hashathon 2014Photo by Bob Both, www.jsrc.org

OLD BRIDGE, NJ - Presented by the Rumson Hash House Harriers in concordance with the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC), 286 stalwart racers competed in the 35th annual running of the Hashathon, a rugged, tough, challenging, six-mile trail race through the woods of Middlesex County’s Cheesequake State Park, in Old Bridge Township, on a calm, sunny, 57 degrees, perfect–racing–weather Sunday morning of November 9.


Bobby Duggleby, 24, hailing from Tallahassee, Florida, broke the finish-line tape, held by JSRC members Marilyn Ryder, Eatontown, and Bonnie Santomenna, Shrewsbury, from the course that starts and finishes in the vicinity of the main pavilion of the Park, and is described in the event’s circular as a “run through winding wooded trails, steep gullies, foot bridges, small streams, fallen trees, varmints, dramatic cedar forest & beautiful wetlands,” at a racing time of 44:48 (44 minutes and 48 seconds). The digital racing clock that displayed that time was attended to and provided by John Kuhi, veteran runner and coach in the Shore area and long-time member of the Shore Athletic Club, with help from Jack Cheer, active member of JSRC.  Duggleby, a member of the Capital City Runners, is working for Americares in Trenton, New Jersey and residing currently in Princeton.

Isabel Graf, 25, of Red Bank, was female champion, crossing first in 48:19(an impressive 9th place overall).

Rounding out the top-three were Nate Showman, 34, Ft Montgomery, NY, at 45:11 and Dave Gilbert, 35, of Tinton Falls, at 45:26 on the men’s side, with Rebekah Catalano, 30, of South Orange, 49:30 and Brick Township’s Amy Nalven, 36, in 49:51 for the women. It should be noted that Nalven has been a past (2010) Hashathon champion.

Ship Bottom’s Lauren Rhatigan, 51, finished in 52:19 to win her age-division for the women.  “It’s like apples and oranges,” per long-time Hashathoner Rhatigan, in comparing a trail and road race.  “Trail race, no doubt about it,” she has said, when asked which she preferred.  Rhatigan (six times) has been a past Hashathon champion.

Seventy-three-year-old David Gross of Marlboro, a past-year septuagenarian division winner, loves this race and has explained why: “It’s a real challenge – it’s not your ordinary, everyday, on-the-road type of race – there are more things out there than there are fingers on your hands and toes on your feet: roots, rocks, vermin, boardwalks, collapsing boards, mud, briar bushes, many, many, many leaves, slow runners who won’t give way but in comparison to a road race, it’s the greatest thing. Thanks to Mark Griggs (race director) for putting this on.”   Surprisingly, there were no septuagenarians participating in this year’s event.

Ocean Township’s Susan Ardito, an active member of the JSRC, volunteered this year, having run for many years, most recently finishing at 1:07:17 a couple of years back. “I was happy to finish the race and not fall down,” she said then when asked her thoughts on this annual event. She further said, “Being in the woods and on the dirt is a lot of fun.” 

The water spots where racers get a drink were strategically placed at the 1 1/4-mile area going out and also at the 4 ½-mile area coming back. It was serviced by some of the twenty or so on-course members of the host clubs who also served as course marshals, including Greg Duffy who was assigned to be the “sweep” who gathers markers and things but whose main task is to see that all racers are accounted for.

The event includes a Half-Mile (almost) Fun Run, held before the main race, on the loop around a nearby field which included passing a playground which a few of the younger contestants though it more important to stop then continue the run.  Ben Bostian was first finisher at 2:05 and all participants received a medal.                

Dave DeMonico, Ocean, on the trumpet and Chick Albers, Hazlet, on the drum provided music out on the course for their running friends. DeMonico also played our National Anthem at the into-the-woods starting area and prior to that director Mark Griggs thanked all racers for coming and cautioned them to be ever alert of their footing during the race.     

The aforementioned winners and age-group leaders, along with special category recipients, were given awards of laser-etched wood plaques created by Tom Morrison, past president of JSRC, at the Pavilion by race director Mark Griggs and other members of the race committee.  Special recognition awards included the First Pre-Entrant Jessica Stone; the furthest traveled who was the winner Bobby Duggleby of Tallahassee, Florida and the oldest runner who was Richard Endiss.

Information in the encyclopedia informs of the history of the Harriers: “Hashing originated in Kuala Lumpur, Maylasia, in December 1938, when a group of British colonial officers began meeting on Monday evenings to run, in a fashion patterned after the traditional British Paper Chase or ‘Hare and Hounds,’ to rid themselves of the excesses of the previous weekend. Its Constitution proposes: To promote physical fitness among the members; To get rid of weekend hangovers; To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer; To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel.”

Cheesequake State Park offered beautiful fall colors and a challenging course for the 35th running of the Hashathon six-mile trail race. Perfect weather greeted the large turnout of 300 enthusiastic competitors. The Hashathon trail race is comprised of natural pathways, wooden stairs, boardwalks, and bridges in the park. The race course reverted back to the traditional route thanks to a new “detour” trail put in place by park personnel this year to route around a section of boardwalk destroyed by Hurricane Sandy two years back.  Thanks to Superintendent David Donnelly and his staff for cooperation and assistance with this event. Thanks also goes to race director Mark Griggs and Greg Duffy for the repair work they completed at the park. Many thanks go to all the musicians who played along the course to the delight of all the runners.

"I want to thank the enthusiastic volunteers from the Jersey Shore Running Club, especially Phil and Penny Hinck and their mother-in-law/mother, Marilyn Ryder, Bonnie Santomenna, Jack and Diane Cheer, Mary O'Brien and Al Lesiak, Mike Procopio and John & Laura Moetz and the entire water stop crew, Laura Doughtery, Liz Ireland, Sue Ardito and Steve Apostolacus, Pat and Bob Abbott, Barbara Hay and the Rumson Hash House Harriers. We couldn't run this event without the assistance of our course marshals, trail sweeps, and the large number of passionate trail volunteers. Once again the staff at the Park proved to be helpful and gracious hosts. Local rock band Goldenseal gave a spirited performance at the post-race party held at M.E. Haley Hose Fire Department #1 of Matawan.  Thanks also go to John Kuhi for the timing clock; to Tommy Morrison for crafting the unique awards; to Rick Valentine & Charlotte Griggs of Athlete’s Image for the fantastic and very popular long sleeve Cotton and Tech.T-Shirts; to Atillio’s Pizza for prompt delivery of tasty pizzas; to the entire Hashathon Race committee for enduring the months of planning that lead up to this big day and those who gave up most of their weekend to ensure that this race goes off without a hitch," said Mark Griggs in an E-mail summary. "We hope to see all of you back at Cheesequake State Park again next year for the 36th event."

Other leading finishers of the “brutal” six-mile Hashathon challenge:

   Old Bridge:  Henry Pesantes 52:35, Raunak Desai 53:17, Joseph Mahoney 53:48, Stephanie LaFerydon 54:20, David Rusnak 67:57, Andrew Vianapiano 67:58, John Schwartz 69:12, Marisol Catierrez 69:49, Pat Fitzgerald 73:08, Bernadette Formica 75:41, Dennis MacLane 78:22.        

   Atlantic Highlands Herald area:  Isabel Graf 48:17, Red Bank;  John Cheevers 53:22, Little Silver;  Bob Haithcock 54:32, Middletown;  Mike Marone 59:11, Red Bank;  John Cheevers 59:50, Little Silver;  Tom Beuthe 59:57, Navesink;  Michael Morrison 63:08, Locust;  Chris Ciaglia 63:31, Monmouth Beach;  Darren Gallagher 64:58, Belford;  Keith Renfroe 65:44, Highlands;  Melanie Rapolla 67:14, Red Bank;  Bill Burke 70:44, Atl. Highlands;  Kimberly Cheevers 72:23 and Evan Cheevers 72:24, Little Silver;  Gregory Victor 78:02, Red Bank;  Daniel Kirby 78:29, Atl. Highlands;  Monica Todaro 78:43, Middletown;  Teddy McMormick 78:47, Port Monmouth;  Mike Cooke 80:55, Middletown.

   Monmouth County:  Joe Rooney 47:39, Belmar;  Amy Nalven 49:51, Brick;  Tom Brieve 50:28, Manalapan;  Paul Kacsmar 50:37, Wall;  Lynn Nelsen 51:43, Matawan;  Kellee Hand 52:47, Howell;  Susan Lewicki 56:02, Matawan;  Jacob Kopas 56:31, Morganville;  Rick Tully 56:35, Howell; Yukan Lam 56:58, Morganville;  Patrick Furiel 57:21, Long Branch;  Rob Jaeger 57:41, Marlboro;  Donna McCabe 58:58, Matawan;  John Fraebel 59:50, Morganville.  

Photos and complete results can be found at www.jsrc.org and http://www.jsrc.org/raceresults/2014HashathonResults.pdf

Road-racing events continue and their schedules can be found on these websites: www.jsrc.org and www.farcnj.com.