9-YEAR-OLD BRIANA JACKUCEWICZ
WINS RRCA WDF 5K

BY JIM ROBBINS

HOLMDEL, NJ--Three hundred and forty-nine women, many of whom are usually road racers, had to become cross-country competitors in order to race the RRCA Women's Distance Festival Saturday in the Park event, a 5K, for women only, at Holmdel Park on Saturday, September 2.

Briana Jackucewicz, of Farmingdale, who celebrated her tenth birthday in October, was first on this very humid, overcast morning in 19:53. "I went out in front at the first hill (about 1/3 of a mile into the race) and nobody got in front of me," said the amazing nine-year-old in telling of her performance. Indeed, no one else was in sight, from the vantage point of the finish line, until Helen Ward, of Spring Lake Heights, came in from the 3.1-mile, hilly course, nearly a minute later in 20:50. Finishing third was Middletown's Jill Evarts in 20:57. "I was in the pack until the second mile then I got out in front," said Ward in describing her second place finish. "No, I couldn't see her--didn't even know she was there," added Ward when asked if she tried to catch the champion.

Racewalk champion was Donna Cetrulo, of Long Branch, in 32:12, and Donna Baginsky, of Eatontown, was second with a 39:13.

This race, and other women's races, is held in conjunction with the Road Runners Club of America. Tim McLoone, emcee, prior to the race, introduced Freddi Carlip, president of the RRCA. "Hi everyone. It's wonderful to be here with you celebrating women's running and sharing this challenge with you. I want to thank the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC) for extending the invitation and compliment the members for organizing this event. My daughter and I are looking forward to racing with you."

The beneficiary is the Women's Center of Monmouth County whose brochure states it's a non-profit organization now in its 24th year of providing shelter, counseling, protection, support, and advocacy for residents of Monmouth County who are affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.

Following Carlip, McLoone introduced Lori Sadwith, director of the Center, who also thanked all for coming and thanked, especially, Penny Hinck, of Long Branch, the director of the race. Sadwith asked the women to hold hands and said, "As you run the run and walk the walk, remember to respect the woman at your side, for her stride is equal to yours; remember to admire the woman in front of you for she has worked hard to pass you by; most importantly remember to encourage the woman behind you for she must struggle to catch up. Let's dedicate every step of this race to put an end to violence against women." The eager-to-run participants showed their appreciation with a generous round of applause.

Congressman Rush Holt, of the 12th District, was the official starter of the race.

Carlip, of Lewisburg, PA, is also publisher/editor of the Runner's Gazette, America's first running newspaper established in 1976, and had a reasonable racing time of 30:15. "It was hell--but it was challenging; a wonderful way for women to feel strong and invincible," said Carlip when she was asked to comment on the cross-country course.

Sadwith, of Ocean Township, struggled to the finish with a time of 40:25, and admittedly walked "the bowl," a popular description of a large depression the racers must encounter at about the second mile. "There isn't a better thing you can do than run through these woods on a Saturday morning," said a humorous Sadwith, obviously pleased with having finished the race, coupled with the success of the event. Over $19,000 was raised from pledges and donations to the Center.

McLoone and Hinck awarded JSRC Certificates of Achievement and sweatshirts to these winners, age-group leaders, and sister/sister mother/daughter categories. Due to the generosity of the sponsors and local businesses, many random prizes were offered. The main prize, a mountain bike, donated by Dr. Charles Whelan of Whelan Chiropractic in Little Silver, was won by Fran Laresca, of Howell Township, who finished in 35:38.

"I want to thank the Holmdel Park rangers and the many volunteers who pulled together to produce a truly enjoyable running event as well as a successful fund raiser. Also thanks to my husband whose help and support are immeasurable," said Penny Hinck, director. Phil Hinck is president of the JSRC.

Cross-country team members from Shore Regional High School were present and acted as course marshals, under the supervision of their coaches Mel Ullmeyer, of West Long Branch, and Ken Bullivant, of Long Branch. Jennifer Thien and John Eddy, of Long Branch, did the computer results.

Overall

1. Briana Jackucewicz 19:53
2. Helen Ward 20:50
3. Jill Evarts 20:57
4. Christine Murphy 21:07
5. Emily McMillan 21:36
6. Kay Romano 21:44
7. Keora McGraw 21:52
8. Daniela Kolarsick 21:54
9. Courtney Fiorovanti 22:04
10. Ashley Folchetti 22:06
11. Andrea Vasconcellos 22:06
12. Dawn Ciccone 22:07
13. Amanda Cavallo 22:34
14. Stephanie Bardge 22:39
15. Tina Strauss 22:54
16. Andrea Ditrani 22:56
17. Mary Tursi 22:59
18. Dulce Drapkin 23:08
19. Linda Puzzo 23:27
20. Morgan Proffitt 23:32
21. Kim Daley 23:35
22. Susan Foley 23:36
23. Bonnie Jerro 23:46
24. Mary Conry 23:54
25. Dawn Ytreboe 24:03

 

Marcy Carlip Marshall (left) and Freddi Carlip
beaming with pride after another memory-making
mom-daughter race.
John MacGillivray photo
 Dear Marcy,

We sealed the deal, on New Year's Eve 1998, to run our fourth mom-daughter race in 1999, but it was not to be. When 1999 was barely two-months old, you and James moved to New Jersey. We talked about finding a race, but, given your work schedule with your new job, it was next to impossible. And 1999 melted into 2000, bringing new opportunities and a new job…and weekends off.

Although you weren't racing, you were as dedicated to running as ever. Your early morning runs soothed your mind and body and prepared you for whatever the day had in store.

In April, running became a distant memory as you fought an infection in your foot. Instead of daily runs, you were dealing with daily doses of IV antibiotics. The infection was so virulent, we thought you might lose your toe. Your resilience and strength got you through, and within two weeks, you were pounding the pavement once again. Your mom was breathing a huge sigh of relief as she thanked the Powers that Be for watching over her firstborn.

A mom-daughter race? Having you healthy and running was enough. A race was almost too much to hope for.

Funny, though, that when we least expected it, an opportunity to race was within our grasp, thanks to John MacGillivray, the RRCA NJ State Rep. John is also a Metuchen resident, and is a member of the Jersey Shore Running Club. He extended the invitation, on behalf of the club to run its RRCA Women's Distance Festival 5K on September 2, in Holmdel.

Here was our chance, Marcy. We were going to run our fourth mom-daughter race. Nothing could stop this duo. We were going to roar once again!

Race-day weather was warm and humid. The course, in Holmdel Park, was cross-country and challenging. It's etched in the memory of many a cross-country runner who has raced its hills and conquered the "bowl." Now it was our turn.

And, so we were off on another adventure. We were a team, Marcy. We decided when to pass and when to pick up the pace. Our quads burned and our breathing was labored as we fought our way out of the bowl; constantly climbing. Our relief was short-lived as we were faced with steep down hills and switchbacks. But, oh the finish! We came off the rutted trails and saw the grass stretched out ahead of us, with the finish in the distance. That's all we needed. We headed to the finish fueled by endorphins and by the joy of knowing we had done something that a few months earlier, seemed impossible.

Circumstances may make our dreams seem beyond our grasp, but tides do change. We never gave up hope that we'd race together again. Never underestimate what the love of a mother and daughter can accomplish. The course may have been hellish, but this race in the park was pure heaven to us.

Love,
Mom