NEPTUNE CITY, NJ - Three hundred and nineteen road racers competed in the 19th annual Neptune City Day 5K presented by the event’s racing committee in cooperation with the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC) on the cloudy, warm, not great,  but good-racing-weather morning of Saturday, August 6.

photos by 
Penny Hinck of

Pat Ford, 51, of Neptune City was the one to break the finish-line tape held by the town’s Mayor Robert Brown and hometowner Laura Brown (no relation to the mayor) located on Riverview Avenue at Memorial/Municipal/Beach Park, at a racing time of 17:26 (17 minutes and 26 seconds). Second and third males, respectively, were Brian Ruane, 18, of Middletown at 17:55 and Anthony Canova, 32, of Farmingdale at 18:24.


“For the first mile I was back and forth for the lead with another guy (runner-up Ruane) but at mile one I took the lead and from then on it was just me and the police car” (lead vehicle), said Ford in describing his championship performance. Fifty-one-year-old (maybe young) Ford usually always wins the resident championship but today was the first time ever he won the overall. “Humid but nice, it is the summer and we got to expect the humidity, “ Ford said of the weather.  He further informed that, “I like the course, it goes right by my house and my neighbors were loudly cheering me on.” In another comment Ford said: “I want to thank Mary Sapp (race director) and all the volunteers and the public workers for putting on the race – the runners have the easy thing, all we have to do is run – it’s the organizers and the volunteers who have to do all the work.”


Jackie Drowin, 22, of Fort Montgomery, NY, was first in for the women at 18:09 (3rd place overall) from the loop course that started on West Sylvania Avenue and Hwy. #35, adjacent to the Neptune City First Aid building, which served as the sign-up area, proceeded west to Oxford Way and turned onto Sixth Avenue and meandered its way to the Park. Long Branch’s Dactilia Booth, 35, was second at 18:33 (6th overall) and Laura Donnelly, 37, of Manasquan at 19:47 (12th overall) rounded out the top three women. 

“Yes,” said Drowin, when asked if she were the women’s leader the entire way and she would know that because the few racers ever in front of her she could see were all males. “It was 17:20 on a cross-country course in Van Cortlandt Park, New York City,” she offered when asked her fastest time for this distance. Drowin is in the area visiting family.

 Receiving the top three Neptune City male awards were Brennan Fitzsimmons 19:47,  Ed Alburtus 21:09,  Mike Herbert 21:41; top three females: Julia Cooper 23:44,  Lora Strum 24:21,  Patty Carroll 26:16. 

Although this event does not have a racewalk division, Elliott Denman, 77, of West Long Branch followed all the striding rules and racewalked the distance at a good pace of 13:22 per mile and recorded a 41:15 racing time. Area runners and racewalkers know of Denman’s being an Olympian racewalker in 1956 and are proud to know of that fact and to be a friend of his. Other racewalkers: Raymond Robertson, 67, of Ocean at 33:35; Patrick Bivona, 70, of Clifton at 34:24; Fred Linkhardt, 58, of Oakhurst at 35:26. “It was a terrific race, once again much credit to Phil Hinck and the Jersey Shore Running Club, it was superbly organized  -  there was quite a bit of shade and the early start alleviated some of the heat problems,” said Denman. 

“My performance was acceptable – this is a wonderful run – one of the strongest community supports, and we get to see this lovely town of Neptune City,” said Tim Mahoney of Belmar who finished at 22:15 a highly respectable 7:10 per-mile pace.  Mahoney is a retired NJ State Police officer and past president of the JSRC.  He continues to serve the membership and the running/racewalking community by being the director of the club’s annual 9/11 Memorial Run presented on that infamous date at the Belmar/Spring Lake boardwalk. He reminds us that this year is the tenth anniversary of the Memorial Run and emphasizes that it is a highly dignified run/jog and not a race so as to invite non-runners to get involved at 6 p.m. starting in Belmar across from Dunkin Donuts.

Long Branch’s Marilyn Ryder, mother-in-law and mother of Phil and Penny Hinck, well-known race directors/organizers, was in at 29:10, a 9:24 per-mile pace, that earned her the 1st place award in her new 70 and over age-group. “I like the course, there are a lot of people out there cheering us on and showing us the way to go (there are many turns during the last mile). There are a lot of police protecting us from traffic and I feel safe the whole way.” When asked about the weather: “Today is a bit warm and humid but a good day for running.”

Nancy Thorne of Long Branch posted a 27:03 and thought that racing time “was decent although not my best but I felt good today  - I love the course cause it has slightly rolling hills – the weather was a bit humid.” Thorne directs the annual Michael Thorne 4 Mile Race that is presented each May on the 3rd Sunday in West Long Branch to honor her fireman brother who was killed while on duty.

“I was very happy with my performance,” said David Gross of Morganville who posted a 24:46 in which he won the 70 and over age group award and got in under an 8-minute mile with a 7:59 pace.  “This is a real challenge,” he said of the course: “In the beginning you got basically an uphill for the first mile and in the ending there are a lot of turns.” Of the weather he said, “It’s warm and humid but to be expected.”

Neptune City’s Joe Renzella clocked a 28:11 racing time and said the weather was “hot and muggy” but then the highly decorated Vietnam veteran, with four Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, added that “it was good the race started at 8 a.m.” He’s looking forward to running this event next year when he’ll enter a new age bracket of 70 and over.


Clarence Lurch of Wall (founder of Lertch (sic) Wrecking) did not get an award for the 70 and over male age group because he was not one of the top three finishers. In fact he was the last of the eight finishers of that group. But he did get an award for being the oldest racer.  Lurch is a nonagenarian – don’t run for the dictionary – that means ninety-year-old. Lurch will be 91 in October. He scored 1:17:53.

Phil Hinck, past president of the JSRC, and race director of many Shore area races including the nationally recognized Spring Lake Five and George Sheehan Classic was, along with being available to assist in the many activities needed for the event, the race starter today. Just prior to the 8 a.m. start, at Sylvania Avenue, he introduced Neptune City Mayor Robert Brown who thanked the racers for participating and wished for them to have a good race. The Mayor then introduced Erica Kostyz of Ocean Township who gave a super rendition of “God Bless America.” Hinck then assembled the racers to the starting line, advised them to take water at the three designated spots, voiced a loud “Ready-Go!” and the racers were off following the lead police car driven by Lieutenant John Matthews and accompanied by Councilman Larry Cross.

Eric Lauenstein of the Neptune City First Aid Squad, rode in the race’s follow-up ambulance, basically following Clarence Lurch (another ambulance followed the preceding finisher to Lurch). Lauenstein reported, “All went well; we had absolutely no emergencies.”

Mary Sapp, race director, along with Mayor Brown and Fred Rummel, Monmouth County Parks Commissioner and director of Wall Township’s Fourth of July Firecracker Five, presented gift certificates and medals to the aforementioned winners and age-group leaders from a platform on the scenic grounds of the park. Bill Boyajian of Best Racing Systems, along with Ray Durborow, organized the finish-line activities and computer results, using B-Tag chips from Chronotrack, all of which can be found on

 “I want to thank Phil and Penny Hinck of the JSRC and all the volunteers who do the many things necessary to put on a race. A special thanks to all our sponsors especially Retro Fitness of Neptune City. I want to especially recognize the Neptune City Police Department, neighboring police departments, along with Ocean Grove Citizens Patrol for excellent traffic control.  Thanks, also, for the patience of motorists who had to be diverted for the safety of our racers,” said Mary Sapp, race director,  in concluding E-mail comments.

Race area leading finishers:

Neptune City:  Mike Herbert 21:41,  Sidney Wells 22:04,  Matthew Edwards 22:34,  Jeff Raymond 23:06,  Evan Brown 23:32,  David Hoecker 23:57,  Jack O’Connell 24:16,  Jay O’Connell 24:28,  Liam Mcatasney 25:47,  Jennifer Neice 26:56,  William Wells 26:57,  Seamus Mcatasney 27:01,  Alexander Tallman 27:22,  Jimmy Frostick 27:39,  Sue Mitchell 27:49,  Maureen Murphy 27:50,  Joseph Tallman 27:51,  Joseph Renzella 28:11,  Amanda Zakerowski 28:15,        

Neptune:  Bill Starkey 23:15,  David Lecomte 23:45,  Jennifer Beekman 24:22,  J.P. Dempsey 24:24,  Tim McGrath 26:20,  Darien Jones 26:46,  Patrick Rochette 27:21,  Jerry Baker 27:43,  Tom Arnone 27:54 (former Mayor, present Freeholder),  Steve Shebell 28:07,  Bryn Horner 28:13,  Marissa Alban 28:16,  Erin Drerr 29:59,  Dan Eseno 30:20,  Maureen Barry 30:44.

Herald area:  Jennifer Beck 21:32, Red Bank;  Dana Jacoby 21:43, Monmouth Beach;  Joseph Cisneros 23:23, Middletown;  Suzanne Ritger 25:53, Red Bank;  Chuck Fallon 28:03, Middletown;  Shawn Rubin 28:38, Rumson;  Lisa Oconnell 29:34, Monmouth Beach;  Rachel Lawrence 30:10, Oceanport;  Todd Rice 33:05, Atl. Highlands.    

Other Monmouth County leading finishers:  Dan Drury 20:54, Eatontown;  Diaz Dionigio 21:29, Ocean Grove;  Jennifer Beck 21:32, Red Bank;  Dana Jacoby 21:43, Monmouth Beach;  Abby Wentworth 22:05, Avon;  Amanda Karabin 22:24, Wall;  Brian Holderness 22:47, West long Branch;  Garth Geer 23:05, Wall;  Christina Benanti 23:07 and Chris Circelli 23:09, Belmar;  Joseph Cisneros 23:23, Middletown;  Patrick Mcentyre 23:27, Bradley Beach;  Steven Surman 24:00, Tinton Falls;  William Brower 24:27, Tinton Falls;  Sally Bittner 24:41 and Marilyn Garguilo 24:42, Belmar;  James Benkoil 24:58, Avon;  Padraic Dillon 25:05 and Frank Dilello 25:10, Ocean;  Lauren Karabin 25:14 Wall;  Macgregor Siegle 25:30, Oakhurst;  Perry Neare 25:33, Ocean Grove;  Richard Shaklee 25:37, Wall;  Nicole Earley 25:50 and Elizabeth Finn 25:51, Eatontown;  Robert Conaty 25:55, Wall;  Gary Engelstad 26:04, Bradley Beach;  Joy Pedrazzo 26:08, Tinton Falls;  Kate Kimmet 26:10, Manasquan;  Tandy Siegle 26:26, Oakhurst;  Joe Connor 26:30, Belmar. 

Road-racing events continue with the Jersey Shore Golden Grand Prix Asbury Park 5K on Saturday, August 13, at Bradley Park across from Convention Hall on the boardwalk at 8:30 a.m. info call 732-571-2162. It’s the Bradley Beach 5K on August 20 at 8:30 a.m. staged at the Gazebo on Ocean Avenue with Kids’ Races the night before, info This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..