Local Track Coach Wins Dog Day Race in First TryNear Half-Minute Better Than Runner-up
During the previous two weeks of Olympic competition, James Rivers drew inspiration from several big feats. Matt Centrowitz’ gold-medal effort in the 1,500-meter run on Aug. 20 was one of them.
“Last night’s 1,500 win by Centrowitz definitely was inspiring,” said Rivers, a Barnegat High School assistant track coach and former runner at Stockton University. “Watching him become the first American to win gold in that event since 1908 was awesome.”
On Aug. 21, the 24-year-old from Barnegat not only competed in the annual Dog Day Road Race in Harvey Cedars, but won it as well, crossing the finish line in 27:34.19, more than 23 seconds ahead of the next finisher.
It wasn’t the first time a first-timer won the race, contested for the 38th time. But Rivers did run away with the race, creating separation from the lead pack about three miles through the course.
“I was in front pretty much the whole way,” said Rivers, who chugged along at about a 5:30 pace. “I was with four or five guys for a while, and then I gradually slipped away. I wasn’t looking to set a personal record or anything. I used this as a training run for the upcoming Philadelphia Half-Marathon in September.”
Rivers said the flat course appealed to him, so he opted in to the race, which is significantly older than he. Still, he was nowhere near the course record of 24:36.47 set by former U.S. triathlete Jarrod Shoemaker in 2012, but that was OK.
“I felt pretty good. It was a good tuneup for Philly,” he said. “The heat was a bit brutal. The humidity was high. But I handled it and had a good run. It could have been worse.”
It could have been worse for Andrea Bradshaw as well.
“I don’t deal with the heat very well,” said Bradshaw, a 28-year-old from Manhattan who’s not Terry’s cousin but was the first woman to cross the finish line, in 30:09.05 and seventh overall. “It was great how many people had sprinklers going along the course. I tried to run through as many as possible.”
Bradshaw, a software developer for Spotify, had come down to visit friend Allison Capone in Loveladies on Friday, saw the signs about the Dog Day Race on the way into Ship Bottom and decided to push her usual Saturday run to Sunday.
“I was in a pack of four other women until about a mile into the race, and then I got out in front of them and kept going,” said Bradshaw, a former middle-distance runner at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “I tried to keep my eyes on some of the guys in front of me and gain some ground on them. It was a great atmosphere here. There’s a nice crowd of people cheering the runners on, and I liked that.”
Like Rivers, Bradshaw was several minutes off the female course record of 26:40 set by Carmen Hussar in 2010. However, Bradshaw did enjoy her visit as well as the Dog Day run.
“I had a good steak from the grill and a couple glasses of wine last night,” she said. “Instead of doing six or eight easy miles yesterday, I ran five hard miles today. But it wasn’t too bad for my first time. I might come back and do it again next year.”
In between Rivers and Bradshaw, Eric Reitinger of Brant Beach grabbed the second overall position with a time of 27:57.99, followed by Rutherford’s John Gaffney in third (28:15.05), Randolph’s Tim Burns in fourth (28:20.42) and New York runners Ross McGraw (28:29.20) in fifth and Brad Vollkommer (29:20.65) in sixth.
Rounding out the top 10 were 17-year-old Timothy Shields of Pennsville with a time of 30:33.46, Forked River’s Chad Scanlon at 31:19.44 and Harvey Cedars’ Jenna Parker in 10th with a time of 31:19.44.
Several other locals finished among the top 20, including Surf City resident and Harvey Cedars Beach Patrol captain Randy Townsend in 12th with 32:07.12, Tuckerton’s Thomas Smith in 13th at 32:10.59, Surf City 14-year-old Isabella Turner in 15th at 32:42.59 and Long Beach Township’s Alexander Lapilusa in 17th at 33:13.21.
Burns (25-29 age group), McGraw (30-34), Townsend (35-39) and Smith (40-44) each finished atop their respective age groups.
Besides Shields and Turner, who were atop the 14-16 and 17-19 age groups, respectively, Oradell’s Ginger Pojednic was the first female in the 17-19 group while Luke Narbus of Media, Pa. was the first male in the 14-16 group. In the 20-24 age group, the first male was David Wassersrein of Washington, D.C., and New York’s Caroline O’Connor was the first female.
In the 25-29 group, the first female across the finish line was Harvey Cedars’ Sarah Daly, while the female winner in the 30-34 group was Chicago’s Elizabeth Wagner. Sarah Humbarger of Wayne, Pa., was the first woman in the 35-39 age group.
The first woman in the 40-44 group was Anne-Beth Huy of Doylestown, Pa., while Ridgewood’s Robert Bosch took the first spot among males 45-49 and Philadelphia’s Jessica Zeldin was the first female in the 45-49 group. In the 50-54 group, Chatham’s Brian Hart and Moorestown’s Elizabeth Litten were the first male and female runners.
Rydal, Pa., runner Roger Davis was the first man in the 55-59 group, while the first female in the same age group was Loveladies’ Anne O’Connor. In the 60-64 group, Surf City’s Ted Maglione was the first man and Harvey Cedars’ Mae Shoemaker was the first woman. The 65-69 group was led by Rumson’s Norm Dannen as the first male and Barnegat Light’s Mary Buzby as the first female.
In the 70-and-over age group, the first male finisher was Leonia’s Pete Shanna and the first female finisher was Livingston’s Ellen Endlich.
This year’s race had 812 finishers – Kathy Huber of New Hope, Pa., was the last of them, in 1:41:08.34.
— David Biggy