By JOHN T. WARD
Undaunted by a fellow runner’s warning that Tower Hill can be a killer, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy finished among the top 25 percent of racers in the debut Red Bank Classic 5k Saturday.
Separated by just three-hundredths of a second, at 27 minutes and six seconds, the governor and first lady finished numbers 207 and 209, respectively, out of 873 recorded finishers, according to the results as captured by Split Second Timing.
A third runner, Valerie Ervin, crossed the finish line in between them.
The state’s first couple, who live just across the Navesink River in Middletown and have been seen running together in Red Bank, are frequent racers, going by their social media accounts.
Before Saturday’s race, the 60-year-old governor told redbankgreen he expected he and his wife, who’s 52, would finish the 3.1-mile race in under 28 minutes. He added time to that estimate after another runner warned him they might be unpleasantly surprised by the challenge of Tower Hill, on Harding Road.
But the Murphys took it in stride, apparently.
“We run on hills pretty regularly, so this was not as much of a backbreaker as we were anticipating,” he said.
And they always finish together, the governor said. So who holds who back? redbankgreen asked.
“I hold her back, let there be no doubt,” he said.