LONG BRANCH, NJ - For twenty-one years, the Jersey Shore Running Club has presented a race on Easter Saturday morning and for its 22nd year, on April 23, it has a brand new title with the Celtic Tribute 5K that will benefit the scholarship fund of Patrolman Benevolent Association Local 10 in memory of all its Fallen Officers. The event, which is in conjunction with the Monmouth County Emerald Society, also has the NephCure (kidney diseases) Foundation 2-Mile Family Walk as well as kids’ races.

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Runners head south to rainy start on Long Branch promenade. Photos by Bob Both, Jersey Shore Running Club

The out and back course, a 3.1 mile distance, that was raced on the Long Branch Promenade/ boardwalk started at the north end of the Promenade, went south onto the boardwalk/Ocean Avenue to a three-street turn-around and then  back to the starting area.

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Luciano DeOliveria finishes first at Celtic Tribute 5K.

Lucianne DeOliveira, 32, of Long Branch, runner-up by a split second of this Easter Saturday event last year was today’s champion at 17:38 (17 minutes and 38 seconds) Coming in second place of the total 209 competitors was Kearny’s John Gouveia, 44, at 18:01. Third place, on this wet and windy (SE gale) morning, went to Erick Escorcia, 41, of Red Bank at 18:05.

“Rain and wind!” exclaimed today’s champion when asked to comment. Runner-up Gouveia informed that “I was briefly out in front  -  there were about five of us that traded first place for a while but then it settled in.”  He further offered that, “ the wind was tough going out (southeast) but it was welcome coming back.”

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Amber Hart Celtic Tribute 5K female champion.

Amber Hart, 32, of Belmar was the women’s champion at 19:23 (5th place overall). Second and third women, respectively, went to Neptune’s Lisa Ann O’Keefe, 39, at 20:47 (14th overall) and Bridget Dowd, 23, of Fair Haven at 21:48 (20th overall). 

Although this race is also windy, Hart remembers her championship run two years ago when it was a Northeastern storm and she recalls her descriptive comment which could also be used today: “Windy, windy, windy!” 

Top ten male police officer finishers:  John Gouveia 18:01, Kearny; Gregory Martone 20:33, Belmar; Neil Nelson 23:36 East Rutherford; Louie Martinez 23:51, Tinton Falls; Darnell Esdaile 24:45, Freehold; Michael Reuter 26:16, Middletown; John Yanuzzi 27:54, Flemington; David House 27:56, Long Branch; James Chelel 27:58, Kinnelon; and Jeffrey Sprague 28:09, South Amboy.

Top female police officers:  Amber Hart 19:22, Belmar (overall female race champion); Heather Hollis Valdes 27:43, Long Branch; Kimberly Leavy 27:54 Long Branch; Ellen Rumola 32:06, Shrewsbury; Jayme Sprague 34:22, South Amboy; And Melinda Foster 34:53, South Amboy.

The top three PBA Local winners for best representation were Long Branch Local 10 with 85 officers, Harrison Local 22 and Sayreville PD Local 98.

Long Branch’s Nancy Thorne finished at 26:35 and that earned her third place in her 50-54 age group. “I’m satisfied with my racing time considering the elements today,  especially the wind,” Thorne said, when asked how she felt about her performance. Nancy will be directing the Ninth Annual Michael W.Thorne Scholarship 4 Mile Run/Walk scheduled for May 15 at Franklin Lake in West Long Branch. It’s a memorial event to Nancy’s fireman brother who died in line of duty.

Aaron Levine, 30, of Howell posted a 22:56 racing time, good for 4th place in the age group and just missing an award that goes only to the top three.  But he was happy, “This is a PR (personal record) for me!”  When Levine is not busy at his Auto, Home, Boat, Business, Life, Health Insurance business in Long Branch (West End section) he’ll, probably be in West Long Branch at the Monmouth University Fitness Center and Pool working out in the morning always training for races such as this but also an Ironman challenge in which he is prone to compete. Levine is a family member of the Windmill Restaurants, a sponsor, that provided its parking lot and restaurant for the sign-up area. 

Highly decorated Vietnam veteran, with four Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, Joseph Renzella of  Neptune City, finished at 26:47 and that was good for first place in his 65-69 age group. He too said, “Going out the wind was rough, but coming back it felt good.”

Septuagenarian Ralph Garfield, 75, of Manalapan was in at 25:10 and octogenarian Harry Papirman, 80, of Whiting scored a 28:22 time. Both of these mature Seniors won their age-group awards not just because they had no competition, no doubt because of the weather, but those racing times are highly competitive, anyway. Garfield offered: “The wind was difficult going out but a breeze, pun intended, coming back!”

Ocean Township’s Bob Hayes, soon to retire from Foodtown Corporation, finished the 3.1 miles in 38:56.  The 3.1 miles is a mile and a tenth more than Hayes does every day of his life, 365 days a year and 366 on leap year. He started this everyday 2-mile exercise on February 13, 1982 because he was determined to lose weight and he liked to run. The one time in all those nearly 30 years he had a medical appointment, he did his 2 miles first and then did what the doctor ordered.

The Fallen Officers as mentioned above are printed on the green T-Shirt of the event. They are: Patrolman Herman Emmons – End of Watch 12 -17 – 1921;  Patrolman William Richards – End of Watch 10 – 23 – 1967;  Sergeant Patrick King – End of Watch  11 – 20 – 1997.

At the starting line at 11 a.m., Phil Hinck thanked the racers for coming on this rainy, windy day and gave them an overview of the course and instructed them to make sure they went over the metal plates at the starting line that was placed there by Fred Torres of Elite Racing Systems that records their racing time.  He then introduced race committee member Pat Joyce, a retired Long Branch police officer, who also thanked the racers and also sang our National Anthem with many racers joining in. 

Awards of custom green coffee mugs were presented at the Seven Presidents Main Pavilion, which served as shelter from the rain, to the aforementioned winners and age-group leaders by Hinck, assisted by JSRC Board Member Penny Hinck and her mother, also a JSRC active member, Marilyn Ryder.  Raffle prizes were offered due to the generosity of the local business community. The Grand Prize winner of a donated David Banegas original painting was MaryAnn McKean, JSRC member, of Eatontown.

"I want to thank the race committee members: Scott Beaver, Pat Joyce, Anne Samuels, Kevin and Maureen Martin, and P.J. Schrantz. I want to recognize the race-day volunteers who contributed their time and effort through rainy and windy morning in making the race successful, especially my wife Penny who really does all the work on raceday. The Torres family of www.eliteracingsystems.com did the computerized results and John Kuhi handling the course clocks. The event has been successful every year since 1990 due to the help of our sponsors and we hope to continue doing it for such great causes," said Hinck in an E-mail message.

Other leading finishers of the Celtic 5K:

   Race area:  Long Branch:  Drew Edson 20:14,  Joseph Keagle 21:48,  Nina Vecchio 22:24,  Gilbert Santos 23:58,  Mark Sullivan 24:04,  Aimee Staley 24:05,  James Cook 24:14,  Lauren Joseph 24:45,  Audrey Ging 24:49,  Richard Rennert 25:03,  Nancy Thorne 26:35,  Daniel Koellhoffer 27:33,  Bill Schatz 27:39,  Heather Hollis Valdes 27:51,  Kimberly Leavy 27:54,  David House 28:05,  Christian Wagner 28:21.

   Other race-area leaders:  Dave Nase 21:18, Oceanport;  Mike Walter 21:43, Eatontown;  Joseph Gallo 21:48 and Brian Holderness 22:13, West Long Branch;  Jason Turner 22:25, Eatontown;  Diva Ciani 24:02, Oceanport;  Danielle Testa 24:35, Monmouth Beach;  Steve Bray 24:39, West Long Branch;  Karen Kelly 26:25, Oceanport;  Anna Marie Popowski 26:57, Eatontown;  Jennifer Howe 27:55, West Long Branch.

   Herald area finishers: Joe Coccaro 24:05, Middletown; Jeff Timperman 24:16, Red Bank;  Bill Burke 24:23, Atl. Highlands;  Michael Reuter 26:22 and Jennifer Quigley 26:25, Middletown;  Ed Zupus 26:31, Monmouth Beach;  Jennifer Leslie 27:45, Keansburg;  Patrick Quigley 28:18, Middletown;  Bernadette Bennett 29:09 and Amy Dykstra 29:57, Red Bank;  Marissa Lecardi 29:57, Fair Haven;  Kate McAllister 30:03, Rumson;  William Michalski 31:20, Middletown;  Laura Dykstra 31:29, Red Bank;  Kara Devaney 32:30, Highlands.

   Other Monmouth County leading finishers:  Jeff Propert 18:31, Wall;  Matt Nunnally 19:32, Avon;  Matthew Shaffer 20:19, Tinton Falls;  Gregory Martone 20:34, Belmar;  Robert Galizio 20:58, Spring Lake;  Steve Prefontaine 21:09, Bradley Beach;  Dana Jacoby 22:16, Tinton Falls;  Justin Feintuch 22:39, Aberdeen;  Aaron Levine 22:56, Howell;  Wes Erbe 23:20, Brielle;  Andrew Katznelson 23:35, Manalapan;  Mike Barrous 23:44, Shrewsbury;  Louie Martinez 23:52, Tinton Falls;  Charles Christy 24:11 and Michael Zubritsky 24:52, Matawan;  Darnelle Esdaile 24:54, Freehold;  Ralph Garfield 25:10, Manalapan;  Marybeth Chartier 25:20, Bradley Beach;  Jill Dolan 25:22, Asbury Park;  Aidan Martin 25:31, Spring Lake Heights;  Carly Depolo 26:11, Wall;  Michael Martin 26:26, Spring Lake Heights;  Joseph Renzella 26:47, Neptune City;  James Murphy 26:52 Howell;  Sandra Etlinger 27:11, Freehold;  Sean Strong 27:25, Lincroft;  Jacki Dempsey 27:27, Neptune City;  Candace Wolkovitz 27:35, Holmdel;  Daryl Schwenck 27:49, Morganville;  Marcy Reilly 28:01, Matawan;  Theresa McKean 28:04, Tinton Falls;  Danielle Feintuch 28:13, Aberdeen.

Road-racing events continue on April 30 with the Lake Como 5K at 10 a.m. at Bar Anticipation, info call 732-542-6090. It's the Colt Trail Run on May 1 in Lincroft at 10 a.m. at Christian Brothers Academy, info call 732-747-1959 x 214. On Mother’s Day, May 8, is the Rumson-Fair Haven 5-Mile run at the high school on Ridge Road, Fair Haven at 9:30 a.m, info Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.