PHOTO: Start of Trick or Trot 5K. Photos by Bob Both
LONG BRANCH, NJ - The Irish, according to encyclopedia information, brought the end-of-summer season activities of Halloween to America in the 1840's and the custom that causes our children to say "trick or treat' has its origin much earlier in ninth-century Europe. But it was just 21 years ago that the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC), with a play on words of that popular phrase, brought us its annual Trick or Trot Race (now a 5K distance, previously it was 4 miles) and was presented at the Long Branch oceanfront on the sunny/windy, but good-racing-weather Sunday morning of October 26. The race benefits homeless animals and the main beneficiary is the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Jeff Propert, 34, of Wall, was first into the finish-line chute, set up by John Kuhi and placed inside Seven Presidents Park, of the total 195 competitors and cause the digital clock to display 17:50 (17 minutes and 50 seconds). Today’s runner-up came in 1 ½ minutes after Propert: Richard Caponigro, 51, of Chantilly, Virginia, was second-place finisher at 19:26 and third-place male finisher was Ocean’s Jack Goh, 38, at 19:44.
First place for the women, from this out and back course, that starts on the northern end of the Promenade goes through Pier Village onto Ocean Avenue to a halfway turnaround of cones, went to Inez Crismali, 37, of East Windsor at 21:49 (10th overall). Second and third women’s honors went to Rebecca White, 12, Westfield, at 22:17 (13th overall) and Christie Patla, 46, Aberdeen, at 22:55 (15th overall).
“I love the Trick or Trot Race” said women’s champion Crismali, who was third place woman last year, she and explained why: “ It’s a fun day – everybody gets dressed up – they have an animal parade.”
Septuagenarian friends, of this octogenarian writer, Joe Renzella, 73, of Neptune City and Olie Nelson, 78, of Farmingdale were content with their racing times of 31:08 and 28:515, respectively, knowing that the aging process will slow you down. Both were proud to have supported this event whose proceeds go to the SPCA. Other 70-year-olds competing were David Gross, 73, of Morganville at 27:32, the award winner, Richard Hill, 78, of Middletown at 34:19, Dolores Papirman, 77, Whiting (female winner) at 42:22 and Bricktown’s Fred Howlett, 75, at 49:39. Octogenarian Harry Papirman, 83, Whiting, finished in an impressive 33:49 to win the 80 and over category award.
“Because of Hurricane Sandy, we cancelled this in 2012,” said Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider at last year’s race, who at that time was very satisfied with his 2013 racing time of 29:13. “But we bounced back – we still have work to do – but I’m proud that we bounced back!” Schneider returned to run this year’s race three seconds faster, finishing in 29:10.
"I just love this course!" exclaimed Long Branch's Nancy Thorne, who has run the Trick or Trot in past years, but volunteered instead this year at the kids’ races held just prior to the main event. "It's like so many races we're lucky to have with the ocean as our beautiful scenery; and some of them have lakes to go along with the ocean," she added. Thorne is referring to the summer events such as the oceanfront Spring Lake Five Mile Run which includes Lake Como; the Belmar Five Mile Run which also includes that same lake and Silver Lake too; the Avon 5K which has Sylvan Lake; the Bradley Beach 5K also has that same lake and Fletcher Lake to boot. When Thorne is not running these highly picturesque ocean/lake races she will be directing the annual memorial Michael Thorne Scholarship Run in West Long Branch, a rare 4 miler, which, in contrast to this race, meanders through the well-paved, well-policed streets among manicured lawns during the third Sunday in May and honors the memory of her fireman brother who was killed while on duty. Other Shore-area racing events whose courses are similar to the Michael Thorne: Pre Father's Day in Wanamassa; Interlaken 5K, Eatontown Labor Day, all 5K's, just to mention a few.
At the 11 a.m. starting line, on the Promenade, Phil Hinck, race starter, informed the awaiting runners of necessary details concerning the course, including the one water spot that would service the racers and that they should make use of it. Here also David DeMonico, champion runner but not competing, would be playing motivational music on his trumpet for the competitors. Hinck then introduced Ranney School 5th grader Maya Jacoby, Long Branch, who gave a fine rendition of our National Anthem. He then shouted a loud “Ready, Go!” and the racers were off.
Mike Procopio, race director for the Trick or Trot, emailed post-race that he “was very pleased with the results of the day and grateful for all of the support that was provided for the different events. These included a 5K race, a pet walk, kids’ races and costume parades for adults, kids & pets. The proceeds from the day benefit the Monmouth County SPCA and the many volunteers included groups from the Monmouth County SPCA, the Jersey Shore Running Club and the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps.”
Following the kids’ races, 5k run and pet walk, an awards’ ceremony was held, where second-year Director Procopio, assisted by past-director Diane Cheer, awarded “Pumpkin-head” trophies to the swiftest costumed runners and to those wearing the best-judged costumes in the costume parade. Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) Regional Championship awards were presented to race winners in the Overall, Masters, Grand Masters and Senior Grand Masters categories, and age group leaders received trophies.
Other leading finishers of the scenic, Trick or Trot 5K (3.1 miles) Atlantic Ocean-viewing course: Long Branch: Paul Kusek 20:05, Lorianne Megill 25:32, Bryan Mejia 26:23, Joanna Jodar 27:51, Maria Mejia 28:37, Adam Schneider 29:10 (Long Branch Mayor), Eric Reich 30:30, Sarah Gedo 30:34, Jessica Mejia 30:49, Sofia Oliviera 30:55, Laura Moetz 31:49, Phillip Mejia 32:34, Ellen Penn 37:03, Kevin Verbosky 40:48, Elizabeth Verbosky 40:49.
Atlantic Highlands Herald area: John Rafter 20:44, Highlands; John Marks 22:47 and Joe Coccaro 24:48, Middletown; Karen Kelly 25:34, Oceanport; Elizabeth Maag 26:17, Red Bank; Krista Casella 26:37, Oceanport; Julia Warhot 27:39, Leonardo; Mike Relli 28:58, Little Silver; Karen Rodriguez 29:15, Fair Haven; Christine McCarthy 29:22, Atl. Highlands; Ross Narucki 29:24 and Alicia Schwartz 29:38, Little Silver; John O’Gorman 31:08, Oceanport; Kathleen Harbort 31:21, Fair Haven; Debra Natoli 31:46, Red Bank; Martin Dugan 32:24, Middletown; Janice Turner 33:11, Highlands; Joseph Whitehouse 33:16, Dorothy A. Whitehouse 33:18 and Kevin Hill 34:22, Rumson; Dawn Relli 36:26, Little Silver; Tracy Carroll 36:29, Atl. Highlands; Liz Conway 39:33, Red Bank; Michele Yanes 40:13, Highlands; Kouri Shannon 40:37, Red Bank.
Monmouth County: Ryan Loehr 19:59, West Long Branch; Dan Drury 20:54, Eatontown; Matt Frabizio 21:50 and T.J. Frabizio 21:51, Ocean; Christie Patta 22:55, Aberdeen; Jack Bleach 22:58, Belmar; Mark Weston-Dawkes 23:02, Ocean; Robert Jaeger 23:06, Marlboro; Christopher Martin 23:16, Manasquan; Tom DeLisa 23:27, Ocean; Anna Marie Popowski 25:02, Eatontown; Colleen Desimone 25:38, West Long Branch; Elise Wanner 25:53, Heather Wanner 25:58 and Derek Wanner 25:59, West Allenhurst; Steve Harnett 26: 00, Hazlet; Marty Fitzpatrick 26:12, Loch Arbour; Robert Havens 26:35, Howell; Sue Patia 26:49, Matawan; Hogg Starkey 26:50, Howell.
Complete results for the Trick or Trot are posted at www.jsrc.org.
Road racing events continue and schedules can be found on www.jsrc.org and www.farcnj.com.