Sunday, January 28, 2018

5,000 meters is a perfect 5K

On Sunday, January 28, 2018


What’s your idea of a perfect 5K course?  You want it to be fast, so it needs to be flat.  No sharp corners, and of course you want it to be weather perfect.   You can have all that on Sunday, February 11 and you don’t have to travel too far to find it.

That 5K course is just across the bridge on Staten Island and here’s the best part.  It could be cold outside, raining cats and dogs, or snowing up a storm.  You’ll be warm and dry because you will be running your 5K indoors at the Ocean Breeze facility in the dual New Jersey / New York Championship meet.

It is not often that 5,000 meters is offered at an indoor meet, but this meet has it, along with the shorter and more common 3,000 meter distance.  The facility opened its doors for competition in November of 2015 and has been a magnet for high school, youth and open and masters competitors ever since.

This is the first time that New Jersey is holding a meet at Ocean Breeze.  In recent years athletes have had to travel to Toms River to compete in the John Bennet Indoor Sports Complex.  The bubble, as it is known, might be fine for a practice facility but it misses a lot as a competition venue, including indoor toilets.  That’s right, athletes and spectators have to make their way to the parking lot where the porta-potties are lined up for use.  It is guaranteed that the Ocean Breeze facility will not have you outside in porta-potties.   

The 5,000 meter race is scheduled for 12:20 p.m.  New Jersey runners will have plenty of time to make that race.  Those who want to try the mile indoors need to be there a little earlier.  The women’s mile begins at 11:10 a.m. and the men at 11:25 a.m.  Half milers (800 meters) will start right after the 5,000 meter race and for those who want to run 3,000 meters, that start is at 1:30 p.m.

This is the first year that the two associations are teaming up to hold a dual meet with their championships.  Points will be assigned for each event and within each age division and added together to determine the winning association. 

Pre-entry closes on Thursday, February 8, at 11:59 p.m.  That is a very generous close-to-day-of- meet deadline.  Be forewarned that there is no day of meet registration. Go to the New Jersey USATF website to enter.

New Jersey track fans will have a chance to preview the Ocean Breeze facility on Monday February 5th when the Morris County Invitational high school meet is held there.  The meet starts at 4:00 p.m.

While we’re on the topic of track and field, several national meets will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network in the next few weeks.  The grand daddy of indoor track is the Milrose Games on Saturday, February 3rd at 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The New Balance Indoor Grand Prix meet in Boston will be shown on Saturday, February 10 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Last is the USATF indoor championship in Albuquerque on February 17th and 18th.


Ok, so who would rather run a cross country meet in February?  How about if it was in Tallahassee FL?  Sound better?

That’s where some New Jersey runners will be on February 3rd to compete in the national winter cross country meet.  The meet will have several races ranging from junior women who will run 6 km and junior men who run 8 km, open men and women who will run 10 km and masters men running 8 km and masters women running 6 km.

A look at the pre-registration list shows that the Garden State Track club will have a fast team in the M40 division, giving them a good start to the season.  Likewise, the Shore Athletic Club that placed second in the M60, 2017 national team grand prix has entered a fast squad in that division.

Publish only when space permits.  Please do not cut for this tag.
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, January 21, 2018

Long Distance Running Committee will meet February 6

On Sunday, January 21 2018



When the USATF long distance running committee meets each fall, usually in September, individuals are welcome to submit proposals for changes as to how the various events are conducted.  Most often these deal with components of the grands prix.  After many years of the New Balance sponsored individual grand prix, things are pretty much set there.

 The biggest change for that program was to make all participants their age at the beginning of the year what will be their age at the end of year.  If you turn 50 on December 31st, you are 50 the whole year.  You are still 49 in the individual races that you run for age division awards.

That was settled years ago and eliminated a confusing and complicated system of handling those aging up into a new age division within the year.  It does give those who age up later in the year an advantage as they are the youngest of the youngest in their new age division, but it was accepted as the fairest way to handle the problem.

No, there are not too many issues in the individual grand prix, but oh my, every year a few people try to tweak the team grand prix to make it fairer or simpler, or – well - here’s some ideas; too many people required on a team, not enough people required on a team, team declarations are a nuisance, ten year age divisions are too broad, should a mile be in the grand prix? Should we have a coed grand prix.  In fact, this year those very items were addressed by participants at the September 2017 meeting.
A proposal that would eliminate the team declaration by just allowing the computer to assign all team members into a team as they registered.  This would work if there were only A teams, but USATF rules do allow for B, and C, etc. teams.  That proposal was essentially tabled until the kinks could be worked out, if at all.

 The merit for such a rule is that it would eliminate the team captains from having to wait to see if all of their team members were “on the ground” before turning in their team declarations.  This is a headache for team captains who are also running in the race.  Often their warm-up is delayed or non-existent.

What’s the old saying, “One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure”?  Not exactly apropos of the next proposal but similar.  Some long distance runners cross over into track distances and they love to run the mile.  On the other end of the spectrum are the long, long distance runners, who would rather not run even a 5 kilometer race (3.1 mile), let alone run a mile.

We now have a road mile championship, and all of our championships fall into the team grand prix.  This does not make everyone happy. A proposal has been submitted to recognize that the mile has championship status and teams will compete, but the race will not be in the team grand prix.

Where did all those age 40 to 49 women come from?  Are there too many of them?  Only three women are currently required for a W40 team to score.  Let’s change that to four women.

Ah, but let’s solve that in a new and innovative way.  Let’s create five year teams like we do when scoring individuals.  We do that in the individual divisions because it is recognized that as our runners grow older, there is far wider disparity between the younger members of a team and the older ones.  In the 40 to 49 division there is not that great a disparity but in the 50 to 59 span, the 60 to 69 span there is.  Forget about it once the runners are in their 70’s and beyond.

So, let’s create five year age division teams.  Let’s reduce the number of members on a team that score to account for the smaller pool of runners in a club for each team.  Let’s have the teams declare up to six runners and then score the three fastest.  Or maybe declare seven and score the four fastest in the younger age divisions of 40 through 54.  

In 2017 the President’s Cup Night Race 5K in Millburn in June had a coed division.  Wouldn’t that be interesting if all of the championship races featured a coed division.  Not a corporate coed division, but a USATF division, and let’s keep it in a separate grand prix.

All of these suggestions will be viewed, debated, argued and settled or tabled at the long distance running meeting at the Madison Y on February 6th.  


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 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