jsrc sheehan 2014 startPHOTO: Start of the 2014 George Sheehan Classic.  Photos by Bob Both, Jersey Shore Running Club, www.jsrc.org

RED BANK, NJ - Twelve hundred and 53 (1253) road racers competed in the 21st annual George Sheehan Classic 5K (formerly it was a five-mile race) on a course that starts and finishes on Broad Street in Red Bank, continues onto Bergen, Silverton, Prospect Streets then onto Harding Road where the racers are confronted with challenging Tower Hill, on the sunny/cloudy, breezy, warm, great-running-weather morning of June 14. This Classic was named one of the Top 100 Road Races by Runner’s World magazine and the Best Memorial in New Jersey by the New York Times.


jsrc sheehan 2014 malePHOTO: Andrew Brodeur crosses the finish.

Coming in first and breaking the finish-line tape held by Leslie McKernan, Atl. Highlands, member of the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC) and Penny Hinck, wife of director, was Andrew Brodeur, 24, of Bethesda, MD (family lives in Brick) at a racing time of 15:18 (15 minutes and 18 seconds), a speedy 4:56 per mile pace (but 6 seconds slower than his championship racing time of last year - aging does take its toll)! Rounding out the top five male finishers who would, along with the females, receive special awards: Brian Quilty, 24, Brick;  Cory Smith, 35, Philadelphia, PA;  Matthew Turlip, 25, New York, NY;  Robert Cavanaugh, 36, West Long Branch (winner of the recent annual Michael Thorne 4 Mile Scholarship Run, presented in WLB).  

“I was pretty much out in front the whole 3.1 miles,” said Brodeur, in describing his championship performance.  When asked to comment on Tower Hill, he offered, “Last year I was unaware of it so I found it ‘tough.’ I knew it was coming this year but still found it ‘tough.’”

jsrc sheehan 2014 femalePHOTO: Noel Whitall crosses the finish.

Toms River’s Noel Whitall, 36, was the female winner with a 17:46 (12th place overall) racing time (two seconds faster than the 2013 women’s champion. Rounding out the top five female finishers: Maeve Evans, 23, New York, NY at 18:04 (17 overall); Tina Morrison, 29, Washington, DC, at 18:38 (28 overall);  Jennifer Nelson, 24, Barnegat at 18:56 (38 overall);  Caitlin O’Hare, 14, Middletown (45 overall).

“I like the Tower Hill challenge but was worried that my leg would cramp,” Whitall offered (she explained her injury, but this writer had trouble with his new tape recorder and didn’t get it). I do recall her saying, “the weather was near perfect.”

Ocean Township’s Bob Hayes, 63, finished at 50:06 (59 seconds faster than last year) and repeated his former comment: “I’m glad they (race committee) included the defining element of this event: Tower Hill.”

“As long as I can function physically OK, I will plan to sign up for this Sheehan Classic for as long as it’s presented,” said Olie Nelson, 78, of Farmingdale who finished at 29:57.

“I wouldn’t miss this race, Jim, it’s legendary and I enjoy reading the Sheehan quotes, each of them has profound meaning,” said Dawn Ciccone, 58, of Highlands who ran a 23:41, under an eight-minute mile.

Members and officers of Freehold Area Running Club were the many workers doing their know-how duties at the finish-line area, along with other clubs’ members and many students of the girls’ cross country team of Middletown High School South, supervised by coach Jamie Liberti.

This event also includes The Kids’ Classics: races for 4-year-olds to 13, consisting of distances of 50 yards to a half mile and are presented the night before at Marine Park. The kids are usually treated to cupcakes, smoothies and balloons, and each would receive a medal. But unfortunately, the weatherman provided a heavy downpour and cancellation was necessary.

At the starting line across from Red Bank Catholic High School and Saint James Church, director Phil Hinck, making use of the loud speaker system provided by Main Street Productions, and gave final instructions to the assembled racers. Our National Anthem was sung by Maya Jacoby a ten-year-old student going into the 5th grade in the Ranney School and by the loud and long applause one can conclude that Maya was astoundingly appreciated.

Michael Sheehan, one of the many offspring of Doctor George Sheehan who was family spokesman, was introduced and here are some of his remarks:

“ Welcome, and thank you all for coming out for the 21st running of the George Sheehan Classic.

I first want to thank our generous sponsors for putting up the dough to make this possible and a special thanks to Phil and Penny Hinck and all the volunteers for organizing not just this race but races all year long that we can all participate in. (applause)

This is Father’s day weekend. A time we give thanks to our fathers but to also those men, those father figures and mentors that we had in our lives that helped make a difference.  My father was one of them and his great legacy will live on. But today I want to pay tribute to two other men. The first is my brother Peter, who recently passed away from a sudden illness. Like my father, Peter was a doctor. His specialty: diabetes. He was a doctor in the truest sense of the word, he was a teacher of medicine. He was tirelessly educating not only his patients but the entire medical community on how to treat and prevent the effects of this horrible condition. And because of his work, there are Preventative Diabetic caste clinics being set up around the country that will help thousands. And although we are sad, we are grateful that his work that he accomplished while he was with us will continue on and help so many.

The second man we are fortunate enough to have with us today: Mr. Elliott Denman. He is a father figure to so many runners. The Patriarch of the shore running community. For the last 50 plus years Elliot has been reporting, supporting, promoting, organizing, coaching and cheering on anything to do with track and field. He was a member of the 1956 US Olympic team competing in the Melbourne Olympics 50k Racewalk - (thats 50k - 31 miles, not 5k like we are doing today). And he applied that same endurance all these years since then to his work promoting running. He founded the Lake Takanassee Summer Running Series which celebrated it's 50th anniversary and even today at 80 years old he is leaving after today’s race to head up to NY city to report on the International track meet at Randall’s Island.”  Both said, “Have a great race.” (much applause)

Director Hinck gave his usual loud, very loud, “Ready, Set, Go,” and the racers were off! 

“A bright sky and seasonal temperatures greeted the runners over the popular 5k course; we had a very successful race, in participation of runners, volunteers, spectators and families thanks to our loyal and new sponsors and tremendous support from the Sheehan family. In addition to the traditional t-shirt for participants, all finishers this year were presented with a commemorative tote bag, to remind them of the Doc Sheehan philosophy all year long.  Continuing a tradition, runners and volunteers were treated to a plentiful post-race picnic in Marine Park with donations of bakery goods from Bimbo Bakeries and banana and bottled water from Sickles Market and then a celebration at Brannigan’s. 

Many thanks to the boroughs of Red Bank and Little Silver for their cooperation and for the volunteers from school teams (including soccer and cross county teams), local organizations (including Lunch Break and NJNG) and area running clubs (JSRC, FARC, SAC). 

Thanks also to residents encouraging the runners along the course, and the patience of area motorists who had to be detoured for the safety of our racers. It was great to see so many enjoy this Jersey Shore Grand Prix (sponsored by McLoone’s) series event, knowing the series supports area beneficiaries.  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.

Here are other leading finishers of the memorial George Sheehan Classic, many of whom, along with the aforementioned winners and top finishers, might agree with these quotes attributed to the late beloved Running Doc:

"There are as many reasons for running as there are days in the year, years in my life. But mostly I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So, too, are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be." –  “The race still asks me what it has asked all of us: no more and no less than everything we’ve got.” –  “There will never be a day when we won’t need dedication, discipline, energy, and the feeling that we can change things for the better.” -  “If what you did yesterday still looks big to you, you haven’t done much today.” –  “It’s very hard in the beginning, to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” - "Sweat cleanses from the inside; it comes from places a shower will never reach." - "Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing." -  “The true runner is a very fortunate person; he has found something in him that is just perfect.” -  "Once you have decided that winning isn't everything, you become a winner."  –  “Out on the roads there is fitness and self-discovery and the persons we were destined to be.”

Also printed on this year’s race’s T-shirt:  “I will not last forever. But I am darn well going to know I have been here.” Last year’s T-shirt had this: “The Race is where we keep the faith in the child, the saint and artist in each of us.”

Leading finishers: of the Atlantic Highlands Herald area:

Red Bank:  Mark Steinbrick 17:39,  Antonio Meza Soriano 18:28,  Harley Lefkowitz 19:21,  Sean Byrnes 20:05,  Isabel Graf 20:41,  Eric Jacobsen 20:48,  Brian Gazia 20:56,  James Skinner 21:09,  Grace Watters 21:19. 

Other Herald area:  Michael Marano 17:49 and Matt Todaro 18:10, Middletown;  Sean Rath 18:14, Atl. Highlands;  Daniel Caputo 18:23, Belford;  Paul McCartney 18:31, Port Monmouth;  Paddy Sciortino 18:39, Monmouth Beach;  Matthew Metlitz 18:49, Little Silver;  Rich Bayer 18:50, Fair Haven;  Kyle Shenk 18:54, Atl. Highlands;  Brian Hill 19:16, Middletown;  Matt Alter 19:17, Sea Bright;  John Floyd 19:20, Rumson;  Daniel Campbell 19:25, Middletown;  Michael Ambrosio 19:29, Port Monmouth;  Joe Cauvin 19:35, Atl. Highlands;  Mario Gagliano 19:47, Sea Bright;  Raymond Castellano 19:54 and David Zurheide 20:06, Middletown;  Katie Connor 20:07, Rumson;  Dawn Wilcox 20:08, Little Silver;  Chase Cauvin 20:13, Atl. Highlands;  Kevin Garrison 20:25, Leonardo;  Christine Hill 20:29, Middletown;  Justin Cabinian 20:30, Atl. Highlands;  Jessica Cini 20:41, Rumson;  Lisa Zino 20:41, Atl. Highlands;  Dan Usch 20:44, Fair Haven;  Joe Shore 20:57, Rumson.

Other Monmouth County Leaders:  Liam Wall 16:13, Manasquan;  Michael O’Connor 17:57, Spring Lake;  Matt Dunn 18:27, Lincroft;  Matt Coleman 18:52, Oceanport;  Tom Rue 18:52, Tinton Falls;  Matt Dauria 19:12, Ocean;  Marissa Alberti 19:35 and Angelo Gingerelli 19:50, Long Branch;   Arthur Gawronski 19:55, Eatontown;  Scott Linnell 20:08, Colts Neck;  Tom Dauria 20:13, Ocean;  Paul Gilly 20:14, Freehold;  Kellee Hand 20:24, Howell;  Jerilyn Rembisz 20:34, Lincroft;  Matthew Jacobson 20:39, Marlboro;  Christine Arsego 20:40, Brielle;  Rich Sciria 20:41, Farmingdale;  Kathy Kropke 20:42, Avon;  Bob Miller 21:14, Spring Lake;  Frank Francobandiero 21:22, Shrewsbury;  Raunak Desai 21:32, Matawan;  Scott Main 21:43, Freehold. 

Many road-racing events continue and their schedules are posted on the websites of www.jsrc.org and www.farcnj.com.