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 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, 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 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, 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 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, 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 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