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Fri, Jul 27, 2012

Start Order is Set for Belmar Chase 5K’s ‘Celebrity Chase’

At the Belmar Chase 5K on Saturday morning, six Jersey Shore politicians will be running for something other than office.

Immediately preceding the main race, the half-dozen Jersey Shore leaders will race for $5000 in funds for their town recreation programs. But they have more than just each other to worry about: Chasing them will be three track-and-field Olympians. On Thursday night, the final starting order was announced.

“It’s the first day of competition at the 2012 Games in London, said race director Rich Kenah, a Monmouth County resident and himself a 2000 Olympian at 800 meters. “And Michelle Obama has proclaimed Saturday “Olympic Fun Day” as part of her LetsMove! fitness campaign. Running for your rec program, which might just be training a future Olympian, seems a perfect fit.”

In the handicap format, the fastest local leaders will try to catch the slower ones, and the three Olympians—Carrie Tollefson (1500 meters, 2004), Steve Holman (1500 meters, 1992) and John Trautmann (5000 meters, 1992)—will start together last to give chase. If a local official wins, he or she will bring home $2500 in funds for their town recreation program, with another $2500 split among the remaining towns. If one of the Olympic athletes wins, the $5000 will be shared by the towns. The 3.1-mile race begins on Ocean Avenue near the Taylor Pavilion, heads south to 20th Avenue, circles Lake Como and then heads back up Ocean Avenue to finish in front of the pavilion.

Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider will be the first to leave the starting line, at 8:06 a.m. He will be followed by Spring Lake Mayor Jennifer Naughton (8:10 a.m.), Interlaken Councilman Robert White (8:12 a.m.), Lake Como Councilman Brian Wilton (8:14 a.m.), Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty (8:16 a.m.), and Sea Girt Councilman Michael Mulroy, who will be the last official to start, at 8:18 a.m.

The Olympic trio will start behind them all, at 8:21:30.

“It’ll be fun,” said Tollefson, who on Thursday night joined the Belmar Kids’ Running Club for their weekly workout in Silver Lake park. “But the competition is going to be fierce, I promise you that.”  

The main race, the Belmar Chase 5K, will begin at 8:30 a.m., with the male and female winners each receiving $1000 of the $3500 prize purse. Following the same course, runners will be able to watch the late stages of the Celebrity Chase unfold as the leaders and Olympians head back toward them to the finish. Post-race refreshments, including Einstein Bros Bagels, will be provided.

On-line registration for the Belmar Chase 5K will remain open until 5 p.m. Friday, at www.belmarchase.com. On-site registration is available at the Taylor Pavilion on Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m.

On Friday night, the Belmar Kids’ Chase, a series of age-group sprint races for children ages 2-14, will begin at 6 p.m. on the beach behind the pavilion. Winners in the 9- and 10-year-old division will be crowned Belmar’s Fastest Kid and be invited to ride in the BMW X5 M pace car, provided by presenting sponsor Circle BMW of Eatontown, for Saturday morning’s 5K.

In addition to the sprints, the Kids’ Chase will feature past track action and greetings from 2012 Olympic stars shown on a giant screen, along with pizza from Bella Tara’s Pizzeria and Italian Market, treats from the cart of Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices, and balloon animals created by Fooper the Clown. Registration is available all day Friday at the pavilion, up until race time. More information is available at www.belmarchase.com.

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