jsrc_2013_belmar_5_startStart of Belmar 5 Mile Race.   Photo credit:  JerseyShorePics.com

BELMAR, NJ - With the weatherman's offering of a cloudy/overcast sky and high 70 degrees temperature, 2,368 road racers (1,206 males, 1,162 females [152 more than last year]) competed in the 37th anniversary of the picturesque (ocean and two lakes) Belmar Five Johnny Cobb Memorial Run on the hot and humid-racing-weather morning of July 13. The event is presented by the Goodwill Hose Company of the Belmar Fire Department in cooperation with the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC).     

Prior to the 8:30 a.m. start, Phil Hinck, race director, introduced a female Belmar resident, who will be a freshman at Red Bank Regional High School in September with a professional name of JADE and she gave a fine rendition of our National Anthem that was much appreciated by the awaiting racers from the sound of their cheers and applause.  Hinck then gave his usual loud, very loud, “Ready, Set, Go,” (a horn blasted simultaneously with the word, Go) and the racers dashed from their Second and Ocean Avenue starting line, just beyond the Shark River Bridge and followed the lead town vehicle driven by Ray Elms of the Belmar Beach Patrol. They proceeded south on Ocean Avenue, a straightaway, 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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Travis Mahoney, 22, of Old Bridge was first to cross the finish line and  break the tape held by JSRC members Bill Paglione of Hightstown and Jim Buckler also of Old Bridge and receive a medal designed with the title of the event that all finishers would receive, at a racing time of 24:41 (24 minutes and 41 seconds). Rounding out the top five male finishers, who, along with the top five females would receive special awards were Andrew Brodeur, 23, of Brick at 24:48 (winner of this year’s Spring Lake Five Mile Race of 9,041 competitors); Elarbi Khattabi, 46, of Philadelphia, PA at 25:04; Mark Leininger, 22, of Colts Neck at 25:08; Craig Forys, 24, of Howell at 25:21.

At the 3 1/2 mile turn onto 5th Avenue, we spectators could see five competitors running together then Mahoney informed at the finish-line area, “ that with about 800 meters to go I took the lead and kept it.” He further informed that, “the course was nice and flat,” and of the weather, “it was hot and humid but that’s the way New Jersey has been lately.”

jsrc_2013_belmar_5_womanSarah Cummings, 24, of Spring Lake was the women’s winner at 28:07 (23rd place overall); Aregash Abate, 22, of Bronx, NY, at 28:22 (25 overall); Noel Whitall, 35, of Toms River at 28:45 (28 overall); Jennifer Nelson, 23, of Barnegat at 29:59 (39 overall); Brianna Feerst, 19, of Brick at 30:14 (41 overall) rounded out the top five. Along with the medals, carnations were given to the females.

“I guess about the 3-mile mark I took the lead and kept it,” said Cummings in describing her championship performance. And of the weather - “It was humid but that’s what we have been used to so I adjusted to it.” She was happy that the cheering spectators also, along with the cheering attendants at the regular water spots, “offered us water because that’s what we needed today.”

Two wheelchair competitors began their race two minutes prior to the main starting time and followed the same scenic course: Daniel Wheeler, 27, of Shamong at 42:52 and Michael John Harnett, 24, of Sea Girt at 50:58. 

“I’m happy, Jim, - I wanted to break 30 minutes and I did,” said Neptune City’s Pat Ford, 53, who finished at 29:37 and that is breaking a 6-minute per mile pace and not one of the preceding thirty-four competitors who beat him were his age.  

Highlands’ Dawn Ciccone, 57, finished with a very respectable 7:37 per-mile pace by posting a 37:55 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 the whole way - and thank goodness the sun didn’t come out!”

Retired New Jersey State Police officer, Tim Mahoney, 53, of Belmar, past president of the JSRC posted a 38:02 racing time good for a 7:39 per-mile pace. “Belmar Five is always one of the top races on my calendar, Jim, and I’ll make a correlation to my running and my town: Belmar restored its beach and boardwalk and Tim Mahoney has restored his running training and we’ll both be back stronger and better than ever!”

 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!” 

Rumson’s Kevin Hill, director of the annual Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School 5K Race, finished at 39:17. “I was glad to be able to beat 40 minutes on this very humid day,” he immediately said but then offered this: “I want to thank, very much, Phil (race director) and Penny Hinck (Phil’s wife) for all that they do for all of us in the running/racewalking world. They are always there either directing or being available with their know-how assistance in so many of our Jersey Shore events.” 

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, the New Jersey Natural Gas, and other local residents.

“We attended to one with a back problem and one with an arm scratch and they were released - no major problems,” said Rick Hines, former Captain of the Belmar First Aid when asked if there were any emergencies.      

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, and for the tenth anniversary, those who participate in all five races will get a $50 McLoone’s restaurant gift card, and entry into a drawing for a Grand Prize ($1000 value). The other events are: Spring Lake Five, George Sheehan Classic, Asbury Park 5K, and the Pier House 5K. All Grand Prix races are not-for-profit organizations which attribute their success to the support of all of the local running clubs and running community. Further information can be found on the series website: www.jsgrandprix.com.

This annual event usually begins on Friday evening at the Silver Lake Park with Fireworks, and a series of Kids’ Races organized by Wall Township’s Carly DePolo, president of the JSRC and last year over 200 children, from ages 3 to 14 running at various distances, competed. But this year, the weatherman didn’t cooperate and cancellation was necessary. The Kid’s Races and Fireworks will be rescheduled later in the racing season.

Many members of the Ocean Running Club were on hand to take care of the post registration of racers. 

Jim Buckler of Old Bridge, past president of JSRC, assisted by race committee members Penny Hinck and Diane Cheer, awarded money, restaurant  gift cards 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 warm breeze providing typical summer-weather running conditions, followed by a light post-race rain to cool off the runners, the 37th Annual Belmar Five will probably be one of the most memorable years to many. Also memorable will be our shirt design logos with boardwalk background and color theme of yellow and blue, used for medals, race shirts, mugs and tote-bags to honor Boston Marathon victims and recognize the return of shore boardwalks after Superstorm Sandy. 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 continued financial support of our 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 leaders of this popular, annual race:

   Belmar: Jack Mollisey 29:23,  Nicholas Minnella 30:30,  Donald Griffin 30:42,  Shane Hart 30:52,  Brett Colhoun 33:26,  Dom Petrosino 33:48,  Amber Hart 33:53,  Edward Windas 36:23,  Mackenzie Gammons 37:30,  Dolgor Badyanova 37:40,  Michael Mixson 37:57,  Kory Hardmeyer 38:17,  Jon Lisko 38:18,  John Tallarico 38:57,  Matthew Doherty 39:20,  Christina Benanti 39:24,  Sean Mulcahy 39:26,  Kate Higgins 39:41,  Chris Cawley 39:53,  Jacqueline Mulcahy 40:10,  Ivy Wimberly 40:28,  Robert Kosinski 40:35,  Rahmin Ghaffari 40:50.

   Atlantic Highlands Herald area:  Craig Segal 26:09, Highlands;  Justin Lippert 27:31 and Paul Juelis 29:30,  Middletown;  Antonio Meza Soriano 30:12, Red Bank;  Michael Marano 30:58, Daniel Campbell 31:45 and Raymond Castellano 32:23, Middletown;  Harley Lefkowitz 32:48, Red Bank;  Michael Ambrosio, Jr. 33:28, Port Monmouth;  David Zurheide 33:51, Middletown;  Dawn Wilcox 34:08, Little Silver;  Dana Jacoby 35:23, Monmouth Beach;  Conor Finn 35:35, Middletown;  Scott Devona 35:38 and Maureen Nocella 36:16, Red Bank;  Christian Ambrosio 36:40, Port Monmouth;  Steven Hildner 36:41, Middletown;  Amanda Yaccarino 37:17, Rumson;  Grace Waters 37:26, Red Bank;  Chris French 37:51, Middletown;  Dean Brown 37:56, Little Silver;  Luke Reid 37:57, Fair Haven;  Bob Linton 38:27, Highlands;  Walter Cuje 38:41, Little Silver;  Jerry Robinson 38:44, Middletown;  Kevin Hill 39:17, Rumson;  Paul Deykerhoff  39:20, Little Silver;  William Walsh 39:32, Middletown.

   Other Monmouth County:  Matthew Forys 25:59, Howell;  Greg Lowing 27:08, Ocean;  Daniel Polanco 27:35, Hazlet;  Tyler Gillies 27:36, Howell;  Pat D’Alessandro 27:39, Asbury Park;  Ken Kropac 30:23, Lake Como;  Shaun Morris 30:25, Bradley Beach;  Chris Whitehead 31:08, Wall;  Mike Mangan 32:09, Howell;  Lauren Gilbert 32:44, Wall;  Mike Christie 33:10, Howell;  Alex Karu 33:20 and Greg Young 33:24, Wall;  Ben Dooley 33:33, Spring Lake;  Amanda Tripodi 33:42, Marlboro;  Shannon Gillespie 33:48, Neptune City;  Jim Redeker 33:51, Lake Como;  Michael O’Connor 33:54 and Seth Anspach 33:55, Spring lake;  Tommy Wester 34:02, Lake Como;  Devon Langbein 34:04, Wall;  Kathy Kropke 34:05, Avon;  Michael Ambrozia 34:21, Howell;  Paul Gilly 34:30, Freehold;  Michael Badger 34:36, Ocean Grove;  Joseph Resciniti 34:45, Manalapan;  Christen Rillo 34:46, Howell;  Andrew Harsin 35:02, Lake Como;  Jayne Condon 35:03, Wall;  Kenny Baldo 35:12, Manalapan;  Christopher White 35:21, Wall;  Scott Linnell 35:24, Colts Neck;   Kellee Hand 35:47 and Kenneth Coles 35:49, Howell;  John Cummings 35:56, Spring Lake;  Kristen Theresa 35:57and Michael Reiss 36:03, Hazlet;  Geoffrey Schroeder 36:17, Wall;   Jason Aumack 36:20, Tinton Falls.

Complete results are available at www.belmar5.com. ; Road-racing events continue and their schedules can be found on www.jsrc.org and www.farcnj.com. Next up for the Jersey Shore Grand Prix, sponsored by McLoone's, is the 10th Anniversary Asbury Park 5K, to benefit the Boys & Girls Club, on August 10.