Sunday, February 25, 2018

Get it done!

On Sunday, February 25, 2018


Writing a newspaper column about running means that I am often approached by race organizers asking me to promote their event.  When I ask for details I am faced with a disappointing decision.  Is this a race I should tell my readers about?

Is your race sanctioned?  Is your course certified?  Will it be in the New Balance grand prix?  If the answer is no, then I have to wonder if the organizers really want to put on a quality race that will please and attract the runners.  I don’t want to send them to an unorganized, uncertified, unsanctioned event with no grand prix points.

Sanctioning with USATF, the national governing body of the sport, has a cost.  That sanction though covers the event’s host location, such as a school, or church, and the town in which it will be held.  This sanction insurance is very inexpensive as compared to the prices of most event insurance policies.

Any athlete who is a USATF member and is injured while participating in a sanctioned event will be eligible for secondary medical insurance coverage for the injury.  Think that is not important?  A New Jersey USATF member was injured at a non-sanctioned event last year.  Her medical costs were not covered.

Sanctioning a race in New Jersey means that the local USATF association will have the race listed in its race calendar.  This is important if the race is using a race timing system that is not well known in the area.  Runners in New Jersey know to check the CompuScore and Best race timing website for races.  A start-up timing site will go unnoticed, but if the race is sanctioned the runner can see it at the USATF calendar.

By far the most compelling reason to not only sanction a race, and to get the course certified is to place it in the New Balance grand prix.  Yes, that costs money.  A course certifier will charge for certifying the course and it might be several hundred dollars and the longer the course, the larger the fee.  But the certification remains valid for ten years, so a good accountant will pro-rate the cost over ten years.  If the fee is $300.00 then the cost per year is $30.00.

Now here’s where it gets tricky.  You pay the sanction fee based on the number of runners you attract.  The New Balance grand prix is $ 75.00 if you are holding just one race, $ 100.00 for two.
How many more runners do you need to attract in order to benefit from putting the race in the grand prix?  Let’s just say that your pre-entry fee is $ 25.00 and you give the USATF member a discount on the pre-entry, so let’s say that the average fee – adding together pre and post entries and dividing by the number of runners is $26.00.  I said it was tricky but let’s go with it.

So, your costs are $ 30.00 for the certification, $ 220.00 for the sanction and $ 75.00 for the grand prix for a total new cost of $ 325.00.   Now divide $ 325.00 by $ 26.00 and you know that you need to attract 12.5 runners. Go ahead and say the average entry fee comes out to $24.00, so you need to attract 13.5 runners.  In this area where local runners won’t waste their energies on non-grand prix races, it’s a no brainer.  In fact, here’s another tip - there are runners who won’t go to a race unless it is timed by CompuScore or Best.

If the race is in the late winter, or early spring it’s a double no-brainer.  Runners want to get to the grand prix races early and often.  They may have better races later in the year, but there is no guarantee that injuries won’t pop up.  The early races are insurance against injury lay-offs.

If you know someone who is talking about putting on a race in the state, share this column with them.  Tell them, “It costs money to make money.”  It is sure true in New Jersey road racing.

For info go to 


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, February 18, 2018

Track and Field Championship dual meet was a success

On Sunday, February 18, 2018


In the January 28th running column here, I suggested that road runners could run a 5K indoors.  While my suggestion was slightly tongue in cheek, 11 men, and two women did run the 5,000 meter race at the Ocean Breeze indoor track and field facility on Staten Island this past Sunday.

It was a dual meet between the New York association and New Jersey.  Others from outside the two associations were excluded, causing many other athletes such as ones from the Long Island association and MidAtlantic to be quite unhappy.  As this was the first time for the event to be run as a dual meet, there is talk of making it a “tri-meet in 2019 and scoring all the others as a single group.

New Jersey outscored the home association 264 to 184 on the women’s side and 404 to 183 on the men’s side.  The highest scoring women’s club was Bella N Motion with 120 points over second place Shore Athletic club with 82 points with the Raritan Valley Road Runners third with 80 points. 
The Shore Athletic Club far outscored all the men’s clubs with 485 points but the Morris area Garmin club pulled in 176 points for second place.  Local long distance runners represented a good many of the track athletes.

Reno and Susan Stirrat of Rockaway hung up their cross country spikes and changed into track spikes for the meet.  Susan Stirrat was the work horse in the family.  She started off with running the mile in 7:28.75, then the 800 meters in 3:39.79 and finished her day with the 3,000 meters in 15:15.4.  Hubby Reno focused all of his energies on the 3,000 and finished in 11:22.59.

Kevin Higgins of Randolph traded in his marathon shoes for track spikes to win the M55 division in the mile in 5:32.4.  The mile race that drew the most attention was the heat with Gary Rosenberg of Morristown, still sporting injuries from his fall at the Millrose Games relay, attempting to break five minutes in order to keep his sub five streak alive. 

Rosenberg had missed it in previous attempts this season.  He was ready to go and his Garmin teammates were there to spur him on.  With a 4:21 split with one more lap to go Rosenberg picked up the pace to hit 35.9 for the last lap and a finishing time of 4:57.254.

The Garmin team nearly took over the track for the 800 meter run.  Five Garmin men out of the six in the M50 finished:  Peter Kashulines of Mountain Lakes in 2:10.5 was first, then Tom Metz of Denville in 2:33.63 in second, John Hanlon of Riverdale in 2:37.50 for fourth, Angelo Harasts of Pine Brook in 2:38.7 and Richard Carlson of Boonton in 2:45.43.  Harasts also ran the mile, finishing in 5:43.51

Mark Williams of Columbia, still recovering from the exhibition Masters Mile at the New Balance Games the day before in Boston, won the 800 meters M45 division in 2:02.74.  Robert Skorupski  of Rockaway finished in third in the division in 2:13.07.  At the other end of the age spectrum, John Saarmann, M75, of Stanhope finished the 800 meters in   3:53.16 and the 400 meters in 1:39.27.

By far the biggest buzz of the meet was Nora Cary of Morristown, running in her first ever indoor track meet.  The 62 year old finished the mile in 6:27.75 that age graded at 91.16% and the 3,000 meters in 12:55.39 for an 89.5% PLP.

Lori McGill of Budd Lake did the same double and medaled in both events as well.
The Garmin club put together an M40 and M50 4 X 800 relay team to add a few more points to their tally, knowing that the Shore AC, with all their sprinters and field event men would outscore them.   

Although from outside the Morris area it is worth noting that an enthusiastic group of Raritan Valley Road Runners women ran in distances from the 60 meter dash up to the 3,000 meters and did both the 4 X 400 and 4 X 800 to gather points for their club.


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, February 11, 2018

Unexpected outcome

On Sunday, February 11, 2018


The Garmin Men’s 40 team began with six men on the squad but by the time the Millrose Games Masters 4 X 400 went off last week, the six were now four and the anchor leg was by his own admission the most unlikely guy on the team.  Mark Williams of Columbia put the squad together and got them registered for the prestige event. 

Bobbie Brown of South Orange who was a standout on the Notre Dame football team back in his collegiate years, and then spent some time in the NFL was supposed to be on the squad.  He might have been the fastest if he had been able to run.  But a strain in the week before the event took Brown out of the line-up.  The same goes for Rob DeCarlo of Saddle River.

So, the six were now four.  Williams, who had national and international wins under his belt in the mile and the 800 meters, including the Harstshorne Masters Mile in 4:31.81 in January, was expected to be the fastest man on the team.  Peter Kashulines of Mountain Lakes at 54 was the most senior member of the squad.  His specialties were the 800 and the mile with a 2:08 in his race log in 2017.

A standout at Morristown High School in the field events, Jason Lattimore of Morris Plains had added sprints to his resume in his senior year at Morristown.  He had only recently joined the club and probably the only one who actually runs the 400 meters in regular competition.

And then there was Morristown’s Gary Rosenberg whose sub five-minute mile streak you read about here last year.  Williams had decided to start with the fastest man and work down to the slowest.  That put Rosenberg in the anchor leg spot, he told me when we talked this week.

The club had run a team in the 2017 Millrose and had finished sixth out of seven teams, so their expectations were more along the lines of “don’t finish last”.

“Mark told us that the two fastest teams are not coming, so we’re “’oh good, that means we won’t get crushed,’” said Rosenberg.

“I didn’t really want to anchor but what are you going to do?  We are going to be so far out of this that it doesn’t matter,” he said he was thinking.

It actually didn’t play out that way though.  Williams lead off with a 55 second quarter and he handed off to Kashulines in third place out of the nine teams on the track.

“We figured we’d hand off somewhere near the front and then just keep going backwards,” said Rosenberg.

But Kashulines put them in second place at the hand off.

“Well, that was unexpected,” Rosenberg said he was thinking.  The team that was hoping to not finish last was actually gaining ground.  Lattimore moved them up one spot and now he was handing off to Rosenberg and no one was in front of them.
Going through Rosenberg’s mind is that he hadn’t raced a quarter in some time, has no speed and has no confidence that he could run fast. Brown or DeCarlo were supposed to be in this race. But there he was on the track at the Millrose Games Masters Relay and he is leading a race that his team had hoped to just not finish last.

Running scared Rosenberg went through the first lap in first place, waiting for the inevitable to happen.  Waiting for everyone to come by him.

As he came off the first turn on the second lap, the second-place man began to come around and with an elbow flying, he bumped Rosenberg.

 “It threw me off balance.  I was running hard and if someone touches me I can’t hold my balance,” he said.  “I’m already giving it everything I have.”

“I started falling and I thought I could catch myself.  The next thing I know I am on the track.”

Back up on his feet Rosenberg is now in fifth place and trying to get moving again, hoping he can catch up to the guys in front of him.  But his momentum is gone and although he passed one man, three others finished ahead of him.

“It was disappointing and I’m not saying that if I didn’t fall we would have won,” he said.  “But I think it is safe to say that we would have come in second.”

The man that Rosenberg passed was in the same team age division, so despite the bad luck of going from first to fourth in the final lap, they came home with a medal.

“I never expected to leave with a Millrose medal so it was kind of cool,” said Rosenberg shrugging off their rags-to-riches-to-rags tale. 

 “Better luck next year,” surely applies.
Contact Madeline Bost at

Thursday, February 8, 2018

New Jersey runners run with the stars

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, February 4, 2018

New Jersey runners run with the stars

It has often been said that running is a unique sport where the very non-professional runner competes in the same race as the elite.  While this is certainly true in road races like marathons and championships, it is closer to real in a national cross country meet.

The elites in cross country warm up on the same grounds, they use the same bank of porta-potties as the rest.  They are truly viewed as a part of the same bunch of runners, even though they bear the name of Galen Rupp or Leonard  Koirer, Stanely Kebenei or Evan Jaeger.

On Saturday those same men competed at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee FL with the Garden State Track Club and the Shore Athletic Club.  The excitement for the masters men's 8km race was as high as for the open men's 10K where Rupp, Koirer, Kebenei and Jaeger competed.

The park's hard pack dirt course features multiple loops of a single hill course with variations for the different distances. The downhill portion featured closely trimmed grass before disappearing from spectator view into the trails.  Spectators could watch live as the runners passed the bleachers, or follow on the plexitron that alternated between showing the places of the runners during the race, or shots of them at key places on the course.

In other words, the venue is worthy of any world competition.  When  the masters men's field went by the viewing area for the first time, Montville's Elliott Frieder was part of the lead pack that included Sam Tiegan of Hawthorn and Jonathan Frieder of Rye Brooke NY.  The pack had thinned when the men came by on the next lap but those three maintained their position in the top ten.

The rest of the team, Chuck Schneekloth of Franklin, Thomas Knowles of Oakland and Aaron Cooper of Englewood finished in that order.

Further back Reno Stirrat of Rockaway was the lead man on his Shore Athletic Club's Men 60 team. Next was Kevin Dollard of NY and Scott Linell of Colts Neck and Roger Price of Randolph, finishing in that position.

In the first race of the meet, Susan Stirrat of Rockaway finished 7th in the W60 division and Madeline Bost of Randolph won the W75 division by virtue of being the only entrant in that division.  

Oh, back to those elite runners. Korir out kicked Rupp after running side by side down the home stretch, and Kebenei out kicked Jager in their finish line duel.

This meet is a selection meet for the world's cross country meet in odd years.  That means that the meet yesterday did not have the entries that it will have in 2019.  The 2019 meet will again be at the Apalachee Park on the same course.  

While Tallahassee is not easy to reach the park's cross country courses are considered excellent and the park a great venue.  The same New Jersey teams are expected back in 2019.


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