ROXBURY, NJ - Mother Nature gave Roxbury a break Monday, hitting the pause button on heavy rain just long enough for the annual Community Benefit 5K race that went off without a hitch.
The slight drizzle that greeted runners as they gathered at Eisenhower Middle School for the 7 p.m. event was seen as nice running weather by some and barely a nuisance by most. It certainly had no bearing on the performances of the top male and female finishers, Youseff Rochdi of Rockaway and Roberta Groner of Randolph.
Rochdi sailed across the finish line at 15:40 and Groner at 17:11. Rochdi didn't come close to beating his 2014 time of 15:19 (a course record). In a post-race interview, he said he knew, at Mile 2, he wasn't going to break the record.
"There was no competition, so I couldn't push the pace more," said the 30-year-old, who also said he was a little tired from another race he ran recently. Nevertheless, Rochdi said enjoys he Roxbury race.
"I like it," he said. "It's a good community here and the race is well organized."
Groner, who came in third overall with a time of 17:11, said she moved to Randolph from Pittsburgh last summer and hadn't run the Roxbury race before today. She said she liked the relatively flat course - a loop that started on Eyland Avenue and worked its way over to South Hillside Avenue and back to the school by winding through residential neighborhoods.
The race's fastest Roxbury runner was Jonathan Juleus of Succasunna, a 24-year-old who crossed the finish line at 17:35.
Complete race results are available online.