The Bears Running Club: ARTICLES
STAMPEDE UNITES LONG-TIME BUDDIES
STAMPEDE UNITES LONG-TIME BUDDIES
By Laurie Gordon
Each year, on the first Saturday in June, two area men -- one from West Milford and the other from Oak Ridge -- make a traditional pilgrimage. Their destination it the annual Healthy Heart Stillwater Stampede 5-K race held just outside of Newton at Swartswood State Park.
For West Milford’s Ken Freedman, the trip is about running in the race. “Knowing I’m going to do it every year keeps me motivated to stay in shape,” the father of two very athletic daughters said. For Jim Valentine, of Oak Ridge, it’s about proudly representing America’s heroes. The Vietnam Veteran is the race’s official flag bearer each year, waving it above the starting line as the National Anthem plays. And for both men, going to the race is about friendships. “Two of our long-time buddies come in from the Philadelphia area to help out the race. It’s a real team effort,” Valentine said.
All of the men met through the Stampede’s race director, Guy Gordon. Gordon met Larry Gochman when the two were classmates at Temple University in the late 70s. Gochman has been at most of the 12 runnings of the Stampede and now holds the title of Director of Volunteers. He arrives in the area on Friday night to help with last minute details and accompanies Gordon to the park on race day at 3 am to help set up. Five years ago, Grant Brewer, a friend of Gochman’s through the two men’s love of The Eagles, started tagging along and now Brewer also has the race on his annual calendar. Like Gochman, he arises at 3 to help put out cones, mark the course and set up registration, food and t-shirts.
Gordon met Freedman when both were working at the Morris County Youth Detention Center in 1980, then Valentine and Gordon met through their jobs at the Morris County Division of Youth and Family Services in 1985. Over the years, Freedman, Valentine and Gochman have all become good friends through Gordon and the annual Stampede.
“I wouldn’t miss the race for the world,” Gochman said. “It’s a lot of fun, it’s a great cause, and I take my title very seriously.” Gochman can be found rallying his cast of volunteers from early in the morning until every award is handed out, every last morsel of the race’s trademark post-race baked goods is eaten and everything is cleaned up and put away for next year.
The Healthy Heart Stillwater Stampede benefits Newton Memorial Hospital’s heart center and a vital youth running program that instills the many benefits of the sport in area elementary and middle school kids. This year, the race will be held on Saturday, June 2nd. The marquis event is the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race, which participants can either walk or run. Following the 5-K, there is a Mile Fun Run then the “Tiny Trot” for kids five and under. The 5-K starts at 9 am at Swartswood State Park (on Route 619 in Newton) and the other events follow. As an added treat, participants will be serenaded by live music sung by Jack Tannehill before the race, as they finish and afterward.
“It’s great to see the pouring of support not just from the immediate community but from people from all over,” Freedman said. From the runners to all of the sponsors, it’s become a tradition for many.
Later in the afternoon on Stampede Saturday, when another Stampede is over and everything is tucked away, Valentine will be found flipping burgers on Gordon’s deck. Gochman will be standing next to him, sipping a cold beer, joined by Freedman, Brewer, Gordon and a gathering of race volunteers. The banter amongst the five friends is always lively, laughter abounds and so does a lot of reminiscing.
As traditional as the race had become to so many runners, to these men, it’s even more than a tradition. Though each of them have taken different paths in life, the first Saturday in June always leads them in the same direction: to Swartswod State Park.
Saturday, August 4
Savino comes home to race his rival at Stampede
Savino comes home to race his rival at Stampede
By G&L Gordon
Chris Savino was at yesterday’s 12th Annual Healthy Heart Stillwater Stampede at 6:30. The former Newton High School soccer stand out traded in his cleats to run cross country and track for St. Joseph’s College in Philly. He doesn’t regret his soccer days, “I had some good times” but regrets the base he could have built had he run cross country. His goal yesterday? Beat an idol: Hampton’s Andy Latincsics.
He did, by 7 seconds, however 16:13 wasn’t fast enough for the win as another Newton High grad, Ray Biersbach, defended his title by running 15:57. Biersbach, who pocked $100 or his effort, said that he enjoys returning “home” for this annual event. “Running through the camp ground with all the campers out there is an awesome feeling. I also love the finish through the pavilion while music is blaring through the speakers system.”
Rebecca Catalano, of Elizabeth, wanted an excuse to return to Swartswood State Park as she has been a past-participant at the annual August X-Treme Youth Running Camp. The return trip paid off handsomely, as Catalano was fastest female in 19:45. Forty eight year old Janice Morra, of Morristown, was second in 20:17, while 11-year-old Brittany Day, of The Bears Youth Running Program, ran a sizzling 21:06 on a hot and sizzling day.
Over 250 runners competed in the Stampede 5-K which was followed by a Mile Family Fun Run and a “Tiny Trot.” Proceeds benefited The Newton Memorial Heart Center.
Many employees from Newton Memorial participated in the event leading them to victory in the race’s “Hospital Challenge” over Morristown Memorial and St. Clares. Said Newton Memorial’s Jim Ferguson, “My son, Nicholas, had a ball challenging himself to run the one mile fun run instead of the Tiny Trot after seeing me run in the 5-K. The atmosphere was terrific, and the hospital is proud to be a part of this event.”
12th Annual Healthy Heart Stillwater Stampede 5-K Results
1. Ray Biersbach, 28, 15:57
2. Chris Savino, 19, 16:13
3. Andy Latinsics, 41, 16:20
4. Mark Banuk, 28, 16:30
5. Andrew Catalano, 20, 16:42
6. Leigh Parisak, 29, 17:42
7. Dave Siuta, 18, 17:42
8. Alex Erins, 18, 18:05
9. Bill Bosmann, 56, 19:05
10. Ryan Hashway, 31, 19:06
11. Torstem Madsen, 40, 19”08
12. Nick Kazimierczak, 18, 19:14
13. Brian Vogler, 23, 19:20
14. John Guth, 32, 19:24
15. Jon Kameen, 26, 19:32
16. Greg Mullins, 32, 19:37
17. Michael Maniscalco, 17, 19:39
18. Anthony Trombette, 17, 19:43
19. Rebecca Catalano, 20, 19:45
20. Adam Devine, 32, 20:04
21. Chris Maniscalco, 16, 20:06
22. Janice Morra, 47, 20:17
23. Drew Reinhardt, 14, 20:38
24. William Whitley, 58, 20:39
25. Brittany Day, 11, 21:06
26. Virginia Day, 42, 21:06
27. Dennis McGinley, 48, 21:14
28. Bill Plough, 52, 21:14
29. Dan Holdt, 31, 21:15
30. Niall Campbell, 23, 21:21
31. Robert Parisien, 26, 21:21
32. Al Siuta, 45, 21:35
33. Tina Flemming, 28, 21:44
34. Jim Rehrig, 64, 21:47
35. Paul Williams, 39, 21:48
36. Jim Stark, 47, 21:59
37. Charlie Marron, 51, 22:01
38. Bob Masci, 50, 22:03
39. Bogden Bienko, 59, 22:14
40. Rob Jennings, 35, 22:26
41. Michael Lawlor, 36, 22:28
42. Ralph Abramowitz, 62, 22:33
43. Dean Geiring
44. Rick Toma, 42, 22:40
45.Susan Cipriano, 30, 22:55
46. Bridget Jones, 32, 23:04
47. Randy Parks, 43, 22:06
48. Craig Polizzi, 44, 23:08
49. Rich Furlong, 59, 23:09
50. Kim Johnson, 45, 23:11
51 ED MAGEE, 45, 23:15
52 PETER KUCHIRSKI, 54, 23:23
53 LINDA HETER 48, 23:33
54 VINNIE CONNORS 65, 23:35 7
55 ELISE TOOKER,19, 23:42
56 ROBERT MCGILL 47 23:44
57 JOSEPH FARINELLA, 68, 23:48
58 MICHAEL BUSSOW 12, 23:53
59 JULIE STROTHER 12, 24:09
60 DANIEL DALRYMPLE 44, 24:12
61 TOM HEATHERWOOD, 46, 24:16
62 NED JENNINGS, 52, 24:22
63 SEAN DONOVAN, 16, 24:26
64 STEVEN SCHEIDER, 51, 24:46
65 GERALDINE SCERRA 43, 24:53
66 KATIE ROHBLER, 12, 25:02
67 LINDA PEOPLES 38, 25:15
68 STEPHEN NUGENT 15, 25:18
69 JIM FURGESON, 39, 25:19
70 REBECCA BUCHANAN 31, 25:27
71 JEAN NUGENT, 42, 25:31
72 JOHN PINIANA, 40, 25:51
73 JOHN NUGENT, 45, 25:53
74 NICOLE BOND, 22, 26:05
75 HILARY MANSEN, 39, 26:07
76 JOANNE BROWNE, 36, 26:35
77 TYLER THONHER, 15, 26:47
78 ANN WILLIAMS 39, 26:49
79 CHRISTINA GORDON, 47, 26:52
80. KAREN GABA, 47, 27:00
81. Amy Hoffnagle, 19, 27:01
82 DENISE AUTER, 32, 27:05
83 JENICA ASADOEIAN, 26, 27:07
84 ANN MCERLEAN 39, 27:10
85 JACKIE KAUFMAN, 42, 27:17
86 RAY WEBSTER 66. 27:26
87 JENNI SOFIO 35, 27:35
88 SHAWNA BENGIVENNI, 45, 27:39
89 BOB MATTIA 63, 27:47
90 JENNIFER MARRASH 19, 28:01
91 SANDRA SABOX 48, 28:19
92 HAL HALVORSEN 53, 28:37
93 WENDY FRIELING 43, 28:44
94 DARYL JONES 35, 28:47
95 NICOLE KLINDT, 25, 28:49
96 TIM RYANR 55, 28:59
97 JIM SCHUTTE, 44, 29:09
98 BOB HOPE, 57, 29:10
99 ALI TAYLOR, 15, 29:20
100 JAMES SMITH, 58, 29:21
101 SEAN MAYER 38, 29:26
102 SUE MAYER 38, 29:29
103 ELANOR YOUNG 36, 29:54
\104 JENNIFER HENNION 33, 30:02
105 MIKE BUSSOW 42, 30:22
106 WILLIAM DECKER 70, 30:27
107 MICAH MESKOWITZ 10, 30:46
108 JEN PINIAHA 44, 30:50 9:56
109 STEFANIE KAZIMIERSZ 16, 30:52
110 REBECCA SCHEIDER 15, 30:55
111 PENNY YOUNG 48, 31:10
112 THOMAS DAREY 55, 31:14
113 LOUIS IOPPOLO 73, 31:29
114 BILL GREENILLE 54, 31:51
115 JIM WONG 33 M 32:31
116 LISA HANRA 36 F 32:39
117 MARK VITALE 15 M 32:40
118 RICHARD WILDE 72, 32:51
119 LORI MCGILL 45, 32:53
120 DIANE JONES 54, 32:54
121 PATRICIA VOLIN 54, 32:54
122 RICHARD RHINESMITH 63, 33:06
123 SUE ESPOSITO 42, 34:45
124 JAMI KESSLER 45, 35:15
125 KATHIE ROHBLER 49, 35:18
126 DOROTHY HEATHERWOOD 38, 35:27
127 NINA JONSSON 46, 35:41
128 SANDRA ADAMETZ 51, 36:25
129 NANCY SMITH 55, 36:25
130 BoB FAY 65, 36:26
* There was not an official timing for those who chose to walk the 5-K course. Over 60 additional people participated in that faction of the event.
Saturday, May 19
By Laurie Gordon
It was President’s Weekend, 2007, and my husband and I were nestled in our bed at Antoinette’s Guest House, on Washington Street in Cape May, New Jersey. Our one-and-a-half year old lay beside us. It was Sunday night, and outside, the wind wasn’t just howling: Aeolus, the Greek King of the Winds, was in a fury.
I thought ahead to the run I had planned for the morning.
It was going to be a tough one.
In light of little Ashley Rose, we take turns running on the weekends. Guy went first, and while I played with the baby awaiting his return, the wind continued an unrelenting rage outside.
Guy entered shaking his head and freezing. He’d forgotten to take a hat and when he’d attempted to run on the beach into the wind, he reported he’d felt like his ears were going to fall off.
I was up next. Because of Ashley, I only get to run outside on the weekends, the other days of the week relegated to treadmill workouts during her nap with the baby monitor on so I can see her.
Yes it was cold and yes there was a inexorable wind, but I was going out. On top of that, I was determined to run my favorite Cape May loop: through Washington Square, down Sunset Boulevard to the lighthouse then back down the beach and boardwalk to town.
Bundled from head to toe, I turned right out of Antoinette’s. As I entered a virtually empty Washington Square, I felt like I was running down Main Street in Disney World before the day’s opening. It was like a ghost town. The wind was primarily from the South, so I knew the trip to Cape May Point Light would be a rough one.
I exited the square and after a right, quick left, then another right, was on Windsor Avenue. As I passed number 235, the house we rent for two weeks each summer, I was already feeling the wind in my face. With three more turns, I simultaneously passed Guy’s parents’ favorite restaurant, Mangia Mangia, and headed South down Sunset…directly into the wind.
It was like running into a wall, and less than a quarter mile down Sunset, I had serious thoughts of turning back. The gusts surged relentlessly, whisking right through the mesh in my running shoes like it was thin mosquito netting. Soon, my feet were numb, and I felt like I was running on two stubs. I was using every ounce of energy I possessed yet my pace was slow. I was a matter of mustering all my gumption just to continue to struggle forward. I passed the sign for Higbee Beach and the Farmer’s Market and was tempted to make a right there then another two back to town, but something inside of me pushed me forward.
The next stretch was brutal. I battened down for each gust as I had for each contraction while giving birth: just fighting with all my might to get through it.
My 102 pound frame was no match for the wind, but like a tiny sailboat caught out to sea during a ’Nor Easter, I persevered. Then, I spotted the directional sign indicating the turn for Sea Grove Road. It was my beacon in the storm. I doubled my efforts just to get to that long-awaited left hand turn. As I turned left then the road curved again toward the wind, there was some relief. Now the end of the wind-in-my-face was in sight. I just had to make it to Lighthouse Drive.
My whole body ached as I tried to lean forward into the wind as much as I could. The bayberry thickets of Cape May Point that are so lavish with chirping wildlife in the spring and summer were thin and barren as were the flower beds in front of the shore homes.
Finally, I achieved Lighthouse Drive and made the left toward the light.
Cape May Light is always stunning, but against the stark, gray sky, the 199-step beacon took on a new character of glory. I entered the State Park, skirting the light to its left then headed out over the dune and onto the beach. As I headed left past the old barracks, the wind was now at my back. I was extremely fatigue, but the push it now gave me was phenomenal, and the runner in my soul couldn’t help but harness it’s majesty.
Realizing this phenomenon, I was, to my delight, able to turn my feelings of exhaustion into those of exhilaration at having such an intense wind to push me. Suddenly, I was Marion Jones….I was Michael Johnson…I was a sprinter, flying down the wind-rippled sand. The patches of ice on the shores of the Atlantic made the beach almost surreal. I lifted my knees and pulled with my arms spinning my legs as fast as they would go in this impromptu wind-pushed race of me verses me. I hopped over pieces of driftwood as if they were miniature hurdles, and weaved in and out of the wrinkles in the sand left by the tide.
When I started to slow, spent from my adventure, I remembered the agony of the fight against the wind out to the light, and with renewed power, strided it out down the beach.
Nearing the boardwalk, the wind caught some sand and it swirled around me like a little twister. The sand sprung off of my sunglasses like beads of a torrential downpour bounce off a car windshield. At the mouth of the boardwalk, a sand drift had piled so high, it was nearly impossible to access the promenade, but undaunted, I pawed my way to the top and up and over. Now, without the give of the sand, the firm surface of the boardwalk was like a runway, and like a plane getting ready to take off, I crescendoed down to Jefferson Street getting faster and faster with each bound.
With the left-hand turn on to Jefferson, my sprint ended. I again felt the wind, now beating at my side as I shook out my legs and jogged back to Washington Square. I made the right and headed back to Antoinette’s.
My lips were numb as I entered the foyer, and as I tried to sign the guest book for my family, I realized my hands were pretty numb as well. Completely spent, I flopped down at the bottom of the stairwell that led up to the Peppenelli Suite and my husband and baby for a moment and thought about my run.
Over the years, the wind had beaten me: The E. Murry Todd Half Marathon of 1992, many times at the Newark Distance Classic 20K, at the annual Leprechaun Leap and in many other races and training runs over the years. Not today. Today, I had cursed the wind, I had fought the wind, I had ridden the wind and I had loved the wind. Above all, I had a new respect for the wind and it’s power and an even deeper love for the many seasons of Cape May.
Saturday, May 19
Story about Sammy Mac
Kittatinny senior running down his dream
By Laurie Gordon
“You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”
-- Steve Prefontaine
Sam McMullen ran his first cross country race at the Wallkill Invitational when he was in second grade. Soccer was his primary sport, so he used running on and off over the years to get in shape. Then, when he turned 10, that changed and over the next few years, running became his primary sport and…his passion. A senior at Kittatinny Regional High School, McMullen is far and away the best distance runner on his cross country and track teams. With no one on his own team to push him, he’s learned to push himself and has had the tenacity to read, to learn and to self coach himself to become a champion.
When McMullen was 10, he joined The Bears Youth Running Program and began going to races at Brundage Park. Often, he’d leave right after the race to get to a soccer game. Through the Bears, he improved and improved, and earned the right to travel around the country to the AAU Nationals.
McMullen remained a member of The Bears through middle school and shone not only at Kittatinny, but throughout the state, hitting personal records in several distances.
Then, ninth grade came and McMullen had aged out of the Bears. Many of his Bears teammates were going to Pope John, so they’d have one another to push in training. Not McMullen.
As a freshman at Kittatinny Regional High, McMullen was an immediate stand out, and Coach Lou Cravotta recognized that. “My relationship with Coach Cravotta has been a big help in the way I train,” McMullen said.,“ One of his best qualities has always been his willingness to listen. We both have a tremendous amount of respect for each other which has allowed him to trust me enough to suggest a big part of weekly workouts.”
Over the past four years, McMullen has plotted out each of his seasons. Since Kittatinny doesn’t have an indoor program, he’s accounted for the winter as a time to base build then add speed when he’s ready. An ankle injury plagued McMullen on and off for several years. McMullen’s initial ankle injury was sustained when he was 12 years old and the leader of the Bears Boys 11-12 Youth Team. The team, which included current Pope John stars Jeremy Scheid and Clay Smith, had very high expectations of winning a National Championship. Unfortunately, McMullen broke his ankle while skate boarding two weeks prior and this turned out to be the first of many ankle injuries he had to overcome. Undaunted, each time the injury reared its ugly head throughout his high school career, he sought treatment and eventually, orthotics, and finally, just in time for his senior year, it went away.
When it comes to working out by himself, McMullen said it’s both good and bad. “On the one hand it allows me to relax and be alone with my thoughts on easy days. On the other hand, on hard days I’d much rather run with people who are better than me. Having someone to push you throughout a workout I think is just as important as the type of workout being performed.”
Still, he’s stayed motivated through the base-building hot months of summer and the freezing icy winter months not to mention throughout his fall and spring seasons. “I have always had a few things that motivated me in sports before running. No matter what sport I stuck with, I always wanted to work hard at it so I’d eventually be able to continue it in college. After some of my friends left to go to Pope John to run it always left a bit of a chip on my shoulder and motivated me a little more. Although I have great teammates that can push me at the beginning of workouts, I’ve always struggled to push myself at the end of workouts when they might begin to fall behind. That’s when that chip on the shoulder really begins to motivate me because I think how hard my Pope John friends are running, so I push harder.”
McMullen’s biggest two fans are his parents. “My parents have always been a huge support system for me,“ he said, “They never put pressure on me because they know I am always trying my hardest. They come to almost all of my races and always have a calming influence that helps me to relax, especially my dad.” Aside from his parents, McMullen looks up to a lot of famous elites. Steve Prefontaine has always been “the American icon of distance running” to McMullen, and he finds reading about him “very motivating.” McMullen’s Bears coaches continue to motivate him, especially Guy Gordon who attends many of his races and trains with him when he can on weekends. Bears coach, Bruce Wask, is also a big influence, attending races and sharing his years of experience in the sport. Of Coach Cravatta, McMullen said he “has always demonstrated the importance of patience and listening to help me be more mature.” McMullen credits all of these people with making him a “well-rounded as a runner and person” and said they “still continue to be a huge part of my inspiration.”
Running has had a huge impact on the career McMullen plans to pursue. “I love working with sports and other athletes, so I figured one of the best ways to do that is to get a degree in Athletic Training. In the future I hope to eventually become a sports doctor of some kind for a professional team.” Though he hasn’t made a final college decision, it’s down to Marist, Roanoke, and Temple. He said he will “definitely” run in college and that “half of my decision on which college I go to is just based on how I like the coach and team at each school.”
Some of McMullen’s Kittatinny teammates have asked him to make them preseason schedules and he said, “I always love hearing that because I know how important it is to get in base workouts in order to stay strong through the season.”
McMullen lives in the Crandon Lakes section of Newton, and running from his house is one of his favorite places to enjoy his sport especially following the trials that go over the Kittatinny Mountains into Sandyston. “ I especially love running through Tillman’s Ravine and down into Buttermilk Falls. These areas are always so scenic and peaceful and have great dirt trails.”
His favorite two early season workouts are long distance runs and hill repeats because “they are the basis of a good foundation.” Later in the season, his favorite workout is a combination of 400’s and 200’s.
Alan Sillitoe wrote a short story entitled The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Though McMullen and the lad in the story are in different circumstances, they both seek solace in distance running. Like Steve Prefontaine, running has become McMullen’s positive obsession and it’s taken him to great heights including: 1st Team All-League SCIL Cross Country in 2005 and 2006, 1st Team All-Area Cross Country in 2006, 1st Team All League SCIL Track, 2006, Kittitanny Athlete of the Month, November, 2005, Sussex Bank Athlete of the Month, September, 2006, Kittitinny MVP in Cross Country, 2005 and in both Cross Country and Track in 2006. Kittitinny Coach’s Award Recipient, 2005 and of late, the Kittitinny High School Scholar Athlete of the Year for 2006-2007.
McMullen placed 2nd in the North I Group Cross Country Sectionals, running a blazing 16:51 on the grueling Garrett Mountain 5-Kilometer Course and his personal bests include a 2:05 for 800 meters, 4:37 mile, 9:58 3200 and 16:18 for 5-kilometers.
Several years ago, Bears teammates would tell stories about how McMullen would get off the school bus and run, with back pack in tow, all the way home. That was before practice and he was also known to run to the bus in the morning. Those “bus” runs added to McMullen’s mystique among the Bears and his passion for running became infectious in his Bears teammates. From a little boy who couldn’t wait to run after school to a young man determined to take his running to the highest level he can, McMullen epitomizes the word “commitment.”
Like his American icon, Prefontaine, McMullen is willing to suffer any amount of pain in order to win a race, and his self-coaching and training is a reflection of that.
Monday, January 8
A Story about Swartswood Lake - Home of The Bears
Simplicity of days of old alive and well at Swartswood
By Laurie Gordon
Thousands of years ago, Swartswood Lake was formed by glaciers. The lake is a 550 acre aperture surrounded by its watershed: 10,000 acres of Kittatinny Mountains. These mountains and Neldons Brook are its headwaters, and the lake spreads out into shallow coves and into Little Swartswood Lake before it rides the dam to empty into Mill Brook. The lake is a sheltered grand retreat, with clear, sparkling waters nestled in the mountains. Motors aren’t allowed on the lake, and the peace and tranquility found in its surroundings make a visit like taking a step back in time.
No one knows this better than Rafe and Lorna Sharon who have owned a house on Swartswood Lake for the past 15 years. Located on a little dirt road called Emmon’s Lane that few would ever notice, the Sharon’s retreat house has great views, a dock and is an escape from all the bustle of “the real world.” Emmon’s Lane is home to just a handful of dwellings, and like the entire Swartswood Lake area, is one of the true last hamlets of the northeast.
“We had owned a house at the Jersey shore and got tired of the crowds, the sand, the sun and the noise,“ Rafe Sharon said. After taking a vacation to a lake in the mountains of New Paltz, New York, the Sharons decided to explore options to trade in their beach house for a lake house. A friend who has a house on Lake Carnegie told Sharon about Swartswood Lake as he’d owned a house there in the past. The Sharons found a realtor in Sparta and the search began.
“We told her that we wanted a house on a lake and would consider any lake as long as it was large enough for me to row my racing shell,“ Sharon said. Then, on a day in February, 15 years ago, the Sharons toured a house for sale on Swartswood Lake. The day was freezing and it was hard to imagine what the place would be like minus the snow and ice,” Sharon remembered.
They spent another few weeks looking at houses on various lakes in the area but kept going back to the one on Swartswood. “What made the lake attractive to us was its size and the fact that no gas motors are allowed. This would guarantee that jet skis would not be polluting the water and the air.“ As fate would have it, on the day Sharon decided to bring his parents up to see the house, a front page article in the Wall Street Journal appeared titled "Vacation Home Bargains Abound." He said, “I read the article and of all the vacation houses in the country, they used the house we had been looking at on Swartswood Lake to illustrate their article!” Thanks to the photo, Sharon‘s plans to give a low offer were instantly thwarted and his intended low offer turned into a bidding war he was determined to win. “We had to get the house.” They did.
With electric heat and a wood-burning stove, the Sharons use the house from the beginning of April until the end of November. Someday they plan to put in a “real” heating system so they can use it year-round.
As for Emmons Lane, Sharon said, “It would make a great sitcom. We have Ph.D.'s and a MD, bankers, a Methodist preacher, retired couples, and a man who only has a high school education who is now in his 70's and grew up on the lane. Weekend users such as ourselves come from as far away as Baltimore.”
Retired psychiatrist, Henry Pinsker, who winters in Florida, has been a summer resident on Emmon’s Lane since 1962 occupying the first cottage built on the lane built, “Probably in 1907.” Back in ‘62, they had 8-party line telephone service and in the 60s, Pinsker said, “One would see 50-60 sailboats on a Sunday afternoon.” Now the weekly summer regatta boasts 10-15 vessels.
Like all communities settled in the 18th Century, the Swartswood Lake area is the subject of many tales and legends. One rumor, that there is a Hessian cemetery in the area, is quickly debunked by long-time residents, but when it comes to Emmon’s Lane, one tale is true. Pinker said a man named Larry Strang has lived on the lane since he was a child in the ‘30s, and “His mother showed me a clipping about the murder on Emmons Lane sometime in the '40's.”
Dr Robert Johnson‘s parents had a house on Swartswood Lake before he was born, and has “always been passionate about the place.” When the physical demands of getting to Swartswood and maintaining the house became too much, he had to sell it a few years ago. Pinsker said, unfortunately, “I’ve seen that happen to many people over the years.” A wealth of knowledge regarding names of property owners from the past, Dr. Johnson has stories to tell dating back to the ’20s. For instance, his original house on the lake, along with a few others, was destroyed around 1967 by an arsonist.
Scuttlebutt aside, the lane and the whole hamlet of Swartswood is a coveted retreat for some and full-time home for others. The Sharon’s daughter, 14-year-old daughter, Cimerron, has attended the youth running camp, held each August at nearby Swartswood State Park, and their son, five-year-old Canaan, enjoys frolicking and playing with friends by the lake.
Long before the Sharons discovered Swartswood Lake, it was a major resort in the early 1900s. Although many of the local families took in borders throughout the summer, there were other places to stay. The North Shore Inn, now only opened for special occasions such as Kittatinny Regional High School’s prom, was once a booming hotel, as was The Casino and The Dove Island Inn, now private homes. Later, weekenders stayed in summer cabins. In response to the creation of New Jersey’s first state park, Swartswood State Park, in 1914, the nearby Paulinskill River was dammed in the 1920s to create Paulinskill Lake, now primarily a year-round community, but which was for many years summer residences.
The history of the area started long before it was discovered by Brooklynites looking to escape the city heat. A map and driving tour guide is available at the township municipal building in Middleville and takes tourists to some fantastic old establishments including: the Stillwater Mill and the nearby Casper Shafer house, a stone structure with an elaborate porch. Opposite the church is the former Stillwater Academy, an old schoolhouse, now the historical society museum, which is open on Sunday afternoons all summer.
Swartswood Lake itself is a treasured lake, maintained and restored continuously by the Swartswood Lakes and Watershed Association. It's predicted lifespan is 100,000 years, which is a long time for a lake. This is because there is little to accelerate its progression to bog status in the countryside of Sussex County.
Though geological history says a glacier formed the lake, former Swartswood State Park Superintendent, Steve Ellis, couldn’t help wondering about another theory. Looking at an aerial map of the lake, he used to point out, “doesn’t [the lake’s profile] look like the outline of a space ship?” It does. Ellis moved on from Swartswood State Park to become Superintendent at Liberty State Park, but he still enjoys returning to visit Swartswood State Park.
For the past six years, Blanca Chevrestt has been at the helm as Superintendent of the 2,272- acre Swartswood State Park Under her reign, the park has added vital pieces of equipment, increased its special events, and cleared more trails. Swartswood State Park offers wildlife from bald eagles to unique vegetation found in its sinkhole ponds. It’s open year-round with a host of recreational activities depending on the season. There are secluded picnic areas overlooking the lake with grills available and for overnight stays, there is camping available from April through October. Swartswood State Park features a number of nature trails at both ends of the lake, and in the summer, there are kayak tours of the lake as well as a number of other wildlife programs.
Swartswood is also a town with its own post office and is home to a handful of businesses and eateries including: The Swartswood Deli, Mengo‘s Pizzeria, and it’s newest restaurant, The Boathouse.
Several pizza places tried to make it where Mengo’s has been now for the past four years. Owner Steve Meng seems to have found the winning combination, offering both pizza and dinners. Mengo’s delivers all around the lake area, but many locals and out-of-towners prefer to visit the restaurant on Route 622 just off Swartswood Lake. Meng chose Swartswood for his business because, “It’s a very personable area and it was close to home.” His hand-tossed circles of dough can be topped with pedestrian and gourmet items, but either way you slice it, the result is a tomato-sweet, herbaceous pie with a crust that's at once crispy and flaky. Several Kittatinny Regional High School graduates home for the holidays couldn’t wait to “meet at Mengo’s.” It’s become an area tradition.
Kathy and Ken Snyder purchased what is now The Boat House Restaurant in August, 2005 and opened it several months later on October 12th. The building has a long history starting out as a bar called Lotus Landing owned by a brother and two sisters who lived upstairs. After that, it became another bar called Peacock House which was open just an hour a day for years. After that, a local man bought it with plans for a restaurant, but it didn’t work out for him.
The former owner bought it out of bankruptcy and operated it as a restaurant and bar called The Last Stand. Immediately upon purchasing the building, the Snyders went to work taking out a big bar that took up much of the main room, redoing the floors, and restoring the bar in the front room with its original cabinets they found in the attic. Having been in the restaurant business most of her life, it had been Kathy Snyder’s long-time dream to own a place of her own. She and her husband lived across the lake from the restaurant for many years and used to dream of owning it while out on Swartswood Lake in their pontoon boat. “Once it sold and became The Last Stand, we thought our chance had passed,” she said.
One day, they learned it was up for sale and at that point, “We knew we’d do anything to get it.” After lots of hoops and hurdles and having to sell their home to move into the living quarters over the restaurant, the Snyders’ dream came true and the restaurant on the lake was theirs.
“I’ve only had a few gut feelings in my life and [buying the restaurant] was one of them,” Snyder said. “ I just knew I could do it because there was nothing like this in the community. Everything I have done had turned out better than I dreamed of, and the community has been fabulous to the point of thanking me so much that it’s embarrassing.”
The Snyders worked in tandem with the restoration. They went to Stroudsburg and selected tiffany lamps which Ken Snyder, an electrician, installed himself. When it came to the outside of the building, that was Kathy’s forte. “I wanted to bring back the old fashioned lake-style atmosphere. If you went to Greenwood Lake or even down the shore, they would paint the buildings white with green trim.” That’s what she did with The Boat House.
The menu took Kathy Snyder and her chef 45 minutes to create. “We knew exactly where we wanted to head.” Now with a full entrée menu and additional pub menu which is always available upon request, the Boathouse is up and running Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm right on Swartswood Lake at 1040 County Road 521. Come March, the menu will change a little, and come the warmer weather, they’ll add outdoor tables overlooking the lake and someday hope to put a deck on the lake. “We can go 35 feet out into the lake,” Snyder said. For now, though, though they’re making ends meet, “Expenses are extreme,” she said, but that doesn’t bother her. “With all the support from local residents and those who frequent this area, we’ll be just fine.“ Snyder is expecting a real boom in business come summer.
Winding roads skirt Swartswood Lake, bald eagles fly in its skies and legends of old abound in this tranquil country oasis. Leave your jet ski at home, because motors don’t mar this lake which is expected to be around for 100,000 years. But do bring your camera, your appetite for one of the local restaurants and your thirst for adventure.
Said Sharon of Swartswood Lake, “Every time I have guests up to the lake, they can't believe that they are in New Jersey.” Snyder added, “There aren’t places like this anymore. It’s great to be able to call it home and even more of a pleasure to see the look on people’s faces as they realizes places like Swartswood Lake still exist.”
Tuesday, November 21
2nd Annual Corporal Christopher M. Shea 5-K Huge Success
VanAlstine and High Point’s Brummell win Shea Memorial 5-K run
By Laurie Gordon
Spurred on by the cause and the spirit of the day, Kenny Freedman lifted weights and did a quarter mile “tester" run before he left his house in West Milford to head to the Corporal Christopher M. Shea Memorial 5-Kilometer in Newton on Sunday.
Freedman races just several times a year, but this cause, coupled with the venue of Swartswood State Park was “something I just had to do.” Realizing his running shoes were shot, he even swung into the new Sports Authority near his home en route.
“The directors of The Bears Youth Running Program organized it and I know they always do a good job,” Freedman said, “But more compelling was the cause: to support a race in memory of a fallen trooper from our area.”
Christopher Shea grew up in Newton, graduating from Kittatinny Regional High School, then served in the United States Marines and went on to become a State Trooper in Delaware where he lived with his wife and two children. On July 18, 2004, he was killed in the line of duty by a drunken driver.
Determined to let his memory live on, the Shea family, led by Chris’ brother, Tim, and parents, Maurice and Pat, founded the annual race which they stage with the assistance of The Bears. It will now be held annually the same day as The New York City Marathon, the first Sunday in November, at Swartswood State Park in Newton.
In its first year, 2005, the inaugural race raised about $2,000, but Sunday’s race surpassed that with several hundred runners and walkers plus sponsors and donations amassing close to $3,500. Money raised from the race goes toward a scholarship given to a Kittatinny Regional High School senior going into law enforcement.
Ryan VanAlstine, of Midland Park, was the winner, running a blazing 15:31, just 10 seconds shy of the Park’s course record. It was a neck and neck battle for the first two thirds of the race with Hackettstown’s Mark Bahnuk, but the second time they hit the wooded camp ground area, VanAlstine pulled away to beat Bahnuk by 25 seconds.
“I liked the course,” VanAlstine said, “Especially the part in the camp ground. “We had a good race and it’s certainly a good cause,” Bahnuk added, “The conditions were great too.”
In the women’s race, 16-year-old Sam Brummell ran 19:49 for the win the day after competing in high school Sectionals for High Point Regional. Though she advanced to next week’s Group Meet at Holmdel Park, she won’t be running because it conflicts with a confirmation. “That made it great to be able to run today in this race,” she said, “I liked the course and it was nice to find a good 5-K so close to home.” Brummell’s teammate, Jessica Grimn, was second in 20:15, and Tina Fleming
The Shea family didn’t just put on the race, they also part-took. Chris’ brothers, Patrick, Andrew and Tim all ran while dad, Maurice, walked one of the double loops of the course. “Next year I think I might just try to run it,” Maurice Shea, who recently quit smoking, said . “That would be a great goal and something good to do in Chris’ memory.” Other members of the family, including the late Christopher’s Godmother, walked the race.
As for Kenny Freedman, maybe it was the morning lift or the quarter mile he did to warm up or perhaps it was the slick new Asics racing flats he found on a super Sunday sale at Sports Authority on the way to the race, or...maybe it was because he ran in his tried and true baseball pants, but the 47-year-old achieved his goal: to break 28 minutes. He ran 27:59:82.
Corporal Christopher M. Shea Memorial 5-K Results
1- Ryan Van Alsaltine-Midland Park-15:31
2- Mark Bahnuk- Hackesttown- 15:56
3- Jim Murnane- Byrame- 18:29
4- Bill Bosmann- Sparta- 18:42
5- Andrea Shea- Newton- 19:47
6- Tom Canvanaugh- Sussex- 19:49
7- William Whitley- Newton- 20:35
8- Greg Aromondo- Warren- 20:59
9- Mitch Schimmenti- North Warren- 21:01
10- Al Siuta- Tittusville- 21:03
1. Sam Brummell, Wantage, 19:49
2. Jessica Grimn, Wantage, 20:15
3. Tina Fleming, Newton, 20:18
4. Shannan James, Lafayette, 21:36
5. Katie Rohsler, Fredon, 22:07
6. Nina Poccia, Newton, 22:40
7. Kaylynn Constantine, Hampton, 22:53
8. Hailey Guhr, Hampton, 23:48
9. Carley Pierson, Hampton, 24:27
10. Jenica Asadorian, Westwood, 24:56
Tuesday, July 18
My Training Partner
My New Training Partner
By Laurie Gordon
As far as pregnancies go, save some morning sickness in the first and third trimester, mine wasn’t that bad which I attribute highly to running. As my belly blossomed and my hormones raged, running kept me toned and emotionally on an even keel. I either ran, did Nordic Track or walked every day.
Running became more labored by the end, but I could still do a few miles at a comfortable pace.
The morning of July 19th, two-and-a-half weeks before my due date, I coached a client at the Newton High School Track from 8:30 to 9:30. It was the hottest day of the year, and during our mile warm-up, I was bothered by cramps. I figured I was dehydrated, and was embarrassed that I couldn’t finish the mile warm up with her. I had a break before my afternoon client, so I decided to combine getting some fluids and food with my errands and headed to Wal-Mart. The cramps persisted.
Part way though Wal-Mart, it occurred to me that these cramps were a) getting worse and b) coming in cycles. I’d never been pregnant before, so I hustled to the baby department, found “What to Expect when You’re Expecting,“ and looked up “contractions.” That was at about 10 AM. Long story short: went home (still in denial), called my husband who told me to call the doctor, called the doctor’s office, they said “get here now,“ drove myself, now scared and timing the “cramps” at 2 minutes apart, got to the doctor’s, they got me in, water broke, husband arrived, rushed me to hospital, no time for epidural or anything, baby arrived 20 minutes later.
The delivery had been one of the fastest and most intense nurses of 20 plus years said they had ever seen. Unfortunately, the intensity took its toll in the form of my blood pressure spiking dramatically. So much so, that I was re-admitted to the Emergency Room the day after I was discharged. I don’t recall the top number, but my bottom number was 125 and I nearly died of a stroke.
For the next two months, sleepless nights with a newborn were accompanied by mandated high doses of blood pressure medicine. Without them, my diastolic pressure was 90 or above, a far cry from my pre-birth low 70s. I went to my cardiologist, ironically, also a runner, every few weeks, and he wanted me to stay on the medication. I hated how it made me feel, and when I tried to run, I felt like the whole world was spinning.
As summer turned into fall and the leaves started changing color, one day running on the trail I fell because of the vertigo from the medicine. That was it. I don’t recommend what I did, but I decided to wean myself off of the medication.
By mid November, I was off it completely. I entered a 15K the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and though I finished in a decent time, it was a far cry from times I ran back when I qualified for the Olympic Trials.
Before giving birth, I had planned to do a spring marathon, but after the marathon I’d been through with the intense delivery followed by the battle of the blood pressure on top of caring for a newborn and balancing my coaching and writing jobs, I realized it wasn’t meant to be. The icing on the cake came when they cancelled the inaugural marathon.
My new plan was to be ready for The Long Branch Half Marathon on April 30th. I had a lot of running to do. I was determined, but the greatest strength came from the help of a great new training partner. She was different from any training partner I’d had in the past. Amazingly, though he didn’t speak English very well and wasn’t a runner, her encouragement was immeasurable.
When the weather was bad, she’d get me through arduous runs on the treadmill. When the weather got warmer, she rode along with me as I had to retrain my body to run up hills. I thought I could just bounce back, but that wasn’t so. Some days, I had to walk some of the up-hills, but undaunted, my training partner rode along with me.
I did several runs without her some weekends with my husband and his running friends, and a few times, I did a race. The long runs seemed to take forever compared to the past, and my 5Ks were two minutes slower than I wanted them to be, but I persevered. My training partner came most of my races as her schedule allowed, watching from the side lines.
Finally, there was one hard effort left going into the April 30th The Long Branch Half. It was the week before the race, and I knew I had to prove to myself that I could do a hard 11 miles or I‘d have doubts about finishing the half. Problem was, I had to do it on the treadmill. That would be a mental bear.
Undaunted, my faithful training partner stayed with me through the first five miles. She had some emotional issues going on, and they hit her then, but she’d gotten me through the pivotal first half of the run before she had to go.
On April 30th, I ran The Long Branch Half in 1:31:39 and placed 8th female out of 1186 in the race. It wasn’t the 1:17 I ran years ago, nor was it the pace I ran for 26.2 miles in the 2000 Olympic Marathon Trials, but it was a victory and made me thankful for my health (m blood pressure is back to 106 over 73), my family and above all…my new training partner who was waiting with them at the finish line.
My training partner got me through the arduous winter runs by smiling up at me from her play pen next to the treadmill. The January and February runs had to be indoors because you can’t take a six-month-old out in the cold weather. I had to walk up some of the hills because you can’t run pushing 20-pounds and a Baby Jogger up the steep hills of Sussex County. My training partner’s “emotional problems” at the five mile mark of my last workout were because it was her nap time and it was time to stop the treadmill, put her in her crib, turn on the baby monitor, then resume the 11 miles.
You see, my new Training Partner isn’t just anyone.
She’s my baby Ashley Rose, and I love her with all my heart.
Being a new Mom is a whole new world, and for any woman runner out there who thinks you can’t run and have a baby, you’re wrong. Your times may not be as fast, but you can find the time and a way to train f you want to: you just have to get creative. If someone had told me I could balance two jobs and a baby several years ago, I would have said “no way.” Somehow it works. She comes along with me to do my interviews for the articles I write for the Herald and when my husband’s working when I have clients, she’s there in her stroller or play pen when I personal train people. My life is so fulfilled with the baby in it, and regarding balancing everything, if you set your mind to something, you can do most anything. That determination I learned from my years of competitive running.
Tuesday, July 18
2006 Stillwater Stampede Story
Biersbach defends title at Stampede
By Laurie Gordon
Former Newton High School running stand out, Ray Biersbach, came home and successfully defended his title but not his course record at Saturday’s 11th Annual Healthy Heart Stillwater Stampede.
The rain could have made the race, which included a 5-K, Mile Family Fun Run and Tiny Trot a wash out.
But it didn’t.
Driven by the cause-- The Charles L. Tice Heart Center at Newton Memorial Hospital -- participants came out to do something healthy for their hearts while helping the heart health of Sussex County.
Biersbach said he was “not nearly in the shape he was last year” when he ran 15:27 to set a new course record. Still, 15:44 in a torrential downpour is hardly shabby.
Biersbach, who went to Columbia University where he ran a 4:00 minute mile at the Penn Relays, declined a complimentary entry, insisting he pay the fee and contribute to the heart center. He followed suit at the race, donating his $100 check for first place back to the race to go toward the cause.
So did second place finisher, Mark Banuch.
Banuch, who ran 15:49, is one of the greatest runners to come out of Hackettstown High School, and runs for The Running Company. “I like the course, the event and the cause,” he said.
“And I liked that the humidity was lower than it’s been the past week,” added female champion Jamie Fiscus. The freshman at Bloomsburg and former Kittatinny cross country stand out turned in a 21:13 for the decisive victory.
A little further back in the pack, another battle ensued.
Newton Memorial Hospital’s Chief Operating Officer, Sean O’Rourke, ran in his second Stampede, but this year, it wasn’t just about doing the race and trying for a good time.
It was about dinner.
O’Rourke made it known that any Newton Memorial Hospital employee who beat him would be treated to dinner…on him.
Appropriately, as funds raised from the race benefited the heart center, it was a cardiologist who rose to the occasion. Marathon runner and expert water skier Dr. Bob Masci, said he knew O’Rourke was close behind him.
“I know those guys who work with numbers are very calculating, so I thought he was planning something.” In the end, Masci showed his heart and out ran O’Rourke 21:44 to 22:10.
Hospital employees from around the are came to the race to vie for the new Hospital Challenge Award. Newton Memorial was victorious with the most employees running.
1. Ray Biersbach, Manhattan, 26:15:44
2. Mark Banuch, Hackettstown, 27, 15:49
3. Greg Mullins, Wharton, 31, 17:19
4. Ryan Hgashway, North Warren, 17:43
5. Nick Garofolo, Sparta, 15, 17:48
6. Lucas Pratt, North Warren, 16, 17:52
7. Dave Siuta, Titusville, 17, 17:56
8. Carl Goldschmidt, Hillsboro, 44, 18:29
9. George McDonough, Sparta, 47, 19:04
10. Al Siuta, Titusville, 45, 19:09
1. Jamie Fiscus, Fredon, 19, 21:13
2. Lindsey McKee, North Warren, 15, 21:29
3. Tina Flemming, Newton, 27, 21:33
4. Linda Andover, Sparta, 47, 22:33
5. Melissa McKee, North Warren, 15, 22:44
6. Julie Shaffer, Newton, 42, 22:57
7. Erin Headley, Sussex, 23, 23:02
8. Dawn Harris, Sussex, 48, 23:09
9. Dawn Latinciscs, Hampton, 38, 23:24
10. Salina Sheerin, Sparta, 48, 23:21
MILE FUN RUN WINNER
Frank Heter, Andover, 6:49
TINY TROT WINNER
Tyler Latinciscs, Hampton
Running With a Cause - A Story About The Bears
RUNNING WITH A CAUSE
Sunday, January 22 New Jersey Herald - By Vern Miller
"Some people find their religion in church or temple. I have always found mine on the roads."
— Guy Gordon
By Vern Miller, Jr.
Herald Sports Writer
If there is a true disciple of running in Sussex County, it's Guy Gordon.
As a founding member of the Bears Running Club, Gordon continues to promote the sport he loves by word, deed and action.
Whether it's teaching youngsters, organizing competitive events or benefiting the community with charitable contributions, the Bears have made a significant impact in their 11 years of existence.
"We're trying to make sure that running gets the proper respect it deserves as a big-time sport," Gordon said. "It's a sport that people can engage in their entire lives, something that they can do forever, not have to stop when they get out of college, like football or wrestling.
"When a runner is 40 they're still hearing cheers from the crowd, not retired to a spot on the couch."
Gordon, 48, ran at Morris Hills High School and Temple University, but he started running marathons over 20 years ago.
He has competed in marathons across the country, notching a personal record time of 2 hours, 33 minutes and 30 seconds.
He was a top 100 finisher in the Boston Marathon five years ago, and holds the Masters course records at the Myrtle Beach, Jersey Shore and Adirondacks marathons.
He finished 40th out of 15,000 runners at the Disney Half-Marathon.
His wife Laurie is also an elite distance runner. She competed at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials, and finished 199th at Disney — five months after giving birth to daughter, Ashley Rose.
Running has always been a shared love for Guy and Laurie.
On Dec. 31, 2001 Gordon proposed two minutes before the start of the 5th Annual First Night 5K Resolution Run at Penn State University.
"I was friends with the director of the race and he thought it was a great idea," he said. "Not everyone else standing at the starting line agreed because it was about 10 degrees out. I had the ring hid in my glove and I was really nervous."
Laurie celebrated by winning the women's race for the third consecutive year. Gordon won the men's masters division.
Today, they co-direct the X-treme Running Camp, now in it's sixth-year, which caters to middle and high school runners as well as kids involved in other sports looking to improve their speed and endurance.
They are also the President and Secretary of the Bears Running Club and the Youth Bears Running Program.
Both clubs are offshoots from the Stillwater Bears, started 11 years ago by Guy, his then-wife Tina and Chuck Jewell.
The Younger Bears
While the Bears remain an adult running club with 15-20 members, the Youth Bears have been the main focus of Guy and Laurie's attention over the past seven years, with 500-600 kids taking part.
The program enables area youths to receive coaching, training and the opportunity to race while preparing for high school track and cross-country programs.
Kids from elementary to middle school meet every Monday and Wednesday afternoon from September to December, at Swartswood State Park.
They engage in semi-distance runs of two miles for the younger members, and four-to-five miles for the older children.
There are races every Sunday at Brundidge Park in Randolph, with 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14 year-old age groups competing at 3,000 meter distances.
There are prizes, tee-shirts and sunglasses.
"We never turn a child away, no matter what kind of shape they are in," Gordon said. "If they buy into the program and learn not to be afraid of the pain that comes from working their muscles, they will definitely see improvement in their abilities and physical condition. They learn it's a good kind of hurt.
"It's a lot more positive addiction to get hooked on than video games."
The program has developed into a farm team for the high schools.
Brian Corcoran, whose Pope John High School track program is the area gold-standard, has had former Youth Bear runners on his squads over the years and is quick to praise the Gordons.
"Guy and Laurie bring instant credibility to their coaching thanks to their history of running and the times they've posted over the years," Corcoran says. "They really know their stuff and they truly help kids develop a passion for running.
"Plus, they're great working with young kids, helping them develop the right approach and the attitude that they can be as good as they want to be."
Tim Pazoria, 14 and a cross-country runner on the Pope John track team, attended the X-Treme Running Camp when he was 12 and then joined the Youth Bears to continue training.
"Timmy had never run before and was a little nervous when he went to camp," his mother Debra said. "But he came home after the first day and said that he wanted to run 5k races. He's done great ever since.
"We've highly recommended the Youth Bears ever since he became involved."
Pazoria has won the USATF NJ State Championship for 13-14 year olds in the 4,000 meter run, finished third in the Eastern Regionals in Holmdel and finished 57th at Nationals.
"I love running and the feeling of winning," said Pazoria. "Not only the emotion of the competition, but the way you feel physically after the race, when the endorphins have kicked in.
Drew Reinhardt, 12, runs with his father Don during the week and likes meeting new kids through the Bears' events and practices.
He runs 25-30 miles a week, and competes in 1.5 mile events as part of the Valley View School track team.
He also competed in the Nationals, but was not a fan of running in the snow.
"I enjoy running because you always meet new people," he said. "Plus, I like challenging myself because there is always something you can improve upon. Running in the snow was pretty tough and the course was jammed with people.
"It was fun and it was different, but once was enough."
Matt and Kathie Roshler were in Rhode Island for the Nationals, watching their daughter Katie, 10, and son Cameron, 12. Son Court, 8, had time-qualified, but was held out by the 9 year-old age minimum.
The three youngsters have all been a part of the Youth Bears program for the last year.
Cameron runs to stay in shape for basketball and Katie enjoys the whole experience of competition, especially the travel and seeing new places.
The siblings look forward to continue working and racing with the Bears until their graduation from the program.
The Bears hold three primary race events each year, the centerpiece being The Stillwater Stampede, a nationally-known race founded 11 years ago.
It is held the first Saturday in June, in conjunction with the Stillwater Day Festival and Parade.
"It is truly one of the top road races in the state," Corcoran said.
It was a five-mile race until 2005, when it converted to five-kilometers.
The course leads runners through the Swartswood park, onto a paved trail winding through the woods, out onto a country road featuring rises and sharp downhills. It continues through the Swartswood campsite, out under a brick trestle and then onto the surprise ending, a unique 100-yard finish along the sandy beach of Swartswood Lake.
Proceeds from the race's entry fees benefit the Youth Bears Running Program.
In years-gone-by, when the prize money was higher than the current $100, $75, $50 first-second-third place winnings, the competition took on an international flavor, with several Kenyan and Moroccan students hoping to secure not only the prestige of winning the event, but the prize money to send home.
Marcus O'Sullivan is the head coach of the Villanova University track team, and came out of retirement — at his wife Mary's urging — to support the event and the good feelings it generates.
O'Sullivan, whom Gordon referred to as "the Babe Ruth of running," is a four-time Olympian, three-time World Indoor champion (1,500), previous world record-holder and medal winner at the Goodwill Games, European Championships, World and U.S. Championships.
He is one of only three men to run more than 100 sub-four-minute miles.
The O'Sullivans spend a good deal of time in Sussex County working a family farm. Marcus was atop a tractor when he was first approached about running in the Stampede by Gordon.
"At first I declined because I had retired from competition," O'Sullivan said. "I had spent 140 days-a-year racing and I was tired. But my wife became involved after talking to Guy and Laurie and 'we' decided to run.
"I'm really glad I did, because it's a great event at a beautiful scenic location and I think it's neat that Sussex County has a running club and a support structure in place for the community, which I'm happy to support."
The 1999 Stampede was also the starting point for what O'Sullivan called "the classiest thing that someone I didn't know had ever done for me."
O'Sullivan was telling another runner he and Mary were going to try Andre's Restaurant on Spring Street for their after-the-race meal.
After enjoying a fine dinner and asking for the check, they were told that it had already been taken care of by someone who was not at the restaurant, but had left a message that said "thanks for coming out and supporting the race."
Their benefactor turned out to be Bogdan Bienko of Tranquility, whose son Steve was a weight-thrower at Villanova and who knew O'Sullivan by reputation.
"It was such a nice thing for Bogdan to do, purely on an impulse," O'Sullivan said. "It is further proof of the great spirit and generosity you find in Sussex County and in the running community."
The Bears also offer two change-of-season 5K races at Swartswood each year.
Their Christmas in August features Santa suits in 95 degree weather, while the Beach Blast, held in either Dec. or Jan. offers a returned entry fee to any runner who will "dare to bare" and compete in the frosty environs wearing only a bathing suit.
"It's not that bad once the race gets going," said Don Reinhardt. "It's all the standing around before the race that makes it a big difference."
The Bears have made it a point to organize events that help support the needs of others, not only in the community, but around the country.
They ran the "Caring For Cajuns 5K Race" in October, raising $2,000 to support the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
The "Corporal Christopher Shea Race" in July 2005 raised over $3,000 for a scholarship for the children of Delaware State Police officer Chris Shea, a Kittatinny High School graduate who was killed in a head on collision with a drunk driver.
Every year they donate a $200 scholarship to the Kittatinny High School varsity cross-country runner with the highest grade-point average.
The 2005 Stillwater Stampede helped raise money for the new Newton Memorial Hospital Heart Center, but it was the 2003 Stampede that illustrated the generosity of many people throughout the area.
The race was dedicated to helping raise funds for the mounting medical bills of Gregory Karakos, a 12 year-old boy who was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, in Feb. 2003.
Gregory had a lesion removed that had been pressing on his spinal cord, had bones removed in the back of his neck and underwent clinical trials and radiation which has left him cancer-free.
"I was pretty sick when I went to the Stampede," Greg said. "But it made me feel really good to see that everybody cared about me. It seems that in today's world people don't care and won't make sacrifices for others.
"But it made me feel great to see people making sacrifices to raise close to $20,000 to help me out."
Karakos had another surgery where plates were placed in his neck to support his spinal column and is now back to playing basketball.
Greg took part in the Caring for Cajuns Race in October.
"That felt great," he said. "Where people were once running to help me, I was now racing to help others."
For those inspired to run for fun, physical conditioning or mental fortitude, Sussex County has a wealth of great places to air it out.
"The topography of Sussex County is great," said Gordon, who ran every day for 19 years straight before arthroscopic surgery for a torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee forced him to take a short break.
Gordon recommends the Paulinskill Trail, the Sussex Branch Trail, Stokes State Forest, the ski slopes and hills of Vernon Valley as well as Swartswood State Park as "can't miss" spots.
"There are so many beautiful landscapes, rolling hills and quiet country roads in our area," Gordon said. "There's just a bunch of great spots to get out there and run."
2005 Nationals in Rhode Island
Brutal conditions don’t stop Sussex County runners
By Laurie Gordon
Fourteen youth runners from Sussex County persevered strong winds and the aftermath of blizzard-like conditions that rocked the northeast at the United States Association of Track and Field National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships held at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island on Saturday.
"We had over 2,000 kids competing despite the weather conditions where athletes (and their families) were stuck at airports and dealing with flights that were canceled in less than 24 hours before the start of the meet," said Meet Director Ron Boemker. "The younger kids were making snow men in the 8 to 10 inches of snow."
Athletes aged 8 to 18 from all 57 USATF Associations competed for boys' and girls' titles in 10 age divisions. The USATF Junior Olympic program age divisions are bantam (10 and under) racing over 3 kilometers; midget (11-12) racing 3 km; youth (13-14) racing 4 km; intermediate (15-16) racing 5 km; and young men/women (17-18) racing 5 km.
The journey for the 14 Sussex County youths began back on November 6th at the state level. The top 25 in each category earned the right to advance to Regionals, held November 20th. From there, the top 25 in each category earned a prestigious slot at the Nationals.
Ten-year-old Kate Rohsler, of Fredon, finished 133rd in the 3,000 meter 9-10 girls’ race. “It was such a great thing just to qualify to get here and then on top of that get to run against kids my age from all over the country.” Rohsler ran 16:31 on the snow-infested course and like her brothers, Cameron and Cort, is a member of The Bears Youth Running Program.
The deep snow didn’t seem to phase another Bear named Drew Reinhardt, or Cameron Rohsler in the boys’ 11-12- 4,000 meter race. Reinhardt, from Sussex, ran 12:31, placing 58th, and Rohsler, who went out like a bullet, brought in a 12:35 to get him 66th place. “It was a hard race and I was glad when it was over,” he said. His first order of business was to get to the hotel pool.
Dressed in soccer socks and shorts, Newton’s Tim Pazoria turned in a 15:22 in the 4,000 meter 13-14 boys race. The Pope John freshman, who won the New Jersey State meet, and came in 3rd in the Eastern Regionals came in a strong 57th place nationally. “ This was real cross country racing,” Pazoria said, “You were racing against yourself, others, and the elements. It was awesome.”
Charlie DeLuca, of Fredon, ran 17:14 for a 235th place finish in the same event, and Diana D’Achille, of Sussex, ran 16:50 in the 4,000 meter girl’s 13-14 race placing 31st. “I felt like I was on that show Survivor,” D’Achille said. She fell four times and said the biggest challenge was when she wanted to pass someone, she had to go off the path into 10-inches of snow.
Dylan Capwell, of Hopatcong, ran 12:31 to place 5th in the boys 9-10 3,000 meter race. The 10-year-old runner for The Hopatcong Hawks missed third place by a 100th of a second. “It was a battle to the finish,” said his father, Scott Capwell, an assistant coach for the Hawks team, “And the conditions were brutal.”
“It was pretty hard and there were a lot of people and it was mushy,” Dylan Capwell said.
Other Hawks at Nationals in the boys’ 9-10 race included: Ricky Prestifillipo (219th, 16:36), Robert Farrell (223rd, 16:42), and Brian Berry (215th, 16:30). Hopatcong runners, Austin Given and Steven Duncan competed in the 11-12 boys’ division, running 14:01 (191st place) and 14:41 (219th place) respectively. On the Lady Hawks’ side, Mariah Given and Nicole Walthor ran in the 9-10 girls’ race. Given ran 15:26 and placed 71st while Walthour ran 16:57 and placed 147th.
“I give a lot of credit to Davd Barnish, the head coach of the Hawks,” Scott Capwell said. “He’s got a passion for the sport and just like the Bears coaches, volunteers all his time.”
In addition to stellar performances from these area kids on the National level, their parents deserve accolades too for setting an example. Many of the kids’ parents found time, while in Rhode Island for the event, to run, swim or work out in a fitness room.
The weekend ended for The Bears Youth Running Program with a handful of kids and their parents meeting for a 6 am run through the chilly, misty morning streets of Providence. “It doesn’t get any better than this,” said Tim Pazoria’s dad, Joe Pazoria. “Most of the world doesn’t get to share moments like this with their kids.”
Good Bye to The Midland Run
Good Bye to The Midland Run
by Laurie Gordon
The death of a race is a sad thing, especially when that race has been something near and dear to your heart for many years. Not only was the Midland Run 15k an institution as a road race, but it was a day-long happening and a celebration of the sport of running. I won the race in 1998, but long before that, it held a special place in my heart.
The course was hilly and it was always my strategy to not take water mid-way up the four mile hill. That’s where you could pass your competition. The seven-mile hill was a bear and spectators knew that. In fact, that’s where I watched last year’s Midland Run, unable to compete as I was six months pregnant.
This year was going to be something else at The Midland Run. Shortly after last year’s race, rumors started running the mill about the addition of a marathon. I was ecstatic. My favorite distance at my favorite race venue. I planned to fund raise for The Midland School and do my best to train balancing two jobs and an infant.
Then, other rumors began to circulate when December rolled around. I ignored them at first finding it preposterous that the original race and new marathon could possibly be cancelled. How could it be? There had even been a full-page, glossy ad for the Car-a-Mile Marathon, as it had been named, in Running Times and applications all over including in Footnotes.
Then, an official press release came out.
“After 28 great years, the Midland Run as well as plans for a new marathon are coming to an end.
Conceived in 1978 as a fund raiser for The Midland School, a school for children with developmental disabilities, the Run developed into one of the premier road races in New Jersey. The New York Times said of it "If you can run only one race a year, make it the Midland Run". In 1980, the year of the Olympic Boycott, the Run gathered a field of world class runners which Sports Illustrated called "the most impressive field of runners ever assembled for a road race". Unfortunately while the Midland Run still draws over a thousand runners each year, it is no longer the fund raiser it once was. As the number of road races in the tri-state area increased over the years, the Run was not able to attract the runners it did during its heyday. Being more than a run, the complexity of the event made it an expensive and time consuming event to stage. “
It was written in stone. The race, the new marathon and the entire event that had been so sacred to runners all around the region for nearly three decades was to be a thing of the past.
The money that went into and out of the event was astronomical. The entry fee had steadily climbed over the years, and one year after the race, a group of us conjectured as to how much was made by those involved on the race and how much actually went to The Midland School. We knew there were fees to pay for marketing, advertising and timing and The Midland Run went with high end in all areas.
Founded in 1960 by Dr. E.G. Scagliotta, Helen and Seldon Hardenstine, to meet the educational needs of two “brain injured” children for whom no educational program could be found, The Midland School, located in North Branch, NJ, is a non-profit comprehensive special education school serving the individual social, emotional, academic and career needs of children with developmental disabilities. What a great cause and what a great idea to hold a run as a fund raiser. Maybe it just got too big. Maybe they shouldn’t have added bicycle races and volleyball and sky divers and bands. But then again, that’s what made it such a happening and a festival and a celebration of our sport.
Here’s to all of the fond memories of The Midland Run. To the anticipation before the start and to cow-herding music they used to play as the runners took off across the field in the old days when it started and finished by the big tower. To the ascent to the 5K mark and the four mile hill then the plunge into the shade where skunk cabbage grew and a brook flowed into the river near the King’s mansion. To skirting the lake in anticipation of the seven-mile hill and to the falling-off-a-cliff feeling coming down from seven to Route 202. To the final stint on the roads that seemed to last forever past the train station and to the grand finale back onto the grass and into the finish.
To the first sip of cold Coors Lite when you were done and to the smell of the Sneaker Factory cook out and the sounds of laughing runners. To the exhilaration I felt the year I won and the agony the years the race ended in a loosing battle.
To the Midland Run bags you’d see all over the country in airports and at races and to the great creatures…frogs and pigs and jumping horses… that were on the shirts in later years.
They say that all good things must come to an end, but the death of this race is way premature. The death of any long-standing race is such a sad thing…especially an institution like The Midland Run. Maybe it will rise again in another place and in another form but I know it’ll take a while for any race to replace it in my heart.
2005 Stillwater Stampede 5-K Article & Results
Record falls, heart center gains at Stampede 5K
By Laurie Gordon
Former Newton Memorial High School standout, Ray Biersbach made his hometown fans proud by not only winning but by beating the course record at yesterday’s 10th Annual Stillwater Stamped 5-Kilometer Race.
Biersbach, who now runs for Brooks Manhattan, ran 15:21.87 to beat Olympian Marcus O’Sullivan’s 15:42 park 5-kilometer record. “It’s always great to come home to race,” Biersbach said, “And to achieve the new course record was a big thrill.” Biersbach went out in a 4:45 mile and had a 10-yard lead at the mile. He had opened it up to about 20 yards at the two-mile mark and then appeared to find yet another gear to bring it home for a 100-yard win. Biersbach walked away with $200 for his record-breaking victory.
“I always make sure I set Stampede weekend aside to come to this race,” he said. “It holds a special place in my heart because I like the course with the rolling hills in the middle and finish by the lake plus it’s great to come home to race.”
John Cote, who lives in Summit, also beat the course record, running 15:38.90 and Seth Holland, a former High Point Regional celeb runner, was third in 15:53.62. Both also now run for Brooks Manhattan.
Kelly Bradley, who now lives in East Stroudsburg but who grew up in Vernon, was the female champion. “I liked this course a lot better than the 5K I did in Sparta,” she said, “I enjoyed the scenery and the hills in the middle are a challenge, but the second mile is the perfect place for them.” Bradley ran for Vernon High School and now teaches and coaches in the North Warren school district. “I started the race running with one of our kids which was great and then worked the hills and was pleased with my finishing time.” Her best time for 5-kilometers is 18:46 and she ran 19:00. “The times are coming down and I feel I’m getting in some good shape by racing. One of the things about this race that I think is great is that it benefits the new heart center.”
The new Newton Memorial Heart Center was one of the race beneficiaries as was the Bears Youth Running Program. The hospital’s Chief Operating Officer, Sean O’Rourke, even ran the race. “This was great,” he said after catching his breath and congratulating the winners, “I thought it was a nice mix with the rolling hills thrown in there.” The hospital’s Foundation President, George Morville, was the official starter and his son, Jesse, not only ran the 5-K but raised $250 in pledge money for the Heart Center. Morville’s other son, Brian, competed in the fun run. Said Morville, owner of The Morville Group, “Certainly, we’re trying to build up funds for the heart center and what better way to help the heart health of the area by participating in something that’s heart healthy.”
Newton’s Perrin Masi, was second in 20:49. Known county-wide for her marathoning, Masi also showed she is a force to be reckoned with at the 5-K distance. Makenzi Taepel, of Sussex, was third.
Over 250 runners came out for the race to show their support of the heart center as well as the Bears Youth Running Program. Members of the program competed and volunteered and their parents contributed to the race’s hallmark post-race home baked goods table. Newton’s Tim Pazoria and Layton’s Jenny Heigis, both Bear Youth Runners and recent County Mile Champions, dominated the 14-and-under age group. Pazoria ran 19:17 while Heigis went 21:44.
Sparta’s Bill Bosmann, 54, was the men’s Master’s Champion, running 18:36 and Linda Heter, of Lafayette, was the top Female Master in 21:58. Each took home a homemade Stampede quilt for their efforts.
Kate Roshler, of Fredon, is just 10, but she’s already a huge fan of the sport of running and loves to put her game face on and compete. That face was bright red at the finish, but it bore a smile all the way across. “I love running races,” she said. “This one was a toughie in the middle, but then it was downhill and flat at the end and now I get to go and jump in the lake.” Roshler finished in 26:38. Her brothers, Cameron and Court, also ran...Cameron was second to Pazoria in the 14 and under age group, running 20:28, and Court ran in the mile fun run. All are members of The Bear’s Running Club. Entering its 10th year, the program instills the many physical and mental benefits of the sport in our Sussex County kids. Volunteer coaches work with elementary and middle school-aged kids two nights a week all fall, and kids also have the chance to compete against other kids their age from all over the state on the weekends and qualify for state and even national championships.
The race was underscored with live music by singer/songwriter, Peter Karp, who performed live music from 8 AM until the awards ceremony. Said Karp, “It doesn’t get any purer than this: runners and walkers out for a great cause in a beautiful setting.” Karp combined cover songs with his originals ending with a full-out keyboard and vocal jam to “Like a Rolling Stone” that had the post-race runners singing and tapping their feet in time to the music.
2005 Stillwater Stampede Top 50 Finishers
1. Ray Biersbach, 25, NY, 15:21
2. John Cote, 23, 15:38
3. Seth Holland, 25, 15:53
4. Gary Dennis, 34, PA, 16:12,
5. Mark Bahnuk, 25, 16:56
6. Ryan Hashway, 29, East PA, 17:01
7. Brian Schulenberg, 35, 18:09
8. Todd Miller, 34, 18:26
9. Bill Bosmann, 54, 18:36
10. Kelly Bradley, 19:00
11. Tim Pazoria, 14, 19:17
12. Dan McBride, 16, 19:28
13. Adam Erny, 16, 19:37
14. Anthony Santonastaso, 17, 19:47
15. Jesse Morville, 16, 19:48
16. Jim Doyle, 45, 19:55
17. Al Sivto, 45, 20:13
18. Fred Clark, 48, 20:14
19. Cameron Roshler, 12, 20:28
20. Nick Kazimierczak, 16, 20:30
21. Dennis McGinley, 46, 20:32
22. Donald Docimo, 15, 20:45
23. Parrin Masi, Newton, 36, 20:49
24. Robert O’Rourke, 19, 21:20
25. Drew Reinhardt, 12, 21:21
26. Mackenzie Tepel, 23, Sussex, 21:23
27. Charles Marron, 49, 21:29
28. Sean O’Rourke, 45, 21:33
29. Brendan McDonough, 15, 21:37
30. George McDonough, 46: 21:33
31. Dean Giering, 38, 21:39
32. Frank Gargia, 16, 21:41
33. Bruce Brekke, 55, 21:43
34. Jenny Heigis, 14, 21:44
35. Lorne MacDonald, 60, 21:44
36. Tina Flemming, 26, Newton, 21:53
37. Linda Heter, 46, Lafayette, 21:58 (Top Female Masters Finisher)
38. Steve Rousseau, 15, 22:03
39. Casey Kazimierczak, 44, 22:13
40. Bob Howard, 42, 22:14
41. Jeffrey Arbuckle, 48, 22:18
42. Mary Olivieri, 45, Hampton, 22:29
43. John Uva, 56, 22:35
44. Jim Smith, 5622:35
45. Lindsey Baker, 15, Warren, 22:41
46. Carlton Reed, 47, 22:41
47. Duke DeGroat, 47, 22:44
48. Justin Alleman, 13, 22:45
49. Mystery Runner
50. G. Cleffi, 52, 22:50
Guy's Story - A Journey Documented by His Wife
The end of a running streak breeds a new running triumph - The Guy Gordon Story
By Laurie Gordon
If a story is seed, then we are its soil. Being by his side as this one unfolded allowed me to feel my husband’s pain, share in his steps of progress and eventually relish in his triumph.
On Sunday, March 13, Guy Gordon didn’t run. To many, the thought of running several times a week--much less every day--is preposterous. To Guy, NOT running was like severing a connection to his own insights and inspirations because to Guy, running isn’t just for physical fitness, it’s for mental fortitude. Running is his love and his religion. For 19 years, he’d run every day, and on that Sunday, a chapter of his running career – dedication to a streak – came to a close.
After weeks of limping through increasingly excruciating pain in his left knee, Guy came to realize that digression was the better part of valor and that every run he attempted on the ailing leg was making it worse. X-rays, MRIs and a week later, Guy saw orthopedic specialist, Dr. Stephen Koss. The diagnosis was a bad lateral tear in his meniscus: a c-shaped piece of fibrocartilage which is located on the outside of the knee. The majority of the meniscus has no blood supply and for that reason, when damaged, the meniscus is unable to undergo the normal healing process that occurs in the rest of the body. With age, the meniscus begins to deteriorate. Add 19 years of running and it’s no wonder the tear was deemed “a bad one” by Dr. Koss.
Arthroscopic surgery was the only viable option and Guy wanted it to happen as soon as possible. At first, Dr. Koss said it would be a few weeks. Maybe it was the look of despair on Guy’s face, maybe it was the running resume Guy had highlighted to Dr. Koss during the exam or maybe it was the seriousness and intensity with which we took the appointment, but the next day, Dr. Koss’ secretary called to inform us surgery would be done that Thursday.
Surgery for meniscus tears involves trimming the torn portion of the meniscus. Surgery wasn’t scheduled until the afternoon, but being the Type A personalities we are, we arrived at Newton Memorial’s Admissions and Receptions over an hour early. Shortly thereafter, we were ushered into the Same Day Surgery waiting area. Because we were so early, we waited for a long time and during this time, I watched the trepidation in Guy’s eyes turn to anticipation. He wanted to run again. At 46, this was Guy’s first injury ever. For us mortal runners, injuries crop up every few years. Not for Guy. Until now, I’d deemed him bio-mechanically perfect and over the years, everyone from fellow runners to doctors had agreed. Through my ankle injury, calf injury and heel injury, he’d been my support. Now it was my turn to reciprocate, but the magnitude of his injury was far greater than any of mine had ever been.
Surgery is scary, but in this day and age, it’s generally safe. My biggest concern was the anesthetic. No matter how confident you are in a surgeon, how informed you are about a procedure or how much you realize a surgery’s necessity, the time you wait for it to be over while a loved one is under the knife seems like an eternity. When it was 15 minutes later than the predicted time that Dr. Koss was to emerge into the lobby waiting room, I found myself shaking and sweating uncontrollably, my head filled with “what ifs” and fears. Finally, he arrived.
The surgery had been a success but he warned that there was a lot of wear and tear in the knee, and he told me the recovery would be a process. A short time later, I was ushered in to where Guy lay recovering. He was thirsty and most importantly, he wanted to go home. We did after a quick stop at the pharmacy to retrieve the prescribed pain killers. The next 48 hours were painful ones for Guy. Not only did his knee hurt him badly, he found it difficult to move around an walked with a severe limp having to grab furniture as he made his way around. No crutches were provided forcing Guy to put weight on the left leg. This was painful Step One toward running again.
He had been given exercises to do at home, but Guy wanted to be more aggressive with recovery and requested physical therapy appointments as soon as possible. He’d had a bad experience with physical therapy establishments before, but Drayer Physical Therapy proved itself to be very different. The therapists were highly professional, knowledgeable and extremely progressive and pro-active. What’s more, they had heard of Guy’s running achievements and were determined to help him get back to running as soon as possible within the parameters of caution that the surgery demanded.
Guy has run over 30 marathons in his life, but this marathon – that of recovery and regaining flexibility, strength and range of motion – would prove one of his hardest.
With baby steps at first, his knee started to rehabilitate. The first week, he learned to move his leg around a stationary bike one cycle. The second week, he was biking for 10 minutes and a few weeks later, on a non-therapy day, I watched him bike for ½ hour to the point of dripping with sweat. It wasn’t running, but at least he could workout again. Two more weeks went by and Guy was up to biking for an hour some days. He still had a lot of swelling, but he could walk for miles and was able to do it at a clip that would impress most race walkers. He iced his knee religiously many times each day, continually battling the incessant swelling, and I massaged out the scar tissue as aggressively as I dared.
Finally, the big day came and on Friday, April 16, Guy ran for a few minutes on the treadmill at therapy. The next day, we had our long-awaited first run together since before the surgery. The PaulinsKill Valley Trail never looked more beautiful to me than it did that morning as Guy, hesitantly at first, broke into a light jog.
There is a human time and there is a wild time. For years, Guy was able to run wild. He ran every day, sometimes with reckless abandon, always pointing toward the goal of his next marathon. The injury grounded him for a time, forcing him to return to the basics and re-teach his left leg to walk and finally to run. For this discipline that the injury imposed upon him, he is stronger and more knowledgeable and has a rejuvenated sense of appreciation and determination.
Intuition is the treasure of a woman’s psyche. It’s like a crystal through which one can see with uncanny interior vision. Mine tells me that Guy will again rise to great heights – the nature and per potions of which he will determine – with his running. His streak was important to him, but now that it’s ended, he’s placed it, appropriately, in his running chronicles. For every door that shuts, a new one opens and in Guy’s case...he’s always been able to carve doors where blank walls once stood.
Run Tomorrow? (A story about in injury, a streak and a Guy)
RUN TOMORROW? - Guy Gordon
That’s never been a question for me. Since December 25th 1985, I have not missed a day of Running. Lots of people think that Running streaks are stupid, some call it counter productive to good racing, others call it obsesive. I have Run every day because I wanted to. Running for me is my outlet. Running makes me feel good, and if something so positive makes you feel good, why not do it every day. Some people find their Religion in Church or Temple. I have always found mine on the roads. I have also been fortunate that I have been able to combine my Running streak with some half way decent Marathon performances. I do not believe that my streak has hurt my Road Racing.
About 2 months ago, I began to experience some knee pain, nothing horrible, just nagging. I tried to race thru it, and even got in a hard 20 mile effort 2 weeks ago, in preparation for the Jersey Shore Marathon. The knee got very swollen after that workout, but a combination of ice, Advil, and massage, kept me Running. The knee continued to get progressively worse, and I finally gave in and got an MRI. The result-A Torn Menescis. An appointment has been set up with an orthopedist and surgery is on the horizon. I Ran today, limping 3 miles and that was stupid. My friend Chuck Jewell e-mailed me from Boston and stated that taking time off from Running, when necessary, is not giving up on it, it is holding back a little early in the race so that you can have a strong finish. The marathon, Chuck stated, does not always go to the fast speedster, but often to the smart strategist. He concluded by saying that this is the part of the training that is tougher then 20 milers and intervals, and just as important.
Run tomorrow? No. Because I love Running to much.
From Cigarettes to a Marathon
From cigarettes to a marathon: The Shawna Bengivenni Story
By Laurie Gordon
“The events of our daily lives, our past traumas and joys, our fears and hopes for the future, are all passed hand over hand down to the soul, who makes comments on them in our nightdreams, emanates its feelings upward through our bodies, or pierces us with a moment of inspiration with an idea on the end of it. The Wild Woman is a combination of common sense and soul sense.”
– Women Who Run With the Wolves
Shawna Bengivenni, of Wantage, New Jersey, was a smoker. Now, she’s a marathon runner. When Bengivenni crossed the finish line at last Sunday’s New Jersey Marathon she completed a journey she began on the tennis courts in the Paulins Kill Lake section of Stillwater nearly two years ago.
Bengivenni was intrigued with running and though she smoked, entered her first race, The Stillwater Stampede Five Mile, in June of 2002. There, she saw a flier for a new women’s running group and decided to join. Each Tuesday, four or five ladies gather for coaching to improve their running, but on a particular Tuesday that August, the other women--ironically all of them--had other commitments and couldn’t make it to practice. The scheduled workout that day was “the tennis court drill” which entails a warm-up then doing hard laps around the twin quadrangles for 20 minutes. Normally, with several people, there is rest involved, but that day, it was just Bengivenni. Knowing she wanted to quit smoking, her coach decided to give her minimal rest. Bengivenni completed the workout, but she was breathing very heavily, the consequence of smoking. She walked a little to recover and then leaned over to catch her breath. When she stood up, she said, “That’s it. I’m done [with smoking].”
To most, such vows are merely spontaneous reactions. Not in this case. This was a resolution. Each week, Bengivenni would proudly tell “The Tuesday Girls” that she’d made it another week smoke free, and each week her new friends praised her and hoped it would continue. It did.
A year later, Bengivenni had run a 20 kilometer race and her first half marathon and had given up cigarettes for good. In fall of 2003, she ran her second half marathon in Baltimore. A full marathon accompanied the half, and for the first time, Bengivenni saw a 26.2 mile race first hand. It soon became clear that Bengivenni was intrigued with that great running carrot dangling before her: the marathon.
Non-committally, at first, Bengivenni started to ask questions about marathon training. Her coach decided to give her a training schedule, but Bengivenni was elusive as to whether she was doing the training or not. A few weeks later, she admitted that she’d been following the schedule to the letter. Bengivenni’s fear was “going the distance,” and she said if she could get through the first 20-mile training run, she’d consider entering the New Jersey Marathon. One Tuesday in March, Bengivenni acted like a cat who’d swallowed a canary. When two friends finally asked her, after practice, if she was going to send in her marathon registration, she responded, “I kind of already did.” She was committed.
Without cigarettes, a new wind breathed in Bengivenni’s lungs and over the next few weeks, she experienced the muscle and mental preparation that constitute marathon training. She was nervous the first two weeks of April, but then, after her last 18-miler, that fear turned to excitement and anticipation.
It was cloudy last Sunday on Sandy Hook as Bengivenni joined 2,000 other runners on the starting line of the New Jersey Marathon. A storm was moving in off the Atlantic creating a fierce head wind. Bengivenni didn’t care. No mere weather condition would stop her quest. The air horn blew and she was off. From the lighthouse on Sandy Hook through Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach, past the turn-around in Deal and back to Long Branch, Bengivenni wore a look of determination broken every now and then by a smile. Four hours and 32 minutes later, flanked by friends and filled with tears of joy, Shawna Bengivenni crossed the finish line. Cigarettes were a very distant memory and she’d made a new corner of the world her own.
Marcus Meets Santa at Bears' Christmas in Aug 5K
SWARTSWOOD- Santa Clause, wasn't the only one to make a guest appearance at Thursday evening's Christmas in August 5K held at Swartswood State Park. Runners and spectators were also treated to a surprise entrant in the race: Olympian Marcus O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan, who has broken the four-minute-mile barrier repeatedly, shattered the course record previously set by Gary Rosenberg, of Boonton, running a blistering 15:39 on the 3.1 mile course.
And there were more surprises. Dave Wilson, who happened to be in the area working as a counselor at The X-Treme Youth Running Camp, also broke the 16 minute barrier running 16:57. The 17-year-old has his sights on winning this year's Foot Locker National 5K Championship. Rosenberg was third in 16:20.
O'Sullivan, who is just getting back into shape, said, "I didn't want to take the lead as early as I did, but I decided I had to. I didn't want Wilson to hear how heavy I was breathing."
Wilson was pleased with his performance. "I felt strong," he said, "I went out a little hard [in about 4:57 at the mile mark] but was able to maintain and run a quick time."
On the women's side, Bonnie Linton, of Hackettstown, was the champion, running 19:37. Janice Morra's course record of 18:29 stood. Deirdre Wilson, of Sparta, was second, running 21:19. Though in the midst of a week at X-Treme Running Camp, 14-year-old Amanda Gordon, of Stillwater, ran a speedy 22:00 to finish third.
Staged by The Bears Running Club and directed by nationally-ranked marathon runners Laurie Parton and Guy Gordon, the race was a 5K/show as runners were greeted by Santa, elves, holiday music, decorations and awards. All procedes went to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
1. Marcus O'Sullivan, Layton, 15:37
2. David Wilson, Hamilton Square, 15:57
3. Gary Rosenberg, Boonton, 16:20
1. Bonnie Linton, Hackettstown, 19:37
2. Deirdre Wilson, Sparta, 21:19
3. Amanda Gordon, Stillwater, 22:00
"When I'm trusting and being myself...everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously." Shakti Gawain
Just before "The Seven Mile Hill," you see the monarch's gate on your right. A white gatehouse marks the entrance to the estate of the King of Morocco. My Midland strategies are two: never take water up the "Four-Mile-Hill" (the stop is at a place where you'll loose your momentum), and when you see his highness' gates on the right hand side, at mile six-point-something, get ready to attack The Seven Mile Hill.
Yesterday, the 24th Annual Midland Run 15K, the USATF-NJ Men's and Women's Open Championship and Men's and Women's Masters Championship, began at 9 am. Midland is one of my favorite races. It's hard and it's hilly and the challenge it affords is something I anticipate all spring. Over the years, the Midland run has changed complexion and this year, there were some more tweaks and balances. For many years, the race started and finished in front of a majestic tower. You could see the tower for about a quarter mile coming in and it was a great finish line goal. Due to logistical changes, the race now finishes in a field about a quarter-mile from the tower. Also, where once clubs and spectators picnicked on "the hill" behind the tower in the past, that also changed last year. Now the post-race scene is in the flat field by the start and finish.
This year, last year's start and finish were reversed resulting in about a half mile cross country stint at the gun. The grass was a bit hard to navigate, and there was a slight hill going out, but once you got into a sync, it wasn't so bad. One thing I miss from years past is the "cow music" as we used to call it. When the race started from the tower, great, country-hillbilly music blared as the runners started the race. It really set a unique tone.
After the cross country debut, the course hangs a left onto Route 512. The shaded drive is a welcome section following the grass. I was running in third at this point, just behind second place. A motor cycle with a TV camera accompanied us. They didn't know that we weren't leading the ladies' field. Janna Malkova, of Russia, was about 25 yards ahead. We gained on the Russian and ran just behind her up the hill towards Peapack. Half way up the hill, I was finally able to pass the second woman. Malkova was not too far ahead. The four mile hill was coming. My goal was to maintain through the hill then try to make up some ground on the long downhill into the five mile mark and through the winding road along the lake. I love downhills.
Malkova ran an incredible uphill. The mile marks had shifted, so the four mile came up before the actual hill. In years past, the mile marker, and a water stop had been about half way up the hill. I kept Malkova in sight and tried to maintain. She pulled away. Completely winded from my attempted attack, I finally reached the summit. Time to fly. I felt like a Raggedy Anne doll as my up-hill quads turned to downhill jelly. I fell into the hill, using my arms to gain some ground heading into mile five. The lake comes up on the right and the windy drive that weaves you into the six mile mark is poorly paved, but it's a strategic part of the race. I passed a long-time running buddy then, there it was..."The King's Gate." A Midland overdrive set in, a response to the hill and the fear of the unknown...who was on my tail? A crowd lines the top of The Seven Mile Hill...they know where to go to see the make-or-break part of the race.
My chiropractor, Dr. Larry Goldfarb, described the downhill that follows The Seven Mile Hill to me years before my first Midland, "People are like putty as they hit the steep downhill after the 7 mile climb. People are all over the place...arms and legs flying down towards 202."
Route 202 is the place to kick. I was sure that third place was just behind me. Malkova was way up the road. I resigned myself to kick as hard as possible and try to gain some ground, but there was a lot of distance between myself and Malkova. I would do what I could to catch Malkova and stay strong enough to hold off any on-coming contender. An age-old racer's dilemma was upon me: I knew I shouldn't look back, it wastes time and energy, but I was dying to know who was coming. At that point, almost as if on cue, the third place female's coach, and now fiance, came up on a bike. "Hey Laurie, finish strong," he said, "My Madeline [Noe] is a good distance back." A strange sense of relief set in, yet again, a fear of the unknown set in. This time it was a fear of how my body would react to maintaining this pace to the finish and the knowledge that it isn't over until you cross the line. I went back and forth with a guy who continually caught me then slowed down. Finally, I hit the gravel road. A motorcycle was with me now and I knew I was almost home.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Laurie Parton runs for The Bears Running Club. She finished second in the race, to Janna Malkova, of Russia. Parton was the USATF-NJ Open Women's Champion.
Dreams by Van Halen
Amanda Gordon wins Heartbreak Hill Youth Race
For hundreds of Boston marathoners, Heartbreak Hill is a dreaded, make or break part of the race. It comes up at mile 19 and can be a mental, and physical undoing. It’s also the site of the Heartbreak Hill International Youth Race. Not only did Sussex County’s own Amanda Gordon conquer Heartbreak Hill, she dominated it, kicking it in just seconds ahead of a tough, Massachusetts challenger for the victory.
Because of Easter Sunday, the race was held on Marathon morning this year. Consequently, the mile course had to be changed to a tougher version to accommodate marathon-altered traffic patterns. Though Gordon says she missed having her father at the race (there was no way he could both watch her and make it to his starting bin) she gave the race her all, running 6:05 on the more challenging loop. Competition included kids from Israel, Germany and Japan
RESULTS - The 26.2-mile process
Guy Gordon, captain of The Bears Masters’ team, won’t get his team results for a couple of days, but individually had a tough time. Although less than satisfied with his 2:42:12 performance, he overcame thoughts of dropping out, inspired by the site of his daughter at mile 17 and the numerous “Go Bears” cries from the crowd. Gordon was still one of the top masters in the state.
Laurie Parton ran 2:54:34, her fourth fastest career marathon, and was the top New Jersey female finisher. See her Boston first person in the “News” section of the site.
Bears co-founder Chuck Jewell turned in a great 3:13 performance. Chuck was thrilled with his race he’s been on the road to recovery from a number of set backs over the past several years. “This is my most important marathon because this signifies that better marathon days are yet to come.”
Bears’ Tom Grippo ran 3:15, his fastest marathon in a while. “I was pleased to hold back in the beginning so I could effectively attack the hills. It was my first Boston and I felt good and qualified for next year.”
The “Boz”, our Sparta Bear, Bill Bosmann was delighted to finish in a strong 3:06:50 in light of a cadre of unexpected last minute ailments. Bosmann’s achilles acted up in the final week going into the race and the day before, his orthotic broke and his stomach went nuts.
Congrats to soon-to-be Triathlete Bear Ross Rapach on his 3:01 finish. Ross’ girlfriend may have thought he was crazy, and his brother too, but this accountant would train after 9 PM then get the long ones in down in Seaside on the weekends. Ross was on fire at 10, blowing by Laurie, but then, come Heartbreak Hill, he was, ummm, somewhat taxed. Way to get it in, Ross.
Bears buddy, Joe Sikora had a very good Boston. He ran low 3s and had his twins and wife on the course for him.
We’ll have more Bear Boston results up later with some more post-race thoughts.
The Running Drug
Life is so complicated. Everybody has there "stuff" that they have to deal with. I'm learning that Running is the wonder drug that helps me deal with my "stuff." The last couple of years, it seems as if I've had a lot of stuff. Running has never been so important to me. I might not be PR'ing at this time, but I have never felt better about my runs. It has become a daily medication that I need, and good or bad, I know that if I didn't get out there, I'd be hurting. Running is such a pure activity. It is so healthy, so mentally fullfilling, such a physical aphrodisiac...the ultimate perscription plan.
It seems to me, that the more you run, the more you can discover all the benefits you can derive from the sport. The "Runners High," that ultimate euphoria, is not only something that you can achieve during a run, but a sensation and positive feeling that can carry you through to your next one.
Boston is coming up Monday...don't know how I'll do. Not going to worry about it. Got another run on Tuesday.
A Marathon Jewell -- A story by a club member & co-founder
A Marathon Jewell
by Chuck Jewell
My first Marathon: Melbourne, FL, December, 1975, 18 years old.
I wanted to break 3:00 so bad. Around 80th in the race, one loop course. Around the 15-mile mark, I was all alone. Then I saw a couple of guys ahead, so I ran ‘em down and got to talking and told them of my desire to break 3 hours. They laughed at me and said, "Son, you could walk it in from here and do that easily."
I hit the wall at 22 and ended up in 2:44 for 12th place. Get this...greater than 50 broke 3 hours in that race and all but one or two were done by 3:30!
Three weeks later, I ran the 1976 Houston Marathon and was third man for the Champion Rice University Team. Our team was lead by Jeff Wells (2:17: 1st place), then John Lodwick (2:23: 2nd place and then yours truly, Chuck Jewell (8th place in 2:39). We killed the Aggies, our arch rivals from Texas A&M and I knocked off 5 minutes in three weeks!!! Jeff went on to finish 2nd in the Boston Marathon by 2 seconds to Bill Rodgers (in 1977) and John went on to get 2nd in either 1978 or 1979 at Boston running a 2:10. When will Chuck Jewell get 2nd in Boston??
Then there was the 1977 Houston Marathon...my gem.
Deciding to run relatively conservatively for my conditioning, I ran step for step with U of Houston runner, David Odom, later the Houston Marathon star, but this year, just running half way. He was giving me advice. At 11 miles, I caught a side-stitch, the same one that knocked me out of the lead in the Melbourne ½ Marathon three weeks earlier. I panicked. David calmed me down and told me to stop, stretch and drink some ERG. I did. Fully expecting to start going into survival mode. Instead, while I started back up, I felt just like new. I went through the 20 mile mark around 1:52...the second 10 being faster than the first 10. A friend of mine, Larry Nettles (a 2:26 Houston marathoner in 1979) and our own Steve Mahood (who I think did 2:38 in the 1979 Houston Marathon) were giving out splits at the 20 mile mark. They informed me I was in 6th place.
Famous sub-4-miler from Houston, Leonard Hilton, was in the lead. I went around a three mile loop and passed two people and was then informed I was in third. I could see Clent Mericle ahead of me on the horizon. One mile later, I learned that Len had dropped out and I was now in second with Clent a lot closer.
I bore down on him like a truck driver and closed the gap to 4 seconds...consequently putting my finger on my lips telling everyone, "Shhhhhhh," so they would not holler to Clent and let him know I was sneaking up on him.
With a quarter mile to go, the course made a hair-pin turn before a sprint to the finish. Clent then realized I was in his shorts and you should have seen the look on his face. He then made a dash for the finish and I had nothing left. He beat me 2:27:46 to 2:28:01, and at 19-years-old, I was the Junior Champion setting the Gulf AAU record. (By the way, Clent just won the Masters' Division of the San Antonio Marathon a month ago in 2:46...how come I don't age like that?)
I have many more and many painful ones too, but that's all for now. Thanks for asking and getting me started with these truly priceless experiences.
The Angel, the Devil and the Land of the Midnight Sun
by Guy Gordon and John Stolz
(Edited by Laurie Parton)
During 1997, I competed in four marathons, finishing them all between 2:38 and 2:43. My most memorable experience occurred at the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon in Alaska. The flight to Alaska isn't your average plane ride..it's a full-fledged journey. The 10-hour trip from Newark to Anchorage takes its toll on the body. We arrived at three AM, two days before the marathon. It then took me, and my fellow Team in Training coach, Scott Fisher, until 4:30 AM to get to the hotel. Unfortunately, my body has a built-in-alarm clock that refused to adapt to the time change...I was wide awake at 7 AM! That put a lot of pressure to get a good night's sleep the night before the marathon.
The day before the marathon, lots of people went scouting around Anchorage, checking out the local sights. Not me. Though it was tempting to explore, I was there to run a marathon and that remained my focus. Throughout the day, I grew increasingly worried about the race, convinced the trip would impact my race. But all my doubts were markedly minimized that evening.
Craig Virgin, one of the best distance runners the US has ever had, spoke at the pasta dinner. Virgin had been in a very serious car accident just two months before and was competing in the 5.3 mile race that accompanied the marathon. His determination really put things in perspective...if he could come back from a near-death accident I could run a marathon after a 10-hour plane trip, total dehydration and very little sleep.
The race director held a mandatory, pre-race instructional meeting. Turns out, it was to advise us that, during the marathon, we may run into moose and bears on the course. He emphatically warned us that we would have to stop should we see a bear with its cubs. Stop? No way. I was there to race, not to watch the cubs (no offense, Chicago).
During most of the race, I ran with then 40-year-old John Stolz, who hails from Bend, Oregon. Like myself, John was running for a charity, experiencing the glory of the marathon while, simultaneously, experiencing the glory of helping others through the sport. John's personal record was 2:32.
In January of 1997 I was asked to run the Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage for the Leukemia Society. In training for the marathon my goal was to raise the necessary funds to go to Anchorage, train through the race, and use it as a building block for a fast fall marathon. Standing at the starting line, on a cool June morning, my intentions were still to run the race at a comfortable 6 min. pace, get through with no injuries, relax for a week or so and then push on for the fall.
Within the first few miles I was fortunate to hook up with another runner named Guy Gordon. I say fortunate because during the mild chatting that typically goes on in the first 5-10 miles of a marathon, I gathered that Guy also wanted to run about 6:00-6:15 pace. It was nice to hook up with someone right out of the chute who wants to run about the same pace.
For the first 18 miles, we ran together at 5:55 pace, passing by the 18-mile mark, third and fourth in the race, in 1:47. At 20 miles, we were still side-by-side, but I was beginning to feel the effort. At this time, we were running on a bike path in the woods.
Through the first 15-18 miles we ran at about 5:55 pace and talked about our lives, running, careers, families, etc.. During that time, we also continued to encourage each other when one of us backed off slightly. It was great comradery, and the type of competition that builds long-term friendships, not to intense, but hard enough to know that you are testing each other. During the first 15 miles, Guy mentioned that he had run a few other marathons that spring. Being competitive, I tucked that data away in my mind, thinking that if this developed into a real race at the end, I would definitely have an advantage of fresher legs. Between 16-17 miles, I pulled ahead slightly. However, at about 17 miles, I pulled back, and Guy and I regrouped. He told me to go ahead, that he was beginning to feel the strain of the marathons previously. I told him that we had come this far together, and that we should try and help each other until about 21-22, then it is every man for himself.
John Stolz was approximately five yards ahead of me when we came to a fork in the path. John veered right, and as he did, I noticed an arrow directing us to peel off to the left.
At about 21 miles with my competitive nature kicking in, I began pulling ahead again, had a lead of about 10- 15 yards, and was not looking back. Running on a bike path in the woods, we came to a fork, with the left path the course, and the right path leading across a foot bridge and into the back country I presume. I turned right by mistake and was heading into oblivion, confident that my fresh legs would carry me comfortably to the finish line ahead of Guy.
Immediately, the devil and the angel both popped into my head. If I didn't say anything, John would probably be lost in the Alaskan wilds forever, and I would probably have third place sewn up. However, the angel said, "You guys are running for the same charity and you have bonded...you must advise him to turn around."
The angel won, and I ended up yelling to John Stolz to re-direct himself.
As I began to cross the bridge, I heard a voice yelling something behind me. Looking back I saw Guy motioning to me to come back, that I was going the wrong way.
When he did, he was extremely grateful, thanking me profusely over the next couple of miles.
To this day, I do not know if Guy realizes how thankful I am that he corrected me, even though I thanked him several times.
At mile 22, which we passed in 2:11, I was really beginning to hurt, while John Stolz continued to look really strong.
A few miles further, Guy was struggling, feeling the heaviness of legs with those extra marathons in them. He convinced me to go ahead, telling me we would get together after the race for a few beers.
I said to John, "Take off, I can't hold this for much longer." He did, and within a half mile, I could no longer see him. The next few miles were very difficult, and soon thoughts of John Stolz vanished as I focused on just getting to the finish line.
I felt good and headed home. As I came to the finish line, I was happy I had run the race I wanted, comfortably, with no apparent injuries, finishing in third place. However, as I ran the last few yards, I stopped short of the finish line, turned around, and headed back onto the course. I am sure no one understood my actions, they certainly appeared strange. My actions were dictated by Guy's sportsmanship and bringing me back on course. How could I finish this race alone, knowing that without Guy's support through 20 miles, I would not have run as well, and most of all knowing that without Guy's generosity, I would be running somewhere out in the tundra. A few hundred yards from the finish line, I hooked up with Guy, for the third time. We proudly finished together, cementing a friendship that I am confident will last for years. Cementing a friendship that can only be developed through mutual struggles and through mutual respect.
At mile 26, I entered the stadium track to finish and was met by...none other than John Stolz...jogging in place. I looked at him and said, "What the hell are you doing?" John replied, "That was really great of you to lead me the right way. We have to finish together." At this point, the devil and the angel re-entered my mind. The devil said, "You can probably out-kick this guy and take third." However, the angel said, "That wouldn't be right."
John Stolz and I finished together. He was one step ahead of me at the finish.
Few people watching that race know what really happened on that cool June day, when two competitive runners waged a competition, with no losers and two winners.
To those who checked out the results in the next day's Anchorage Daily News, it appeared to be an awesome battle for third as John Stolz beat Guy Gordon by one tenth of a second.
What we did that day was not anything extraordinary. What we did that day was the right thing to do. Guy and I will hook up again somewhere in a marathon. I am sure next time he will be better rested, I will be more fit, and we will once again do battle, as two friends, with mutual respect for each other, trying to best the other in honest competition.
ABOUT THE RUNNERS...
Both Guy Gordon and John Stolz are elite, masters marathon runners. Stolz lives in Bend, Oregon, and Gordon hails from Swartswood, New Jersey.
A Trail Run at Dawn
Mother Nature was in all her glory. It was 6:45 AM, and the dawn of this early September day brought with it the cold whiffs of autumn. It would reach into the 70s later, but now, I wished I had gloves. I shivered beneath my thin t-shirt and shorts as I emerged, still sleepy-eyed, from my car. The cobwebs were still clearing from my head as I started down Sussex Branch Trail.
The air was still and the silence serene save the soft beat of my shoes hitting the dirt path, composing the rhythm of this run . About a half-mile down, I was amazed by the sight of awe-inspired mystery. To the left of the trail, what is usually a murky swamp had transformed into a mist-filled cauldron straight out of a fairy tale about sorcerers and wizards. Fog filtered up into the air, then clustered into pockets. I thought of the three witches in Shakespeare’s MacBeth…the perfect setting for the casting of their spells.
Getting into a grove with a run is kind of like an airplane taking off. The first bit is an uphill battle until you level out into cruising mode. The take-off complete, my pace soon mellowed into a steady 1-2-3-4 rhythm. Then, out of no where, I was under siege! A huge dog, whose name I quickly learned was Bart, came at me. He jumped toward me, up on his hind legs as his owner yelled his name intermittently with “He’s okay.” My outraged cry back was, “No, he’s not okay, he’s jumping at me!” Finally, his owner got Bart’s leash around his neck. I sprinted down the trail into the part I call “the tunnel.”
If you run the trail, you’ll see what I mean when I call it the tunnel. For about a quarter mile going in, the foliage, be it summer, winter, spring or fall, comes together into what appears to be the mouth of a cavern. It’s something very unique. As the “tunnel” draws closer, you see that in reality, you’re heading into the base of a ravine. Large, moss covered boulders rise up on either side of the trail, and if it’s been raining, the floor can be a mud pit. Not the case this morning…I flew through the cavern, striding it out on the slight down hill to the last cross road.
The trail ends at Newton-Sparta Road, but my run was only half way through. I did an about-face and headed back, leaning into the slight incline I now faced back to the tunnel. Just past the tunnel, a ground hog crossed the path, wiggling almost as much from side to side as he was forward. I heard birds chirping a morning song, and a wild turkey crossed one of the fields. The world was waking up.
When I reached the scene of the mysterious cauldron, it was gone, replaced by the usual murky swamp. Like Brigadoon, it was something reserved for a certain time and place and, I believed, for only those making a morning voyage such as mine to behold.
With a mile to go, the sun sparkled and danced through the trees, so brightly, at times, it was blinding. The sky was a clear, gorgeous shade of blue, and I couldn’t wait until my next race.
Inspired by the beauty of the morning, I fed on its strength. Proudly devoted to my sport. I pushed the last half mile to the “finish line” by my car. A long distance runner had awoken with a run, and her desire for her goals had been reaffirmed and strengthened on the trail at dawn during the birth of a new day.
Sunday, February 22
FREEZING TEMPS DON'T ICE GREAT SPIRIT AT 2008 BEACH BLAST 5-K
Eighteen degrees perfect for bathing suits for certain brave runners By Laurie Gordon Including wind chill from a frosty wind whipping off of Swartswood Lake, the temperature was all of 18 degrees on Saturday afternoon, but that didn’t stop six brave souls from running the 8th Annual Beach Blast 5-K in bathing suits. Elise Tooker, of Hampton, and Shannon James, from Lafayette, met during high school. Tooker ran track for Kittatinny and James for High Point. They now both run at Lock Haven University and have made accepting the Beach Blast race’s “dare to bare” challenge a tradition. Anyone who completes the three-point-one-mile course wearing a bathing suit gets their entry fee reimbursed. Joining these ladies in the challenge were Elise’s sister, Emily, Michael Bussow, of Layton, Dean Giering, from Newton, and Fredon’s Jackie Kaufman. Last year, Kaufman ran in a one piece while this year she opted for a green two piece and matching ear band. “It was a lot warmer last year,” she said afterward as she huddled up in a blanket, “I’ve been going without a coat for the past two days to harden myself for this.” Giering said his arms took the brunt of the cold. “You couldn’t hide from that wind coming off the lake.” Most of the hundred runners and walkers who came out of the warmth for the race were bundled to the hilt. The race’s winner, Andy Latincsics, of Hampton, is fresh off an injury that kept him side-lined for nearly a year. He ran 16:55. Second was Rob Rohel, of Branchville, in 18:35, and Al Siuta, of Titusville, was third in 19:45. In the women’s race, Lauren Huffman, of Culvers Lake, was the champion running 20:00. Second was Bears Youth Running Club captain, Katie Rohsler, of Fredon, who ran 21:45, and third was bathing-suit-clad Elise Tooker, who ran 22:20. The annual “Bitty Blast,” for kids five and under, followed the race. One brave girl competed in the cold. Appropriately, it was Molly Latincsics, daughter of the race’s champion. 2008 Results 1- Andy Latinscics- 16:53 2- Rob Rohel- 18:48 3- Al Siuta- 19:43 4- Lauren Huffman- 20:00 5- Joe Sappio= 20:21 6-John Guth- 20:30 7- Dion Cambell- 21:05 8- Katie Roshler- 21:12 9-Elise Tooker- 21:23 10- Shannon James- 21:27 11- Dean Giering- 21:30 12- Ian Anderson- 21:33 13- Lorne Macdonald- 21:38 14-Rich Furlong- 22:15 15- Robert McGill- 22:31 16- Dawn Latnscics- 22:52 17-Emily Tooker- 23:00 18- Bill Dolan- 23:10 19- Nick Lynch- 23:15 20- Mike Lynch- 23:17 21- Bill McGovern- 24:40 22- Nick Kaufman- 24:56 23- Sean Mayer- 25:11 24- Patricia Butcher- 25:20 25-Dimitri- 25:26 26- Jackie Kaufman- 25:27 27- George Becker- 25:31 28- Steve Schels- 25:47 29- John Sarman- 25:51 30- Sue Mayer- 26:04 31- Lisa Bauch- 26:14 32- Jermy Quinn- 26:23 33- Mike Bussow- 26:28 34- Taralynn Romagnoli- 26:45 35- Kathleen Murray- 26:50 36- Michelle Guth- 26:37 37- Shawna Bengevinga- 27:18 38- Rich Bauch-29:35 39- No Name (please contact so we can insert)- 30:08 40- Allen Spokane- 30:35 41- Bill McGovern- 30:53 42- Ginny Kopper- 30:53 43- Wendy Gardner- 30:54 44- Sara Pinsonault- 30:55 45- Jay Pinsonault- 30:56 46- T Daley- 31:10 47- BuckDecker-31:20 48- No Name- (please contact so we can insert)- 31:53 49- No Name- (please contact so we can insert)- 31:57 50- No Name- (please contact so we can insert)- 32:01 51- Marissa Kressman- 32:33 52- Lori McGill- 33:43 53- Arch Seamans- 33:55 54- Deb Drumm- 35:02 55- Friend of Deb Drumm- 35:03 56- No Name- (please contact so we can insert)- 37:56