BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Rain wasn't going to dampen the spirit at the Berkeley Heights 18th Annual Mother's Day 5K for the 450 runners that crossed the finish line in less than ideal conditions. It may have altered the pre and post-race activities a bit, but the finishers all enjoyed the Berkeley Heights' tradition.

Rufino Mendez of South Plainfield was first to cross the finish line in 18:20.75, second was Sean Theociltus of Gillette in a time of 18:28.38 and third was Carlos Canaveral of Summit in 18:38.09. Aidan Maquire of Berkeley Heights finished fourth in 18:44.84. Click here for complete results.

After the Boy Scouts presented the colors and the singing of the national anthem, Mayor Angie Devanney welcomed everyone. She told the runners, they are "Berkeley Heights Strong" for braving the weather. She said to Run for Annie, an 8 year old from Berkeley Heights who recently died of a brain hemorrhage. -- And, many said they came out in the rain to "Play for Annie."

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With about 650 pre-registered participants and several more walk-ins -- and the less than ideal weather conditions -- Wharton Arts [who took over the race from the YMCA], is appreciative to everyone who came out. "Rain, wind, and cold temps didn't keep the town away, and we were truly touched by the stories of families, running teams, and individuals who braved the less-than-ideal weather for this important community event," they posted. 

The YMCA began the Mother’s Day 5K in 2001 and it has grown to a highly successful community event attracting over 1,000 participants and numerous sponsors to fund the YMCA’s Livestrong program for cancer survivors. With the Y's focus on the construction of their 30,000 square foot new facility on Locust Avenue, they sought out another 501c3 to carry the race torch. “We were looking for an organization that could carry on our tradition and shared some of our values,” said Berkeley Heights YMCA Executive Director Tiffany Escott, “and the Wharton Institute is perfect. They are a local non-profit that serves a wide geographical area with a broad age range  that offers programs complimentary to ours.” 

"We were so honored to carry the torch this year for the town's annual race and thank the Summit Area YMCA for thinking of us when looking for a successor. Keep running, Berkeley Heights," said Pamela Palumbo, Wharton Arts 5K Event Chair.