Sunday, March 26, 2017

Indian Trails kicks off the real championship series next week

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 26, 2017


Although three pseudo championships are taking place this weekend, two ten milers and one half marathon that you read about here last week, the first true championship is taking place this coming weekend, on Sunday April 2nd in Middletown/Leonardo.

The Indian Trails race has been around for many years. But this time around the 15K has morphed into a 20K and the 5K into 10K. The newly measured and certified course maps show that the 10K follows the opening miles of the 20K and returns to the finish on the same roads as the 20K. The 20K runners will do an out and back that begins at about 3 and ¾ miles into the race. Both races start together at 9:00 a.m. with the 10K runners heading back at the 3.75 mile point.
Although the name, Indian Trails, seems to imply an off road trail race, that is not the case. One section is on a dirt road, but that will be the least of the runners’ worries. The race is run in the Navesink hills, as in HILLS. It features long, long climbs with exhilarating downhills if a runner is willing to let gravity take over.

This is the first of the true championships and team contests are on the line. As happens every year there has been a shuffle of athletes on the teams this winter. Most runners remain on their current teams during the season and wait for the off season to switch allegiance. The changes this year seem to be minor. Still losing one good scoring member of a club who then joins a rival club can have an impact – for both teams.


Two races of the 700 point trio are being held this morning, but one, the Baker’s Dozen Half Marathon in Montclair was run early Saturday morning. Rob Albano of Mahwah won the race in 1:11:50 while Alexandra Niles of Montclair won the women’s race in 1:20:28.

Morris area runners were well represented in the top ten men. Karl O’Reilly of Morristown, who won the Pre-Game Four Miler on February 5th, was second in 1:14:53. Terry Davidson, 45, of Randolph was the first masters runner to finish. His time of 1:16:31 put him in fourth place overall. 

Stuart Haynes, 41, of Chatham finished in 1:19:56 and Gary Rosenberg, 46, of Morristown was eighth in 1:21:18. Finishers numbered 1,210. A remarkable number for a 7:00 a.m. race.


New Jersey individual runners and teams made their way to Virginia Beach last weekend for the March 18, Shamrock 8K, the national masters championship. Weather predictions were not good, with rain forecast for most of the weekend. But the 8K runners dodged the bullet and while the sky was overcast the rain held off until after most runners had finished.

The post race festivities were dampened by the rain however, but a surprising number of parents and kids ran their mile heats in the rain. The half marathon and marathon on Sunday started and ended with a cold rain. It brought back memories of the Lost Dutchman’s Mine Marathon in February in Arizona in cold rain.
The turnout was light for the masters race but some of the teams came home with medals. The Shore Athletic Club W40 team with Susan Stirrat of Rockaway on the team placed first in their division. 

 The Shore M60 team and M70 team both placed third in their division. Susan’s husband Reno, who is coming back after a short lay-off, ran for the Shore M60 team. Roger Price of Randolph, who is still recovering from Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis, another tick borne disease also ran in the M65 division.

The Clifton Road Runners M70 team placed fourth in their division. Next up for the masters runners is a 10K in Dedham, Massachusetts on April 30th.


Roberta Groner of Randolph, who was featured here two weeks ago took two minutes off her half marathon time at the United Airlines half marathon in NYC on March 19th. Groner finished in 1:14:26, actually two minutes and ten seconds off her Newport Liberty race last September.

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 19, 2017

Season opens with three distance races

Published in the DAILY RECORD of Morris County NJ
on  Sunday, March 19, 2017


Distance runners have three options next weekend. They can run ten miles or half marathon at one of the three 700 point grand prix pseudo championship races. The three races only look like a championship because of the high point value but lack the team competition. It is something new for the USATF NJ Long Distance Running committee and when they received championship bids from those three, they decided to feature a season opener with those races.

It will give runners who want to compete in the Mini Three grand prix an early opportunity to grab one of the three 700 points races allowed in the longest distance mini series. This change from two to three 700 point races with a maximum of five races was approved at the February 2017 Long Distance Running committee meeting.

Two of the races are first timers; the Garden State Ten Miler on Sunday, and the Baker’s Dozen Half Marathon on Saturday. The third is the Ocean Drive Ten Miler on Sunday that is run along with a full marathon and a 5K in Sea Isle City.

The courses for the Sea Isle marathon and ten mile race have been changed after concerns from the runners that the previous point to point courses meant running into a head wind the entire length of their race. They will now be run on out and back courses with the wind at their back about half of the time. The start and finish are not at the same location. A shuttle will take runners to the start.

Another change for the Ocean Drive race is to break their ten year age divisions into five year divisions up to 70 and older. While that is a happy change, the $90.00 race entry fee may hold a runner back. Wait until the Saturday Expo and it will go up another ten.

The Baker’s Dozen 13.1 on Saturday March 25, in Montclair had an entry fee of $95.00. But it is a moot point as the online registration is closed after hitting a cap of 1,300. The race sold out in just four days. Obviously the cost to register was not a deterrent.

Runners should be prepared for a challenging course with a number of turns. Due to road closure considerations the Montclair police department asked the organizers to start the race an hour earlier than was originally planned. It will now start at 7:00 a.m.

The Garden State Ten Miler that starts and finishes in Colonial Park in Somerset might be the fastest ten mile course in the state. The Garden State race has a lot going for it. The entry fee is a mere $50.00 even while offering prize money to the top three open finishers and the top three age graded masters. Like the Ocean Drive event, there is more than one race going on. A 5K will go off at 8:45 a.m. and the ten mile race will start at 9:30 a.m. This schedule allows for the Half Marathon Challenge that entices a runner to do both the 5K and the ten mile for a total of 13.1 miles. The ten mile race also will feature a relay where one runner hands off after four miles and the second runner completes the course.

Artesian bread, pastries and donuts will await the finishers of the Baker’s Dozen Half. Could that be why so many have signed up?

On the other hand, after the Garden State Ten Miler runners are invited to head down to Somerset’s Stagehouse Tavern with a huge menu and an even bigger bar, and two dollar drinks thanks to Molson Coors.

I doubt that runners are picking a race from the post race offerings, but it is a fun contradiction. Satisfy a sweet tooth or quench a beer thirst.


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
Madeline Bost

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Roberta Groner leaves for New York AC

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 12, 2017


Roberta Groner of Randolph began making waves after moving to the state from Pittsburg in  2014.  In 2015 she was always in the top three in races and in 2016 she was PR’ing and winning races.  Groner won the USATF grand prix in 2015 and in 2016 she did it with a perfect score.

While being a big fish in a small pond satisfies some people, for Groner, it had begun to chafe.  At the Ashenfelter 8K last November with no other women around she remembers that her drive in the last half mile was just a bit let down.  She said that she didn’t stop her drive but was at the point that she knew she wanted to see what she could do with competition.

The competition that she sought was not far away; just across the Hudson a mere hour’s drive or so from home.  At the New York Athletic Club, there is no required practice and you can run on your own, a definite plus for someone who lives all the way out in Randolph.  In addition to being pushed by other women of her ability, there were some financial considerations too.

 “I reach a certain tier level and I get some funding and races paid for, shoes, things like that.”
While she will be spending time in her car to get to New York races, her travel expenses will be reimbursed

“There will be women a lot faster than me,” said Groner.  “But it’s nice to have that push and to strive to see what I can do with faster women around me.  I’m looking for a new adventure.  I just turned 39 and I don’t know how many more years I have left to run at this level.”

“Why not try it for at least a year and if it doesn’t work out I always have my team to return to in New Jersey,” she said, referencing the New Jersey Racing Project.

It is unlikely that it won’t work out for her according to her coach Hector Matos of Rutherford.
Matos has been coaching Groner since late October and he has very high in praise for her.

“She’s got a lot of untapped talent.  Her training was very moderate considering she is training for the marathon,” said Matos.   “She is responding very well so far.  It is only a matter of time before she has a huge breakthrough in the marathon.”

Groner will race in the United Airlines Half Marathon next weekend.  How she does in that race will help in judging her fitness for running in the Boston Marathon in April.  Last September she finished the Newport Liberty Waterfront Half in 1:16:35.

“We’ve been training for Boston, but after the half marathon next week, we’ll make a final decision to go or not,” he said.   “She is in PR shape.  If she can improve on her PR then it is definitely worth a try.”

“Boston can be tricky, and sometimes Boston can be really hot,” he said.  “If that’s the case then we will probably scratch.”

More long range planning has Groner running in the California International Marathon in Sacramento in December.  If she hits an Olympic qualifying time in the race it will ensure eligibility for the USA Olympic trials marathon.

Groner said her goal is to reach the A Standard which is 2:37, not the B which is 2:45.  She won the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon last fall in 2:37:54.  The Boston course is harder but with the training she is doing – 80 to 85 miles a week no one would bet against it.  The Sacramento course should be a snap – no heart break hills.

“She’s amazing how she can handle it all so well,” said Matos.  “She works full time.  She’s training at a high level and she is a mother.  It’s impressive how she can handle all that together.”

“She is very focused, very disciplined, he said.  “It’s a pleasure to coach her.”

He points out that Groner knows the difference between marathon pace, half marathon pace, or 10K pace effort. 

“It’s a good skill to have.  I’m looking forward to working with her and see more improvement,” Matos said.  “I think there’s a lot of room for improvement.  As long as she stays healthy she is going to do very well.”

“As for her turning forty next year, she’s definitely ahead of other masters out there,” he said.  “By a long margin.”


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 5, 2017


Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 5, 2017



There are races that stand out in your memory and many others that you can’t even recall.   Check your running log back a few years and you’ll scratch your head trying to remember some races

But those PR races.  Ah.  Yes, you remember them.   You also remember the disaster ones; cold, snow, rain, muddy cross country courses, or the ones you almost didn’t finish.

How about the one where you did not start?  I’ve got that one.

“Hey, why don’t we find a race to run while we’re out in Vegas,” I said to my race loving companion.   We were going to be in Vegas to visit my sister and her husband, but we like to take off and explore while out there.  Running in a race would be perfect, especially if it were a distance away so that we could continue to explore the great southwest.

The Lost Dutchman Mine Marathon in Apache Junction Arizona.  Perfect.  Not the marathon part.  No, they run a marathon, a half marathon, a 10K and an 8K trail race.  An 8K trail race was the perfect match for us.  What could go wrong?

Well, everything.   The national news was full of weather reports of rain in California, a dam that might spill its load, and a huge weather front that was going to dump more rain on the waterlogged state.  Where would that front go after it left California?   You got it – Arizona!

Heavy rains predicted for Apache Junction and surrounding areas.  Coming in on Saturday and rain all night and the next day.   Race day.  

On Saturday we drove over to the park to check out the race trail head.  A park ranger just happened to drive in at the same time we did.

“Oh, that trail will be a mess if that rain comes in.  The dirt just sticks to your shoe if it’s muddy,” he said, not reassuringly.

Over at the race expo we talked to the race organizers.   “If it looks dangerous we will move the trail race over to the 10K road course,” we were assured.

“Yes, but what if we don’t agree?  You say it’s OK and we say, no way.”

“You can enter the 10K on race day, if you don’t want to do the trail race.” She says.  

By Saturday afternoon the front with its abundant rain had arrived.  It was still light out when we drove down the road to a restaurant for a meal and a beer or two.  The dirt parking lot was gooey from the rain.  Just like the ranger said.  It stuck to your shoes.

Leaving the place we tried to take a slightly different route to miss some of the mud.  Only the marquee provided any light in the now pitch dark parking lot.  One step off the paved apron at the bottom of the steps and my pal jammed his unsuspecting foot in a foot deep puddle and prevented further damage by falling into the car parked in front of the puddle.

The rest of the evening was spent with his leg elevated and an ice pack on the wounded foot.

At dawn any racing was out of the question.  The cold relentless rain was no longer an issue.  Me?  I wasn’t going over there without him.

Oh, while we were non starters we did get our race experience.  As course marshals.  The hotel was at mile nine of the marathon.  We bundled up and donned our rain parkas and offered to help.  We weren’t really needed at the water stop so we wandered up to the turn before the water stop and warned the marathoners that the road ahead was underwater.  The warning was pointless as their shoes were already soaking wet after nine miles in the rain.  It made little difference to have to wade through the unavoidable water in the road.

Did we offer a cheery, “lookin’ good” to the runners?   No.  They looked miserable   Wet, cold and miserable.   Nothing was going make them feel dry and warm.   It’s one of those races they will never forget.  And neither will we.


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