Streets of Red Bank hosting Sheehan Classic on Saturday
The annual George Sheehan Classic road race will kick off on June 16 at 8:30 a.m. in Red Bank, featuring its new 5K (3.1-mile) distance.Race Director Phil Hinck said feedback in recent years indicated that running five miles had become too long for everyday runners and that the heat in June can also be a factor. In response, the race committee decided to shorten the race.Hinck noted that the Classic is designed as a family event that also includes a kids’ race, a health walk and a wheelchair race. The shorter distance should make it easier for more families to participate. The race director is expecting about 2,500 participants.As in the past, the main event will start on Broad Street. It proceeds to Bergen Street and onto Silverton, before turning left on Prospect Street, which runs into Harding Road and brings runners back to the finish on Broad Street.The Sheehan Classic is the second event of the Shore Golden Grand Prix, which also includes the Belmar 5 (July 14), theAsbury Park 5K (Aug. 11) and the Pier House 5K in Long Branch (Sept. 3). The series began with the Spring Lake 5 on May 26. Jeffrey Perrella of Westfield won the men’s division in 25:04, while Nicole Strand of Robbinsville won the women’s division in 31:05. The race has a long and storied history. It began back in 1981 as the Asbury Park 10K classic. It attracted many top-flight runners, including legendary Bill Rodgers, Keith Brantley and Grete Waitz. In 1994 the race moved to Red Bank, the distance was shortened to five miles and became the Sheehan Classic, renamed in honor of Dr. George Sheehan, a well-known physician, author and runner. The race was originally held during the second week of August, but was moved to Father’s Day weekend in 2004 and has gradually become a very family-friendly event.A free Runner’s Expo will be open from 2-8:30 p.m. Friday and on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Marine Park. The Kids’Classic will be held Friday, June 15, at 6:30 p.m. Afterward, there will be children’s entertainment. All entrants receive T-shirts and all finishers will receive medals. A free post-race picnic, also in Marine Park, is open to all participants.Entries for the 5K, fitness walk and wheel chair race will be available on race day. For more information, call (732) 988- 7725 or visit the Sheehan Classic website at www.sheehanclassic.org.