Runners turn a corner last year in Fair Haven, which will no longer be part of the race course. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
For George Sheehan Classic organizer Phil Hinck, the annual Red Bank running event is really several races in one.
The foremost is the one in which hundreds of runners, walkers and wheelchair users strive to cross the finish line on Broad Street in as little time as possible.
But well before that race, there’s the pressure to prop up the number of runners, which has been in gradual decline since the event moved to the borough from Asbury Park in 1994.
And then there’s the race against the clock to break down the street barriers and timing equipment to get out of the way of downtown merchants opening for Saturday morning business.
Now, in the biggest change to the event in years, Hinck and the race committee have decided to shorten the main race to a five-kilometer event, from five miles, a move that they hope will juice attendance and expedite post-race clean-up.