Kenyans lead the pack at Sheehan once again

first_img BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer PHOTOS BY CHRIS KELLY staff Above left, runners take off from the starting line along scenic Broad Street during Saturday’s George Sheehan Classic in Red Bank. Above, weary competitors approach the finish line. Below, Keyport’s Jody Benedict eyes the finish, while below left, Matawan’s Brian Sims does the same. About 2,500 runners competed in the George Sheehan Classic 5-miler in Red Bank on what turned out to be a pleasant Saturday morning. That was the goal of race organizers last year when they moved the event to Father’s Day weekend from the second Saturday in August to get away from the stifling summer heat. Yet the heat came out early a year ago. This time around conditions were excellent. “It was a great day to run. The weather was cool and that’s what we wanted,” said race director Phil Hinck, who also reported that there were no injuries during the race. “People are getting smarter and the weather certainly helped there too. Let’s knock on wood that this kind of weather continues.” As usual, Kenyan runners again dominated the race. Isaac Arusei burst out in from about a half-mile from the finish to win the men’s division in 22:50, holding off a late rush by Ronald Mogaka, who finished two seconds behind. In the women’s division Eunice Chepkirui crossed the finish first with a time of 27:28. Hinck noted that entries were slightly down from last year, but the race director expects the numbers to go up again since the June date occurs before many families go on vacation and also because of the family nature of the event. The Kids Classic, a series of races for youngsters held on Friday night, drew several hundred participants, and a pasta party and runners’ forum, also held Friday evening, were well-attended. In addition, there is a postrace barbecue. All runners who finish receive medals. Hinck noted that the event could not be held without the cooperation from the communities of Red Bank, Little Silver and Fair Haven. The course begins and ends on Broad Street and winds through each of the towns. More than 200 volunteers provided invaluable assistance, he said. “We view this as a fun-family event, and the goal is to continue making it better,” Hinck said. BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer last_img

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