Former Southern Regional Runner Captures Dog Day Race Title for Fourth Time

By DAVID BIGGY | Aug 23, 2017
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Four of the past five years, nobody’s been able to keep up with Ebenezer Handy in the Dog Day Road Race. And the only reason last year was an exception is because he didn’t race due to an injury.

“I’ve won all four times I’ve been in this race, and it’s always exciting,” said the 24-year-old Southern Regional High School graduate and runner. “I had no plan today. I just wanted to come out and win it again.”

In 2013 at age 20, Handy won by some 42 seconds. The following year, he won by about 29 seconds. In 2015, the margin of victory was a bit tighter at 9 seconds. But in the 39th edition of the High Point Volunteer Fire Co.’s big event on Aug. 20, Handy cruised to the finish line in 25:45.11 – his best time in the Dog Day Race so far – some 24 seconds ahead of Michael Palmisano of Alexandria, Va., who finished in 26:09.92.

Behind Handy  and Palmisano were Steve Vincent of West Chester, Pa. (26:31.58), Caleb Shaia of Englewood (26:38.33) and Joshua Keena of West Point, N.Y. (27:09.55). Brant Beach’s Eric Reitinger placed sixth overall in 27:17.85, followed by Tim Burns of Randolph (27:30.40), Andrew Goelz of Brick (28:07.05), Ross McGraw of New York City (28:09.78) and Luke Narbus of Media, Pa., in 10th (29:20.54).

“For about the first 3 miles, there was a group of four of us and the pace was pretty good,” said Handy, currently a graduate student and assistant cross country coach at Rowan University who intends on pursuing a career as a doctor. “But right around that point, I made my move to create some separation and just kept pushing it. I love this race. The community really supports it, and it always has a great atmosphere.”

As for Andrea Bradshaw, the Spotify software programmer from New York City made it 2-for-2 in the Dog Day Race, taking the top spot among female competitors in 30:21.88, beating Harvey Cedars lifeguard and past female champ Jenna Parker (32:08.35) by just over a minute and a half.

“I had this race marked on my calendar since I won it last year, and I’ve had the trophy on my desk the entire year,” said the 29-year-old Bradshaw, who placed 15th overall. “I wanted to run faster and break 30 minutes, but it just didn’t happen today. But I still managed to win, so that’s fine.”

Following Bradshaw and Parker were Long Beach Township’s Annebeth Huy in third (33:30.32), High Bar Harbor’s Jennifer Harvey in fourth (34:06.46) and Harvey Cedars’ Lindsay Corbett in fifth (34:52.23).

Meanwhile, elsewhere among the 870 runners who completed the 5-mile course through Harvey Cedars, 13-year-old Olivia Leviss ran the race for the first time. However, it wasn’t her first time in the race. When she was 2, her dad, Stew, pushed her along the streets in a jogger stroller.

The Leviss family, which includes 15-year-old Matt, who also ran the Dog Day Race for the first time, each summer travels from Livingston to Loveladies to visit family.

“I was nervous about running today,” said Olivia, a middle-school cross-country runner nowadays. “I wanted to break 50 minutes, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it. I’ve done 5K races before but not a 5-mile race, so I was a bit worried about keeping my pace.”

While Matt and Stew finished close together in the 41-minute range, Olivia easily broke that 50-minute mark, finishing 456th overall in 49:20.06.

“I’m happy with it,” she said. “That’s a good time for me.”

Finishing farther down in the overall standings – 648th, in fact – was 30-year-old Alan Murphy, who finished in 57:00.87 but had a different goal in mind rather than eclipsing a certain time. Instead, his goal was to complete the race carrying the American flag the entire way.

“I’m running for military veterans who can’t run, for the 20 or 22 who kill themselves every day,” said Murphy, a former Navy helicopter rescue swimmer who runs as part of Team RWB (teamrwb.org), which exists to enrich the lives of veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activity. “There are many veterans whose transitions from military to civilian life are very hard on them, and a lot of them get into drugs and alcohol because they can’t cope well with it. I’m running for them.”

Last October, Murphy, a former Beach Haven Crest lifeguard, married former Harvey Cedars guard Martha Shoemaker, whose brother, Jarrod, holds the Dog Day Race course record (24:36.47). Interestingly, they met on Match.com.

“After I left the Navy, my transition was very tough, and I was in the same place as many veterans today,” said Murphy, who had contemplated suicide prior to meeting his wife. “All I do now is try to bring awareness to the community that their veterans need them. A lot of them don’t know what tomorrow brings, and it’s important for people in the community to reach out and help them get readjusted to civilian life.”

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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