BELMAR, NJ - With the weatherman's offering of a perfect day with temperatures in the low 80’s, 2,700 road racers competed in the 42nd annual of the picturesque (ocean and two lakes) Belmar Five Mile Run on the good to excellent racing-weather morning of July 14. The event is presented by the Goodwill Hose Company of the Belmar Fire Department in cooperation with the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC), and is a fundraiser for the volunteer fire company.
Prior to the 8:30 a.m. start, Phil Hinck, race director, introduced Miss Monmouth County, Belmar resident, 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 and finish banner structure, set up by Elite Racing Systems, on Fifth and Ocean Avenues.
"There's so much energy here," said Shoemaker, a U.S. history teacher at the Boston-area Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, summering in Harvey Cedars, who'd excelled on the track and in cross country for Dartmouth College. "The size of the race and crowds here are amazing. This was really quite a show. I just love running and certainly wasn't ready to give it up after college." His best college times were 9:16 for the steeplechase, 8:31 for 3,000 meters and 25:06 for 8K cross country; now he plans to run for years and years more, gradually building up to the marathon distance.
PHOTO: Nicolette Mateescu
Nicolette Mateescu, 24, of Kendall Park, was the female winner at 28:25 ( 22nd place overall); Christiana Rutkowski, 22, of Middletown at 29:27 (34 overall); Brianna Feerst, 24, of Brick at 29:42 (37 overall, last years winner); Lindsay Ritchings, 30, of New York, NY, at 30:19 (50 overall) and Jamie Reuter, 32 of Leonardo at 30:51, rounded out the top five. Along with the medals, carnations were awarded to all female finishers.
"I went out a little conservatively," said Mateescu, a Kendall Park resident who'd run for South Brunswick High School before competing in track for Rider College. "I had a nice career at Rider, but I think I'm in better shape now. I think I took the lead around mile two. Then I just brought it in.” This was her first time running the Belmar Five. "It's such a great race, so well organized, and you can go to the beach right afterwards."
Five wheelchair competitors began their race two minutes prior to the main starting time and followed the same scenic course: William Fountain, 71, of Farmingdale at 22:55 and Chelsea Crytzer, 27, of Parsippany at 27:04 and were first male and female.
Retired New Jersey State Police officer, Tim Mahoney, 58, of Belmar, past president of the JSRC posted a 40:20 racing time. “Belmar Five is always one of the top races on my calendar.” 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!”
Former Highlands resident Dawn Ciccone, 61, now of Center Valley PA, finished with a very respectable 8:21 per-mile pace by posting a 42:07 racing time, earning the first place award in her age group. She has often shared these sentiments: “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.”
Korean War veteran Joseph Placente, 86, of Toms River and Vietnam veteran Joseph Renzella, 76, of Neptune City did and said exactly as they did ten days ago at the Firecracker Five Mile Race in Wall Township: they carried the American flag atop a six-foot pole the whole race. When asked “Were you both glad you did this exhausting effort?”, “Absolutely” was their answer and further said “God Bless America!” Their racing time was 1:19:44.
Fifteen teams of up to ten 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 “Barracudas” All-Male team. The team’s average was 30:20, made up of race-winner Andrew Dombrowiecki, Greg Lowing, Ken Kropac and Brian Hill.
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 Adam Spence Corp., the New Jersey Natural Gas Company, Belmar Elementary School and other local residents. Many members of the Ocean Running Club were on hand to take care of the post registration of racers.
The Belmar Five event actually begins on Friday evening at the Silver Lake Park with Fireworks, and a series of Kids’ Races organized by Wall Township’s Carly DePolo, past-president of the JSRC, and this year over 250 children, from ages 1 (toddler) to 14 running at various distances.
This five-mile 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, Asbury Park Sheehan Classic 5K, and the Pier House 5K. Quilty, a past Jersey Shore GrandPrix Champion, leads the series, having won the Spring Lake Five in May; he plans to run both the Asbury Park Sheehan 5K and the Pier House 5K on Labor Day in Long Branch.
Bill Huntley of Colts Neck, 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 Elite Racing Systems, Clifton, was the professional organizer of the computer Chronotrack (B-Tag) results.
“An early morning ocean breeze kept runners cool before and during the event, then warmed up to produce a beautiful sunny beach day, and the 42nd Annual Belmar Five will probably be one of the most memorable years for many. Also memorable will be our shirt design with fisherman and jetty 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 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.
Chip Cavanaugh, President of Goodwill Hose Company, shared similar sentiments in a post-race email: “I would like to thank everyone for all the support and help that made this event a great success. This event takes a large group of volunteers to make this the success it is. Thank You.”
The Belmar Five 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:
Monmouth County leading male finishers: Ryan Humelsine, Neptune, 27:08; Kyle Clonan, Tinton Falls, 27:58; Andrew Cruz, Holmdel, 27:58; Andrew Dombrowiecki, Asbury Park, 28:20; Danny Kelly, Spring Lake Hts., 28:33; Arthur Smith III, Howell, 28:35; Paul Juelis, Middletown, 29:23; Pat Ford, Neptune City, 29:24; Jake Simon, Freehold, 29:27; Greg Lowing, Ocean, 29:47; Dylan Mannion, Oakhurst, 29:48; Andre Thompson, Neptune, 29:53; Jonathan Erdelyi, Atlantic Highlands, 29:57; Sean Rath, Atlantic Highlands, 30:01; Devon Quaglietta, Neptune, 30:10; Ben Miller, Elberon, 30:11; John Jankowski, Sea Girt, 30:17; Kevin O'Dowd, Colts Neck, 30:26; Max Manganiello, Belmar, 30:39; Mike O'Dowd, Colts Neck, 30:41; Ken Kropac, Lake Como, 31:00; Matt Frabizio, Ocean, 31:03; Don Griffin, Belmar, 31:06; Michael Kennedy, Red Bank, 31:28; Christopher Whitehead, Eatontown, 31:35; and Kevin Kohl, Brielle, 31:49.
Monmouth County leading female finishers: Brittany Piercy, Freehold, 31:18; Kiera Russo, Tinton Falls, 31:37; Kaitlyn Smith, Wall Township, 32:03; Kellee McEwen, Howell, 32:48; Erin Weber, Avon By The Sea, 34:24; Christen McCafferty, Lake Como, 34:29; Beth Marzigliano, Lake Como, 35:13; Laura Skrief, Fair Haven, 35:42; Kathy Kropke, Brielle, 35:54; Christine Hill, Middletown, 36:01; Courtney Howley, Rumson, 36:07; Dawn Wilcox, Little Silver, 36:10; Sandra Bolton, Belmar, 36:31.8; Radhika Shah, Colts Neck, 36:40; Kavita Shah, Colts Neck, 36:41; Morgan MacKie, Spring Lake, 36:45; Brianna Haspel, Lincroft, 36:53; Danielle Demarco, Howell, 37:02; Dominique Masia, Wall, 37:25; Jayne Condon, Shrewsbury, 37:31; Rickie Lee Saybolt, Shrewsbury, 37:52; Megan Doyle, Belmar, 38:38; Kaylee Villane, Oceanport, 38:48; Colleen Black, Wall Twp, 39:07; Diane Rothman, Leonardo, 39:08; and Kelly Haspel, Lincroft, 39:25.
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 15th Annual Asbury Park Sheehan 5K, to benefit local charities, on August 1. Further information can be found on the series website: www.jsgrandprix.com.