SANDY HOOK, NJ - Eight hundred and thirty five (835) road racers competed in the 42nd running of the Jersey Shore Half Marathon presented by the Shore Athletic Club (SAC) with the cooperation of the Freehold Area Running Club (FARC) and the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC) on the cool-but-sunny, breezy Sunday morning of October 5, at the federal park of Gateway National Recreation Area - Sandy Hook. Last year’s event was unfortunately cancelled at the eleventh hour, due to a government shutdown.The first competitor to break the tape at the 2014 finish line, held by FARC race-director Isabel Lewis and her husband Bill, that is located on the main road outside Parking Lot E, which was also the starting area, was Dominic Kiralyfi, 23, from London, England , currently of Summit, New Jersey at 1:11:55 (one hour, 11 minutes and 55 seconds). Will Springman, 29 of New York City, was second competitor with a finishing time of 1:12:23. Coming in third place was Jay McGovern, 35 of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey in 1:15:44. McGovern was the 2011 champion; at that time he shared his thoughts on the course: “It’s great because it’s flat and fast with picturesque scenery - the volunteers are also great and it was a good time”.

First in for the women, from this double-loop course, which goes to a turnaround at the lighthouse area at the north end of Sandy Hook to complete the half-marathon distance, was Jacquelyn Marchese, 27, of Morristown at 1:29:49 (24th place overall). Second and third place for the women went to Victoria Pontecorvo, 23, of Staten Island, New York in 1:29:54 (27th overall) and Dactilia Booth, 38, of Long Branch, New Jersey in 1:30:51 (31st overall). Booth, like McGovern, was 2011 champion and at the time her comments: the course “was mainly flat, maybe a few hills,” but she then decided to change the word “hills” to “inclines.”

Chelsea Crytzer, 23, Parsippany, repeated her 2012 victory as wheelchair champion.

“This run, this event is awesome!” exclaimed Dawn Ciccone, 59, of nearby Highlands who considers this course, “my own backyard and I train here a lot.” She likes the double loop because, “you get to see all the racers and many of them are my friends and we give high fives to each other.” Dawn finished in a time1:47:50, 2nd among finishers in her age category.  

A special feature of this race is that water-drinking stations are strategically placed on the scenic course and serviced by different groups. A prize is offered to the group that expresses the most enthusiasm to the runners and this is decided by the racers’ votes. Donna Cetrulo, feature organizer, filed this report: “The Civil Air Patrol Cadets have been volunteering their services at the JSHM for several years.  The group is the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force.  Members of the Civil Air Patrol Cadets, and their leaders come dressed in their uniforms ready for hard work. Their duties included setting up on Saturday, directing traffic, assisting at the first aid area, and cleaning up long after the runners have left the park. They, along with Marlboro High School X-C team and Ocean Township United Soccer team made up the school division that run water stops.  Monmouth University, a perennial favorite, and Georgian Court University, with two groups this year, were the collegiate level teams.  Each brought a good number of enthusiastic volunteers.  After the runners and walkers finished the race, they were asked to choose their favorite water stop.  There was great debate about the merits of each team, but many people agreed that they all did a terrific job. In all elections however, there are winners. This year Monmouth University won at the collegiate level, and Marlboro High at the school level.  Once again our thanks to the young people and their coaches, advisers for providing the runners with water, and encouragement, and merriment.” 

At the starting line, Phil Hinck, past president of the JSRC (twice) and director of many local races, two of which are nationally recognized, informed the racers of the water stops and encouraged the participants to make use of them. Hinck then introduced road-racing champion of many Shore area events David Demonico of Ocean who gave a fine rendition of our Star-Spangled Banner on his trumpet and Chick Albers of Hazlet accompanied him on the bass drum Hinck then got the Half Marathoners ready and voiced a loud “Ready, Set, GO” and the racers were off at 9 a.m., following the lead vehicle driven by the race director.   The Sandy Hook Lighthouse 5K is part of this annual event and that race of 3.1 miles went off a few minutes after the main event and was led by bicyclist John Weitz, of FARC. Its course was part of the main course, including the same finishing-line chute, along with the vast parking lot itself.  Mike Mooney, age 58, of Jackson, New Jersey was the winner of the 163 total competitors in a time of 18:42. He was followed by Ned Britton of Hoboken in 19:22 and then Derrick Chell of Nutley in 19:58. Kathleen Amoruso of Toms River was the women’s winner at  22:06 (6th overall) followed by Malisssa Fariello of Atlantic Highlands in 22:31 and then Katya Wardle (age 11) of Summit in 22:57.  

Post registration is a challenge for this event since the Department of Interior prohibits any money exchange on its federal property so registration has to be off site. Tim McLoone was generous enough to coordinate use of the parking lot next to the construction site of his Sea Bright restaurant for post-registration purposes.  The committee members set up for this were retiree from the Long Branch school system Donna Cetrulo, Ocean; Janet Bergum, Howell; Patti and David Hitman, Ocean; Paulette Matis, a colleague of the director at Rutgers University and Stefano Baccinelli.

Paul Roman, Emergency Medical Coordinator for the race and Assistant Howard Suffill, said that, “There were no serious cases, we did have the normal amount of expected cuts and bruises.” They further informed that several organizations were on hand in case of need: the first aid squads of Highlands, Atlantic Highlands, Rumson and Middletown Township, which also included its bike team; the Civil Air Patrol Bayshore Composite Squadron; Paramedics from MONOC; Physicians from Jersey Shore Sports Medicine; chiropractors from the NJ Chiropractic Society.

Race director Isabel Lewis, former president of both FARC and SAC and active racewalker, presented awards to the aforementioned winners and age-group leaders at the Parking Lot E's concession section, which served as the staging area. Overall winners and age-group leaders received seaside picture frames and miniature lighthouses. Random prizes of a tech gadgets and bicycles were available along with paintings by renowned Shore artist Avram Shapiro. A great picnic was provided at this oceanside location: hot soup, hot dogs, bagels, fruit and soft drinks. The hospitality chairs of Patrick and Patricia Coyne presented a beautiful food arrangement.  This race has been voted the best food race at the Jersey Shore.

"I'm very excited about the excellent turnout, 835 half-marathoners and 163 in the Lighthouse 5K, and want to thank all the racers for their support.  I want to acknowledge also the know-how cooperation we get from the volunteers (250 total) of the area clubs (SAC, FARC, JSRC).  Compliments, too, to the chair people of the organizing committee who did an outstanding job of food preparation and distribution for the athletes. I want to thank Donna Cetrulo, Jim Jensen, Linda Hyer, John Soucheck, Tom Wendel, Marcia and Avram Shapiro, Phil and Penny Hinck, Patricia and Patrick Coyne, John Weitz, Bill Lewis and Brian Torres of Elite Racing Systems for all their help. I also want to recognize our sponsors: McLoone’s Riverside Restaurant. A special thank you to the National Park Service Rangers who coordinate the traffic on the roads, Our Volunteers Group are our major support for the race, we have the Civil Air Patrol Cadets. Monmouth University Cross Country Team, Georgian Court Track Team and Cross Country Teams, Marlboro High School and Ocean United Soccer Team they manage our water stops and they are so enthusiastic they make the race fun for the runners. The Half is a very special Jersey Shore event as it has its roots right here at Sandy Hook and this year marks 42 years of running at the Shore. It keeps on growing and my philosophy is that when you put on a quality event the runners will come out and support it. The Jersey Shore Half Marathon is a runners’ race put on for runners and by runners. I want to pay gratitude to you one and all. We hope to see you on October 4, 2015. Our website is http://jerseyshorehalfmarathon.com.”  said director Isabel Lewis in an E-mail overview. Lewis has been involved in this event for 21 years, 18 as director. 

Other leading finishers of the Half Marathon 13.1 mile challenge:

    Atlantic Highlands Herald area leaders:  Antonio Meza Soriano 1:23:16, Red Bank;  Daniel Campbell 1:23:42, Middletown;  Eric Beights 1:24:05, Red Bank;  Anthony Scaturro 1:26:48, Monmouth Beach;  Jakob Langer 1:26:53, Red Bank;  Michael Britten 1:30:48, Keansburg;  Heather Scott 1:32:18 and Kalyan Ghosh 1:33:22, Red Bank;  Michael Metlitz 1:33:26, Little Silver;  Dan Busch 1:34:08, Fair Haven;  Jessica Cini 1:34:29, Rumson;  Andrew MacLane 1:36:01, Middletown;  Matt Altar 1:36:02, Rumson;  Dylan Ascolese 1:36:25, Atl. Highlands;  Maureen Massell 1:38:34, Red Bank;  John Rotchford 1:39:56, Rumson;  Matthew Mikulski 1:41:07, Little Silver;  Michael Craffery 1:41:08, Locust;  Sara Stypul 1:41:53, Fair Haven;  Dan Steven 1:43:54, Red Bank;  Tom Ridgway 1:43:57, Rumson;  Harry Radovich 1:44:11, Locust;  Maureen Nocella 1:45:20, Red Bank.  

   Other leaders in Monmouth County:  Pat Ford 1:23:08, Neptune City;  David Bleakley 1:26:31, Howell;  Daniel Ressegiue 1:30:26, Wall;  Tom McConnell 1:30:55, Colts Neck;  Chris Whitehead 1:32:45, Eatontown;  Jim Redeker 1:34:58, Lake Como;  Dan Drury 1:36:05, Eatontown;  Jeffrey Hughes 1:37:26, Neptune;  Kellee Hand 1:37:27, Howell;  Dennis Ehrhardt 1:37:36, Avon;  Luis Fernandez 1:38:20, Neptune;  Kyle Tuohy 1:40:14, Keyport;  Drew Gouveia 1:40:19, Howell;  David Wong 1:40:35, Eatontown;  Heather Jasontek 1:41:59 and John Jacobson 1:42:37, Brick;  Carl Ehnis 1:43:52, Long Branch;  Grace Madigan 1:43:56, Freehold;  Michael Favara 1:44:53, Aberdeen;  Marc Colasanto 1:45:05, Brick;  Rosanne Hughes 1:45:14, Neptune.      

Complete results are at Eliteracingsystems.com. Road racing events continue and their schedules appear on www.jsrc.org and www.farcnj.com.