Sunday, August 20, 2017

Run on the wild side

on Sunday, August 20, 2017


They say you can't go home again, but I sometimes think it is not true.   I grew up on an island in Washington state and when I return, as I do every year, I feel like I am home again.  In my youth I was not a runner.  Occasionally I would slip off the back of my horse and run along side  her on the hidden logging road in the woods not far from my home.   

Every year I make sure to run on that old logging road at least once, in memory of Candy, the lovely palomino who loved to race, to swim in a farm pond, and to patiently trot along side me when I got the urge to run.

The trail has changed since Candy and I were the rare riders of the trail.  The old road has been partially paved to accommodate the scattered homes in the woods now.  The pavement ends at a sharp 180 degree turn where a sign warns ominously, "No Turnaround Beyond this Point."   

What is a fun old road to run or ride on is a "no-go"  for cars, with serious potholes and extreme dips and climbs.  On that stretch it is easy to get lost in the stillness of the woods and to feel blissfully alone.   I came out of my reverie when I remembered that the cougar that had been feeding on the livestock on the small farms on the island, and not the numerous deer also inhabiting it, could actually be lurking in those very woods.  

When I emerged from the woods and back onto the paved road that would lead me home, it was with a little sigh of relief that I had not met up with the animal, also known as mountain lion, or catamount.  I learned later that the cougar had killed two donkeys in the same area as my run that day. 

 A trap was set and the animal was lured with one of the donkey carcasses and it was killed, deemed too much of a danger for the island livestock.  I can breathe easy when I next go on that run although sad that the cougar had not stayed with a deer menu and kept away from sheep, goats and donkeys.

Natirar Park in Somerset has never reported sightings of cougars, mountain lions, or catamounts.  More likely it will see  runners racing on the cross country course that winds around and through the park.  On Sunday, August 27th, the runners will be onUSATF teams  in the state 5K cross  country championship. 

 The Natirar course features an easy flat run interspersed with two extreme hills that some love and others hate.  Young runners charge up those hills and fly down like a herd of deer running from, well, cougars, I suppose.  The race will start at a cool 8:45 a.m.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Midland Avenue Mile next Sunday


The introduction of the Midland Avenue Mile race in 2016 was not exactly

auspicious.  In fact, it was pretty dreary, as in misty, moisty rain dreary.  Not that

running a mile in the rain on a Sunday evening in summer is all bad. Consider the

cooling off factor.  On the other hand, run in the rain, but celebrate in the sun can't

always be achieved.

In 2016 the Midland Avenue Mile in Montclair was the first year being the USATF

New Jersey state mile championship.  This year, the race was again selected for

hosting the mile championship for all divisions.  It will take place next Sunday,

August 20th.

Of course you can't put an entire field of runners on the line for a mile race.  it will

be much too crowded.   The schedule calls for several heats, starting with a family

division at 5:00 p.m. before the first masters heat at 5:30 p.m.  Men 60 and up will

be first, followed by Women 60 and up.  Then Men 50 to 59, on down to the open

categories.  Looking at the Practice Hard website, it looks like the open division will

be combined men and women and using seed times to create three different heats.

In 2016 Atilla Sabahoglu of Manville was the fastest man with a time of 4:39.32.    

the fastest woman was Roberta Groner of Randolph in 5:05.04.  Despite road

runners apprehension at racing a mile, the race had a good masters turnout in 2016.

Team captains are hoping to coax even more of their team members to turn out.

Those who raced in 2016 found out that running a mile fast did not hurt them and

was actually fun.  They should be back.

The rain in 2016 put a damper on the really fun part of a mile race; the post race

beer and food.  It will be back this year and hopefully not the rain.

Race registration and packet pick-up can be done on Friday and Saturday at Fleet

Feet Sports in Montclair, and on Sunday prior to the race.


The Team Bloke 5K in Mendham last week drew nearly two hundred runners who

likely knew or knew of Doug Clark, the international level triathlete who lost his

battle with a brain tumor last year.  The race raises funds that are used to support

familes that are dealing with cancer.

The race was won by Lucas Peterson of Waterford MI in 16:34, followed closely

by Morristown's Karl O'Reilly in 16:36.  Karen Auteri of Belvidere was the women's

winner in 18:55.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Dover Renaissance 5K turns twenty-five this month

Published by the Daily Record
of Morris County, New Jersey
Sunday, August 6, 2017


It was in 1992 when brothers David and Daniel Cruz of Dover ran the first Dover Renaissance 5K with the respective times of 15:59 and 16:05.

Much has happened since then in this historical town that sits on part of the Rockaway River.   As the Dover Renaissance 5K has its Silver Anniversary Run, it is somewhat bittersweet, as one of the founding members of Dover Renaissance, Mrs. Ellen Forbes, passed away earlier this year.

It was Ellen Forbes,  along with three of her neighbors, that founded Dover Renaissance in 1985 when Downtown Dover was not in a good place, with empty storefronts and a sad look.  One of her goals was to help preserve and restore the historic downtown, as well as to beautify the old homes of Dover.

When the runners take off on Saturday, August 12th, they will run down a vibrant Blackwell St., much improved and beautified since that first race.   They will start by the Story Poles and landscaped Triangle Park, both Dover Renaissance  projects.  They will pass the Verdin Town Street Clock, one of Ellen Forbes's proudest achievements.

The 5K race achieved one of Ellen Forbes' goals - to bring people to Dover to experience the vibe a historic town can emit.  The initial’s E F are proudly displayed on the back of this year’s running shirt as a tribute to her legacy.

In 25 years a  lot does happen.  Forbes is gone now, and when was the last time the talented Cruz brothers raced in the Dover race?  A very long time since these young men were part of the the New Jersey running scene.  In 2016 the race was won in 17:43 by David Lerman of Hopatcong.  The first woman was Gradie Carrol of Morris Plains in 21:29.  No, not earth shaking times, but a great testament to the local flavor ot the race.  Less than a hundred runners competed, but most were loyalists who had run in many of those 25 races, and had seen the transformation of Dover thanks to Ellen Forbes.

It appears that the race has finally found a permanent date, after moving to May in 2016, for a one-time tribute to Armed Forces Day.


Jaren Cooper of Mountain Lakes lead a pack of teen runners to finish first at the Morris County Striders Cross Country final 5K this past Tuesday.  Cooper finished in 16:21
Finishing in 11th place was Reno Stirrat of Rockaway who finished in 19:40 followed closely by his running buddy Robert Skorupski also of Rockaway, who finished in 19:41.

 Sarah Dalfol of Sparta won the women's race in 22:12.