On Sunday, Nov 4, 2018
GRONER WILL RUN WITH THE ELITE WOMEN TODAY
Roberta Groner moved from Pittsburg to Randolph in 2014 and began racing here in 2015. She stood out immediately and when she inquired about the Randolph based Do Run Runners she was welcomed into the club.
Club member Beau Atwater of Bedminster became her solid training partner as they prepared for Boston following the Hanson Training Plan created by the Michigan running store group that has turned out elite runners.
In October of 2016 Groner was introduced to Hector Matos of Rutherford who had begun to coach some very good New Jersey runners. Under his coaching Groner was dropping her times at each race.
Life does not move in a straight line, and after winning the Ashenfelter 8K in November 2016 in 27:16, a minute and a half ahead of any other women, Groner realized that she needed to break with her New Jersey friends. She joined the New York Athletic Club, where she would be around other women of her ability. That has proved to be a good move and Groner continued to get faster.
With Matos coaching, Groner had hoped to make the US marathon qualifying time of 2:37 at the California International Marathon in December 2017. Not only did she qualify, she finished in 2:30:38 in second place overall behind professional runner Sara Hall.
After the marathon she switched to shorter distances on the advice of her coach and PR’d the 5K and 10K and the half marathon. When she wasn’t running and taking care of her three boys, and working a full-time nurse’s job, she finished her Bachelor’s degree. Can we say Achiever?
Groner was invited to start with the elite women in the New York City marathon after her 2:30.38 California International Marathon last year.
She has been training up to the mid 90’s and then in the mid 80’s for three weeks. The week leading up to the marathon she was at 65 miles, and this last week – her taper week has put in about 25 miles, including a 30 minute run on Saturday.
In September Groner opened a few more eyes with her third place at the Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon where she shared the podium with Desi Linden. Linden finished in 1:11:48, just 32 second ahead of Groner whose time was 1:12:20.
In a recent interview, Linden was asked who she thought might be around her in the marathon, and she named Groner as one of those women.
“I guess my name is out there a little bit,” said Groner who is enjoying the new notoriety.
But her feet are clearly on the ground and she sees it as just a bunch of competitors who just happen to be very fast.
“Us competitors, we know who we are running against,” said Groner. “They get to know who I am and I get to know who they are.”
“Even though I don’t see myself anywhere near Desi Linden that day, it’s nice to know the feel.”
Her “tribe” of supporters in New Jersey as they have come to call themselves, have a different view and do see their athlete as capable of being in the lead pack with Linden and others.
Lest anyone forget, Groner, who is now 40, may be the fastest masters woman marathoner now competing.
In a recent post Facebook Groner concluded,
“No matter the outcome on Sunday I have held onto the vision and have trusted the process! It’s game time!
While Groner is running her second New York City Marathon, other local runners can claim a different fame. Catherine Shott of Hopatcong will be running in her 31stconsecutive New York City marathon. Kevin Higgins of Randolph will be running his 28th and Joe Sikora of Succasunna will be running his 26th. Shott’s best time was in 1988 at age 28 when she finished in 3:51:30. Higgins did a 2:52:59 in 2001 when he was 42 years old and Sikora’s best time was done at age 26 when he finished in 2:47:46.
We wish all of the runners a fast time and good running.
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at www.usatfnj.org or at www.raceforum.com for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at email@example.com