RUMSON, NJ - Four hundred and forty-eight (not counting the Kiddie Dashes across the football field for the 2-to-5 year-olds) road racers (made up of 299 five miles and 149 three-kilometers distances) finished the 20th annual Rumson-Fair Haven Run on the excellent-running-morning of May 8 (Mother’s Day) on the 400-meter track in the stadium of the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFHRHS) located on Ridge Road, Rumson.

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Robert Cavanaugh crosses the finish line.  Photo Scott Longfield

Robert Cavanaugh, 33, of West Long Branch, was the first to finish the race from the rectangular course that starts on Ridge Avenue in front of the school, proceeds west to Fair Haven Road, onto River Road and returns to the school stadium. As he crossed the finish line the digital timing clock displayed 25:59 which means he raced the course in an impressive 25 minutes and 59 seconds. Ryan Corbett, 17, of Fair Haven was the distant runner-up at 29:36 and Steven Ham Jr., 15, also of Fair Haven was third finisher at 29:51.

“Yes, I took it right from the beginning,” said Cavanaugh when asked if he were out in front the whole way. “I went out in about 5:04 the first mile and then I just tried to run a good pace throughout,” he further said and added that this was his first five-mile race in over a year since he’s recovering from surgery in the Achilles tendon. “The weather is great and the course is great with its challenging hills,” the champion further offered. Cavanaugh is the race director for the Jersey Shore University Medical Center 5K which will be held on September 18 at the hospital in Neptune.

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Female 5 mile champion Karen Charles breaks finish tape held by Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl. Photo Penny Hinck

Karen Charles, 38, of Wall Township was the women’s winner at 31:52 (8th place overall) followed by Susan Flynn, 39, of Rumson at 33:08 (14th overall). The third women’s finisher was Little Silver’s Dawn Wilcox at 33:28 (19th overall).    

Charles thought the course was interesting because “there are a few hills and it’s not completely flat” and of the weather: “It was a bit warm but that’s good because it’s getting us ready for Spring Lake (the Spring Lake Five Mile Run on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend) and Belmar (the Belmar Five Mile Run).” Water stations for the sweating racers and serviced by cheering volunteers were placed strategically at the mile markers.

“I was pleased, it was a fun time,” said Matthew Shafer of Tinton Falls who finished at 33:11 a very respectable 6:58 per mile pace, when asked his thoughts on his performance. “I think race director Kevin Hill did a phenomenal job today,” he added. This is Hill’s first time directing the RFHRHS event. Shafer is the director of the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) 5K scheduled for July 31 at Joe Palaia Park in Ocean Township for neglected and abused children. Shafer is proud of one of his slogans that will be posted on the grounds: Children Should Be Seen and Heard.

Jack Higgins, 12, of Rumson was the overall winner of the 149 competitors of the 3K at 11:20. He was followed by Middletown’s Brian Hill, 11, at 12:25 and third place went to Eddie Cushing, 12, of Rumson at 12:26. The top three females respectively: Bridget Curran, 15, of Rumson at 12:28 (4th overall); Christine Hill, 41, of Middletown at 13:02 (6th overall); Rachel Lehnert, 13, of Fair Haven at 13:39 (10th overall).

Awards to the aforementioned winners and trophies to age-group leaders were presented by Kevin Hill, race director, on the grounds of the stadium as the physically-spent racers were enjoying refreshments.

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Community 3K award winners. Photo Penny Hinck

Prior to the 9:30 a.m. beginning of the race, the director reminded all that this event is dedicated to Andrew J. Bruder who died of cancer at age 36. Bruder was a graduate of RFHRHS and the first winner of the Rumson Run that began in 1992. He informed that the event has raised over $300,000 for scholarships and then asked all the mothers in the race to give themselves a round of applause for this second Sunday in May being Mother’s Day. All applauded. Next he introduced RFHRHS senior Austin Ryan who then gave a super rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner (It would be good for our country if Ryan sang our National Anthem at next year’s Super Bowl) as the awaiting racers respectfully remained quiet, eyes on the flag at full-mast on the flagpole that is located on the front lawn of the school. Rumson Mayor John E. Ekdahl was the official race starter; Fair Haven Mayor Michael Halfacre was a competitor this year.  

Bananas, bagels, oranges were available courtesy of Foodtown of Red Bank and scrumptious cookies were provided by the committee of senior citizens headed by Dorothy Burlew. Michael Hill Jr., a junior at RFHRHS and member of the cross country team, provided motivational music. Doug Rice of Race Forum with Split Second Racing was responsible for the computerized scoring, specifically IPICO Sport Tag.

“I'm very pleased with the outcome and want to thank all the volunteers who worked so diligently to make this event happen. I want to acknowledge the complete cooperation of the local police and fire departments as well as EMS of both towns and the maintenance staff at the high school. I also want to thank the race committee and the many members of the JSRC for their know-how assistance, especially Phil and Penny Hinck. Not to be forgotten are our many sponsors whose generosity is well acknowledged, in particular our major sponsor, The Howley Financial Group. Thanks, too, for the patience of area motorists who had to be detoured for the safety of our racers. Last, but certainly not least, we want to thank and congratulate all the wonderful moms who ran today as a great way to celebrate their special day. We had great weather, a great crowd and great support. We hope next year goes as well," wrote director Kevin Hill in an E-Mail summary.

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Runners start AJ Bruder 5 Miler on Rumson Road. Photo Penny Hinck

Other Herald area leading finishers:

Rumson: Blake Goodwyn 31:21, Brett Marcus 31:29, Eric Glass 32:01, Paul Weber 33:39, Scott Fischer 33:42, Steve Zacks 34:09, Charles Ryan 34:28, Bob McGinty 34:56, Ben Alderoti 35:29, Adam Durney 35:45, Aidan Ehrenberg 36:21, Courtney Howley 36:44, Jack Howley 36:45, Richard Batting 36:54, Peter Lyden 37:00, Michael Lehman 37:08, Andrea Huber 37:11, Arthur Beyer 37:38, Maria Manley 37:44, Doug Mallach 37:52, Andrew Young 38:09, Christina Durney 38:34, Annie McGinty 38:37, Trip Manley 38:45, Kevin Hill 38:52, Chuck Lowe 38:54, Linda Puzzo 39:05, Robert Boyajieff 39:09, Henry Rosset 39:36, Mel Cushing 39:46.    

Fair Haven: Jack Maris 32:41, John Gibney 33:47, Isabella Maita 35:11, Paul Stepman 35:29, Jared Rumage 36:12, Anthony Sciametta 36:24, Stephen Ham 37:09, Leslie Curran 37:55, Abigail Cooner 38:16, Scott Marcmakitus 38:36, Catherine Hunter 39:04, Lauren Smith-Gray 39:43, Donna Kostecky 39:49, Caroline Kostecky 39:50, Dara Pfeil 40:51, Beth Sanville 41:15, Charles Frank 41:29, Richard Gottuso 42:11.

Others: Brian Hill 31:42, Middletown; Antonio Meza Soriano 32:25, Red Bank; Harold Nolan 32:54, Navesink; Geoffrey Nicholas 33:22, Leonardo; Henry Mercer 33:24, Locust; Chris Bullinger 33:30, Little Silver; Adam Lindstrom 34:50, Belford; Tim Ayers 35:27, Atl. Highlands; Dana Jacoby 36:15, Monmouth Beach; Stephen Degersdorff 37:54, Little Silver; Gary Balletto 38:42, Belford; John Stahl 39:01, Middletown; Paul Deykerhoff 39:02, Little Silver; Tara Nicholas 39:35, Leonardo; Leslie McKernan 40:23 and Jennifer Van Bright 40:29, Atl. Highlands.                            

Other Monmouth County leaders: David Wellinger 31:53, Oceanport; Matthew Shafer 33:11, Tinton Falls (director of CASA 5K); Edwin Hale 33:55, Spring Lake; Ann O’Dowd 34:19, Colts Neck;   Bras Schale 35:38, Howell; Richard Macko 35:48, Aberdeen; Diane Rothman 36:26, Lincroft; Jon Brodsky 36:41, Brielle; Andy Stevenson 37:19, Manalapan; Mike Waskakowski 37:28, Ocean; Michael Procopio 37:34, Bradley Beach; Brian Holderness 37:45, West Long Branch; Andrew Katznelson 37:59, Manalapan; Sheldon Chiang 38:28 and Patricia Chambers 38:37, Morganville; Kevin Wulfhorst 38:41, Tinton Falls; Christine Schmitt 38:58, Holmdel; Michael Timmes 39:15, Freehold; Joey Santoro 39:23, Hazlet; John McPartland 39:41, Manasquan; Ralph Garfield 39:55, Manalapan.                        

Road racing continues on May 15 in West Long Branch with the Ninth Annual Michael W. Thorne Scholarship 4 Mile Run/Walk at Franklin Lake at 9 a.m., info call 732-870-2488. In Middletown on May 21 is the annual Spring Into Summer 5K at 8:30 a.m. info at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..