No Stranger to the Harvey Cedars Streets, Jake Shoemaker Wins Dog Day Race No. 40

Aug 22, 2018
Photo by: Margot Miller Jake Shoemaker, winner of the 40th Annual High Point Vol. Fire Co. Dog Day Race.

In 2010, Jake Shoemaker was the first male runner across the finish line. However, he didn’t win the Dog Day Road Race that year because the woman who holds the course record happened to be in the race as well.

“That woman was a Canadian Olympian, and she crushed it,” Shoemaker said of Carmen Hussar, who beat him by 18 seconds. “If I was going to lose, I’m glad it was to somebody like that. She was fantastic.”

On Aug. 19, Shoemaker returned to the streets of Harvey Cedars for the first time since 2011 – when he finished third behind two other guys – and ran significantly faster than he did when he was one place shy of the overall top spot, finishing in 25:15.24 to snag the 40th Dog Day Race title.

In what seemed to be closer to 18 Mile Run weather – it was a drizzly 70 degrees at the start of the race with a 15 mph north wind – than Dog Day Race weather, which typically is low- to mid-80s with high humidity, the Harvey Cedars summer resident zipped out to the lead immediately. By the time he turned the corner onto West 80th Street, he was all alone. Manahawkin’s Jarred Iacovelli finished second some 45 seconds later, in 26:00.89.

Mount Laurel’s Eric Reitinger was third in 27:37.85, followed by Glen Ridge’s Jamie Hartop in fourth at 27:42.21, and Randolph’s Seamus Higgins in fifth at 27:58.54. The rest of the top-10 included Nutley’s John Gaffney in sixth (28:17.22), former Southern Regional High School runner Nate Skodi in seventh (28:54.75), Hoboken’s Tim Burns in eighth (29:00.45), Atlantic City’s Corey McFadden in ninth (29:30.10) and Englewood’s Elias Shaia in 10th (29:37.78).

“I wanted to run the first 2 miles really hard,” Shoemaker said. “I knew that if I had a gap coming back into the headwind, it would be really hard, mentally, for anybody behind me to hang on. I made the move into the wind at the Bible Conference, and then when I felt like I had a big enough gap, I went a bit harder to create enough separation once I got to the Boulevard.”

Of course, despite his doing something his older brother, Jarrod, had done a half-dozen times, Jake’s time wasn’t anywhere near Jarrod’s course record of 24:36.47, which he reset in 2012.

“If he’s not here, I may well win the race,” Jake said. “There’s never been any pressure amongst us. Of course, I would have rather beat him when we raced here together, but that’s all right. For our family, it’s really about coming out here, enjoying the race and supporting the fire department.”

Interestingly, Jake’s sister, Harvey Cedars lifeguard Jenna Parker – who was 17 when Jarrod first won the Dog Day Race in 2001 – was the second female across the line on Sunday, finishing in 30:48.03, while Andrea Bradshaw of New York City reclaimed the top spot among the women for a third straight year, breaking the tape at 30:21.03.

“The wind was a little strong, but I definitely enjoyed the cooler weather,” Bradshaw said. “The wind was strong coming back on the Boulevard, so I tucked myself in behind a couple of guys.”

Bradshaw went out fast as well, recognizing Parker from the previous two times they battled for the top spot in the women’s division.

“She’s always here, always in shape and a great competitor,” said the 30-year-old software programmer for Spotify. “I knew I had to get out fast on the first mile, but not to get drawn out too fast, because I know that last mile is a mental challenge. I just kept myself focused on what was right in front of me, and tried not to think too much.”

Behind Bradshaw and Parker were former Southern Regional runner Shannon McMaster in third with a time of 31:01.96, North Brunswick’s Jennifer Salvatore in fourth at 32:10.07 and Shannon Hemmerle of Conshohocken, Pa., in fifth at 32:16.16.

And being that the Dog Day race is very much a family-oriented event, then there was the first runner under the age of 10 to cross the finish line – 8-year-old Peter Nistad, who not only finished among the top 75, but also looked very much like a Dartmouth College runner and sounded like a seasoned pro.

“I wanted to run seven-minute miles,” said the youngster, who completed the 5-mile course 72nd overall in 35:15.37, a 7:03 pace, wearing a boys’ Dartmouth tank top. “I don’t train a lot. I’ve run this race three times. It’s a family tradition to run this race.”

Peter’s dad, Jay, finished 99th overall in 37:13.31.

“The tradition is we all run, and then we go eat and drink on the beach afterward,” Jay said. “The first time I ran it, I was 7 years old, and I’m 40 now. I don’t remember what my time was, but it was a lot slower than Peter’s time. But my dad, who goes back to the beginning of this race, has the household record, about 34 minutes and something.”

Peter, who has been first in his 10-and-under division the past two Dog Day races, has a plan for that, too, by the way.

“I’m going to beat it next year,” he said.

— David Biggy

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