LONG BRANCH, NJ - The Irish, according to encyclopedia information, brought the end-of-summer season activities of Halloween to America in the 1840's and the custom that causes our children to say "trick or treat' has its origin much earlier in ninth-century Europe. But it was just 18 years ago that the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC), with a play on words of that popular phrase, brought us its annual Trick or Trot Race (now a 5K distance, previously it was 4 miles) and was presented at the Long Branch oceanfront on the sunny/cloudy, mid 60's, good-racing-weather Sunday morning of October 23. The race benefits homeless animals and the main beneficiary is the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

Michael Moriarty wins the Trick or Trot 5K in a time of 18:30.

Michael Moriarty, 25, of Spotswood was first to cross the finish line, placed inside Seven Presidents Park, of the total 334 (2 more than last year) competitors, at a racing time of 18:30 (eighteen minutes and 30 seconds). Juan Carlos Nieves, 25, of New York City was second at 19:01 and 3rd male finisher, but fourth overall was Scott Snell, 31, of Atlantic Highlands at 20:38.

Women’s champion is Lisa Namath, of  Wall, in 20:00.

Lisa Namath, 38, of Wall Township, was the women's winner from this out and back course that starts on the northern end of the promenade and continues south through Pier Village then onto the boardwalk to a halfway turnaround of cones and proceeds back to the Park at a racing time of 20:00 (3rd place overall). She was followed by Lauren Rhatigan, 48, of Ship Bottom at 20:43 (5th overall) and third woman was Stephanie Lafergola, 23, of Matawan at 20:49 (6th overall).

Beautiful weather benefited all of the runners and walkers producing some impressive times, and many costumes were sported on the course. Leading "Costumed Runners" included a "Masked Man", "Hill-Billy", "Braveheart (complete with sword)", "Kitty-Kat", "Mr. America", "Caveman" and "Nerd-Girl".

Runners start JSRC’s 18th Annual Trick of Trot on on the Long Branch promenade.

"I just love this course!" exclaimed Long Branch's Nancy Thorne, 52, who finished at 26:15, a respectable 8:27 per-mile pace that earned her third place award in her 50-59 age group. "It's like so many races we're lucky to have with the ocean as our beautiful scenery; and some of them have lakes to go along with the ocean," she added. Thorne is referring to the summer events such as the oceanfront Spring Lake Five Mile Run which includes Lake Como; the Belmar Five Mile Run which also includes that same lake and Silver Lake too; the Avon 5K which has Sylvan Lake; the Bradley Beach 5K also has that same lake and Fletcher Lake to boot. When Thorne is not running these highly picturesque ocean/lake races she will be directing the annual memorial Michael Thorne Scholarship Run in West Long Branch, a rare 4 miler, which, in contrast to this race, meanders through the well-paved, well-policed streets among manicured lawns during the third Sunday in May and honors the memory of her fireman brother who was killed while on duty.  Other Shore-area racing events whose courses are similar to the Michael Thorne: Pre Father's Day in Wanamassa; Run Thru Deal, Run Thru Interlaken, Eatontown Labor Day, all 5K's, just to mention a few.

At the starting line at 11 a.m., Phil Hinck, race starter, informed the awaiting runners of necessary details concerning the course, including the one water spot that would service the racers in both directions and they should make use of it. Hinck then shouted a loud, "Ready, Go!" and the racers were off.

Mary Moriarty and Tom Morrison, co-race directors for the Trick or Trot were very pleased with the results of the day and grateful for all of the support that was provided for the different events. These included a 5k race, a 5k fitness walk, a pet walk along with costume parades for adults, kids and pets. The proceeds from the day benefits the Monmouth County SPCA and the many volunteers included groups from the Monmouth County SPCA, the Jersey Shore Running Club, the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Long Branch Middle School, and Monmouth Regional.

Other leading finishers of the Trick or Trot 5K:

Long Branch: Mark Sullivan 22:54, Lorraine Megill 22:55, Gilbert Santos 23:23, Bryan Mejia 25:06, Barbara Pilot 25:30, Ed Zupkus 25:58, Nancy Thorne 26:14, Joanna Jodar 26:16, Laauren Bercik 26:41, Robyn Herman 27:17, Maria Mejia 30:09, Adam Schneider 31:41 (Long Branch Mayor), Tara Vasquez 32:50.

Event area: Mike Washakowski 22:11, Ocean; Chris Dunford 22:20, Tinton Falls; Brian Holderness 22:35, West Long Branch; Joe Cilurzo 22:43 and Bill Starkey 23:01, Tinton Falls; Frank DiLello 23:16, Ocean; Jason Turner 23:26 and Megan Lindstrom 23:36, Eatontown; Ted Dellinger 24:21, Oakhurst; Ana Medel 25:40, Ocean; Colleen Desimme 25:42, West Long Branch; Carl Turner 25:54, Wanamassa; Ryan Loehr 26:12, West Long Branch; Stephen Fratini 26:25 and Michele Bernick 26:27, Eatontown; Robert Pennacchia 26:36, Ocean; Terry McKean 27:00, Tinton Falls; Mike Scibetti 27:05, West Long Branch; Lois Tassello 27:39, Tinton Falls; Amanda Smyth 27:51, Oakhurst; Kevin Kubik 28:12, Oceanport; Joe Marowitz 28:48, Eatontown.

Atlantic Highlands Herald area: Robert Morris 23:02 and Shannon Lerner 23:49, Rumson; Joe Coccaro 24:16, Middletown; Kathleen Madaus 25:15, Belford; Tom Lewendowski 25:26, John Kildaff 25:27 and Martin Dugan 25:43, Middletown; Melanie Rapolla 26:05, Red Bank; Donald Matts 26:08, Little Silver; Sherry Walsh 27:08, Red Bank; Bruce Dunfee 27:10, Belford; Shayne Wolfe 27:59, Locust; Carol Finley 28:01, Red Bank; Susan Schnell 28:09, Melanie Lerner 28:14, Heather Brothwell 28:26 and Viema Defonseka 30:26, Rumson; Agnes Pesile 30:27, Leonardo; Karissa Trotter 31:52, Port Monmouth; Samantha Lerner 32:24, Rumson; Janet Diebold 32:31, Belford: Kenneth Pesile 32:51, Leonardo.

Other Monmouth County: Christie Patia 22:00, Aberdeen; Jack Bleach 22:29, Belmar; Brian Borden 22:49, Neptune City; Richard Sanders 22:56, Manasquan; Thomas Trank 23:00, Hazlet; Brad D'Antuono 23:20, Howell; Jeremy Simons 23:37 and Scott Main 23:56, Freehold; Stephen Bugge 24:02, Keyport; Stephanie Sterlazzo 24:19, Sea Girt; David Gross 24:44, Morganville; Susan Patia 24:59, Matawan; Sharon Watt 25:32, Wall; Celeste Gandolfo 25:41, Holmdel; Patty Carroll 25:56, Neptune City; Tara Mancini 26:12, Freehold; Michael Malizioso 26:13, Manalapan; James Bergum 26:19, Howell (webmaster of Freehold Area Running Club); Holly McGovern 26:26, Ocean Grove; Vicki Labella 26:26, Interlaken; Kathy Rumsby 26:50, Colts Neck; John Martha 26:53, Marlboro; Olie Nelson 27:22, Farmingdale; John Brennan 27:24, Howell; Rosemarie Esposito 27:27, Aberdeen; Jackie Wheeler 27:45, Belmar; Lindsay Smyth 27:55, Englishtown; Allison Krilla 28:02, Lake Como; Susan Dewhurst 28:05, Freehold; Rich Murray 28:11, Manasquan; Howard Teicher 28:13 Freehold; Meryl Schutzbank 28:25, Manalapan.

Road-racing continues on October 30 with the annual Shore AC Open Cross Country Meet at Ocean County Park, info call 732-222-9080 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Runners and walkers pose for group photo, following costume parade and contests.

Photos are by Bob Both, Jersey Shore Running Club.