Sergeant Patrick King Remembered at 5K

LONG BRANCH, NJ--Hosted by the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC), over 600 dedicated racers competed/participated in the annual Sgt. Pat’s 5K on a cool, but not snowy (as the forecast had indicated) Easter Saturday morning of March 22.

Maggie Freeman, Englishtown, a sergeant in the Manalapan police force was the first finisher of many patrolwomen at a racing time of 20:14. The other four dedicated patrolwomen who all received special awards were Jeanne Rabii 23:57, Somerset; Jennifer Jukas 24:52, Toms River; Maria Franceschini 28:25, Sea Girt; and Eileen Allen 29:09, Freehold.

“I think it’s a great race for a great cause--I think it’s a wonderful thing to have a race in his honor,” said Freeman, who also serves as vice-president of the Freehold Area Racing Club, when asked her thoughts on the purpose of the Sgt. Pat’s 5K. The event honors the Long Branch police officer Sergeant Patrick King and according to Footnotes, the JSRC newsletter: “On November 20, 1997, Sgt. Patrick King was killed while on duty in a town that he had lived in most of his life. Sgt. King was on his dinner break at the Ming Ying restaurant in the West End section of Long Branch. While waiting at the counter after ordering his dinner, a lone gunman walked into the restaurant and fired two bullets into the back of Sgt. King’s head. Sgt. King never had a chance to use the knowledge and expertise that he had learned in all his years of training to protect the public. The race is done in his memory.”
John Leibfried of Lake Como was the first patrolman to finish the out-and-back 3.1 mile course that began at the Promenade on the historic Long Branch oceanfront and proceeded south on Ocean Avenue through the Pier Village section, that has a popular restaurant whose staff has printed on their T-shirts: “Sometimes Being Fresh is Good.” The course continues to Cottage Place to Ocean Boulevard and back to Ocean Avenue and then to the finish line on Seaview Avenue adjacent to Seven Presidents Park where Liebfried earned a highly impressive racing time of 17:44. Rounding out the top five patrolmen were Michael Monahan 19:40, Long Branch; Mark Catalano 21:24, Jackson; Sean Foye 21:52, Roselle Park; and Timothy Mullin 21:55, Jackson.

The overall champion of the total 655 racers was Pedro Espinosa, 24, of Freehold at 16:09 and finishing second and third were Maximilian Sparshatt, 16, of Rumson at 16:30 and Luciano DeOliveira, 29, Long Branch at 16:39.


Stephanie Zottoli, 23, at 19:13 (21st overall), from Old Bridge was the women’s champion and she was followed by Kathlane Pavlick, 40, at 20:00 (34th overall) of Monmouth Beach and Belmar’s Amber Hart, 29, at 20:02 (35th overall).
Nancy Thorne of Long Branch was satisfied with her 27:28 racing time because as she indicated she wanted to participate in this memorial race but didn’t feel up to competing so she enjoyed the camaraderie of her many racing friends and the good exercise. Her dad, Al Thorne, former police chief of West Long Branch, also participated in the two-mile walk which, along with the Kids’ Races, is part of this event (he had already done his regular four-mile walk on the boardwalk). Nancy will again direct the annual Michael Thorne 4-Mile Scholarship Run, that will be staged at Franklin Lake in West Long Branch on May 18, to honor her fireman brother who died while being on duty.

Tim McLoone, emcee, assisted by Penny Hinck and Scott Beaver, presented awards of sweatshirts, coffee mugs, and tote bags to the aforementioned winners and age-group and special-category leaders on the grounds of Strollo Lighthouse on Seaview Avenue. Raffle prizes were offered due to the generosity of the local business community. This event benefits Holiday Express, PBA Local 10, HABcore Inc., and the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County.

"I want to thank the race committee members: Maureen King, Tim McLoone, Pat Joyce, Scott Beaver, Guy Beaver, Jack Carroll, Amy Robinson, Bob Ferguson Art Wisliceny, and Eddie Kirschenbaum. I want to recognize the race-day volunteers who contributed their time and effort to making the race successful, especially my wife, Penny, who really does all the work on race day. Fred and Anna Torres of did the computerized results. The Windmill (north) restaurant parking lot on Ocean Avenue, served as the registration area. The event has been growing every year due to the help of our sponsors and we hope to continue doing it for such great causes," said director Phil Hinck in an e-mail message.