Over 600 are ‘Born to Run’


FREEHOLD, NJ--The nation might think of the day after Thanksgiving mainly as Black Friday but there
were 659 road racers whose first concern, on this overcast, breezy, mid-40s morning of the 26th of November, was to be competing in the annual Born to Run five-mile race presented at the Monmouth County seat of Freehold. The title of this event has a connection to Bruce Springsteen, famous American songwriter, singer, and guitarist, who was raised in Freehold and has an album by that name: Born to Run.
Michael Dixon, 27, of Fanwood was the first to cross the finish line located at Court Street at a racing time of 26:23, a highly respectable 5:17 per mile pace. Alan Wells, 47, of Orlando, FL, at 26:44 was second to finish this out-and-back course, with a loop in Topanemus Park (a lake is part of the Park) that also starts at Court Street at 26:44. He was followed by Old Bridge’s Brandan Lyman, 21, at 27:29.

“There were three of us running together for maybe the first mile but after that I was alone to the finish,” said Dixon in describing his championship performance. “I liked it a lot: there were challenging hills and a lot of crowd support especially at the finish-line area,” he said of the course and of the weather: “It was great for running.”

For the third year in succession, Lindsey Gallo, 28, of Arlington, VA, was the women’s champion of this event at a racing time of 29:26 (7th place overall). Alison Pilkington, 28, Red Bank, was second woman at 31:18 (14th overall) and Marlboro’s Jenna Jensen, 25, came third at 31:31 (16th overall).

“My time was a little slower than last year’s but maybe that’s because I ate more turkey this year,” Gallo said when asked to compare and when reminded that in a five-mile race, according to The Runner’s Handbook by Bob Glover a runner will lose 500 calories, she said, “maybe I’ll go home now and have some well-earned pumpkin pie.” When asked if she’d be running the Born to Run next year, the University of Maryland graduate student who’s studying for a doctorate degree in accounting said, “As long as my parents continue to live in Freehold, I’ll be home for a Thanksgiving visit and will participate.”

The leading race-walk finishers, male/female respectively, were Patrick Heeb, 44 of Freehold at 52:32 and Gail Warshaw, 55, of Demarest at 58:19.

A feature of this event is a Race within a Race whereby the finishers are encouraged to get to the Postrace Party at the Court Jester pronto. The men winners were champion Mike Dixon (26:23, race time) who dashed across the street in 27:22 (27 seconds and 22/100), followed by Steve Apostolacus (33:26) of Wanamasa in 34:38 and Robert Tona (37:09) of Monmouth Junction in 38:36.


For the women it was Meg Foley (39:24) of Grand Junction, Colorado in 41:25 followed by Shannon Weldy (38:59) of New Brunswick in 42:43 and in a tie for third it was Mary Moriarty (45:44) of Highlands and Marilyn Ryder (46:02) of Long Branch in 47:41.

“I really like this course a lot--­­it has challenging hills and it offers a taste of cross-country and a taste of road running, so we get both,” said Ann O’Dowd, 48, of Colts Neck who finished at 35:42, a very respectable 7:09 per-mile pace. She informed that she had raced the Philadelphia Marathon (26.2 miles) the previous Sunday so “whatever my time was today, I’m satisfied with it and just glad to finish.” She thought the weather was “a bit windy but overall good for running.”

At the starting line at 11 a.m., thereabout, race director Mike O’Flaherty president of FARC, assembled the racers, thanked them for coming, and briefed them on the direction and details of the course. He then introduced Linda Hyer as the official starter who sounded the horn and the racers were underway following the lead vehicle driven by the race director.

Handing out awards of money to the aforementioned top three and gymnasium bags to the winners and age-group leaders at the firehouse on Main Street which served as the staging area was the director, assisted by other club associates. Several members of the Cpl. Reynolds Detachment of the Marine Corps League assisted with traffic control. Computer results were compiled by Fred and Anna Torres of Open Door Food Pantry and Lake Topanemus Park were the beneficiaries. “I want to thank all the racers for participating in this year’s 26th anniversary of FARC’s Born to Run and all the volunteers who do the many activities necessary to put on a race such as this. I would also like to thank the Court Jester Restaurants, the Freehold Township girl scouts and the Freehold Borough Fire Dept., First Aid, Police, and Public Works Departments. I also want to thank the race committee who always comes together to put on quality running events for our runners/racewalkers: Linda Hyer, Isabel Meldrum, and Cathy O’Flaherty for Registration; Tom Wendel for Finish Line; Rich Edwards and Hal Smith for Course; Marcia Shapiro for Volunteers; Fran Kugelmas for Hospitality; and all the other FARC volunteers,” said the race director in an e-mail summary.