Sunday, April 30, 2017

Clinton Country Run mimics Midland

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, April 30, 2017


Runners whose racing history goes back a few years remember the Midland Run 15K that was held about mid-May in Far Hills.  One factoid of that race was the change from cool spring weather leading up to the race, then, in a burst of summer fun, the heat on race day.

It comes to mind when viewing the race results of the Clinton Country Run 15K, held on Saturday.  The Midland race was the 15K USATF New Jersey championship back in the day, and the Clinton race is now the championship.  The Clinton course is far less challenging than the old Midland course, but it does feature one long grade late in the race.  One has to imagine that Saturday’s heat was taking its toll as the racers climbed that Clinton hill.

Joshua Izewski of Doylestown PA managed the hill and the heat best and crossed the finish line first in 52:21.  Jonathan Sewnig of Metuchen was second in 53:26 and Sean Donohue of Keyport was third in 54:15.

Amanda Marino of Bradley Beach was the first woman to finish.  Her time was 56:54.  Aimee Chegwidden of Hamburg was second in 60:36.

Nora Cary, 62, of Morristown topped the age grading with her 1:09:36 time that hit the charts at 87.56%.    On the masters men side, the rivalry continues between Beau Atwater, 59, of Bernardsville and Gary Leaman, 57, of Hardwick.   Leaman ran the faster time on Saturday- 58:11 but Atwater out age graded him.  His 58:29 was ranked at 83.75% to Atwater’s 84.87% - for the top two spots on the chart.

The race was a championship for all age divisions so drew a full roster of teams.  A computer error or perhaps a human error lead to a mix-up for two of the teams that was not resolved as this goes to press.  It appears that some of the Garden State Track Club members were placed on the Clifton team rosters.

The errors prove the point as to why the Long Distance Running committee does not announce the team division results at the races.  All results are checked for errors before being made official.


All of the open men and women teams will be in Jersey City next Saturday, May 6, for the Newport 10K.  The race is the NJ championship for the open division.   A week to recover is obviously not the most ideal planning, but sometimes the committee has to work with the races that bid, and must weigh factors other than just the calendar.  As the open men and women are younger by definition than the masters it can be assumed that their recovery is less difficult than for the older athletes.

The Newport course is viewed as both beautiful and challenging.   A look at the course map with 30 turns explains why it is challenging, while running along the Hudson River Waterfront walkway with spectacular views of the New York skyline can only be beat by the half marathon run from the same location in September. 

The race is unique in that elite athletes from around the country; both citizens and non citizens are invited to race with prize money being awarded to that category of runners.  At the same time the New Jersey athletes have dedicated prize money exclusive to just them.

The fastest time was recorded in 2004 when Julius Kibet won the race in 28:42.  In 2016 Donn Cabral of Annandale won in 29:39.   Brianne Nelson of Golden CO was the first woman to finish with a time of 33:08.


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, April 23, 2017

Fleming remembered

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, April 23, 2017



The entire New Jersey running community was shocked to learn of the sudden passing of legendary runner and coach Tom Fleming on Wednesday, April 19th.   Fleming who twice placed second at the Boston Marathon and who twice won the New York City Marathon was at a track meet with his athletes from Montclair Kimberly Academy.

Joel Pasternack of Clifton trained with Fleming for over 15 years and remembers how Fleming would tell others, “Joel Pasternack is the person that I ran the most miles ever with in my life.”

According to Pasternack, he and Fleming would run together at a leisurely 6:40 to 7 minute pace.   Pasternack was a 5:30 mile pace marathoner while Fleming was a 5 minute pace marathoner.  Yet they were comfortable running together.

“He’d run with me twenty miles and then do a ten mile run [later in the day] in sixty minutes,” said Pasternack.

“In the years from 1970 to 1979 he averaged 140 miles a week, twenty miles a day for ten years,” said Pasternack.

Dean Shonts, former owner of the Sneaker Factory store in Millburn, was the coach at William Patterson College during Fleming’s junior and senior years and confirmed Flemings drive.

“Tom was the hardest worker I ever saw,” said Shonts.  “He was an incredibly hard trainer.   The amount that he could train was incredible.   “He’d come down here to the Jersey shore and run three ten mile runs at 5:30 a mile,” said Shonts.

“He didn’t do that every day, but he had to do that to get 160 and 170 miles a week.”

With that kind of mileage Fleming accumulated 124,000 miles in his career that ended at age forty.

“He told me at forty he was tired of punishing his body,” said Pasternack.  “He was just going to become a jogger.”  He didn’t want to become a masters runner.”

Pasternack has hit 125,000 miles but he adds a disclaimer when telling about his 125,000.

“I had some more years on Tom to get that number in,” he said.  “Tom did it in a shorter time.”

Pasternack recalled how Fleming would invite Marty Liquori and Bill Rodgers to go out for a run with them.

“I’d be running with them, talking to Bill, talking to Marty,” said Pasternack.  “Tom would be thirty yards ahead of us.  Marty and Bill would yell at him, Tom, where are you going?
 We’re here to run with you, to talk with you and visit.”

“Tom’s way ahead, pushing the pace a little bit.  Always being competitive when Marty and Bill are around,” said Pasternack.   “It was so funny hearing Marty Liquori, one of the fastest milers in the United States and Bill Rodgers, winner of the Boston Marathon telling Tom, ‘You’re going too fast, you’ve got to slow down!’”

“A piece of running New Jersey is gone,” said Pasternack.  “You never saw Tom in a bad mood, or unhappy.   He was always happy and smiling.  He always had nice things to say about everybody.”

“Tom lived his life,” said Shonts.  “He loved track, he loved running.  He was at a track meet.  He died doing what he loved.”


Roberta Groner of Randolph placed 16th woman in the Boston Marathon this past Monday.  Her time of 2:36:33   met was under the Olympic Qualifying A standard of 2:37.  With cooler temperatures that time would likely have been lower.

“The weather conditions were not ideal but I still wanted to try and race the plan I had discussed with Coach Matos,” wrote Groner in an email.

“I hit the half way point at the time I wanted but was not able to execute my negative split plan,” she said.

She ran part of the race with a teammate through the hills and she said that really helped her along the way.

“Obviously the crowd support is tremendous and that too carried me through the last few miles,” said Groner.

Readers might be surprised to learn that Groner is taking ten days off to fully recover.  She’s relaxing before starting to do some short distance training and speed focus.

Her next race is the Newport 10K in Jersey City on May 6th.  She’ll also do the Ridgewood 10K on May 29th.   In September she will start training for the California International Marathon with hopes to qualify with a Standard A time for the Olympic Trials.

The Woods and Lakes 5K and 10K in Mountain Lakes and the Clinton Country Run 15K are both taking place this coming Saturday, April 29th.   Woods’ is a local favorite while the Clinton race draws teams. 


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, April 16, 2017

Out of shirts? Cut the fee.

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, April 16, 2017

“Souvenir T-shirts to the first 500 runners,” the race website states.  How about, “T-shirts to pre-registered runners only”  or “Souvenir shirts while they last”.

What those headlines don’t say is what happens after the first 500 runners show up, or a runner registers on race day, or the shirts just plain ran out.  All of those things happen, and they happen often.

It’s not easy to figure out how many shirts to order four months before race day, and what sizes to order.   Will we come up short or have too many shirts?  Better to be short than be stuck with too many shirts. 

So try to plan on just enough or not quite enough.  From the race director’s point of view this is a fine strategic plan.

From the runner’s point of view, well, it stinks.  You show up on race day with your post entry fee gripped in your hot little hand.  You hand the nice volunteer your entry application and your check or cash.

“Thank you very much,” says the person on the other side of the table.  “We’re out of shirts. Sorry.   Have a nice race.”

Wait just a minute.  You paid extra, probably another ten bucks for your race day entry and now you walk away with a bib number but no souvenir T-shirt.

How does that make sense?

It wasn’t always this way.  Back when I first became involved in the other side of racing, the management side, our policy was to cut the fee as soon as the t-shirt people told us we were out of shirts.  Other races did the same.

In fact I lead a small rebellion directed toward races that did not cut the race day fee when they ran out of shirts.

But over time this practice has stopped and now no one, neither the race organizers, nor the runners being fleeced have seen the irony of this system.

Is it time to foment a new rebellion?

LAST WEEKEND RACES              

Although it was not a USATF championship this past Sunday, the Cherry Blossom 10K in Newark’s Branch Brook Park had a good turnout. 

Women outnumbered the men with 625 women finishing the race to 469 men.  Stephen Mennitt of North Brunswick won the race in 33:04.  Alexandra Niles, of Montclair won the women’s race in 37:12.   An outstanding performance was turned in again by Nora Cary, 62, of Morristown who finished the race in 43:43 for the top age grade of 91.39 PLP %.

By far the biggest race of last weekend was the Unite Half Marathon held at the Rutgers Campus in New Brunswick and Piscataway.  Michael Dixon of Fanwood won the race in 1:14:16 and Kristen Prendergast of Annandale was the first woman in 1:23:13.  Men outnumbered the women in the half marathon 1,413 to 1,142.

On the other hand, the women had it all over the men in the 8K that was run along with the half marathon.  Women 596 – Men 337.   Only a scattering of Morris area runners turned out for the races, but Jason Schweizer of Rockaway finished the 8K in 30:48 for fifth overall.

My apologies to Justin Scheid of Succasunna.  Last week’s column noted that he finished second in the Indian Trails 20K.  I threw an “e” onto the end of his name, thus changing Scheid’s gender in one stroke of the hand.   I am very sorry for the blunder.

Many area runners are in Boston to run on Monday in the oldest marathon on record.  The Boston Marathon was first held in 1897 and was actually shorter than today’s standardized 26.2 miles.  Many things have changed over the years but one thing that has not changed is that one must run a qualifying time in order to register in the race. All good wishes go out to the runners.

National coverage of the race will be on NBC Sports Network beginning at 8:30 a.m.  The elite women will start at 9:32 a.m. and the elite men and the first wave of faster runners will start at 10:00 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, April 9, 2017

Indian Trails had its challenges

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, April 9, 2017


It’s called Indian Trails, but you were assured it was not a trail race.  Dirt roads and macadam, yes, no trails.  Runners in the Indian Trails 20K or 10K could be excused for asserting that it was a trail race after all.  After a week of rain the dirt roads on the course that wound through the Navesink hills of Leonardo sported rain filled pot holes that had to be dodged.  Especially annoying was the turnaround point for the 20K with a monster puddle that defied careful navigation.

Otherwise the race was well organized and well marked.  Unsuspecting runners who had been warned that it was a challenging course now understand the meaning of challenging.  All though, were rewarded for their efforts when they reached 11 and a half miles.  The course enters the Beacon Hill Country Club golf course and they are at the top of Beacon Hill with the view of the NYC skyline.

 Runners either flew down the hill or put on the brakes.  The first to reach the finish line was Joshua Izewski of Doylestown PA.  Izewski finished in 1:08:06.  In second was Justine Scheid of Succasunna in 1:09:53.

Hannah Eckstein of Middletown was the first woman to finish.  Her time was 1:19:29.  Eckstein led in her Garden State Track Club team to first place.  The Shore Athletic Club women, running on their home turf were second. 

Scheid’s Shore team took third place, while the Garden State club took first and second place.  The Morris based Garmin team placed fourth led in by Karl O’Reilly of Morristown who finished in 1:12:40.

Garmin’s M40 team won their division with Brian Crowley of Hillsborough the top runner in that division.  Crowley finished in 1:13:49.

The Garmin women’s team placed second in the W40 division and took the top spot in the W50 division.  Mary Christian of Flanders, on the W50 team scored third in the women’s age grading with her time of 1:31:32.  Susan Stirrat of Rockaway won the W60 division in 1:49:42 helping her Shore Athletic Club win the W60 division.

Reno Stirrat running on the winning Shore AC M60 team was age graded at third with his time of 1:25:19 and Bruce Langenkamp of Wharton won the M65 division in 1:38:09.  Fifty eight complete teams scored in the race, the first in the year long team grand prix.

In the 10K it was a sweep of sorts for the Slaughter family of Parsippany with daughter Stacy finishing first female in 44:35 with father Charlie winning the M60 division in 44:36.


Despite the cold and biting winds yesterday, 295 undaunted runners turned out and ran in the Ryan Steidl Memorial 5K in Denville.  Matthew Byrne of Berkeley Heights was the first to finish in a time of 17:22.  Tim Murphy of Morristown was second in 17:30 and Robert Skorupski of Rockaway was third and the first masters runner to finish.  His time was 18:22
Fifteen year old Mackenzie Furlong of Denville showed her heels to the other women in the race and finished first in 19:18.   Gina Baker of Rockaway was second in 20:57.

Other notable performances tracked by the age grading system show Reno Stirrat, 62 of Rockaway with the highest PLP  (performance level percentage) at 84.34%  for his division winning time of 19:14.  Terry Lusard, 53, of Madison hit 82.12% with his 18:22.  Susan Stirrat, 61, joined her husband Reno as the top age graded masters woman at 75.97% for her 27:45 finish.


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