SPRING LAKE, NJ - Ten thousand three hundred sixty road racers (5,018 males – 5,342 females, 12,500 registered) was the huge number that finished this year in the 38th annual Spring Lake Five Mile Run on  the perfect-running-weather morning of May 24. 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, 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.

Last year’s winner, Andrew Brodeur, 24, of Bethesda, MD, formally of Brick Township, was the first overall leader again, breaking the finish-line tape held by Spring Lake’s Patty Burrus and Bob Mercier of Avon, at 24:30 (24 minutes and 30 seconds), a speedy 4:59 per-mile pace.

“At about the four and a half mile turn, I made my move, which I thought may have been way too soon,  thinking the finish line was a little closer,” said Brodeur, a Duke University graduate, when asked to describe his performance. “Very flat and very wide,” he has said of the course and added that a race of this size “wide streets are almost necessary.”  After last year’s victory, he kept his promised that “If I’m in New Jersey next year, I’ll definitely plan to race this event.”  

Sarah Cummings, 25, was today’s female winner at 28:03, a very competitive 5:37 per-mile pace. 

Cummings, who currently resides in New York, was runner-up in 2013; her parents live in Spring Lake. As of a week before the event, she hadn’t committed to running this year, but decided “I couldn’t imagine being here and not being a part of it”.

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:  Mark  Leininger, 23, at 24:40, Colts Neck; Patrick Sheehan, 18, at 25:32, Mooresville, NC; Robert Cavanaugh, 36, at 25:55     , West Long Branch (2014 champion of the Michael W. Thorne Scholarship 4 Mile Run);  Brian Quilty, 24, at 26:09, Brick; Sean Clark, 28, at 26:29, Philadelphia, PA; Dickson Mercer, 32, at 26:57, Washington, DC;  Matt Sampson, 22, at 27:24, Manasquan; Patrick Wortner, 21, at 27:30, Dobbs Ferry, NY  ; Peter Tuohy, 20, at 27:35, Oakland.

Women:  Hannah Eckstein, 21, at 29:05, Middletown; Noel Whitall, 36,  at 29:24, Toms River (many time female champion of this event); Carrie Brox, 37,  at 29:38, Princeton; Nicole Strand, 39 at 29:40, Robbinsville; Dactilia Booth, 38, at 30:25, Long Branch; Jennifer Nelson, 24, at  30:42, Barnegat; Caitlin O'Hare, 13, at 30:48, Middletown; Dianne Deoliveira, 43, at 31:02, Brick; Bronawyn Oleary, 38, at 31:22, Cliffwood Beach;

Neptune City’s Vietnam veteran Joseph Renzella, 72, member of the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC)  finished today at 50:42 (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: "THEIR SACRIFICE, OUR DUTY."

Very-active member of the Jersey Shore Running Club, Eatontown’s Marilyn Ryder, 72, mother-in-law and mother of Phil (race director) and Penny Hinck, walked and ran to finish with a 1:11:52 posting, recovering from a recent knee injury.  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 participating in this Spring Lake Five Mile Run next year.

Kevin Hill, 52, former director of the Rumson-Fair Haven race, scored a 37:39 and has 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 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 Karyn Phillips, a singer-songwriter based in Spring Lake, delivering a super rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner and the waiting racers offering loud cheers and applause. The lead vehicle was driven by Gary Ciliberto.

The Spring Lake First Aid informed that there were over 50 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 balloon maker and face painters to entertain them before and after their dashes. 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 twelve hundred 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 8,200 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 PowerBar Gels, 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 on the oceanview porch 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 $1,000,000; we expect to raise over $100,000 this year. In addition, our charity partners hope to have raised $102,000 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, ORC) 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 skywatch stationand 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 Spring Lake Five Mile Run:

   Atlantic Highlands Herald area: Antonio Meza Soriano 28:58, Red Bank; Joshua Prown 30:29, Red Bank; Matt Metlitz 30:33, Little Silver; Sean Rath 30:34, Atlantic Highlands; Richard Bayer 30:38, Fair Haven; Daniel Campbell 30:43, Middletown; Bob Hogan 31:26, Red Bank; Laura Larkin 31:28, Little Silver; Brian Hill 31:29, Middletown; Brian Hill 31:39,   Middletown; John Floyd     31:55, Rumson; Riley Gardner 32:08, Monmouth Beach; Mario Gagliano 32:14, Rumson; Harley Lefkowitz 32:18, Red Bank; Jack Grassi 32:30, Little Silver; David Zurheide 32:31, Middletown; Raymond Castellano 32:48, Middletown; Mike McCormack 32:59, Little Silver; Dave Wrede 33:02, Red Bank; Victor Rallo 33:09, Fair Haven; Luke Reid 33:10, Fair Haven; Brian Vieth 33:12, Middletown; Douglas Campbell 33:14, Middletown; Dawn Wilcox 33:20, Little Silver; Eric Jacobsen 33:31,  Red Bank; Michael D'Angelo 33:34, Fair Haven; Sinead Kelly 33:34,  Red Bank; James Guerrieri 33:36, Belford; Lisa Zino 33:59, Atlantic Highlands;

Michael Metlitz 34:08, Little Silver; Christine Hill 34:15, Middletown; Christopher Larkin 34:32, Little Silver; Tim Walsh 34:34, Monmouth Beach; Larry O'Brien 34:52, Red Bank; James Skinner 34:54, Red Bank; Kevin Toolan 34:56, Middletown; Patrick Leonard 35:11, Red Bank; Doug Lindgren 35:16, Fair Haven; Adolfo Castillo 35:25, Red Bank; Susan Flynn 35:28, Rumson; Harold Nolan 35:39,   Navesink; Andrew   Stypa     35:54,    Fair Haven; Russell Flynn 36:10, Middletown; John Kilduff 36:21,    Middletown; Maureen McCall 36:21, Red Bank; David     Donnelly 36:23, Little Silver; Jackson Hill 36:26, Rumson; Joe Huesman 36:33, Fair Haven; Jen  Huesman 36:39, Fair Haven; Thomas Shore 36:45, Rumson; Dalia Viggiano 36:45,    Little Silver; Joseph Shore 36:51, Rumson;

Dennis Campbell 37:06, Middletown; Lesley Corydon 37:09, Fair Haven; Peter Foster 37:12, Red Bank; Isabella Arege 37:25, Little Silver; Christopher Rodriguez 37:25, Fair Haven; Kevin Hill 37:39, Rumson; Brian Gross 37:41, Red Bank; Dominic Tobacco 37:54, Middletown; Matthew Baier 37:57, Red Bank; Sharon Sloan 38:03, Atlantic Highlands; Bill Thompson 38:08, Rumson; Mike Ambrosio 38:11, Port Monmouth; Nicole Corre 38:17,   Red Bank; Jeff Quinn 38:25, Little Silver; John Gardner 38:25, Little Silver; Christen        Ambrosio 38:33, Port Monmouth; Danielle Pinsly 38:37, Rumson; Tom Reardon   38:41, Little Silver; Sean Leonard 38:43, Red Bank; Dawn Ciccone 38:45, Highlands; Bob   Linton 38:45, Highlands; Frank Massa       38:45,    Red Bank; John Elliott 38:51, Middletown; Kyle Bandilla 38:51, Red Bank; Paul Deykerhoff 38:52, Little Silver; Walter Cuje 38:55, Little Silver; Brian Barrett 38:57, Red Bank;

Anthony Leland 39:04, Fair Haven; Kathleen Gaines 39:05, Middletown; Karen Hennessey 39:24, Red Bank; John Jarostchuk 39:26, Red Bank; John Mahaoney 39:30, Atlantic Highlands; Henry Rosset    39:32, Rumson; Gina Rosset 39:33, Rumson; Harry Kegelman 39:34, Rumson; Casey Shanley 39:34, Rumson; James Mueller 39:35, Little Silver; Ryan Miele 39:37, Middletown; Katie Gillen 39:45, Red Bank; Artie Buisson      39:47, Rumson; Jack Howley 39:48, Rumson; Kevin Barry 39:50,    Atlantic Highlands; Troy Hill 39:58, Middletown; Anthony Miele 40:01, Middletown; Ryan Guttormsen 40:01,     Middletown; Marc Hershey 40:04,           Fair Haven; Joseph Deblasio 40:06, Middletown; Cathy Capozzi 40:09, Middletown; Michael     Grassi 40:10, Little Silver; Kerry Gillespie 40:14,  Middletown; Jen Vieth 40:19,  Middletown; Michael Marrus 40:27, Rumson; Tara Barnett 40:30, Fair Haven; Kyle Hill 40:30, Middletown; Rick D'Emilia 40:30, Middletown; Richard Gottuso 40:31, Fair Haven; Joe Hartman 40:36, Red Bank; Jeremy Karew 40:43, Red Bank; Christine Livingston 40:43, Little Silver; David Cahill 40:54, Rumson; Ken   Motz 40:56, Fair Haven; John Taylor 40:58, Middletown.

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 14, as its popular-for-summer 5K distance, info at www.JSgrandprix.com.