FREEHOLD, NJ - Many of our nation’s citizens might think of the day after Thanksgiving mainly as Black Friday (the busiest shopping day of the year) but there were 691 road racers whose first concern on this sunny, breezy, good-racing-weather morning of the 25th of November was to be competing in the 27th annual Born to Run five-mile race, presented by the Freehold Area Running (FARC), at the Monmouth County seat of Freehold, New Jersey.  The title of this event has a connection to Bruce Springsteen, famous American songwriter, singer and guitarist, who was raised in Freehold and has an album by that name: Born to Run.  

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Start if the 2011 Born to Run Road Race.  Photos by Bob Both, jsrc.org

Andrew Huston, 28, of Portland Oregon, was the first to cross the finish line located at Court Street at a racing time of 27:21 (27 minutes and 21 seconds) a highly respectable 5:29 per mile pace. Brendan Lyman, 22, of Old Bridge, at 28:30 was second to finish this out-and-back course, with about a mile loop in Topanemus Park (a lake is part of the Park) and coming in third was Point Pleasant’s Joe Donahue, 45, at 28:43.

“I took the lead within the first mile and kept it,” said Huston in describing his championship performance and thought today’s weather was perfect for running, mainly because “it was sunny, whereas in Oregon  it’s 30 degrees and rainy.” He also informed that he had recently competed in the Hood to Coast Relay presented in Oregon in the summer that involves 15,000 runners and covers 200 miles.

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Andrew Huston crosses the finish line

“No, not at all, he (Huston) was too far out in front so at the 3-mile area I got to be second and was content to be there,” said Brendan Lyman when asked if he tried to catch the leader and then added his thoughts in describing his runner-up performance. “It’s really fun, it’s very scenic, you go through the trails then you’re back onto the road,” he further offered when asked his thoughts on the course and of the weather” “It’s better than last year,” and reminded us that last year, “it was rainy and cool.”

Erica Weitz, 23, of Orlando, Fl, home (Morganville) for the Holidays as was many of the racers, was today’s women’s winner at 30:13 (8th place overall) followed by Marlboro’s Rachel Morris, 20, at 31:57 (17th overall). The third woman’s finisher was Shannon Gillespie, 25, of Middletown at 32:46 (26th overall).

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Erica Weitz crosses the finish line.

“I was happy with it, it was my second best,” said Weitz when asked her thought on her racing time today, informing that her best time of 29:55 was when she ran a couple of months ago at a 5-mile event in Orlando, Florida. She further added that she likes the hills of this course because of their challenge. Both she and the women’s runner-up, Rachel Morris, thought the weather was “just great.”

Olie Nelson, 75, of Farmingdale earned 2nd place award in the 70-99 age group with his 44:47and said, “I was very pleased with it – I wanted to beat 45 minutes and I did,” when asked to comment on his racing time. Other septuagenarians also receiving awards were David Gross of Morganville at 41:29,  Alex Dobrowolski of Highland Park at 45:11,  Marilyn Ryder of Long Branch at 46:07,  Rita Alles of Hamilton at 1:02:39.

As an 81-year-old writer/runner (I didn’t run this one), I am going to note as I’ve done in past articles when I write of my very mature friends who are also octogenarians, septuagenarians such as above, and even one nonagenarian, that I am associating us with baseball Hall of Fame Jackie Robinson’s meaningful quote: Life Is Not a Spectator Sport!

The leading racewalk finishers were Panse Geer, 65, of Hazlet at 51:13 (489th overall of 691) and Fred Linkhart, 59, of Oakhurst at 56:34 (590th overall).

At the starting line on Court Street at 11 a.m. race director Mike O’Flaherty president of FARC, assembled the racers, thanked them for coming and briefed them on the details and direction of the course. He informed them that the Court Jester restaurant was the event’s main sponsor and then introduced Jeanne Yaecker of the Open Door Food Pantry, the main beneficiary, who, as the official starter, sounded the horn and the racers were underway following the lead vehicle driven by the race director’s son, Cody.  

Handing out awards of money to the aforementioned top three male/female winners and blankets to age-group leaders at the brick sidewalk area in front of the Court Jester on East Main Street, which served as the staging and refreshment area, was the director, assisted by other club associates. Several members of the Cpl. Reynolds Detachment of the Marine Corps League assisted with traffic control. Computer results were compiled by Fred and Anna Torres of Eliteracingsystems.com. 

“I want to thank all the racers for participating in this year’s 27th anniversary of FARC’s Born to Run and all the volunteers who do the many activities necessary to put on a race such as this. I would also like to thank the Court Jester Restaurants, Freehold Partnership, the Freehold Township girl scouts and the Freehold Borough Fire Dept., First Aid, Police and Public Works Departments. I also want to thank the race committee who always come together to put on quality running events for our runners/racewalkers, Linda Hyer,  Isabel Meldrum and Cathy O’Flaherty for Registration; Tom Wendel for Finish Line; Rich Edwards and Hal Smith for Course; Marcia Shapiro for Volunteers; Fran Kugelmas for Hospitality; and all the other FARC volunteers who made the race a great success,” said the race director in an Email summary.

Other early or pre-registered finishers of this Black Friday event:

   Atlantic Highlands Herald area:  Michelle Metlitz 32:53, Little Silver;  Gabriella Kelly 35:04, Rumson;  David Wrede 35:41, Red Bank;  Erin McCarthy 36:08, Belford;  Scott Britton 36:24, Monmouth Beach;  Kerry Gillespie 37:11, Middletown;  Kevin Hill 37:21, Rumson (director of the annual Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School 5-mile run);  Tara Nichols 38:38, Leonardo;  Javie Damien 41:15, Middletown;  Ethan Wagner 43:36 and Larry Mulcahy 51:21,  Red Bank;  Karissa Trotter 55:46, Port Monmouth;  Luke Kurzawa 56:40 and John Donelik 57:33, Middletown;  Daphne Murtha 1:05:28, Shrewsbury. 

Other Monmouth County leaders: 

   Freehold: Brian Burlew 33:26,  Edric Vites 34:30,  Paul Greitz 34:40,  Paul Gilly 34:43, Michael Chehanske 35:49,  Anthony Colasante 35:59,  Ciara O’Donoghue 36:55,  Cara Nelius 37:08,  Eric Caro 37:32,  Brett Burk 37:45,  Marissa Borchardt 38:33,  Lianne Price 38:34,  Matt Berry 38:35,  Alexandra Caro 38:36,  Tom Letson 38:37, Bruce McCalloch 38:43,  Jackie Hall 38:45,  Jake Feldman 38:54,  Tom Apostle 38:58,  Steven Crowley 39:10,  Kevin Duffy 39:11,  Peter Borchardt 39:43,  Ron Apostle 39:58,  Daniel Simon 39:59,  Dallas Stokes 40:00,  Emily Long 40:29,  Gregory Long 40:34,  Michael Avestro 41:08,  Daniel Crowley 41:09,  Michael Tempora 41:13.

   Others:  Kevin O’Dowd 30:01, Colts Neck;  Alex Emerel 31:42, Holmdel;  Rob Ditota 32:07, Englishtown;  Michael Fitzsimmons 32:11, Hazlet;  Evan Sobel 32:44, Manalapan;  Amanda Tripodi 32:56, Marlboro;  Jimmy Curran 33:01, Hazlet;  Alex Penaloza 33:54, Colts Neck;  Glen Koslowsky 34:03 and Jennifer Curran 34:33,  Hazlet;  Sheldon Chiang 34:59, Morganville;  Ann O’Dowd 35:05, Colts Neck (recently ran the Philadelphia Marathon);  Rob Neugass 35:39, Marlboro;  Norman Miller 35:44, Manasquan;  Diane Pettersen 36:00, Howell;  Gypsy Cooper 36:01, Holmdel;  Peter Mancini 36:04, Manalapan;  Charles Bingham 36:23, Holmdel;  Sandra Burstyn 36:36, Manalapan;  Kevin Lynch 36:37, Morganville;  Jon Schorr 37:14, Manalapan;  Thomas Skurat 37:31, Marlboro;  Liz Spector 37:42, Manalapan;  Joann Bracco 38:06, Spring Lake;  Mark Fukayama 38:20, Marlboro;  Andrew Katznelson 38:48,  Aaron Pine 38:51 and Brian Paul 38:55,  Manalapan;  Patricia Chambers 39:00, Morganville;  Robert Wyatt 39:03, Colts Neck;  Joe Santoro 39:05, Hazlet.       

Racing continues on Dec. 3 with the third annual MAC Classic hosted by Monmouth University starting at 9 a.m., info call 732-263-5779 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Complete results can be found at Eliteracingsystems.com and more pictures can be seen at http://jerseyshorepics.smugmug.com/Sports/Born-to-Run-2011/20262399_7wfXsv.