SANDY HOOK, NJ - Two hundred ninety-nine (299) road racers competed in the 44th 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 overcast, seasonable Sunday morning of October 2, 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 hurricane-forecasted closing of the park.
The first competitor to break the tape at the 2016 finish line, held by race-director Dave Friedman and past-director Isabel Lewis, that is located on the main road outside Parking Lot E, which was also the starting area, was Maxime Chevee, 25, from France, currently of Baltimore, MD at 1:14:33 (one hour, 14 minutes and 33 seconds). John Hunyara, 25, also of Baltimore, was second competitor with a finishing time of 1:20:31.
Chevee and Hunyara, both graduate students at Johns Hopkins, are roommates and training partners and entered this event as part of their preparation for next month’s New York City Marathon.
Coming in third place was Neptune City’s, Pat Ford, age 56, in 1:21:51. “I wanted to break 1:22, and I just did, so I’m pretty happy with that,” said Ford, a Neptune City mailman. “I went out pretty hard, but was struggling a little toward the end. Then again, that’s always to be expected.”
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 Meta Haley, 30, of Sewickley, PA at 1:30:20 (13th place overall). Second and third place for the women went to Katie Hagerty, 21, of Milltown in 1:37:39 (23rd overall) and Lindsay Hoffman, 27, of Red Bank, in 1:40:22 (30th overall).
Women’s champion Dr. Haley is an emergency room physician at Hackensack Hospital, who switched from soccer to long distance running in college, and has been enjoying the sport ever since. “Running’s a lot like medicine,” she said. “There’s always something new coming out, and there’s always something you can learn.”
Chelsea Crytzer, 25, Parsippany, repeated her 2012 and 2014 victories as wheelchair champion. First male wheelchair finisher was Nishan Patel, 23, of Middletown.
“This run, this event is awesome!” exclaimed Dawn Ciccone, 61, 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 time1:53:15, 1st 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 made up the high school division that run water stops. Monmouth University, a perennial favorite, and Georgian Court University, 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, and 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.
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 (whose daughter Molly was running her first half marathon) 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 Donna Cetrulo, Ocean; Patti Hitman, Ocean; Paulette Matis, Somerset.
Paul Roman, Emergency Medical Coordinator for the race, had no serious cases, but did have the normal amount of expected cuts and bruises. Several organizations were scheduled to be on hand in case of need: the first aid squads of Highlands, Atlantic Highlands, Sea Bright, 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 Dave Friedman, vice president of USATF-NJ, with 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 miniature lighthouses and commemorative ceramic mugs. Random prizes, including a painting by renowned Shore artist Avram Shapiro, whose work is featured on the runners’ sweatshirts, were presented to lucky volunteers. 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.
“We had a great race on a great day. It was good to be back on the roads and running again at Sandy Hook,” said Dave Friedman, the happy race director for the Shore Athletic Club, which organized the event in cooperation with the Jersey Shore Running Club and the Freehold Area Running Club.
Past-year sentiments from Isabel Lewis, the former race director, still ring true: “The Half is a very special Jersey Shore event as it has its roots right here at Sandy Hook and this year marks 44 years of running at the Shore. It keeps on growing… 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.” Lewis has been involved in this event for 23 years, serving 18 as director.
Other leading finishers of the Half Marathon 13.1 mile challenge:
Monmouth County male leaders: Brian Hill, Middletown, 1:25:47; John Quinn, Ocean, 1:26:23; John Kelly, Wall, 1:27:06; Seng Goh, Ocean, 1:29:42; Miles Hersey, Hazlet, 1:30:34; Douglas Farkas, Middletown, 1:31:21; John Gore, Leonardo, 1:37:41; David Wong, Eatontown, 1:39:23; Jeffrey Hughes, neptune, 1:39:39; George Leary, Keyport, 1:40:58; Paul F. Weber, Rumson, 1:41:15; Roy Ogledzinski, Freehold, 1:43:39; Carl Ehnis, Long Branch, 1:43:49; Joseph Simon, Red Bank, 1:46:15; Sean McLaughlin, Middletown, 1:46:58; Michael Studer, Freehold, 1:47:10; Frank Massa, Red Bank, 1:47:14; Jonathan Sorrentino, Middletown, 1:48:07; Thomas Schaefer, Keansburg, 1:50:01; Michael Sasso, Middletown, 1:50:17; Jason Pawling, Middletown, 1:51:19; Thomas McDonough, Fair Haven, 1:51:25; John Elliott, Middletown, 1:52:05; John Croce, Middletown, 1:52:08; Jeffrey Schnabolk, Ocean, 1:53:08; Kevin Hill, Rumson, 1:53:25; Frederick Raffetto, Spring Lake, 1:55:14; Michael Miller, Port Monmouth, 1:56:20; James Mulvaney, Middletown, 1:56:28; Andrew Seiler, Holmdel, 1:56:34; Joe Ferraioli, Eatontown, 1:58:51; James Croce, Middletown, 1:59:30.
Leading Monmouth County females: Lindsey Hoffman, Red Bank, 1:40:22; Taylor Rudd, Asbury Park, 1:43:47; Jayne Condon, Long Branch, 1:45:19; Eileen Blalock, Rumson, 1:47:34; Maureen Nocella, Red Bank, 1:49:09; Cathy Capozzi, Middletown, 1:50:06; Dawn Ciccone, Highlands, 1:53:16; Susan Staloff, Wall, 1:54:04; Rhianna Zalewski, Freehold, 1:54:22; Courtney Kling, Middletown, 1:54:36; Stephanie Queiroz, Belmar, 1:54:56; Rosanne Hughes, Neptune, 1:55:09; Regina Valentine, Hazlet, 1:55:59; Eva McGee, Shrewsbury, 1:56:34; Jacqui Moskowitz, Ocean, 1:56:46; Rosa Gonzalez, Eatontown, 1:57:24; Taryn Iwan, Rumson, 1:58:21; Odette Brenner, Rumson, 1:58:56.