Sunday, December 30, 2018

New Year's Day races a tradition

On Sunday, Dec 30, 2018

By MADELINE BOST,  973-584-9302


The Central Jersey Road Runners Club may have started it, and others have followed.  Run a race on New Year’s Day.  Clear the blood and the head from the previous night’s partying, and maybe begin a New Year’s Resolution.  Start a Running Streak.  All things are possible on the first day of the new year.

On January 1, 2019 at noon, in Westfield, the 37th annual Hangover 5K will go off in Tamaques Park and an expected field of over 500 runners will log in their first race of the year.  Post race refreshments are bagels and hot chocolate.  Preregistration is a good idea for this race as a hooded sweatshirt is guaranteed for all pre-registered runners.  Pre-registration is on-line only, but there is no fee for on-line registration.

The Hillsborough Resolution Run 5K also gives out hooded sweatshirts and in a sense, they are also guaranteed.  That is because this race has no race day registration.  This race also has a cap on the number of runners accepted and as of Friday, December 28th, registration has closed.

The 1st Day 5K in Fairlawn is the newest of the three New Year’s Day races on the USATF New Jersey calendar.  The race will take race day registration.  Both the Hillsborough and the Fairlawn races start at 11:00 a.m.   All three of the races mentioned here are 500 point Grand Prix races.

Ah!  Grand prix races.  Did you renew your USATF membership this week?  If you do one of those races and haven’t renewed, or signed up for the first time, you will have no score. 

All of the three races are a good drive away, and there is a 5K closer to home, although not in the grand prix.  The St. Mark’s New Year’s Day 5K in Long Valley will start at 11:30 am.  Hot chocolate and bagels are also on the menu for this race.  John Montgomery and John Montgomery went first and second last year, separated by thirty years.  Yes, a father, son duo.

One more perk if you are a USATF member and are over age forty putting you in the masters category.  If you are a frequent racer you can add up points to qualify for a Phidippides Award from the national long distance running committee.  Points are assigned based on the distance of the race.  For instance, one mile up to 4 kilometers earns one point, and 5 kilometers to five miles earns two points.  At the farther end of the scale is 25 kilometers to marathon at five points and go over a marathon and you get 6 points.
Your age determines how many points are needed to win gold, silver or bronze.  If you are forty to fifty-nine, you will need 30 points to earn the gold. Sixty to 79 and you need 24 points.  If you are eighty or older all you need are 12 points for gold.  The bad news is that cross country races do not count. 

Those who qualify for five years earn a five-year crystal award.  Local runners who earned the crystal award in 2017 were Lorraine McPhillips of Basking Ridge, and Diane Stone of Chatham.

It looks like 122 New Jersey runners were recognized in 2017 and that’s a total I don’t think is matched by any other association.

The deadline to apply for 2018 is January 31, 2019. The application is on the national website. 


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

Friday, December 28, 2018

It's that time of year. Renew now or join for the first time now.

On Sunday, Dec 23, 2018

For Sunday, Dec 23, 2018

By MADELINE BOST,  973-584-9302


Have you renewed your membership with USATF this month?  Unlike a magazine subscription, the organization that covers road racing and track and field is really lousy at reminding its members that it is time to renew.

In order to write this column this week I signed in to my account with USATF and was surprised to see that my membership would expire on December 31, 2018.  Who knew!   The reason for the surprise is twofold.  The last time that I renewed, I renewed for more than one year.  How many?  Obviously, I had forgotten and thus the surprise that I was going to soon be a non-member.  That the organization that is pretty quick to send me an email to let me know of a sale of USATF products, but failed to let me know of my soon-to-be expiration is puzzling.

Also flying under the banner of “who knew” is the discount for multi-year membership.  I am pretty confident that there was no discount the last time I renewed.  I was delighted to discover that although a one-year membership would cost me $30.00, a two-year membership would cost me only $55.00.  Hmm.  What about three years?  Just $80.00.  Curious I hit the key for four years, which is the maximum number of years offered.  One hundred dollars or $25.00 for each year.     

Here’s the real kicker on USATF membership.  You can join and not run a step or jump a foot.  Membership is valuable enough without the discounts given to New Jersey races in the grand prix and the opportunity to run on a team.  Membership has privileges that a non-runner can cherish. 

Rent a car from Enterprise or National and you may get over 10% off the price of the car – any size from the teeniest to the largest.  An example that an agent gave me was renting a car in L.A. would be priced at $ 65.21 per day, but with the USATF membership code, it would be no greater than $ 58.00.

Fly to and from a USATF event on United or Delta Airlines and you can get a 10% discount off the regular ticket price.

Stay at a Best Western hotel and you can get 10% off their flexible rate.  Better yet, stay at any one of the Choice Hotels in their line of close to a dozen hotel chains, like Comfort Inn or Comfort Suite, Sleep Inn or Quality Inn, etc. and save 15% off the room rate.  I’ve done it several times and it does make a difference.

There are other discounts for members like an organic line of nutritional supplements, and for KT tape and other KT products.  Nationwide insurance offers members a discount and if you buy insurance for your pet, a Nationwide affiliate has it too.

The races that will be New Jersey championships in 2019 have been selected and posted on the USATF New Jersey website.  The list is always highly anticipated and once posted, the Monday Morning Quarterbacks begin to critique it.  That falls under the heading of “you can’t please everybody”.  Some of the races selected are generally favorites with the runners, and others viewed less enthusiastically. 

The committee has made a very welcome change.  Previously it was not uncommon for a race to be designated a championship for masters men and masters women.   This year the championship 10K will combine open men with masters men, and open women with masters women.  Since many masters runners also compete for their club’s open teams this makes good sense.

Missing from the line-up is the Newport 10K and the Liberty Waterfront half marathon, both in Jersey City.  Missing also is the Indian Trails 20K in Middletown.  Back is the President’s Cup 5K, but it will be in May in a different location although still in Millburn.


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, December 16, 2018

Come from behind wins in th New Balance Grand Prix

 Published in the Daily Record of Morris County
on Sunday, December 16, 2018


He wasn’t even on the radar at the beginning of November, missing two Category Two races, but Aaron Leskow of Morristown did what he had to do to soar to the top in the New Balance Grand Prix.  Leskow was in 31st place when he successfully added 700 points from the Ashenfelter 8K, and two days later the Westfield Turkey Trot’s 500 points.  It was what he needed to take over the lead.  

Kyle Price of Milltown had been in 6th place and he did what Leskow did, but his finishes behind Leskow, while adding points, put him in second place with 5,682 points to Leskow’s 5,691.  Michael Dixon of Highland Park moved up from 8th place to third after adding the same races.

Stuart Haynes, 42, of Chatham, finished in fourth place for first masters overall.

The women’s contest is even more interesting.  Only four points separate the top three women.  Hortencia Aliaga of Garfield had the lead in early November with 5,652 points.    The contest was so close that had she not run in the Ashenfelter 8K where she improved her score in the grand prix by nine points and then run in the Super Santa 10 miler in December where she added eight points, she would have dropped down to fifth place.  But the 46-year-old did do those two races and held on for second.  Erika Meling of North Brunswick had to get to the 8K in Montclair and with her 697 points she moved into first place – only one point ahead of Aliaga. 

Karen Auteri of Belvidere also needed the 8K and with her 695 points for the race she moved into third place from fifteenth.  Her final score was 5,666 points, just three less that Aliaga.  It has to have been the closest finish in the history of the women’s’ grand prix.

Nine Morris area runners placed first in their age division.  They include Mark Minervini of Stanhope, as mentioned earlier Stuart Haynes of Chatham, Robert Skorupski of Rockaway, Gary Leaman of Hardwick, Reno Stirrat of Rockaway, Bruce Langenkamp of Wharton, Nora Cary of Morristown, Mary Anne Murphy of Livingston and Diane Stone of Chatham.


The Garden State Track Club New Balance won the M40 team division of the national team grand prix.  The Shore Athletic Club had a sixth place finish in the M50 division and third in the M60 division.

New Jersey individuals include Sam Tiegan who placed second in the M40 division and Thomas Knowles third and Chuck Schneekloth in sixth place.  Jonathan Frieder of Rye Brook NY was second in the M45 division, while Gary Leaman of Hardwick placed third in the M55 division.  Those five men were on the winning Garden State TC team.

In the M60 division Reno Stirrat of Rockaway placed seventh and Roger Price of Randolph placed ninth in the M65 division.  Susan Stirrat of Rockaway placed sixth in the W60 division and Madeline Bost of Randolph won the W75 division for the fourth year in a row.

Much like the New Jersey grand prix(s) the best five races count out of a possible eight or nine championship races each year.  A minimum of three races must be completed to make it into the final score.


Colin Frost of Randolph, who wasn’t able to make the trip to Spokane on December 8th for the national cross country meet, due to his work schedule, gave himself a consolation prize of sorts.  Frost won the Montclair Bread Company Donut Run 5K in 15:25 on December 9th.   Karen Auteri of Belvidere, third place finisher in the New Balance Grand Prix, was the women’s winner with her time of 18:36.  Just over two thousand runners were in the race running for donuts.

Frost was making winning a habit.  He won the Super Santa ten mile race the previous week with a 53:01.  Diana D’achille of Denville was the women’s winner in 1:03:26.

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, December 9, 2018

Garden State sweeps the club grand prix

On Sunday, Dec 2, 2018


The Garden State Track Club New Balance finished on top in the Garmin Club Grand Prix.   This despite missing some team declarations at the Ashenfelter 8K in November.

Garden State is credited with 990 points to 716 points for the Clifton Running Club.  Only three points separate third place Shore Athletic Club at 560 points from the Garmin Runners at 557 points.  Raritan Valley Road Runners placed fifth with the North Jersey masters sixth and the Fleet Feet Essex club in seventh and the Morris County Striders finishing in eighth place and the last club to finish with more than one hundred points.

 A total of 19 clubs competed in the year long grand prix that combines points at all championship races.  Some clubs competed in only a few races and some in only one race.

The Garden State club garnered much of their points in the open men and open women’s divisions although they also had good showings in some of the masters divisions.

Their open men A, B, C teams place one, two, three followed by the Garmin Runners in fourth place.  On the women’side, the Garden State team placed first with a commanding lead over the teams that followed.  But the scores were very tight for those “also ran” clubs.   The Garmin women placed second with 74 points and the Clifton team and the Shore team tied at 71 for third place.  

Garden State won the M40 division over the Garmin Runners by a six-point margin with the Shore Athletic Club finishing in third.  The M50 division was a flip with Garmin on top and Garden State in second.

The Shore Athletic Club won the M60 division by nearly 20 points, but it was close for second and third, with the Fleet Feet Essex team second and Clifton in third separated by one point.

 The Clifton Running Club was never challenged in the M70 division.  The North Jersey Masters claimed second and the Central Jersey Road Runners team took third, but only one point ahead of the Shore AC.

The Clifton runners dominated the W40 division, taking first by well over 25 points.  The Garmin runners were a clear second place with Garden State trailing in third.  The really close contest in the W40 division was the North Jersey Masters in fourth place with the Raritan Valley Road Runners just two points back.

The Clifton club also dominated in the W50 division and then the next three teams were separated each by only one point.  Raritan Valley finished in second with 54 points, followed by the Garmin women with 53 points and the North Jersey Masters fourth with 52 points.

It is not quite that close in the W60 division, with the North Jersey Masters getting 39 points while the Raritan Valley team took second with 35 points and the Clifton women third with 33 points.
In what could be a national record, the Morris County Striders were able to complete the grand prix with two W70 teams.  Their A team scored 26 points and the B team scored 14.

Their W80 team was the sole team in that division.

All teams must complete at least three races in order to have their final numbers count in the final standings.


The Garden State Track Club New Balance put both an A and B open men’s team on the line at the national club cross country championship meet in Spokane Washington this weekend.  They also had an open women’s team. 
The club also sent their strong M40 team to compete in the M40, M50 and the Shore Athletic Club entered their M60 team in that division race.


Two local athletes received high honors at the USATF annual meeting that took place last week in Columbus Ohio.  Mark Williams of Columbia was named Age Division Athlete of the Year in the M45 division by the Masters Track and Field Committee.  Roberta Groner of Ledgewood was named Athlete of the Year in the W40 division by the Masters Long Distance Running Committee.


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

Monday, November 26, 2018

No Column on Sunday, December 2, 2018

There will be no Running Column this week, December 2, 2018.

  I will be attending the annual USATF convention this week and weekend. 


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Chilly Thanksgiving Day races but the runners came anyway

On Sunday, Nov 25, 2018


Morgan Pearson of New Vernon won the state championship 8K hosted by the Horace Ashenfelter race on the very chilly Thanksgiving morning this week in Glen Ridge.  Pearson was followed by Aaron Leskow of Morristown who finished in 24:58, and he was followed by Justin Scheid of Succasunna in 25:02, making the race a sweep for the top three Morris Country residents.

The women’s race was won by Shelby Goose of Englewood in 27:26. The first Morris County woman was Roberta Groner, now living in Ledgewood who finished as fourth woman overall and first master in 28:10. 

At the start of the race at 9:00 a.m. the thermometer was hovering at 20 degrees.  Although some runners were tempted to say home, snug in their beds, many of the races around the state still had good turnouts, although down from 2017. 

The granddaddy Flemington Turkey Trot had 3,194 finishers down about 880 runners from 2017.  The Upper Saddle River 5K from 2,179 to 1,776.  The Morris Township 5K dropped from 2,292 in 2017 to 1,459 on Thursday.  William Mitchell of Chatham won the race in 16:14 and Becky Snetson of New London, CT was the women’s winner in 18:56.

At the Ashenfelter race 2,500 finished on Thursday, down only 545 runners, a smaller percentage than the other races, thanks no doubt to the race being the championship for all divisions.

Notable performances were turned in by former Randolph resident, Jonathan Frieder, 48 who now lives in Rye Brook NY, Frieder finished in 26:29, first master overall, and age graded a mark of 88.88%, topped only by Mark Zamek, 55, of Allentown PA, who finished in 27:49 and age graded at 89.66%.  Suzanne LaBurt, 55, of Greenwood Lake NY, was the top age graded masters woman.  Her finish time of 32:12 hit 89.19% in age grading. 

Local runners did well in their age divisions, including Stuart Haynes, 42, of Chatham, who finished in 27:01 for second in his division.  Elliott Frieder of Montville finished second to his brother in the M45 division in 27:05.  Elena Rozhko of Morristown was second in the W45 division in 30:44.
Laura DeLea of Sparta took second in the W 50 division with her 33:30.

Gary Leaman, 59, of Hardwick was second to Zamek in the M55 division with his time of 29:33. In the W55 division Mary Christian of Flanders finished second to LaBurt with a time of 36:17 and Susan Kinsella of Millington was third in 36:33.

Reno Stirrat of Rockaway won the M60 division with his 32:06 and Charlie Slaughter of Parsippany was third in that division running 34:15.  Debbie Goulian of Kinnelon placed first in the W60 division with her 37:14.  Peter Auteri of Pompton Lakes was second in the M65 division in 35:53 and Bill Bosmann of Rockaway was third in 36:39.

Shirley Pettijohn of Chatham was second in her W80 division while teammate Diane Stone of Chatham won the W85 division.  Arch Seamans of Rockaway was the sole runner in the M85 division.

As of this writing the team scoring on the CompuScore website is incomplete and/or maybe inaccurate.   I will refrain from reporting on the teams until the results have been deemed final.

The Great Swamp is after all a swamp, and when a creek in a swamp goes over its banks, the swamp goes over its roads.  This past Sunday the road that is used for the Great Swamp Devil 5K and 15K was flooded.  Not just get-your- shoes-a-little-wet-flooded, but up-over-the-road-flooded.  The races could not be held.

 CompuScore, the race timing company tried to get the word out through social media, but not everyone got the message.  Several car loads of runners made the trip only to be disappointed to learn the news that the race was not taking place.  As of this writing I do not see that a new date has been selected.
If the race cannot be rescheduled, and if it was a last chance Category Three race, all the more reason to check out the Super Santa 10 miler next Sunday, December 2 at the Giralda Farms Complex in Madison.

Now is the time to renew your USATF New Jersey membership or join for the first time.  The discounts for running in Grand Prix races more than pay for the cost of membership.  Other discounts, especially discounts on travel and lodging are an added bonus.


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, November 18, 2018

Horace Ashenfelter 8K is this Thursday

On Sunday, Nov 18, 2018


As you know the Horace Ashenfelter 8 Kilometer race in Glen Ridge falls on the fourth Thursday in November, and this year the fourth Thursday is occurring on the earliest possible date, November 22nd.  That may explain why runners are wondering why they feel like they haven’t had enough time to get in shape. The 8K is the last state championship of the season.

All divisions are competing and getting their last shot at improving their scores in the club grand prix and team divisions.  Overall the Garden State Track Club New Balance is unbeatable in the club division.  The Clifton Running Club is in second place and the Shore Athletic Club is in third with the Morris based Garmin club only eleven points back in fourth.

Garden State nails the open division races with their top three, A, B, C teams usually scoring high in the open men division. Those three teams have the top three spots.

Their open women A team is stellar and in the lead in that division.  No contest for first but the next five teams are separated by a mere six points, with the Garmin women second and the Shore third.  Clifton is trailing in fourth by only one point. 

The only team that could beat Garden State in the M40 division is the Garmin Runners.  If Garden State’s top guys, like the Frieder twins don’t show Garmin might have a chance to overcome their four point difference.  The third place Shore team can’t move out of third and it can’t be caught by the Garden State B team.  But the Clifton runners could pass Garden State and move into fourth.  there’s two points between them.

In the M50 division it’s the Garmin team ahead and with a 16 point lead they will take the division. The Shore team is trailing Clifton by five points.

 The Shore club has it sewed up in the M60 division with the real contest between Clifton and Fleet Feet Essex for second.  Clifton’s M70 team will win their division and don’t need to show up at the Ashenfelter.  But they will. 

The Clifton W40 team has victory sewed up also, while the Garmin women need to maintain their leave of Garden State for second.  Again, the tight contests are further down, with the Raritan Valley Road Runners having a one point lead over the North Jersey Masters.

The Clifton women have it again in the W50 and can’t be caught.  Raritan Valley has only a four point lead over the North Jersey Masters and they have only a two point lead over the Garmin runners.
Morristown’s Nora Cary is the deciding factor in the North Jersey Masters ten point lead in the W60 divisions race.  Raritan Valley is in a tie for second with the Clifton women.
And then there is the W70 and W80 divisions with only the Morris County Striders in position to win both.  Team grand prix rules require a team to compete in at least three races to count and thus the Striders have to put a B team in the W70 division.  Their W80 team has already won three races and are solid, but word is that the women will be running.
In fact, even those teams that have an insurmountable lead are sure to be racing.  The Ashenfelter race, falling on, oh yes, on Thanksgiving morning, is a well-managed event, with a great course with only one short hill.  All the rest are just grades and some are downhill grades.

Local young athletes did well at the USATF New Jersey Junior Olympic meet on November 4th at Deer Path Park in Readington, Hunterdon County.  William Van Etten of Chester won the Boys 9 and 10 division with Cameron Sontz of Montville taking second place.
The following youths placed third in their divisions:  Gabriella Pelov of Montville, 8 and under girls; Noah Pizzirusso of Mount Olive, 8 and under boys; Katherine Shaw of Chester, 9 and 10 girls; Albin Mullan of Parsippany, 13 and 14 boys.
In all, over four hundred young athletes competed on the still muddy cross country course.  Congratulations to all.  Remember that running is for life.  Stay with it.

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, November 11, 2018

Giralda Farms 5K at noon today in Madison

On Sunday, Nov 11, 2018


If you haven’t yet registered for the Giralda Farms 5K today, it’s not too late as long as you haven’t slept in.  The race starts at 12 noon.  The gates to the Giralda Farms complex on Madison Avenue in Madison will close at 11:45 am.   Talk about making it easy for the procrastinators.

What’s interesting about the Giralda Farms 5K is that the race was once a 10K with no 5K.  The 5K was added in 2000 and drew only 178 finishers while the 10K finished 396.  Ten years ago, the races had grown to 571 in the 5K and 617 finishers in the 10K.

The 10K was the masters men’s championship in 2016 and drew 501 finishers and 371 ran in the 5K.  Last year the 5K was the masters men’s championship and it drew 530 finishers.  In the respective top ten were five masters men and five masters women.

That makes you understand why the prize money is going to be going eight places deep in the masters age grading and only three deep for the open runners.  It looks like the target market for the 5K is the masters runners.

This year the race is not a championship for either gender, but instead is a part of the co-ed series for the USATF New Jersey teams.  The concept is much like the corporate team structure, but these teams are composed of the top three scoring men and the top three scoring women.  That’s six runners on the team, which is larger than corporate teams that usually score only the top three while including at least one person of the opposite gender.  That’s usually two men and one woman, but not always and sometimes the fastest corporate runner is a woman.

The scoring is pretty straightforward for the open teams as they are scored by fastest combined times, but here’s where it gets interesting for the masters teams.  The top three men and top three women are scored, but not by their time.  They use their masters age grading score.  The club with the highest combined Performance Level Percentage is the winner.  

For example, at the Sunset Classic five mile race this past June that was a Coed event, the Fleet Feet Essex club placed first masters team with their 444.13%.  The Clifton running club was second with 437.14% and the North Jersey Masters were third with 435.01%.

This concept requires a strong club effort to have at least six masters runners who age grade in the 70’s and 80’s PLP. 

Runners who lack races in their grand prix scores have only a few chances to fill in those zeros with numbers.  Most everybody has managed to get to at least three 5K races, but for those who lack a Category Two there is not much to chose from.  Of course, there is the Ashenfelter 8K that will take place on Thanksgiving morning.  It is a 700 point race. 

The only 500 point Category Two race that I see is the Westfield Five miler that is the following Saturday, November 24th.  That’s pretty quick after running 8K two days previous but it looks like the only one left.  Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Category Three races are usually hard to find by the end of the year too.  The Great Swamp Devil 15K on Sunday, November 18th is an old standby.  It is flat and features double back turns so is fun to see who is racing ahead of you and who is chasing you.  The race starts at eleven am, along with a 5K that starts at the same time.
Thanks to the Super Hero folks there is a new Category Three race on Sunday, December 2nd, starting from Giralda Farms.  The Super Santa Ten miler will be a scenic course passing pastoral scenes as well as running through part of the Loantaka preserve. 


Roberta Groner, who was featured here last Sunday, finished the New York City Marathon in 2:31:00, in twelfth place and first masters woman.  Awesome running Roberta!


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, November 4, 2018

Groner will run with the elite women today

On Sunday, Nov 4, 2018


Roberta Groner moved from Pittsburg to Randolph in 2014 and began racing here in 2015.  She stood out immediately and when she inquired about the Randolph based Do Run Runners she was welcomed into the club.
Club member Beau Atwater of Bedminster became her solid training partner as they prepared for Boston following the Hanson Training Plan created by the Michigan running store group that has turned out elite runners.

In October of 2016 Groner was introduced to Hector Matos of Rutherford who had begun to coach some very good New Jersey runners.  Under his coaching Groner was dropping her times at each race.

Life does not move in a straight line, and after winning the Ashenfelter 8K in November 2016 in 27:16, a minute and a half ahead of any other women, Groner realized that she needed to break with her New Jersey friends.  She joined the New York Athletic Club, where she would be around other women of her ability.   That has proved to be a good move and Groner continued to get faster.

With Matos coaching, Groner had hoped to make the US marathon qualifying time of 2:37 at the California International Marathon in December 2017.  Not only did she qualify, she finished in 2:30:38 in second place overall behind professional runner Sara Hall.

After the marathon she switched to shorter distances on the advice of her coach and PR’d the 5K and 10K and the half marathon.  When she wasn’t running and taking care of her three boys, and working a full-time nurse’s job, she finished her Bachelor’s degree.  Can we say Achiever?

Groner was invited to start with the elite women in the New York City marathon after her 2:30.38 California International Marathon last year. 

She has been training up to the mid 90’s and then in the mid 80’s for three weeks.  The week leading up to the marathon she was at 65 miles, and this last week - her taper week has put in about 25 miles, including a 30 minute run on Saturday.

In September Groner opened a few more eyes with her third place at the Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon where she shared the podium with Desi Linden.  Linden finished in 1:11:48, just 32 second ahead of Groner whose time was 1:12:20.

In a recent interview, Linden was asked who she thought might be around her in the marathon, and she named Groner as one of those women.

“I guess my name is out there a little bit,” said Groner who is enjoying the new notoriety.

But her feet are clearly on the ground and she sees it as just a bunch of competitors who just happen to be very fast.

“Us competitors, we know who we are running against,” said Groner.  “They get to know who I am and I get to know who they are.”

“Even though I don’t see myself anywhere near Desi Linden that day, it’s nice to know the feel.”

Her “tribe” of supporters in New Jersey as they have come to call themselves, have a different view and do see their athlete as capable of being in the lead pack with Linden and others.

Lest anyone forget, Groner, who is now 40, may be the fastest masters woman marathoner now competing.   

In a recent post Facebook Groner concluded,
“No matter the outcome on Sunday I have held onto the vision and have trusted the process! It’s game time! 

While Groner is running her second New York City Marathon, other local runners can claim a different fame.  Catherine Shott of Hopatcong will be running in her 31st consecutive New York City marathon.  Kevin Higgins of Randolph will be running his 28th and Joe Sikora of Succasunna will be running his 26th.  Shott’s best time was in 1988 at age 28 when she finished in 3:51:30.  Higgins did a 2:52:59 in 2001 when he was 42 years old and Sikora’s best time was done at age 26 when he finished in 2:47:46.

We wish all of the runners a fast time and good running.


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, October 28, 2018

Thriller at Deer Path Park

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, Oct 28, 2018


The rivalry this past Sunday at Deer Path Park in the New Jersey cross country 8 kilometer championship was evident on the faces of the top runners as they sped to the finish line.  There was no masking the intensity as the Breakneck team and the Garden State Track Club New Balance top men put the hammer down.

That it was going to be a contest between those two teams was well known after the 5 kilometer race at Natirar in August where the Breakneck men beat the Garden State A team by 20 points.  Garden State usually splits their huge roster up with their best men scattered among the several teams they field.  It cost them the win in August when their seventh and eighth man was on the B team.  All of the Breakneck men were on their one and only team in August.

It wasn’t going to happen again.  The top men were on the Garden State club’s A team.  Breakneck was back and with Colin Frost of Randolph back in racing shape after his short layoff following his dnf marathon debut.

Nothing was going to stop them from a fine performance.  Nothing perhaps except the weather.  After a beautiful Saturday, Sunday’s dawn was marred by a cold front that had come in overnight.  Deer Path Park was once a farm with wide open fields that provided no resistance to the whipping winds. 

The game runners set out to do a warm up on the course that they would run three times.  Coming back from the far field they discovered the Mud Pit had returned.  Heavy and persistent rains had restored the infamous low spot back to its famed condition.  Run through it or to either side of it, there would be no escaping the sucking mud.

In more benign conditions the runners will begin to assemble at the start early to find their position and to do a few strides.  Not on Sunday.  Only reluctantly did the runners shed their outer coverings and line up for the start.  The smoke from the starters pistol dissipated with the wind and the race was on.  The two rival squads quickly went to the lead with a pack of the best men seeking to reach the end of the field and onto the path in a good position.

The course at the park can handle two running abreast but it is not easy to pass slowing runners so a good position is important here.  Each loop of the course is roughly 2.5 kilometer, with the last half a kilometer made up in the run to the finish.  The lead pack emerged from the low-lying field to complete their first loop and spectators could see that the pack had settled into a pace that was keeping them bunched.  No need just yet to test one another. 

Spectators also noticed that the runners were displaying entire backsides splattered with mud from the Mud Pit.  None had managed to evade it.

Slower runners were trailing the field, and very slow runners were being lapped by the pack that was now going into their final tour of the course.  The lead pack had thinned now as some had not managed the quickening pace as they disappeared on their final lap.

Spectators craned to see who would emerge from the distant low-lying field.  The lead pack was completely scattered now, strung out and in the lead was Frost, followed by fellow Breaknecker Brian Quilty of Pitman.  In third was Justin Scheid of Succasunna, running for the Shore Athletic Club.  After Scheid was another Breaknecker, Eric Dubois, also of Pitman.  Finally, in fifth place was the first Garden State runner, Stephen Rathbun of Springfield.  Nick DeSantis of Wanaque finished as the fifth Breakneck runner.  Breakneck took it with 27 points to Garden State’s 37.

The Garden State’s open women’s team had no trouble winning for the club.  Lead in by Shelby Goose of Englewood, the team finished the top four women before Clifton’s Hortencia Aliaga of Garfield finished in fifth place.  The Shore Athletic Club took second and the Raritan Valley Road Runners were third.

The masters team divisions had the Garmin M40 and M50 teams in first place with Garden State in second in both of those divisions.  The Shore AC took third in both divisions with the lesser players making up the ten M40 teams and the seven M50 teams.

In the M60 division, the Shore club finished their A and B teams in first and second place with the Garden State team finishing in third out of twelve teams.   The Shore also placed first in the M70 division.

Aliaga, who is 47, brought her Clifton W40 team into first place over newcomer Bella N Motion with the North Jersey Masters in third.  Clifton also won the W50 division, but the Shore club took first in the W60 division.

Local runners with fine performances include Reno Stirrat of Rockaway who scored third in the masters men age grading with his 83.40% PLP, Terry Davidson of Randolph with a 79.19%, and Peter Kashulines of Mountain Lakes with a 78.17%.

Local women were Nora Cary of Morristown who was first in the age grading with an 86.59%, Laura DeLea of Sparta, fourth at 77.64%, and Susan Stirrat of Rockaway in eighth place with 75.53%. 

To look up the complete results go to 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Masters Women at Harrington Park 5K for the next championship

On Sunday, Oct 21, 2018


Three years ago, the Harrington Park 5K Fall Spectacular stepped in as the open women’s 5K when the Little Silver 5K was cancelled due to unsafe roads after a huge ‘nor’easter hit the coast.  

This year the race is not a substitute but a full-fledged championship, taking place on Saturday, November 3rd.  Although this is the first year as a selected championship, the race is no newcomer.  This is the 17th year for the race in northeastern Bergen County, just a few miles south of the New York state border.

Amenities count for a fall race and runners will appreciate that the pre and post race activities take place in what the race website describes as a” large warm gym” and” clean indoor restrooms (no portable units)”.  That alone is worth the price of admission in my opinion.  Actually, the price of admission is not hefty.  If postmarked by October 26th the cost to register is $ 25.00 and USATF NJ members will pay only $22.00.  The fun run is even cheaper. 

The website shows the course map with ten turns.  All those turns are somewhat offset by the very flat course as seen in the video also on the website.   There will be plenty of opportunities to run the tangents as long as runners are allowed to use both lanes of the road.

In 2015 the female winner was Kristin Andrews who set the course record of 18:09.  Andrews is still in her twenties so that doesn’t give us a hint of who is in contention for first masters woman overall and more importantly the first age graded woman. 

Best Racing does the timing for the race and Best generally does not calculate age grading.  It will be necessary this time as the prize money of $ 300.00, $200.00 and $ 100.00 goes to the top age graded masters women.  That fact has not been apparent on the website, but look for an update this week.

The top contenders in the age grading competition are Nora Cary of Morristown, Laura DeLea of Sparta, Misa Tamura of Ridgewood, Hortencia Aliaga of Garfield, Suzanne LaBurt of Greenwood Lake NY, Mary Christian of Flanders, Erika Campbell of Ridgewood and Susan Olesky of Mendham.

All of these top women will be running on teams like the Garmin Runners, Clifton, Raritan Valley and the North Jersey Masters and local clubs like the Rose City Runners and the Morris County Striders.

At the USATF New Jersey Long Distance Running committee meeting this past Monday, the handling of the Mile race was under scrutiny again.  The race is the shortest distance raced and some runners are not fans of the race, considering the distance to be of the track and field genre.  The most recent host of the race has been the Midland Mile in Montclair.  In 2018 the race had 568 finishers, running in several heats.  That was a big jump from 2017 with 492 finishers, and one hundred more than in 2016. 

So what seems to be the problem?   The race is a championship and that means that it is also in the team grand prix.  And that is a problem for some team members who would like to sit it out and not be pressured to compete in it for their teams. 

John Sabatino of Morris Plains, and a member of the Garmin Runners proposed that the race remain a championship but that the results would not be part of the team grand prix.   Such a change would surely reduce the number of participants which in turn would hurt the race’s drawing power. 

The team grand prix, and the number of championships being held creates a problem of over-racing according to Chuck Schneekloth of the Garden State Track Club.  He proposed that the number of championships be reduced from 14, which is what was on the schedule for 2018, to only seven.

Although he presented this as a proposed change to the rules, the committee saw this as an administrative issue.  The executive committee, which is made up of chairs and vice chairs of the open women, open men and masters divisions will look at how to reduce the number of championships being required of the individual runner.  A reduction to seven is unlikely and would undercut the funding of the grand Prix’s as those races chosen for championships pay an extra fee for the privilege.

Karen Auterie of Belvidere suggested some of the races be asked to host both the open and masters division championship for the same gender.  For instance, a race could be the championship for the open and masters women, and another for the open and masters men.  This would make it possible for masters to compete on their clubs open team and their own masters division team. 

Not all races would seem conducive to this structuring, but some combining could be done it was thought.  Most of the long distance races are already host to all divisions.


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Monday, October 15, 2018

Cross country next Sunday at Deer Path Park

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, Oct 14, 2018


Cross Country racing is in high swing now.  This past Friday I drove over to Central Park to watch high school athletes  race in the Greystone Invitational.  The athletes prefer the new course that was first used in 2017, but I as a spectator I miss the old course that was easier to navigate.

Adult racing will take place in the New Jersey championship cross country 8 kilometer meet next Sunday at Deer Path Park.  The course is a triple loop of the park, which is considered by many to be a classic cross country venue.  The racers start on a baseball field and are quickly out on the paths that ring the former farm fields.  Because of the layout spectators can watch the start and finish, and twice during the race without even moving.

In 2017 the top men were an interesting mix with Joshua Izewski of Doylestown PA in 24:52 running for the Garden State Track Club, with Brian Quilty of Glassboro next in 25:14 running for the Breakneck Track Club, and he was followed in by Justin Scheid of Succasunna, running for the Shore Athletic Club in 25:19.  Kristin Andrews of Manalapan was the women’s winner finishing over a minute ahead of any other woman in 29:12.

The team grand prix has been updated after the masters men’s 5k championship and the Garden State team leads in the M40 division with the Garmin Runners only six points back – 104 to 98 points.  The Shore AC is in third but well out of the race.  The real contest is between Shore and Garden State’s B team and the Clifton Road Runners separated by less than ten points.

Those four clubs are the leaders in the M50 division with Garmin Runners in first and fourteen points ahead of Garden State in second.  Clifton and Shore are well off in third and fourth respectively.
In the M60 division the Shore’s A team is leading Clifton 66 to 53, with the Fleet Feet Essex club in third with 48 points.  The Clifton M70 team has a probably insurmountable lead over the North Jersey Masters.

Masters women will have their 5K championship in November which means their scoring opportunities have not been all reached.  The masters women’s contests are very differint than on the men’s side.  The Clifton Running Club leads in the W40 with the Garmin Runners next and the Garden State New Balance team in third with the Raritan Valley Road Runners women in fourth place.

Clifton has the lead also in the W50 division with a tie for second between the Garmin women and the Raritan Valley club.   The North Jersey masters lead the W60 with another tie for second, this time between the Clifton runners and Raritan Valley’s A team.  The Morris County Striders crack W70 team cannot be beat but their W80 team must compete in one more race to have their place secured.  The grand prix rules require that a team must compete in a minimum of three races in order to score at the end of the series. 

There is not as much excitement in the open team divisions.  The Garden State Track Club New Balance has the top three spots with the Garmin Runners in fourth and the Freedom Running Club in fifth.  The Breakneck Track Club is returning and can be a spoiler by beating the Garden State team like they did in August at the 5km cross country meet.  Randolph’s Colin Frost will be ready to go for the win he told me, after having to pull out of his Steamtown Marathon debut, due to cramping at mile 19.  He will be well rested by next Sunday and ready to lead his team in.

 In the open women’s division  the Garden State’s team has a substantial lead over the Garmin Runners, who are flanked by the Garden State’s B team.  In the missed-opportunity category is  the Shore Athletic Club that has missed two championships where they might have scored big points and would be in second place instead of fifth.


The Long Distance Running Committee will meet Monday night, October 15 at the Madison Y at 7:00 p.m.  This is when people who believe there is a better way to do things present their suggested rule or operation changes for the coming year.