an 86.22% for her 1:33:39.  Mary Christian, 52, of Flanders was third in age grading with 83.61% for her 1:25:57 finish.

Next Saturday, the truly fit will be lining up at the Princeton Blairstown Center in Hardwick, Warren County, for the start of the NJ Ultra Festival races.  The starting horn will sound at 9:00 a.m. for the 100 mile ultra run, followed shortly thereafter for the start of the 100 kilometer, then the 50 mile, and then the 50K, and finally the marathon.  The course is a ten mile loop in the nature center.

 The NJ Ultra Festival was first held in Long Valley in 2011 and thereafter at the Sussex County Fairgrounds.  Last year’s 100 miler was won by Randolph’s Paul DeNunzio in 20:46:03.


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, March 20, 2016

What will they think of next?

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


What will they think of next?

Trail races, Ultras, Mud runs, Spartan runs, Hash runs, Fat tire bikes, Cyclo-cross, Adventure racing -  what’s next?

R.O.G.A.I.N.E.   No, nothing to do with hair products – and they invited that on themselves.  They could have named it Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance.   Oh, I see, they did.

This sounds like an offshoot of the Orienteering events that involves finding your way through a wilderness area notching off checkpoints set up ahead of the event.  The checkpoints must be found in a specific order.  These events typically take between one to three hours.

 Dan Brannen of Morris Township, who provided me with information and links to a video and a website, provided me with information on ROGAINE.

Brannen has been Orienteering for several years now after establishing himself as an outstanding Ultra runner.  Brannen is also the man behind the scenes on courses at such races as the Morristown Verizon Corporate Challenge and the Liberty Waterfront Half Marathon.  

In ROGAINE events, checkpoints are scattered all over the map but competitors can get to them in any order.  Usually they all have different point values. So, the ones farthest away from the Start/Finish, or harder to get to, or harder to find, have the highest point values. The ones closest to and more readily accessible from the Start/Finish area have lower point values.

“In trying to get as many points as possible, different teams will use different routes to go to from checkpoint to checkpoint to try to maximize their point scores within the allotted time frame,” Brannen wrote.

“The Start of a ROGAINE meet looks like the “break” at the start of a game of billiards,” said Brannen.  “The Starting horn sounds and everybody runs off in different directions.”

Brannen said that the ROGAINE events tend to be of a much longer time duration than Orienteering. Typical ROGAINE meet time frames are 6 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours or 24 hours.

Brannen competed in the 2009 ROGAINE national that took place in the Mogollon Rim Plateau of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in central Arizona.  This was no pussy cat of an event.  There were 61 different checkpoints scattered randomly over an area of about 70 square miles.  Basically it was an eight mile wide, nine mile long rectangle. Contestants had 24 hours to try to gather as many points as possible, ranging from 20 points to 90 points.

Brannen and his team-mate Murray Resinski formerly of Morristown,  finished fourth masters team despite Brannen fighting off flu-like symptoms during the entire adventure.

This past October Brannen led a small group from the Paramount Multisport Club in an introductory/tutorial ROGAINE session in Jockey Hollow. Runners might have an interest in the sport, and both orienteering and ROGAINing always have some element of trail running, but much more than 50% of any such event is off-trail explained Brannen.

“Almost all of the checkpoints are not on trails,” he said.  “You have to use your map and compass to take one or more trails to a point where you then break off and leave the trail and “bushwhack” through, under, or over whatever is there (rocks, cliffs, dense woods, streams, rivers, ponds, sticker bushes, etc.) until you get to the checkpoint flag.”

If you have an interest in this sport, there will be a six hour ROGAINE at Ringwood State Park on Saturday, April 2nd.  Google “Fool’s Rogaine in Ringwood Park, NJ” to track down information.


Here is a link to a ROGAINE page within the U.S. Orienteering website:

Here is a brief video from a ROGAINE meet:


Monday, March 14, 2016

Stay safe when you run

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


Distracted driving, distracted texting, and could you be guilty of distracted running?  OK, let’s call it what it is – Dumb Running.

Experienced runners know that they must run facing traffic if they must run on roads also used by cars.  Would that we all could run in parks and on trails but that is not possible for all.  I can remember when I first started to run on the roads near my home.  I could literally run in the center of the road, right on the crown, making for a very comfortable run.  When the very occasional vehicle came along, I dutifully moved to the shoulder and then quickly regained my center-of-the road position.

Then builders began digging up farm fields west of here and planted houses, lots of houses.  People bought those houses and then discovered my road was a great route to get to wherever they worked east of here.  Thus ended my middle of the road running.  So many cars stream by here each morning that you would think it was the evacuation route for a volcanic eruption in the hills to the west.

Thank God, and the Morris County Parks Department for creating off road routes that we runners, cyclist, and sometimes equestrians use to keep us off the roads.

Now back to running with traffic – cars being driven by distracted drivers are more dangerous than the occasional black bear we see on the trails.  Face them!  Never turn your back on a driver.  Not that they want to see you flying over their hood – they just don’t see you.  They are reading their text, putting on makeup, dialing their cell, reading the newspaper.  You might even have been guilty of distracted driving.  You know it happens.

When you see them coming off the road and right toward you – jump!  Don’t laugh.  It has happened to plenty of runners and they have jumped.

About once a year I give this same lecture.  I am gratified to see the runners who do run facing traffic and horrified when I see one running with traffic.  Pass this advice on to your friends who walk, who are new, who do not know, who think that if they ride their bike with traffic they should also run with traffic.  Teach your kids and grandkids if you have them.

That’s it for this year.  Stay safe.

First up on the New Jersey championship schedule is the Miles for Music 20K in Johnson Park next Sunday, March 20th.  The course is several loops of the park making for good spectator viewing and good viewing for runners who can see who they are chasing and who is chasing them.

The race is a championship for all divisions.  Last year the Adidas Garden State Track Club pretty much swept the open division.  We have learned that the club has decided to not participate this year and a scan of the registered runners confirms that.  Their non-participation will certainly make for opportunities for the other clubs.  In addition some clubs have lost members to other teams and those teams have been bolstered by their new members.  New clubs have also been created.  Yes indeed, it will be an interesting year in club racing.


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, March 6, 2016

Pray for good weather next Saturday

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 6, 2016


Local runners will be itching to tie up their racing shoes for the first race of the month in this area, the St. Paddy’s Day 5K in Morris Township next Saturday.  The race is now a tradition along with the St. Patrick’s parade in downtown Morristown after the 10:00 a.m. race.  Runners get their morning run in, and then can enjoy the parade spectacle along with enjoying some post race refreshments at the local establishments.

In 2015 cool temperatures and rain put a damper on the events keeping participation down.  The ten day forecast for next Saturday looks a bit brighter with temperatures in the mid 50’s with only a chance of rain.

The race is held on the course from Ginty Field off Woodland Avenue.  Prizes are given to the top three in ten year age divisions, and to the top three overall.  Registration and packet pick-up can be done all week at the Running Company store in Morristown.


On Sunday runners can have fun running a road relay in New Brunswick.  This is the sixth year for the race that is organized by the Adidas Garden State Track Club.  The relay is a 10K divided into four laps on a course circumventing Buccleuch Park.  Each person runs one 2.5 kilometer lap and then hands off to his partner who runs a lap, and so on. 

Morris area runners did well in the relays last year.  Peter Lee and John Klobus, both of Randolph running as Team Geezers won the M50 division.  Team Broken Pipes – Roberta Groner of Randolph and Beau Atwater of Bernardsville placed sixth in the Co-ed Division.

Sarah Hersey of Mendham and Amy San of Morristown, looking forward to the post race activities ran in the Open women’s division as Team Where’s the Wine.  Archie Seaman, 82, of Rockaway along with Jane Simpson of Wayne running as Team Over 70/80 won the Co-ed 70 and Over division.

Yes, there seems to be a division for everyone.  The top three teams in each division will win not a medal, but custom made batons.  The actual batons used in the relay will be collected for re-use next year.

Pretty neat is the touch screen running gloves to the first 200 to register.  Online registration can be done at the CompuScore website.  The first relay will begin at 11:00 a.m.  Be aware that daylight savings time begins at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning.


Reno Stirrat of Rockaway placed fourth in the M60 division of the national masters 8K in Brea CA last Sunday, and Roger Price of Randolph placed sixth in the M65 division.


With over six thousand members, New Jersey is one of the largest organizations in the country.  Long Distance Running makes up roughly half of the numbers.  Yet only a handful of people are active on the administrative/volunteer side.  The New Jersey association has two paid staff members with a third on an as needed basis part-time.

All the other people that are involved are there as volunteers and their numbers are small.  Currently all of the sports committee chair and vice chair positions are filled but people who could help out in a non-official capacity are missing.  Members of the board discussed this recently in an email thread and one observation was that others do not volunteer because they are not aware of the need for more people to be involved.

The first place to start might be at a general membership meeting.  The next meeting is this coming Wednesday, March 9th to be held in Garwood, in Union County.   Items on the agenda include elections for four board member spots.  More information is on the USATF NJ website.

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