Middletown, NJ - Five hundred and eighty-nine (589) road racers (523 for the 15K and 66 for the 3-miler) competed in the 21stth annual Indian Trails Races presented by the Sandy Hookers Triathlon Club at Croydon Hall in the Leonardo section of Middletown on a windless, overcast, good to perfect-racing-weather morning of April 1. The event’s flier informs the course to be, “One of the most beautiful in the state with breathtaking views!” 

Thomas Poland, 23, Morristown,  was first in from the out-and-back course that starts in an eastern direction on Leonardville Road continues for 9.3 miles on adjacent streets throughout hilly, woody, picturesque Navesink and returns to the finish line located just outside the Croydon Hall Rogosin Gymnasium at a record-setting, blistering time of 48:18 (48 minutes and 18 seconds). This  beats last year’s record time by one minute and 28 seconds and that was set by today’s 3rd place finisher Michael Dixon, 29, Fanwood,  whose racing time of 49:13 is 33 seconds faster than last year.  Mike Rolek , 25, Maplewood, came in second place at 48:24. All racing times done by Split Second Racing using Ipico Scoring System.

“We (Poland and Rolek) were together for most of the race but he (Rolek) took off and got ahead of me near the end and then at a hill around the 8-mile area, I gave it an extra burst and got the lead and kept it,” said Poland in describing his record-setting, championship performance.  “Perfect,” he added when asked his thoughts of the weather and explained: It’s overcast so no sun, mild temperatures and no wind!” 

Racers have also been cautioned by the organizers over the years that, “ If you like fast and flat, sorry this course is not for you.”  With that thought in mind, the female racers did reasonably well with women’s champion Catherine Smith, 39, of Wayne posting a 59:10 (32nd place overall) followed by Garfield’s Cheyenne Ogletree, 24, at 59:48 (40th overall) and third-place woman was Misa Tamura of Ridgewood at 1:01:10 (53rd overall).

Dawn Ciccone of Highlands  finished at 1:15:03 and was happy with her performance because it was over a minute faster than last year.  She commented:  “the course is beautiful – it’s always very scenic, running through the woods and the neighborhoods."

Red Bank’s Pam Allen finished at 1:22:23. “I am very happy with my performance – I ran 22 seconds faster than I did last year,” she informed and thought the course “was either up or it was down, very hilly, there is no flat part.”

Marilyn Ryder of Long Branch, active member of the Jersey Shore Running Club, and mother-in-law and mother of Phil and Penny Hinck, race-directors extraordinaire, was not competing but her quote from past races of this event regarding the scenic parts of the course gives the best overview: “It’s mostly farm land and woods and when you’re running across the top, at eight miles, you can look out and see all of Sandy Hook, all of Coney Island and all around the Leonardo Naval Station Pier (Google informs 2.9 miles long).”

Three-mile racers started with the 15Kers at 9 a.m. following the lead motorcycle driven by Sandy Hooker Greg Drury but were steered off to a shortened part of the main course that includes steep, very steep, Serpentine Road (many walk it).  Kenneth Shatzer, 37, of Midddletown was the overall winner at 18:11 followed by Red Bank’s Caitlin Dorgan , 23,  (first female) at 18:40. Second and third male finishers were Hector Mantari (town unavailable) 37, at 20:14 and Sheldon Chiang, 14, of Morganville at 21:40.  Second and third female finishers were Lauren Moore, 32, of Port Monmouth at 22:24 (7th overall) and Melissa Timm, 28, of Atlantic Highlands at 25:01 (9th overall).               

The Croydon Hall Rogosin Gymnasium was the staging area for the event and it was here that the aforementioned winners and age-group leaders were given money and plaque awards while enjoying refreshments. Split Second Racing did the computer results.

“I’m very pleased with the turnout - the volunteers are fantastic, Monmouth Conservation Foundation, the benefactor, was very cooperative, and many thanks to Middletown Recreation for their helpful efforts and also to the Middletown Police for excellent traffic control,” said the director, Doug Rice, in summing-up comments. Rice has directed all twenty-one of the Indian Trails Races. “I sure am” was his final statement when asked if he were looking forward to directing next year.

Other leaders of the 15K hilly and scenic challenge:

   Herald area:  James Allingham 59:20, Rumson;  Kevin Parks 1:00:30, Middletown;  Geoffrey Nicholas 1:02:22, Leonardo;  Brian Hill 1:02:33, Middletown;  Bob Horn 1:03:32, Navesink;  Raymond Castellano 1:04:51, Middletown;  Nikki Froehlich 1:05:13, Red Bank;  Dawn Wilcox 1:05:15, Little Silver;  John Gore 1:05:31 and Bob Haithcock 1:06:53,  Middletown;  Kevin Schroth 1:07:14, Atl. Highlands;  Bob Summers 1:07:17, Rumson;  Dana Jacoby 1:09:09, Monmouth Beach;  Thomas Ridgway 1:09:26, Rumson;  Kyle Shenk 1:10:09, Atl.Highlands;  Lisa Glavan 1:11:09, Highlands;  Kevin Hill 1:12:52, Rumson;  Noah Herzon 1:14:06, Highlands;  Patrick O’Boyle 1:14:12, Atl Highlands;  James Wright 1:15:57, Sea Bright;  Paul Weber 1:17:31, Rumson;  Robert Demeulemeester 1:17:50, Red Bank;  Paul Decker 1:17:59, Little Silver. 

   Other Monmouth County:  David Gilbert 58:51, Tinton Falls;  Marc Altenau 59:20, Belmar;  Chad Safran 1:00:15, Freehold;  Rick Fronapfel 1:00:39, Oakhurst;  Daniel Suozzo 1:03:28, Bradley Beach;  Dan Hogan 1:05:59, West Long Branch;  Scott Linnell 1:06:30, Colts Neck;  Przemek Nowicki 1:09:01, Holmdel;  Edwin Hale 1:10:22, Spring Lake;  Jaclyn Dagnall 1:10:31, Long Branch;  Chris Ferrone 1:11:15, Interlaken;  David Matthew 1:11:56, Tinton Falls;  Veilleux Martin 1:12:06, Holmdel;  Diane Rothman 1:12:18, Lincroft;  Aaron Pine 1:13:23, Manalapan;  David Wong 1:13:36, Eatontown;  Joseph Pruscino 1:14:02, Hazlet.   

Other leaders of the 3-mile Serpentine Road challenge:

   Herald area:  Chris Fotache 21:58, Middletown;  George Smuga 27:06, Red Bank;  Melanie Kushwara 27:07, Atl. Highlands;  Heidi Buzzanga 27:14, Middletown;  Alina Arko 27:16, Fair Haven;  Jackie Lamoureaux 27:26, Middletown;  Robert Lucarello 27:40 and Danielle Shenk 28:08, Atl. Highlands;  Nathaniel Wilson 29:05, Navesink; Gordon Livingston 29:28, Middletown.

   Other Monmouth County:  Robert Lear 22:50, Matawan;  Leslie Norwicki 27:57, Holmdel;  Christina Kearney 31:20, Tinton Falls;  Nancy Murray 33:20, Avon.  

Road racing continues at the beachfront in Long Branch at the Great Lawn/Promenade on April 7 with the Celtic Tribute 5K at 11 a.m. Info call 732-571-2162 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..