MIDDLETOWN—A determined group of about 800 runners took to the streets to run the Classic 10K on a muggy, wet June 4.
Dave Billings, a director of the annual event, estimated another 300 to 400 runners and walkers completed the 5K and walking races.
Billings met racers as they entered Middletown High School Stadium track for the last leg.
“Running is a great way to exercise and a great way to get stuff off your mind,” Billings said. “I’ve been doing it for 47 years.”
Medical professionals from Fit Monroe in Monroe Township, N.J. sported neon T-shirts as they started the 5K. Sundarjeet Singh said the running club has 10 members and it’s a good way “to get lean, push each other, and motivate each other.”
Track great Bob Beamon—whose 1968 Mexico Olympics long jump record stood for 22 years—was on hand at the starting line.
“It’s really great to be up here and be a part of an annual event that thousands of people will come and take part in. [Running] keeps the body, mind, and soul together,” said the gold-medal winner.
George Ackermann finished the 10K and said “it was hot, hot.” He trained by running just a few miles each day a few times a week.
Three runners have made the run an annual tradition and get together. Nora Callahan has been running the 10K for six years. “I never want to do it when it gets close,” she said. In the end though, she does.
Kim Stacklum says that after her first 10K, she decided to do it every year. Sabriya Fisher grew up in the area and heard about the race. She finally worked up to the 10K distance and said her racing companions encouraged her to finish.
End of Race Massage
Several massage stations cared for runners who needed loosening up after the race. Dr. Jay Spina of Dolson Avenue Medical said his clinic has sponsored the race for 30 years.
“After the race, we like to give them a little massage and take care of them, especially the beginner runners,” he said.
He estimated he would work on about 100 runners by the end of the day.
Béla Gesztesi, physical therapist at Scotchtown Chiropractic and Physical Therapy, was working on Paul Rickard, chief of police for the Town of Mt. Hope. Rickard said he’s trying to improve fitness in the police department and leading by example.
He also just likes to run. “I just wanted to get out and do it,” he said.
Winner of the men’s division was Abu Kebede Diriba, #27, with a time of 31:34. Winner of the women’s division was Nancy Nzisa, #17, with a time of 33: 21.
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