Trombley Makes Winning Thanks 4 Giving 5K Look Easier Than Last Year

By DAVID BIGGY | Nov 28, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy Winner Nick Trombley (second from right) celebrates his Thanks 4 Giving 5K victory with (from left) Jon Buckley, Penelope and Mariette Ackerman, and his wife, Patience, in Beach Haven on Nov. 24.

Nick Trombley admitted he probably could have run the Hunger Foundation of Southern Ocean County’s Thanks 4 Giving 5K Runraiser in Beach Haven on Nov. 24 significantly faster had Thanksgiving not gotten in the way.

“I ate too much the past few days,” said the Rochester, N.Y., resident and nonprofit coffee shop director. “I probably could have run 15 seconds faster had I not splurged so much.”

Even if he was still a little stuffed two days after the annual eat-fest on Thursday, it definitely didn’t appear to slow him down much. After initially taking off from the starting line amid a pack of five or six runners, Trombley threw down the hammer early on and was well in the lead at the halfway mark.

“I’m far from having a solid race strategy,” said the 24-year-old former cross-country runner from Eastern University. “I just want to hang on with the first runner for a while, and then if I get out in front I just do my own thing and keep going.”

He built such a big lead by the second turnaround – about two-thirds of the way through the 3.1-mile distance – and cooled his jets a bit.

“I looked back and saw the next guy was pretty far back,” he said. “At that point, I felt like I could slow down a little.”

Trombley, who won the race in 19:05.94 last year, finished more than 20 seconds faster than his 2017 pace, crossing the line at 18:42.91, nearly two minutes faster than Manahawkin resident Michael Chanda, who just completed his sophomore cross-country season at Southern Regional High School and finished in 20:40.83. New York’s Chris Murray was third in 21:01.68, followed by Richard Kanak of Newtown, Pa., in 21:14.13, and Weehawken’s Anthony Zucconi in fifth at 21:31.87.

Trombley said he has been training a bit more during the past year, but has been working his body in a different sort of way as of late. He and his wife, Patience, who also ran the Thanks 4 Giving 5K, but significantly farther behind her husband, recently moved into a new home.

“We just a moved a month ago, so I’ve been busy with that,” he said. “During the times I’d normally be running, I’ve been packing, moving boxes, painting, hanging curtains – all that fun stuff when you move into a new place.”

Speaking of on the move, such was the case for 18-year-old Eileen Laverty. Not only did the New York City native finish first among the women and sixth overall at 21:37.19, she was scheduled to get back to LaGuardia Airport so she could fly back to Atlanta later in the day.

“My grandparents live in Surf City, so I’ve been on the Island since Thursday,” said the Emory University freshman cross-country and track runner. “I did the race last year and was, maybe, was the third female, so I knew what to expect. I was with another woman for half of the race, but then I pulled away. I didn’t want to go out too hard, so I let her set the pace.”

Fortunately, the pace – initially set by Monroe’s Angelica Piccini, who finished second behind Laverty in 22:16.68 – wasn’t as hot as Atlanta’s summer and early fall weather. Instead, 50 degrees and breezy felt more like home to Laverty.

“Some days, running in Atlanta is brutal,” Laverty said. “It’s a lot warmer than here. It took some time to get used to running in that kind of heat. I prefer this kind of weather. It’s what I grew up with.”

Percy, Francis and Mabel Hathaway didn’t have to worry too much about how the weather affected their running. That’s because they were bundled up and two of the three didn’t run much.

“Every time I run, which is about once a month, the two older ones run for a little bit but eventually end up in the jogger cart,” said Mike Hathaway, who, remarkably, finished 74th overall in 31:07.01, despite pushing a triple-seat jogger, right behind the youngest finisher in the race, 6-year-old Colin Smith (31.05.88) of Little Falls. “It’s not too bad pushing the cart. Once we get into it, it’s kind of routine. The hardest part is making sure the kids are corralled and safely in the cart so I can keep going.”

Interestingly, Rebecca Mullen, pushing her 5-month-old son in a jogger as well, finished 51st overall – the first such youngster-pushing finisher – with a time of 29:11.65. In fact, the Carlisle, Mass., resident wasn’t far behind her husband, Andrew, who was 45th in 28:40.69.

“I ran this race pregnant last year and the plan was to come back and bring the jogger,” Mullen said. “I’ve been running this race since the beginning, and we’re always in Holgate for Thanksgiving, so it was good to do it again. It was hard running with the jogger, and I was surprised when I got to the last corner. I actually finished a bit faster than I had expected.”

Also returning with a jogger, after running the race 6½ months pregnant last year, was Sandra Zucconi – whose husband got to run near the front of the field of 167. No doubt a lot lighter on her feet this time around, Zucconi finished 132nd overall in 37:56.31, almost a solid nine minutes faster than last year’s pace.

“It’s definitely easier to run without the extra weight, but still hard because of the jogger,” she said. “It has a lot of resistance and it wobbles a bit, doesn’t stay straight all the time. I haven’t been able to train at all this year. I’m running around the house a lot, but not on a road preparing for races. But I felt good today. It wasn’t too bad.”

Two days before, at the annual Gobble Wobble 5K at the Stafford Township Municipal Complex on Thanksgiving Day, the 302-competitor field was led by Brick’s Brian Quilty, who has made a habit of winning the race the past few years. He finished in 15:55.8, about 13 seconds ahead of Brookline’s Jarred Iacovelli, who crossed the line in 16:08.5. Beach Haven West resident Patrick McGoldrich took third in 18:10.4.

The first female to cross the line was former Southern star Jillian Smith. The Mayetta resident finished in 18:39.4, well ahead of Shawn McDermott from Leesburg in fifth at 19:35.8. Cedar Run’s Jack Matthews was sixth in 19:49.2, followed by Barnegat’s P.J. Craig in seventh at 20:15.3, and Toms River’s Jessica Abbott in eighth at 20:15.4. West Creek’s Michael Pantaleon placed ninth in 20:36.2 and Christina Walter of New York City was 10th with a time of 20:32.6.

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