jsrc belmar 5 2014 startPhotography by jerseyshorepics.com.

BELMAR, NJ - With the weatherman's offering of a windless day with  temperatures in the low 80’s, 2,449 road racers (81 more than last year) competed in the 38th anniversary of the picturesque (ocean and two lakes) Belmar Five Memorial Run on the good to excellent racing-weather morning of July 12. The event is presented by the Goodwill Hose Company of the Belmar Fire Department in cooperation with the borough of Belmar and 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 sophomore 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,” 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 (about a mile), 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 Elite Racing Systems of Clifton, along with the other finish-line equipment, on Fifth and Ocean Avenues.

jsrc belmar 5 2014 maleCameron Marantz, 26, of Philadelphia, PA, was first to cross the finish line and break the tape held by JSRC members Bill Paglione of Hightstown and Jim Buckler of Old Bridge and receive a medal designed with the title of the event that all finishers would receive, at a racing time of 25:02.39 (25 minutes and 2 and 39/100 seconds). Rounding out the top five male finishers, who, along with the top five females would receive special awards were Alfredo Santana, 23, also of Philadelphia at 25:03.24, Alem Ereket, 29, of New Haven, CT at 25:24; Jerry Faulkner, 32, of Sunnyside, NY at 25:38; Brian Quilty, 24, of Brick at 25:53.

“When I heard the crowd give an extra cheer I looked back and saw him (the runner-up) coming so I gave an extra push and maintained the lead,” said Marantz at the finish line where he was talking to four of us interviewers. Notice the split-second difference between the champion and runner-up’s racing time.

jsrc belmar 5 2014 femaleSarah Cummings, 25, of New York City, was the female winner at 27:44 ( 12th place overall, last year’s female champion also); Gidey Tinbut, 24, of New Haven CT at 29:20 (38 overall); Corinne Fitzgerald, 22, of Rockaway at 29:31 (41 overall); Jennifer Nelson, 24, of Barnegat at 30:22 (61 overall); Michelle Batiato Branga, 44, of Sicklerville at 30:45 (67 overall), rounded out the top five. Along with the medals, carnations were awarded to all female finishers.

“I never saw a female runner during the whole race,” said Cummings, when asked if she was the female front runner the whole way. No, but she did see the backs of at least 11 male runners.

jsrc belmar 5 2014 wheelchairTwo wheelchair competitors began their race two minutes prior to the main starting time and followed the same scenic course: Chelsea Crytzer, 23, of Parsippany at 25:11 and Daniel Wheeler of Shamong at 43:34.

Highlands’ Dawn Ciccone, 58, finished with a very respectable 7:52 per-mile pace by posting a 39:24 racing time. “I was hoping to get to under 39 (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.”

Retired New Jersey State Police officer, Tim Mahoney, 54, of Belmar, past president of the JSRC posted a 40:39 racing time good for an 8:07 per-mile pace. “Belmar Five is always one of the top races on my calendar, Jim, and although it wasn’t a fast time for me, it was probably the most fun time I’ve had.”

Mahoney continues to serve the club’s membership and all the running/racewalking community as the director of the JSRC 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 or fast walk (and you may bicycle too as long as you stay with the group) so as to invite the general public. So please remember the 9/11 Memorial Run – Mahoney’s parting exclamation: “I will never, never forget 9/11!” 

Korean War veteran Joseph Placente, 82, of Toms River and Vietnam veteran Joseph Renzella, 72, of Neptune City did and said exactly as they did eight days ago at the Firecracker Five Mile Race in Wall Township: they carried the American flag atop a six-foot pole the whole race. “Were you both glad you did this exhausting effort?” asked this interviewer and “Absolutely” was their answer and further said “God Bless America!” Their racing time was 1:08:21. (If you would like to read the Firecracker Five article and see what our veterans’ racing time was there you can access it at www.jsrc.org).

Twenty five teams of up to seven racers each also competed in ten different categories and the racing time of each member was averaged in among the top four finishers.  The winning team was the Shore Athletic Club All-Female team. The team’s average was 32:32, made up of Jennifer Nelson, Lindsay Ritchings, Shannon Gillespie, and Kellee Hand. 

Four water spots were available at the mile-marker areas organized by John Cheer, active member of the JSRC. They were supervised by Freehold Area Running Club, and serviced by volunteers from W.L. Gore Associates, the New Jersey Natural Gas Company, Brick Knights Soccer, Belmar Boy Scouts and other local residents. Many members of the Ocean Running Club were on hand to take care of the post registration of racers. 

“We attended to 25, and counting, heat-related problems - but nothing major, where we had to take anyone to the hospital,” 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, a series of five races that offers prize money to overall winners and age-group category winners. The other events are: Spring Lake Five, George Sheehan Classic, Asbury Park 5K, and the Pier House 5K. Further information can be found on the series website: www.jsgrandprix.com.

This annual event 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 this year over  300 children, from ages 1 (toddler) to 14 running at various distances.

Jim Buckler of Old Bridge, past president of JSRC, assisted by Donna Mehler of Spring Lake, awarded money, 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 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.

“An early morning fog burned off, to produce a beautiful sunny beach day, and the 38th Annual Belmar Five will probably be one of the most memorable years for many. Also memorable will be our shirt design logos with “Greetings from the Belmar Five”, used for medals, race shirts, mugs and tote-bags. 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:  Don Griffin 29:35 (award),  Jack Morrissey 29:39,  Thomas Wick 30:00,  Dom Petrosino 34:13,  Terrence Maliff 34:16,  Rose Willey 35:37,  Jonathan Lisko 36:03,  Thomas Daley 36:59,  Matt Doherty 37:57,  Chris Cawley 37:58  Jack Bleach 38:08,  Michael Oconnell 38:13,  Shannon Ciprut 38:18,  John Walsh 38:33  Zachary Campbell 38:55,  Scott Nurnberg 39:12,  Kelly Theilen 39:22,  John Hastings 39:53.

     Atlantic Highlands Herald area:  Antonio Meza Soriano 29:42, Red Bank;  Daniel Campbell 30:42 and Brian Hill 31:40, Middletown;  John Floyd 31:59, Rumson;  Raymond Castellano 32:20, Middletown;  Harley Lefkowitz 32:21, Red Bank;  Matthew Todaro 32:27, Katie Connor 33:16, Conor Finn 33:54, Jaclyn Alvarez 33:56, David Zurheide 34:19, Christine Hill 34:24, Middletown;  Michael D’Angelo 34:32, Fair Haven;  Michael Matlitz 34:51, Little Silver;  Patrick Osborn 35:45, Leonardo;  Kyle Maldjian 36:19, Rumson;  Frank Massa 36:36, Red Bank;  Jason Pawling 36:49, Middletown;  Thomas Shore 36:57, Rumson;  Laura Skrief 37:06, Fair Haven;  Joseph Shore 37:09, Rumson. 

   Other Monmouth County:  Matthew Forys 26:50, Howell;  Mike O’Dowd  27:51, Colts Neck;  Andrew Dombrowiecki 27:54, Ocean;  Kevin Serrao 28:11, Bradley Beach;  Rupak Mehta 28:15, Howell;  James Kelly 28:54, Lincroft;  Michael O’Connor 29:17, Spring Lake;  Pat Ford 29:20, Neptune City (54 years old and under a 6 minute mile);  Arthur Smith III 29:33, Howell;  Brian Prendergast 29:34 and Adam Nalven 29:34, Brick;  Daniel Polanco 29:57, Hazlet;  Dylan Lynch 30:17, Howell;  Chris Whitehead 30:47, Eatontown;  Joseph Walsh 31:00, Hazlet;  Chad Safran 31:18, Freehold;  Kevin O’Dowd 31:18, Colts Neck;  Doug Twyman 31:25, Sea Girt;  Kyle Clonan 31:26, Tinton Falls;  Lauren Gilbert 31:54, Wall.      

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 11th Annual Asbury Park 5K, to benefit local charities, on August 9.