Sunday, January 29, 2017

Pre Game Four Miler next Sunday in Morristown

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 29, 2017


Yes, its proper name is the Pre Game Four Miler, but we all know what its real name is.  It’s just that a certain sports organization didn’t like the use of Super Sunday Four Miler and strongly suggested a change.

So OK, it’s the Pre Game Four Miler, and it will take place on, well imagine that!  On Super Bowl Sunday in Morristown.

What is interesting about a race that takes place on the day of one of the most widely watched football game, a game reserved for men to play, that women have predominated in each of the previous five races.

You heard that right!  In 2012 when it was called by its other name, 527 women ran the race and 410 men.  Thomas Poland and Elena Rozhko, both of Morristown, were the winners.  He in 20:59 and she in 23:52.

In 2014 when Chris Croff of Summit set the course record of 19:56, he was one of 443 men, while Allie Dublinski of Morristown was the first of 550 women, finishing in 25:12.

Last year, 2016, the biggest disparity was recorded.  539 women finished the race while 399 men crossed the line.  Michael Jordon of High Bridge won the race in 2016 in the second fastest time of 20:23.  Greta Sieve of Trenton was the women’s winner in a time of 23:42.  Sieve has the women’s record but she did that in 2013 when she won in 23:27; one of 479 women, 63 more than men.

The lowest attendance was in 2015 when Mark Hess of Brooklyn, and Morristown, won the race in 20:34 and Catherine Beck of Newark was the women’s winner in 23:40.  It’s hard to say that 849 finishers is a low turnout, but it was for this race.  At the 11:00 am start the temperature was a not so friendly 30 degrees with a wind chill of 23.4 thanks to wind gusts of 6.9 miles per hour. 

Not to be a wet blanket, but the long range weather forecast for Morristown on Sunday, the 5th of February is for snow showers and a possible snowfall of three to five inches.  Let’s hope that snow ends up in Connecticut like the nor’easter did last week.

Of course runners are forever optimists.  There is still time to register online or to go to the Morristown Running Company on South Street to register or to pick up your race packet and number.


Gary Rosenberg of Morristown did it again.  He got his sub five miler, but spectators were treated to a cliff hanger. 

Rosenberg ran in the spanking new Ocean Breeze facility on Staten Island on Thursday, January 19th.  It has a banked track, favored by short distance racers but often a problem for distance runners. 

“I am not used to the bank and almost fell off the track a few times on the turns,” he said with a smile. 

Anyone who has run a mile race knows the drill:  run slower than you want to run in the first quarter, stay with the pace in the second quarter, work hard in the third, which will be your slowest one, and then pick it up and haul like crazy for the last quarter.

Rosenberg said he was ahead of the pace that he was on at the Monmouth meet where he set his 30th sub five mile in December, but “fell asleep” in the later laps  (200 meters each lap) and had to dig down deep on the last lap to get his coveted time.

Yes, he cut it close with his 4:58.8 but that is still not the end of the story.  Rosenberg is continuing to train with a goal to get closer to 4:45 by the end of the indoor season in March. 

Too ambitious?

“I think I will be able to get close so we will see,” said Rosenberg, who is 46 years old.  “No sense in setting a goal if it is easy to get.”

Side Note:   Rosenberg’s story that was published here last Sunday was picked up by the internet sites Let’s Run, and Bring Back the Mile, garnering more attention for his streak.


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, January 22, 2017

A streak of a different color – sub five miles for 30 years

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 22, 2017


Oh sure, Steve Spence made it into the news for breaking five minutes for the mile for 41 years straight.  Spence, after all is a former Olympian.  But he had just turned 54 years old so it was no small feat to run 4:54 last May.  How about you?  Do you have a fast time that you have been able to hit for several years in a row?

Gary Rosenberg of Morristown, who has been running since he was a kid, began to wonder if he had a sub five streak like Spence.  He dug into his running logs to see what he might find.

Now one thing to keep in mind is that 30 years ago I was not thinking ‘Hey, I would like to see how many years I can break five in the mile’ which I assume goes for Steve Spence as well,” said Rosenberg in an email.

Rosenberg admits to taking some liberties, which Spence has done as well.  High School miles are for 1,600 meters so when Rosenberg ran a 4:55 that equates out to a sub five for the full mile.

Rosenberg ran his first one when a sophomore at Morris Hill High School back in 1987.  After graduating from Rutgers where he was on the track team he kept on running and competing.  But his log shows a gap in his freshman year at Rutgers when he didn’t run at all for most of the year.  He thought his research would show his streak had ended after just five years.  But no!  He found a 3,000 meter time trial that he ran towards the end of that year.   Yes!  A streak of 29 years of sub five minute miles.

“I don’t have splits but my total time equated out to 5 minute pace for 3,000 so I think it is fair to assume I ran the first mile in under 5 since I averaged 5,” said Rosenberg.

One year Rosenberg ran only a 1,500 meter race, but his 4:12 is well below five minutes for a mile and would equate to about 4:30.   In that same year he hit 4:59 for a 1,600 meter workout, just a notch over five had it been a mile. 

“My PR is 4:26 from my 20s when I wasn’t even training to run track,” said Rosenberg. “I built up a lot of strength when I got out of college and I had natural speed so I was running very fast track times in my 20s without even training.”

At 46 Rosenberg is rueful about the affect of age on performance and lost opportunity if he had focused on track speed.  He didn’t start doing track type workouts for 800 meters or 3,000 meter races until he had turned thirty.

“ It is depressing now to think about it since I think I could have run much faster PRs if I had trained for it back then,  and now I am barely breaking five,”  he said.

Rosenberg started the year recovering from yet another hamstring pull and having trouble getting back in his fitness back. 
“I was running personal worst’s in most races,” remembers Rosenberg.   “I decided to come out of marathon retirement again and hoped that would jump start my running.  It had been almost ten years since my last marathon.”

Then Rosenberg’s longtime companion, Janice Morra, was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.

“Running wasn’t very important anymore, “he said.   “But at the same time I needed it to keep me sane.”

Rosenberg threw himself into marathon training, while conscious that he might not even get to the race depending on how Morra was faring.    The only mile race he had planned was the Midland mile road race that was the masters NJ championships.  It should have been a snap to break five minutes but the race was three days after a hard 21 mile marathon training run.  The mile was run in a steady rain.  Rosenberg finished in 5:08.97. 

Just two weeks after the Steamtown marathon in which he finished third masters in 2:47,   Rosenberg entered a Spartan race that he was not prepared for.   He underestimated how hard it would be with steep trails and poor footing.  Rain and 40 degree temperature didn’t help. 
“I ended up getting banged up even worse and couldn’t run much without hip pain for about six weeks,” he said.

Time was running out for running a sub five mile.  In early December he hit the track, running with the high school kids at Morris Hills.  With their help he ran a mile time trial but hit 5:07.99.

“I was running out of time and not feeling too confident,” he said.   “I did a treadmill workout and then a good track workout and I felt I had a good chance.”

At a Monmouth University meet on December 27th Rosenberg ran in a heat with mostly high school runners.  A slow start had him worried and he worried that his younger self’s phenomenal kick might not be there when he needed it.  It was and he finished in 4:57.  Done.  Thirty years of sub five miles.

Well not quite done.  It’s a new year.  Time for year 31.  Look for next week’s column for the “rest of the story”.

Rosenberg reports that Morra is doing well and hopeful for a good outcome.

The New Jersey championship meet is at the Bennett Center at Tom’s River next Sunday, January 29th.


A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at 

Contact Madeline Bost at

Sunday, January 15, 2017

This weeks Quiz

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 15, 2017



OK runners, what do these races have in common?  The Newark Distance Classic 20K, Seaside Heights half marathon, Cherry Blossom 10K, Healthy Heart 5K, Run for Freedom 5 mile, Midland Run 15K, Ridgewood Run 10K, President’s Cup Night Race, Red Cross Father’s Day 5 mile, Sprintin’ Clinton 5 mile, Liberty Waterfront half marathon, Carlos Negron 5K, East Brunswick 10K, USATF ten mile.

Runners either new to New Jersey, or just plain new to running will not get this question. 

Go back to 1998.  The aforementioned races were all championship road races for 1998. 

Half of those races no longer exist.  The Newark race is gone as is the Seaside Heights race.   The Healthy Heart 5K in Morristown had a good following but was ended by the organizers.  A lot of timing companies do not have their race calendars up to date so I cannot find the Run for Freedom or the Red Cross Father’s Day, both five miles.  Of course the Midland Run is gone, as is the USATF ten miler that used to be in December.  Does anyone miss that race?  I think not.

Now let’s look at the schedule for 2017. 

Indian Trails 20K, Clinton Country Run 15K, Newport 10K, the Ridgewood 10K, New Milford 5K, Fitzgerald’s 1928 Lager Run 5K, Midland Mile, Newport Liberty half marathon, Little Silver Classic 5K, Giralda Farms 5K, Ashenfelter 8K. 

How many of the 1998 races do you count that are still championships?
Just three; the Cherry Blossom 10K, the Ridgewood Run 10K, and the Newport Liberty half marathon are the only ones still in the line-up.  Note that the Giralda Farms race is the 5K not 10K.

Some of the 2017 races have been championships for a few years now and well accepted and liked. Others are newer like the New Milford 5K that was a championship just last year, as was the Midland Mile. 

One that had me scratching my head is the Indian Trails 20K.   Twenty kilometers?   Where will they add that extra 5 kilometers I wondered?  On those tough Navesink hills?   Look it up.  The course is posted on their website and yes, most of the race is on those killer hills.  Five climbs and an elevation gain of 872 feet.  Hill training better begin this week.

As a matter of fact, there has been a lot head scratching since the list was released.  First off is the Kick Off Weekend of March 25 and 26th.  Three long distance races on the same weekend; Bakers Dozen half marathon in Montclair, the Ocean Drive 10 miler in Cape May, and the Garden State ten miler in Somerset.

As Ed Neighbour, the LDR chair explained it; the three races are at great distances from each other.  It is expected that a runner will choose to run in only one of the three, and will choose the one closest to his/her residence. 

All three will have a point value of 700 while not actually being a championship.  The New Balance Grand Prix rules will still only allow runners to count two 700 point races.  This will give the runners a chance to establish an early 700 point race in their score card.  The Indian Trails 20K and the Clinton Country Run 15K are in April and the next Category Three Championship is not until September at the Newport Liberty half marathon.  The Shades of Death half marathon in October will be a Wild Card race where a runner can choose between 500 points or 700 points.

Although the President’s Cup Night race in June wasn’t selected as a championship, it is being offered as a Coed team race.  Not your typical coed team though, where unlimited numbers of runners are put on a team, and the top three finishers, including one of the other gender, score. 

No, these will be equal gender teams scoring although as of this date the size of the teams has not been decided.  The masters division will be scored using age grading.  This will be really fun for the clubs.  They will put their best age grading men and women on their A teams.  They could have an 80 year old running on a team with a 40 year old.  As I said not all of the details of this has been decided and changes could be made, but this sounds like a fun concept.


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

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A whole lot of benefits come your way for being USATF member

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 8, 2017


Runners who read this column every week know that in New Jersey there is plenty of running events in which to participate.  There are races every weekend once we say goodbye to winter and they continue up into December.  Even in winter there are a few races for the cold hardy folks, like a New Year’s Day race or, coming up in February, a four mile race in Morristown on Super Bowl Sunday.

Most, although not all are sanctioned by the national organization of USATF and most of those have had their course distances certified as to accuracy.  A 5 kilometer course will be 5 kilometers, or actually, just a tiny bit longer than 5 kilometers in kind of a “just to be sure” situation.  If you run a personal best on a certified 5K course, you know it’s a legitimate time.

In New Jersey, if you become a member of USATF, a whole lot of benefits come your way.  First is the discount on race entry fees when you pre-enter a New Balance grand prix race.  The discount is $3.00 for races that charge $49.00 or less to pre-enter, and $5.00 for races over $50.00.

Run in ten races during the year and you have your $ 30.00 annual membership fee paid for.
If any of those ten races are fifty or over, and they are usually those whose distance is longer, like half marathons, your fee is more than paid for.

As a member, you will automatically be scored in the grand prix against your age division peers.  Join one of the many running clubs in the area and you are eligible to run for your club’s team.

All masters runners are able to submit an application for a Phidippides award.  That award is for consistency for having run in several races throughout the year.  It’s not about speed.  It’s about just doing it, to paraphrase a sports slogan.  The Phidippides award is sponsored by the national Long Distance Running Committee. 

 You must be a member see the discounts that are available to you, and that is a shame.  They are worth the cost of membership if you do any traveling.

For instance Best Western hotels offer a 10% discounts on their rooms.  Choice Hotels are even better.  Their discount is a minimum of 15%.   That 15% makes a difference.  It is available only when making reservations through an 800 number, but you can call that number from the hotel lobby, make your reservation, and then go over to the check-in desk and register.  I know, because I have done exactly that.  An $89.00 room became a $75.65 room.  Talk about getting your money back for that $ 30.00 membership fee!  Even a casual runner should join just for that discount benefit.

Enterprise and National car rental companies also give discounts.   Delta and United airlines offer a discount when traveling to a USATF national event.  There are some other discounts and they all require the USATF codes assigned to them.  That explains the secrecy on the national USATF website, but the benefits could be listed without giving the codes and special numbers.

It is easy to join online by going to the national website and clicking on Products/Services and then selecting Individual Memberships.  Or call the New Jersey office for a paper application at


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