Sunday, October 28, 2018

Thriller at Deer Path Park

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, Oct 28, 2018


The rivalry this past Sunday at Deer Path Park in the New Jersey cross country 8 kilometer championship was evident on the faces of the top runners as they sped to the finish line.  There was no masking the intensity as the Breakneck team and the Garden State Track Club New Balance top men put the hammer down.

That it was going to be a contest between those two teams was well known after the 5 kilometer race at Natirar in August where the Breakneck men beat the Garden State A team by 20 points.  Garden State usually splits their huge roster up with their best men scattered among the several teams they field.  It cost them the win in August when their seventh and eighth man was on the B team.  All of the Breakneck men were on their one and only team in August.

It wasn’t going to happen again.  The top men were on the Garden State club’s A team.  Breakneck was back and with Colin Frost of Randolph back in racing shape after his short layoff following his dnf marathon debut.

Nothing was going to stop them from a fine performance.  Nothing perhaps except the weather.  After a beautiful Saturday, Sunday’s dawn was marred by a cold front that had come in overnight.  Deer Path Park was once a farm with wide open fields that provided no resistance to the whipping winds. 

The game runners set out to do a warm up on the course that they would run three times.  Coming back from the far field they discovered the Mud Pit had returned.  Heavy and persistent rains had restored the infamous low spot back to its famed condition.  Run through it or to either side of it, there would be no escaping the sucking mud.

In more benign conditions the runners will begin to assemble at the start early to find their position and to do a few strides.  Not on Sunday.  Only reluctantly did the runners shed their outer coverings and line up for the start.  The smoke from the starters pistol dissipated with the wind and the race was on.  The two rival squads quickly went to the lead with a pack of the best men seeking to reach the end of the field and onto the path in a good position.

The course at the park can handle two running abreast but it is not easy to pass slowing runners so a good position is important here.  Each loop of the course is roughly 2.5 kilometer, with the last half a kilometer made up in the run to the finish.  The lead pack emerged from the low-lying field to complete their first loop and spectators could see that the pack had settled into a pace that was keeping them bunched.  No need just yet to test one another. 

Spectators also noticed that the runners were displaying entire backsides splattered with mud from the Mud Pit.  None had managed to evade it.

Slower runners were trailing the field, and very slow runners were being lapped by the pack that was now going into their final tour of the course.  The lead pack had thinned now as some had not managed the quickening pace as they disappeared on their final lap.

Spectators craned to see who would emerge from the distant low-lying field.  The lead pack was completely scattered now, strung out and in the lead was Frost, followed by fellow Breaknecker Brian Quilty of Pitman.  In third was Justin Scheid of Succasunna, running for the Shore Athletic Club.  After Scheid was another Breaknecker, Eric Dubois, also of Pitman.  Finally, in fifth place was the first Garden State runner, Stephen Rathbun of Springfield.  Nick DeSantis of Wanaque finished as the fifth Breakneck runner.  Breakneck took it with 27 points to Garden State’s 37.

The Garden State’s open women’s team had no trouble winning for the club.  Lead in by Shelby Goose of Englewood, the team finished the top four women before Clifton’s Hortencia Aliaga of Garfield finished in fifth place.  The Shore Athletic Club took second and the Raritan Valley Road Runners were third.

The masters team divisions had the Garmin M40 and M50 teams in first place with Garden State in second in both of those divisions.  The Shore AC took third in both divisions with the lesser players making up the ten M40 teams and the seven M50 teams.

In the M60 division, the Shore club finished their A and B teams in first and second place with the Garden State team finishing in third out of twelve teams.   The Shore also placed first in the M70 division.

Aliaga, who is 47, brought her Clifton W40 team into first place over newcomer Bella N Motion with the North Jersey Masters in third.  Clifton also won the W50 division, but the Shore club took first in the W60 division.

Local runners with fine performances include Reno Stirrat of Rockaway who scored third in the masters men age grading with his 83.40% PLP, Terry Davidson of Randolph with a 79.19%, and Peter Kashulines of Mountain Lakes with a 78.17%.

Local women were Nora Cary of Morristown who was first in the age grading with an 86.59%, Laura DeLea of Sparta, fourth at 77.64%, and Susan Stirrat of Rockaway in eighth place with 75.53%. 

To look up the complete results go to 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Masters Women at Harrington Park 5K for the next championship

On Sunday, Oct 21, 2018


Three years ago, the Harrington Park 5K Fall Spectacular stepped in as the open women’s 5K when the Little Silver 5K was cancelled due to unsafe roads after a huge ‘nor’easter hit the coast.  

This year the race is not a substitute but a full-fledged championship, taking place on Saturday, November 3rd.  Although this is the first year as a selected championship, the race is no newcomer.  This is the 17th year for the race in northeastern Bergen County, just a few miles south of the New York state border.

Amenities count for a fall race and runners will appreciate that the pre and post race activities take place in what the race website describes as a” large warm gym” and” clean indoor restrooms (no portable units)”.  That alone is worth the price of admission in my opinion.  Actually, the price of admission is not hefty.  If postmarked by October 26th the cost to register is $ 25.00 and USATF NJ members will pay only $22.00.  The fun run is even cheaper. 

The website shows the course map with ten turns.  All those turns are somewhat offset by the very flat course as seen in the video also on the website.   There will be plenty of opportunities to run the tangents as long as runners are allowed to use both lanes of the road.

In 2015 the female winner was Kristin Andrews who set the course record of 18:09.  Andrews is still in her twenties so that doesn’t give us a hint of who is in contention for first masters woman overall and more importantly the first age graded woman. 

Best Racing does the timing for the race and Best generally does not calculate age grading.  It will be necessary this time as the prize money of $ 300.00, $200.00 and $ 100.00 goes to the top age graded masters women.  That fact has not been apparent on the website, but look for an update this week.

The top contenders in the age grading competition are Nora Cary of Morristown, Laura DeLea of Sparta, Misa Tamura of Ridgewood, Hortencia Aliaga of Garfield, Suzanne LaBurt of Greenwood Lake NY, Mary Christian of Flanders, Erika Campbell of Ridgewood and Susan Olesky of Mendham.

All of these top women will be running on teams like the Garmin Runners, Clifton, Raritan Valley and the North Jersey Masters and local clubs like the Rose City Runners and the Morris County Striders.

At the USATF New Jersey Long Distance Running committee meeting this past Monday, the handling of the Mile race was under scrutiny again.  The race is the shortest distance raced and some runners are not fans of the race, considering the distance to be of the track and field genre.  The most recent host of the race has been the Midland Mile in Montclair.  In 2018 the race had 568 finishers, running in several heats.  That was a big jump from 2017 with 492 finishers, and one hundred more than in 2016. 

So what seems to be the problem?   The race is a championship and that means that it is also in the team grand prix.  And that is a problem for some team members who would like to sit it out and not be pressured to compete in it for their teams. 

John Sabatino of Morris Plains, and a member of the Garmin Runners proposed that the race remain a championship but that the results would not be part of the team grand prix.   Such a change would surely reduce the number of participants which in turn would hurt the race’s drawing power. 

The team grand prix, and the number of championships being held creates a problem of over-racing according to Chuck Schneekloth of the Garden State Track Club.  He proposed that the number of championships be reduced from 14, which is what was on the schedule for 2018, to only seven.

Although he presented this as a proposed change to the rules, the committee saw this as an administrative issue.  The executive committee, which is made up of chairs and vice chairs of the open women, open men and masters divisions will look at how to reduce the number of championships being required of the individual runner.  A reduction to seven is unlikely and would undercut the funding of the grand Prix’s as those races chosen for championships pay an extra fee for the privilege.

Karen Auterie of Belvidere suggested some of the races be asked to host both the open and masters division championship for the same gender.  For instance, a race could be the championship for the open and masters women, and another for the open and masters men.  This would make it possible for masters to compete on their clubs open team and their own masters division team. 

Not all races would seem conducive to this structuring, but some combining could be done it was thought.  Most of the long distance races are already host to all divisions.


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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, October 15, 2018

Cross country next Sunday at Deer Path Park

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, Oct 14, 2018


Cross Country racing is in high swing now.  This past Friday I drove over to Central Park to watch high school athletes  race in the Greystone Invitational.  The athletes prefer the new course that was first used in 2017, but I as a spectator I miss the old course that was easier to navigate.

Adult racing will take place in the New Jersey championship cross country 8 kilometer meet next Sunday at Deer Path Park.  The course is a triple loop of the park, which is considered by many to be a classic cross country venue.  The racers start on a baseball field and are quickly out on the paths that ring the former farm fields.  Because of the layout spectators can watch the start and finish, and twice during the race without even moving.

In 2017 the top men were an interesting mix with Joshua Izewski of Doylestown PA in 24:52 running for the Garden State Track Club, with Brian Quilty of Glassboro next in 25:14 running for the Breakneck Track Club, and he was followed in by Justin Scheid of Succasunna, running for the Shore Athletic Club in 25:19.  Kristin Andrews of Manalapan was the women’s winner finishing over a minute ahead of any other woman in 29:12.

The team grand prix has been updated after the masters men’s 5k championship and the Garden State team leads in the M40 division with the Garmin Runners only six points back – 104 to 98 points.  The Shore AC is in third but well out of the race.  The real contest is between Shore and Garden State’s B team and the Clifton Road Runners separated by less than ten points.

Those four clubs are the leaders in the M50 division with Garmin Runners in first and fourteen points ahead of Garden State in second.  Clifton and Shore are well off in third and fourth respectively.
In the M60 division the Shore’s A team is leading Clifton 66 to 53, with the Fleet Feet Essex club in third with 48 points.  The Clifton M70 team has a probably insurmountable lead over the North Jersey Masters.

Masters women will have their 5K championship in November which means their scoring opportunities have not been all reached.  The masters women’s contests are very differint than on the men’s side.  The Clifton Running Club leads in the W40 with the Garmin Runners next and the Garden State New Balance team in third with the Raritan Valley Road Runners women in fourth place.

Clifton has the lead also in the W50 division with a tie for second between the Garmin women and the Raritan Valley club.   The North Jersey masters lead the W60 with another tie for second, this time between the Clifton runners and Raritan Valley’s A team.  The Morris County Striders crack W70 team cannot be beat but their W80 team must compete in one more race to have their place secured.  The grand prix rules require that a team must compete in a minimum of three races in order to score at the end of the series. 

There is not as much excitement in the open team divisions.  The Garden State Track Club New Balance has the top three spots with the Garmin Runners in fourth and the Freedom Running Club in fifth.  The Breakneck Track Club is returning and can be a spoiler by beating the Garden State team like they did in August at the 5km cross country meet.  Randolph’s Colin Frost will be ready to go for the win he told me, after having to pull out of his Steamtown Marathon debut, due to cramping at mile 19.  He will be well rested by next Sunday and ready to lead his team in.

 In the open women’s division  the Garden State’s team has a substantial lead over the Garmin Runners, who are flanked by the Garden State’s B team.  In the missed-opportunity category is  the Shore Athletic Club that has missed two championships where they might have scored big points and would be in second place instead of fifth.


The Long Distance Running Committee will meet Monday night, October 15 at the Madison Y at 7:00 p.m.  This is when people who believe there is a better way to do things present their suggested rule or operation changes for the coming year. 


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Masters shine at Little Silver

On Sunday, Oct 7, 2018


Kyle Price of Milltown returned to Little Silver this past Sunday to win once more the 5K race that he won in 2017.  His win this year in 15:17 beat his own time of 15:23 in the 2017 race.   Aaron Leskow of Morristown was second in 15:38 and Mathew Slocum of Montclair was third in 16:10.

The race was the New Jersey masters men’s championship and it was fitting that Jonathan Frieder, age 47, of Rye Brook, NY, who is on a hot streak this season was fourth overall in 16:21.  His brother Elliott of Montville was the next master in 16:40.  Eight hundred meter specialist Mark Williams of Columbia rounded up the top three masters in 16:45.

Kristin Andrews of Manalapan finished in 17:48 for first place on the women’s side.  Kiera Russo of Eatontown was second in 18:28 and Robyn Evangelist of Egg Harbor Township was third in 18:45.

The Frieders lead their M40 Garden State Athletic Team New Balance to first place in their division, with Williams leading in his Garmin Runners team to second.  Garden State’s B team was third, followed by the Shore Athletic Club.

The Garmin Runners M50 team placed first in their division, lead in by Mark Zamek, 55, of Allentown PA whose 17:01 put him in first in the age graded file at 90.12%.  Jonathan Frieder was second with 88.21%.  Brian Crowley, 53, of Hillsborough finished in 17:12 for an 87.77% to place third.

The Shore AC team was second in the M50 and Garden State was third.  The Garmin Runners took first in the M60 division with the Shore’s A and B teams following.  The Shore team hit first in the M70 division with the Clifton Road Runners second and third with their A and B teams respectively.  In a first for this year, the Shore club fielded an M80 team.

Although the race was the masters men’s championship, prize money was also awarded to masters women and Lorraine McPhillips, 64, of Basking Ridge whose time of 23:55 was age graded at 81.49% will receive the top prize purse.  Dawn Wilcox, 45, of Little Silver who finished in 20:13 was next with a PLP of 77.72%.  Debbie Brathwaite, 59, of Garfield finished in 23:43 to round out the age grading top three at 77.22%.


We’d been watching him train on Facebook and reading his posts as he prepared for the WMA meet in Malaga Spain.  That hard work paid off for Mark Williams of Columbia in September.  Over eight thousand masters athletes from around the world gather together every two years to compete in a nearly two-week long masters track and field championship meet.

Williams, who grew up in Hopatcong, specializes in mid distance events, with the 800 meters being his prime target.  Williams first had to qualify for the event, which he did handily in 2:01.05 placing second in his heat.  Then came the final and running against the fastest men age 45 to 49 in the world, Williams finished in 2:01.26 for second place.

In the 1,500 meter final he finished in eighth place out of 16 runners in a time of 4:17.20.  On the last day of the meet his American team finished in fourth place in the 4 X 400 relay, finishing in 3:35.27.

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