Sunday, November 18, 2018

Horace Ashenfelter 8K is this Thursday

On Sunday, Nov 18, 2018


As you know the Horace Ashenfelter 8 Kilometer race in Glen Ridge falls on the fourth Thursday in November, and this year the fourth Thursday is occurring on the earliest possible date, November 22nd.  That may explain why runners are wondering why they feel like they haven’t had enough time to get in shape. The 8K is the last state championship of the season.

All divisions are competing and getting their last shot at improving their scores in the club grand prix and team divisions.  Overall the Garden State Track Club New Balance is unbeatable in the club division.  The Clifton Running Club is in second place and the Shore Athletic Club is in third with the Morris based Garmin club only eleven points back in fourth.

Garden State nails the open division races with their top three, A, B, C teams usually scoring high in the open men division. Those three teams have the top three spots.

Their open women A team is stellar and in the lead in that division.  No contest for first but the next five teams are separated by a mere six points, with the Garmin women second and the Shore third.  Clifton is trailing in fourth by only one point. 

The only team that could beat Garden State in the M40 division is the Garmin Runners.  If Garden State’s top guys, like the Frieder twins don’t show Garmin might have a chance to overcome their four point difference.  The third place Shore team can’t move out of third and it can’t be caught by the Garden State B team.  But the Clifton runners could pass Garden State and move into fourth.  there’s two points between them.

In the M50 division it’s the Garmin team ahead and with a 16 point lead they will take the division. The Shore team is trailing Clifton by five points.

 The Shore club has it sewed up in the M60 division with the real contest between Clifton and Fleet Feet Essex for second.  Clifton’s M70 team will win their division and don’t need to show up at the Ashenfelter.  But they will. 

The Clifton W40 team has victory sewed up also, while the Garmin women need to maintain their leave of Garden State for second.  Again, the tight contests are further down, with the Raritan Valley Road Runners having a one point lead over the North Jersey Masters.

The Clifton women have it again in the W50 and can’t be caught.  Raritan Valley has only a four point lead over the North Jersey Masters and they have only a two point lead over the Garmin runners.
Morristown’s Nora Cary is the deciding factor in the North Jersey Masters ten point lead in the W60 divisions race.  Raritan Valley is in a tie for second with the Clifton women.
And then there is the W70 and W80 divisions with only the Morris County Striders in position to win both.  Team grand prix rules require a team to compete in at least three races to count and thus the Striders have to put a B team in the W70 division.  Their W80 team has already won three races and are solid, but word is that the women will be running.
In fact, even those teams that have an insurmountable lead are sure to be racing.  The Ashenfelter race, falling on, oh yes, on Thanksgiving morning, is a well-managed event, with a great course with only one short hill.  All the rest are just grades and some are downhill grades.

Local young athletes did well at the USATF New Jersey Junior Olympic meet on November 4th at Deer Path Park in Readington, Hunterdon County.  William Van Etten of Chester won the Boys 9 and 10 division with Cameron Sontz of Montville taking second place.
The following youths placed third in their divisions:  Gabriella Pelov of Montville, 8 and under girls; Noah Pizzirusso of Mount Olive, 8 and under boys; Katherine Shaw of Chester, 9 and 10 girls; Albin Mullan of Parsippany, 13 and 14 boys.
In all, over four hundred young athletes competed on the still muddy cross country course.  Congratulations to all.  Remember that running is for life.  Stay with it.

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, November 11, 2018

Giralda Farms 5K at noon today in Madison

On Sunday, Nov 11, 2018


If you haven’t yet registered for the Giralda Farms 5K today, it’s not too late as long as you haven’t slept in.  The race starts at 12 noon.  The gates to the Giralda Farms complex on Madison Avenue in Madison will close at 11:45 am.   Talk about making it easy for the procrastinators.

What’s interesting about the Giralda Farms 5K is that the race was once a 10K with no 5K.  The 5K was added in 2000 and drew only 178 finishers while the 10K finished 396.  Ten years ago, the races had grown to 571 in the 5K and 617 finishers in the 10K.

The 10K was the masters men’s championship in 2016 and drew 501 finishers and 371 ran in the 5K.  Last year the 5K was the masters men’s championship and it drew 530 finishers.  In the respective top ten were five masters men and five masters women.

That makes you understand why the prize money is going to be going eight places deep in the masters age grading and only three deep for the open runners.  It looks like the target market for the 5K is the masters runners.

This year the race is not a championship for either gender, but instead is a part of the co-ed series for the USATF New Jersey teams.  The concept is much like the corporate team structure, but these teams are composed of the top three scoring men and the top three scoring women.  That’s six runners on the team, which is larger than corporate teams that usually score only the top three while including at least one person of the opposite gender.  That’s usually two men and one woman, but not always and sometimes the fastest corporate runner is a woman.

The scoring is pretty straightforward for the open teams as they are scored by fastest combined times, but here’s where it gets interesting for the masters teams.  The top three men and top three women are scored, but not by their time.  They use their masters age grading score.  The club with the highest combined Performance Level Percentage is the winner.  

For example, at the Sunset Classic five mile race this past June that was a Coed event, the Fleet Feet Essex club placed first masters team with their 444.13%.  The Clifton running club was second with 437.14% and the North Jersey Masters were third with 435.01%.

This concept requires a strong club effort to have at least six masters runners who age grade in the 70’s and 80’s PLP. 

Runners who lack races in their grand prix scores have only a few chances to fill in those zeros with numbers.  Most everybody has managed to get to at least three 5K races, but for those who lack a Category Two there is not much to chose from.  Of course, there is the Ashenfelter 8K that will take place on Thanksgiving morning.  It is a 700 point race. 

The only 500 point Category Two race that I see is the Westfield Five miler that is the following Saturday, November 24th.  That’s pretty quick after running 8K two days previous but it looks like the only one left.  Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Category Three races are usually hard to find by the end of the year too.  The Great Swamp Devil 15K on Sunday, November 18th is an old standby.  It is flat and features double back turns so is fun to see who is racing ahead of you and who is chasing you.  The race starts at eleven am, along with a 5K that starts at the same time.
Thanks to the Super Hero folks there is a new Category Three race on Sunday, December 2nd, starting from Giralda Farms.  The Super Santa Ten miler will be a scenic course passing pastoral scenes as well as running through part of the Loantaka preserve. 


Roberta Groner, who was featured here last Sunday, finished the New York City Marathon in 2:31:00, in twelfth place and first masters woman.  Awesome running Roberta!


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, November 4, 2018

Groner will run with the elite women today

On Sunday, Nov 4, 2018


Roberta Groner moved from Pittsburg to Randolph in 2014 and began racing here in 2015.  She stood out immediately and when she inquired about the Randolph based Do Run Runners she was welcomed into the club.
Club member Beau Atwater of Bedminster became her solid training partner as they prepared for Boston following the Hanson Training Plan created by the Michigan running store group that has turned out elite runners.

In October of 2016 Groner was introduced to Hector Matos of Rutherford who had begun to coach some very good New Jersey runners.  Under his coaching Groner was dropping her times at each race.

Life does not move in a straight line, and after winning the Ashenfelter 8K in November 2016 in 27:16, a minute and a half ahead of any other women, Groner realized that she needed to break with her New Jersey friends.  She joined the New York Athletic Club, where she would be around other women of her ability.   That has proved to be a good move and Groner continued to get faster.

With Matos coaching, Groner had hoped to make the US marathon qualifying time of 2:37 at the California International Marathon in December 2017.  Not only did she qualify, she finished in 2:30:38 in second place overall behind professional runner Sara Hall.

After the marathon she switched to shorter distances on the advice of her coach and PR’d the 5K and 10K and the half marathon.  When she wasn’t running and taking care of her three boys, and working a full-time nurse’s job, she finished her Bachelor’s degree.  Can we say Achiever?

Groner was invited to start with the elite women in the New York City marathon after her 2:30.38 California International Marathon last year. 

She has been training up to the mid 90’s and then in the mid 80’s for three weeks.  The week leading up to the marathon she was at 65 miles, and this last week - her taper week has put in about 25 miles, including a 30 minute run on Saturday.

In September Groner opened a few more eyes with her third place at the Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon where she shared the podium with Desi Linden.  Linden finished in 1:11:48, just 32 second ahead of Groner whose time was 1:12:20.

In a recent interview, Linden was asked who she thought might be around her in the marathon, and she named Groner as one of those women.

“I guess my name is out there a little bit,” said Groner who is enjoying the new notoriety.

But her feet are clearly on the ground and she sees it as just a bunch of competitors who just happen to be very fast.

“Us competitors, we know who we are running against,” said Groner.  “They get to know who I am and I get to know who they are.”

“Even though I don’t see myself anywhere near Desi Linden that day, it’s nice to know the feel.”

Her “tribe” of supporters in New Jersey as they have come to call themselves, have a different view and do see their athlete as capable of being in the lead pack with Linden and others.

Lest anyone forget, Groner, who is now 40, may be the fastest masters woman marathoner now competing.   

In a recent post Facebook Groner concluded,
“No matter the outcome on Sunday I have held onto the vision and have trusted the process! It’s game time! 

While Groner is running her second New York City Marathon, other local runners can claim a different fame.  Catherine Shott of Hopatcong will be running in her 31st consecutive New York City marathon.  Kevin Higgins of Randolph will be running his 28th and Joe Sikora of Succasunna will be running his 26th.  Shott’s best time was in 1988 at age 28 when she finished in 3:51:30.  Higgins did a 2:52:59 in 2001 when he was 42 years old and Sikora’s best time was done at age 26 when he finished in 2:47:46.

We wish all of the runners a fast time and good running.


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