SPRING LAKE, NJ - Eight thousand and 239 road racers (4,186 males – 4, 053 females, 10,000 registered) was the large number that finished this year in the 36th annual Spring Lake Five Mile Run on a sunny/cloudy/humid morning of May 26. And this race according to race director Phil Hinck,is the largest road-race in the state of New Jersey and the largest five-mile road-race in the nation.The runners/walkers competed on a basically rectangular course that started on Ocean and Warren Avenues proceeded north to and around Lake Como, passed the imposing edifice of Saint Catharine’s Roman Catholic Church, continued to the Sea Girt border and back onto Ocean Avenue to face a straightaway to the finish at Atlantic Avenue.

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Start of 2012 Spring Lake Five Mile Run.  Photos by Bob Both - www.jsrc.org 

Jeffrey Perrella, 24, of Westfield was the first overall leader to break the finish-line tape at 25:04 (25 minutes and 4 seconds), a speedy 5:01 per-mile pace. “No – Craig (Craig Segal, 2nd finisher) and Tim (Mulligan 3rd place) were ahead of me for the first two miles about and we were running a pretty fast time and it felt good, so I just maintained it” said today’s Spring Lake Five Run’s Memorial Day champion when asked if he were out in front the whole way. “Probably around the two and a half or three-mile mark,” Perrella informed when asked about when he took the lead. “Hot,” he immediately answered when asked about the weather and “not at all” when asked if the wind was a factor. 

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Nicole Strand is female winner at 31.07 

Robbinsville’s (Mercer County, NJ) Nicole Strand, 37, was today’s female winner at 31:07, not a blistering but a good 6:14 per-mile pace. “No, I think I took the lead around four miles, but I was running with another woman for awhile,” Strand said in describing her championship performance. “It was hot but I usually run well in the heat,” she said of the weather.  Strand further informed she has run this race often and likes the course a lot and said, “Absolutely” when asked if she were looking forward to running it next year.

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Jeffrey Perrella is over-all winner at 25:04

Rounding out the top ten finishers (male-female) who received crystal awards, added to the roses received by the first 500 women and medals to everyone: 
 
Men:  Craig Segal, 28, at 25:32, Highlands (many-time champion of this race);  Tim Mulligan, 31, at 25:50, Whiting;  Robert Cavanaugh, 34, at 26:04, West Long Branch (2012 Michael Thorne 4-mile champion);  Robert Dennis, 26, at 26:31, Princeton;  Brian Basili, 19, at 26:39, South Orange;  James Gathoga, 33, at 27:35, Toms River;  Ben Hutterer, 23, at 27:57, Scotch Plains;  Darren Hamedl, 43, at Carteret;  Patrick Sheehan, 16, at 28:06, Mooresville, NC.

Women:  Marissa Alberti, 34, at 31:22, Long Branch;  Dactilia Booth, 36, at 31:26, Long Branch;  Bronawyn Oleary, 36, at 31:32, Cliffwood Beach;  Dianne Deoliveira, 41, at 31:34, Brick;  Jennifer Malavolta, 41, at 31:49, Reeders, PA;  Josie Reynolds, 28, at 32:09, Marietta, GA;  Eileen Petito, 42, at 32:19, Alton, IL;  Jill Evarts, 46, at 32:37, Middletown;  Katherine Peetz, 26, at 32:41, Spring Lake.

Neptune City’s Vietnam veteran Joe Renzella, 70, member of the JSRC, finished today at 59:46 (slow for him) but he was satisfied knowing that because of such a huge crowd, “You’re just not going to make good time - the first mile or so you just have to shuffle along with the crowd until you can get into the clear where you can run your own pace, and that isn’t until you’re well into the second mile, beyond the lake. But I was happy to be running as a member of Team Freedom, that I joined five years ago,” he said. Team Freedom is a veteran’s organization dedicated to reminding us of the true meaning of Memorial Day which is to remember those who have died in our nation’s service. The many veterans of Team Freedom (202 total), many of whom also ran today, are sure to be proud of having Renzella in their midst. He is a highly decorated Vietnam veteran with numerous military awards including four Bronze Stars, two with Valor, and a Purple Heart. He was a member of the First Infantry Division, historically known as Big Red 1, and when his first tour of duty was over he volunteered for two more tours because he felt that his experience would benefit his fellow soldiers. On the back of Team Freedom’s racing shirt is printed: For Some Everyday Is Memorial Day – We Remember. 
 
Very-active member of the Jersey Sore Running Club, Long Branch’s Marilyn Ryder, 71, mother-in-law and mother of Phil (race director) and Penny Hinck  scored under a 10-minute mile with a 49:05 posting.  She had this to say:  “I am really delighted, this is my best time ever for this race and the people were out there cheering us on for every inch of this course. “ And she happily added, “Of course!” when asked if she would be running this Spring Lake Five Mile Run next year.

“People were great, spectators were terrific, the water stations were superb – there was no way that runners could miss getting water,” said Pam Allen, 58, of Red Bank who was satisfied with her time of 43:29 but “I would like to have done better,” she said.

Highlands Dawn Ciccone, 56, finished at 38:07 (42 seconds faster than last year) and was pleased with that performance. She offered these comments: “The course is beautiful, it’s scenic, crowds all over cheering us on with music playing much of the way and it’s a wonderful way to start the summer” 
 
Richard Henderson, 60, of Philadelphia, PA, finished at 34:28 and as a sexagenarian should be proud to have run at a very impressive under-seven-minute-mile pace. He drives the 74.5 miles because as he often says, “All the races here at the Jersey Shore have plenty of parking space and are always well organized.”

Kevin Hill, 49, director of the annual Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School race, scored a 39:07 racing time and offered these comments: “Every year this is a mandatory event  - it makes you feel like you’re lucky to be alive – this is a memorial run honoring the troops who have fought for this country so I’m glad to be part of it – my wife, my children, my father, my nieces, my nephews, my cousins, my whole family come with that thought in mind.” 
 
Women’s record holder (at 26:57) Alicia Kelly, of Spring Lake Heights, not competing, was in charge of the volunteers and organized the different service groups to do the myriad activities necessary.  Veteran members of the Freehold Area Running Club supervised the volunteers servicing the four water spots at the mile markers.
 
At the starting line was a large banner of the event’s name strung along the aerial ladder (extends 100 feet) of the Spring Lake Fire Company #1 which also served as the vantage point from which photographer Bob Both, webmaster of the (JSRC) website, is able to take his panoramic pictures of the thousands of assembled racers. 
 
The 8:30 a.m. start was preceded by a fine rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner by Amy Carr Skalecki of the Spring Lake Memorial Community House.  The lead vehicle was driven by Walter MacGowan,  president of the Shore Athletic Club.
 
”Because of the heat many participants were treated here (at the first-aid tent near the finish line) and released; but two had to be taken to the hospital,” informed Robert Dawson of the Spring Lake First Aid. Cindy Lustrino, also a member, added in her report: “there were 55 members of all first-aid squads and 13 vehicles available for medical service including some from neighboring towns. The trailer for Mon-Oc Emergency Services from Jersey Shore Medical Center was also on hand.” 

This annual event includes the Spring Lake Five Kids’ Races presented the night before, starting at 6 p.m., also on Ocean Avenue at Atlantic Avenue, two blocks south of the Essex and Sussex Condominium, with some costume characters provided by Kids Kollection, featuring Bubbles the Clown, to greet them and pose for picture taking. Patty Burrus of Spring Lake, trustee of Friends of the SL5, organized the activity that consists of a series of races of 25 yards for the 2-year-olds to a half-mile for the 14-year-olds. Over 15 hundred children participated with many having parents and grandparents and siblings and friends to cheer them on and take lots and lots and lots of pictures. All participants received medals. 
 
Early-morning volunteers were busy at setting up the two hundred and forty-four 3’ x 8’ tables, provided by Party Corner of Shrewsbury, that were needed for all of the 6,600 bagels, the 7,904 bananas, the 10,000 bottles of water, the 8,400 bottles of PowerCoco coconut water, 75 cases of soda (1800 cans), 3,000 bottles of Honest Tea - above drinks iced with 160 bags of ice (each 20 pounds). Also there were 20,304 chocolate-chip cookies, 7,500 Jersey Mike half-subs, 10,000 bags of Herr’s chip, 10,000 PowerBars, 2,000 samples of LaYogurt, and 87,500 cups used at water stops. Those edibles and drink amounts were compiled by food chairpersons Linda Horowitz, Neptune and Michele Degnan-Spang of Spring Lake Heights; Jim Rich, now of Orlando, FL, and Jay Russell, of Manasquan would be responsible for distributing. These yawning volunteers, who arrived before the 5:29 a.m. beautiful-golden-ball, sunrise  were treated to breakfast goodies on the steps of the Essex and Sussex Condominium Association by the Association’s The Spring Lake Five Welcoming Committee.

“The Spring Lake Five Mile Run is organized by the Spring Lake Race Committee under the guidance of the Friends of the Spring Lake 5 Inc., a not-for-profit organization. After payment of race expenses, which comes only from the runners entry fees as there are no major sponsors for this race, all proceeds are donated to charitable organizations or allocated for town projects. Since 2002 the race has raised over $600,000; we expect to raise over $80,000 this year. In addition, our charity partners hope to have raised over $120,000 from runners’ donations and pledge collections. Many thanks to the Spring Lake police, public works and fire departments and area First Aid Squads for their cooperation and for the many volunteers from the local service organizations and the area running clubs (JSRC, FARC, SAC) for their know-how efforts. Former president of JSRC, Bill Koch, headed up the Security Team of JSRC members that assisted police in keeping order. Fred Torres and his wife and son of Elite Racing Systems organized the Chronotrack (B-Tag) computer scoring system and Chris Tatreau Consulting Ltd. of Philadelphia did the finish-line logistics. Main Street Productions provided the speaker system as well as motivational music for the racers. Jack and Diane Cheer, of Wall, led the clean-up team of JSRC members to return the beachfront to its pristine splendor in record time. The committee appreciates the patience of area motorists who had to be detoured for the safety of our racers, and thanks the runners for heeding the announced safety precautions of hydration and removal of headphones, which proved extremely important on a warm and humid race morning. 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 scenic Spring Lake Five Mile Run:

Herald area:  Sean Rath 29:47, Atl. Highlands;  James Rivers 30:42, Rumson;  Antonio Meza Soriano 31:05, Red Bank;  Jill Evarts 32:37 and Conor Bini 32:41, Middletown;  Patrick Hill 32:43, Rumson;  Dawn Wilcox 32:57, Little Silver;  Kyle Shenk 33:07, Atl. Highlands;  Kristina Pachman 33:53, Red Bank;  Michael Metlitz 34:00, Little Silver;  David Wrede 34:21, Red Bank;  Tim Dengler 34:46, Little Silver;  Sean Leonard 34:55, Red Bank;  Caren McCormack 34:57 and Guy Gallo 35:06, Little Silver;  Joseph Bieret 35:35, Middletown;  Dana Jacoby 35:35, Monmouth Beach;  Geoffrey Nicholas 35:44, Leonardo;  Grace Cashman 35:47, Little Silver;  David Zurheide 35:55, Middletown;  Raymond Bierly 36:06, Fair Haven;  Tim Avers 36:11, Atl. Highlands;  Amy Dunfes 36:28, Red Bank;  Lisa Zino 36:33.

Monmouth County area:  Colin Richmond 28:39, Spring Lake Heights;  Richie Bohny 28:57, Holmdel;  Daniel Lenshan 29:10, Wall;  Marc Altenau 29:16, Belmar;  Charles Rogers 29:50, Wall;  Mike O’Dowd 30:05, Colts Neck;  Michael Cassidy 30:20, Spring Lake;  Andrew Tignanelli 30:23, Holmdel;  Nell Cusat 30:30, Tinton Falls;  Donald Griffin 30:44, Belmar;  Vinnie Papandrea 30:47, Spring Lake;  John Quinn 31:00, Tinton Falls;  Joni Jones 31:07, Sea Girt;  Miles Hersey 31:19, Hazlet;  Doug Twyman 31:20, Sea Girt;  Nicholas Minnella 31:26, Tinton Falls;  Christopher Centrella 31:29, Brielle;  Griffin O’Brien 31:33, Colts Neck;  Thomas Fleming 31:37, Spring Lake;  Michael Fromuth 31:55, Freehold;  Matthew Jacobson 33:24, Marlboro;  Taylor Jones 32:28, Sea Girt;  Katherine Peetz32:41, Spring Lake.    

Road racing continues with the 17th annual Avon 5K on June 2 at 8:30 a.m.info call 732-502-4519 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also on June 2 in Howell is the Race to Educate 5K at 9 a.m., info call 732-905-1110 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. It's the Pre-Fathers' Day 5K on Saturday, June 9, in Wanamassa at 9 a.m. at the Elementary School, info at www.jsrc.org. ; Next up for the Jersey Shore Grand Prix, sponsored by McLoone's, is the George Sheehan Classic on June 16, as its new 5K distance, info at www.JSgrandprix.com.