ROSELAND, NJ — More than 70 people lined up on Harrison Avenue in Roseland on Saturday morning to participate in the 36th annual Run for the Roses 5K that was majorly donated by the Roseland First Aid Squad.
Louis LaSalle, one of the founders of the race, said the race started as a promotion of good health and also a tribute to Roseland.
“It’s amazing to see how this has grown over the years,” he said. “Every year it is exciting.”
Michael Colitti, director of recreation, and Sheryl Ryan, recreation administrative assistant, also assisted in the organization of the race and were on scene to help register Saturday’s runners.
As one of his first acts as Roseland’s honorary mayor, Lester C. Noecker School fourth grader Aaron Klaff blew the horn to start the race.
Among those who participated in the race were several members of the boys and girls West Essex High School cross country teams, under the direction of head coach Lanaya Torres. Sophomore Olivia Constatino said the team came to support the fire department, the first aid squad and the borough as a whole.
“It’s not only good practice, but it promotes team building,” said team member Hailey Kerlin.
Torres agreed that the race was good practice for the team, which she said is very young, but that the teams are hard working and she expects them to be in the finals again this year. However, Torres also said she was happy to be there in support of the team’s community.
“It’s such a community event, and Roseland supports West Essex so much,” she said. “It’s so nice to come together, and it’s a great event for team building.”
Roseland resident Nathan Burk said he participated not only for health reasons, but also for the fun aspect of the event.
“I do this in support of the community and for the love of running,” said Nathan’s son, Sam, who is a member of the boys cross country team at West Essex.
Scott Rose of Short Hills said he entered the race because he is training for a half marathon, and when he saw that his surname was part of the event title “Run for the Roses,” he couldn’t resist.
Katie Jabbour, who grew up in Roseland, said she runs in the race every year despite moving away. Stating that the event is a “great family activity,” Jabbour brought her 10-month-old daughter along in a stroller and said her three older boys have all participated with her in the past.
Councilman Christopher Bardi was also among the runners in this year’s race.
Essex Fells resident Kouros Sadeghi-Nejad, a senior at West Essex, was the first-place winner of this event for the second consecutive year. Courtney Blount was congratulated as the first-place winner for the women.
The male and female winners of the day’s event were as follows:
First place - Kouros Sadeghi-Nejad
Second place - Andy Vogel
Third place - Jason Bosslett
First place - Courtney Blount
Second place - Kate Mastrangelo
Third place - Ava Evangelista
Hailey Kerlin came in a very close fourth place behind Evangelista.