Participation in the Hazlet 5K race along Middle Road was a success, exceeding organizers' expectations. Prior to race day, organizers had 129 runners and walkers registered. But then on Saturday morning, 188 more showed up, for a total of 317.
Though there were runnners from all over New Jersey, Hazlet athletes took several titles. In the Mens Overall, Andrew Herschman, 22, of Hazlet won first place with 17:13. Brian Decker, 39 of Point Pleasant Beach took second with 17:20, and Joseph Cowley, 15, of Hazlet earned third with 18:21.
In Womens Overall, the winners were Dianne Deoliveria 41, Brick with a time of 19:21. Second place went to Meagan Drapkin 28, of Brick with 20:17. Anne Brown, 24, of Toms River took third with 22:32.
Race results are available at Lin-Mark.com.
For some, it was their first race. JeanMarie McGrogan came with her husband and other members of the Middletown Police Department. "I just wanted to make it back without stopping," she said.
All around athlete Danny Fiore, 10, of Hazlet, who has been running races for half his life, finished with an impressive 23:10, "It was my fastest time ever," he said.
Young athletes represented from Raritan High School boys and girls cross country and the U-13 Cobras Travel Soccer team.
For weekend athletes, like Padre Burgess, 49, of South Plainfield, the Hazlet 5K will now be a part of an annual tradition. "It's a great course, straight and relatively flat, with a few inclines, like at the end," said Burgess, a superviser at a trucking company. "I'll definitely do it again."
Jennifer Kamnitsis, 36, of Leonardo started running only five months ago and is hooked. "I liked the competition," she said.
Volunteers assisting at the event included many Hazlet residents, Hazlet First Aid, Middletown Fire Police, RAINE, Hazlet Recreation.
Warm-ups were offered by Meridian Health and Fitness and Pro-Care.
Prizes were donated by Meridian Health & Fitness, Rave Cinemas, Absolute Music, Affordable Computer, Jams, Perkins and Yesterday's.