9-YEAR-OLD BRIANA JACKUCEWICZ
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.
1. Briana Jackucewicz 19:53