Monday, January 15, 2018

Auteri makes it two - Grand Prix and sub three marathon

On Sunday, January 14 2018


Let’s see.  Win the New Jersey New Balance Grand Prix.  Check.  Break three hours for the marathon.  Check.

Karen Auteri of Liberty Township with a mailing address of Belvidere has bragging rights to both accomplishments.  And it all started with an invite from her father, Peter, of Pompton Lakes.

When Peter Auteri asked her in 2004 if she wanted to run the Walt Disney marathon with him the answer was quick and emphatic.

“Absolutely not! I never want to run a marathon.  Ever in my life!”

Back then, fresh out of college and used to running short distance, with only one 10K under her belt the marathon seemed like an impossible and distasteful distance.

The aversion didn’t last long.  Auteri found herself running a half marathon that fall. 

“It was so hard.  I couldn’t imagine running it twice,” she said.   But the following January she did join her father to run in the Disney marathon and finished in 3:48.18.   She ran it again the next year and the next year, and this year, in her 23rd marathon she placed fourth overall at Disney on January 7th and broke the three-hour barrier with her 2:59:15

Although the Disney course is basically flat, Auteri relied on her training with Gary Leaman of Hardwick to power up each incline on the overpasses.

“On every tiny incline I did power up them because I have been training,” said Auteri.  “Gary taught me to run up the hills and then maintain a seven-minute pace.  With Gary you run hard all the time.”

Winning the New Balance Grand Prix might have seemed destined in 2017.  With Randolph’s Roberta Groner now affiliated with the New York Athletic Club and not eligible in New Jersey, the game was wide open, and especially for someone who loves to race.  Getting to enough races would not be all that difficult for Auteri.

Races are chosen based on what her training dictates as well as what races she needs in the grand prix.  She was in the lead from early in the fall but kept racing and improved her Category One score to 500 points at one of the last races of the season, the hugely popular Doughnut Run on December 10th.  She was first runner overall to finish in the East Brunswick 10K in October. 

Auteri is making a big move in 2018.  After seeing the improvements that Groner, and Sam Tiegen of Hawthorne had in running the California International Marathon in December after hiring Hector Matos as their coach, she wondered if he could help her to reach another milestone, the B standard for the Olympic Trials Marathon.

 “I just see such results – someone like Roberta who you can’t imagine her getting any faster than she is and taking six minutes off her already unbelievable times,” said Auteri.

Auteri referenced the double amputee, Brian Reynolds of Clifton, who now holds the world record for below the knee amputees.

“He started training with Hector and he went from a 1:28 half to a 1:21,” she said.  “He also took an extreme amount of time off his marathon.” 

It was Tiegen that planted the seed to reach out to Matos.  He told her that he thought she had the potential to qualify for the Olympic Trials B standard of 2:45.

She knows that she will have to make big changes to her training.  Even training for the marathon, her highest mileage may have been only 48 miles.  Under Matos she expects that to nearly double and could include doubles on some days.  She runs only five days a week and does no workouts on the track.

“My races take the place of workout’s,” she said. 

 “I just run on “feels”.  If I feel good I’ll run a little faster,” she said.  Sometimes I’ll hit a marathon pace just because I’m feeling good.” 

Although she had broken the 3:05 marathon barrier with a 3:01 at the Pocono Marathon in May of 2016 Auteri said she was lacking confidence ahead of the Disney marathon.  Her talisman showed up in the form of a running shoe.  Nike athletes Geoffry Kirui, and Galen Rupp among other elite athletes have been running in the Nike Zoom Vaporfly.  With the same shoes on her feet, Auteri was ready to go, confidence restored and 2:59:15 her prize. 

With her new magical shoes and a bone fide coach, 2018 is looking good for this talented runner.


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, January 8, 2018

Frigid weather didn't stop runners on New Year's Day

On Sunday, January 7, 2018


Freezing cold weather did not deter 987 runners from showing up at the three north New Jersey races on New Year’s Day.  That’s the total number of finishers in the three races.  Add to that the runners who ran with their various clubs and we have a lot of either very hardy people, or a lot of really crazy runners.  From the comfort of my tiny exercise room, running on my Zero impact trainer, I say they are all crazy.

Ben Giugliano of Sparta won the Hillsborough Resolution Run 5K in 17:37. If Giugliano had stayed home, the winner would have been a fifty-three-year-old.  Not just any 53year old of course.  Bryan Crowley of Hillsborough is still defying the nature by finishing in second place in 17:44. Amy Williams of Hillsborough was the first woman to finish.  Her time of 20:26 was only 18 seconds ahead of the second place woman, Maria Metzger of Basking Ridge, who finished in 20:44.   The race counted 387 finishers.

The Central Jersey Road Runners Hangover Run was won by John Capobianco of Basking Ridge in 16:33. Carolina Collius, whose town is unknown, finished the race in 20:16 for first place woman.  Jeff Altman of Randolph was the first local runner to finish.  The 47-year-old finished in 19:24 to top the masters men category.  Kate Polles of Morristown was the first local woman to finish.  Her time was 21:40, This race had the largest field with 524 finishers.

St Mark’s New Year’s Day 5K in Long Valley attracted 76 runners to their inaugural race.  John Montgomery, 22, of Hackettstown won the race in 16:08 with who can be assumed to be his father, John Montgomery 52 second in 19:26.  Maggie Scardapane, whose town is not shown was the first woman in 20:39.

Now that the year 2017 is wrapped up, it is time for USATF masters runners to fill out their applications for the national Phidippides Award.  Points are award for the races that runners complete with one point, for instance, in a distance of 1 mile to 4 kilometers.  A 5K and 5 miles earns two points.  At the other end, five points are earned for 25 kilometers up to the marathon and six points for distances greater than the marathon.

To qualify for a Gold level award, you will need 30 points if you are 40 to 59 years old, 24 if you are 60 to 79, and 12 points if you are eighty or older.  A very nice plaque is issued and your name is published on the national USATF site on the masters long distance running page.

Runners who have been awarded the Phidippides Award for five years are recognized for that achievement also.  New Jersey runners make up a lot of names on those rosters. 
It is easy to pick up the names of Morris area runners in the 2016 list of gold medal winners: Peter Auteri, Debra Bernstein, Charlie Castigioni, Wesley Cole, Stephanie Edwards, Carla and Stephen Holusha, Scott Isgett, John Klobus, Sue Lawler, Pete Lee, Lori and Robert McGill, Randy Miller, Dario Mirski, Melva Murray, Shirley Pettijohn, Greg and Susan Rentko, Kathy and John Robertson, Rene Rovtar, Arch Seamans, Joe Sikora, Diane Stone, Bill Trengove, Patricia Tummey, Diane and Mark Washburne,

A winter series is coming back to Wayne in the form of the Passaic County Technical Institute Winter Series.  This 5K race features a car-less course with some small hills and a few twists.  It is not a PR course but good preparation for when the weather breaks.  Pre and post race activities are in a heated area. The first race is next Sunday, January 14th and then in two week intervals, January 28, February 4, and February 18th.

The organizers are offering discounts to those age 17 and younger and those 65 and over.  Not bad and a discount for USATF NJ members. 

For more information go to


Blow good running wishes to the women’s winner of the 2017 New Balance grand prix.  Karen Auteri of Belvidere is running today at the Walt Disney World Marathon.

Edit notes:  Karen Auteri finished the marathon in 2:59 


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