Runner's Forum


The Runners Forum webpage is the place to communicate with other web viewers. You can write an article about a race you ran, comment on the website, ask questions, make suggestions, etc.  Just e-mail your thoughts to

Ocean Drive Marathon
Three veterans and a virgin Chilly Cheeks 2009
Batona Trail Ramblings
Camptown revisited
Post Marathon Tips
Desert Voices Fundraiser
No One Immune From Cancer
Most Scenic Races
Favorite Races That No Longer Exist
Can't Dance But I Can Still Wiggle
Seaside Heights 1 mile swim - Great recent event
Escape From Fort Delaware TriathlonT
Blood Sweat and Beers - Ugly Mudder
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Hot Weather Running From RRCA
Our Run In The Pines
He ain’t Heavy, He’s a Clydesdale!

The New York Marathon

Steamtown Marathon
Liberty Waterfront Half-Marathon
Tri-State Classic
Keeping Pace with the RRCA
Performance Enhancement
PR Races
Best Races from Certain Counties

When Running is Just 1/3 of the Fun

Best Races


Ocean Drive Marathon 2009

 The clock turns 2:00am. I roll over on my side, the ice pack on my throbbing foot having melted.  I take my pulse by the throb alone waiting for the minute on the clock  to change.  Fifty four beats per minute, a little high but it should be from the pain.  I drift off to sleep. 

  The alarm goes off at four am and all I can think is, “What possesses me to do these things!”.  I climb out of bed and as soon as my foot gets on the floor the dull pain turns sharp.  I stumble out to the kitchen, fill a basin with cold water and ice and immerse my foot.

  Gout is a cruel trick my genetics have played on me!  It is one of the worst pains I have ever felt!  I have broken bones, ruptured my Achilles tendon, endured cracked ribs and watched Rosie O’ Donnell on the view but I never had a worse pain than gout!

 The big toe and joint on my right foot is swollen, hot to the touch and the redness runs up my arch.  This is the fourth day I have been suffering.  I downloaded a book that offers a two hour cure and it had me taking baking soda dissolved in water every four hours.  Needless to say their 2 hour cure was optimistic at best!  The only thing I have ever tried that would get rid of gout for me was to run 20 miles.  Normally the foot will throb for around five or six miles and by then the increased blood flow will take the swelling down and it will start feeling better.  I ran seven miles Thursday and it did feel a bit better after the run but came back with a vengeance last night.  Lucky for me!  I have a marathon this morning, if I can just get the swelling down enough to get my darn shoe on! 

 I drove down to Wildwood and stopped at my friend Rita's and she gave me a bag of ice.  I iced the foot again for about 10 minutes then it was time to walk down the boardwalk with a couple friends Doc and Bob to catch the bus to the start.   The race also has a 10 mile option and Rita’s house is only a few blocks from the 10 mile finish.  We walked up on the boardwalk and were met by a strong east wind and stinging rain.  We got to the area where we were to meet the bus and the first bus was full and pulling away.  We stood in the rain and wind for about 20 minutes before the next one came.  It filled up quickly and drove us down to the start.  My foot was throbbing and I could again take my pulse just by the throb!  I hit a “Port o Lav” and must have dropped my ear-buds for my MP3 player.  No music for this trip!  There was a nice warm lodge open for the runners to stay warm before the race start.

  We lined up for the pre-race announcements and national anthem.  It was crowded because they run the 10 mile and marathon at the same time.  When we started, I didn't hear a gun or anything, everyone just started running!  I did my best to block out the pain in my foot but I almost stopped after the first couple of blocks!  Bob was running with me for the first half mile but he wanted to run a slower pace and he was going way to fast. I saw friends Keith and Dee to my left so I tucked in with them.  The plan was to run 9:00 miles for a four hour finish. We went by the first mile in 9:17.  It seemed like Keith picked it up the second and he did!  We hit the second mile in 17:45.  I was trying to get them to pace a little better but you have to know Keith!  We started up a large bridge and a good incline heading out of Cape May.  I tried to coast the down side but the foot was stinging on the bottom now.  We turned on a causeway into the teeth of the wind.  By the time we hit five miles around 44:00 Keith and Dee were about 30 yards ahead and pulling away.  I was expecting my foot to ease a bit around mile five or six but it didn't at all!  I just tried to stay steady knowing if I favored the foot I would cause something else to crash. After mile nine, I gave serious consideration of DNFing and just walking over to my car at Rita's.  Her house is about the 9.5 mile marker.  We turned up on the Wildwood board walk and I ducked in a vacant Port o Lav.  I went by 10 miles in 1:32 and the boards were making my foot feel a little better. The running path was crowded with finishers of the ten mile stumbling around and not paying attention to the marathoners continuing on.

  The marathon course headed out of Wildwood and crossed a draw bridge.  The hill up and down felt good after running most of the course that was flat as a pancake! 

 We turned on Ocean Drive and I started talking with a guy who was walking but started to run again when I got along side of him.  We ran together for a mile or so talking and joking.  When I told him my name and he told me his, I recognized he is a hasher from Philly!  He only was running the race because I posted it on the "A Clowns" Yahoo group!  We got a laugh out of that and we ran together for about five miles.  My foot finally started feeling better around mile 16.  We came to a T where the course makes a right then goes about a half mile and turns around.  Who do I see?!! Keith and Dee!  I told Keith I smelled blood in the water and he better not slow down!  He has used that phrase on me in the past.  Shortly after the turnaround, I pulled away from my hasher friend.  I was finding my stride and even ran a few miles under 9:00.  I went past 20 in 3:07 and felt surprisingly good!  The only walking I would do was when I got drinks from the aid station.  I have cramped way too much in previous marathons so I made sure to drink Gator Aid and took several Gel packs.  I was still a bit spooked about cramping up in the last six miles so I ran controlled.  Around mile 22, who do I see?  Keith!  He was alternately walking and running.  When I came up behind him, I said," Has anyone ever told you that you look like Ned Beatty from behind?"  He said he ran out of gas so I just kept my form not wanting to make his situation worse.  I stayed as smooth as I could trying to encourage  the runners I was passing as the miles wound down.  They had a clock with the one mile to go sign and it said 4:01:30.  I picked it up and ran a fast last half mile and finished in 4:09:29.  I ran the last mile just under 8:00 minutes.  Dee finished in 4:07 something.  I told her she should have run with me from the beginning and we both would have run faster!  Keith finished a few minutes after me.  He usually destroys me at the marathon distance!

  I got a ride back to Rita's and got a shower and changed and iced my foot for about 20 minutes.  It actually is feeling better now and most of the swelling is gone!  I got two blisters but don't feel as beat up as usual.  I guess my gout remedy has worked again! 

  I'm not sure how Bob made out.  Someone said he got lost on the course!

  That was the most comfortable last 10 miles of any marathon I have ever run!  I guess having to hold back the first 15 miles or so has its benefits!

  I had no intentions to run this marathon but Dee told me last Tuesday if I consider it a training run then I don’t have to have trained for it!

  The Marathon Fairy finally sprinkled her fairy dust on me!  For those of you that have never heard of the Marathon Fairy, She flies above the crowd at the starting line and sprinkles magical fairy dust on runners who haven’t trained enough or are injured.   The dust allows them to run a good marathon when they shouldn’t be able to.  The down side is that for every one runner she sprinkles the dust on, she takes a dump on ten!  And Keith thought it was a seagull!...Jim Pate


Three veterans and a virgin Chilly Cheeks 2009

By Jim Pate


A small but hearty group met at Friendly’s for the carpool to Mt. Penn and the Chilly Cheeks 7.25 mile trail race.  Gary, Ted, Vince and I met at 8:15 army time.

  The ride over had light traffic with only one slight detour we promised not to tell Dee about.

  The temperature was cool but there was very little wind blowing.  We noticed the steam from the cooling towers at Pottstown Limerick power plant rising almost straight up!  The ground seemed clear of snow on the way out but Mt. Penn holds many surprises.

  This was Vince’s first Mt. Penn race and he seemed a little apprehensive so we assured him these races are just like road races except for the steep hills, green briars, rocks, mud, ice, snow and wild animals. 

  We parked at the Liederkranz German Singing and Sports Bar which was nice and warm with plenty of room for everyone as we waited for the race start.   They had plenty of hot coffee for the runners and the bar was open.  I could see several runners pre-lubing with shots of Jägermeister and draft German Beer.  I guess you can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning!

  We headed out to the car to get ready to go to the start and Ted demonstrated his technique for running on ice for Vince.  He still bounces pretty well for an older guy!  I changed my shoes for a pair of trail shoes I put screws in.  They helped a lot on most areas.

  The start was next to the park where the Half Wit and Ugly Mudder start but across the road.  Ron Horn gave the pre-race announcements including the warning, “Don’t assume the person ahead of you is on course, if they were that bright, would they be here?!!”

 We were soon off.  The trail followed a paved road for the first hundred yards then turned down a fairly wide two track for nearly  a half mile of gradual down hill.  It was nice to get into a good running rhythm but this was to be short lived!  The course made a turn straight up the very steep mountain.  There was no trail so everyone picked their own way up the hill.  Just as we started to level off, we entered a briar section with a lot of downed logs to be negotiated.  People were starting to curse and we hadn’t even run a mile yet!  We broke out to a ball field and there was Ron Horn grinning like the Cheshire Cat! 

  The trail crossed the ball field then followed the road for a half mile of rolling hills before turning up a moderately steep single track.  We eventually came out in a field and ran by the Mt. Penn Pagoda before crossing a road and following a two track down hill.

  What goes down, must go up!  The course was a series of steep climbs and descents for the next several miles with much of the course off trail.  Every so often there would be motivational signs on the trees like: “Go down hill fast, break your @ss”, or words to that effect.  

  Around the five mile mark there was a water stop with “Alternative Beverages”, Yuengling Lager to be exact.  I enjoyed a few that were just a slight bit frozen and then continued on.

 Shortly after the beer check, there was a sign “Beautiful and Boring, I bet Boring sounds beautiful around now!”  It was!  The course followed a fairly level two track on the snow covered side of the mountain for almost a mile.  We began a gradual down hill toward the end and just as I started to feel recovered I looked to my left and said, “Holly Crap! Look at that!”, to the runner next to me.  We could see the line of runners winding up a very steep and long section of mountain aptly named,“ Mt. Whaddafug”.  This hill was very steep and only got steeper as you climbed.  Everyone was walking at this point and a few were stopped off the side catching their breath. 

  Eventually we came out on a road on top of the mountain and ran down it a short way before turning left down a single track trail that went steep down the hill.  There were a few turns at ninety degrees and the guy in front and behind me both slipped and fell at the same point.  I started to find my rhythm and ran down a steep section trying to avoid the ever present rocks and roots.  The trail went right over a mountain bike jump then down a steep and rocky section.  I couldn’t help wondering how many casualties that section has generated over the years! 

  We came out in a park, ran by the pond  and back down the same section of road and trail we ran in the start of the race.  This time we turned left and were routed up the infamous “Mt. Mud”.  The hill was frozen and I was able to pick my way up it without too much trouble.  Gary was at the top of the hill cheering me up. The course turned right through the parking lot then left up a final little lung burner hill to the finish. 

  After finishing, I went back to cheer the other runners in.  Ted and Vince finished shortly after me. 

  We went back to the car to get some dry clothes and enjoy some hot Glow Wine.   Vince, virgin no more, just kept shaking his head.  I asked him at what point of the race did he ask himself, “What the hell did I get myself into?  He said, “The first hill!”

 Ted was nursing a banged elbow from where he went down crossing a frozen bridge but other than that we were no worse for wear. 

  We went to the Liederkranz and enjoyed a late breakfast with a few pitchers of beer watching an Irish Family band perform before the awards ceremony. 

  All and all, it was a great day and definitely worth the drive!

 If you want to win something, enter a local 5K.  If you want to experience something you will talk and laugh about for years, enter one of Ron Horn’s Trail races!


Batona Trail Ramblings

By Jim Pate and Trail Dog Danny

Sunday January 11th, concluded the last section of the Pineland Striders Annual Batona Trail series.  The series started in September some fifty miles away.  It was a chilly damp morning but we easily could have had worse conditions with freezing rain in the forecast.

   The series has grown in attendance since just four runners and a trail dog completed the entire trail the first year four years ago.  It seems like we pick up a few new faces every week!  A good number of the participants are now doing the sections as out and back runs building mileage for various upcoming races.  Like all good trail runs, it's not really a trail run if someone doesn't get lost! 

  Daniel Boone once remarked after someone asked him if he was ever lost:  "No, I've been bewildered a few times for a couple days but never lost!"  We didn't get anyone lost this year but a few were bewildered for a few hours a couple of times!

Leg one started at the northern trail head at Ong's Hat.  Ong's hat was named for a traveler and ladies man Jacob Ong who rode the stage coach from Philadelphia to the shore back in the 18 hundreds.   One of his lady friends became upset after seeing him with a different woman and threw his top hat up into a big oak tree where it stuck in the branches.   When travelers would pass the spot for several years after they would say, "There's Ong's hat!" The name stuck.

  Ong's hat is also the location of one of New Jersey's certified haunted villages and the location of a cult which practices interdimensional travel in a specially built orb while having tantric sex.  Do those people know how to party? Or what!!! 


Leg 1 Ong’s Hat Trail Head



  It was pouring rain as we assembled for the group picture but stopped just as we started to run.  The first mile of the trail was standing water but it soon gave way to a nice packed sand trail through some small hills along Deep Hollow.  The trail flattened out and entered a two track section.  We crossed Rt. 70 and entered single track trail that wound by the Brendon Byrne fire tower and we stopped for an aid station set out at the five mile mark.  After the stop we continued past the state forest office on a rolling trail.  We couldn’t help noticing the still visible damage path where a tornado passed some years back uprooting several hundred trees.  The trail went south, paralleling Rt. 72 for a couple miles, turning through a cedar swamp with some slippery boards on the trail, then on to the Cranberry trail for the last half mile of the 8 mile trail section finishing under sunny skies at Pakim Pond.

   A good sized group went to breakfast at Anapay's Restaurant where we enjoyed a hearty meal along with a big pitcher of Margaritas.  Several others did the out and back for 16 miles.  One of them got a bit bewildered on course but was picked up walking along the highway by one of our group just as we were organizing the search party.

Leg Two Pakim Pond to Carranza


Another cool wet morning as a group of 18 runners and a trail dog gathered at Pakim Pond for the 11.6 mile trip to Carranza Memorial. This section takes a single track trail around the pond for a mile before crossing Rt. 72 on to a sand road then back to a single track trail.  The trail winds along close to some houses with a abandoned jogger stroller, guard rails and some old appliances before turning to very narrow trail with green briars and many downed trees to be negotiated.  Those who chose not to wear long pants were wishing they did at this point!

  The trail crossed Rt. 563 and joined a sand road for a good solid mile of sand moguls.   After enjoying the ups and downs of trail running, we came out to a paved road and continued for a mile and a half passing Cranberry bogs and blueberry fields.  Eventually we were back on a nice two track trail all the way to Apple Pie Hill where the water stop was.

Apple Pie hill is the highest point in southern New Jersey at 209 feet above sea level.  There is a fire tower on top and gives the best view of the pines you can get from earth on a clear day.  You could tell it was close to Halloween because some local youths recently enjoyed throwing pumpkins off the fire tower.  I wonder if they were listening to Smashing Pumpkins on their I-Pods?!! I digress!


Apple Pie Hill Water Stop


Batona leg 1 033.jpg


The trail leaves the hill on a nice single track with some elevation changes.  It goes up Tea Time Hill then over a series of wooden bridges along a cedar stream before spilling out to a campground and the Carranza Memorial.  This is one of the prettiest sections of the whole trail and is often done as an out and back from the Carranza memorial. 

In July of 1928, Emilio Carranza Rodriguez's plane crashed in the Pine Barrens. He was on his way back to Mexico from a goodwill flight to New York. At the crash site is a memorial, roughly 10-12 feet tall. One side has an arrow carved into it, symbolizing Carranza's flight. The other side has a descending Aztec eagle, indicating his plummet to earth. Underneath the eagle are 2 footprints, which are for his final moments on earth. The other 2 sides of the marker have writing on them, one side in English and the other Spanish. They tell the date of the tragedy and offer a few words of honor to the aviator, who was called "the Lindbergh of Mexico." There is an annual commemoration on the 2nd Saturday in July, which is around Carranza's day of death.

  One little problem we ran into was we didn’t have enough cars at the finish to transport everyone back to the start.  After several tries to get cell phone reception, I was able to give my wife directions where to pick us up at.  We gathered back at Anapay’s for another hearty breakfast and a pitcher of Bloody Marys.


Carranza Memorial

Batona leg 1 045.jpg


Leg three, “The Wilderness” goes from Carranza Memorial in Wharton State Forest to Batsto Village.  The leg is 12.6 miles long and crosses no paved roads.  We had another cool morning and the first couple of miles had been recently used by horses.  The trail was a bit rough and chewed up to start but eventually turned off on single track that was a lot nicer to run on.  There were a few logs across the trail but these were easy enough to do “Pineland Steeple Chase” over.  We came out to the Quaker Bridge camping area for the water stop.



The Quakers of Burlington, Mount Holly, and Medford would go on annual meetings to Tuckerton. Here a group of Quakers had built the original bridge over the Batsto River in 1772 in memory of numerous Quakers who had drowned while attempting to ford the stream.



Quaker Bridge Batona Sign


Batona3 009.jpg

Quaker Bridge over the

 Batsto River There was a tavern located here overlooking the Batsto River (1808-09 to 1849) that became an important stage coach stop on the Tuckerton Stage Road. It was eventually destroyed by fire.

  The second leg of the trail followed the river south on a mix of sand roads and single tracks before joining the White Trail to Batsto Village.

Originally founded by Charles Reed in 1766, Batsto's major industry was centered on its iron furnace and it was a major supplier of munitions to the American army during the American Revolutionary War.

  We gathered in the picnic area trying to stay out of the wind and enjoyed some warm “Glow Wine” with dried cranberries.  Now I’m not one to tell but!!  A couple of our faster runners had trouble telling pink blazes from yellow and got a bit bewildered for a while crossing the Quaker Bridge.   Batona trail doesn’t cross the river.  They made it to Batsto eventually.

Batsto Village Parking Area

Nov05Batona 002.jpg

See if you can find Trail Dog Danny in this picture!




Leg 4 Batsto to Evan’s Bridge

Batona3 018.jpg


We gathered at Batso Village on a cool December morning.  The wind wasn’t bad and for once the trail was dry the whole way! 

  The trail started out of the picnic area on single track, crossed a paved road then went back to a tight single track with a lot of brush and green briars to be pushed aside.  There were a lot of old logs across the trail and I could hear some violations of the “No Whining” rule from behind me.   After a mile the trail turned onto a nice two track trail and we stayed on similar trails for most of the run. 

The water stop was around four miles in and I could see a few picked up their “Red Badge of Courage” from the brush and briars the first mile.  This nine mile leg had some of the most interesting transitions.  We started in and oak forest, transitioned to mostly pine then into a cedar swamp with an old wooden bridge.



Cedar Swamp Bridge


  The sand road transitioned back to oak forest and then pine as we approached Evans Bridge.  .  Time wise, this is one of the quickest loops we run.  The trail is, for the most part, good condition and you can run side by side most of the way.

We passed a sprung on the left a mile from Evans Bridge which can be dry as in the first picture or totally filled with water a week later.


Pineland Sprung a mile before Evans Bridge Dry

Same place one week later

As we ran the last quarter mile on the paved road to Evans Bridge we noticed several memorials where people lost their lives in accidents.  There is even a tombstone in the parking area.  More to follow on that!


Leg Four Finish at Evans Bridge



Evans Bridge Orbs


The first year we ran the Batona Series; this picture was taken at the start of leg five in the Evans Bridge parking area.  Notice the orbs.  On a higher resolution photo there are eight in all including one directly off Trail Dog Danny’s nose.  We tried to get him to look at the camera for the picture but something seemed to have his attention.


The final leg of the series went from Evans Bridge a quarter mile on Rt. 563 then turned onto a single track trail running along a dike off some old bogs and crossing a paved road.  The trail continued through a flooded section that had everyone searching for a way around it before following Sophia and splashing right through the water!

 We crossed an old wood bridge over the Oswego River with some missing timbers.  The road then took us to the old abandoned Martha Furnace where the water stop was located.

Bill and TDD checking out the Bridge over the Oswego River


Martha Furnace 

 Isaac Potts who named it after his wife built the furnace in 1793. That was the custom in those days. Isaac Potts & Co. was an iron merchant in Philadelphia. Perhaps Potts noticed the success of New Jersey bog-iron furnaces during the struggle for independence. In any event, he began acquiring land in the Martha area until his holdings reached a peak of nearly 60,000acres. In less than three years, a sizeable town had sprung up around the furnace. In its heyday, the village had a population of four hundred people. There were forty to fifty houses, a store, a school, a sawmill, a gristmill and numerous other buildings. Potts sold the furnace in 1800 to a group of four men. The products of the furnace included the usual stoves and fire backs, sash weights, sugar kettles, shot, cannon wheels, and various utensils. Today there is little left to suggest the village and its furnace ever existed.

The furnace ruins are there, although they can't be seen. A long time ago, the state photographed and cataloged every inch of the ruins. Then they buried them under an enormous pile of dirt, and put a chain link fence around the site, presumably to prevent the ruins from being carried off, brick by brick and rock by rock.

After the water stop the trail followed mostly sand roads with a few nice hills mixed in.  There were a few flooded areas but they were easy enough to get around until we came to a lake covering the road!  This picture was taken a couple years ago when it was much drier.  The boards on the left were under water this year.


Keith trying to walk on water


After the lake we went back on single track trails for a couple miles then coming out on Stage road in Bass River State Forest which marked the official end of the trail. 

  We covered over fifty miles through some of the nicest areas in the pines.  It is no surprise we get more runners every year!  EL and Bill do a great job coordinating the transportation, water stops and of course the trail awards for the runners who complete all the series.  Many will do makeup runs to cover missed sections to get this coveted award!

A warm Glow Wine Toast completing the first year of the series

A wet Trail Dog Danny


Camptown revisited

By Jim Pate

Saturday morning I made the drive up to Camptown from my dad's house in Northeast Pa. for the 42nd running of the Camptown Cross Country Race and the seventh in a row for me.  Part of the course follows the original horse race course immortalized in Stephen Foster’s “Tioga Waltz”.   There were a few light showers from Tropical Storm Fay on the way up but it didn't seem too bad. 

 I ran a mile warm up about 15 minutes before race time and I decided to ditch my shirt.  It was in the 70s but had that steamy tropical feeling.  It was 100% humidity and sweat wouldn't evaporate.

The race started on a ball field then on to a paved road for the first 2.5 miles.  We ran out of town with the sounds of a band playing "Camptown Ladies sing this song do dah do dah" 

I went by the mile mark in 7:15 with running with another guy in the Clydesdale class, Ken.  There was a guy tall guy, Dave, ahead of us also in the division I could see but he went out quicker and was about 100 yards ahead of us.  Ken is in his early 40s and he beat me a couple of years ago in this race and said he has been training a lot.  He started to pull away and I didn't go with him.  I just tried to relax knowing I hadn't run in a week having injured my foot the week before while running the course.  My foot felt OK on the blacktop surprisingly.

  We made the turn up a hill at mile 2.5 and would continue climbing for over a mile entering a trail that goes over a stone quarry and up the mountain getting progressively steeper.  I went by the 3 mile mark at 24:00 and was closing the gap on Ken just as the skies opened up.  The trail started out two track with good footing but we made a transition to grass around a field and it was wet!  We got to the top of the hill with the trail going over several huge boulders we had to climb over.  It was rolling hills for the next mile on single track with me following Ken about 15' back.  The footing was wet and a little muddy but nowhere near as bad as I’ve seen it in the past.  The trail crosses several power line right-a way’s and you can see just how much elevation we gained from the road.

Just after a water stop, the trail started down a 3/4 mile steep hill.  I gave Ken a "On your left" and flew by him and down the hill.  There were some loose rocks but nothing too bad and I passed about a half a dozen runners on the descent switching sides of the trail to find the best footing.  The next mile was rolling hills again.  I kept as good a pace as I could knowing Ken would try to get me the last half mile where the course comes back into town on paved roads.

  The course turned down a steep ravine with a small stream to cross and a lot of big slippery rocks.  There was a rope to hang on to but I used alternating trees to keep my footing and slow my decent.  When I came up out of the Ravine, I could see Ken coming down so I pushed the last half mile on the trail.  The trail came out of the woods up a steep short bank and over the guard rails.  I pushed it up the hill and over the rails then flew down hill back into town.  I figured I could gap while he was still running the trail. 

 Just as I was entering the town, I could see Dave, the Clydesdale winner, 100 yards ahead of me.  I closed the gap a bit but there wasn't enough distance left to catch him.  If I spent less time saving energy on the trail worrying about Ken, I probably would have caught him!

  I beat my time the last two years by over 2 minutes and beat Ken by over a minute.  I ran 52:15 for a 10K but this course has hills you have to run to believe!  It continued to pour the whole second half of the race.

 They had a big tent with a chicken barbeque and the local glee club singing some numbers while we waited for the awards.   I won a nice trophy for second place Clydesdale.  It will serve to motivate me for next year! There were over 15 Clydesdale runners in the race.  Guess it still is a horse race in a way after all these years!  .

 My injured foot felt better after the race than before!  I'm going to give Steamtown a shot next month.  If you would have asked me the middle of last week I would have said no way!

   Driving out of town, I had a great view of the mountain we ran over and a reminder once more of what keeps calling me back there!

Post-Marathon Recovery Tips

By Steven J. Loder, MES, CSCS

Congratulations on completing your marathon!

Here are a few suggestions to help speed your post-marathon recovery and enhance your overall marathon experience:

  1. Be sure to hydrate after your marathon.   Just as you had done prior to your marathon, drinking plenty of fluids after your marathon is important too. Water is OK, but juices and sports drinks are better since they help to quickly replenish   carbohydrate stores in your muscles depleted by the marathon.
  1. Plan to engage in post-marathon walks and/or light running.  Doing this helps to combat post-marathon soreness by flushing lactic acid from those tired running muscles.
  1. Even better, try Cross Training Activities instead!  After all those weeks of tough training runs, taking a break from running for a few days to a week or more can be refreshing both mentally as well as physically.  Swimming or biking both work great!  No pounding and each helps to relieve the mental burnout.
  1. Pamper yourself to a post-marathon Massage?! Ahhh, feels great and also helps to relieve sore tired muscles.  Using The Stick is a good substitute until you can meet with your massage therapist.
  1. Stretch, Stretch and Stretch! Just as with Tips #2, #3 and #4, stretching helps to flush lactic acid from the muscles and restore a comfortable, pain free range of motion.  The Pro Stretch works great for the calf and shin lower leg muscles.
  1. Do treat yourself to a special post-marathon meal.  You worked hard to train for your marathon and no doubt made some sacrifices along the way including abstaining from certain foods that would be detrimental to your training efforts.  So go ahead. You deserve it!  Just don’t go completely overboard.
  1. Focus on eating post-marathon meals that offer a combination of complex & simple carbohydrates as well as lean sources of protein.  Once you have finished your special post-marathon meal, be sure to focus on eating to replenish depleted your glycogen stores and to promote muscle repair.  You may want to try a good quality whey protein powder and incorporate into some delicious breakfast fruit smoothies.
  1. Do include a daily multi-vitamin rich in Zinc and Vitamin E.  Most grain products are fortified with these two important micro-nutrients.  In addition, you may want to consider taking a multi-vitamin formula.  Either way, including both zinc and vitamin E in your post-marathon meal plan will help to speed healing and recovery. 
  1. Do make sure you get enough rest during the first post-marathon week.   Following a tough marathon effort, your immune system function is roughly at the same level as a typical AIDS patient.  This means that you are very susceptible to the ill-effect of germs during this initial post-marathon week.  So be sure to get your Z’s.
  1. Do plan on recovering for 3-4 weeks prior to beginning a new training and racing buildup.  You may feel fine after a few days, but your body is still recovering at the cellular level.  The basic rule of thumb is to allow one recovery day for each mile of a tough race effort.

 Steven Loder is a Jackson, NJ based running, marathon and strength & conditioning coach and Boston Marathon Qualifier. 


Robert McGill

While in Alaska and preparing for my trip to Alaska, I found an unique race that would make any of Mr. Training's runs look easy. It is called the Matanuska Mountain Challenge. The distance is 14 miles and this year's winner set a new course record with a time of 3 hours, 4 minutes and some seconds. You go up and down about 9,000 feet in elevation. There were approximately 50 finishers this year.

Fundraiser for Desert Voices

Bo Saa

Jennifer is out in Phoenix as a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing.  Her school is "running" a fundraiser associated with the
P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon & 1/2 Marathon.  She and I are making plans to run our first 1/2 marathon as part of the fundraising.  Below is a website where individuals can contribute to this rewarding cause.  Please let me know how the club can help get the word out about this fundraising event.  The best way to reach me for further information is my office number below.


No One Immune From Cancer


They say the early bird catches the worm, which is great ... if you’re a bird. But when it comes to human beings and cancer, early detection saves lives.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer on Jan. 21. When I was a kid growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I remember vividly the dread and fear on people’s faces whenever the word cancer was mentioned. Back then, a cancer diagnosis was akin to a death sentence for far too many people. Thankfully, times have changed.  Huge strides have been made over the years in the fight against the disease. There are more treatment options available, far better medicines have been developed and vastly superior procedures have combined to sharply increase cancer survivor rates.

In mid-February, I underwent a radical prostatectomy, which means I had my cancerous prostate gland removed. The surgery was performed by Dr. Isaac Kim at Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center in New Brunswick, N.J., using the state-of-the-art daVinci robotic device.  In my case, early detection was crucial. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among men, but when detected in its early stages, the survival rate is extremely high.  A simple blood test in December showed a spike in my prostate specific antigen (PSA) level. A subsequent biopsy in mid-January came back positive for prostate cancer.  As one might imagine, I was shocked when I was told I had cancer. I’m 58 years old and in good health overall; heck, I had completed the two-day, 39.3-mile Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World just a week before I was told I had cancer.

But rather than retreat into a shell or start feeling sorry for myself, I adopted a simple rallying cry: "OK, you have cancer; now let’s take care of it."  After consulting with Dr. Kim, I knew the robotic surgery was the proper course to take — and I also knew Dr. Kim was the right man for the job. I was impressed with him from the moment I shook his hand. He came across as a very sharp, compassionate person. He answered all my questions clearly and honestly and explained in detail what I was up against. I was confident I was in good hands.

The procedure lasted about four hours. When I awoke from the anesthesia, I had six incisions in my abdomen; most were about a half-inch long with the largest, near my naval, measuring about an inch. All were closed, not with stitches or staples, but with glue.  The six incisions were made to allow Dr. Kim to maneuver the daVinci robotic arms through the complicated maze of nerves, muscles and organs to get to the prostate gland and remove it with as little internal damage as possible.

As registered nurse Stephanie Matlin had explained during the pre-surgery testing, a catheter was inserted during the procedure which ran from the bladder, through the penis, to a bag attached to my bed. For the first few hours, the bag filled with both blood and urine before gradually returning to all urine.  Also during the procedure, biopsies were taken of the areas surrounding the prostate to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread. I was hospitalized for two days. I felt the most uncomfortable the day after the surgery when I went through a period of about 12 hours of intense abdominal cramps, but aside from losing sleep, they were bearable.

I returned for a post-surgery checkup, including the removal of the catheter, a week after surgery. Incontinence is a big issue following prostate cancer surgery and, thankfully, I’ve had few problems. Exercises specific to bladder control, as well as simply taking walks, have helped in that regard.  But the best news came when Dr. Kim gave me the results of the pathology report: The cancer was confined to the prostate gland and my long-term prognosis is excellent. I will have to have periodic checkups for the rest of my life, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

To borrow a line from baseball legend Lou Gehrig, I consider myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. I’ve turned back cancer, I’ve gotten loving support from family and friends, and I had an incredible medical team making sure I got through the entire experience as expeditiously as possible.

And now it’s time to get up on a soap box.

Most men — unfortunately — walk around thinking they’re invincible. I know; I was one of them. Cancer, heart disease, stroke ... that’s for someone else. Regular physical exams? Why bother? And being a runner tends to make us think we're even more bullet-proof.  If you’re a man over the age of 50, you need to put down the TV remote and get proactive. Get your cholesterol and blood pressure under control ... go for a colonoscopy ... and make regular physicals a part of your routine. As I found out first-hand, simple bloodwork will detect anything amiss with your prostate.  And if you’re a guy over 40 who has a family history of cancer, get yourself tested now, too.

Many of you may remember Dr. George Sheehan. He was a running legend in these parts in the 1970s and 1980s. He wrote several books and a column for the Asbury Park Press, dealing with the cerebral aspects of running.  It turns out Doc Sheehan and I had a lot in common. We ran in several road races together. We wrote about the virtues of running. We wrote about medical issues. And we both wrote about — and ran with — prostate cancer. The big difference, though, was I was diagnosed with the disease in its very early stages and was, thanks to medical advances, able to beat it. Doc Sheehan wasn't as fortunate. He died of prostate cancer in 1993 at the age of 74.

As I’ve learned first-hand, no one is immune from cancer. Remember, early detection saves lives ... maybe yours.

Chuck Schmidt is the Sunday News Editor of the Advance.


Most Scenic courses (except for # 1, random order)

From Robert McGill

(NLE: no longer exists)

1.  Truskey Memorial 10k & 5k (Tuscarora State Park, near Tamaqua, Pa)

2.  Run for the Cookies 10k (Berwick, Pa)

3.  Race Street Run 15k & 4 miler (Jim Thorpe, Pa)

4.  Steamtown Marathon (Forest City, Pa to Scranton, Pa)

5.  Oley 10 miler (Oley, Pa)

6.  Bucks County Road Runners Winter Series (Tyler State Park, Newtown, Pa) distances vary from a 5k to a half marathon

7.  South Mountain 10 miler (Bethlehem, Pa)

8.  15k Mountain Challenge at Great Gorge (Vernon, NJ) NLE

9.  Hacklebarney Hill Climb 15k Pottersville, NJ, NLE

10. Midland 15k (Far Hills, NJ) NLE

11. Stillwater Stampede 5k (Stillwater, NJ)

12. High Point Easter 5k (Wantage, NJ) race was moved and name changed to a less scenic area

13. Beach Blast 5k (Stillwater, NJ)

14. Christmas in August 5k (Stillwater, NJ)

15. 9 to 5 relay race (Lodestar Park in Fredon, NJ)

16.  Fredon Firefighters Pancake Run 4.4 miler NLE

17. The Tri State Classic 10k (starts in Montague, NJ

runs thru NY State and finishes in Matamoras, Pa)

18.  Nike Bunker Loop 5k (Atlantic Highlands, NJ)

19.  Charlie Horse Half marathon, near Reading, Pa

20.  Half-Wit, Half Marathon, near Reading, Pa

21.  Ugly Mudder 7.25 miler, near Reading, Pa

22.  Double Trouble 15k & 30k, French Creek State Park, near Reading, Pa

23.  Mount Penn Mudfest 15k, near Reading, Pa

24.  Tewksbury miler (Tewksbury, NJ)

25.  Raising Hope 5 miler (Readington, NJ), NLE

26.  Shepard's Lake 5k (Ringwood, NJ)

27.  Sparta 8 miler around Lake Mohawk (Sparta, NJ)

28.  Sparta Frostbite Trail & Road 5k more or less (Sparta, NJ)

29.  Miles for Matheny 5k (Peapack-Gladstone, NJ)

30.  Our House 5 miler (Summit, NJ)

31.  Mountain Top 10k (Warren, NJ)

32.  12 miler at Allamuchy Mountain (border of Warren, Morris and Sussex counties, NJ) NLE

33.  Tinsel 5 miler (Toms River, NJ)

34.  Cherry Blossom 10k (Newark, NJ)

35.  Delaware Water Gap 5k night races

Favorite Races That No Longer Exist

By Jim Jensen and Bob Hayes

1) Long Branch Beach Run (about 4 miles)

This was last run in 1992. It was held in mid-Feb. so beach conditions weren't always ideal. The sand replenishment hadn't begun yet so all of the jetties were fully exposed. Most runners chose to race near the water's edge in the firm sand and climb or vault over the jetties and other debris that had accumulated there. Sometimes if you miscalculated the wave pattern and got too close to the incoming surf you would get soaked with freezing cold ocean water. The leaders received hand-carved whales for their awards. Around 2000 this race was revived for several years as a beach/boardwalk run at Seven Presidents Park in Long Branch.

2) Run For Awareness (April -- about 3 miles)

This was first held in 1994 and lasted about five years. It was staged by the Monmouth County Prosecutors Task Force Against Drunken Driving. The entire race was a most unique three loop course at Seven Presidents Park.  It began on asphalt then grass; dirt and gravel; went on to hard and soft sand followed by a short stretch on the boards, concluding on concrete. The numbers were never good for this race (probably at most about 40 people), because not many knew about it.

3) Ocean Township League of Women Voters Five Miler (Sunday after Labor Day)

This one folded around 1996 after losing it's major sponsor. It started and finished at Ocean Twp High. It went through Deal Test Site (now known as Joe Palaia Park) before the trails were paved and the park upgraded. It was important to keep someone in sight while in the park because it was easy to get lost in the maize-like trails.

4) Monmouth Park Road Race - Started as a  5 miler, then became a 4 miler (late July early Aug).

It began in 1987 as a companion to the Haskel (horse race) Day festivities. After two years it was shortened and switched to an evening (usually Thursday) event.  The last mile was run on the turf course but after the first year the turf was off-limits to all human racers. The finish became a quarter-mile run on the dirt homestretch.  As an added bonus in the inaugural year, all participants were given reserve seats in the picnic area near the finish line.  Those who remained the entire day for the main event were treated to the best horse race ever held in NJ.  The top three 3 year-old colts in North America were in the race and staged a monumental battle finishing just noses apart. Twenty years later this race is still the standard by which all other big time horse races are measured against.  The road race ended several years ago after Management changes and sponsorship losses.  The good news is that it will be back in late Oct. staged by the Jersey Shore Running Club as part of the Breeders Cup Fanfest. There is optimism that it will be back in its regular slot on the road-racing calendar next year.

5 ) Battle of Monmouth Five Mile Run (late June)

It started and finished at the Freehold YMCA on East Freehold Rd and was usually held on a Friday evening. It was mostly on country roads with a three-quarter mile stretch through woods. The race course retraced much of the route Washington and his troops used in the famous battle. This one ended in the late eighties.

6) Toms River Roots Run Dash For Cash (five miles)

This took place the Sunday after Thanksgiving at the First National Bank of Toms River. It ended in the late eighties after the bank was taken over by another bank. The overall men and women champions each had 30 seconds to enter the bank vault and grab as many $1 bills that had been scattered throughout the floor and shelves. The cash was placed in a bin located about twenty yards away and it all went to local charities.

7) Sayreville Run With the Stars (mid-June  5k)

With it's unique 9:00 pm starting time this was probably the only race in the area that took place in total darkness. The final 500 yards (about) were slightly downhill-resulting in some blazing stretch-run finishes.

8) --  Lakewood Community School Five Mile Run (Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend)

 One lap around Lake Carasaljo. The alternative (or the antidote) to the Spring Lake Five held the day before. If there ever was the right race slotted in on the right date on the race calendar, this was that race! It was a low-key race for those who didn't want to deal with the 10,000 runners at Spring Lake or a race to run on a long Holiday  weekend for those who were shut out of Spring Lake. (Or it was a chance for redemption for those who had run lousy at Spring Lake.) The race-walk that accompanied the run still exists. The run was eliminated around 2000 or 2001 and strangely this date has remained open on every race calendar in this area.

9) --  American Cancer Society Five Mile Run (Father’s Day)

The main reason this is on the list is that Bob HayesI ran his 5 mile PR on this course!! It started and finished at Wanamassa School in Ocean Twp. The last year for this was 1989 or 1990. A version of this still exists as the Jersey Shore Running Club Pre-Fathers Day Race- held on the Saturday of the weekend before Father's Day.

10) -  Elberon Five Mile Run (First Sunday of June)

The main reason this is on the list is that it was Bob’s first race he ever ran!! It was a great course through the Elberon neighborhood of Long Branch starting and finishing at the Elberon School. It ended in the late eighties after some residents complained of roads being blocked.

11) – Atlantic Highlands Harborview Five Mile Run (Mid-April)

Started and finished at St. Agnes School. This course was completely flat with a nice view of the water. The last one was around 1986.

12) - USMAPS Half-Marathon (late March)

This was a well organized race staged by the army prep school at Fort Monmouth. It was about two 5 mile loops around the fort sandwiched around a 3 mile run through Oceanport.                 

13) – Oceanport Lions/Perkin-Elmer Five Mile Run (mid - September)

It started and finished at Monmouth Park Horse Track and ran through the streets of Oceanport.  It ended its run with the demise of Perkin-Elmer around 1988.

14) – Shore Athletic Club Winter Series (various dates and distances)

It started with a 10k in mid-December in honor of two Olympians- Bill Reilly and Todd Scully- and was held at Lake Takanassee. The races continued into the winter months. The distances were 5 mile, 10k, 15k,10 mile and 20k.There was a 10k run/walk for several years. In 2000 the series shifted to Joe Palaia Park in Ocean Township while the bridge at Lake Takanassee was being rebuilt. The race became a 5k and returned to the lake the following year only to return to Joe Palaia Park in 2003 due to the lack of bathroom facilities and a heated-shelter.) The end came in 2005 as there were too few runners and too much trouble finding volunteers to help.

15) – Asbury Park YMCA/Boardwalk Summer Series

This series was held on Thursday evenings throughout the summer. It began in the mid-eighties and lasted until the mid-nineties when it was moved to Wall Twp and became the highly successful Wall Twp. summer series.  The first couple of years it was run from the YMCA on Main Street and included a trek to the boardwalk and an out and back run on the boards back to the YMCA. It became too dangerous running through the streets of Asbury, so it was shifted entirely to the boardwalk and the end came when race participants declined to the deteriorating condition of the boards.


More Favorite Races That No Longer Exist


Bob McGill’s list

1.     Mountain Challenge 15k at Great Gorge (also had a 3k) Vernon, New Jersey

2.     Hacklebarney Hill Climb 15k & 5k (Pottersville, NJ)

3.     The Midland Run 15k & 5k   (Far Hills, NJ)

4.     Easton Hospital 5k (Easton, Pa)

5.     Around the Lake 5k  (Lake Hauto, Pa)

6.     Raising Hope 5 miler  (Readington, NJ)

7.    Joel Spector 10k & 5k (Washington Township in Bergen County, NJ)

8.     Ogdensburg 5k   (Ogdensburg, NJ)

9.    Colonia Classic 5k  (Colonia, NJ)

10.   Tappan Zee Boosters Club 10k (Orangeburg, NY)

11.    Patriots Path 10k  (Mendham, NJ)

12.   Trenton Waterfront 5k  (Trenton, NJ)

13.   12 miler at Allamuchy  (Allamuchy & Byram, NJ)

14.    Montclair YWCA 10k  (Montclair, NJ)

15.    Race of the Plainfields  10k (Plainfield, South Plainfield & North Plainfield, NJ)

Jim Bergum’s List

1) Howell 5 Miler (late summer early fall during Howell Day's)

Held in Oak Glenn Park.  Well organized, great prizes (TV's, etc) and nice course.  Not well advertised so low turnout.

2) Gold’s Gym 5 Miler (Howell)

Start and finish at swim club.  Tough hill at the end.  Great food after the race.  At end of first year, runners told to put this race on the their schedule for future years since would go on for a long time.  It lasted 2 or 3 years.  But it was a nice race.

3) Joe Parker Memorial 5 K Asbury Park in April (Easter weekend)

Big race on the Asbury Park boardwalk.

4) Repeat from Above:  Root’s Run (Toms River):  Does anyone besides me still have the Root's cap.

Bruce Marshall’s List

1) Haybale 25K

2) Midland Run 15K

3) Equinox 20K

4) Bar A Half Marathon

Ralph Garfield's List

Marlboro 5 mile

Started and ended at the swim club in Marlboro. The race director was Ed Robbins who sadly died long before his time. The race was well organized as befitted a race director who was also an accomplished runner. The start was uphill but the finish was downhill. I recall leading Frank Haviland coming into the Swim Club but such was his withering kick he easily beat me.

Can't Dance but I still can Wiggle              T

By Jim Pate

I had a fun weekend in Northeast Pa! 

I left from work Friday and drove up to Northeast Pa.  I started out with a deep tissue massage on my hamstring and high thigh strain that has been bothering me since April.  My friend is a sports trainer and Deep Tissue massage therapist.  He had me screaming as he dug his elbow into my hamstring and thigh breaking up the scar tissue adhesions and trigger points.  After that I went up Lake Winola and spent time with my dad.

The Lake Winola Wiggle 5K starts at 4:30 in the afternoon so I took my dad out to breakfast and then spent the rest of the day chatting.   The temperature was to be in the high seventies but the sun heats up the asphalt to well over 100 degrees and a good portion of the course is unshaded.  The course is rolling hills for the first 3/4 mile then goes up hill for over a mile.  There are a couple short down hills followed by more hills until you pass the highest point on the course.  You then loose all the altitude in a little over a half mile and finish the last 10th of a mile uphill.

I went to pick up my race number and they had a scale to weigh the runners in the Clydesdale division.  The scale said I weighed 225lbs.  There were about 8 of us in the division and I was by far the oldest.  There was one young redhead guy who weighed 204.  He said he was under 10% body fat and looked like it!  My 20 year old nephew Tony also made the division at 208 and said he was planning on pacing me for the first 2 mile then taking off.  Oh! to be young and optimistic!  Age and deceit will beat youth-full exuberance every time!

We lined up for the start and the starter shot the gun.  No "Get ready, set" or anything!  My biggest worry was my broken toe and how it would stand up to the down hills.  It was tested early as there is a good downhill in the first 1/4 mile.  It hurt quite a bit but I tried to relax and concentrate on form.  As I ran up the first hill Tony was right off my shoulder.  We weaved around fading runners and stayed close for the first mile.  I passed the mile at 7:15 about 30 seconds slower than usual.  The redhead guy was 30 yards ahead and looked strong.  We made a right turn up an even larger hill and he was about fifty yards ahead but I was starting to close slowly.  I couldn't see Tony any more off my shoulder so I leaned into the hill and tried to close on the big guy ahead of me.  When we reached the top his lead was only 20 yards but it stabilized on the slight down hill.  We came to another decent hill and I started closing again to 10 yards.  I think he knew I was his competition because when he looked back and saw how close I was he picked it up down the next hill.  We passed the 2 mile mark at 16:00.  The last uphill before the big down hill was steep but short and I caught him just before the crest.  I went into my free-fall mode and tried to increase my leg turnover to keep from pounding my feet too bad.  My toe was numb at this point, numb up to the knee!  The massage really helped my hamstring and I was able to muster some speed.  I turned the corner at the bottom of the hill and pushed the last 10th uphill to the clock finishing in 23:49. 

I had the good sense to locate my car with the cooler close to the finish line.  I grabbed a bag of ice for my foot and one of those recovery drinks made in Mexico that you put the lime in.  The Clydesdale award was the first trophy they gave out and it was as big as the race winner trophy.  It took me 3 years to talk the race director into having the division and another 3 for me to win it!...     

Seaside Heights 1 mile swim - Great recent event

 By Ken TVercammenT

TI participated in the Seaside Heights 1 mile swim on August 5 and enjoyed the change from my usual 5k running event. The swim start was at 6:30pm, so participants did not have to get up early and we avoided the morning traffic.T

TThe entry fee for the 1-mile swim was only $20.   The fee includes a beach barbecue which Included beer, soda, water, hot dogs, hamburgers, and salads. Post swim party featured music from 105.7 the HAWK. Where can you go for $20 and get a free beer & food barbecue, T shirt plus a work out? The registration also includes plenty of life guards to watch out for non competitive swimmers such as me. The swim was along the shore, so for slower swimmers if you are having a bad day you can just float to shore. There is a $10.00 entry fee into the beach party for all non-race participants to enjoy beer, food and music. What a bargain.T

TEscape From Fort Delaware TriathlonT

TBy Kenneth Vercammen

1500 meter swim – 40K bike – 10K run. This Triathlon was one of the more exciting and difficult Triathlons I entered this decade. Competitors are taken by Ferry to the middle of the Delaware River to Fort Delaware, a Civil War Prison. The application states:  Join the 52 escapees of this Civil War Prison located on Pea Patch Island!  Boat shuttle out to Fort Delaware...jump into the river thru re-enactment soldiers' gun arch, swim back to "land" for your bike & run. A cannon swim start!  Historic, scenic, beautiful...finish on historic Clinton Street."  We first had to swim- 1500 meters from Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island situated in the middle of the Delaware River.  Challenging swim - wetsuits mandatory!!

Part of the swim seemed to be up river.  Having survived the swim, we next run to the bike portion. This was a Scenic flat and fast run and bike course through Delaware City and surrounding wetlands.

Battery Park in Delaware City provided a beautiful transition area.  The run portion was a 10k, in which the runners pass the swimmers.  Although an expensive application fee, competitors received post race food, T-shirt & finisher’s medal.  For something different in 2008, try this event.  

Blood Sweat and Beers

Ugly Mudder Trail Run Mt. Penn Pa. 2/25/07

Sunday morning at 7:30 am a group of six Pineland Striders, Jean, Lisa, Keith , Bill, Ted and I started the trip westward in Bill ’s Ford Excursion nic-named,"Earth Destroyer". The vehicle was very efficient for this task using only a fraction of the fuel we would have used if we all drove separately. Punching the numbers, I get close to 96 seat miles per gallon! Who would have thought! An earth friendly, Earth destroyer! I digress!

The trip was very comfortable with a coffee/restroom stop about half the way. As we listened to tunes on the CD player we kept noticing the further west we got, the more snow cover on the ground. In the literary world, they call this foreshadowing!

We made the turn up Mt. Penn located on the eastern side of Reading Pa. The ground was totally covered with around four inches of snow. The road slowly wound up the mountain and we could all see there would be very little level ground on this run! I noticed some orange flags and paint on the snow and it looked to be going straight up a mountain! As we pulled into the entrance of the Liederkranz German Singing and Sports club, I noticed the cars were parked on top of the snow! There were at least four to six inches of snow cover and cars weren’t even denting the surface!

The registration was very quick and well organized except for them loosing Keith’s entry after cashing his check. With that straightened out, we all took our neat race shirts emblazoned with a scull and crossbones and the words "Ugly Mudder Trail Run, Where Sticks and Stones Will Break Our Bones", more foreshadowing! As we looked around we saw a lot of people slipping sliding and falling just walking around on fairly level ground, just a small taste of what lay ahead!

A few minutes before race time, we all walked down the road to the start area. It was a park next to a small lake. After standing around for a half-hour trying mostly in vane to hear Ron Horn’s often-colorful race announcements we were ready to go. The one thing I was able to hear was his advice, "Run this like you have somewhere important to go tomorrow!" I didn’t hear the start but when 700+ people start slipping and sliding in the same direction, you follow! The first half-mile was run on a park road. The only reason I know this is there was a ten-foot long section of bare pavement just as we made the turn up the hill! I found good traction running in a small depression off to the side and was able to move up well in the pack. From the road we were running up hill we made a turn up a fifty yard bank that had people crawling and grabbing whatever handholds they could find to work their way up the bank. My trail shoes dug in better than I expected so I made it up without much difficulty. The next mile was a lot of up hill and some flat on a ridge line that if you slipped off of you would not bee seen again for a while! We took a turn to the right and there were people falling all around me. I went with the path of least resistance and managed to maintain some control on the ice using trees to slow my momentum. From there we were back on another ridge path that had quite a few branches swinging back towards me after being bent forward and released by the people in front of me. We started a long uphill climb then broke out to a Japanese pagoda. There it was right on the skyline and the trail went right towards it. The stairway looked like a scene from Kill Bill only it was covered with ice! I saw the masonry railing for the first twenty feet was bare of ice so I scampered right up one side and jumped down where I could get a hold of the handrail. Everyone was walking at this point as I just stayed in place and followed the pack. I fully expected to see Pai Mei Head Priest of the White Lotus Clan sitting at the top yelling "Again" with English sub titles! We crossed a road where they had a water stop then ran a path that overlooked the city of Reading. It was a great view for anyone brave enough to take their eyes off the trail for a second or two!

The trail started a long gradual decline on a forest road that had fairly decent footing as long as you avoided the horse tracks that were made before the snow turned to ice. It was very easy to turn an ankle or trip if you hit them wrong. It seemed like we were going down for over a mile and I remarked to a runner close to me, "This is too easy, too long! Something is about to happen!" We entered a briar infested bushwhacking section with no trail and a lot of dead trees on the ground to be negotiated. It was here that I started to notice the first blood on the ground! We broke out and crossed a road then got on a fairly wide trail. Just past the four mile point they had a water/beer stop. The Yuengling tasted so good I had two! Just after the stop, the trail turned down the side of a hill known as "The Bobsled Run" It was by far the worst footing all day! There were people sliding down, falling, some looked possibly banged up but I had no chance to stop and offer assistance! I tried to pick a clear path close to trees to grab on and away from falling people! I somehow made it down without falling only to notice the trail turned to the right and I was almost past it! I hooked a tree and swung around and got back on course just before plunging another 30 yards down the hill! We ran a ridgeline then went back into a very rocky and brushy section where everyone was walking to try and pick their way through. After that section we wound around and back by the beer stop. I enjoyed another and was back on my way. The next section was a mix of nice trail, bushwhacking and gradual descents as we worked our way back down the mountain. We broke out by the lake we started at and followed a path around it before crossing a road and following a gully. I could hear the cheering and people yelling "Stay to the right from the top of the bank. I had heard about the famous Mt. Mud before but this was my first time experiencing it! I assumed the people yelling, "Stay to your right" were yelling at the people who had already climbed the bank to direct them to the finish. I was wrong! They were trying, not too successfully, to show us an easier way up the bank! By the time I realized this I was half way up the ice, rock and dirt bank with a little broken glass thrown in for texture! I crested the bank then ran around the corner and up to the finish. I finished in 1:13 and went back to try and cheer the rest of the Striders in. It was then I started to notice just how many were bloody and scraped up badly. A few were obviously limping or holding their arms due to a trail miss hap.

After we all finished, we got some dry clothes on and had a little breakfast and a few pitchers of beer enjoying the band and watching the awards ceremony. A thing we all had in common is that we were all grinning like kids on Christmas morning! The trail was challenging in more ways than I could describe but the race left me with more of a sense of accomplishment than any race I have completed in a long time.

We all piled back into the Earth Destroyer for the trip home just as the snow started to fall. It was a fun ride listening to Jimmy Buffett and joking the whole way back.

To sum it all up: The Ugly Mudder, long stretches of winter forest beauty followed by moments of stark terror…Jim Pate

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

By Lori McGill

"HCM is the leading cause of death in young athletes." The symptoms page below says that the most common misdiagnosis seen is asthma, specifically "athletically induced asthma" as a first sign or symptom.

Please read at the websites below, for more information.

In June 1995, I lost a sister (Lori) at the young age of 36 to a genetic heart disease called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, HCM for short.  Lisa, as well as some of my other family members also have HCM.

After Lori's death, my other sister, Lisa,  started researching to see if it would be beneficial to start a patient support group for HCM.  Over the past ten years she has turned that initial research into an international patient support group with memberships from over 3,000 families and medical experts.  She has the world experts on HCM on her medical advisory board.  She is invited to speak and/or participate at various national medical conferences and federal panels on a wide range of topics relating to both HCM and patient advocacy issues.   An amazing example of the power of one person to make a change in our world.

Although in no way limited to just athletes, HCM is the leading cause of death in young athletes.  When you see the stories of the young athlete dropping dead on a football field, basketball court, etc, typically what is determined is that the person had HCM.  With a proper cardiac screening those young athletes would probably not have suffered untimely deaths With proper education on the part of the school and recreational sports programs, many of those same young athletes might have been saved if a portable defibulator was quickly made available.  Proper cardiac screening and pushing to mandate for the availability of portable defibulators in all our schools are just two of the many areas of interest to the HCM Association.

For more information on the HCM and the HCM Association (HCMA), you can go to the web site:

1st Day of Summer - Hot Weather Running From RRCA

June 21, 2006 marks the first official day of summer, also know as the summer solstice or longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. To celebrate the first day of summer, the Road Runners Club of America wants to remind the running community about the importance of following our hot weather running tips. Running in the heat of summer can be dangerous if proper precautions and preparations are not followed.

1. Avoid dehydration!!! You can lose between 6 and 12 oz. of fluid for every 20 minutes of running. Therefore it is important to pre-hydrate (10-15 oz. of fluid 10 to 15 minutes prior to running) and drink fluids every 20-30 minutes along your running route. To determine if you are hydrating properly, weigh yourself before and after running. You should have drunk one pint of fluid for every pound you're missing. Indications that you are running while dehydrated are a persistent elevated pulse after finishing your run and dark yellow urine. Keep in mind that thirst is not an adequate indicator of dehydration.

Visit Gatorade Endurance’s site at You will find great tools for developing a hydration strategy and coupons for Gatorade Endurance.

To stay hydrated on your run, consider using one of the many products designed by FuelBelt, Inc, “The Official Hydration Delivery System of the RRCA”. Find them online at

2. Avoid running outside if the heat is above 98.6 degrees, body temperature, and the humidity is above 70-80%. While running, the body temperature is regulated by the process sweat evaporating off of the skin. If the humidity in the air is so high that it prevents the process of evaporation of sweat from the skin, you can quickly overheat and literally cook your insides from an elevated body temperature.

3. When running, if you become dizzy, nauseated, have the chills, or cease to sweat…. STOP RUNNING, find shade, and drink water or a fluid replacement drink such as Gatorade. If you do not feel better, get help. Heatstroke occurs when the body fails to regulate its own temperature, and the body temperature continues to rise. Symptoms of heatstroke include mental changes (such as confusion, delirium, or unconsciousness) and skin that is red, hot, and dry, even under the armpits. Heatstroke is a life-threatening medical emergency, requiring emergency medical treatment. For more information and symptoms of heatstroke visit

4. Run in the shade whenever possible avoid direct sunlight and blacktop. When you are going to be exposed to the intense summer rays of the sun, apply at least 15 spf sunscreen and wear protective eyewear that filters out UVA and UVB rays. Consider wearing a visor that will shade your eyes and skin but will allow heat to transferred off the top of your head.

5. If you have heart or respiratory problems or you are on any medications, consult your doctor about running in the heat. In some cases it may be in your best interests to run indoors. If you have a history of heatstroke/illness, run with extreme caution.

6. Children should run in the morning or late afternoon hours, but should avoid the peak heat of the day to prevent heat related illnesses. It is especially important to keep children hydrated while running and playing outdoors in the heat.

7. DO wear light colored breathable clothing. DO NOT wear long sleeves or long pants or sweat suits. Purposefully running in sweat suits hot days to lose water weight is dangerous!

8. Plan your route so you can refill water bottles or find drinking fountains. City parks, local merchants, and restaurants are all good points to incorporate on your route during hot weather running. Be sure to tell someone where you are running how long you think you will gone, and carry identification.

Stay hydrated, cool, and safe this summer!

The Road Runners Club of America is a non-profit organization of over 700 running clubs and 175,000 members across the United States. The RRCA chapters organize races, have training runs, provide safety guidelines, promote children's and masters fitness running programs, and have social programs.

Our run in the pines, "A dog's perspective"

by Danny Boy Pate "Trail Dog Danny"


I knew something was up when my master got up early and started to get out his running clothes. I followed him around watching his every move. There was no way I was letting him get out of the house without me this time! It was still dark outside when we got in the car and drove down through the forest to a place where he put out drinks for our water stop. I kept a close watch out for the deer we usually see next to the road but there were none out.

We got to Pakim Pond a little before daylight and waited for my master’s friend Bill Scott. My master sprayed me with a spray I hate but he says keeps the bugs from biting me. As soon as I got out of the car, I rolled in the dirt to cover the smell. If his nose was as good as mine I bet he would think twice about spraying that stuff!

We started out on the trail and I would run ahead and then back to try to get those old guys to run faster. I made several quick runs off the trail and I could smell the deer that were there just before us. I stayed close to the trail because I didn’t want my master to get lost. He’s pretty old and his friend looked to be no spring chicken either! They were moving along pretty good though and I passed my spot where I always check for rabbits. I have chased them from that spot before so I always check but no fresh scent today.
  We saw a dog with his man just before the bogs but my master wouldn’t let me stop and say hello. The sun was just starting to rise in the east over the bog as we ran across the dike. I dove in for a quick drink but was soon out front again. This trail has a lot of turns and I would feel bad if my master and his friend got lost.

We turned down the trail by the blueberry bushes and Bill took the lead. He was running pretty fast for an older guy! I snuck past and went in the lead again. You never know when there may be a deer or squirrel to chase around the next corner.  We crossed a road and my master always makes me wait for him before we cross. He keeps saying something about being “Road Pizza” but I crossed a lot of roads with him and I haven’t smelled pizza one time!  We saw several deer just before Mt. Misery and I chased them just a little. They ran down the path so it was easy but I couldn’t leave my master. This part of the trail has a lot of turns and they would easily get lost.  We stopped at the road where we put out the drinks and I got a cool drink of water my master poured into his hand. This was about 5 ½ miles for them but I probably did 7 at least.  We started back on the trail and ran one of my favorite sections. This is where I chased the turkey last time. I could smell them but they were probably still on the roost and hadn’t flown down yet.  We turned up the trail where the hills are and I saw 3 deer! I chased them a little way but Bill took the lead again so I followed. He went up those hills pretty good too! We came over the hill above the sandpit and started down the hill to the road. The road goes over a bridge where I usually get a drink when it is hot out but I skipped it today.  I could be wrong but I swear those old guys picked up the pace the last 3 miles! I just stayed on the path and didn’t even bother to chase the squirrel that jumped out in front of us.  

Before you know it, we were back at Pakim Pond and I was getting a drink from the blue pump faucet. Next to my master’s hand, that is my favorite place to drink from. Overall, it was a great day to be in the woods. My master said something to Bill about being close to or slightly under an 8 minute mile pace. Not too bad for a couple of old guys! I laid down on
the car seat and took a rest.  My master said something to Bill about going for breakfast at the Korean restaurant and he put me in the house. It’s probably for the better, I’ve always heard that dogs should avoid Korean restaurants… Trail Dog Danny

He ain’t Heavy, He’s a Clydesdale!

By Jim Pate

Being an Air Traffic Controller by trade and having numerous opportunities for public speaking over the years, I am not usually at a loss for words.  Last week the Freehold Area Runners Club surprised me with their Clydesdale Runner of the year award and I was just that! I felt very honored knowing there are a lot of very talented runners in the area who, like my self, carry a lot of mass from the start to the finish of a race.

Three years ago after checking out a few of the running sites in the state, I came across the Freehold Winter Series.  The words “Clydesdale Division” caught my attention. I had been running in the forest for a couple of weeks so I thought I would give it a try. 

I started out the first race of the series running a decent pace and felt OK through the first half mile.  As I crossed the mile marker a little over seven minutes, my breathing got very labored and my legs felt heavy.  I spent the rest of the race watching a steady stream of runners pass and pull away from me.  I finished in 25:30 just as a guy with a dog ran past me.  I relearned a lesson from my early running years, “There is a big difference between running and racing!”  I enjoyed the hot soup and abundant goodies the club has for the award ceremony and told myself I would do better the next week.   I did a couple of six-mile runs in the forest and some treadmill in the gym during the week.  At the Sunday start line I decided I would pace myself better this time.  I went by the mile mark at 7:30 this time and then watched the stream of runners pass me by.  I finished in 25:35. I talked a bit after the race with a runner who passed me just before the two-mile marker both races and she told me she went by the mile at 8 minutes.  We agreed to run together the next week.  I got a few six-mile trail runs in during the week and felt pretty good on race day.  We started out with what felt like a very slow pace to me but we crossed the mile at 8:00 and I did feel better than the previous weeks.  After the 2-mile point I couldn’t stay with her but I maintained a steady pace and finished at 25:15.  Feeling a bit discouraged; I went to the gym and did intervals on the treadmill while watching my form in a mirror.  I also got a few 6-mile runs in and I was starting to feel stronger.  Week four I paced my partner past the mile at 8:00 and she started to pull away just a bit at the 2 mile mark.  After we made the turn I started to feel something I hadn’t felt in a long time, I felt light on my feet!  I passed my partner and about 10 other runners and finished in 24:07.  Back in the gym that week, I did more intervals and did some incline work.  The last week of the series I went out a bit faster at 7:30 and finished at 23:45.  I still had a ways to go to place in the Clydesdale division but I was pleased with my progress and had one of my most enjoyable springs running in the state forest I could remember.  I entered a few races from 5-10K over the year and enjoyed myself.  The summer was tough for someone who generates as much body heat as I do but I got in a few races.

   After Thanksgiving Day I started training and doing intervals on the track.   I ran a PR in the Toys for Tots race of 22:45 and a 37:13, 5 mile at the Polar Bear.  The speed work really started to show in the Winter Series when I ran a 21:55 the first race and won the Clydesdale division.  I ran a 21:25 PR on the course the last week of the series and started entering races I wouldn’t even consider a few years ago.  I ran several 10-mile races and my first marathon, Steamtown in October 4:08:18 chip time.  My best 5 K was 20:37 in Ship Bottom and I placed 3rd overall in the BogTrotter 10K.  I managed to handle the heat better last summer and am looking forward to running Steamtown again in the fall. 

  A few things larger runners need to remember:

1.      Stay off the roads as much as possible.

As a larger runner, you take more pounding on feet and joints.  Soft running surfaces like trails, grass or sand will help you avoid a lot of injuries.

2.      Get the correct shoes for your running style and replace them regularly.

I have high arches and need cushion shoes.  Try finding those for a heavy weight runner!

3.      Unless you own stock in Body Glide, Get some Under Armor shorts to protect those Clydesdale thighs.

4.      Speed work.

Treadmill, track, fartlik, hill work, if you want to run fast, you have to work on leg turnover.  I have a loop in the forest I love to run.  It has a ¼ mile uphill with a ¼ mile flat followed by a ¼ mile down hill and a ¼ mile flat leading back to the uphill.  I run the hills as fast as I can and still maintain my form and recover on the flats.  I do 4 to 5 of these loops.

5.      Weight Training

Unless you want to put on more weight, avoid power lifting.  That is how I became a Clydesdale!   One set of 12 reps circuit training 2-3 times a week hitting all muscle groups.  Don’t forget the abbs!

6.      Run for your own reasons!

A lot of people get caught up in running just to loose weight or to please someone else.  Some of my deepest thoughts and answers to my life’s most troubling problems have come to me while deep in oxygen debt.  Mankind was developed to run.  The way we were engineered upright, with all the supporting muscle groups, we were not intended just to sit behind a desk.  When we run we feel more human.

7.      Do your best to encourage those around you.  As a Clydesdale, a lot of runners around you will have mixed emotions.  I have heard many “I can’t believe that big guy passed me!”  I have also had many people cheer me along when I was ready to give up.  Man, by nature, is a pack animal.  The time spent and the friendships developed at the local races will keep you coming back long after your competitiveness leaves you.

8.      Never forget the time you spend training and racing is, except for a few lucky couples who share the love of running, spent away from your loved ones.  They have a lot to do with any success you are having.  Try to find ways to involve them and make sure they are not forgotten. Dogs love to run too!  Many times I hit the trails when I don’t feel up to it because I know my dog wants to go. 

9.      Wear your title as a Clydesdale as a badge of honor! When I weighed 155 lbs.,32 years ago, I could hold under a 5:00 minute mile over 5K.  I wonder just  how fast I could have done it with a 60lb pack on?  Probably not under 7:00!

The New York Marathon

By Joel Stern

Running the New York Marathon has been my goal for quite some time.  I trained twice in the past few years and had to cancel due to lower leg injuries.  Finally, I gave up on the idea and figured I had better stick to shorter races and stay healthy. Early this year I again considered doing the Marathon. My daughter Amy, who has run New York four times, designed a schedule that would be kind to my legs and still give me the long runs that I needed.  

I started my training about four months prior to the race, gradually building up my mileage and then tapering down three weeks before the big day. Two weeks before the end of training, I literally hit a bump in the road. While running the trail around Manasquan Reservoir, I tripped on a root and took that proverbial flying leap, landing on the side of my face, knee, and hands. Luckily there were no serious injuries, just minor cuts and abrasions and I was able to return to running a day later.  

On Sunday, November 7th, I was ready to join 36,500 fellow runners on the journey thru all five boroughs. Marathon day arrived with great weather, though it could have been a few degrees cooler. Amy had arranged for me to travel to the start on a bus provided by her running club, the New York

 Flyers (of which I am a former member). We left the city around 7:15 AM and arrived at the base of the Verrazano Bridge about 8 AM, a reasonable hour since many runners left as early as 6 AM. The start area was quite a scene—thousands of people stretching, sipping fluids, eating bagels, Power Bars or bananas -- preparing for what lay ahead.  Security was very tight.  Police helicopters buzzed overhead until the race began and then they flew back and forth alongside the bridge to watch over us. Each runner had a particular “start color” and had to assemble in a “corral” area corresponding to that color. Happily I had a blue start which meant I was on the upper deck of the Verrazano—important since it’s traditional for the guys to urinate over the side on the way up over the bridge—you don’t want to be on the lower deck. I was struck by how quiet and introspective everyone seemed as we waited for the call to the start. Once I began my march to the bridge there was a constant chatter and feeling of anticipation among those around me. Runners began to peel off their “throwaway” sweats which were later picked up and distributed to the homeless. Off in the distance I could hear the National Anthem being sung. Shortly the cannon roared and off I went.  From where I was positioned it took 6 minutes to get to the start line. “New York, New York” sung by Frank Sinatra, played over the PA system as I crossed the line. It was an imposing sight looking up at the Verrazano , but the actual climb up and over the bridge crest at 300 feet above the water was a piece of cake at this point.

As the runners came off the bridge, a huge “Welcome to Brooklyn, USA” sign greeted us and everyone whooped it up. From that point to the Pulaski Bridge 11 to12 miles ahead there were people lining both sides of the streets. At just about every mile there was a band playing to entertain us. Spectators were supportive beyond my imagination. I never want to hear that New Yorkers are unfriendly people. Water stations began at mile 3 and they continued every mile along the course with Gatorade at the even numbered miles. The volunteers were outstanding—there was never a wait for a drink and they cheered everyone on as well. Around mile 8, my left hip started to complain and I thought back to the start area where I had taken a precautionary dose of Tylenol and had dropped one of the tablets on the ground, leaving it there instead of blowing off the dust and taking it anyway.  I thought that since I had done most of my training on softer surfaces, my joints and muscles rebelled at the asphalt and concrete .Of course I was too stubborn to stop at an aid station and ask for another pill—that would have been too easy.  Fortunately, I’ve always had a high tolerance for pain, so I was able to more or less ignore my unhappy hip. Surprisingly, this was the only discomfort I felt during the race.

My 10k split was about what I anticipated. Then I got to the Pulaski Bridge which looked like a vertical slab of concrete, but I managed to get over it okay.   I approached the 59th Street Bridge which Amy had warned me about.  It seemed never ending.  Fatigue set in and I slowed down a bit, including some walking to conserve energy. At the crest everyone let out a yell of relief that we finally made it.

What awaited us at the bottom of the ramp, turning onto 1st Avenue in Manhattan was unbelievable. I could hear the roar before I saw what caused it—the biggest throng of cheering, applauding, screaming people that I ever saw on a city street. It was a boost I sorely needed. Meanwhile my hands swelled up so much I thought I was wearing mittens—it was impossible to close my fingers into a fist. I also began to realize that I wasn’t sweating as much as I should have and was becoming dehydrated. What I thought was adequate fluid intake didn’t do the job--maybe it was too much Gatorade and too little water. The trip on 1st Avenue lived up to its reputation—party central—so I was somewhat distracted from my problems.

As I approached 72nd Street I saw Amy running toward me—she had planned to join me for the next 9 miles and run to within a short distance before the finish. What a welcome sight!  She saw my condition and immediately suggested I increase my water intake and cut down on the Gatorade. We reached 72nd Street where Bev stood proudly waving her sign proclaiming--.  “GO POPPY” on one side and on the other “1937 model and still running.”  My cap also had “POPPY” printed across the front and on the sides I had painted:”In Memory: May, Murray, eymour and Tony honoring my sister, two brothers-in-law and close friend.

My son Hal had planned to follow me by taking the subway to various spots, taking photos and cheering me on.  Unfortunately, the previous day he fractured his ankle playing hockey, so of course was unable to join the fun in the city. Not to be stopped, he followed my progress via e mails sent to his cell phone from the various splits and in turn sent the info onto Bev and Amy. I missed seeing him on the sidelines, but his support helped me get through this challenge.

 After a quick stop to see Bev, during which time I told her to shoot me if I ever thought about doing this again, Amy and I continued up 1st Avenue. She wore a sign reading “That’s my Dad” with an arrow pointing over toward me. This brought a lot of special cheers from the crowd.

Amy’s advice on hydration paid off and I began to perk up.  She kept me advised about what was coming up next—two more fairly easy bridges, a turn down Fifth Avenue, the entrance into Central Park, etc. What she didn’t tell me about until later was the number of people she saw laid out on stretchers in the medical tents around miles 18 and 19.  I’m usually not too thrilled to see people injured or ill who are doing the same thing I am, ignorance was bliss.  Instead my eyes were straight ahead toward that finish line.

We passed by some friends on 5th Avenue exchanging high-fives and receiving much needed encouragement. Finally we turned into Central Park and passed Bev cheering at mile 24.5. Coming out of the park and onto Central Park South, we saw our very close friend Steve, a professional New York artist, cheering from the sidelines. He gave us a few laughs and a thumbs up.  Just before the course turned onto Central Park West, Amy turned me loose with instructions to lift my arms high, look up and smile for the camera as I crossed the finish line. I thought I had done this very well, until the pictures were e mailed to me and there I was with arms halfway up and my mouth set in a grimace. What elation to be finished and then I shed a few tears as the realization of what I had just done hit me.  I proudly accepted my medal and began the long, slow walk to the family reunion area.

I can never thank Amy enough for her efforts in getting me to the finish in one piece.—she went above and beyond, never losing faith in my ability to reach my goal. 

Several times after Amy had joined me I asked if there really were people still behind me and she reassured me there were thousands back there. My son writes a “blog” almost everyday and on November 7th, this was how he ended his wonderful story about me:  “He’s fought off stress fractures, shin splints and gnarly neighborhood dogs to get to that finish line. His pace runner and trainer—my sister—is thrilled. From waving a sign at 72nd Street to crossing the sea of people in Central Park my mom was there for support. I, of course, could not be more proud, for the man with the finisher’s medal is my father. Is there anyone behind you? You bet. All of us–every day.”

To my loving, supportive family—this one was for you.

Steamtown Marathon 10/10/2004

By Jim Pate

After turning 50, I decided to do a “Mid Life Crisis” marathon.  I started training for the race after surviving a few 10 mile races last spring.  I worked in long runs whenever the hot weather would allow.  Three weeks before the marathon, I ran a 20 mile training run around the Manasquan reservoir and other than feeling like I had run 20 miles, I had no long lasting effects.  I started checking the long-range forecast for Forest City Pa. where the marathon began.  I ran the Whites Bog 10K the Sunday before and took 3rd overall and first in my age group.  I felt strong and knew the hardest thing for me would be to hold back. 

 This being my first marathon, I set a goal of 4 hours.  The forecast was for clear skies, 40 degrees at start warming up to the low sixties by my finish time.  The wind was supposed to be a slight tailwind increasing to 15 mph. 

 The marathon is a point to point event where they bus you to the starting point.  The bus was greeted at Forest City high school by cheerleaders and students who escorted us to the warm gym inside until the start time.

I lined up at the start in the 9:00 minute mile group with several others I met inside and my friend Jim from New Jersey.  Jim and I have done several long training runs up to 20 miles together.  After the national anthem and some short words from race officials, they fire a civil war cannon and off we go.   At my point in the pack of over 1700 runners, we start walking forward toward the starting line.  It took 55 seconds to reach the starting line and shortly after we could start a slow jog.  With the News helicopter hovering overhead we started down the hill through the streets of Forest City past the groups of cheering residents who watched us while enjoying their morning coffee from their yards.  We passed the mile mark at 9:30.  A little slow but plenty of time to make it up.  Steamtown is a mostly downhill marathon with the start 955’ higher than the finish.  It is easy to run fast down the hills in the beginning but you take a pounding and burn up energy you will need later.  I just tried to relax as we hit a couple of up-hills.  The 2-mile mark came and went and we picked up a little bit at 18:20.  We started out of town on a beautiful tree lined road and a long gradual down hill.  I just relaxed and tried to burn as little energy as possible.  The 5-mile mark came at 42:20 and I verified it with Jim.  He said, “ You have picked up the pace a bit!”  I asked him how he was feeling and he said “Great!” but I made a mental note to slow down a bit.  Just past the 6-mile water stops, I took advantage of one of the porto-lavs placed along the route.  I was lucky in as soon as I got to them, a runner came out so I didn’t lose time waiting.  Hydrating is very important before and during a marathon but having to go makes it hard to drink at the water stops.  All along the course there were people relieving themselves in the bushes and behind buildings.  Some were more discreet than others!  Back on the course, I couldn’t see Jim.  I figured I lost at least a minute on my pit stop but some things in this world you can’t rush!  After a mile I could see him ahead and I just kept my pace until I over took him.  Hey!  Did you miss me?  He just laughed. We ran through Mayfield Borough and saw my wife Sharon and my sister Terri cheering us on.  Terri snapped our picture and Jim and I ran together and passed the 10-mile mark in 1:27:00.  I thought about what a marathoner once said, “If you are hurting at 10 miles you are in trouble!  If you are hurting at 20 miles, you are normal.  If you aren’t hurting after 26 miles you are abnormal!  My legs were a little bit sore but I couldn’t say I was hurting.  I started to relax and zone out and go to a place mentally I go to on long runs.  I passed the half way point in 1:55 and looked around me and couldn’t see Jim any more.  We came into a park and ran a loop around their jogging trail.  On the exit I could see Jim back there just entering the park.  After a short distance we entered a Rails to Trails trail that followed the Lackawanna River.

  It was beautiful and tree covered and kind of made me forget the throbbing in my legs.  I checked my split times and I was still holding at just under 9 minute miles.  The sun was out and the temperature was edging up just a little bit.

 We crossed the river on a bridge and went back on the trail.  After leaving the trail we starting winding down the streets of Olyphant.  I came around a corner and there was the 20-mile marker!  Sharon and Terri were there to cheer me on and asked me if I needed anything.  I gave Sharon the power bars I had been carrying. I only managed to eat about half of one along the way but at 20 miles, they felt too heavy to carry!  I passed the 20-mile mark at 2:58:00.  I headed out of town and a cheerleader gave me some candy.  I was excited about the time I was running and felt like I would be able to maintain a good pace over the next 6 miles. 

  All of a sudden, the sun disappeared.  The wind picked up and the clouds looked like it may snow at any minute.  My knees started to ache and my feet hurt like a toothache with every step.  When they tell you Advil works for four hours, don’t you believe it!  I did my best to hold my form and as I passed the 23 mile mark I yelled to the group of runners I was with, “ Hey!, anyone want to run a 5K?”  It got a few chuckles but my form was starting to deteriorate.  I felt chilled to the bone and my upper body started to cramp up. 

  Welcome to Green Ridge, a suburb of Scranton and the 3-block uphill.  I walked a bit of the hill and I actually could go as fast walking as I was running and my feet didn’t hurt as bad.  I think every person in Green Ridge came out to cheer and have a block party.  There was music playing and at the very top of the hill was a bunch of disabled children from the St Joseph’s Children’s hospital cheering from their wheelchairs.  I started down the long down hill running once more and trying to block out the pain.  I hear “Hey Dude!” and there was my nephew Billy pouring a beer from a keg.  I suppressed the urge for the beer stop and continued down the hill.  All hopes of breaking four hours were gone as I passed the 25-mile marker.  I don’t remember ever envisioning a mile as so long a distance as the one I was facing just then.  I trudged up the last hill and started the final 1/2-mile slight down hill.  It seemed like every block I passed there was someone yelling,  “Just one more block!”. Finally I could see the finish!  I remarked to the guy next to me who looked worse than I felt! “Remind me again why we do this?”  I started down the last block to the finish shoot and there was my father giving me one of those teary eyed, proud father looks that still invokes emotion in me.  I thought to myself,  “They are going to see me crying as I cross the finish!”   I crossed the finish 4:09:11 on the gun clock.

  After you subtract the 55 seconds it took me to get to the starting line my Chip time was 4:08:16.  They wrapped me in a Mylar blanket and put a finishers medal around my neck.  There were all kinds of goodies and drinks at the recovery area.  I had two bowls of pierogies sautéed in onions and butter.  I figured my serum cholesterol needed a boost! Jim finished in 4:17, only 2 minutes over his goal time and a best.  He ran the Baltimore Marathon last year.

  I met Sharon and Terri for a few photos and Terri picked up my warm ups from the bag check area.  We drove back up to my parent’s house and I spent the rest of the day recuperating in Terri’s new hot tub.

  A week has come and gone since my marathon.  I even managed to run a nice 8 miles Sunday with my dog in the State Forest.  I am not decided about any future marathons.  I enjoy running for the sake of running but all of the training that is required for a marathon is a big commitment. One of the E-mails I received leading up to Steamtown from the race director summed it up:  “If you want to win something, enter a 100 meter dash.  If you want to experience something, enter a marathon.”  I will always remember my first marathon and it truly was an experience.

Keeping Pace with the RRCA

Since 1989 the RRCA has actively worked on behalf of women runners’ safety, and has several safety resources available to the public.  One example is RRCA’s Tips for Running Safety, 15 tips that are worth remembering.

1.  Don’t wear headsets.  Use your ears to be aware of your surroundings.

2.  Carry change for a phone-call or carry a small cell phone.

3.  Run with a partner.  Run with a dog.

4.  Write down or leave word of the direction of your run.  Tell friends and family of your favorite running routes.

5.  Run in familiar areas.  In unfamiliar areas contact a local RRCA club or running store.  Know where telephones are, or open businesses or stores.  Alter or vary your route pattern.

6.  Always stay alert.  The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.

7.  Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails.  Especially avoid unlit areas at night.  Run clear of parked cars or buses.

8.  Carry identification or write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside sole of your running shoe.  Include any medical information.  Don’t wear jewelry.

9.  Ignore verbal harassment.  Use discretion in acknowledging strangers.  Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.

10.  Run against traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles.

11.  Wear reflective material if you must run before dawn or after dark.

12.  Use your intuition about a person or an area.  React on your intuitions and avoid if you’re unsure.

13.  Practice memorizing license tags or identifying characteristics of strangers.

14.  Carry a noisemaker and/or OC (pepper) spray.  Get training in self-defense and the use of pepper spray.

15.  Call police immediately if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary. 

Ed Demoney

Interim Executive Director

Performance Enhancement

By: Pam Spadola

Looking for a physical or psychological edge over your competition? At the risk of sounding like an info-mercial, I will suggest you start taking Endurox supplements. I am not a great believer in supplements --- a 1-a-day vitamin and occasional Gatorade being the closest thing to a supplement regime that I may or may not actually follow through on. For whatever reason, I decided to try the Endurox pills that I received in the race packet from the Friday 5K. The lure of noticeable results in 3-5 days made it enticing for me to try it. That week I made a point of running a little more than usual as well as throwing in a hard 10 miler. I was shocked when the usual day-after muscle aches and soreness were gone! I became a true believer after running the Ryka 10 K race at Battleground Park. The grueling hills and longer race distance should have sent me in search of the Advil bottle for days after the event. However, instead, I felt better than I have in a long time, ran better than my expectations and was able to be stronger near the end of the race where we all tend to falter when tired. I even spent the rest of the day and evening walking around NYC (in heels) and never had a sore muscle. In addition, I have more stamina and am no longer falling asleep at 9 p.m. I feel leaner and am not craving sweets as I normally constantly do.

There is most definitely a psychological advantage to these supplements, and whether or not the physical advantages are real, I am enjoying the fantasy that they are! Consider trying them and see for yourself if the benefits are real. The supplements are not stimulants and are an all natural herb (Ciwujia) that increases workout energy and decreases body fat. During a workout, the supplements shift the body's workout energy from carbohydrates to fats, which slows lactic acid buildup that cause muscle soreness and fatigue. Check their website for more information.

PR Races

By Robert McGill

If you are looking for pr's, here is a list of courses that are flat or are more downhill than uphill.

Morris, Sussex and Warren counties

1.  Wilson School 5k around the lake in Mountain Lakes.  You start on the top of a hill and go down a hill that is like the nasty hill on the All Hills, No Frills 5k, but you do not have to go up that elevation.  The drop is in the first mile.

 2.  Merry Heart 5k (Roxbury)

 3.  Apple Chase Chilton Memorial 5k and 10k (Pequannock)

 4.  Pequannock 5k

 5.  Pfizer 5k

 6.  Swamp Devil 5k and 15k (mostly in Morris County, but starts and finishes in Somerset County) 

Somerset and Middlesex Counties

 1.  South Plainfield Labor Day 5k

 2.  East Brunswick 10k and 5K

 3.  Run for Education 5k (Dunellen)

 4.  Lightning 5k (Edison)

 5.  Edison Day 5k

 6.  Woodbridge Father's Day 5k

 7.  Colonia Classic 5k

 8.  Spotswood 5k

 9.  Beringer House 5k (Metuchen)

 10.  Franklin Turkey Trot 5k

 11.  June Moon 5k (Franklin)

 12.  Hillsborough YMCA 5k

 13.  Duke Island for Runaways 5k (Bridgewater).  There is also another 5k around June in this same park

Hudson and Bergen counties

 1.  The 5k and 10k in Ridgewood on Memorial Day

 2.  Teterboro Airport 5k

 3.  Hoboken Police 5k against drugs and crime

 4.  Healthy Nieghbors 5k (Hoboken)

 5.  St. Dominic's Academy 5k (Jersey City)

 6.  Liberty Waterfront 5k and half marathon (Jersey City)

 7.  Authism 5k (Bayonne)

Essex and Union counties

 1.  Run for the Children 5 miler (Elizabeth)

 2.  Winter's End 5k (Rahway)

 3.  Westfield Recreation 5 miler

 4.  Westfield Turkey Trot 5 miler

 5.  Jack and Jill 5k (Westfield)

 6.  Newark Corporate 5k Race

 7.  Newark Easter 5k

 8.  Portugal Day 5k

 9.  Millburn Spring Run 10k and 2 miler

 10.  Montclair YMCA 10K

 11.  Cherry Blossom 10k (Newark)

 12.  USATF 10 miler championship at the South Mountain Reservation

 13.   Run for Freedom 5 miler (Newark)

Best Races from Certain Counties

By Robert McGill

Sussex County

1.  Stillwater Stampede 5 miler

2.  Downtown Sparta 5k

3.  Beach Blast 5k

4.  Christmas in August 5k

5.  High Point Easter 5k

6.  8 miler around lake mohawk

 Morris County

1.  Pfizer 5k

2.  Wyeth 5k

3.  Merry Heart 5k

4.  Apple Chase Chilton Memorial 10k

5.  Gilarda Farms 10k

6.  Run for the Roses 10k

7.  Halloween Hustle 5k

8.  Lepuchan Leap 5k

9.  Harvest Festival 5k

10. Dover Reninassance 5k

11. Montville 5k

12. Country Squire 10k

Union County

1.  Our House 5 miler (summit)

2.  Summit High 5-miler

3.  Run for the children 5 miler (elizabeth)

4.  hangover 5k (westfield)

5.  roselle 21 st century 5k

6.  downtown westfield 5k

7.  contact we care 5k (fanwood)

8.  sleepy hollow 5k (plainfield)

Essex County

1.  Newark Easter 5k

2.  Sunset Classic 5 miler (bloomfield)

3.  Integrity House run for freedom 5 miler (newark)

4.  newark corporate 5k

5.  cpa 5k (roseland)

6.  montclair ymca 10k

7.  millburn spring run 10k

8.  portugal day 5k

9.  cherry blossom 10k (newark)

10. south orange 5k

11. run for rachel 5k (livingston)

Middlesex County

1.  Crossroads of Woodbridge 10k

2.  Colonia Classic 5k

3.  Edison Day 5k

4.  Equinox 20k

5.  Run for Education 5k (Dunellen)

6.  SPASA 5k (south Plainfield)

7.  Lightning 5k

8.  Equinox 20k

9.  Beringer's House 5k (Metuchen)

10. a 5k in Roosevelt Park

11. Woodbridge Father's Day 5k

Bergen County

1.  Teterboro Airport 5k

2.  Ridgewood 10k

3.  Wyckoff 5k

4.  Ramsey Day 10k

Somerset County

1.  Hacklebarney Hill Climb 15k

2.  June Moon 5k (Franklin)

3.  Somerset County Turkey Trot 5k

4.  Somerville Sizzle 4 miler

5.  Midland 15k

6.  Haybale 25k

7.  Run for the Elderly 4 miler

8.  Run with Aimee 5k



Beer races outside of Monmouth & Ocean counties


  1.  President's Cup 5k (Millburn)

  2.  Long Hill Township 5 miler

  3.  Morris County Striders Summer Series 2.6 miles

  4.  Raritan Valley Road Runners Summer Series 5k's

  5.  Friday Night at the races series 5k's

  6.  Frost on the Pumpkin 10k (South River)

  7.  Hero's 5k (Elizabeth)


Revised hilly course list


  5 milers & 8k's


1.  Raising Hope 5 miler (Readington, NJ)

2.  Tewksbury 5 miler

3.  Our House 5 miler (Summit, NJ)

4.  Summit HI-5 miler

5.  Christmas City Challenge 5 miler (Bethlehem, Pa)

6.  Christmas City Classic 5 miler (Bethlehem, Pa)

7.  Sunset Classic 5 miler (Bloomfield, NJ)

8.  The Scenic 5 miler (Atlantic Highlands, NJ)

9.  Stillwater Stampede 5 miler (stillwater, NJ)

10. Long Hill Township 5 miler (Long Hill, NJ)




1.   Run for the Cookies 10k (Berwick, Pa)

2.   Brian's Run 10k (Wayne, NJ)

3.   Woodcliff Lakes 10k (Woodcliff Lakes, NJ)

4.   Frost on the Pumpkin 10k (South River, NJ)

5.   Amazing Feet 10k (New Providence, NJ)

6.   Hopewell Challenge 10k (Hopewell, NJ)

7.   Joel Spector 10k (Washington Twp, Bergen County, NJ)

8.   Giralda Farms 10k (Madison, NJ)

9.   Brielle Day 10k

10.   Ramsey Day 10k (Ramsey, NJ)


  8 milers and longer


1.  Half Wit, Half Marathon (Reading area of Pa)

2.  Charlie Horse 20k (Reading area of Pa)

3.   Hacklebarney Hill Climb 15k (Pottersville, NJ), was not held this year

4.  South Mountain 10 miler (Bethlehem, Pa)

5.  9 miler at Allaire State Park (Wall, NJ)

6.  Hot Chili 8 miler challenge at Kittatiny State Park (Andover, NJ)

7.  Sparta 8 miler around Lake Mohawk (Sparta, NJ)

8.  Indian Trails 15k (Middletown, NJ)

9.  Midland 15k Run

10. E. Murray Todd Half-Marathon


  5k 's


1.  The Morris Mauler 5k (Mendham, NJ)

2.  Chilly Hilly 5k (Randolph, NJ)

3.  All Hills, No Frills 5k

4.  William & Teresa Wright 5k (Randolph, NJ)

5.  High Point Easter 5k (Wantage, NJ)

6.  CPA 5k (Roseland, NJ)

7.  Essex ARC 5k (Bloomfield, NJ)

8.  Wyeth 5k (Madison, NJ)

9.  Raritan Valley Road Runners Summer Series 5k (Highland Park, NJ)

10.  Friday Night at the races 5k (Highland Park, NJ)


The best races from each county (order is random)


     Mercer County


1.  Trenton Waterfront 5k (food, music & raffle)

2.  Hamilton Half-Marathon  (food & course)

3.  Carnegie 5k  (same as Trenton Waterfront)

4.  Tommy May 5k (washington township)  (small race with a large raffle & prize money)

5.  Hamilton Peace 5k  (course & food)


     Somerset County


1.  Miles for Matheny 5k  (food)

2.  Race for Runaways at Duke Island 5k  (food)

3.  Midland Run (course & food)

4.  June Moon 5k  (food & prizes)

5.  Run for Aimee 5k  (food & raffle)


     Morris County


1.  Merry Heart 5k (food, raffle & flat course)

2.  Morris County Striders Summer Series (beer & food)

3.  Run for Life 4 miler (food)

4.  Pfizer 5k (best goody bag)

5.  Wyeth 5k  (goody bag)

6.  Rockaway Blast 5k (downhill finish & food)

7.  Lepauchan Leap 5k (food)

8.  HOunds & harriers 3 miler (food & goody bag), must run with a dog

9.  Apple Chase Chilton Memorial 10k & 5k (raffle and flat course with long straight aways)

10. Mendham Patriots Path 10K (beautiful trail race & food)

11. William & Teresa Wright 5k (Randolph)  (goody bag & raffle)

12. Dover Renassiance 5k  (raffle)


     Sussex County


1.  Fredon Pancake Run 4.4 miles  (food & course)

2.  Stillwater Stampede 5 miler (course)

3.  Christmas in August 5k  (course & food)

4.  Beach Blast 5k (course & uniqueness of race)

5.  Downtown Sparta 5k (raffle, goody bag & food)

6.  Sparta 8 miler around lake mohawk (cheap race & beautiful course)

7.  Tri-State Classic 10k (course)

8.  Hot Chili 8 miler challenge at Kittatinny State Park (food & course)


      Bergen County


1.   Teterboro Airport 5k  (raffle)

2.   Woodcliff Lakes 10k & 5k (goody bag)

3.   Joel Spector 10k & 5k (course)

4.   Wyckoff 5k (flat course that is tree-lined)

5.   Ramsey Day 10k & 5k (course plus washcloth at finish line and t-shirt)


      Hudson County


1.  Newport 10,000 (flat course & very fast elite runners who bring down the participation of fast uaatf


2.  Hoboken Police Race Against Crime & Drugs (course & something crazy happens at this race almost every year)

3.  St. Dominic's 5k (fast course)

4.  Bayonne Terminal 5k  (fast course)

5.  Race Against Autism

6.  Lincoln Tunnel Challenge 5k (unique course)


     Union County


1.  Our House 5 miler (food & raffle)

2.  Summit Hi-5 miler (food & raffle)

3.  Sleepy Hollow 5k (goody bag)

4.  Downtown Westfield Pizza Run (food & music)

5.  Winter's End 5k & 5 miler (raffle)

6.  Run for the Children 5 miler in Elizabeth (food, raffle & awards)

7.  Heroes 5k in Elizabeth (best food race in the State)

8.  Roselle 21 st century 5k (food & raffle)

9.  cranford firecracker 4 miler (large crowds of spectators, food & goody bag)

10.  contact we care 5k (food & raffle)


     Essex County


1.  Newark Corporate 5k (food & flat course with long straightaways)

2.  Newark Easter 5k (goody bag)

3.  Portugal Day 5k (flat course & nice trophies)

4.  Run for Freedom 5 miler (food & friendliness of people putting on the race)

5.  Newark Distance Classic 20k & 5k (course & warm building for awards)

6.  Essex ARC 5k (raffle & goody bag)

7.  Run for Rachel 5k (raffle & goody bag)

8.  CPA 5k (unique awards & food)

9.  South Orange Village 5k Classic (food)

10.  Sunset Classic 5 miler (food & collar shirt)

11.  Montclair 10k (course & food)

12.  Ashenfelter 8k (course, warm building & food)


    Middlesex County


1.  Run for Education 5k (food, raffle & flat course)

2.  Beringer House 5k (raffle & flat, tree-lined course)

3.  Edison Day 5k (food, flat couse & awards)

4.  Frog Hollow 5k (food & tough challenging course)

5.  Crossroads of Woodbridge 10k (food & raffle)

6.  Frost on the Pumpkin 10k (challenging course & beer)

7.  East Brunswick 10k & 5k (food)

8.  Raritan Valley Road Runners Summer Series (food & beer)

9.  Friday night at the races 5k (food & beer)

10.  Colonia Classic 5k (food)

11.  Lightning 5k (course & politeness of people putting on the race)


     Hunterdon County


1.  Healthquest 5k of Hunterdon County (food & course)

2.  Raising Hope 5 miler (challenging but beautiful course)

3.  Windmill Classic 5k  (challenging course but beautiful)

When Running is Just 1/3 of the Fun

By: Jim Dunn


Participating in triathlons is a great way to inject a lot of variety into your training schedules - and possibly help to reduce injuries that can occur when just training by doing the same routine over and over (runner's knee, shin splints, etc).


A triathlon is a competitive event involving the three disciplines of swimming, bicycling, and running. The format for triathlon is usually swim - bike - run; however, it can be in any order. Triathlons have three different set distances: Olympic, Half-Ironman and Ironman.  The Olympic distance is a 1.5K (.9 miles) swim, 40K (24.9 miles) of cycling followed by a 10K (6.2 miles) run. This is the official distance for Triathlon in the Olympics (hence the name) The Half-Ironman distance is 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles on the bike followed by 13.1 miles of running. The Ironman, considered "the ultimate endurance test", is twice the half - 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike followed by a full marathon of 26.2 miles. There is a fourth "distance" known as the sprint distance but it is not a defined distance for any discipline but any triathlon less than Olympic distance is considered a sprint.


Most people are afraid of doing a Triathlon due to fear of the water. Being a Triathlete myself for the past 9 years, I shared that 'aqua-phobia' as well 10 years ago. The reality is the swim is always the shortest part of any Triathlon in both length and time, so as long as you keep calm in the water and can do a little better than doggy-paddle, I can guarantee you will find a way to get back to shore. It is after the swim that the race really begins. The bike is usually the longest leg and will take the longest to complete - so my advice here is to first have a bike that fits you properly (see your local bike shop pro) and second, spend tons of time in that saddle! We all know how to run, but to finish a Triathlon running (not walking) you must practice your BRICK workouts. A BRICK is a bike workout immediately following a run work out - no better way to simulate race day conditions. Always rotate between doing a long bike/short run BRICK and a short bike/long run BRICK. Stay away from doing both in long distances back to back during training as it just invites injury.


Since starting the TRI life, everyone always asked me if I had ever done the Ironman. Up until this past week, the answer was always no. On July 25th I finally "climbed the mountain" and completed the Ironman USA in Lake Placid, NY. I spent 1 hour and 18 minutes swimming, 7 hours and 1 minute on the bike and ran the marathon in 4:50. My total time, including time spent transitioning from one sport to the other, was 13 hours and 30 minutes - not too spectacular but I was happy to finish pain free, smiling and running!


They say doing a triathlon does not make you a triathlete, but doing an Ironman makes you an Ironman for life - and it's a good thing as I think my Ironman days are behind me!!

Best Races

By: Robert McGill

(Random Order, based upon personal experience and experiences of other runners)

 Sussex County

1.  Stillwater Stampede 5 miler

2.  Beach Blast 5k

3.  Christmas in August 5k

4.  Fredon Pancake Run

5.  Hot Chili 8 mile challenge at Kittatinny State Park

6.  Tri-State Classic 10k

7.  Sparta 8 miler around Lake Mohawk

8.  Downtown Sparta 5k

9.  High Point Easter 5k

10. Woodstock 5k

Monmouth County

1.  Freehold St. Paddy's 10 miler & 5k

2.  Freehold Area Running Club's Winter Series

3.  Shore AC Summer Series

4.  Shore AC Winter Series

5.  Belmar 5 miler

6.  Neptune City 5k

7.  Bahrs 5 miler

8.  Born to Run 5 miler

9.  Jersey Shore Half Marathon

10. George Sheehan 5 miler

11. Sea Girt 5k

12. Manasasquan Turkey Trot 5 miler

13. Freehold Area Running Club's Summer Series

14. Bruce Berritt Race against hunger (Freehold)

15. The All Hills, No Frills 5k

Morris County

1.   Pfizer 5k  (Morris Plains)

2.   Wyeth 5k   (Madison)

3.   Rockaway Blast 5k (Rockaway)

4.   Merry Heart 5k  (Roxbury)

5.   William & Teresa Wright 5k (Randolph)

6.   Swamp Devil 15k  (Long Hill & Bernards)

7.   Apple Chase Chilton Memorial 10k & 5k (Pequannock)

8.   Morris County Striders Summer Series

9.   Howard Bell Memorial 5k  (Mount Tabor)

10.  Run for Life 4 miler (Boonton)

Union County

1.  Heroes 5k (Elizabeth)

2.  Run for the Children 5 miler (Elizabeth)

3.  Our House 5 miler (Summit)

4.  Sleepy Hollow 5k (Plainfield)

5.  Roselle 21 st Century 5k

6.  Wee Run Wild (Kean University)

7.  Cranford Firecracker 4 miler

8.  Run Goose Run 5 miler (Rahway)

9.  Winter's End 5k (Rahway)

10. Downtown Westfield 5k & Pizza Extravaganza

Middlesex County

1.   Edison Day 5k

2.   Lightning 5k (Edison)

3.   Toys for Tots 5k at Rutgers University

4.   Raritan Valley Road Runners Summer Series (Highland Park)

5.   Equinox 20k (Piscataway)

6.   Hip Hop 5k (Piscataway)

7.   Run for Education (Dunellen)

8.   Crossroads of Woodbridge 10k & 5k

9.   Colonia Classic 5k

10.  Frog Hollow 5k (South Amboy)

 Essex County

 1.   Newark Corporate 5k

2.   CPA 5k (Roseland)

3.   Newark Easter 5k

4.   Ashenefelter 8k (Glen Ridge)

5.   Run for Freedom 5 miler (Newark)

6.   Montclair YMCA 10k & 2 miler

7.   Project Children 5k (South Mountain Reservation)

8.   Millburn Spring Run 10k & 2 miler (South Mountain Reservation)

9.   Sunset Classic 5 miler (Bloomfield)

10.  South Orange Village Classic 5k

11.  Portugal Day 5k (Newark)

12.  Newark Distance Classic 20k

13.  Cherry Bloosom 10k (Newark)

14.  Run for Rachel 5k

15.  West Essex YMCA 5k (Livingston)

Somerset County

1.  Midland 15k & 5k

2.  Miles for Matheny 5k (Gladstone & Peapack)

3.  Haybale 25k & 5k (Branchburg)

4.  Branchburg 5k

5.  Run for the Elderly 4 miler (Bernards)

6.  Run with Aimee 5k  (Montgomery)

7.  Hillsborough Hop 5k

8.  June Moon 5k  (Franklin)

9.  Watchung 5k

10. Somerset Turkey Trot 5k (Franklin)

Ocean County

1.  Reindeer Romp 5k

2.  Seafood 5 miler (father's day)

3.  Seafood 5 miler (mother's day)

4.  Ocean Running Club's Summer Series

5.  Ocean Running Club's Winter Series

6.  Jackson Day 5k

7.  Lacey Day 5k

8.  The Chill Out 10 miler

9.  Berkley Splash 5k

10. Tinsel Trail Run at Winding River Park