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Start of the Spring Lake Five Mile Run.  PHOTOS by Bob Both (JSRC)

SPRING LAKE, NJ - Nine thousand and 69 road racers (4,615 males – 4,454 females, 12,500 registered [2500 more than last year]) was the huge number that finished this year in the 37th annual Spring Lake Five Mile Run on an overcast, showery morning of May 25. This race, according to director Phil Hinck, is the largest road-race in the state of New Jersey and the second largest five-mile road-race in the nation. The runners/walkers competed on the traditional basically rectangular course, thanks to round-the-clock Sandy-related road repairs, 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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Andrew Brodeur finishes first with a time of 24:54

Andrew Brodeur, 23, of Brick Township was the first overall leader to break the finish-line tape, held by Spring Lake’s Patty Burrus and Bruce Robinson of Manasquan, at 24:54 (24 minutes and 54 seconds), a speedy 4:59 per-mile pace.  “There were about four of us for the first two miles or more, but about the two and a half mile area I gave it a little push and went ahead and it stayed that way,” said Brodeur, a recent Duke University graduate, in describing his championship performance. “Very flat and very wide,” he said of the course and added that a race of this size “wide streets are almost necessary.”  He also informed that today’s racing time is his best for five miles. He also added that “If I’m in New Jersey next year, I’ll definitely plan to race this event.”   

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Amanada Marino finishes with a time of 27:33

Jackson Townsip’s Amanada Marino, 23, was today’s female winner at 27:33, maybe not a speedy but a very excellent 5:31 per-mile pace. When asked if she were in front the whole way, Amanda said, “I ran the first mile with a friend (runner-up Sarah Cummings) but then I took the lead and kept it.”  Marino likes the course a lot because, “it’s not out and back and you get to see different things” and of the weather, “it was good temperature but too windy.”  

Rounding out the top ten finishers (male-female) who received crystal awards, added to mugs for the first 100 male/female finishers, along with roses received by the first 500 women, and medals to everyone:

 Men:  Craig Segal, 29, at 25:27, five seconds faster than last year, Highlands (last year’s runner-up also and 2013 champion of FARC’s St.Paddy’s 10-mile Run in Freehold);  Robert Cavanaugh, 35, at 25:43, West Long Branch (2013 champion of the Michael W. Thorne Scholarship 4 Mile Run);  Timothy Mulligan,  32 at 25:57, Whiting; Dickson Mercer, 31, at 25:43, Washington, DC;  Joe Lesniak, 28, at 26:36, Point Pleasant;  Patrick Casterline, 23, at 26:55, Bridgewater;  Ben Hutterer, 24, at 27:10, Carteret;  Jeffrey Perrella, 25, at 27:18, Westfield (2012 champion of this event);  Peter Tuohy,19, at 27:36, Oakland.

Women:  Sarah Cummings, 24, at 27:51, Spring Lake;  Noel Whitall, 35, at 28:35, Toms River (many time female champion of this event);  Jennifer Nelson, 23, at 30:04, Barnegat;  Jocilyn McNally, 32, at 30:06, Kensington, MD;  Nicole Strand, 38, at 30:14, Robbinsville (last year’s women’s champion);  Erin Redden, 25, at 30:20, New York City;  Jennifer Connors, 41, at 30:26, Hoboken;  Brianna Feerst, 19, at 30:28, Brick;  Kelsey Maher, 21, at 30:54, Jackson.

Neptune City’s Vietnam veteran Joseph Renzella, 71, member of the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC)  finished today at 48:20 (slow for him) but he was satisfied knowing that because of such a huge number of competitors, “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 six 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: “TO CARE FOR HIM WHO SHALL HAVE BORNE THE BATTLE AND FOR HIS WIDOW, AND HIS ORPHAN”  -  ABRAHAM LINCOLN.  

 Very-active member of the Jersey Shore Running Club, Eatontown’s Marilyn Ryder, 71, mother-in-law and mother of Phil (race director) and Penny Hinck scored a way-under a 10-minute mile pace with a 46:51 posting.  She had this to say:  “I am really delighted with this event - the people were out there cheering us on for every inch of the five miles. “ And she happily added, “Of course!” when asked if she would be running this Spring Lake Five Mile Run next year.

Richard Henderson, 61, of Philadelphia, PA, finished at 35:53 and as a sexagenarian should be proud to have run at a very impressive just-over a 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, especially when the JSRC is involved.”

Kevin Hill, 50, director of the annual Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School race, scored a 37:32 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 comes 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 “Stronger than the Storm” banner with 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 began with a moment of silence to remember the racers at the Boston Marathon and the Oklahoma tornado tragedy and then an 8th grade Belmar Elementary girl named JADE was introduced and gave a super rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner and the waiting racers offered loud cheers and applause. The lead vehicle was driven by Gary Ciliberto.

The Spring Lake First Aid. Informed that 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 one thousand children participated on this cool, rainy evening, 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 20,000 bottles of water, 75 cases of soda (1800 cans), 2,000 bottles of Honest Tea - above drinks iced with 160 bags of ice (each 20 pounds). Also there were 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 Michele Degnan-Spang of Spring Lake Heights and Jay Russell, of Manasquan.  These yawning volunteers were treated to coffee and breakfast goodies in the solarium 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 $700,000; we expect to raise over $100,000 this year with nearly $50,000 to be used for Sandy restoration efforts in Spring Lake. In addition, our charity partners hope to have raised $80,000 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. In addition, Homeland Security had a presence evidenced by their video tower and canine patrol to ensure the safety of the participants. 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 including removal of headphones. 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 and adjusted-to-Sandy Hurricane Spring Lake Five Mile Run:

   Atlantic Highlands Herald area men:  Antonio Meza Soriano 28:58, Red Bank;  James Rivers 29:33, Rumson;  Ken Shatzer 29:47 and Paul Juelis 30:11, Middletown;  Sean Rath 30:42, Atl. Highlands;  Daniel Campbell 30:53, Middletown;  Patrick Leonard 31:09, Red Bank;  Patrick Hill 31:39, Rumson;  Brian Hill 31:39, Middletown;  Henry Mercer 31:40, Locust;  Raymond Castellano 31:53, Middletown;  Kevin Kelly 33:03, Monmouth Beach;  David Wrede 33:17 Red Bank;  Dominic Tobacco 33:18 and Dennis Campbell 33:25,  Middletown;  John Floyd 33:27 and Dawson Howley 33:51,  Rumson;  Brian Vieth 33:55 and David Zurheide 33:59, Middletown;  Larry O’Brien 34:09 and Sean Leonard 34:10, Red Bank;  Mark Stryker 34:14, Leonardo;  Craig Pagano 34:17, Little Silver;  Tim Walsh 34:32, Monmouth Beach;  Jared Rumage 34:34, Fair Haven;  Ian White 34:36, Little Silver;  Doug Campbell 34:38, Middletown.

   Herald women:  Sara Amitrani 31:37, Red Bank;  Dawn Wilcox 33:14, Little Silver;  Audrey Oldoerp 33:36 and Tatiana Burgos 33:45, Red Bank;  Lisa Zino 34:22, Atl. Highlands;  Mary Pat Moriarty 35:07, Rumson;  Christine Hill 36:11, Middletown;  Laura Skrief 36:13 and Lauren Reid 36:14, Fair Haven;  Julie Dynak 36:22, Red Bank;  Catherine Wimmer 36:26 and Laura Larkin 36:33, Little Silver;  Sandy Riddle 36:57, Red Bank;  Danielle Pinzly 37:35, Rumson;  Skaiste Cohen 37:41, Keansburg;  Suzan Elliott 37:44, Middletown;  Julianna Maita 37:47, Monmouth Beach;  Corrine Afanasewicz 38:02, Leonardo;  Dawn Ciccone 38:07, Highlands;  Deirdre Spiro 38:23, Fair Haven;  Tara Nicholas 38:30, Leonardo;  Katie Gagliano 38:35 Fair Haven;  Alicia Zink 38:49, Atl. Highlands;  Cathy Capozzi 38:50, Middletown;  Diane Rothman 38:52, Rumson;  Kelly Mulvaney 39:03, Middletown;  Keri Rubenstein 39:07, Red Bank;  Dalia Viggiano 39:11, Little Silver;  Karen Hennessey 39:29, Red Bank;  Jennifer Vieth 39:40, Middletown;  Melanie Andrews 39:52, Monmouth Beach;  Jennifer Pennington 40:00, Middletown.

   Monmouth County area men:  Richie Bohny 27:51, Holmdel (66 seconds faster than last year);  Pat D’Alessandro 28:18, Asbury Park;  Daniel Lenahan 28:23, Wall;  Anthony Fioto 28:52, Manalapan;  Mike O’Dowd 28:53, Colts Neck;  Charles Rogers 29:00, Wall;  Boomer Cassidy 29:43, Spring Lake Heights;  Neil Cusat 29:44, Tinton Falls;  Donald Griffin Jr. 29:59, Belmar;  Michael O’Connor 30:16 and Vinnie Papandrea 30:20, Spring Lake;  Colin Richmond 30:23, Spring Lake Heights;  Tommy Fleming 30:31 and John Scotto 30:48, Spring Lake;  Kevin McNamara 31:01, Eatontown;  Doug Twyman 31:06, Sea Girt;  Pete Forgach 31:13, Long Branch.        

   Monmouth County women:  Amanda Tripodi 32:43, Marlboro;  Denise Clark 32:57, Wall;  Rebecca White 33:29 Spring Lake;  Suzanne Florenza 33:31, Wall;  Francesca Bongiovanni 34:04, Spring Lake;  Naomi Barneett 34:24, Morganville;  Bernadette Taylor 34:32, Spring Lake;  Kathy Kropke 34:44, Avon;  Aliza Barnett 34:57, Morganville;  Laura Demeo 35:27, Spring Lake;  Rachel Kerry 35:35, Matawan;  Danielle Hughes 35:52, Spring Lake;  Megan Becht 35:59, Manasquan;  Erica Ammermuller 36:00, Belmar;  Carla Bautista 36:17, Wall;  Melissa Mazza 36:21, Manasquan;  Brittany Capone 36:22, Sea Girt.

Road-racing events continue and schedules are posted on the following websites: www.jsrc.org and www.farcnj.com .  Next up for the Jersey Shore Grand Prix, sponsored by McLoone's, is the George Sheehan Classic on June 15, as its new 5K distance, info at www.JSgrandprix.com.