WANTAGE TOWNSHIP, NJ – “Are you ready to run?” Greg Williams, President of the Wantage Recreation Commission asked the cheering crowd. “I want to thank Creighton for organizing this, everybody enjoys it. Every year, we get more and more people Everybody who’s been here from the start has the T-Shirt collection, which will be priceless someday!  Good Luck to everyone!”

Though nearly 200 runners and walkers turned out for the Woodbourne Park 5K Family Run/Walk on Saturday, the red uniforms of the High Point Cross Country Team appeared to dominate the event.  

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At the starting line, race founder Creighton McBride welcomed everyone to the eighth annual event. 

“Two loops around the park will be just shy of three miles, keep going and end up at the grassy area near the tent,” he instructed the pulsing crowd.

He explained that the race was a purely a recreational event for the community.

“It’s a perfect running day today,” said Lorne MacDonald, of Vernon. “It’s cool, with no wind. Wind is the enemy.”

“It’s a great event, I’ve done it every year,” said George Aspinal, also of Vernon. “It’s a beautiful course.”

 “For $5, you can’t beat the price,” agreed MacDonald.

Many teachers were there, sporting their Sussex-Wantage Education Association shirts, while running, walking or cheering.  Lawrence School teacher Kathy O’Flaherty commented that she enjoyed seeing many of her former students. Shane Schwarz entered the race with his one-year-old daughter, Juliet.

“We got a lap in, half running, half me carrying her,” Schwarz said.”Mostly we found a lot of interesting sticks.” 

Some members had sons or daughters running as well.

Members of the Builder’s Club from the Middle School were on hand to help marshal the race.  Carol Speck, teacher at the Wantage School explained, “They go wherever they are needed to help out.  It’s part of their volunteering.”

Race participants had varied responses when evaluating the event.   Evelyn Marshall from Blairstown who came in first in her age division, said “I run a lot.  I am happy with my time. The course was pretty flat, and the finish downhill is good, too. I liked that it was all contained within the park so I didn’t have to worry about traffic. Sometimes cars don’t worry about runners.”

Robert McGill from Budd Lake simply said, “Slow.”

Walker Cathy Juliano, who came in at 58 minutes, just under one hour, exclaimed “It was death!”

First and second place were claimed by High Point students Joseph Dragon from Wantage (17 min, 28 seconds), and Michael Garrity from Wantage (17 min, 30 seconds). Jeff Staple from Hamburg took third place (18 min, 25 seconds), Matt Harper from Glenwood came in fourth (18 min, 30 seconds), and Luke Faulkner, Sussex finished fifth (19 min, 27 seconds).

Faulkner joined the Cross Country team yesterday.  

“This was my first ever race,” Faulker said. “I swim, that’s how I stay in shape.”

Sponsors of the event included: Ronetco ShopRite Supermarkets of Franklin and Newton, Wantage Clean Communities, Sussex-Wantage Education Association, Laddey, Clark & Ryan, LLC, Family Pizza & Restaurant, Space Farms, Tractor Supply, New Balance, North Jersey, Tri County Audio, Bagel Station, Rt. 23 Famer’s Market, and Fireman Dan’s Sports Lounge.

Williams also said, “Big thanks to the Wantage Department of Public Works for setting up the tables and tents and breaking everything down.

For full race results, click here to visit the Cool Running website.

Robert Robillard, of FastFinishes.net was hired for the times and race results.