MILLBURN, NJ - For participants in the Run for the Red 5k in Millburn, not even a misting rain could deter them from running.
The crowd, which started with 180 people registered and ended with 165 finishers had a distinctly local feel as 74 of the finishers were from Millburn, including Daniela van Roon, who claimed the top spot overall on the women's side. van Roon, who is a sophomore at Millburn High School and a member of the track team ran a time of 21 minutes and 34 seconds on the course. van Roon's time was also good enough to snag her a top-15 finish as she placed 12 overall out of all runners.
After the race, van Roon said that having the ability to put her cross-country training from high school to use to win the race was a good feeling. van Roon also said that giving back to her community by running in the 5k was an excellent feeling.
"It makes me feel great," van Roon said. "Helping my community, giving back while also doing something I love like running, it makes me feel really amazing."
On the men's side, Summit runner Marshall Boles clocked the fastest time overall. He ran a time of 17 minutes and 46 seconds. Boles, who graduated from Merrimack College and ran on the school's cross-country team said that he focused on running a good time and doing good for the community.
"My mindset was just that it was the first race of the indoor outdoor winter season," Boles said. "So just kind of see where I was at. It's a great cause and a great race."
Boles added, "The American Red Cross does so many great things for people of need, so it's a great pleasure to run this race and give back."
Jesse Liu, a former Millburn Board of Education member, had the best showing of registered Millburn Township residents. He finished 4th overall and took first place in his age group.
Johnathan Francis of Short Hills took 3rd in the 10-14 age group and 13th place overall. Francis had the best showing of a Millburn Township runner in non-adult age group, finishing about 15 seconds behing top female runner Daniela van Roon.
Christine Hodde, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Crossroads Chapter of the Red Cross was one of the officials from the organization at the race. Hodde said that along with the donations raised from the race, a key advantage for the organization was reminding Millburn residents that the Red Cross is there whenever the need arises.
"I think the most important part is that the Red Cross is not always there with a physical presence, but to make sure people are reminded that we are here 24/7," she said. "It doesn't take a large-scale disaster to serve the communities around here. It can be small fires, it can be gathering blood at a huge blood drive here we had yesterday in Millburn, it can be training people in lifesaving skills, it can be helping our military and also international services. So we're always here."