BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Berkeley Heights 5K Charity Road Race and Fun Run attracted a sell out crowd, raising over $200,000 since its inception. The charitable success is due to the heart and soul of race director Dr. Patrick Smith of Smith Chiropractic Foundation, who started the race 21 years ago as a way to help lend support to non-profit organizations. .
Approximately 500 runners took to the tree-lined course through the neighborhoods of Berkeley Heights. The course is sanctioned by the USA Track and Field Association.
Smith made a special presentation giving Tom Barton, Director of the Berkeley Heights Recreation Commission, the 2017 Leadership Award. "For all you do and for everybody in Berkeley Heights and for us. It wouldn't be the sixth best town in New Jersey if it wasn't for Tom," said Dr. Smith. "We like to do that occasionally for special people that do wonderful things for the town and for us."
Smith also presented Barton with a check for $1,000 to benefit the Recreation Department. He also announced that he will be sending a check for $1,000 to each of the hurricane relief efforts for Texas and Florida. "Every single dollar from registration fees goes towards charitable grants," said Smith.
He went on to present a check in the amount of $2,500 to the Berkeley Heights Education Foundation. Smith holds education near and dear to his heart and reflected on his childhood teachers that taught him "that anything is possible through education." He thanked the BHEF for their partnership and volunteer support for the race.
He listed a few recent recipients of grants that include: Berkeley Heights Fire Department, Berkeley Heights Youth Police Academy, Berkeley Heights Recreation Playground Camp and the Recreation Department. Click here for past grant recipients.
He thanked the volunteers, the Berkeley Heights Public Works Department for fixing the roads, the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad and the Police Department.
Peter Hyland of Glen Gardner, NJ came around the bend to cross finish line in 18:47.47 for a victory under cloudy and somewhat muggy weather conditions. Next was Jason Heap, of Morristown, in 19:23.69; Christopher Marinko, 13 years old of Berkeley Heights, placed third in 19:52.63; and Chris Rinaldi of Berkeley Heights placed fourth in 19:57.36. Melissa Sacco of Denville was the first female to finish in 21:13.90.
Video and photo credits: Bobbie Peer, TAPinto Berkeley Heights
Click here to view complete race results and check back with the Smith Chiropractic Foundation website for photo album and learn about the sponsors that support the Berkeley Heights 5K Charity Road Race and Fun Run and the grants that have been gifted.