SUMMIT, NJ - The sun was out and so were more than 900 runners, celebrating the life and legacy of the late Summit Police Department Detective Matthew Tarentino and the sense of community he both nurtured and engendered.
The inaugural "Making a Difference 5K," presented by Overlook Medical Center was a lab slide of everything Tarentino worked so tirelessly, as the face of the Summit Police Department's community policing unit, for and to promote -- namely men and women, boys and girls, of all ages and backgrounds coming together in a positive way.
Tarentino, 29, a resident of Somerville, was killed in a three-car collision on Route 78 on his way to work on May 30.
The fact that this was a running and walking event was even more apropos, as Tarentino was an avid runner himself.
Fittingly, the Summit Schools had a big presence at the event, with both the girls and boys high school cross country teams running in the race and the Hilltopper Varsity Football Team -- despite the fact it was a game day -- attending wearing their jerseys as a show of support and respect for Tarentino, who was frequently in and around the schools and on the sidelines.
Tarentino's wife Victoria, along with her children, were in attendance and watched the start of the race from a spot near where all of the runners began their trek.
The race, hosted and organized by the Summit Police Athletic League (PAL), wove its way through the streets of the Hilltop City and is slated to be an annual event, with future beneficiaries designated annually.
A fund established for Tarentino's family at youcaring.com has, to date, raised nearly $600,000.
Top Male Finisher(s) - Chris Heibell, Hillsborough, 16:21.02; Kyle Price, North Brunswick, 16:21.12
Top Female Finisher - Karen Auteri, Belvidere, 18:32.71
Top Male 'Masters' Finisher - Trevor Emmitt, Summit, 18:03.81
Top Female 'Masters' Finisher - Clyde Wardle, Summit, 21:48.07
For a complete list of race finishers, visit compuscore.com.