Sunday, October 30, 2016

Ocean City man wins cross country championship

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, October 30, 2016


Sean Stether may have been the runner who traveled the farthest to race in the USATF state cross country 8 kilometer Championship on Sunday.  If his goal was to win the race then the trip up from Ocean City paid off as he finished the tough Natirar Park course in 25:41 ahead of the 268 other racers.     Evan Ward of Princeton was next in 25:56 and Matthew Eder of East Brunswick was third in 26:00.

Kristen Andrews of Manalapan was the first woman to finish.  Andrews finished in 30:06 followed by her Shore Athletic Club teammate Brianna Gess of Haddonfield in 30:31.   Aimee Chegwidden of Hamburg was third in 30:44.  Her adidas Garden State Track Club placed second to Andrews Shore team.

The adidas Garden State Track Club was at the race in full force with their open men’s teams taking first, second, third before the Shore club wedged in at fourth.  Another Garden State team was fifth and then the local Garmin team took sixth.   The Garmin team took second in the M40 division.  While other Morris based teams competed none made it into the top three in any men’s division.

On the women’s side the Garmin club took fifth in the open division and second in both the W40 and W50 division.   The Do Run running team took third in the W50 division.  The Morris County Striders placed third in the W60 division and first in the W70 and W80 divisions.

Forty-nine men’s teams and 36 women’s teams competed. 


It is not often that senior athletes are involved in a photo shoot, but that is just what happened on Sunday at the race site.  Several senior New Jersey runners over age eighty will be featured in a book that is close to being completed, written by John Silver of White Plains.   

Silver interviewed the runners in their homes recently, and the group photo and others will be used with their profiles.  Athletes who will be featured include Diane Stone and Shirley Pettijohn, both of Chatham and Melva Murray of Hillsborough.   Those three were on the Morris County Striders W80 team along with Carolyn Weaver of Rockaway.

Others who will be featured include Joe LaBruno of Bayonne, Nathaniel Finestone of Mountainside and Bill Welsh of Staten Island.


The Investors Bank Foundation club and team grand prix standings have been updated with the cross country race results included.   The Clifton Road Runners are still in first place with more than a one hundred point lead.  They have 619 to 503 for the second place adidas Garden State Track Club.  The Shore Athletic Club is not far behind with 494 points.  The Garmin team is fourth with 366 points.

Other local clubs include the Morris County Striders in 8th place, the Do Run club in 9th, Geezers in 11th, Rose City Runners in thirteenth and the New Jersey Racing Project in 14th place.

With the New York City Marathon next Sunday there are not a lot of races taking place in New Jersey.  This always seems counterintuitive.  After all, not every runner in the state is a marathoner and of those not all make it into the race.  There is a 5K race in Livingston next Sunday at 11:00 a.m.   Runners can DVR the marathon coverage and go off and run a quick 5K and then come home and watch New York.  Of course keep the car radio off on the ride home.


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, October 23, 2016

Grabow wins age division at Kona Ironman

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, October 23, 2016



In triathlons it is the big one, the one that started it all: The Ironman Triathlon in Kona Hawaii.  It’s not easy to qualify for an entry and not easy to make it to the podium.  Natalie Grabow of Mountain Lakes can tell you firsthand how difficult it is.

She’s had three second place finishes and two thirds there.  It was definitely her turn to hit gold at the world’s biggest and most prestigious triathlon.  Out of six women in the W70 division, Grabow finished first and more impressive than that; only eleven women age 60 and over finished ahead of her and all were in the W60 division.  Her winning time was 14:19:11.

“It was very exciting,” said Grabow when we spoke.  She was recovering from a cold that hit after the race.  With her immune system down after competition this is almost inevitable for her she said.

Grabow qualified for the Kona event this past August at Mont Tremblant Canada in 14:52:13.  It helped that she was the only woman in her division which gave her an automatic chance to qualify for the Kona race.  

“It was a short turnaround time to do and then another one in October so I just took it easy on the run for that one,” said Grabow.

She and her coach, Steve Johnson of Bolder CO, agreed that she should race the swim and bike portion and then hold back on the run.

“The run is what takes the most out of you,” she explained.   “I can recover quickly from the swim and the bike, but recovering from 26.2 miles racing is hard to recover from.”

Grabow swims three or four times a week for an hour to an hour and a half at the Mountain Lakes   YMCA.  At the Ironman the swim segment is 2.4 miles which she did in 1:35:22.

On the bike segment Grabow clocked 6:44:17 for the 112 mile course.  Back home Grabow does almost all of her bike training on her indoor trainer.   She has a power meter on the trainer and Johnson gives her certain power levels to reach, much like doing interval training in running she said.

She admits to fear for her safety on the roads and is more comfortable on the indoor trainer, with workouts three and sometimes four times a week.

Although she runs five times a week, the runs are shockingly short – in the 20 minute range.  In total she gets only 20 miles a week.  That increased to 35 miles when preparing for the Kona race, but that was by running multiple times a day.

“I would get injured if I ran a lot of distance,” said Grabow. 

Grabow had been a familiar figure in New Jersey and Morris County road racing before her foray into triathlons.  Her most recent road race was last winter when she ran in the Pre-Game four miler in Morristown on Super Bowl Sunday.  She finished in 36:28 and age graded at 76.01% showing she is still a formidable competitor on the roads.

In 2017 she won’t have to qualify again for the Kona race thanks to her victory this year.  She’ll be doing a couple of half ironmans,  what they call 70.3’s and the New Jersey state championship, as well as the world ironman championship that will be held in Chattanooga TN in early September.  While runners are planning their next month of racing, Grabow has all of 2017 planned, and set.  And of course, big on that list is Kona Hawaii a year from now.


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, October 16, 2016

Shades of Death course records shattered

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, October 16, 2016


The Shades of Death half marathon in Allamuchy on Sunday was won by Rob Albano of Mahwah in a record shattering 1:09:31.  Atilla Sabahoglu of Somerset who held the course record of 1:13:19, set in 2012, was a game second on the windswept course in 1:16:46.

On the women’s side the course record of 1:27:24 that had been held by Cheyenne Ogletree of Port Reading was also wiped out and by two of Sunday’s competitors.  Verinka Ensminger, visiting family from Lexington KY finished just 15 seconds of Karen Auteri of Belvidere.  Ensminger’s time was 1:26:10 and Auteri’s 1:26:25.


USATF runners will be racing next Sunday, October 23rd at Natirar Park in Somerset on the 8km cross country championship.  The 8km was first held at Natirar in 2014 and was loved by the open runners and not so well favored by the older masters runners.

It features a mix of flat racing and murderous hills.  Some of it is on cinder paths and some on grassy paths.  Is it a true cross country course?  I’ve run on worse that were more trail racing, and the Natirar course is not that – but it is nothing like the Deer Path Park in Readington that is perfect cross country terrain. 

The winners of the first 8km on the course were Youssef Rochdi of Rockaway who finished in 25:22 and Cheyenne Ogletree of Port Reading, whose time was 29:54.  All of the times set in 2014 are up for grabs as course records.

Roberta Groner of Randolph won the Hudson Mohawk Marathon last Sunday in a personal best time of 2:37:54 and placed ninth overall.


Ashenfelter is a familiar name to New Jersey runners.   There’s an 8 kilometer race by that name that is run on Thanksgiving morning in Glen Ridge.  In fact it is the USATF 8K championship for all divisions.

The story behind the name begins – well not exactly in 1952, but 1952 is significant because Horace Ashenfelter won the Steeplechase at the Olympics in Helsinki Finland.   Born in 1923 Ashenfelter did not even begin to run until age 23 when he had returned from serving as a fighter pilot in WWII. 

He was married man who helped his wife put the children to bed and then trotted down to train in Carteret Park or at Essex County’s Watsessing Parks.  Ashenfelter was employed at the time of the Olympics as an FBI agent and had to work overtime to accumulate enough vacation hours to go to the Olympics.   His time going into the Olympics was 9:06:04, well off the times of two experienced Russian steeplers. 

Reading about the race in will give a person a chuckle.  His own Olympic teammates were trash talking to him about how badly he would do.  Such talk may have helped Ashenfelter who lowered his own time and the world record for 3,000 meter steeples to 8:45.4.

Ashenfelter continued to compete - at the Millrose Games he was five times the winner of the two mile race.  That distance was perhaps the key to his success at the Steeples as it was his specialty on the indoor track, a distance similar to 3,000 meters for the Steeples.

He was named Amateur Athlete of the Year, was given the Sullivan Award for his Olympic victory, was inducted to the national Track and Field and the NJ Sports Halls of Fame.  Penn State named its indoor track for him.   What else could be left?

One more.   This past Friday Ashenfelter was honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders with a moving tribute and the naming of the track at Watsessing Park where he trained to prepare for the Olympics those many years ago, and where he does his daily workouts to this day. 

Those present who spoke at the ceremony included two time winner of the New York City Marathon Tom Fleming, and Dan Murphy, the creator and race director of the Ashenfelter 8K.

Son James Ashenfelter shared memories of his father and then the man himself gave a short speech to thank all those in attendance. 

When the cloth was dropped that had covered the sign proclaiming the track to be “Horace Ashenfelter Track, not just a few had tears in their eyes.  What a great way to honor a great man of track and field.

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, October 9, 2016

Nora Cary Medals at national race

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, October 9, 2016

For Sunday, October 9, 2016
By MADELINE BOST, 973-584-9302


Out of 216 women who ran in the USATF national masters championship 5K in Syracuse last Sunday at the Festival of Races, only seven hit 90% PLP  (performance level percentage) or higher.  Nora Cary, 61, of Morristown was one of them, coming in ranked 6th  for her 20:30 in the W60 division for a 91.54%. 

“My ultimate goal in doing this race was to do 90,” said Cary, who did that and a point and a half better.

Cary competed in the Club cross country championship in Bethlehem in 2013 where she finished the 6km in 26:38.  In 2015 she ran in the 5km cross country championship in Saratoga NY and finished in 21:40 and third in her age division and scored 85.6% PLP.   Syracuse was her first road race championship.

“I was very surprised,” said Cary of her performance.    “I was thrilled,” she added.

The men run separately from the women at Syracuse and that is not the only difference in the hugely popular masters race, part of a country-wide series.  Just like in big marathons, a blue line leads the runners on the shortest distance by tracing the course route tangent to tangent.   In addition to the conventional mile markers, each kilometer is also marked. 

Once she hit her first kilometer in four minutes she targeted four minutes per kilometer.  She was not able to hold that pace but she found it helpful nonetheless.  All the masters competitors in the race wear their age division on their backs and all Cary saw were women in their 50’s or younger.  Her time put her behind just three women in the W55 division.  The first W60 woman finished in 20:03 so was never in sight.

“I didn’t know that she was ahead,” said Cary.   “She was never anywhere near me.”

Cary pointed out that the New Jersey racing schedule made it quite difficult to run a fast 5K at this point in the season.    The season actually started in August with the Midland Mile on August 21st, followed by the 5km cross country on the 28th.  Three weeks later for the Newport Liberty Half Marathon on September 28th.

“I did want to target this race, but you had the half marathon, the mile a few weeks before,” she said.  “So I had to get in some distance running too.  It’s real hard to do that.”

“I was not happy with Newport (1:41:29) and not happy with the mile (6:30),” she said.

Cary ran 22:06 for the 5km cross country and scored first in age grading so we can assume she was satisfied with that race.

Cary does not have a coach and she says that she does get advice about training from other runners.  She’s not sure that having a coach would fit in with her busy life.

“I have a lot going on in my life and it’s hard enough to get my running in - to stick to some kind of coaching plan.”

Cary works full time, has a household to run, and looks after an elderly father.

 “I’m lucky to get home before dark and try to get a run in,” she said.  “I run faster, and faster if I feel good, and slower if I’m tired.”

That training plan seems to work for this speedy woman.  She’ll be at the 8km cross country race later this month, the Giralda Farms 10K in November and at the Horace Ashenfelter 8km on Thanksgiving morning.


Kristen Andrews of Manalapan won the USATF NJ open women’s race in 17:45 this past Sunday.  Andrews led her Shore Athletic Club to first in the open women’s team division.
The highest scoring local team was the Garmin women, using all masters age women.  They took 5th.
Stephen Minnet, North Brunswick, won the men’s race in   16:21. 

Connie Augustine of Mendham was the first female to finish the Mendham Harvest Hustle last Saturday.  She finished the race that was well populated with Mendham residents in 22:08.
Richard Leuttchau of Metuchen was first overall in 16:26.             

The Super Hero Half Marathon and relay is next up for local runners.  It is on Sunday, October 16th.   The race starts and finishes in downtown Morristown.


Publish only when space permits.  Please do not cut for this tag.
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