Photos by Bob Both, JSRC
OLD BRIDGE, NJ - Presented by the Rumson Hash House Harriers in concordance with the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC), 320 stalwart racers competed in the 34th annual running of the Hashathon, a rugged, tough, challenging, six-mile trail race through the woods of Middlesex County’s Cheesequake State Park, in Old Bridge Township, on a partly-cloudy, breezy, 53 degrees, good–racing–weather Sunday morning of November 10; much better weather conditions than last year’s December date, which had been rescheduled due to Sandy.
Robert Pedersen, Jr., 15, of Brick, last year’s champion, was a repeat winner and broke the finish-line tape, held by JSRC President Carly DePolo and Charlotte Griggs, wife of race director Mark, from the course that starts and finishes in the vicinity of the main pavilion of the Park, and is described in the event’s circular as a “run through winding wooded trails, steep gullies, foot bridges, small streams, fallen trees, varmints, dramatic cedar forest & beautiful wetlands,” at a racing time of 36:54 (36 minutes and 54 seconds). The digital racing clock that displayed that time was attended to and provided by John Kuhi, veteran runner and coach in the Shore area and long-time member of the Shore Athletic Club, with help from John Cheer, active member of JSRC.
Heather Fraebel, 17, of Whitehouse Station, last year’s women’s champion, also defended her title in 46:37 (23rd place overall).
Rounding out the top-three were Dominic Grillo, 39, of Whitehouse Station at 37:29 and Joe Pawlish, 41, Bryn Mawr, PA at 38:33 on the men’s side, with Lynn Nelson, 44, of Matawan, 46:54 and Ship Bottom’s Lauren Rhatigan, 50, in 47:10 for the women. It should be noted that Grillo (twice), Pawlish (once) and Rhatigan (six times) have each been past Hashathon champions.
A typical Hashathon runner, female winner Fraebel has said: “It’s a lot different and I actually like it because of the uphills and downhills you feel more empowered.”
“It’s like apples and oranges,” per long-time Hashathoner Rhatigan, in comparing a trail and road race. At the finish area, she was tending to her bleeding leg caused by a fall near the end. “Trail race, no doubt about it,” she has said, when asked which she preferred.
Seventy-two-year-old David Gross of Marlboro, one of the three septuagenarians who all received awards, David for his 1:05:11 racing time, loves this race and has explained why: “It’s a real challenge – it’s not your ordinary, everyday, on-the-road type of race – there are more things out there than there are fingers on your hands and toes on your feet: roots, rocks, vermin, boardwalks, collapsing boards, mud, briar bushes, many, many, many leaves, slow runners who won’t give way but in comparison to a road race, it’s the greatest thing. Thanks to Mark Griggs (race director) for putting this on.”
The water spots where racers get a drink were strategically placed at the 1 1/4-mile area going out and also at the 4 ½-mile area coming back. It was serviced by some of the twenty or so on-course members of the host clubs who also served as course marshals, including Manasquan’s Charles J. Rand who was assigned to be the “sweep” who gathers markers and things but whose main task is to see that all racers are accounted for.
The event includes a Half-Mile (almost) Fun Run, on the once-around-the-lake course with 16, mainly youngsters, competing. Esben Nielson, Matawan, was first boy at 1:58, and Crystal Pappas, 7th grade, Manchester was today’s female champion in 2:06.
Dave DeMonico, Ocean, on the trumpet and Chick Albers, Hazlet, on the drum provided music out on the course for their running friends. DeMonico also played our National Anthem at the into-the-woods starting area and prior to that director Mark Griggs thanked all racers for coming and cautioned them to be ever alert of their footing during the race.
The aforementioned winners and age-group leaders, along with special category recipients, were given awards of laser-etched metal plaques created by Tom Morrison, past president of JSRC, at the Pavilion by race director Mark Griggs and other members of the race committee.
Information in the encyclopedia informs of the history of the Harriers: “Hashing originated in Kuala Lumpur, Maylasia, in December 1938, when a group of British colonial officers began meeting on Monday evenings to run, in a fashion patterned after the traditional British Paper Chase or ‘Hare and Hounds,’ to rid themselves of the excesses of the previous weekend. Its Constitution proposes: To promote physical fitness among the members; To get rid of weekend hangovers; To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer; To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel.”
“Cheesequake State Park offered beautiful fall colors and a challenging course for the 34th running of the Hashathon six-mile trail race. Perfect fall weather greeted the large turnout of 340 enthusiastic competitors. The Hashathon trail race is comprised of natural pathways, wooden stairs and boardwalks, and bridges in the park. A big thanks goes to the work crew at Cheesequake State Park and Superintendent Dave who repaired the elevated boardwalk in the cedar swamp that had been demolished by Hurricane Sandy. Thanks also goes to race director Mark Griggs and Greg Duffy for the repair work they completed at the park.
"I want to thank the enthusiastic volunteers from the Jersey Shore Running Club, especially Phil and Penny Hinck and their mother-in-law/mother, Marilyn Ryder, Bonnie Santomenna, Jack and Diane Cheer, Mary O'Brien and Al Lesiak, Mike P. and the water stop crew, Laura Doughtery, and the Rumson Hash House Harriers. We couldn't run this event without the assistance of our course marshals, trail sweeps, and the large number of passionate trail volunteers. Once again the staff at the Park proved to be helpful and gracious hosts. An altered version of the local rock band Goldenseal gave a spirited performance at the post-race party held at M.E. Haley Hose Fire Department #1 of Matawan. Thanks also go to John Kuhi for the timing clock; to Tommy Morrison for crafting the unique awards; to Rick Valentine of Athlete’s Image for the fantastic and very popular long sleeve T-Shirts; to Atillio’s Pizza for prompt delivery of tasty pizzas; to the entire Hashathon Race committee for enduring the months of planning that lead up to this big day and those who gave up most of their weekend to ensure that this race goes off without a hitch," said Mark Griggs in an E-mail summary. "We hope to see all of you back at Cheesequake State Park again next year for the 35th event."
Other leading racers of the “brutal” six-mile Hashathon challenge:
Old Bridge: Joseph Mahoney 49:27; Henry Pesantes 49:30; Marisol Gutierirez 51:20; Cathy Mahoney 56:39; Laura Farah 59:04; Michael Hawkins 61:18; Raunad Desai 63:23; Manoj Parikh 64:55; Glenn Hayward 69:52.
Herald area: James Rivers 41:49, Rumson; Kevin Garrison 47:16, Leonardo; Bob Haithcock 48:47, Middletown; Mark Molyneaus 49:16, Fair Haven; Tom Beuthe 49:59, Fair Haven; Elliot Olschwang 53:06, Middletown; Frank Massa 55:54, Red Bank; Manolo Teijelo 59:57, Red Bank; Darren Gallagher 59:59, Belford; Melanie Rapolla 1:03:15, Red Bank; Bill Burke 1:05:21, Atlantic Highlands; Javier Damien 1:07:15, Middletown; Jill Reilley 1:08:33, Highlands; Koley MacKay 1:10:33, Middletown; Tiffany Scarlata 1:11:08, Port Monmouth; Monica Todax 1:11:57 Middletown; Christine MacKay 1:13:38, Middletown; Boston Mark Spillane 1:16:38, Leonardo; Robert Gileski 1:16:43, Atlantic Highlands; Holly Scarlata 1:17:14, Port Monmouth; Robert Van Clef 1:21:03, Middletown.
Monmouth County: Victor Alfonso 42:13, Freehold; Joe Wysocki 43:39, Asbury; Dan Suozzo 44:20, Bradley Beach; Lynn Nelson 46:53, Matawan; Patrick Applegate 47:43, Matawan; Patrick Frike 47:55, Long Branch; Edgar Ramos 49:11, Marlboro; Frank Cannarozzo 51:45, Holmdel; Jaclyn Dagnall 52:25, Long Branch; Brian LaGrua 52:42, Holmdel; Harry Popper 52:48, Belmar; Susan Lewicki 53:04, Matawan; Chris Zeiner 53:22, Howell; Anna Zresmon 53:25, Long Branch; Marta Nowak 54:06, Cliffwood Beach; Anne Cieri 54:16, Long Branch; John Cheevers 54:53, Little Silver; Tara Vitale 55:16, Howell; Christie Patla 56:00, Aberdeen; Scott Fischer 57:24, Cliffwood Beach; Brian Vitale 57:25, Howell; Theo Cheevers 57:44, Little Silver; Donna McCabe 57:55, Matawan; Paulsin 58:18, Oceanport; Cristy Richards 58:22, Matawan; Anthony D'Elia 58:40, Matawan; Katarina Ohberg 59:06, Marlboro.
Photos and complete results can be found at www.jsrc.org.