WEST ORANGE — More than 500 runners of all ages, along with hundreds of walkers, participated in the 28th annual Mayor’s 5K Run/Walk on West Orange’s Main Street on Sunay to “break the silence” on ovarian cancer. This year’s event also commemorated the run’s 12-year partnership with the Downtown West Orange Alliance (DWOA) and the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC).

Jennifer Marzigliano,  NOCC New Jersey’s chapter manager, said she was pleased to see more big groups come out to support the event this year. She added that nearly 50 teams came together to support the cause.

“It is wonderful to see more ovarian survivors join the 5K Run/Walk this year,” said Marzigliano. “It’s a big celebration for them.”

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Just before the race began, she announced that as of the event’s starting time, more than $70,000 had been raised by this year’s participants to help fight ovarian cancer.

The event started with former West Orange mayor and current Assemblyman John McKeon welcoming the children and parents who participated in the Kids Fun Run prior to the 5K start.

McKeon said the event really took off in 2007 when the DWOA and the Northern NJ Chapter of the NOCC collaborated for the first time in memory of Maureen Roehnelt and in honor of West Orange resident Shari-Beth Susskind, an ovarian cancer survivor.

Susskind’s son, Jacob, was on hand with other members of the Susskind-Rosner Family Circle team to support this event for the 13th consecutive year.

“Mom is doing great, and the only reason she missed this year was because of a family wedding,” said Jacob. “We’re so glad that she decided to join in as a sponsoring partner of this race, which has raised over $1 million to fight ovarian cancer since it began.”

As West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi walked around to greet participants throughout the morning, he said, “It is hard to believe that it has been 28 years since this event began, and it continues to grow larger every year.”

“It is great to see people come out to raise much needed dollars for this important cause,” he said. “It’s a great event for West Orange.”

According to Marzigliano, more than 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and approximately 15,000 women die annually from the disease.

“If ovarian cancer is diagnosed early, the survival rate is over 90 percent, but unfortunately there is no early detection test for the disease,” she said.

Following the timed 5K run, which is approximately 3.1 miles, prizes were given to the runners who finished in the top of their group. Categories included: 14 and under, 15-19 years, 20-29 years, 30-39 years, 40-49 years, 50-59 years, 60-69 years, 70-79 years and 80 and over.

Overall first place went to Dominic Grillo of Whitehouse Station with a total race time of 17 minutes and 33 seconds. Close behind was Javier DeJesus of Jersey City, with a total race time of 18 minutes and 35 seconds.

The first-place overall female was Tara Murphy of Hoboken with a time of 22 minutes and 16 seconds. Crossing the finish line only one second later was Isabella Pacheco of Bloomfield. West Orange’s Betty Dtarola came in third-place for overall females with a time of 24 minutes and 50 seconds.

West Essex-area winners dominated the younger participant categories, including the following:

Age 14 and under:

Eddie Heitner of Livingston (45:29)

Sophie Bennett of West Orange (29:28)

Age 15 through 19 years old:

Binyamin Brickman of West Orange (20:06)  

Age 20 through 29:

Tristan Murphy of West Orange (22:34)

Isabella Facheco of Bloomfield (22:17)

For full race results, click HERE.

Major sponsors included: Platinum Sponsor: Susskind Rosner Family Circle, Gold Sponsor: Atlantic Health System; Silver Sponsors: Saint Barnabas Medical Center/RWJBarnabas Health, Wilf Family Foundations, Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement, Anserve On Call Excellence 24/7, Murray & Batsheva Halpern In Memory of Magda Zeller, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.