Many years ago a group of local runners working with Tim McLoone at The Running Store formed a group called Team Running Store to promote running and training together in the shore area. The initial impetus was to have a local team in the Fall cross-country series. Under the auspices of The Running Store, Team Running Store was primarily a group of runners who got together to train on what they dubbed the “River Run”, a 10-mile loop around the Navesink River. “Membership” was open to those who wanted to join the runners – for $25.00 a member received a nice long sleeve tee shirt and refreshments after the weekly “River Run”. Back then the runners would gather around 10 A.M. on Sundays. Starting and finishing at the Running Store on Broad Street in Red Bank, the course was about 10 miles, from Red Bank over the Cooper Bridge into Middletown on to Navesink River Road, crossing the Oceanic Bridge for the run down River Road through Rumson and Fair Haven. Refreshments would be waiting at the end – water and juice, plus what has become a tradition with the Sunday runners, chocolate donuts. They would finish around 12 noon, just in time for the store to open. Some of the folks who were regulars at the River Run include Jim Bourg, Bob Both, Art Castellano, Pat Conte, Pat Dorgan, Tom Hall, Phil Hinck, Penny Gelenius Hinck, Liz Ireland, Barry McCabe, Henry Mercer, Bill Michalski, Larry Murphy, Maria Parkhill, Laurie Parton, Rich Prenderville, Kathy Price, Kathy McCabe- Wolff, and others. This initial group had grown to become the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC), a tremendously active club, with about 1,800 members at the time.
Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC) History Highlights
In 1993 Team Running Store joined the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA). In 1994 the club voted to change its name to the Jersey Shore Running Club and was incorporated under that name. The name change correlated with an increase in membership. Prior to 1994 membership hovered around 100, but increased substantially in the next few years. By 1999 membership was reported at 800.
Beginning with the old River Run the regular group runs are a corner stone of the club’s history.
The JSRC Sunday Run has evolved over the years. Relocation of The Running Store to The Monmouth Mall in 1991 and then to The Grove in Shrewsbury in 1992 caused us move to our starting place in Red Bank. Henry Mercer’s office location on Front Street, Castle Financial Services, served as the meeting point from 1991-1992. We continued to do the River Run route. In 1993, thanks to Patrick Dorgan’s efforts, we were able to work out an arrangement with the Middletown Youth Athletic Association (MYAA) to use their clubhouse in Bodman Park as a meeting place on Sunday mornings. From there we explored new routes on the scenic country roads, and in Huber and Hartshorne Woods. The different routes now have familiar names, such as the “Inner Loop” and “Stone Church.” There are even regularly scheduled 20+ mile “Monster Loops” for folks training for a marathon. There is a distance and a pace for everyone who wants to join the group, with refreshments for all at the end. We still have those chocolate donuts but have added some other regular items – coffee, fruit, bagels, “mouth-watering” crumb cake and brownies. Today there is another Sunday morning run that begins on the boardwalk in Ocean Grove and is known as Sunday Runday. This group run is held at the same time as the Bodman Park group run to give members more options.
Folks enjoyed the group runs so much that in May 1992 we started a new group run on Tuesday evenings, meeting at the Windmill in Long Branch. We actually tried to do another group “River Run” on Tuesday night, but on our first try realized it was too dark and there was too much traffic. So we ran from the Windmill along the lit, traffic free Boardwalk and back for a four mile run, adding a loop around Lake Takanassee to make the run six miles. Penny Gelenius was the organizer and the Tuesday night runs were popular right away. We even kept running after the big Nor’ Easter in December 1992 washed away parts of the promenade and boardwalk. We also switched monthly meetings from Monday to Tuesday and met at the Windmill after the group run. The Tuesday night run was also the setting for a unique event, the Centipede Run in 1999, organized by Jerry Convery and Mark Griggs. The winning team was “Three Officers and a Jennifer” (Liz Ireland, Penny Hinck, Sherry Gelenius and Jennifer Thein), followed by “Bruce’s Angels” (Bruce Jones, Jennifer Gunn, Maureen Massell and Sue Kofod) and “Babs’ Creepy Crawlers” (Mark Griggs, Barbara Moldoch and Kent Sabin). In 2019, the Windmill location was taken over by housing construction so the Tuesday group run migrated to the West End of Long Branch and now begins on the boardwalk at Brighton Ave.
Thursday night group runs followed on the Belmar boardwalk in 1995. This group run also had a loyal following right off the bat. In the summer months the run meets at the Belmar Pavilion. In the winter months folks meet at the Dunkin Donuts and if the temperature is cold enough, the club springs for hot chocolate. today the Thursday evening group run is joined by a group run of early birds who start at 6 AM every Thursday out of Belmar on the boardwalk. The morning group is known as the Rise n Shine group run.
In Spring 2001 folks starting meeting on Wednesday nights, until daylight savings time, in Holmdel Park to run the challenging cross country course and other trails. John MacGillivray and Dave Zurheide were the master-minds. In 2002 Dave Zurheide organized a group run for Saturday mornings at 10am in the winter months. Today the Wednesday group run meets in the evening at the flagpole on the boardwalk in Ocean Grove and has been renamed to Humpday Runday.
Folks always ran on the Spring Lake boardwalk on Saturday mornings, but Ira Wiss gathered a contingent of JSRC members to initiate another group run for 8 A.M. Saturday mornings. Currently there is no recognized Saturday group run.
The initial signature race of Team Running Store was the St. Patty’s Day 5K. The first one was held in March 1990 from the Rum Runner in Sea Bright. Volunteers were few – Phil Hinck, Liz Ireland, Joan and Henry Mercer, Rich Prenderville and Kathy Doyle - and the race turned out to be much larger than expected. The finishing chute had to be lengthened repeatedly – some runners had to wait to cross the finish line! Despite the early problems, the annual event continues each year. It was the first race for which we had a kids’ event and Liz Ireland was a really funny looking leprechaun. In 1998 the St. Patty’s Day race was dedicated to Sgt. Patrick King, a Long Branch police officer who had been killed. In 1999 the event was renamed the Sgt. Pat’s 5K in honor of Sgt. King, with the proceeds going to a scholarship fund established in his name. The event is now scheduled on the Saturday before Easter and Liz has switched to an Easter Bunny costume.
The Father’s Day 5K, Trick or Trot and Saturday in the Park race events all began in 1994. Chuck Whelan was the Race Director for the first Father’s Day event and it was a beautiful June Day. Initially run from Shore Regional High School, the event is now run from the Wanamassa School and with special awards for Father/ Son and Father/ Daughter Teams, it has a loyal following every year. After Chuck, Race Directors have been Bruce Jones, Adele McDonough, Lou Malizioso, and Mike Washakowski.
The “Saturday in the Park” event was developed as part of a women’s running program sponsored by the Road Runners Club of America. The first race director was John Eddy and the race was run on Saturday from Bodman Park in Middletown, hence the name. From Bodman Park the race moved to Monmouth College. And then in 1998, with Chuck Whelan as Race Director, the race was held on a Sunday on the Brookdale Community College campus. In 1999 Penny Hinck took over as Race Director and the race was back to Saturday and back to the park – run on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend in beautiful Holmdel Park. Since 1994 the event has contributed $165,000 dollars to area women’s charities. In addition to a being a fundraiser, the event helps to promote awareness of the need for the life-saving work the charities provide. A popular program associated with Saturday in the Park since 2002 is “Women’s Running 101,” a 12-week beginner’s training program offered every summer by the JSRC, coached by John MacGillivray and Elaine Hartung. The goal of the program is for these new runners to build up to be able to run continuously for 30 minutes, attain a level of fitness that they can sustain on their own, and run in the Saturday in the Park 5K.
Our Trick or Trot 4-mile event is held around Halloween and features a costume parade and benefits a variety of charities. Chuck Whelan volunteered for many years to bring a truck load of pumpkins for the children in the kids’ races. Race directors have been Tom Brantle, Kurt Schroeder, Kent Sabin, Jack and Diane Cheer, and Lou Malizioso.
In 1996 Bob Both started the JSRC Summer Series on Thursday evenings in Wall. Over the years the series has grown - the kids only events grow more popular every year.
In 1997 the club, under the leadership of Bob Both, inaugurated the Jersey Shore Relay for Special Olympics. This unique event has been successful from the very beginning, with teams (and some individuals) running from Sea Side Heights to Asbury Park. Teams collect pledges for Special Olympics and are treated to a great party at the end of the relay. Initially the party was at the Elks Club location in Asbury Park, but in recent years the party has been at the historic Stone Pony. Teams now number nearly 300 and the funds collected for Special Olympics have increased proportionally. The effort is still lead by Bob Both, with the devoted efforts of his Relay committee.
1997 was also the year that the club started the Jersey Shore McMarathon, which became the New Jersey Shore Marathon in 1998. Initially the race benefited the Ronald McDonald House in Long Branch. After the name change children’s charities were the beneficiaries. Art Castellano and Tom McCloskey were Co-Race Directors. When Art Castellano and his wife Eva began their own running club in 1999, the JSRC was no longer involved in the event.
Art was also the originator and Race Director for the Bayshore Henry Hudson 10 Miler, beginning in 1998 and the seasonal trail runs in Hartshorne woods, which are also no longer JSRC events.
In 1998 the Hashathon became a JSRC event. The challenging run through Cheesequake Park is one of a kind. Award categories are unique, for example an award is given to the “dirtiest” runner. The On-On that follows the Hashathon is also unique with lots of beer, music and fun.
In 1999 the Broadway Classic in Long Branch was born and continued to be club event for a few years.
In 2000 the Navesink Challenge followed the Sunday Run course for a new 15K event. Working with the Middletown Youth Athletic Association (MYAA), the JSRC has made this into a must do Fall event for the Shore region. Bob Both was the first race director, followed by Dave Zurheide. The event benefits both the MYAA and Habitat for Humanity.
Phil Hinck’s efforts brought back the Beach Run to benefit and raise awareness for Clean Ocean Action in 2001. Kelley Halstead was the first Race Director. The Running Store in the Grove was a sponsor.
In 2002 a group of JSRC members met in Holmdel Park to honor those lost in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Beginning in September 2003, a truly moving 9/11 Remembrance Run to “run, reflect and remember” takes runners on a solemn run along the boardwalks from Belmar to Spring Lake, pausing at memorials and a relic of the World Trade Center three times along the way to hear the names of 9/11 victims from Monmouth and Ocean Counties read aloud. Organized and lead by Tim Mahoney, it is truly a grand JSRC event. This event was featured in Runner’s World magazine in September 2006.
Once again Phil Hinck, Race Director Extraordinaire, rallied in 2003 to begin a new event, the Ocean County Observer 5K Run. Coordinated with the Lakewood BlueClaws baseball team the event finishes at the ballpark and runners stay to enjoy the game.
Phil Hinck and Tim McLoone initiated the Jersey Shore Grand Prix in 2003. Including most events on the Jersey Shore runners could accumulate points, based on participation and performance, toward end of season awards. In 2004 the same team came up with the Jersey Shore Golden Grand Prix, which includes five Jersey Shore summer events beginning with three classics - the Spring Lake Five in May, the George Sheehan Classic in Red Bank in June and the Belmar Five in July. Two new events round out the season, the Asbury Park 5K in August and the Pier Village 5K in Long Branch on Labor Day. Sponsored in 2006 by SBLI, the Jersey Shore Golden Grand Prix is a tremendous success, encouraging participation and competition in all age groups.
In 2000 the Spring Break 5K, traditionally held at Bar A, became a JSRC event to benefit the club. In exchange, for being the sole beneficiary of this event, the club helps out the other Bar A races throughout the year. In 2005 the race changed its name to the Lake Como 5K.
The Brielle Day Hill and Dale 10K is a quasi club event in cooperation with the Brielle Day Race Committee. Club members Tom Mulvaney and the Cheer’s have been the Race Directors.
In 2004 Phil and Penny Hinck initiated the New Year’s Eve Twilight Run. A fun run around Lake Como at 5 pm on New Year’s Eve, the race begins and ends at Bar A. Runners enjoy a post race buffet and open bar, as well as random prizes and an early New Year’s Eve celebration.
In addition to staging our own races the club has a long history of helping out at other major shore races. Our history of “cleaning up” at the Spring Lake 5 began in 1994 and continues today. In 1995 the club made a special effort to help the Belmar Recreation Department to provide volunteers for the Belmar Five. Volunteers got special JSRC shorts and were treated to a party at President Carol Schroeder’s house afterward.
In 1995 the club began a multi year volunteer undertaking for Adopt-a-Highway, cleaning the section of Route 35 from Navesink River Road in Middletown to Bergen Place in Red Bank.
A major volunteer effort is at the annual Special Olympics Track and Field competition. JSRC members help with the set-up, scoring and awards.
A contingent of JSRC volunteers has worked the Celebrity Family Reunion area for the New York City Marathon since 2000.
Long a part of the club’s history is the Adopt-a-Family program for the holidays. We began with one family and over the years have been able to “adopt” multiple families in need.
Year-end donations to community organizations have also been a regular part of the club’s charitable efforts.
Parties and Picnics
The annual Holiday Party has been a part of the club tradition since the Team Running Store days when the small group celebrated and gave out awards at the Rum Runner in Sea Bright. Other hosts included Liz Ireland (1991), Tom Hall (1992), Bob Both (1993), and Kathy and Sean Price (1994). With a growing membership the annual holiday party moved to Gibbs Hall, the Officers’ Club at Fort Monmouth from 1995 through 1998. Penny Hinck and Liz Ireland worked with the officers to set up the entertainment and events for the evenings. Does anyone remember JSRC Jeopardy? In 1999 and 2000 we had a great time at the Waterview Pavilion in Belmar, thanks to the great work of organizers, Jessie Joseph, Barbara Keenan, Jeananne McFadden, and Carla Guidice. Since 2001, Social Director Jerry “Who” Frazee, has put on a great gala at the Barclay in Belmar. Stay long enough and you may get to see Phil Hinck entertain the troops.
Picnics also started out at members’ homes – Tom Hall and Bob Bartzokas hosted summer picnics, scenes of very competitive Slip and Slide. Bodman Park, Fort Monmouth, Ocean Township Pool, Oak Tree Lodge and Monmouth Park Race Track are all JSRC picnic sites.
The club has also had great river cruises, marched in the Belmar St. Patrick’s Day parade, joined the 10 Mile 10 Bar 10 Beer Run (Rumson Hash), run many Holiday and Super Bowl Hashes.
From 1995 to 2004 the club had an annual trip to the New York Road Runners Club (NYRRC) Midnight Run through Central Park - a great way to spend New Year’s Eve. A large contingent went to the first Rock n Roll marathon in San Diego in 1998. Other great trips centered on different races – Bay to Breakers (San Francisco), Dublin Marathon, Prague Marathon, Venice Marathon, Las Vegas Marathon, Napa Valley Marathon, Gasparilla Distance Classic (Tampa), and Half-Shell Half Marathon (Key West). A trip to Puerto Rico is planned for February 2007 to run the World’s Greatest 10K.
JSRC Gear (and How We Became Orange)
In 1991 Team Running Store had its first singlets – classic white. The now infamous JSRC orange had a humble, but bright beginning. In 1995 a local clothing store had ordered orange fleece pullovers for the University of Tennessee, but the supplier had provided a brighter orange than the official university color. It was a really bright “traffic cone” orange. We “benefited” from the error and purchased the super warm fleece pullovers and had them embroidered with JSRC. The rest is history. Since 2000 our JSRC gear line has really expanded. We have had everything from tee shirts to great technical gear. Almost everything has that trademark JSRC orange. In 2020, the JSRC trademarked the logo to give us the ability to offer more options of gear to the membership.
The JSRC has evolved over the years from a small club to a large one, from one race event to many, but the underlying camaraderie, sense of fun and the basic enjoyment in the challenge of running have remained the same. Many more members than we can mention in this brief “history” have served the club as officers and volunteers. The JSRC thanks everyone who helped lay the groundwork to make this club something special.