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Fri, Jul 27, 2012

Nutley, Belmar Runners crowned Belmar’s Fastest Kids

More than 100 young runners took to Belmar Beach tonight in the Belmar Kids’ Chase, the prelude to Saturday’s inaugural Belmar Chase 5K.

Upon crossing the grand finish line behind Taylor Pavilion, each sprinter was presented with a medal and  a miniature American flag to mark the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. As part of her LetsMove! campaign to fight childhood obesity, Michelle Obama has proclaimed Saturday—the first day of competition at the London Games—as “Olympic Fun Day,” and from the looks on the faces of the kids as they finished to Olympic-themed music and applause from the large crowd lining the back porch of the pavilion, the fun started a few hours early.

The kids were divided into age groups from 2- to 14-years-old, with the victorious boy and girl in the 9- and 10-year-old division crowned Belmar’s Fastest Kid, in partnership with the Belmar Recreation Department. Earning that coveted title were Matthew Wrobel, 10, from Nutley, NJ, and Aurelia Whitehead, 10, from Belmar, winning in front of her home crowd.

After their races, kids kept dashing: This time toward pizza from BellaTara’s Pizzeria and Italian Market, cold ices from Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices cart, and the crazy balloon animals and face painting from Fooper the Clown.

“It was the perfect way to kick off the Olympics and the Belmar Chase 5K fun,” said 2000 Olympian Carrie Tollefson, who emceed the event and ran with her 2-year-old daughter, Ruby. “Those kids can really move. I hope I can run that fast on Saturday!”

Tollefson, along with fellow Olympians Steve Holman and John Trautmann, will be up early on Saturday, ready to toe the line in the “Celebrity Chase” that precedes the Belmar Chase 5K. In the celebrity event, the trio of Olympians will chase the mayors of Belmar, Spring Lake, and Long Branch, along with councilmen from Sea Girt, Lake Como, and Interlaken, in a handicap race for a share of $5000 in town recreation funds.

That race begins shortly after 8 a.m., with the Belmar Chase 5K beginning at 8:30 a.m. Male and female winners of the 5K will each win $1000. Race day registration will open at 6:30 a.m. at the Taylor Pavilion; more information is available at

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