500 Women Enjoy a Saturday in the Park,
HOLMDEL, NJ--A sorority of 500 would-be road racers started their Labor Day weekend as cross-country competitors and challenged Holmdel Parks 3.1 mile championship course by responding to the invitation of the 12th annual Saturday in the Park Womens 5K, on the sunny, glorious morning of September 3.
At the starting line adjacent to the main pavilion, Pat Labrunski, newly appointed Executive Director of the Epiphany House, one of the events beneficiary womens organizations dedicated to "Women Taking Steps to Help Women," welcomed the runners and walkers, and thanked the Jersey Shore Running Club for hosting the event.
After a group rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, Phil Hinck, husband of Penny, the race director, gave a loud, "Ready, go!" as the official starter. And the racers were underway on "one of the toughest cross-country courses in Monmouth County, maybe in all of New Jersey," offered Hinck. The first 1/3 of a mile is an uphill climb that eventually leads to a large recession which is commonly referred to as the "bowl" and then onto the last leg of the course being a winding downhill through woods to the straightaway finish contiguous to the main road.
Fifteen-year-old Amanda Marino of Jackson was the first to cross the finish line at a racing time of 19:05 followed by Brooklyns Kelly Chin at 19:36. In third was Amy Caruso of Toms River at 19:53.
Adele McDonough, 29, of Belmar a past president of the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC), finishing in 20:41, was the first JSRC member, earning the Mary Conry Memorial Award, in memory of club member and Saturday in the Park Committee member who passed away tragically last summer.
Red Banks Elizabeth Ireland, another past president of the Jersey Shore Running Club, finished at 30:05, good for first place award in her age group 55-59. When asked her thoughts on the course she offered It is tough and lovely--tough because of the hills and my old age, and lovely because of the spirit of the women on the course; everybody is pulling for each other.
There are three beneficiaries of the event: Epiphany House of Asbury Park and Long Branch which provides traditional housing and services to create and maintain a self-affirming life to homeless women and children who seek to recover from addiction; Providence House of Catholic Charities in Ocean County which offers services to women and children who are affected by domestic violence; Spring House of Eatontown which provides interim housing to single, female parents and their families, acting as a springboard to help residents gain self-sufficiency. Eileen Higgins, Exectutive Director of Spring House, commented, "The money from race goes to underwrite the costs of a family of four going through the program offered by Spring House, and covers about 1½ months."
A current Spring House resident, Terrell, age 19, has been at Spring House with her 2-year-old son for 7 months, learning parenting skills, budgeting skills, and how to become more self-sufficient. She ran the Saturday in the Park and said that she is a smoker and hadnt run the course since middle school. When asked after the race how she felt, she stated smilingly, "If you are going to run, dont smoke!"
Since its inception, the Saturday in the Park 5K has raised over $145,000 and has created public awareness of options and services available to women. This year, donor pledges earned over $1,600.
Walter MacGowan, emcee, and Director Hinck awarded charm necklaces to the aforementioned winners as well as age-group leaders and other special achievers on the Parks grounds near the finish-line area. Gifts were offered at a random drawing, due to the generosity of the business community. The main gift of a mountain bike, courtesy of All Brunswick Cyclery was won by Panse Geer (race-walk division winner) of Hazlet. Panse has competed several years in this event, returning each year "for the cause," and she noted that while this was the first year she is walking, her performance was a personal best.
The Saturday in the Park event began as part of the Womens Distance Festival of the Road Runners Club of America which was an effort to encourage womens running at all levels. To add to this idea the JSRC Womens Running 101 Program, which was initiated by the club in 2002 to train women to run the Saturday in the Park race as their first 5K, was continued and several women completed the race as their graduation event.
Nearly 150 volunteers were available for the myriad activities of putting on an event such as this and among them, serving as course marshals, were the cross-country students of Ocean Township and Red Bank Regional High School supervised by their respective coaches: Paul Looney and Terra Sarnacki. Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Hay, noted that most of the volunteers come to the event to give back to the community. Hoyle Mozee and Wally Morales of the Shore Athletic Club were the official timers. Fred and Anna Torres organized the computer results. Glenda Calabro, Jackson High School Girls Cross-Country Coach, was the guest speaker, offering inspirational anecdotes, adding "Never under estimate the power of a girl."
"I am extremely pleased with this years turnout and want to thank our sponsors, the race committee, and the tremendous efforts of our volunteers. All components of the event merge together to produce a truly enjoyable day for the women runners and walkers, as well as raise awareness for the womens charities which need our support. Special thanks to Holmdel park rangers for providing the beautiful setting, and to my husband, Phil, whose help with the race is immeasurable," concluded a deservedly, very proud Penny Hinck, race director. It should be noted that Phil Hinck directed the successful five-mile races in Spring Lake and Belmar and also the Red Bank George Sheehan Classic.
1. Amanda Marino 19:05
1. Janice Morra 20:32
Jersey Shore Running Club
1. Adele McDonough 20:41
1. Kristen Traub 20:09
1. Rachel Provost 20:00
1. Colleen Clancy 22:59
1. Amber Hart 20:10
1. Bronawyn OLeary 21:54
1. Marueen Massell 22:15
1. Lauren Rhatigan 20:36
1. Chris Murphy 21:24
1. Jane McGraw 25:46
1. Elizabeth Ireland 30:05
1. Patricia OHanlon 28:51
1. Betty Gibbons 50:09
1. Panse Geer 33:24
1. Amber Hart, Kim Hart 43:53
1. Rachel Provost, Melissa Provost 41:42