BELMAR, NJ - With the weatherman's offering of a cloudy/overcast sky and high 70 degrees temperature, 2216 road racers (1150 males, 966 females) competed in the 36th anniversary of the picturesque (ocean and two lakes) Belmar Five Johnny Cobb Memorial Run on the hot and humid-racing-weather morning of July 14. The event is presented by the Goodwill Hose Company of the Belmar Fire Department in cooperation with the borough of Belmar and the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC).     

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Runners get off to a breezy start at the 36th running of the Belmar Five.  Photos by Bob Both, Jersey Shore Running Club.

Prior to the 8:30 a.m. start, Phil Hinck, race director, introduced hometowner Dana Neigel, recent graduate of Manasquan High School, who served as president of the school’s choir, and she gave a fine rendition of our National Anthem (much applause). Hinck then sounded the starting horn and the racers dashed from their Second and Ocean Avenue starting line, just beyond the Shark River Bridge and followed the lead vehicle driven by Bill Karatz of the Belmar Beach Patrol. They proceeded south on Ocean Avenue to and around Lake Como, returned to Ocean Avenue then northward and turned left on 6th Avenue (about the 3 ½ mile mark), meandered through streets adjacent to residences around Silver Lake and finished at the digital clock, set up by Eliteracingsystems.com of Clifton, along with the other finish-line equipment, on Fifth and Ocean Avenues.

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Robert Cavanaugh, West Long Branch, is Belmar Five male champion in a time of 25:48.

 Robert Cavanaugh, 34, of West Long Branch, was first to cross the finish line and receive a medal designed with the title of the event: The Belmar Five, that all finishers would receive, at a racing time of 25:48 (25 minutes and 48 seconds). Cavanaugh was runner-up in this event last year and four seconds faster. Coming in second place today was Mark Leininger, 21, of Colts Neck at 26:05 followed by Ben Hutterer, 23, of Carteret at 26:23; Tim Mulligan, 31, of Whiting at 26:28 and Cullen Davis, 19, of North Brunswick at 27:14. 

 “About four of us were running together for about two miles and we were going too slow so I started pushing it between two and three (miles) got the lead and kept it,” said Cavanaugh in describing his championship performance. “Usually this race is known to be hot, but the weather cooperated with us today, there was a good breeze out there,” he further offered.

 Runner-up Leininger didn’t bother to chase the leader and knowing he would finish in second place was satisfied. He offered that, “the weather was a bit humid, and I was glad it was cloudy and we didn’t have to deal with the sun.”

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Amanda Marino, Jackson, wins the women’s division at the 36th Belmar Five, in 28:05.

Amanda Marino, 22, of Jackson was the women’s winner at 28:05, a minute and forty seconds faster than last year when she finished in third place. She would receive, along with the medal, a carnation that all women competitors would get. Second-place woman was Briana Jackucewicz, 21, of Farmingdale at 28:39 followed by Noel Whitall, 34, of Toms River at 30:01; Jennifer Nelson, 22, of Barnegat at 30:26 and fifth woman was Cheyenne Ogletree, 25, of Garfield at 30:39. The top five males and females receive special awards.

 “I was second woman until about two miles,” said Marino when asked if she were the leading woman for the entire five miles, “and then I caught Briana (runner-up) and we ran together for a bit - at the three mile area I took the lead and kept it.” She ran this event last year and the weather in comparison, “is a lot cooler this year.”

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Chelsea Crytzer, Parsippany, at 24:56, defends her crown in the wheelchair division.

 Two wheelchair competitors began their race two minutes prior to the main starting time  and followed the same scenic course. Chelsea Crytzer, 21, of Parsippany finished at 24:56 and Daniel Wheeler, 26, of Shamong Township (Burlington County) posted a 35:21.

 Ann O'Dowd, 50, of Colts Neck was satisfied with her racing time of 33:36, a highly respectable 6:44 per mile pace and commented on the weather: “This race is usually about a million degrees (a little hyperbole, but she makes her point) but today we were protected by the clouds so it was OK” When asked if she would be running this Belmar Five next year, “Absolutely!” was her immediate answer. 

 “It wasn’t really my day, Jim, but it was fun being here,” said Richard Henderson, 60, of Philadelphia, PA, “my legs felt a little heavy today,” he further offered.  He wanted to get in at 33:50 but, “had to be happy with 35:25,” a very respectable 7:06 per mile pace. Henderson often drives the 75 miles from home because as he says: “Jersey Shore races are always well organized and usually there’s plenty of parking space.”

 Highlands’ Dawn Ciccone, 56, finished with a very respectable 7:33 per-mile pace by posting a 37:44 racing time. “I was hoping to get to 37 (minutes) but it was humid so I have to be satisfied,” she said and further commented:  “I love this race, it’s traditional, it’s in a beautiful setting, the town of Belmar is gorgeous with the beautiful homes, and the people out with hoses and cheering for us and thank goodness the sun didn’t come out!”

 Retired New Jersey State Police officer, Tim Mahoney, 52, of Belmar, past president of the JSRC posted a 37:40 racing time good for a 7:34 per-mile pace. “Belmar Five is always one of my favorites, it’s a good community effort and for the first time in a long time, God gave us His umbrella of clouds, however, He did challenge us with today’s humidity – I was a bit slower today than usual but I always have a good time running this race,” he said.  Mahoney continues to serve the club’s membership and all the running/racewalking community as the director of the annual 9/11 Memorial Run that is presented on that infamous date at 6 p.m. on the Belmar/Spring Lake boardwalk and he insists on all knowing that it is not a race but a highly dignified leisurely run or jog so as to invite the general public. So remember the 9/11 Memorial Run – Mahoney’s parting comment: “I will never forget 9/11!” 

 Twenty two teams of up to seven racers each also competed in 11 different categories and the racing time of each member was averaged in among the top four finishers.  The winning team’s name, for a second year, was Runner’s High. The team’s average was 26:31 made up of Robert Cavanaugh, Ben Hutterer, Tim Mulligan, and Joseph Lesniak. 

Four water spots were available at the mile-marker areas organized by John Cheer, active member of the JSRC. They were serviced by volunteers from W.L.Gore Associates, New Jersey Natural Gas, and other local residents and volunteer groups.

 “We attended to several people, all with dehydration, and they were released,” said Rick Hines, former Captain of the Belmar First Aid when asked if there were any emergency problems.       

 This race is part of the Jersey Shore Golden Grand Prix, sponsored by McLoone's, a series of five races that offers prize money to overall winners and age-group category winners. The other events are: Spring Lake Five, George Sheehan Classic, Asbury Park 5K, and the Pier House 5K. Further information can be found on the series website: www.jsgrandprix.com.

 This annual event begins on Friday evening at the Silver Lake Park across from Taylor Pavilion with a two-mile Fitness Walk for families, Fireworks, and a series of Kids Races organized by Wall Township’s Carly DePolo, president of the JSRC. Over 200 children, from ages 3 to14 running at various distances, competed.

 Patty Hancock, former president of the Ocean Running Club and some of the club’s members were on hand to take care of the post registration of racers. 

 Jim Buckler of Old Bridge, past president of JSRC, assisted by Race Director Phil Hinck, awarded money and Belmar Five beach towels to the aforementioned winners and age-group leaders at the Huisman Gazebo located in the park adjacent to Silver Lake and across from Taylor Pavilion that served as the award-presentation area. The Torres family of Eliteracingsystems.com, Clifton, was the professional organizer of the computer Chronotrack (B-Tag) results.

 "With morning cloud cover and a gentle breeze providing perfect summer-weather running conditions, the 36th Annual Belmar Five will probably be one of the most memorable years to many of the runners the is year. Also memorable will be our shirt design logos and color theme of red, white and blue, used for medals, race shirts, mugs and tote-bags in honor of upcoming Olympic Games. I want to thank all our volunteers, especially the race committee, and the members of the Jersey Shore Running Club, and other area running clubs for their know-how efforts. I want to recognize the continued support of the Borough of Belmar and its residents, and acknowledge the patience of motorists who were detoured for the safety of the racers. I would also like to thank Belmar Public Works, Fire and First Aid Departments and the Police Departments of Belmar, Spring Lake and Lake Como. I want to offer a special appreciation to my wife, Penny. Thanks to the many participants this year and financial support of sponsors - the success of the race will allow it to present donations to the Goodwill Hose Co and other beneficiaries," said Phil Hinck, race director, and past president of the Jersey Shore Running Club in his final comments.

 This event has been in memory of long-time Belmar resident, Johnny Cobb, since 2002. In addition to being an originator of the race, he had a 25-year career in the Belmar Police Department and was also a member of the Belmar Fire Department. He was a graduate and supporter of the St. Rose school system and promoted local sports all of his life.

 Other leading finishers of the Belmar Five scenic challenge: 

      Herald area men:  Jeffrey Dichiara 27:33 and Sean Rath 29:23, Atl.Highlands;  Paul Juelis 31:00, Middletown;  Michael Metitz 33:24, Little Silver;  Adolfo Castillo 34:31, Red Bank;  Dave Zurheide 34:50, Middletown;  Dana Jacoby 35:35, Monmouth Beach;  Jason Pawling 35:33, Middletown;  John Floyd 36:17, Rumson;  Bob Linton 37:50, Highlands;  Michael Villane 38:34 and Peter Lyden 39:06, Rumson;  Kerry Gillespie 39:26, Middletown;  Robert Morris 39:31, Rumson;  Jeffrey Marazzo 40:19, Red Bank;  James Mueller 40:26 and Jay Whalen 41:08, Little Silver;  Keith Mercantante 41:18, Middletown.

    Herald area women:  Dawn Wilcox 32:29 and Meghamn Brennan 33:14, Little Silver;  Shannon Gillespie 35:08, Middletown;  Grace Cashman 35:34, Little Silver;  Lee Dashti 36:55, Red Bank;  Bridget Dowd 36:57, Fair Haven;  Natalie Chamberlain 38:23, Red Bank;  Cathy Capozzi 38:54, Middletown;  Maureen Nocella 38:53, Red Bank;  Sarah Black 41:40, Navesink;  Pam Allen 42:05 and Lisa Swayze 42:21, Red Bank;  Kelley King 42:29, Middletown;  Anne-Marie Moesch 43:00, Little Silver;  Karen Kelly 42:39, Oceanport;  Marie Rodney 42:55, Red Bank;  Josephine Lindgren 43:55, Fair Haven.

   Other Monmouth County men: Matt Dahl 27:25, Keansburg;  Joseph Mullen 27:38, Neptune City;  Matt Lauletti 28:06, Manalapan;  Michael O' Dowd 28:47, Colts Neck;  Andrew Dombroweicki 28:49, Ocean;  Daniel Polanco 28:56, Hazlet;  Pat D’Alessandro 28:59, Asbury Park;  Pat Ford 29:10, Neptune City;  Pete Forgach 29:09, Long Branch;  Donald Griffin 29:27 and Jack Morrissey 29:29, Belmar;  David Gilbert 30:16, Tinton Falls;  Aansh Mehta 31:14, Howell;  Doug Twyman 31:17, Sea Girt;  Ken Kropac 31:34, Lake Como;  Rupak Mehta 31:40 and Drew Kinghorn 32:24, Howell;  Michael Badger 32:25, Ocean Grove;  Jeffrey Cody 32:26, Holmdel;  Jack Goh 32:36, Wall;  Ben Dooley 32:42, Spring Lake;  Pierce Madden 33:04, Howell;  Joey Papandrea 33:06, Spring Lake.

    Other Monmouth County women:  Dactilia Booth 30:50, Long Branch;  Lisa Namath 32:34, Wall;  Lisanne Price 33:14, Freehold;  Kathy Kropke 33:26, Avon;  MacKenzie Gammons 33:40, Belmar;  Sheila O’Grady 34:33, Manasquan;  Stephanie Lafergola 34:49 Matawan;  Barbara Feinstein 35:01, Morganville;  Annette Young 35:09, Bradley Beach;  Jessica Foran 35:44, Spring Lake;  Katie Buchbinder 36:03, Wall;  Jamie Hand 36:15 and Kellee Hand 36:20, Howell;  Dolgor Badyanova 36:51, Spring Lake;  Cara Nelius 36:51, Freehold;  Kendal Hand 37:02, Howell;  Gabby Barrett 37:01, Freehold;  Laura Agresta 37:32, Colts Neck;  Audrey Manin 37:33, Manasquan;  Allison Tracy 37:43, Holmdel;  Christine Benanti 37:45, Belmar.              

 Organized racing continues with two events on Saturday, August 4th,  the Neptune City Day 5K at 8 a.m., info call 732-774-0089, and the Sea Grit 5K, at 8:30, info at www.seagirt5k.org. Information on other area upcoming weekend races as well as summer evening races can be found on running club websites:  www.jsrc.org - www.farcnj.com –  www.oceanrunningclub.org.