New Jersey Road Race News (Men)

Welcome to the newest section of my website.  This page will be devoted to covering post-collegiate road racing and occasionally XC and Track in northern New Jersey.  As a wise man noted, this section will have a very small audience, but I don't care...  it interests me and therefore, I'm going forward with it.   I hope to cover the local yokel road race scene and will love to have competitors write race recaps and other running stuff of interest.  At the bottom of the page I'll have New Jersey specific road racing links. 

09/20/04 - On September 6th, Tim Styler ran 27:01 for an easy victory at the CJRR Fall Classic 5 Mile.  Paul Buccino and Scott Karwacki followed and were the only other runners under 28 minutes.

At the Pfizer United Way 5K on September 9th, Gene Mitchell recorded another win, running 14:53, which I believe is a course record.  Eighteen year old Bobby Papazian finished second in an impressive time of 15:20.

The Philadelphia Distance Run is an elite race, drawing competitiors preparing for fall marathons.  For example, Khalid Khannouchi finished 3rd in 1:01:21 as he is getting ready for the upcoming LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon.  Among northern NJ racers, Gene Mitchell finished 20th in 1:06:44 and Brian Harris was 42nd in 1:10:47.  The times were affected by a strong wind and parts of the course which were covered in mud as a result of tropical depression Frances.  Brian Harris is preparing for an attempt at a sub 2:30 marathon in December.

09/01/04 - I have been delinquent in updating this page lately...  Let me sum up - Gene Mitchell has been running very well on the New Jersey racing scene.  He notched a win at the Westfield Pizza Extravaganza 5K, defeating Anthony DeBenedictis 14:50 to 14:56.  Brian Harris crossed the line in 15:40 for 3rd followed by Gary Rosenberg in 16:05.

In early August, Mitchell traveled south to Bryn Mawr, PA to notch a victory in the Nike Zoom 5K.  He finished in 14:45 ahead Mike McKeeeman and Matt Wagoner. 

Mitchell has also performed well in NYC, winning the Run Hit Wonder 5K on July 22nd and placing 4th at the competitive NYRRC Club Championships on August 21st.

07/10/04 - Belmar Five

In another good battle, Gene Mitchell defeated Scott DeFilippis and Anthony DeBenedictis easily running the fast 5 mile course in 24:48. DeFilippis crossed the finish line in 25:05.9, followed closely by DeBenedictis less than one second later.   Mitchell, although running with a minor hip ailment, is getting consistently faster and DeBenedictis is approaching the form of 2003 when he was rarely defeated on the roads.   DeFilippis is a U of Tennessee grad who has run a 30:05 10,000 meters and also has recently competed in triathlons.

06/21/04 - President's Cup 5K

This evening race in Millburn serves as the USATF-NJ Men's Championship.  Although the day was quite warm, the 8PM start ensured relatively moderate conditions (mid 70s, tolerable humidity).  At the gun, several runners quickly moved to the front including FDU grad Stephen Ondieki, Mike Mykytok, Carlos Martins, highschool phenom Mo Khadraoui and NJ road race standout Anthony DeBenedictis.   As an 18 year old, Khadraoui ran 15:01 on this course last year.  The field was missing some notables, including Gene Mitchell (who ran 14:34 to win the race last year), Mark Nichol who as second in 14:37, and Jackson Kipng'ok, a Kenyan who placed third.  A relatively slow first mile (4:45) allowed about 10 men to remain in contact with the leader, Stephen Ondiecki.  Ondiecki is just getting back into training after missing time with injuries.  The most accomplished runner in the field was Mykytok, who can boast of a 10K PR of 28:34, and national championships in the 10,000 meters in 1997 and the USATF 10 Mile in 1999.  Mykytok has published a book, Pushing Through which is a novel about running.  Back to the race... Mykytok has recently been working 2 jobs which has cut into his training time.  His recent results have not been up to his normal standards.  At this race, he fell off the pace and finished 7th in 15:29.   Up front, Ondiecki kept grinding away and one by one all his competition wilted.   He crossed the line in 14:49, six seconds ahead of DeBenedictis who ran a much stronger race than 2 months earlier when he finished 6th at the 10K Championships (see below).  Carlos Martins ran a gutsy race, catching Khadraoui in the last 50 meters to secure 3rd place in 15:11, five seconds faster than he ran at this race last year.   Martins has had a very consistent 2004 racing season so far.  After Khadraoui, Kenyan Erick Too finished 5th in 15:22, just edging out Jamie Hibell (6th) who was credited with the same time.  Bill Hoffman, Lou Palma and Scott Bessette rounded out the top 10.  Free Sam Adams and snacks were served to the finishers, courtesy of Charlie Brown's Restaurant.

04/26/04 -  Cherry Blossom 10K    

The second USATF-NJ Championship of the season is the Open Men's 10K.  Held in Branch Brook Park in Newark.  The race started slowly with a lead pack of 7, including eventual winner Aidan Walsh, Elliott Frieder, Carlos Martins, Scott Bessette, Lou Palma and Tim Styler.  The 2003 Grand Prix runner up, Styler did not bring his "A game" to the race and fell off the pack before the 5K point.   Walsh bided his time and won the race with a strong last mile.  His finishing time was 32:07.  All of the top runners ran negative splits on the out and back course.  Elliott Frieder ran strongly for second place (32:25), pulling away from Carlos Martins who was still tired from his effort at the Penn Relays 3 days prior.   Following Martins were Scott Bessette and Lou Palma.  2003 road racer extraordinaire, Anthony DeBenedictis was recovering from a bout of food poisoning and held on for 6th place in 33:35.

04/24/04 -  Although it wasn't a road race, two New Jersey road racers competed at the Penn Relays on Thursday.  In the Olympic Development 5000, Terrance Armstrong of Pompton Lakes placed 12th in 14:39 and Carlos Martins of Kearny ran 14:59 to place 28th.

03/28/04 - USATF 8K Championships

On a warm overcast morning, several current and former New Jersey area runners lined up against the country's best in Central Park to contest the USATF 8K Championships.  Among those currently living in the area, Rich Byrne was the first to cross the line (25th overall) completing the course in 23:56 - not a bad time for a 39 year old.  Sean Mick finished in 30th place running 24:16.  Running Company teammate, Terrance Armstrong finished in 24:43, good for 34th place in the elite 42 man field.  Among those who previously lived in the Garden State, Karl Savage currently a member of ZAP Fitness, finished 17th in 23:29 and University of Colorado All-American Steve Slattery followed in 23:25.  Slattery is a Mt. Olive, NJ native currently training for the Olympic Trials where he hopes to earn a place to Athens in the steeplechase.

Among the leaders, Meb Keflezighi continued his excellent running by winning in a course record time of 22:16.  This performance comes on the heels of his victory at the USATF 15K Championships Gate River Run.  Steeplechaser Anthony Famiglietti followed 10 seconds behind.  Full results here.

03/15/04 - Equinox 20K

On a cool, breezy Sunday, the first USATF-NJ Championship race of the new year took place in Piscataway.  The top two finishers from last year's race (Anthony DeBenedictis and Rich Byrne) did not compete this year, so the top talents in the field were Bermudan miler Terrance Armstrong and top local road racer Carlos Martins.  Armstrong, Martins and Rider U grad Tom Yakowenko broke away early from the masses.  The first one to drop off the pace was Yakowenko when Armstrong and Martins ran a 5:13 4th mile.  At the 10K mark, Armstrong dropped to pace to consistent sub 5:15 miles and Martins could not match him.  Armstrong pulled away steadily for the unconstested win.  Armstrong, whose next race will be the USATF 8K Championships on March 27th is aiming for two races in May - the Broad Street 10 Mile and the Bermudan Half Marathon Championships.  He will also don his spikes and race a 5000 meters at the Penn Relays in April.  Armstrong's winning time of 1:05:45 was over 90 seconds slower than last year's winner, but Armstrong himself said he "wasn't pushing too hard."  Martins was second in 1:06:34, third was claimed by  Yakowenko in 1:07:28, followed closely by Carlos Nunes in 1:07:31, Ryan Heffernan in 1:07:34, Elliott Frieder in 1:07:40 and Jesus Resendez in 1:07:46.  Frieder turned the tables on Resendez who recently won the Chill Out 10 Mile Run (see below).  Full results here.

02/28/04 - At the NYRRC Al Gordon 15K, Kearny resident Carlos Martins finished 2nd in 51:01 after he followed the lead vehicle off the course.  Martins was comfortably leading the race when the lead vehicle made a wrong turn.  The error cost Martins the victory and an undetermined amount of time.

At the Chill Out 10 Mile Run on February 21st, 2:29 marathoner Elliott Frieder of Bloomfield lost a close finish with Jesus Resendez of Perth Amboy.  Resendez kicked in for a time of 55:20, with Frieder 3 seconds back.

01/02/04 - The New Balance New Jersey Grand Prix has concluded and Running Company owner Gene Mitchell prevailed over recent college grad Tim Styler and long time top local road racer Carlos Martins.  Running Company teammate Gary Rosenberg garned 4th place and also finished the Philadelphia Marathon in 16th place, running 2:32:34.

At the USATF-NJ 10 Mile Championship, Anthony DeBenedictis notched yet another win. Seton Hall coach Clinton Bell and the aforementioned Gene Mitchell were second and third respectively.   Bell's run was surprising as he is mostly known for his exploits over 800 and 1500 meters.  The 10 mile distance didn't prove to be overwhelming as he completed the tough course in 53:11.

08/21/03 - Several New Jersey runners are planning on competing at the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon on October 12, 2003.  Carlos Martins is training for an attempt at the Olympic Trials qualifying standard of 2:22:00.  Others include Edward Callinan, Elliott Frieder, Oliver Knowlton, Hector Rivera among others.

CHICAGO RESULTS UPDATE: Edward Callinan was the first NJ finisher, just missing the Olympic Trials qualifying mark, running 2:22:03.   Carlos Martins follwed in 2:28:17 and Elliott Frieder finished in 2:29:12.

The George Sheehan Classic 5 Mile was held on August 9th.  This fixture on the NJ road race scene produces fast times and good competition.  The top NJ finisher was Seton Hall grad Anthony DeBenedictis.  He finished in 24:43, good for seventh place.  The first 6 places were all occupied by Kenyan runners located in the New Jersey / Pennsylvania area.   The next NJ finisher was 18 year old Mohamed Khadraoui, who finished a minute behind DeBenedictis in 25:44.  Complete results are here.

At the NYRRC Club Championships 5 Mile, the top NJ team was The Running Company who finished 2nd behind Westchester Puma.  Brian Clas was the first US finisher, running 24:56 in humid conditions for 4th place.

05/20/03 - The Midland Run 15K serves as the USATF-NJ 15K Championship.  Midland has a long history as one of the premier races in New Jersey.  Click this sentence to read a professional recap of the race from the Star-Ledger.  Up until the early 1990s, it hosted the USA 10 Mile Championship race in conjunction with the 15K.  The event is held in Far Hills, amid fields and horse farms.  It is by far the most scenic race on the northern New Jersey racing scene.  The course is a tough rolling challenge over country roads and the start/finish is on grass.  Midland now also boasts a 5K, 2 mile walk, various children runs and a bike race.  Total participation usually exceeds 2,000.  With prize money 10 deep in the 15K, many of the top local runners usually make a point to compete.  This year several top runners didn't make it to the starting line...  Anthony DeBenedictis is suffering from mono, Carlos Martins is rounding into shape and decided not to compete, Fouzi Aloui is struggling with a heel injury, Rich Byrne is aiming to run a fast time at the Spring Lake 5 Mile and therefore decided not to run, defending champion Stephen Ondieki competed in the 5K because he has been struggling with injury, Terrance Armstrong is gunning for the Bermudan national record in the half-marathon on May 26th so a difficult 15K didn't fit into his plans, and Gene Mitchell decided to focus his efforts on the Ridgewood 10K on Memorial Day.   Race day weather was a perfect 50 degrees with little wind and low humidity.   Missing many stellar runners, the race started at a slow pace.  After a 5:25 first mile, Brian Harris, Rafael Veras and Matt Byrne of Scranton, PA broke away.   Byrne, a former XC and track standout at St. Joseph's had just learned of the race the day before and made the last minute decision to drive to Far Hills.  Harris dropped off the pace around mile 3 and was quickly caught by new masters runner Brian Harshman and then later the remainder of the second pack.  As the race neared the 5 mile mark, up front it was a 2 man battle between Bryne and Veras with Brian Harshman stuck running by himself, followed several seconds back by Cross and Getman.  The decisive point in the race came as the runners ran a tough hill just past the 7 mile marker.  Byrne put in a surge and Veras could not respond.  He quickly gapped him.  At the same place on the course, Cross caught and passed Harshman and was now running alone in 3rd place.  The first 3 positions remained the same over the last 2 miles, while Getman passed Harshman to garner a 4th place finish.  Brian Harshman led all masters runners with his 5th place overall finish in 49:50, more than a minute ahead of second place master Ken Rolek of Easton, PA.  Complete results can be found here at Compuscore.  On the team front, The Running Company continued their winning ways in both the Open and Masters Men divisions.  Midland has excellent post-race festivities, food and freebies.  In addition, the race provided up to the minute coverage by using race officials on bicycles who called in places to those at the grandstand which were then announced to the crowd waiting for the finishers.   This race could be used as a model of how to put on a high quality, runner friendly event.  The Midland Run supports the Midland School which is a school for those with special needs.

04/19/03 - The second men's USATF-NJ Championship of the 2003 season was the Run for Awareness 5K held on April 6th in Bayonne.  According to race director Mark Zenobia, the course was two unequal loops in Stephen Gregg Park which included a hill that the runners had to climb twice.  The course was closed entirely to vehicular traffic, a rare treat for the runners.  The weather was windy and cool, but by the 1:00PM start time the temperature had moderated.  The race quickly developed into a 2-man contest between Aidan Walsh of Fort Lee and professional runner Mike Mykytok of Ramsey.  Mykytok, who was last year's winner was upended by Walsh.  Walsh completed the 5000 meters in 14 minutes, 52 seconds with Mykytok trailing 7 seconds behind.  Gene Mitchell of Ridgewood garnered third place as he continued his preparations for Grandma's Marathon in June.   The fourth place USATF-NJ finisher was Bermudan national, Terrance Armstrong of Pompton Lakes.  Armstrong has primarily been a middle distance runner, and sports a 1500m PR of 3:40.

04/01/03 -   Equinox 20K:

    This new race on the New Jersey road racing scene was hosted by Raritan Valley Road Runners and held in Piscataway.  The course was 2.5 loops in Johnson Park with some moderate turns and a hill that the runners encountered on each loop.  On race day there was a steady wind the runners had to contend with but the temperatures were ideal for racing.  Anthony DeBenedictis and Rich Byrne were the class of the field and separated themselves early.  Byrne, who notched a 2:19 marathon at Chicago in 2002, was in the midst of training for the Boston Marathon and although he made a move to drop DeBenedictis, Anthony came back on him the last 400m or so and finished strongly to beat Rich to the finish.  DeBenedictis, a former Seton Hall standout, builds on his excellent 2002 road racing season, which included a 14:43 5000m at the Terrier Classic in January, a win at the Belmar 5 Mile in a quick 24:16, and a 30:57 10K at the NYC Run to Liberty which netted him 3rd place.  Considering that the Equinox course is not particularly fast, the top times were impressive.  DeBenedictis ran 1:04:06 (5:09/mi) and Byrne finished just one second behind.  Michael Cohen, Stephen Ondieki, Terrance Armstrong and Carlos Martins followed more than 2 minutes after the leaders.  A perennial New Jersey road race standout, Martins is rounding into shape after some time off due to a new baby and Armstrong is gearing up for a run at the Bermudan half marathon national record in mid-May.  Former FDU star Ondieki, who was expected to challenge for the win, has been struggling with injury and did not run up to potential.  In the Master's competition, Oliver Knowlton (1:11:54) bested Peter Allen (1:12:12) and Randall White (1:12:38).