Sunday, October 2, 2016

Shades of Death Half Marathon next Sunday

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, October 2, 2016


One weirdly named road in Allamuchy is the Shades of Death Road.  Now that ought to spook you a bit, and the event organizers have planned that you will be  intrigued by the name and decide to run a half marathon on the Shades of Death Road, next Sunday, October 9th. 

To that end the quirky name and the tranquil farm roads that make up the Shades of Death Road half marathon has attracted runners since 2011 when 309 not at all spooked folks ran in the first race.  Michael Anis of Highland Park won the race that year in 1:18:40.  Laura Swift of Woodbridge won the women’s side in 1:28:11.

In 2012 Atilla Sabahoglu of Somerset set the course record that still stands at 1:13:19.  He came back in 2014 and won the race again but fell short of his record with a 1:13:53.  That year Cheyenne Ogletree of Port Reading established the women’s course record of 1:27:24, two seconds faster than Kavitha Manly of Piscataway who won the race in 2012.

Gary Leaman of Hardwich, at age 54 in 2013 won the race outright in 1:20:53 and topped the age graded charts that year at 85.64% PLP.  But the highest PLP goes to then 47 year old Richard Burke of Morristown who placed second overall to Sabahoglu in 1:14:19 for an 87.78% PLP.  That was also the year that Jeanne Pare, 53, of Chester placed second overall with her time of 1:29:04 to set the women’s PLP record of 86.87%.

A quick scan of the pre-registration list shows that Leaman, Sabahoglu, and Mary Christian of Flanders who won the women’s race in 2015 in 1:34:03 and was the top PLP woman are registered to run.

The half marathon offers a chance to be scored in the race as though it is a USATF championship with a top score of 700 grand prix points instead of 500 – it is up to the runner to choose the value.   In addition to the half marathon, which executes a double loop on the beautiful rural course is the Devil’s Run, a 6.6 mile race that starts at the same time as the half marathon.


Things are heating up in the New Balance individual grand prix battle.  John Hogan of Washington Township and Gary Rosenberg of Morristown are separated by a mere ten points.  Hogan has 5,616 points while Rosenberg has 5,606.  When going head to head the 45 year old Rosenberg has always finished ahead of the 52 year old Hogan. 

At the recent Newport Liberty Waterfront half marathon Rosenberg scored 695 points to Hogan’s 691.  At the Cherry Blossom 10K it couldn’t get any closer with Rosenberg at 695 and Hogan at 694.  The differences come from other races where the men did not compete against each other.  That’s where the vagaries of the grand prix series come in.  Hit it right and you come away with top notch points.

Of course this is a battle for second once Atilla Sabahoglu of Somerset runs in a 500 point Category three race.  Let’s just say that he wins the Shades of Death Half Marathon next Sunday and earns 500 points and rises to the top of the grand prix with 5,683 points.

On the women’s side Roberta Groner now has all nine required races but needs to replace a 500 point Category Two race with a championship win and she will have it done.  Groner is running the Mohawk Hudson Marathon next Sunday where she has a good chance to finish first woman.   In 2015 Groner finished the NYC Marathon in 2:45:30.   The Mohawk Hudson is listed as flat and fast - no bridges to climb.


This is the last year for the Hounds and Harriers run that began twenty years ago as one of only a few races in the country that features a race for a dog and human team.  Many have since copied the race that has been directed these many years by Barbara Rushman of Florham Park, aided by the Rose City Runners running club.  The race will take place this Saturday, October 8th at the South Mountain Reservation at Crest Drive in South Orange.  There is still time to register you and your dog but do not wait for race day as no registrations will be taken on day of. 

 An interesting factoid about the race is that the race has been won in the past by Eric Morse, 52, of Berlin VT.  Morse can boast a sub four minute mile.  His running partner?  A West Highland Terrier.  Obviously the dogs, even small ones, can keep up the pace – it’s the human part of the team that is the limiting factor. Morse is expected to come down for the race to defend his and his partner's title.


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

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