On Sunday, November 27, the 16th annual Navesink Challenge races, hosted by the Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC), will take place at Bodman Park, off Navesink River Road in Middletown. Proceeds from the event will benefit Middletown Youth Athletic Association (MYAA), Monmouth Conservation Foundation (MCF), local first responders, and other local non-profit organizations.
Over the years, the race has attracted a steadily increasing number of runners, from 600 a decade ago to nearly double that in 2015. In the last three years alone, the race has attracted runners from 17 states and Canada. Since 2010, the Navesink Challenge has raised more than $60,000 for its beneficiaries.
The Navesink Challenge is celebrated for its location along one of the prettiest courses in Monmouth County, through the woods and back roads of Navesink. It includes two races: A challenging 15K run beginning at 10 a.m., and a 5K run/walk at 10:10 a.m. Both distances feature scenic country roads and several hilly sections through some of the beautiful properties in Huber Woods, and along Cooper and Browns Dock Roads; areas which have been preserved by MCF for the public to enjoy.
Overall awards will be presented to the fastest three (3) men and fastest three women in the 15K and the 5K. In addition, the top three male and female finishers in each 10-year age group will also receive awards. All finishers will be eligible for random prizes donated by local and national organizations, including the Count Basie Theatre, Eyes On First, Paramount Pictures, Brooks Sneakers, Classic Boat Rides and Monmouth Beach Yoga and Wellness, with a grand prize drawing for a bicycle donated by The Red Bicycle.
Post-race food and beverages will be provided to all participants, including the race runners’ favorite: hot, homemade chicken soup by Brandl chef Bob Gileski. The Red Bank Elks are once again hosting the popular post-race party at their West Front Street lodge immediately after the awards ceremony at Bodman Park. Runners are treated to a buffet prepared by Chef Charles at Verdi Catering and Private Dining, with entertainment by local favorites The Danjos.
The race has steadily been gaining in popularity, so runners wishing to participate are encouraged to register early. The race has completely sold out weeks before race day for the last two years, with more than 1100 registered runners and Charity Entry runners in 2015 — a record! Race organizers fully expect to have the same success this year.
Registration is currently available online ($38) or by mail ($40). In 2014 and 2015 a limited of Charity Entries were made available, and last year the race had a record number of charity runners. One hundred percent of Charity Entry fees go directly to MYAA or MCF.
According to race director Leslie McKernan, participants who register before November 1 “are guaranteed a long-sleeved technical shirt, which holds more appeal for runners than the cotton shirts they receive at many races. Every year, we offer the shirts in a new color, so runners who want one are advised to register right away.”
Participants may pick up their shirts and race bibs at Road Runner Sports (490 Broad Street in Shrewsbury) on Saturday, November 26, from 1 to 4 p.m. In addition to packet pickup for pre-registered runners, Road Runner will also be offering a discount of 25% for VIPS (includes the standard 10% VIP discount), or 10% discount for anyone who is not a VIP. Shirts and race bibs will also be available for pickup at Bodman Park on race day, starting at 8:30 a.m.
As in prior years, a Team Challenge is open to any gym or fitness center. Team awards will be handed out for: Fastest Gym/Fitness Center 15k Team (top 5 fastest team runners); Fastest Gym/Fitness Center 5k Team (top 5 fastest team runners), and Largest Registered Gym/Fitness Center Team. Learn more about the Team Challenge and register for the Team Challenge here.
Sponsors for 2016 include bib sponsors AmeriHealth NJ; premier sponsor RoadRunner Sports; major sponsors The Hill Family and Howley Financial Group; minor sponsors Eastpointe Health and Fitness, Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum, and Mountain Hill School, (all Atlantic Highlands). The race is seeking additional sponsors, with both cash and in-kind donations gladly accepted. Sponsor benefits include logo on all T-shirts distributed to race participants, organization name highlighted on race registration materials and press releases and other media related to the event (provided that sponsorship commitment is received in time for printing deadlines), the opportunity to distribute your company’s promotional materials and product samples at the race venue, and recognition at the Awards ceremony. There may also be potential tax benefits; please consult your tax advisor for details. Find out how to sponsor here.
Go here to register or for additional details on participation and sponsorships. For more information, contact race directors Kevin Hill or Leslie McKernan at Navesink.Challenge@gmail.com, or visit the official Facebook page.