Broadway Classic 5K

BY JIM ROBBINS

LONG BRANCH, NJ -- Area road racers were right at home on weather-perfect Saturday morning October 2nd with the Long Branch Fire Department's inaugural Broadway Classic 5K Race/Walk. Mark Mellea of Pine Lake Park was the first to break the finish-line tape held by Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC) members Penny Hinck and John Eddy, both of Long Branch, in front of the Union Avenue fire house headquarters, in 16:54. "This is it," said Mellea when asked what his best time was for the same distance of 3.1 miles. "I did exactly this same time two weeks ago at Island Heights," added the initial champion. Finishing second of the 125 competitors was Raul Martinez in 17:10, of Asbury Park. Third was Bobby Cavallo in 17:40, of Bayville.

First in for the women, on a course that started at the staging area on Broadway and 3rd Avenue, proceeded to 7th Avenue, to Joline Avenue, to Ocean Boulevard, continued south to Chelsea Avenue, to Memorial Parkway, and then onto Union, was Sandy Sanders of Keyport at 19:26 (10th overall). "I did a 19:18 in Panama City, Florida, in November of '98," informed Sanders, in between breaths at the finish-line area, in comparing her best time for a like effort. "I liked it a lot -- a nicely organized event¾adequate water stations, even though I didn't use them -- marshals at every intersection watching out so no one gets injured," added Sanders when asked to comment on the race. Rounding out the top three for the females were Terra Sarnacki Royer in 20:05 (12th overall), and Stepanie Carlin in 20:25 (14th overall), both Monmouth University cross-country team members.

Trophies were awarded to these winners and age-group leaders by Phil Hinck, race organizer and past president of the JSRC, assisted by Adam Schneider, mayor of Long Branch. Fitness walkers and racewalkers were all part of the overall race and Kids' Races were held immediately after.

The race was organized by members of the JSRC and is a joint effort of the Urban Enterprize Zone and the Long Branch Fire Department to promote Broadway's Revitalization, in addition to celebrating National Fire Prevention Month. "I am thrilled -- the runners liked the course¾we had plenty of volunteers that I want to thank¾and the weather is just great," said Diane Munoz of the UEZ. "Hopefully," added Munoz when asked if the event would become an annual occasion.