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.

Sheehan-Race_061414_72Seen at last year’s race: former Olympic racewalker Elliott Denman and George Sheehan Jr. Below, the 5k course. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

sheehan 5k course mapSheehan, who maintained a medical practice in town – and whose legacy also includes the co-founding of Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft – had passed away by the time the race (which began in 1981 as the Asbury Park 10K Classic) relocated to Red Bank in 1994.

Heralded with a Friday evening Runners’ Expo and Kids’ Classic in Marine Park, Saturday’s 8:30 a.m. main event is expected to draw some 2,500 runners vying for their share of $2,500 in prize money distributed to the top five overall finishers, top New Jersey finishers, and age-category winners.

Continuing a charitable tradition, donations from the weekend expo will be collected for a number of locally based nonprofits, including Lunch Break and the Parker Family Health Center.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Sheehan Classic race run a course five kilometers (3.1 miles) in length, shortened from the previous distance of five miles. As reported previously by redbankgreen, the race organizers – taking into consideration feedback to the effect that five miles was just a little too long for the everyday runner, particularly in summer heat – announced in 2012 that “the 5K distance is the right match for the entire family to participate, either by racing or walking the scenic course. The response has been positive, and has resulted in increased participation.”

As part of the Sheehan Classic, the Friday evening Kids’ Classic is a series of children’s races of various distances, geared to young runners from “toddler” to age 13. Kids will be treated to activities and entertainment at the Runner’s Expo Village, on the banks of our beautiful Navesink River in Marine Park. On Saturday morning, event finishers enjoy a picnic in the park, followed by an awards ceremony and the official post-race party with music and food at nearby Brannigan’s Wharf Bar and Grill.

The classic is one of five Monmouth County events in the Jersey Shore Golden Grand Prix, a series of races that offers prize money to overall and age category winners. Those who participate in all five 2015 races will be entered into a drawing for a Grand Prize ($1000 value). Go here for details.

Pre-registration for the 2015 Sheehan Classic is still available as we post this, with the race limited to 3,000 entrants. Take it here or call (732) 571-2162 for registration information (NOTE: online registration closes Thursday, June 11) — and here for a detailed schedule of Friday and Saturday happenings.