The Jersey Shore Running Club held their 14th Annual Navesink Challenge on Sunday, November 30, 2014 at Bodman Park in the Navesink Section of Middletown, New Jersey. The event included 5K and 15K races. It was a near ideal morning for the runners with moderate temperatures just around 50 degrees, little wind and a bright sunny sky at the 10 a.m. start for the 15K and 10:10 a.m. for the accompanying 5K.
A record field participated with more than 1000 runners pre-registered for the two races. The event has grown over the years and co race directors Jeff Nichols and Leslie Mckernan led a team of dedicated volunteers from the Jersey Shore Running Club and the Middletown Youth Athletic Association (MYAA) to another successful year. The race is a fund raiser for the MYAA which provides athletic opportunities for youth in the area. Bodman Park where the race was staged is also the meeting place for the club’s Sunday Run which is held there every week at 8 a.m. and is open to all.
The start of both races was in the park between two rows of tall trees which have lost all their leaves. Prior to the start of the 15K the National Anthem was sung and then Phil Hinck of Monmouth Beach gave out the usual directions to the runners before giving them the command to start the race. The runners made their way out of the park and headed onto Cooper Road which is a mostly dirt road. At about the 2 mile mark was one of the first of many hills on the course. The hill is known to local runners as “kick ass hill”. Once they made it over that first hill they run through parts of Huber Woods and then return back in a loop to Cooper Road and a long climb back before they enter the park for the last quarter mile or so. From there it is a spring to the finish. The 5k follows a similar route but turns before that first big hill.
15K Photos – 5K Photos
15K Results – 5K Results
Coming in first overall in the 15K was Gerard Sclafani of Rutherford, New Jersy age 24 in a time of 52:32 which is a 5:38 pace on a truly tough course. He was followed by Jason Gers, age 41 of Monmouth Beach, New Jersey in 53:55 and then Andrew Dombrowiecki age 20 in 54:52. On the women’s side breaking the tape first was Caitlin Dorgan of Red Bank, New Jersey age 26 in a time of 59:12. Caitlin’s Dad, Patrick is one of the founders of the race and he also participated. Caitlin was followed by Jacqueline Gottuso of Fair Haven, New Jersey age 18 in 1:02:50 and then Hannah Arntz of South Plainfield age 16 in a time of 1:05:14.
In the 5K breaking the tape first was Zachary Velasquez of New London, Connecticut age 20 in a time of 17:20. He was followed by James Rimmele also of New London, age 19n in 17:43 and then Joseph Rimmele of Belford, New Jersey age 15 in 18:40. For the women it was Maddy Marrone of Belford, New Jersey age 17 in 19:45 followed by Erin Weber of Avon, New Jersey age 14 in 20:34 and then Rachel Kenny of Matawan, New Jersey age 14 in 20:38.
The race included competitions among the local gyms in the area. Nine gyms competed with a total of about 350 participants. One of the larger was ZPT PT based in Atlantic Highlands which had 140 participants. The group was led by James Zino who ran in the 5K. According to Mr. Zino it was the 5th year the group has participated and each year the numbers have increased. He indicated that, “the group loves the challenge of the hills and they train specifically for this event.”
After the races awards were presented to the top finishers and age group winners in each event. After all the runners finished the volunteers cleaned up the park and the runners headed over to the Red Bank Elks Lodge where they celebrated their accomplishments. They were entertained by local celebrity Pat Guagando. Runners will have plenty to choose from in coming weeks with many holiday themed events on tap to include;
Saturday, December 6, 5k, Arthritis Jingle Bell Run, Cooper River Park, New Jersey
Saturday, December 6, 2014, 9:30 a.m. Poricy Park Trail Runs, Events: 5K Run/Walk, 5 Mile Run and Kids’ Fun Run, Poricy Park in Middletown, New Jersey
Saturday, December 6, 5K, Ugly Sweater Run, Lakehurst, New Jersey
Saturday, December 6, 9 a.m. 5K, Big Chill, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Sunday, December 7, 10 a.m. or 4:30 p.m. 3K, Jingle All the Way 3K, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Sunday, Dec 7, 2014. Kiddie Dash 2:45pm, One mile Run 3:00pm, 5k 3:30pm, Jingle Bells 5k, Downtown Toms River, New Jersey
Sunday, December 7, 3K, 19 a.m. No One Fights Alone Andrews 3K, Howell, New Jersey
Saturday, December 13, 9:30 a.m. 5k, Jingle Bell Run, Lake Como, New Jersey
Sunday, December 14, 5K, 10 a.m. 26th Annual Toys For Tots , Michael Tighe Park, Freehold, New Jersey
Saturday, December 14, 5k, Mistletoe 5K, Mercerville, New Jersey
Sunday, December 14, Arthritis Jingle Bell Run, Malvern, Pennsylvania
Sunday, December 28, 5K, Polar Bear Race, Asbury Park, New Jersey
Wednesday, December 31, New Year’s Eve Twilight Run, Paul’s Tavern, Lake Como, New Jersey
Saturday, January 3, Half Marathon Training Program Starts, Asbury Park – Spring Lake, New Jersey
More events can be found on the race calendar.