Friday night’s grey skies and sogginess gave way to a glimpse of sunshine and some decent running conditions by the time the legendary 5-mile trek kicked off. The moment the pistol fired, New Jersey’s summer unofficially began. What seemed like an endless sea of runners filled Ocean Ave heading north towards Belmar. The excitement was taste-able as both the runners as well as the crowd were in great spirits for the legendary event. The race is categorized as one of the top 100 races in the country, but from everyone we spoke to, it’s number 1.
We find the Spring Lake 5 to be such a unique race. Not only does it unofficially kick-off summer in a place we all want be, but there were so many sidebars that enhance the race experience. For instance the father-son duo we spoke with who’ve run this race for 21 straight years. We also found inspiration in the many charity groups that were on hand for some amazing causes. (More to come on them this week)
To be fair, the enormous crowd of runners may inhibit you from obtaining your PR, however this event (and its 35+ year tradition) is far more important than that. Just being part of the event is a celebration of running, our community and the things we love. Trish Connahan of Jersey City said it best “All this horsepower and no room to gallop, but who cares. It’s the greatest race of the year.” Perhaps Meaghan “The Flash” Kacsmar of Wall said it best “Great people, great race and a great way to kick off summer!” Another participant we caught up with at the finish line quickly agreed, Devon Quaglietta of Monroe, NJ shared his insight “What an experience. Fun to be a part of such a large event with that much history.”
The post race dialogue was also unique. Instead of the normal “What was your time?” or “How’d you feel?”, more of the questions we heard runners mention were “Kelly’s or Bar A?” or “Bloody Marys or beer?” We, of course stopped at several nearby spots (not to quench our thirsts but for the sake of pure journalism-yeah OK) and we saw tons of thirsty runners proudly donning their medals.
The race also marked the debut of our official mascot Jog-sey, who slapped High-5’s to hundreds of runners. We appreciate the smiles and we hope that, in some small way, we enhanced your racing experience. The Spring Lake 5 serves as a special place in my heart. From watching it as a kid & idolizing the runners to now being a part of it as an adult, the race holds an importance to me (and so many of us) that is far different from any other race.
Thank you to Spring Lake for your hospitality and a huge thanks to all the volunteers, emergency personnel, race officials and, of course, all you runners. It’s officially summer at the greatest beaches on the planet. Nice job by all. It was well worth waking up early in February to register!!!