Beating Dad a Common Theme During Stafford Run for Hope

Jun 20, 2018
Photo by: Margot Miller

Isabella Wyckoff wasn’t the overall winner of the Stafford Run for Hope 5K, but she nonetheless scored a pretty big victory on June 16. The 13-year-old Southern Regional middle-schooler from Manahawkin beat every other woman to the finish line. She also gave her dad, Chris, an early Father’s Day present.

“My dad challenged me for the 5K,” said Isabella, who completed the course in 22:35, finishing 12th overall. “I told him there was no way he was beating me. He said last night he wasn’t going to wake me up this morning, and I said that was the only way he would beat me.”

The top 10 for the 5K had a heavy local flavor to it, as Manahawkin runners Jayant Jani (17:15), Andrew Bowker (18:56), Alexander Reck (19:29), Mark Remini (21:09) and Patrick Shaffery (21:18) swiped the first five places. They were followed by Harvey Cedars’ Michael Zimmerman, Tuckerton’s Frank Kellogg, Manahawkin’s Chris Coughlin and Barnegat’s Anthony Ryan in the next three positions, but Wyckoff’s four-second victory ahead of Krista Murphy of Havertown, Pa., turned out to be a big one.

Finishing first in the women’s division is an accomplishment, considering she typically runs the mile for the middle school team. Of course, being first in the family affair – Chris was 21st in 24:42, while mom Lisa placed 40th overall in 29:22, right behind 8-year-old sister Olivia, who crossed the line in 29:17 – made her first time in the event a joy.

“I haven’t run a 5K in a while, maybe four or five years,” said the soon-to-be eighth-grader, who is planning to swim for the St. Francis Community Center team this summer as well as take part in the Ship Bottom Beach Patrol Lifeguard-in-Training program. “I felt really good. I like to run, so it wasn’t a problem going that distance. Plus I really wanted to beat my dad.”

Beating dad seemed like the pre-Father’s Day trend for another family as well, when 15-year-old Chris McGlynn competed in the Run for Hope triathlon for the first time and cruised to the finish in the 18th position in 1:08:21, just over 40 seconds ahead of his dad, Paul.

“This is my fourth or fifth triathlon, but the first time I beat my dad,” said Chris, a cross-country runner and swimmer from Audubon, Pa., who joins the family at his grandmother’s home in Beach Haven throughout the summer. “I just like to compete. I run and swim a lot, but I had no trouble making the adjustment to the triathlon. I like it, and it was fun beating my dad.”

However, the McGlynn duo had no shot at beating Point Pleasant’s Brian Norling, a 44-year-old who competes in a handful of triathlons every year and last year competed in the Half Ironman World Championships in Tennessee. Norling easily blazed his way to a first-place finish in 54:40.

“I felt like doing a race today,” said Norling, who was second following the quarter-mile swim but quickly erased the gap between him and New York’s Mike Sokorski during the bike portion of the race. “I was confident enough coming out of the swim that I’d be able to get to the front. I’m always a little behind on the swim, and my plan is to make it up on the bike. I felt comfortable with the lead I had going into the run.”

Coming out of the second transition, Norling was several minutes in front of Sokorski, who trimmed the lead with a 5K run of 17:16, but his time of just over 18 minutes was enough to swipe the top spot by nearly a minute. Sokorski ended up second in 55:37, well ahead of third-place finisher Jared Gentile of Philadelphia, who crossed the line in 1:01:49.

“With some guys, you don’t know how well they’re going to run, and they can sneak up on you,” Norling said. “But with the way this course runs, I had a pretty good idea where the guys behind me were, and I was running well enough to keep a decent lead going into the last mile.”

Belmar’s Don Griffin was fourth in 1:01:54; the first local to cross the line was Manahawkin’s Jeff Roma, finishing in a crisp 1:04:04. The first woman through the finish-line chute was Shannon Hemmerle of Conshohocken, Pa., who placed ninth overall in 1:05:13.

In the duathlon race, David Dixon of Wilmington, Del., was the winner in 1:03:46, followed by Scott Burton of Southampton, Pa., in second (1:08:06) and Tim Hayburn of Ardmore, Pa., in third (1:10:30). Bernadette Hayburn of Haverford, Pa., was the first woman to cross the finish line in the duathlon, with a time of 1:22:10.

The Aquabike race, comprised of the quarter-mile swim and 12¼-mile bike, was won by Freehold’s Michael Avestro in 41:56, while Stephanie Saucy of Harleysville, Pa., took second in 43:38, and Annandale’s Ryan Lugo grabbed third in 46:22.

In all, nearly 250 competitors participated in one of the Stafford Run for Hope races – a fundraising event for David’s Dream and Believe Cancer Foundation, which has helped more than 1,000 families battling a cancer diagnosis through more than $840,000 in grants.

“Obviously, there are some very talented athletes here,” said founder David Caldarella. “But this event is not about how many talented athletes are competing. It’s about coming together to help families, and we appreciate whoever comes out to be a part of this. The competition is a bonus. We had a great day, a nice gathering of people, and it turned out awesome.”

— David Biggy

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