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Sheehan-Race_061414_46The race is on once more as the 22nd annual Sheehan Classic returns to the streets of Red Bank Saturday morning. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Sheehan-Race_061414_41Red Bank has always thrived on foot traffic, and never more so than during the Sheehan Classic race and expo, the 22nd annual edition of which returns this weekend.

Named for the late physician, author and “Philosopher King” of runners everywhere, George Sheehan, the event has come to be known as one of the region’s major road running races, attracting the participation of hundreds of competitive runners from Australia to Zimbabwe and committed enthusiasts alike.

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sheehan_start_2013_BBRunners leave the starting line at the 2013 Sheehan Classic event in Red Bank. The 21st annual race weekend expo returns to town on Friday and Saturday, June 13 and 14.

More than 2,500 runners are expected to participate in what is known as one of the Jersey Shore’s most renowned road races, when the Sheehan Classic returns to Red Bank on Saturday, June 14, with its popular 5K (3.1 mile) distance as its main event.

Set for 8:30 am, this year’s edition will be the 21st running of the event that began in 1981 as the Asbury Park 10K Classic, and quickly became one of the major road running events on the national calendar. The race moved to Red Bank in 1994, and was renamed to honor the memory of physician, author and philosopher Dr. George Sheehan who was widely regarded as the “father of the running boom” in the United States. Last year, the Sheehan family released a new book on the life’s work of “The Doc,” to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his passing.

Over $2,500 in prize money will be distributed in the 5 kilometer run to the top five overall finishers, top New Jersey finishers and age-category winners, during the event that was named one of the Top 100 Road Races by Runner’s World magazine, and the Best Memorial Race in New Jersey by the New York Times. In addition, donations from the weekend expo will be collected for a number of locally based nonprofits, including Lunch Break and the Parker Family Health Center. Additional groups receiving contributions from the event are local high school track teams, various town EMS services and other organizations.

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Under a sparkling blue sky, the 17th annual running of the George Sheehan Classic attracted thousands of runners, walkers and spectators Saturday morning.

Some 1,550 runners completed the five-mile course that ran through Little Silver and Fair Haven before ending where they began, in downtown Red Bank.

James Gathoga of Newark finished first, with a time of 24:44:31, and Noel Brock of Toms River was first among women for the fourth year in a row, at 28:35:59.

Complete results are here.


sheehan-2009Runners charge the finish line during the 2009 edition of the five-miler. (Click to enlarge)

geosheehancoursemap1Event: The Sheehan Classic five-mile race, one of the nation’s top 100 races, according to Runner’s World Magazine, which starts on Broad Street in Red Bank and goes through Little Silver and Fair Haven before ending back where it started.

Participants: Some 2,000 runners, as well as participants in a two-mile health walk, a five-mile wheelchair race and kids running distances of 50 yards to a half-mile.

Conditions: sunny, with temperatures heading toward 80 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

The Other Race: Seeing how fast the organizers can break it down to allow traffic to resume its flow through downtown Red Bank.

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