Sunday, September 25, 2016

Randolph's Groner wins women's division of Newport Liberty Waterfront Half Marathon

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 25, 2016



Roberta Groner of Randolph started off her fall racing season with a spectacular win at the Newport Liberty Waterfront Half Marathon last Sunday in Jersey City.  Groner finished the race in 1:16:36 in ninth place overall, just two minutes and change behind overall winner Will Appman of Hoboken who finished in 1:14:21.

Groner’s time was fast enough to lead her newly formed team, New Jersey Racing Project to first place in the Open women’s division ahead of ten other teams.

Morris area men dominated the masters division with Elliott Frieder of Montville crossing the finish line first in 1:17.35.88 with twin Jonathan, of Rye Brook NY in a near tie in 1:17:35.92.  In third place was Terry Davidson of Randolph in 1:18:30 followed by Gary Rosenberg of Morristown in 1:19:35.  All four men are 45 years old – a tough age division this year.  Davidson and Rosenberg lead in their M40 team to finish in second place.

Bernardsville’s Beau Atwater, 58, finished in 1:21:38 to top the masters men’s Age Graded division with his 85.77% PLP.   Nora Cary, 61, of Morristown finished in 1:41:29 to age grade at 84.11% for third in that division.

Cary’s Do Run Runners team placed fourth in the W50 team division.  The Garmin women took second in W50 and third in W40.  Forty-seven men’s teams competed in the race and 34 women’s teams.   Although registration for the race was well over 3,000 entrants, only 2,549 runners finished the race.


The USATF New Jersey open women’s 5K championship is next Sunday, October 2nd in Little Silver.  The race was cancelled in 2015 due to road conditions brought on by an extreme storm that hit the shore area that week.   Another race was found to take its place later in the season.

Runners should be looking forward to this race.  There are few turns as the course makes a perfect square until a sweeping curve to the finish.  It should be fast as there is a 0.2% drop from start to finish.  The race was won in 2014 by Dennie Waite in 17:06 and Catherine Wimmer in 19:22, both of Little Silver.  There were close to 600 finishers in 2014 and most from the surrounding area.  This year will see a big change when the open women’s teams come to compete along with their male teammates in support.


After last week’s half marathon the Open women’s team standings remain much the same for the top teams.  The adidas Garden State Track Club’s A team has the lead with 54 points according to my unofficial calculations.  In second is the Clifton Road Runners A team with 51 points, and in third in the Garmin team with 43 points.  First place earns 12 points in Open women and that went to the NJ Racing Project at the half marathon, a team that has not been able to field full teams this year.  They cannot really move up but can certainly play the role of spoiler.

Ashley Higginson won the Mountain Lakes 5K on Saturday morning in a leisurely 18:04 a good two minutes ahead of the rest of the field of 126 finishers.  Higginson has a road PR of 16:24 for 5K.


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 18, 2016

Lakeland Hills race could have a surprise winner

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


The Lakeland Hills Family YMCA Run for a Cause 5K is a mouthful, but the first year race in Mountain Lakes on Saturday, September 24th will have something else to remember it for.   It could be one of those rare times when the first overall runner to finish is a female.   You might recognize the name – Ashley Higginson.

Higginson is in a complete transition.  She started in her full time position as an attorney with Riker Danzig on Monday, moved from Hunterdon County to her new home in Morristown with her boyfriend Liam Boylan-Pett, and has been on a two week break from training.

Higginson is the former Colts Neck standout, who graduated from Princeton and from Rutgers University and who has focused on the 3,000 meters steeplechase.  She competed at the US Olympic trials and made it to the finals in the steeplechase and although she did not qualify, she has good memories of the effort. 

“It was an amazing experience, training with coach (Frank "Gags" Gagliano), was an amazing experience,” said Higginson.  “The whole experience is one that I can never put into words.”

She is taking a break from the steeplechase, but not from running and competing.    

“I’m thinking of running the roads this fall,” said Higginson.  “Maybe a half marathon this winter and seeing what that means for the spring.  Maybe back on the track in the spring or focusing on the roads.”

She’s running the Mountain Lakes race because a family friend is on the Board of the YMCA and because the race is to support children’s programs at the Y.  She’ll be racing competitively at the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K in Manhattan on Saturday, November 5th, the day before the marathon.

She’s also planning to run a Thanksgiving race but not sure whether one of the many in New Jersey or the Manchester Road Race in CT. 

“I haven’t taken too much time to consider it.  I know I’ll do the Newport 10K in the spring.  Riker Danzig is a major sponsor,” she said.

There will be plenty of competition at the Newport race.  Let’s see who shows up next Saturday to test themselves against one of the fastest women in the US.


How do you qualify as an “old New Jersey runner” I asked Roger Price.

“If you remember the Running New Jersey magazine, I guess,” he said.

“Let’s ask Dean,” he said, referring to Dean Shonts, former proprietor of the Sneaker Factory, team captain of the same named club in Millburn and a lifelong runner and racer.  Shonts set up a Facebook page “Old New Jersey Runner” last spring that now has 872 members and still growing.

Shonts took the question seriously and thought that if someone has been racing since 2000 or earlier you would qualify.  Price mentioned the magazine that was published from 1980 to 1985 and that is now a cherished artifact from that period of racing.  Shonts agreed that was a more likely “old New Jersey runner” qualifier.  

Not that there is any qualification to get into the group and no one under 40 will be barred from the door when the group meets next Sunday, September 25th at the Bar Anticipation in Belmar.  All are welcome as were those who came to the first ever group party at the same location last June.

Coach and runner Joel Pasternack of Clifton brought his entire collection of Running New Jersey to that first meeting.  Many guests spent a good deal of time looking at the race results and searching for their own names.  Some names that pop up of people still racing in 2016 are Price, Bruce Langenkamp of Wharton, Kevin Higgins of Randolph, Mark Washburn of Mendham, and your humble correspondent.  We and many more all qualify as old New Jersey runners and will be at the gathering next week. 


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 11, 2016

All the grand prix have been updated

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 11, 2016



Both the New Balance individual grand prix and the Investors Bank Foundation club and team grand prix have been updated.  It is always interesting to see who is in the lead overall and in the age divisions at the beginning of the fall racing season.   Almost invariably the person in the lead at the beginning of September is not the person who will claim the title in December.

Currently John Hogan, 51,  of Washington Township has the lead but Atilla Sabahoglu, 38, of Somerset is just one race away from jumping past Hogan. 

Last year’s female winner Roberta Groner of Randolph needs a championship in category II and a non championship race in category III and she will move up from fourth place to first with a possibility of a perfect score of 5700.    All the other women are running for second as there is no other woman running consistently in New Jersey who can beat her.

The Clifton Running Club has the lead in the Investors Bank Foundation Club grand prix and by a considerable margin over second place Shore Athletic Club.  Clifton has 437 points to Shore’s 320.

Despite sitting out several championship races this year the adidas Garden State Track Club is in third with 290 points but that is only a ten point lead over the Garmin team with 280.  Even the Raritan Valley Road Runners are close with 269 points.  Other Morris area clubs are in the mix with the Morris County Striders in 8th, the Do Run Running Club in ninth and the Randolph based Geezers in 11th.

The Garmin open men and M40 teams are in the lead in those respective team divisions.  Their open women are in third behind the Garden state runners and the Clifton team and second in both W40 and W50, again trailing the Clifton teams.

The Do Run runners are in third place in the M60 division and their W50 team is in fifth place.  It helps to be the only team in a division and the Morris County Striders W80 team holds first place and even with some competition in the W70 division they have first place there as well.  Their W60 team is in fourth place


Those clubs will be sending their teams to Newport in Jersey City for the Liberty Half Marathon on Sunday.  Billing your race as the most beautiful course in the state is asking for an argument, but the views from many points along the course really are spectacular.  The Manhattan skyline from the water’s edge and in Liberty State Park can’t be beat.

Running along the course may keep most runners from enjoying the view.  Ask a runner how they enjoyed the view in any race and they are likely to say they never saw it.  All they saw was the backsides of the runners in front of them. 

Last year the race had just 2,087 finishers.  That was down from 2014 when 2,782 finished the race.  This year the number of registrants has climbed. As of September 6th 2,734 had registered.  In 2015 at this same time there were 1,828, and in 2014 the number was 2,604.  The race organizers are predicting a field of over 3,000 and they may be right.  Online registration doesn’t end until this Tuesday, September 13th at just before midnight eastern time.  Race day registration is allowed and that opens at 6:30 a.m. along with packet pick-up.  The half marathon starts at 8:30 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, September 4, 2016

Scheid wins state cross country 5 kilometer

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, September 4, 2016


Justin Scheid of Sparta won the USATF New Jersey 5 kilometer cross country race last Sunday in Thompson Park in Monroe Township.  Scheid finished in 15:36.  His New Jersey Elite team placed second in the Open Men’s division with top masters finisher Todd Wiley of Pipersville PA next, followed by Elliott Frieder of Montville and then brother Jonathan Frieder of Rye Brook NY.

The top woman was Kristin Andrews of Manalapan, running for the Shore Athletic Club (SAC), which placed third in the Open Women’s division.  Her time was 18:48.  Yes, Andrews is the sister of Olympian Robby Andrews.  Their father, Bob Andrews, also ran in the cross country race and was on a M40 and M50 team for SAC.

Open men was dominated by the adidas Garden State Track Club (aGSTC) with first place and third.  Their C and D teams tied with 138 points for fifth and sixth.    The Garmin racing team placed fourth.  Sixteen teams competed in the open men division.

The M40 division was won by the aGSTC by one point over Garmin 30 to 31.  Terry Davidson of Randolph brought in the Garmin team, finishing in 18th place in 17:16.  Garmin’s M50 team also placed second but in this division to the SAC team. 

On the men’s side of the ledger SAC teams were top three four times amongst all divisions.

On the women’s side the aGSTC were first and second place team in the open women’s division with the SAC team third.  The Garmin women’s racing teams placed fifth but were third in the W40 and second in the W50 division.

Other local teams include the Do Run Runners that placed third in the W60.  The Morris County Striders were fourth in W60 and took the sole spot in the W70 division.

The course at Thompson Park is familiar to any runners who raced at the park for their high school cross country team years back.  It was not familiar to the senior runners who fell back and lost contact with the runner in front of them in the second and third miles.  Several of those runners went off course and lost precious time getting re-routed.  

No protests were filed as the affected runners appear to have maintained their positions through it all.  They followed one another off course and though they ran longer the results were allowed to stand.  Cross country is scored by place, not time so no harm done, except to have some very hot and tired runners cross the finish line.


In last week’s column you read that in the Midland Avenue Mile, the W40 race was won by Jennifer St. Jean of Darien CT and that Anne Balfour of Morristown was second.

That was incorrect although at press time it appeared to be correct.  Hortencia Aliago of Garfield was second with a time of 5:49.  Due to a mistake in the start of that race the runner had been dq’d, but it was decided that the mistake was through no fault of the athlete and she was re-instated.

This was important for her Clifton Road Runner club as with her back in the file the Clifton team placed first in both the W40 division and open women’s division.  The Garmin racing team was moved to second.


In last week’s column I said there were few local races coming up.  One that I missed because it was not listed in the USATF race calendar was the Netcong Day 5K that is taking place on Sunday, September 11th.  Races that are not sanctioned by the USATF do not get listed.  Sanctions are usually done well ahead of a race but this time the Netcong race had not done so until this week.  In 2015 the race was won in 16:11 by Justin Scheid, who just won the cross country race last Sunday.  We can assume that Scheid is in top shape this year for the race.


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