Tuesday, July 17, 2018

If it's July, then it must be Verizon Classic time

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, July 15, 2018


Is it the biggest race in the state wondered Robert Barwick when we talked on Friday.  Barwick works with Dan Brannen on the Verizon Corporate Classic 5K and other events in the state and outside the state as well.

Well, the Spring Lake Five miles must take the prize for the most participants, but for the northern New Jersey title I have to guess that the Verizon Corporate Classic 5K must attract the largest fields.  It routinely signs up over four thousand runners, although in 2017 the numbers were down, probably due to a last-minute course change.

Barwick said that they are expecting close to 5,000 runners to run an out-and-back loop from Morristown High School next Thursday, July 19th.  The final number won’t be known until this Wednesday when the individual registration closes.  On Friday all of the corporate teams had to be registered which is where the bulk of the field is found.

Barwick praised organizer Dan Brannen for his decision to allow non-team members to run as individuals.   That is not allowed in most corporate races like the Verizon race.

In 2014 Tradelle Ward, running for Stryker Orthopaedics won the race in 15:55 and elite steeplechase runner Ashley Higginson, running for Riker Danzig placed ninth overall in 17:10.  Higginson is becoming a regular now as she won the women’s race in seventh place overall in 2017 in 17:12.  Kyle Price running unattached won the race in 16:25.  Higginson will be back this year and is now the team captain for Riker Danzig.

The race in 2017 used a totally different course thanks to construction issues in Morristown that forced the organizers to route the race down Route 202 and back. 

Bad luck with the weather has created problems with the race.  As recently as 2013 the race was converted into a non-competitive run when the temperatures soared to near 100 degrees, forcing the organizers to shorten the course in the interest of safety for the runners.

In 2016 the race was cancelled late in the afternoon on race day when a terrific storm literally blew through the area, downing trees on the course.  A make-up fun run was held a few weeks later, but not as a race.

That 2016 course, from Morristown High School, would have been the first time for that location had it not been for the storm.  It is now being used for the first time on Thursday.

All activities will be taking place from the parking lot at the high school.  Runners will recognize many of the streets being used, although they may be running in a different direction then on the old course from the Headquarters Plaza on Speedwell Avenue.  A pleasant factor in the change is the elimination of a hill in the last half mile and an actual downhill to the finish.

Free parking is still being made available by the Headquarters Plaza up to a generous 10:30 p.m.  This will allow runners to hit local restaurants after they have finished their race and not have to worry about parking.

Because of the quarter mile distance from the Headquarters Plaza and the start at the high school, runners have the option of picking up their race swag after the race and will not need to return to their cars with it prior to the start.  This has always been true said Barwick but now this could be more important for late arriving runners.  The race starts at 7:30 p.m.

Due to the size of the field all runners will be timed from when they cross the start line, using computer technology.  Only the top three men and top three women will have their actual “gun” time recorded.  There are no age division awards but all the runners time and place will be recorded by the timing company, BESTracingsystems.

Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at madelinebost@verizon.net

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Groner does it again, Scheid and Leskow in top three

On Sunday, July 8, 2018


There I was in an Air Canada jet with my family two Sundays ago, while all the New Jersey runners were gathering in Glen Ridge for one of the state’s most loved races.  We were on our way to Calgary, Canada with our final destination Banff, for an unforgettable week-long vacation.

Back in New Jersey the Fitzgerald’s Lager Run 5K lived up to its reputation despite oppressive heat and humidity.  Thirty-four men’s teams and twenty-three women’s teams finished the race with three other incomplete teams finishing but not getting scored.

Three local runners earned headlines with their performances.  Roberta Groner of Randolph won the women’s race with her 16:11, finishing 15th overall and earning the top masters age grade of 93.64% PLP. 

The race was won by Nicholas Filippazzo of Valley Stream  in 14:51, with second taken by Justin Scheid of Succasunna in 15:22 and third by Aaron Leskow of Morristown in 15:27.

Not to be overlooked is Nora Cary of Morristown who is 63 and finished in 21:21 for 90.06% PLP, second only to Groner.

Of course, as a championship the teams become the focal point and what is interesting is the new teams this season.  The Garden State Track Club was well represented and their A team took first in both the men and women’s division.  But the Shore Athletic Club’s women’s team placed second, with the Garden State B team in third, with the fledgling New Jersey Racing Project taking fourth.

On the men’s side Garden State’s B team took second but the Leonia Track Club was third, the Freedom Running Club fourth and the Garmin Runner fifth.  In sixth place was another new team, the Race Faster team that placed seventh.  Also competing were the long time local clubs like the Rose City Runners and the Morris County Striders although both of those teams featured  mostly masters age runners.  

Maybe the weather finally did in the runners or maybe it was just too close to the Sunday Lager race, but the Tom Fleming Sunset Classic on the 28th had a light field and at a slower pace than the Sunday race.  Sean Prinz of Bloomfield was first in 27:26 with Hortencia Aliaga of Garfield the first woman in 31:45. The feature within the race was the USATF NJ coed teams.   Only two clubs fielded open teams with Fleet Feet Essex winning over the Raritan Valley Road Runners.

There was more enthusiasm for the masters division with the Fleet Feet Essex club winning that division, the Clifton Road Runners second and the North Jersey Masters taking third.  Also fielding teams were the New Jersey Racing Project, the Morris County Striders and the Central Jersey Road Runners.

This past Tuesday was the hottest day of the week and that was a tough break for the second race in the Morris County Striders cross country series at Johanson Park in Boonton .  Runners may have stayed away because of the heat, or they were saving their legs for a Fourth of July run the next day.  Only sixty-one loyalists showed up, and the irony was that a weather pattern had just come through and cleared the heat and to some extent the humidity.  Conditions for a summer race were not bad at all.  Steve Manole of Great Meadows won the race in 18:32 and Christine Carney of Denville won the women’s side in 22:36.

Two hundred and seventy-five runners turned out the next day for the Market Street Mission 5K cross country race in Central Park.  Colin Schweitzer of Lebanon finished first in 18:26 and Ariana Bauer of Morris Plains was first woman in 22:37.

Meanwhile, in Banff  the temperatures were cool but the altitude in the Canadian Rockies are not to be dismissed by us flatlanders.  Our hike from Lake Louise at 5,249 feet to Mirror Lake and Lake Agnes at 7,005 was interrupted by catch-your-breath stops.  Even the two runs in Banff had to be done at a slow pace.  Now looking forward to more summer racing.


Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at madelinebost@verizon.net

Sunday, July 1, 2018

There was no running column this week -  Sunday, July 1. 2018

I was on a wonderful family vacation stay in Banff, Canada -  cool and beautiful in the Canadian Rockies.  

Look for a column on Sunday, July 8th.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Randolph's Frost wins the rain flooded President's Cup Night Race

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, June 24, 2018


Collin Frost of Randolph didn’t let a little rain keep him from winning the President’s Cup Night Race 5K this past Monday night in Millburn.  Did I say a “little rain”?   OK.  It was a downpour of biblical proportions.

When the race started at 8:00 p.m. the clear skies had already darkened and there were hints of trouble to come from the far-off rumbles of thunder heading our way.  At the start, the pack surged ahead on dry pavement but with no promise it would remain that way.   A lead pack of about five fast young men quickly made their break but the relatively small pack became even smaller by the time Frost and his challengers hit the first mile.

That’s when the storm reached Millburn.  It began with a fine mist; then a shower, and then with flashes of lightening, and booms of thunder that quickly followed, the race was smack in the middle of the fast-moving storm.  For the runners the rain was a welcome wetting but there was the worry that this storm was much too close. 

Some runners have reported that they would not have been surprised if the high school at the turnaround had thrown open its doors and demanded the runners take shelter.  But it did not happen.  Spectators took shelter in doorways and under awnings, but the runners ran on in the ankle high water.

Frost was now running with just one other man.   Robert Stone of West Orange was at his side with Kyle Price of Milltown a lonely third.

Frost said that he threw in some surges in the last mile, but he couldn’t shake Stone who he did not know.  One last surge and Frost pulled away and headed for the finish on Essex Avenue.

He finished the race in 15:23 to Stone’s 15:27. Price finished in third in 15:47.  Nothing for the record books unless there is an asterisk designating “finish in flooded streets”.

Two out-of-town women placed first and second.   Laura Cummings of Bay Shore NY was first in 18:33, with Jennifer Sober of Jupiter FL second in 18:47.

The top age graded master woman was no surprise; Nora Cary, 63, of Morristown who finished in 23:09 and 83.06% PLP.  Mark Zamek, 55, of Allentown PA was the top age graded man with an 85.20% PLP for his 17:59.

As the runners finished the race they quickly sought shelter in doorways and under the pop-up tents in the Charlie Brown’s parking lot.  The Sam Adams beer truck was dispensing beer and the joke was that all the runners were drinking light beer, thinks to the infusion of rain water.

Then, as in a miracle, as fast as the storm had arrived, it left just as quickly.  Soon the sopping wet runners were out from under the pop-ups and enjoying their beer by the light of a crescent moon. 


If it’s summertime and you run in a night race you can expect to cool down with a cold beer.  Such is the case this evening after the Fitzgerald’s1928 Lager Run 5K in Glen Ridge.  Often a masters championship, this year the race is an open men and open women’s championship.  The setting is at Hurrell Field with the finish on the track.  All post race activities are on the field making for a pleasant setting for socializing while waiting for the awards ceremony to begin.  That in 2017 thirty-six teams came to compete is a testament to the popularity of this race.


The month ends with the Tom Fleming Sunset Classic five miler on Thursday in Bloomfield.  The race features a club coed division that is part of a three race coed club mini grand prix.  Like the corporate divisions in that the number of declared runners can be unlimited, but the top three men and top three women will be scored.  The open teams will be scored on time, but in the masters division the scoring will be based on age grading.  The Shades of Death Half Marathon in October and the Giralda Farms 5K in November will be the other two races in the coed series.

Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at madelinebost@verizon.net

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A ring side view from the car at Roxbury

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, June 17, 2018


It’s not often that I find myself in the lead vehicle at a race.  Yes, each July I hop in the police car for the Verizon 5K through Morristown, but usually I am a spectator like the rest, or doing my best to finish a race.

This past Monday night was an exception.  The Morris Country Striders were hosting the Roxbury Community Benefit 5K and I was at my usual post, registering runners.  It was getting close to the start time when fellow Strider Steve Austin came over to ask me, “Madeline, would you like to ride in the lead vehicle?”

Ride in his wife Karen’s sporty convertible?  “Sure.”  Was my quick response.

And thus, I was given a ring side seat in watching a three man race with an unlikely twist at the end.

The 2017 and 2016 winner Justin Schedi of Succasunna had entered the race and then, unbeknownst to Scheid, Colin Frost of Randolph, who won the race in 2013 arrived with his application in hand.  Ah, maybe a race.  It gets better.  Randolph’s Seamus Higgins who had just finished his collegiate season arrived.  Higgins waved off a possible duel with Frost and Scheid, saying that he was already winding down with his season over.

Perhaps, but a competitive runner is a competitive runner.  From my view sitting in the lead vehicle as the field surged forward at the start, Higgins was with the other two as they broke away from the 500 other starters. 

Eventually Scheid and Frost separated from Higgins, as he had predicted, and now it was a two man duel.  It was an impressive duel as they reached the two mile mark in under five minute pace.  It was about there that Scheid began to fall back just a step or two.  Could it have been the 15K hilly trail race that Scheid had run on Saturday that took a little toll while Frost had run, and won, the Chatham Fishawack much shorter four mile that same day?

Whatever the edge, Frost was cruising as we entered the Roxbury high school campus and headed toward the finish line at the adjacent middle school.  A beautiful night for running and racing capped with a fast time for the winner.  Frost finished in 15:20 with Scheid just five seconds back in 15:25. Then it hit.  Frost missed Youseff Rochdi’s course record of 15:19 by the smallest of margins - one second.

Higgins held on for third in 16:30. Fellow Randolph resident Rebecca Crawford won the women’s race in 19:28.  Thirteen year old Gabriella Dasakova of Succasunna placed second in 20:48.

While it won’t be a championship and that will likely draw fewer runners, the President’s Cup Night Race 5K will still be competitive.  Featuring a fast course, the race tomorrow night has a long history of fast runners.  In particular on the men’s side as the race was often the open men’s championship.  It was not a championship in 2017 but that didn’t deter Joshua Izewski of Doylestown PA who was on a roll to win the 2017 New Balance Grand Prix.

Izewski finished in 15:16, which in any other race would be a fast time.  Not this race.  Since 1999 twenty three racers have finished in under fifteen minutes.  Gene Mitchell has the fastest time of 14:34 which he did in 2003 when five men finished in under 15 minutes.  That was one heck of a race.


Johanson Field in Boonton is the site of the annual Morris County Striders summer series.  The race features a dead flat 5 kilometer cross country course that is so safe your grandmother could run it.  Over the years the township of Boonton has improved the course to the point you will be running not on grass for about half the race, but on a nicely paved path.  It is still competitive with course records kept over the years along with a best three out of four series for the loyal followers.

Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at madelinebost@verizon.net

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Beautiful Beast lived up to its name

On Sunday, June 10, 2018


It is unlikely that any of the 143 finishers in the Beautiful Beast of Hunterdon 15 kilometer trail race on Saturday would argue with the title.  Just climbing more than half a mile uphill to the finish was a slow-the-pace-to-a-walk beast.  This was the second year that the race was held and the first to be designated a New Jersey Trail championship.

After the race in 2017, Ed Neighbour of Sparta, the USATF Long Distance Running chair suggested to Managing Director Terry Mullane that he invite the race organizers to apply for championship status.  The suggestion was well received by the race director Eric Eisenhart.
Justin Scheid of Succasunna leapt to the lead at the start when the field completed a small loop on the ESC Hoffman’s Crossing Campus before plunging down the hill that would become the beast on the way back.  He was followed by Patrick Neighbour of Millford, Dominic Grillo of Whitehouse Station, and Lou Palma of Clinton.

The runners disappeared down the Columbia Trail heading east to a turnback onto the local roads paralleling the trail.  From there the course headed toward the Ken Lockwood Gorge with awesome views of the river and falls before taking a trip into the gorge with a beastly climb back out to the trail and heading back to the finish.

When Scheid reappeared, he had a nearly two and a half minute lead over Grillo, who was now in second place.  Palma had overtaken Neighbour and that is how they finished back at the campus.  The surprise finisher was Kristen Prendergast, 37, of Annandale who finished in fifth place in 1:01:51, ahead of the course designer Frank Batiste of Flemington who finished in 1:03.19.
Scheid’s time was 53:06, Grillo’s 55:59 and Palma’s 57:00.


The Roxbury Community Benefit 5K in Succasunna Monday night will seem virtually flat after the 15K beast race.  The race, that starts on Eyland Avenue in front of the Eisenhower Middle School has a small pop up hill in the first mile and another slight grade in the final mile.  That grade is rewarded with one of those wonderful downgrades that fools you into thinking you are flying when in fact you have the pull of gravity speeding your pace. 
Registration at the middle school begins at 5:00 pm, with the race starting at 7:00 pm.  This is a community focused race that attracts plenty of runners from around Morris county and beyond.  In 2017 over five hundred runners competed.
While the sweet course might be a draw, the post race goodies could also be a factor in the turnout.  Pizza, nutrition bars, yogurt and ice cream from the local favorite Cliff’s ice cream makes the price of admission a bargain.

Two New Jersey masters teams had a good day last weekend in Ann Arbor Michigan competing at the masters half marathon championship.

Finishing in first place was the Garden State Track Club New Balance, with Jonathan Frieder of Rye Brook NY in the lead.  Frieder finished fifth overall and first in his M45 age division.  He was followed by Sam Tiegan of Hawthorne who finished just behind Frieder in 1:14:58. Aaron Cooper of Englewood was next for the team with Gary Leaman of Hawthorne back-up man. Leaman finished in third place in the M55 age division.

Reno Stirrat of Rockaway was the top man on the M60 Shore Athletic Club team that placed second to the Atlanta Track Club.  Stirrat finished in 1:26:44 for seventh in the highly competitive M60 division. 

The Garden State team has a lock right now on first place in the season long team grand prix.  With just one more good race they will overcome a weak finish in last December’s club cross country 10kilometer race.  Only the highest scoring five races are counted in the grand prix and the poor races are dropped.  Next up for the teams is the 5K championship in Atlanta in August.


Roberta Groner of Randolph has done it again.  At Saturday’s New York Mini Marathon 10K Groner finished in 11th place and first master woman in 34:10. Not to be outdone, Morristown’s Nora Cary was the first W60 woman to finish with time of 44:28.   Both women age graded above 91% PLP.


Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at madelinebost@verizon.net

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Groner stars at Ridgewood

Published in the DAILY RECORD
For Sunday, June 3, 2018

While she may not be a New Jersey association champion, thanks to her now being a member of New 
York’s association, Roberta Groner of Randolph was the story at the Ridgewood Run 10K last Monday.  
The 10K was the state championship for men and women masters runners, but Groner, who turned 40 
recently wasn’t eligible to compete in the championship division. 
 In a race that encourages professional runners, like the winner of the race, Temesgen Habtemariam
 of New York who finished in 30:15, the first New Jersey runner is expected to be down a few spots
in the order of finish.
And so it was.  The first New Jersey runner finished in seventh place overall.  What wasn’t expected –
 the first New Jersey runner was Groner, who finished in an eye popping 33:31.  Her time placed her
as the overall course record holder, beating out the previous record of 33:36 by five seconds, 
set by assumed professional runner Naomi Wangui in 2001.
Groner was followed by three out-of-state women with Karen Auteri of Belvidere the next New Jersey
 woman to finish.  Her time was 36:44, which is reported to be an Auteri pr.
Stuart Haynes of Chatham was the top masters man, and top man on the winning M40 team Garmin 
Runners, with Gary Rosenberg of Morristown next in 35:20.   The Garden State Track Club’s A team 
took second with the club’s B team next in third place.
In the M50 division, the Garmin’s team placed first to the Garden State’s team with the Shore AC third.  Rockaway’s Reno Stirrat was the fastest man on the Shore team with his 38:36. Stirrat did not let a little thing like a back issue, as mentioned in this column last week, slow him down and he was only off of his age division course record time of 38:28 by eight seconds.  Ten teams competed in the M50 division that requires five men on a team minimum.
Thanks to being able to use one runner on two different age division teams, Stirrat headed up the 
Shore’s winning M60 team well ahead of the North Jersey Masters in second and Fleet Feet Essex 
in third, out of 13 teams.
On the women’s side the Clifton Running Club had no trouble placing first in the W40 division with 
the Garmin Runners in second and the Garden State team in third, out of 19 teams that competed.  
Clifton took a back seat in the W50 division with the North Jersey Masters taking first with Clifton
 second with the Garmin Runners third out of 14 teams.
Nora Cary of Morristown was the top finisher in the W60 division with her 43:23 and she brought her
 North Jersey Masters team to first place in their W60 division.  The Raritan Valley team was second
 and the North Jersey B team was third, out of six teams that competed.
The North Jersey team was the sole competitor in the W70 division.
Misa Tamura shaved four seconds off her own W50 record of 38:43 set in 2016 down to 38:38.
Cary knocked the legs off Toshiko d’Elia’s long standing W60 record of 44:47 by 
more than a minute with her 43:23.
If I were in 15 kilometer shape I would be at the USATF NJ trail race championship on Saturday, 
June 9th.  Many runners have run on the Columbia Trail former railroad bed out of Long Valley 
to High Bridge.  Contrast the trail with its only slight inclines with the Ken Lockwood Gorge 
and you have quite an adventure.
Quoting the race website, “run above the river and falls, and then wind your way through the
 gorge as you take in all Hunterdon County has to offer, just before a climb that will provide
 you the chance to conquer (or be conquered) by the “BEAST”. “
A bit of hyperbole perhaps, but the Ken Lockwood Gorge is considered one of the treasures
 of the state and a run into and back out of the gorge promises to be memorable.  
There are plenty of less challenging races this coming weekend, including the Chatham Fishawack
 4 miler and the Florham Park Jaycees 5K.

Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at madelinebost@verizon.net


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Ridgewood Runs tomorrow

On Sunday, May 27, 2018


Tomorrow the masters runners come out to play.  Well, not that you have to be masters age, which is of course, age 40 and more, but the Ridgewood Run 10K is a masters championship for both men and women.

The Ridgewood Run has been around for a long time, and the website makes for interesting reading when you find the Course Records page.  Way back in 1993, local hero Joe LeMay set the course record of 29:11 when he was in the 25 to 29 age division.  That would put LeMay now in the M50 division if he were to race tomorrow.

He would have to beat Hillsborough’s Brian Crowley’s time of 33:57 set just last year to take that title.  Reno Stirrat of Rockaway set the M60 age division course record of 38:28 in 2016.  Stirrat posted on Facebook Friday that he is dealing with a back issue.  He is registered to run but the back may prevent that from happening. 

Some of the age division records were set some time ago, like those of Austin Newman of Westfield, who ran a 46:32 in the M75 division, or Dudley Healy of Chatham whose record of 51:16 in the M80 has stood for quite some time.  But 89 year old Nathaniel Finestone’s M85 record time of 1:10:26 was set in 2014 and Finestone of Mountainside is still competing and will be running tomorrow. 

Misa Tamura of Ridgewood set the W50 record in 2016 of 38:43, and Lisa Swain of Fair Lawn set the W55 of 43:38 in 2014.  Imme Dyson of Princeton set the W80 record of 1:05:20 in 2017.  Both Dyson and Tamura are listed as registered for the race tomorrow. 

The Ridgewood Run is actually an all morning event with a 5K following the 10K, which is then followed by elite road miles.  In 2017 Ben Malone of River Vale finished in 4:23 to win the open men division, while Mark Williams of Columbia won the masters mile in 4:42.  Rolanda Bell of Laurelton NY won the open women’s mile in 5:05.  Elena Rozhko of Morristown won the masters women’s mile in 5:33.


The New Balance Grand Prix and the Mini Grand Prix have been posted and no surprise that Charlie Slaughter of Parsippany has the lead in the overall grand prix.  He has all but one of the maximum nine races.  Aya Leitz of Jersey City has the women’s lead.

What I find interesting is the contest in the Category 3 Mini Series.  Ricardo Romero of Hillsborough with four of the five necessary races has the lead, but in second place with just three races is Aaron Lesko of Morristown with 1,898 points and in third is Michael Dixon of Highland Park with 1,893 points.  Leskow beat Dixon in the two distance races that they both competed in, and both have the maximum 500 points in a non-championship race. 

Ah, interesting that Stacey Slaughter, daughter of Charlie is leading Aya Leitz in the Category 3 Mini Series women’s division.

In the Category 1 Mini Series, Rob Albano of Mahwah has a so far perfect score of 3,700 with seven of the maximum eight races.  Yes, he has won every race in that category that he entered.

Elena Rozhko has a similar record.  She has won four out of five races and will easily move from second to first with just three more Category 1 races.

What is interesting about these mini division series is that the top three people in the Overall New Balance Grand Prix are removed at season’s end from the mini series results for awards.    If Rozhko, for example places in the top three in the New Balance series she will disappear from the minis.


Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at madelinebost@verizon.net

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Our House was a wash but not a wash out

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, May 20, 2018


Rain or no rain, the Our House Four mile championship was going to take place.  Races seldom cancel due to rain and the race in Summit was no exception. 

With a small field of just a bit over 300 runners the race was on in the pouring cold rain.  The Boston Marathon this year may have set the standard for miserable races but at least the Summit race lasted for only those four miles.

Rob Albano of Mahwah crossed the finish line in 19:55 with Matt Gillette of Orefield PA just behind him in 19:58. Stephen Mennitt of Brooklyn NY was third in 20:18 with Aaron Leskow of Morristown in fourth place.

Albano recently joined the Freedom Running Club and along with Mennitt, Steven Lange of Stanhope, team captain Atilla Sabahoglu of Franklin Park, and Daniel Bier of Short Hills, placed first in the open team division.

The next three spots were taken by the Garden State Track Club teams, followed by the Garmin Runners in fifth place.  The Garmin team was made up solely by masters men with Stuart Haynes, 42, of Chatham their first man to finish.  He was 10th overall with his time of 22:04.

Garden State’s M40 A team won that division in a squeaker ahead of the Garmin squad by only ten seconds of the combined total times of the first five me to score.   Their M50 team captured first again, over the Garmin Runners.  The Shore Athletic Club placed first in the M60 division with Reno Stirrat, 64, of Rockaway first in his division and tops in the team.  He was also the top age graded man with an 85.87%.

On the women’s side, Laura Cummings of HoHoKus placed first in 23:53, with 45 year old Elena Rozhko of Morristown in second place with a time of 24:12.  Cummings lead in her Garden State team to first in the open women’s division and Rozhko was first on the third place Garmin Runners team.  The Garmin team was made up of all masters age women and they took the W40 Division. 

In the W50 division the North Jersey Masters team, lead in by Nora Cary, 63, of Morristown, with Debbie Brathwaite of Hawthorne and Diane Washburne of Mendham placed third.  Raritan Valley Road Runners were first.  Cary finished in 28:42 to top the age grading at 87.69% PLP.

The Morris County Striders had the sole teams in the W70 and W80 divisions.

In all, 78 teams competed in the rain with the last finishers the Striders W80 women; Diane Stone, Shirley Pettijohn, both of Chatham and Melva Murray of Hillsborough.  The three women poke fun at the idea of aging and are probably more active racers than the younger runners in the field. Saturday’s race was the third race in seven days for the trio.

Next up for the runners will be the Ridgewood Run 10K that this year will be the masters men and women’s championship.  The race, which takes place on Memorial Day will also offer a 5K and a road mile. 


Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at madelinebost@verizon.net

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Our House four next week

On Sunday, May 13, 2018


The state championships seem to be tumbling off the calendar nonstop this month.

Last weeks Newport 10,000 followed the previous weeks 15K in Clinton, and with just a one-week gap, the newest championship in the line-up is arriving in Summit on the 19th of this month.  Although it is new, it is also an established race, redrawn from a five mile to a four mile.  The setting for the Our House is at the Village Green in Summit with parking for all in a nearby municipal parking garage.  When it was a five mile race, the course was challenging.  Did they eliminate the hills with this re-draw? 

Last year, when the four miler was not a championship, Stephen Mennitt of Brooklyn and Atilla Sabahoglu of Manville raced each other to the finish line in 22:29 and 22:30 – at 5:37 pace.  Neither time even came close to 80% PLP, which might tell us what the course was like.  Or, were the two just taking it easy with no other challengers chasing them. 

This year will be quite different.   The Garden State Track Club with its overflowing stable of open runners will likely capture the top spots down through the clubs C, D, E teams on the men’s side.

Nothing is certain though.  At last week’s 10,000 in Jersey City, Garden State took first and second place, but third went to the growing Freedom Running Club, with Mennitt and Sabahoglu the first two men on the team.

Mennitt’s 32:00 put him at the head of the New Jersey elite list, followed by Morristown’s Aaron Leskow in 32:13.  The race was won by Abinet Adraro of Albuquerque in 29:52 and on the women’s side, Kaitlin Goodman of Providence RI in 34:12.  The second woman finisher was Amanda Marino of Asbury Park, who scored on the winning women’s team, the Shore Athletic Club.  The Shore team won by the slim margin of four seconds over second place Garden State; 3:23:02 to 3:23:06.

Seventeen complete men’s teams competed and thirteen women’s teams, with an impressive 1,632 finishers.


Runners can find a race in just about every town this month and plenty close to home in Morris County.  There is almost always a link at the end of this column where runners can find race calendars. 

Two local races of note are of note for two different reasons.  The first race to mention is the Mind Maters 5K in Madison.  It is the first race to take place this season on a weekday evening.  It is this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and is run through and around the Giralda Farms corporate campus.

The other race is nearly four times as large when including the number of runners doing the relay in the Super Hero Half Marathon.  It features an early 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning start at Ginty Field in Morris Township, with a finish at Loantaka Park off South Street.


While New Jersey was hosting the 10,000 meters with invited elites from around the country, some of our own runners traveled outside the state to compete.  Randolph’s Roberta Groner placed 7th woman overall in the Pittsburg Half Marathon last weekend.  Her time of 1:12:35 put her first masters woman and age graded at 92.9%.

Johnathan Frieder, formerly of Randolph, and now of Rye Brook NY placed first in the M45 division, and third of all men over 40 at the Blue Cross Broad Street ten mile run, in 53:58.


Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at madelinebost@verizon.net

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Newport 10,000 does it right

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, April 29, 2018


Back a few years ago.  Well, make that more than a few – make that many years ago, New Jersey was an unprotected state.  Hun?   Yes, our races were unprotected.  New Jersey races that had some prize money ended up in a listing – a “little black book” of sorts.  Agents for very fast and sort-of-fast runners scoured the “little black book” looking for money races for their athletes to enter.

These runners did not live in New Jersey.  They did live in one of the surrounding states; most notably Pennsylvania and New York, where they trained.  We are talking about athletes who originated from a foreign country and who were here on an athlete visa.

Golly, gee whiz.  It was sure exciting to have those really, really fast runners come to little ‘ole New Jersey to race, and to take away -  wait a minute!   They came to little ‘ole New Jersey for one reason.  Race and get out of the state as fast as they came, clutching the prize money that had been offered.  It was so easy.  A quick day trip to New Jersey from Pennsylvania or New York.

New Jersey race organizers soon realized that they were doing nothing for their races by offering that prize money.  The local fast runners, seeing the prize money, and knowing that the “carpet baggers” would show up on race day, stayed away.  Those fast guys and girls were not so well known that the local papers cared and the local runners were boycotting the “carpet bagger” races.

This is what is called a Light Bulb Moment.  With the help of the USATF New Jersey Long Distance Running committee the races put a caveat on their purse money.  The money would go only to USATF NJ members, or at the very least, to New Jersey residents.  Now you could have a competitive race with New Jersey’s elites racing for the purse money and the out-of-staters looking elsewhere for money races.  This change brought back the local runners.

Why did this come up?  Next Saturday New Jersey has the exemption to the rule in the form of the Newport 10,000.  The race is perfectly designed to attract those out-of-state elites while treating the New Jersey elite runners fairly.  The prize money is substantial enough to attract runners from throughout the country to the “Elite Division” and the “American Elite Division”, also known as professional racers.   Meanwhile, another division is for the open men and women of New Jersey who will vie for purse money specifically for their championship division.

How does this work out?  In 2017 the fastest man hit the tape in 29:46. Craig Lutz, age 24, came all the way from Flagstaff AZ to do that.

On the women’s side, Rosa Moriello of Brighton MA finished in 34:17 to capture first place prize money.  Roberta Groner, then 39, of Randolph was the first local woman, although she more rightly fits into the elite category.  She finished in 35:27 for third, not far behind a woman from Bend OR.  Ashley Higginson who now lives in Morristown finished tenth overall in 36:13.

The first three local elite men finished in a cluster in 14th, 16th, and 18th places; Aaron Leskow of Morristown in 31:28, Rob Nihan of Glen Rock in 32:46. and Kyle Price of North Brunswick in 32:53.

That this prize purse plan works well for the New Jersey runners is evident when looking at the team competition.  Twenty-one complete New Jersey men’s teams and fifteen women’s teams competed in 2017.

This scene will be repeated next Saturday in Jersey City with the 2018 Newport 10,000.  The one race in New Jersey where the elites of the nation are welcome along with the New Jersey runners. 


Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at madelinebost@verizon.net

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Springless Boston weather beats up the marathon runners

On Sunday, April 22, 2018


Reports from the runners who ran in the Boston Marathon on Monday tell a real horror story of time spent in aid tents along the course shaking with hypothermia.  More than once in an aid tent for some and plenty who needed aid when they finally crossed the finish line.  Ninety-one runners were reported to have been taken to local hospitals.

While television viewers watched with fascination and concern as the elite runners created the story with Desiree Linden the eventual winner after pausing to help her fellow Americans Shalane Flanagan and Molly Huddle   It has been reported that Linden herself considered dropping out like many of the elites did. 

We watched as the unlikely men’s winner, Japanese runner Yuki Kawauchi finished, wearing only arm warmers for added protection from the rain and wind.  Kawauchi was running in his fourth marathon this year!  His fourth win, too.  Can it get anymore awesome than that?

Of course, back in the pack the non-elite runners were also struggling with the wind, the rain, and the cold and if they finished, finishing in their personal worst.  Joe Sikora, the 66-year-old runner from Succasunna who you read about here last week was one of those struggling to finish.

Sikora reported that it was his second slowest of the 33 Boston marathons he has now done.  He has dubbed this year’s marathon as the “Hypothermia Boston”, that he finished in 4:55:00.   The “Heatstroke Boston” was in 2012 when he finished three and a half minutes slower in 4:58:28.

“Both years I was going in at under four hour shape,” Sikora wrote in an email.  “Nevertheless, I persisted.”

Sikora persisted because that is what you do at Boston.  You train hard to get in shape and you have invested a lot of energy to qualify for Boston by running in a previous marathon.  You have little choice but to start and then persist. 
Only two men from this area finished in under three hours; Kevin Fitzgerald of Wharton finished in 2:58:02 and Justin Scheid of Succasunna in 2:59:32.   Brianna Deming of Morristown went under three with her 2:56:39 and Jenna Robeson of Randolph was the next fastest local woman with a 3:11:59.


The early bird gets the worm and the early runners get the points.  A very poor metaphor to let you know that Charlie Slaughter, 63, of Parsippany, with six races already on his tally has the lead in the New Balance Grand Prix.  Karl Leitz, 52, of Jersey City is second with five races, while his wife Aya Leitz, 41, is the top woman with five races also.  Shannon McKenna, 27, of Parlin is second and in third?  None other than 63-year-old Nora Cary of Morristown.  Cary is only seven points off from McKenna.  Both have only four races in.

Only one championship race has been run so far, and the Garmin sponsored club and team grand prix is interesting in the scarcity of clubs having a score.  The first championship was the challenging Indian Trails 20K and many clubs decided to let the race be their one allowed non scoring race.  The top five clubs in descending order are Garden State Track Club New Balance, Clifton Road Runners, Garmin, Raritan Valley Road Runners and Fleet Feet Essex.

Next up is the Clinton Country Run 15K on April 28.  The 15K is nowhere near as hilly as the Indian Trails course, although it does have a long climb between mile five and six.  Still, 9.3 will feel like a cake-walk after the 12.4 miles at Indian Trails.

The Woods and Lakes 5 and 10K runs always draw local runners who will eschew the Clinton race in order to run in the woods, on trails, and over sand in the 41st running of the race in Mountain Lakes.  Runners under age 30 need not apply.  The race was created way back when there were few runners over age 30 that had a chance to star in a race.  Now, of course, there are plenty who are double that age who compete.  Those over age 70 get to run for free. 
No, the race is not a grand prix race.  It is what it is.  A fun race with adult beverage awards. 

Race Results can often be found at www.compuscore.com or at www.bestrace.com
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at madelinebost@verizon.net