WESTFIELD, NJ — What’s the best way to finish off a 3.1-mile run through rolling hills and downtown streets?
Chow down on pizza, clearly. That’s what runners in Westfield did Wednesday night after they completed the annual 5K & Pizza Extravaganza.
Alex Livernois, 22, of Scotch Plains, crossed the finish line first, logging a time of 16:05:92, the results show. Livernois could see the shadow of another runner catching up to him as he neared the finish.
“When it came to the last bit, I saw a shadow,” Livernois said. “So at that point, I was able to kick it up another gear with some of the energy that I was saving, and I ended up getting to the line first.”
Spencer Weigand, 19, a Westfield High School graduate and product of the Blue Devils Boys varsity track team could very well have cast the shadow that Livernois saw before picking up his pace. Weigand logged second place, finishing about one second behind his counterpart. Weigand was pleased that the weather cooled off before the race.
“Earlier this week it was just really, really hot — 100 degrees or so — and so I was a little nervous about the temperature coming into this but it cooled off really nicely,” Weigand said. Indeed, the temperature hovered in the mid-60s for the race.
As of 8:45 p.m. Wednesday night, the results showed 1,693 finishers in the annual race for which 1,746 people had pre-registered, according to the organizer, Downtown Westfield Corporation. The figures do not include those runners who registered on race day.
Although 97% of the runners were from New Jersey, 12 states other than New Jersey were represented in the competition including California, Missouri, New Mexico and South Dakota, according to Downtown Westfield Corporation.
About 50 people from Imagine, a Center for Coping with Loss, in Mountainside, participated in the race, many of them dressed as super-heroes, the center’s executive director said.
“Our theme is ‘Pizza Heroes,’” said Mary Robinson, the executive director of Imagine, “It’s because we believe all the participants, volunteers and donors are heroes for supporting grieving kids.”
Five pizzerias in the downtown — Casa Di Pizza, Cosmio's, Ferraro's, DiFarina and Outta Hand Pizza — supplied 675 pies at a discounted priced of $11 per pizza, according to Downtown Westfield Corporation.
Shortly after finishing, runners could be found devouring the slices.
Asked how the caloric intake compares to the exercise, Westfield resident Brian Crigler, 54, offered a more optimistic comparison as he approached the third bite of his first slice.
“The pizza balances out the agony of the run,” Crigler said.
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh