RED BANK, NJ - Fourteen hundred and 43 road racers (849 men and 594 women) competed in the annual George Sheehan Classic five mile race on a course that starts and finishes on Broad Street in Red Bank, makes 15 turns, includes the towns of Little Silver and Fair Haven and has challenging Tower Hill as a final part of its journey on the sunny, warm morning of June 18. Each would receive a medal bearing the initials GSC. This Classic was named one of the Top 100 Road Races by Runner’s World magazine and the Best Memorial in New Jersey by the New York Times.
Craig Segal crosses the finish first. Photos by Bob Both, www.jsrc.org
Coming in first and breaking the finish-line tape held by Leslie McKernan, Atl. Highlands, member of the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC) and Linda Hyer, officer of the Freehold Area Running Club (FARC), was Craig Segal, 27, of Highlands at a racing time of 25:28 (25 minutes and 28 seconds, this was 6 seconds slower than his runner-up time last year). Rounding out the top five male finishers who would, along with the females, receive special awards were Robert Cavanaugh, 33, West Long Branch at 25:44; Mike Rolek, 24, Maplewood at 26:08 (this year’s Spring Lake Five Mile Run champion); Tim Mulligan, 30, Whiting at 26:35; Brad Antes 21, Hoboken at 27:44.
“No, Rob (Robert Cavanaugh, runner-up) and I were running together for about the first three miles, then I gave an extra surge and took the lead,” said Segal when asked if he were out in front the whole way. The champion recalls his fastest 5-mile racing time was at a Spring Lake race recording a 24:49.
Noel (Brock) Whitall is the first woman to finish
Toms River’s Noel (Brock) Whitall, 33, the many-time consecutive women’s champion of the Spring Lake Five Mile Run is also a consecutive three-time winner in this George Sheehan Classic beating the other 593 women with a 28:39 racing time (4 seconds slower than last year). Rounding out the top five female finishers: Erin Lunny, 22, Middletown at 29:34; Marissa Alberti, 33, Long Branch at 30:19; Jennifer Malavolta, 40, Reeders, PA at 30:30; Dactilia Booth, 35, Long Branch at 30:45.
“I ran a smart race today,” said Whitall when asked to comment. She further explained: “I knew it was hot today so I went out a lot slower than I did at Spring Lake and I had a lot of energy throughout the race because of the slow start.” The 3rd grade teacher at Osborneville Elementary in Bricktown also informed that her fastest 5-miles was at this event when it wasn’t so hot and recorded a 27:37.
Runner-up Lunny was resigned to the fact that she could not catch the leader (Noel) and was satisfied coming in 2nd place for the women. She offered these comments: “I love this course – I graduated from Red Bank Catholic and have run these roads before – it was hot today but I like running in the heat, it makes me sweat and that makes me feel good.”
Start of 2011 George Sheehan Classic five mile race.
“The weather is perfect, the course is perfect and it’s a great day in Red Bank,” said Walter MacGowan, 63, of Spring Lake who finished at 41:19. MacGowan is the president of the Shore Athletic Club (SAC).
Richard Henderson of Philadelphia, PA finished at 33:36 and that earned him second place award in the 55-59 age group. He drives the distance because as he has said in the past: “Races at the Jersey Shore are always well organized and a lot of fun.” Henderson was satisfied with his racing time and of the course he said, “George Sheehan would consider Tower Hill as the ‘ultimate test’ or ‘the moment of truth’ so I’m glad to be supporting his race.”
“I haven’t been here in eleven years and I haven’t really competed in six years but I was happy with my racing time. I wanted to get in under thirty-four,” so Little Egg Harbor’s Barbara Brennan’s time of 33:45 satisfied that desire and earned her the first place award in the 45-49 age group.
Jane (Erbe) Decker of Brick posted a 38:26 and summed up her thought on the course vociferously, “I hate Tower Hill!”
“It was a very hot and humid day and the organizers had plenty of water available for us,” said Harry Papirman who won the first place award in the 80-84 age group. “It’s a difficult course but I was glad to be doing this in honor of George Sheehan.” said the race’s octogenarian.
Olympian racewalker of 1956, Elliott Denman, a retired sportswriter from West Long Branch posted a 1:11:28 racewalking time and for this he won second place prize of the 75-79 age group. He commented: “It was a helluva race and we walked in the footsteps of history.”
Members and officers of FARC were the many workers doing their know-how duties at the finish-line area.
Along with a Two-Mile Walk, this event also includes The Kids’Classics: races for up-to- 4 year-olds to 13, consisting of distances of 50 yards to a half mile and are presented the night before at Marine Park. Lightning caused a cancellation this year but the kids in attendance stretched and warmed up before the weather changed and were then treated to cupcakes, smoothies and balloons. Each received a medal for “finishing.”
At the starting line near Red Bank Catholic High School and Saint James Church, director Phil Hinck, making use of the loud speaker system provided by Main Street Productions, cautioned the assembled racers that because of the heat, they should make use of the water stations along the course. A moment of silence was asked for Jack Rafter who passed away at the age of 79. Our National Anthem was a group sing by the racers - choirmasters might not have been impressed, but the effort was sincere. Michael Sheehan, one of the many offspring of Doctor George Sheehan who was family spokesman, was introduced and here are some of his remarks: “Welcome everybody to a beautiful Father’s Day weekend here in Red Bank - we got a great day for the race. I want to thank the sponsors who provide the resources to put on this kind of event. I want to thank Phil and Penny Hinck (race directors), the race committee and all the volunteers. Phil and Penny put on many races in the area and should be applauded” (the racers responded loudly). Michael summed up Doctor George Sheehan’s running efforts by offering one of the Running Doctor’s many quotes: “I don’t run to add years to my life; I run to add life to my years.” He then wished the racers “to have a great race.” Hinck then gave his loud Ready, Set, Go and the racers were off following the lead vehicle driven by Captain Darren McConnell of the Red Bank police force and accompanied by John Cheer of the JSRC.
"The weather was sunny and bright at the start, but as the race progressed, rising temperatures provided rather warm running conditions, especially near the end of the route, at the top of Tower Hill, which we all know is closer to the sun. We had a very successful race, thanks to our sponsors and tremendous support from the Sheehan family. Thanks also to residents encouraging the runners along the course, and the patience of area motorists who had to be detoured for the safety of our racers. Many thanks to the Red Bank, Little Silver and Fair Haven police departments, and area First Aid Squads for their cooperation and for the volunteers from high school track teams, local service organizations (including Lunch Break) and area running clubs (JSRC, FARC, SAC). Elite Racing Systems organized the Chronotrack (B-Tag) computer scoring system and finish-line logistics. Main Street Productions provided the speaker system as well as motivational music for the racers, and the Hill family provided the DJ services in Marine Park. And new this year, runners and volunteers were treated to a great post race celebration at Brannigan’s, featuring the Tor Miller Band. A very special thanks to my wife, Penny, who is the very heart of racing at the Jersey Shore,” wrote Phil Hinck, race director, in a summarizing E-mail.
Other leading finishers of the challenging George Sheehan Classic 2011, many of whom, along with the aforementioned finishers, might agree with these other quotes attributed to the late beloved Running Doc:
"There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be." - "Sweat cleanses from the inside; it comes from places a shower will never reach." - "Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing." - "When I run, truly run...it is all there. My body does what it does best. The mind like a kaleidoscope constantly rearranges the things it has stored into new and exciting patterns. And my soul utterly loses itself in the present."
Also printed on the race’s T-shirt: “You are the only protector of your body and its beauty. The only defender of your play and its delights. The only defender of your childhood and its dreams.”
Herald area men: Sean Rath 28:08, Atl. Highlands; V. Ferrer 29:19, Belford; Patrick Hill 29:27, Rumson; Tom Falvey 30:12, Atl. Highlands; Brian Hill 31:35, Middletown; Ryan Corbett 31:36, Fair Haven; Kyle Shenk 32:05, Atl. Highlands; Adam Kershner 32:30; Little Silver; Sean Harvey 32:35 and Joseph Cauvin 32:47, Atl. Highlands; Mark McGuigan 32:55, Fair Haven; Tim Ayers 33:13, Atl. Highlands; Antonio Meza Soriano 33:17 and Larry O’Brien 33:19, Red Bank; Patrick Hiler 32:51, Middletown; Geoffrey Nicholas 33:25, Leonardo.
Herald area women: Caitlin Dorgan 30:49, Red Bank; Kristine Claussen 33:07, Atl. Highlands; Sara Amitrani 34:20, Red Bank; Michelle Savarese 35:08, Middletown; Lisa Zino 35:18, Atl. Highlands; Hannah Anderson 36:18 and Shannon McCarthy 36:19, Fair Haven; Lori Scisco 36:49, Atl. Highlands; Kristina Pachman 36:57, Claire Tafelski 37:34 and Jennifer Biddick 37:35, Red Bank; Jeanmarie Blauvelt 38:08 and Dawn Ciccone 38:15, Highlands; Tara Barnett 38:18, Fair Haven; Courtney Howley 38:19, Rumson; Christen Ambrosio 38:29, Middletown.
Monmouth County men: Pat D’Alessandro 28:16, Asbury Park; Pete Forgach 28:32, Long Branch; Daniel Polanco 30:21, Hazlet; Robert Ballon 30:40, Marlboro; John Reagan 31:10, Eatontown; James Mitchell 31:14, Colts Neck; Matthew Jacobson 31:15, Marlboro; Mike Mooney 31:23, Jackson; James Kelly 31:32, Lincroft; Charles Rogers 31:43, Wall; Jeff Cody 31:53, Holmdel; John Hourigan 32:05, Colts Neck; Doug Twyman 32:07, Sea Girt; Mike Mangan 32:43, Howell; James Segal 33:07, Holmdel; Scott Linnell 33:08, Colts Neck; Evan Sobel 33:18, Manalapan; Dan Barley 33:34, Holmdel.
Monmouth County women: Karen Charles 32:06, Wall; Christine Altland 32:28, Hazlet; Lisa Namath 33:32 and Amanda Scheer 34:35, Wall; Chelsea Knight 34:41, Long Branch; Kathy Kropke 35:05, Avon; Lisa Buckley 36:05, Howell; Robin Campbell 36:08, Aberdeen; Diane Rothman 36:11, Lincroft; Tracy Kochian 36:13, Morganville; Alicia Dibiase 36:36 and Kerrie Wagner 38:07, Spring Lake Heights; Cara Nelius 38:28, Freehold.