The 43rd edition of the Jersey Shore Half-Marathon and the accompanying Lighthouse 5K, scheduled for Sunday at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, are officially canceled for 2015.
JSHM director Dave Friedman reported, “We have been notified by park rangers that Sandy Hook will be officially closed on race day because of the weather.”
And so, for the second time in three years, the JSHM will not be held. Two years ago, the race was canceled because of the federal government shutdown.
For many reasons, the Jersey Shore Half-Marathon was called “a great tradition” and “a great race.”
First run in January 1972, the event was one of New Jersey’s longest-running success stories. It preceded Frank Shorter’s historic victory in the Munich Olympic Marathon. It preceded the coming of Steve Prefontaine. It helped set the stage for the coming of the second American — and worldwide — “running boom.”
Originally named the Jersey Shore Marathon (run over the full 26.2-mile distance), the race evolved into the JSHM years later but retains all its old virtues.
Forty-three editions later, however, it’s again run into a situation beyond its control.
Given the weather, stay tuned for details of other local events and impending weather conditions.
The busy local weekend schedule is set to open with the first race in the annual Shore AC Cross Country League Series, the three-miler Saturday (9 a.m. start) at Thompson Park. The series runs six weeks and continues on Oct. 10 (Tatum Park), Oct. 17 (Wolf Hill Park), Oct. 24 (Huber Woods), Oct. 31 (Shark River Park) and Nov. 7 (Holmdel Park). The series is open to runners of all ages, and no pre-entries are required.
Also on the weekend schedule at press time are the Beachwood River Run 5K and the Little Silver 5K Sunday. The Bricktober Fest 5K on Saturday has been postponed until Oct. 10.
Scholastic XC season rolling
Meanwhile, the scholastic cross country season continues running full blast, with the 27-section New Balance Shore Coaches Invitational Meet occupying center stage Saturday at Holmdel Park. With a cast of thousands, the huge production starts at 9 a.m. and runs nonstop until past 5 p.m.
Major meets in New York and New Jersey last Saturday saw Shore Conference talent matching strides with many of the Northeast’s best.
The Christian Brothers Academy team, ranked as the No. 1 boys squad in the nation, ran off with top honors in Division One of the Bowdoin XC Classic in Wappingers Falls, New York, last Saturday, and the Colts did it without top runner Blaise Ferro, who sat this one out to rest some aching shins.
Nick Dahl of Germantown (Pennsylvania) Friends Academy took the gold medal in 16:20, and CBA placed 2-4-9-10-12 to net 37 points, with a team average of 16:39. All five Colts (Drake Anzano, second overall in 16:25; followed by Jon Dooling, Paul Knepple, Nick Trigani and Brian Hill) were just 27 seconds apart. Hill was the first sophomore finisher in the big field.
LaSalle (Rhode Island) Academy’s David Principe (15:45) won the other varsity section, with Southern Regional’s Evan Anatzain seventh (17:08) and Ethan Yates ninth (17:11).
Donovan Catholic High School junior Alyssa Wilson excelled in the first edition of the Shore AC/Christian Brothers Academy Field Meet last Sunday in Lincroft, Middletown, with performances of 50-7 in the shot put and 153-8 in the discus.
The USATF-sanctioned meet, open to athletes of all ages, also saw St. Rose senior Luke Grodeska lead the shot put at 56-4¾ and CBA senior Will Lutkewitte win the discus at 161-8.
The men’s open shot put went to Neptune’s Josh Russell, former IC4A champion at Wagner College, and Shore AC teammates Pat Toland and Charles Roll led the way in the Masters Division. Former Syracuse star Evan Stivala of SAC took the high jump at 6-2, then placed second in the shot and third in the discus.
Six Flags wrap
Meanwhile, at the sixth annual Six Flags Wild Safari Meet in Jackson, an ultra-successful, six-state assemblage again directed by Colts Neck coach Jim Schlentz, the host Colts Neck Cougars set the boys’ pace with the top performance in the merged results from all sections.
Colts Neck led all teams with a five-man team total of 1:22:43 and an average of 15:41. Fastest boy in the meet was Connor McMenamin of Souderton, Pennsylvania, at 15:41, but Jordan Brannan of Colts Neck was right behind that pace at 15:49 to rank second overall.
Other leading Shore boys finishers were Manalapan’s Ethan Seltzer (16:32) and Colts Neck’s Anthony Russo and Zach Csipkay (both 16:36.) Next-quickest Shore teams were Manalapan (1:27:13) and Manasquan (1:28:46.)
Sarah Flynn, the brilliant freshman at New York’s Ursuline Academy, led all girl varsity runners in 18:27. Fastest Shore girls were Manalapan’s Kiera Nealon (19:26), Toms River North’s Madyson Reilly (19:47) and Brick Memorial’s Dayna Luma (19:50.)
Pearl River, New York, (1:36:42 total, 19:21 average) paced all girls teams, with Toms River North (1:41:21) third. Other top local squads were Manalapan (1:48:37), Colts Neck (1:51:40) and Brick Memorial (1:52:37).
A special prize awaited members of the champion teams: rides on the fearsome Kingda Ka roller coaster — without having to wait on line.