MILLBURN, NJ — It was deja vu all over again in the 14th annual Run for the Red 5K, as last year's winners held on to their spots again for a second consecutive year in the charity 5K race.
Marshall Boles of Summit, NJ repeated as overall winner with a blistering pace of 17:55.95 on the course, while Daniela van Roon of Millburn held on to her crown as women's overall winner with a time of 21:19.41. As with last year's race, the 5K course went up into the reservation from the start/finish line located in front of the Millburn Library.
While personal record times and overall finishes were important, the real impetus for the race was to fundraise for the American Red Cross. Rosie Taravella, the Regional CEO for the American Red Cross of New Jersey was on hand for the race. Millburn is represented in the Crossroads Chapter of the region.
For Taravella, the 5K is a great chance to bring not just the adults out to an event, but to also get the kids involved as well. Prior to the start, the organizers held a quick fun run for young children.
"We're just so thrilled because families come out, kids come out," Taravella said. "There's not a lot of Red Cross events that children can participate in, so we love this event because we can get a nice family turnout."
She also noted that while the Red Cross no longer has a constant physical presence in town, it is still important for the organization to be there for township residents.
"We love Millburn, and we have a long history here," Taravella said. "What we believe is the most important thing for the Red Cross to be is out in the community, doing our work. So we will be, and god forbid if there's a fire anywhere in a home in Millburn, we'll still be here. We'll be in that driveway whatever time of day, taking care of that family.
"We have blood drives here [at the library], we have classes that we teach here, so we hope our presence remains strong, but certainly this event helps."
For both top runners, the event was a chance to stretch their legs, set the tone at the end of a long season and get out on the course. But they both also recognize that the fundraising aspect is key as well. For Boles his first go in almost six months was a success.
"This is my first race since June," he said. "It was a good first race back, and the American Red Cross is a great organization, so this race means a lot to me."
And for van Roon, a disappointing season in fall track at the high school was offset slightly by her finish in this race, in which she set a new personal record for the distance.
"It does mean a lot to me, especially this season wasn't the best," she said. "So I'm glad that this race went well, and I was able to finish in a good place."