BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The 20th annual Berkeley Heights 5K Charity Road Race and Fitness Walk generated $17,000, as 450 runners and walkers took to the township streets on Sunday September 18th, 2016.
“Bright sunshine and crystal blue skies continued to bless us this year for our 20th annual Berkeley Heights 5K and we had another wonderful community event”, proclaimed Race Director, Dr. Patrick Smith of Smith Chiropractic in Berkeley Heights.
As a result, 18 local community organizations benefited from the money raised at the event thru grants from the Smith Chiropractic Foundation, host of the Berkeley Heights 5K. “This year’s donations will bring our 20 year total to $189,600.00, which are given on behalf of all those (runners, walkers, patron sponsors, and volunteers) who make our charity event possible," said Smith. "We feel very positive that our event continues to be an annual, small-town road race and fitness walk that embraces family fun and friendly competition. As a result, we are able to fulfill our goal of community support through continued grants to local organizations and individuals in need.”
“The organizations we support directly improve the lives of our neighbors and help make our community stronger. The notion of neighbors helping neighbors is really what the Berkeley Heights 5K is all about. When I started this event 20 years ago, my dream was to create an annual small town road race, which local residents would enjoy, and together we could raise a few dollars to give back to our wonderful community. With this year’s donations, my dream has again been realized and we exceeded what I thought was possible,” added Dr. Smith.
Dr. Smith was quick to point out, “Without the generous support of our corporate and local business patron sponsors and the dedication of our volunteers, our charity event would not be possible, which is another example of how great this community is -- good people willing to give both time and money to help one another. For me, the real heros of this year’s event continue to be our sponsors, both the local business community and our larger corporate friends stepped forward to help make this event another success”.
A special 20th anniversary theme was created with a large tent provided by Taylor Rental, special performance tee shirts were included in the goodie bag of each participant, with all new custom cut crystal awards and the "Taste of Berkeley Heights" food tent, where athletes and spectators enjoyed free pizza (including gluten free) provided by Clemente’s Pizzeria and over 30 feet of subs provided by the Sub Zone. Dr. Smith said, “We wanted to give back something special to our BH5K family, so we did what families do and enjoyed a post race meal together on Memorial field where we have all been together for 20 years now.”
Athletes were pampered by local professional massage therapists with free pre- and post-race sports massages compliments and the professionals from Berkeley Heights Massage Envy, free blood pressure screenings were performed by sponsor E Medical Offices, a DJ entertained the crowd with music and dancing. Everyone enjoyed munching on fresh bagels and oranges, with bottled water and sports drinks enjoyed by all. Post-Race drawings were plentiful as the John Hawk Agency, an Allstate insurance and financial services firm in Chatham together with Smith Chiropractic donated several iPad minis. Weichert Realtors Watchung gave several substantial prizes with lots of other sponsors at tables providing many more free offers, drawings and valuable information.
Runner and Walkers moved thru spectacular red white and blue balloon towers donated by Taylor Rental in Berkeley Heights, and all participants received a reusable eco tote goodie bag filled with a custom race tee and lots of free items and offers from event sponsors.
“We really encourage our sponsors to get involved and so many of them join us on the field with great booths and free drawings”, Dr. Smith said.
This year’s top three male and female finishers received custom Lucite race plagues. Receiving the top hardware was men’s champion Tom Lisofsky from Easton PA in a time of 18:28, Christian Cadmus from New Providence was second with a time of 18:52 and Matthew Byrne from Berkeley Heights took third place with a time of 19:03. On the women’s side, Champion Cathy Mersereau from Watchung in a time of 21:47, Lily Sieczka from Berkeley Heights finished second with a time of 22:49, and Valerie Boothby from New Providence grabbed third place with a time of 22:51.
Additionally, 76 age group all new custom Crystal trophies were handed out to male and female winners in age groups ranging from 10 and under to 80 and over.
Dr. Smith reflected, “Each year it is very uplifting to see the triumph of human spirit displayed at the Berkeley Heights 5K and in 20 year we have seen a lot of magic, They even caught me by surprise this year when Berkeley Heights Mayor Bob Woodruff presented me with a crystal oval emblazed with the special 2017 BH5K logo for my 20 years as event director, I’m not an easy guy to surprise, so the moment filled my heart with joy and emotion as I realized how much this event and all the lives it touches means to me.”
Smith went on, “I never know what kind of good things are going to happen each year, I just know they will, for example, we had three runners in their 80’s compete and finish the race, they are Joseph LaBruno 85, Arlene Cushing 81 and Melva Murray 84, plus a seven year old Nicholas Yarad finish in the top 20, with many more stores of human triumph inbetween!”
Smith added, “This year’s Patron support was again overwhelmingly generous. Without the following local business and corporate leaders, during a tough economic time, our charity event and all the good it does, would not be possible and I encourage everyone to support the businesses who support us.”
Berkeley Aquatic Club New Providence & Berkeley Heights
Allstate The John Hawk Agency
Bassett Associates Summit
EAST Modern Asian Hibachi & Sushi
Elizabeth Scheffer Fund
e Medical Urgent Care Offices
Goodman’s Restaurant & Deli
JAG Physical Therapy
Massage Envy Spa Berkeley Heights
Runnells Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare
Samuel G. Smith Jr. Memorial Fund
SMITH Chiropractic family care & sports injury
Sneaker Factory running centers
Suburban Chamber of Commerce
On the Ball Dog Training Berkeley Heights
Overlook Medical Center
The Liberty Group Berkeley Heights
Weichert Realtors Watchung offices
Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine- Xi Ren Zhou, OMD
CET Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.
Clemente’s Pizzeria & Café Italiano
Cooney Finacial Services
Davies & Associates Insurance Management
Family Foot Care – Gary L. Quartello, DPM
First Class Electric
Gabriele Fitness & Performance
Gary S. Crystal, DMD, Berkeley Heights
John P. Sullivan CPA CFP
Law Office of David C. Bendush
MARY’S Your Name Here
Paras & Paras, Summit
Philip E. Memoli DMD—The Center for Natural Dentistry
PuroClean Restoration Services
The Tee Bag Screen-printing & Custom Embroidery
Special thanks to all the dedicated volunteers, the staff of Smith Chiropractic, the Berkeley Heights Police Department, the Berkeley Heights Recreation Department and Director Tom Barton, the Berkeley Heights Rescue Squad, the Suburban Chamber of Commerce, the Berkeley Heights Department of Public Works, Sharon Brady for web design and IT support, Sue Cunningham for logo design, and Kayla Smith Photography for all event photos.
Complete race results including; two special event videos and 100’s of professional HD photos, which can be downloaded for Free, are available at www.BerkeleyHeights5K.com. Please log on to learn more about the Berkeley Heights 5K Charity Road Race & Fitness Walk.
Editors Note: Registration for 21th annual Berkeley Heights 5K Sunday September 17th, is now open, for information please go to www.berkeleyheights5k.com. Dr. Smith and the BH5K team have several special things planned for the 21th Anniversary Event! Race Director, Dr. Patrick R. Smith can be reached at either his practice, Smith Chiropractic 134 Snyder Avenue Berkeley Heights, by calling 908-464-8899, or online @www.drpatricksmith.com.
Many Benefit from the BH5K in 2016
The following community-based organizations received grants from the Berkeley Heights 5K Charity Road Race and Fitness Walk on behalf of all the runners, Walkers Volunteers and Sponsors:
- Berkeley Heights Volunteer Fire Co #1—new uniform project
- Berkeley Heights Youth Police Academy—Summer program teaching local children about safety, law & more
- Heights Baseball summer camp grant
- Berkeley Heights Recreation Commission—summer playground recycle program
- Berkeley Heights Communication Committee—enhancing town website, BHTV programming & more
- Berkeley Heights Rescue Squad
- Berkeley Heights Education Foundation – provides school enrichment programs
- Veterans’ Memorial Park Renewal Project—ensuring the future of this park for all to enjoy
- Winter Walk Grant—to showcase downtown BH for the holiday season, bringing the community together
- VFW post 6259 Berkeley Heights—provides resources for local vets & aids those @ Lyons Hospital
- Berkeley Heights Recreation Commission—Free Summer Concerts in the Park series
- Berkeley Heights Public Library Foundation—providing much needed library resources
- Governor Livingston High School Athletic Department—“Impact Concussion Testing program”
- Home for Good Dog Rescue of Berkeley Heights
- The Wounded Warrior Project—Grassroots organization providing aid to injured servicemen and women since 9/11/01
- Home First—provides housing and critical services to union county families in need
- Our House Inc. —provides resources for local developmentally disabled adults
- Santa Claus Shop, Summit – Keeps the spirit of giving alive for over 600 local families in need
Photo credits: Kayla Smith Art