Sunday, February 11, 2018

Unexpected outcome

On Sunday, February 11, 2018


UNEXPECTED FINISH IN MORE  WAYS THAN ONE

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.
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Contact Madeline Bost at madelinebost@verizon.net



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.
  

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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