Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sabatino takes a spill in biggest triathlon in the state

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


“I was hoping to defend my title,” said John “Chachi” Sabatino, of Morris Plains.  Sabatino had won the M50 age division in the New Jersey Triathlon Championship in 2016, finishing with a time of 2:04:53 for the Olympic distance triathlon

On Saturday, instead of another title Sabatino was in the road bed trying to shake off a sudden spill. 

A lifeguard in his youth Sabatino counts on a good swim leg before hopping on the bike.  He came out of the water in fourth place in his heat.  Things were looking good.

When a kid on a bike decided to dash across the road in front of him he clearly underestimated the speed of the racers.  Sabatino estimates he was traveling at 22 miles per hour.  There was no way he was going to miss the kid.  Over the handlebars he went.  Miraculously he did not hit his head but there was plenty of unseen damage and plenty of damage to the bike.

In a Facebook post Sabatino states that, “Of course I hopped back on my bike to finish.”

With a front derailleur bent and broken and the chain severally bent Sabatino was able to force it to work, but with scraping sounds as the front derailleur switched on its own from the big to small ring.

Once his bike was racked Sabatino was off on the run portion of the race, only to realize that it wasn’t just the bike that was damaged.  Instead of the seven minute per mile pace he expected, he was running at 8:20 pace.   He finished the race in 2:42:29 – 38 minutes off his 2016 time.

“After the race, I went to medical and was cleared to go,” he wrote in his post.  Later he went to the hospital in Morristown where he was diagnosed with a cracked rib and sporting a sizable area of road rash on his shoulder.  Just go home and rest.

That didn’t happen.  Later that night Sabatino’s wife Sara, found him passed out on the bathroom floor.  She called for an ambulance and Sabatino spent the next three days in the hospital.  Not one rib, but four ribs were cracked.  He had what was rated as a Grade 1 liver bruise as well as contusions on the lung.  He was cleared to go home Wednesday when his liver bloodwork came back clear.

He’s on the mend now but with those cracked ribs he isn’t sneezing or laughing.  The doctors say it will take six to eight weeks to recover. 

That will put him into mid-September before he is able to train or compete.  This hasn’t been his year.  A pulled hamstring in March set him back and now it’s a question of whether he will be able to gather the points he would need to make it into the top three in his age division in the New Jersey grand prix, a spot where he usually finishes.  At mid-season Sabatino is missing four races and two of those are in the Category Three division.  Yes, it could have been worse but hard not to wish that kid had stayed home last Saturday.

Other local runners who also do triathlons did well in the race.  Liam Gallagher of Morristown finished fourth in the Elite Men division and second in the New Jersey Elite Men. 

  Rich Burke of Morristown was the second M50 New Jersey finisher. Taryn Ferrara of Morristown was first in the W25 division and  Olivia Christmann of Mendham won the W20 division.

Susan Olesky of Mendham was first in the W60 New Jersey division with Susan Jankowitz of Sparta in second place.

Cande Olsen of Chatham won the W65 division with Mary Hager of Randolph second. Over a thousand athletes competed in the race, the largest in the state.


Doug Clarke of Mendham, an outstanding runner and triathlete lost his battle with brain cancer but the race in his honor goes on to raise funds to help those afflicted with this deadly form of cancer.

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, July 23, 2017

Remembering back in the day

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 21, 2017


My decision to add the DVR element to my cable service was one of the best I’ve ever made.  I can record a televised marathon and watch it the next day, or I can delay watching the coverage by an hour or more, and then catch up by fast forwarding through the commercials.

During the summer season with the Diamond League  track and field series in Europe where the elite athletes compete I am in heaven, watching at my leisure, backing up to do my own “instant replay”.  I came across a column I wrote more than twenty years ago and now, watching female athletes compete, it hit me again, what a change has occurred in my lifetime.

Wilma Rudolph, the Olympic triple gold medalist had died, and I wrote of the difference between Rudolph’s experience and my own.  I grew up in Washington state on an island in Puget Sound that was, and still is, isolated yet near the bustling cities of Seattle and Tacoma.  We lived on a small berry farm surrounded by giant Douglas firs – a perfect environment for the tomboy that I was.

When I wasn’t doing chores, I was free to run and explore and play.  My dad was an amateur athlete – a good boxer, diver and gymnast.  My sister and I were willing students and he taught us how to box and do basic gymnastics.  At school, I looked forward to playground where tag was a staple game and where we sometimes held impromptu races.

In a game of tag I could never be caught.  In a race, no girl could beat me and there were two boys who could only sometimes outrun me.  On field days, I would win all my events.  It was my favorite day of the school year.  I was in heaven.  Then I moved up to high school and everything changed.  Girls were no longer encouraged to participate in sports.  Indeed, I learned that running and jumping would somehow injure me.

My grade school running rivals became stars of the football and basketball teams where their leg speed was put to good use.  Me, well, eventually I learned how to twirl a baton and became a majorette.

Oh, we girls could pay volleyball, tennis, baseball and basketball in our physical education classes and intramural sports.  That was because they weren’t considered too vigorous and didn’t involve serious running.

Girls’ basketball allowed only three steps with the ball.  No running and dribbling down the court.  You must pass almost as soon as you receive the ball.  I would look with envy as the boys played their basketball and puzzle with resentment at the restrictions placed on me because of my gender.

On my own time, when no one was looking, I did run.  I ran on the logging trails near my home with my horse.  There I was safe from prying eyes that might find me foolish or unfeminine.

Then when I probably first became aware of the Olympics, I heard and read of this Wilma Rudolph – an American girl who was competing with other women in track running events.  It blew my mind.  How did it happen?  Who let her and the others run?

Obviously, they had been encouraged to do so by adults who were coaching and training them.  But why had my school and all the others that I knew, never allowed girls to run or compete in serious sports?

While Rudolph was blazing down the track, except for those occasional runs with my horse, I long abandoned my tomboy ways.  If I was not quite a demur young miss, I was certainly not an athlete.  That didn’t come for twenty more years.  My first competition was in 1982 when I was now a master.

Which brings me back to those Diamond League meets.  Friday night, New Jersey’s Ajee Wilson set an American record in the 800 meters, while finishing in third place in 1:55.61, Caster Semenya was first in 1:55.27, with Francine Niyonsaba second in 1:55.47.  What a thrilling race to watch as the three women battled three across down the home stretch.

We can look forward for more meets this summer and this tomboy can enjoy and remember back in the day when girls weren’t allowed to run.


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, July 16, 2017

Verizon Corporate Classic went off without rain or lightning

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


Would they have to cancel the Verizon Corporate Classic 5K again in 2017?  Heat was building on Thursday morning with dreadful thunder and lightning storms predicted.  But in Morristown the heat began to drop and a mild rain was all that fell as race time at 7:30 p.m. approached.

Not that is wasn’t uncomfortable.  The humidity was heavy as the nearly three thousand runners began the race down Maple Avenue and then down Route 202, Mt. Kemble Avenue.  Out in front a lead pack formed with close to ten runners a half mile into the race.  Down they sped to the turnaround just north of Harter Road, and back up on the same road that they had gone down. 

The lead pack had spread out after mile two with only a few left in the fight.  In the end Kyle Price of North Brunswick managed to make it to the finish line first, with Joe Mummert of Mahwah running for Merrill Lynch next and Liam Boylan-Pett of Clinton in third.  Their chip times were 16:25, 16:31 and 16:44 respectively.

Not far behind those lead men was Ashley Higgonson of Morristown.  She finished in seventh place overall in17:12.   Higgonson, running for Riker Danzig then and now won the 2014 race in the nearly identical time of 17:10.

The second place woman was Diana D’Achille of Denville, running for Verizon who finished in 18:33. D’Achille won the 2015 race in 18:17. Karen Auteri of Belvidere, running for Quintilesims finished third in 18:38.  Auteri finished second woman overall in 2014.

While the speedier runners were challenging themselves in the humidity on the deceptive course that drops down on the way out on Route 202 with the subsequent climb back to the finish on Maple Avenue with a short serious climb on Market Street, other participants were happily walking the length of the race.

  When Price was finishing five hundred participants had not yet hit the one mile marker.  One hundred sixty-two participants finished in over an hour - averaging each mile in slower than 19 minute per mile pace.

This is not to be scoffed at as the race invites people to come out and work toward fitness and health and if that means a 20 minute pace so be it.  The participants were out there and who knows, an elite runner may be hiding undiscovered in their ranks needing just this one event to inspire them to future fitness.  It happens.


Looking for another race this summer?  Look no further. 

 The Morris County Striders summer series 5K cross country race is this Tuesday, July 18th at Johnson Park
 in Boonton.  Each race is part of a series that scores the best three out of the four races in the series.  
Robert Skorupski, 44, of Rockaway is in contention on the men’s side with two teenagers, Tommy Carney, 
14, of Denville who finished ahead of Skorupski in the first race, as did Noah Schagelin, 16, of Rockaway.  
Skorupski came back in the second race to finish in second place to Carrington Retzios, 17, of Budd Lake
 who finished in 17:30.  While the two teens finished in third and fourth.
On the other side of the ledger, Kayla Schramm, 12, of Goshen NY won the first race in age division 
course record time of 19:35.  Astonishingly right behind her was Allison Lounsbury, 13,
 of Franklin Lakes in 19:44.  Christine Carny, 17, of Denville was third in 22:05.
Schramm returned in the second race to win in a slower paced 21:00.  Carney returned for the second 
race making those two the leaders in the series on the female side.   Any runner who has completed
 just one race can hop back into the series by competing at this Tuesdays race and the next one on
 August 1st.

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, July 9, 2017

Verizon Corporate Classic Thursday changes course

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


How does that old song go?  “There’s gonna be some changes made today.”

Well, maybe not today, but on Thursday there will be changes to the Verizon Classic 5K that could have some people unprepared.  Yes, last year the staging area was changed from the Headquarters Plaza to Morristown High School, and then, yes, a really nasty storm changed everything.  No race at all.  A make-up run was held a couple of weeks later.  

Well, here it is 2017 and the Verizon Classic is sporting a new venue and a new course.  Nothing like the course of 2016 and nothing like 2015.

Nope, runners will leave from the Verizon Building at 37 Maple Avenue and head down Mt. Kemble Avenue.  Yes, Route 202.  Down and back as in a true Out-and-Back course.  The turnaround will be just before Harter Road.

An out-and-back course with 400 people is pretty easily managed.  An out-and-back with 4,000 runners, which is possible on a good night for racing is not so easy.  In 2015 when the race was last conducted as a race, the winning time was 16:22.  When he was finishing the 3,491st runner was passing mile marker One.  Get the picture?

The course marshals will be experienced runners from two running clubs whose job will be to keep those slower runners on their own side of the road, while making sure that the returning runners coming back to the finish have their side of the road free from – well – slow moving bodies.

The staging has all been figured out with traffic posts and tape delineating the course right down the middle of Route 202.  Those runners-turned-course marshals will be making sure that the returning runners have their space.

With a field that could be as large as 4,000 runners and walkers, the timing has to change.  The runners chip time will be their actual time when scoring the event.  This means that each runner is timed only when he or she crosses the computer timing mat at the official start point of the race, and when they have crossed the finish line.

This race does not score age divisions as the focus is on the many corporate teams that compete.  However, runners with no affiliation are also free to register and run, although there are no age division awards.

The race has a 7:30 p.m. start time. For more information check out

Continuing to use old metaphors:  what we have here is a horse of a different color.  As in the Ellie’s 5K at Horseshoe Lake park in Succasunna.  The course has to be the most challenging that anyone has ever run, and yet it has no hills.

The park has a perimeter path of less than two full miles, so to run a 5K the race organizers have been creative to find a full 3.1-mile course.   It is all for a good cause.  The race benefits the Ellie Reynolds ALS Foundation.

At the Race for Recovery 5K at Central Park on the July 4th, 44-year-old Elena Rozhko of Morristown almost won the race outright.  She finished in 18:52 for third overall.  Youngster Patrick Mullen, 16, of Morristown won the race in 17:43, with Sean Thoulitus, 18, of Gillette second in 17:55.   An enthusiastic group of supporters of the Market Street Mission boosted the number of finishers to 240, many of them walking the 3.1-mile cross-country course.


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, July 2, 2017

Thirty-six teams at Fitzgerald's Lager Run

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 2, 2017


Whew!   Championships all done for the spring season.  The Fitzgerald’s Lager Run 5K this past Sunday drew a full field of young men to compete for the open men’s championship, along with a full field of others who are enthusiastic fans of the race that takes place in Glen Ridge each year.  There will not be another championship until August with the Midland Mile and the first of the USATF cross country races.

Joshua Izewski of Doylestown, PA won the race in an impressive 14:27, with Eric Chirchir of Irvington second in 14:40, and Aaron Leskow of Morristown third in 15:05.

Leskow was on the winning Garden State Track Club C team.  The club put five teams in the top five spots with three other teams also in the mix.  The abilities of the top tier men on the teams is so well balanced that it is not always the A team that places first.  At the race on Sunday the C team was first, the B team second and the A team third.

Justin Scheid of Succasunna placed fifth overall in 15:17 to lead in his Shore Athletic Club team to eighth place.

Thirty-six teams competed, but that number is misleading, as many of the teams were made up of masters men.  As there was no masters team competition the older men were free to run in the open division, and they did.

Roberta Groner of Randolph won the women’s race in a personal best time of 16:24. Nora Cary, 62, of Morristown was the top masters woman with her 21:34 hitting 88.03%.  Brian Crowley, 52, of Hillsborough was the top masters man going up to 90.88% with his 16:28 finishing time.  Gary Leaman, 58, of Hardwick was next with his 17:38 at 89.00% PLP.

If you like to race on the Fourth of July but hate the travel to Fourth of July races like the Cranford Firecracker we now have a fun race in Morris County.
The Race for Recovery 5K is being held on the high school cross country course in Central Park in Morris Plains.  The race is a USATF cross country grand prix race.  Except for the Morris Country Striders 5 K race series in Boonton there has not been any other local cross-country races in the series that is close to home. 

The course is a mix of hills as well as flat sections on well groomed trails.  It is not only used by the local high schools but also by the younger set.  The youth Lakeland League uses the course and it was the New Jersey Junior Olympic site in 2015 and 2016.  Roadies should be able to handle it

The race is being put on by the Market Street Mission in Morristown that helps people who are struggling with addiction.   Stay for a picnic for the participants with hot dogs and hamburgers included on the menu.  It is suggested that you bring a lawn chair or a blanket.  Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. with the race start at 9:00 a.m.  The pre-entry deadline has passed. The day of race entry fee is $35.00. 

While a morning race on the Fourth of July is great, an evening race on the Fourth is not.  The Morris County Striders moved their 5K race for this one week to Thursday, July 6th.  Registration begins at 6:00 p.m. with the race start at 7:00 p.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