Sheehan Classic 2009: ‘A great day for a race’


For the second straight year, a New Jersey man crossed the finish line first in the George Sheehan Classic in Red Bank.

PHOTO COURTESY OF BOB BOTH Above: Runners at the start of the George Sheehan Classic June 13. Right: Youngsters competed in the Sheehan Kids' Classic on the day before the 5K. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOB BOTH Above: Runners at the start of the George Sheehan Classic June 13. Right: Youngsters competed in the Sheehan Kids’ Classic on the day before the 5K. Nick Pelligrino came down the stretch run on Broad Street on Saturday comfortably ahead to finish in a 24:55.55.

The 28-year-old Marlboro resident finished 28 seconds before last year’s winner, Craig Segal of Holmdel, crossed the line. The victories by Pelligrino and Segal ended years of domination by Kenyan and Ethiopian runners. Segal previously had won the Spring Lake 5 on Memorial Day weekend in 24:54.

On the women’s side, Noel Brock won for the third year in a row. The Toms River resident finished in 28:52, 21 seconds before Red Bank’s Cate Robbie. That mirrored the finish of the Spring Lake 5, where Brock finished in 28:46, 23 seconds ahead of Robbie.

More than 1,900 people registered for the five-miler and 1,549 completed the race, which started on Broad Street before winding through the neighboring towns of Little Silver and Fair Haven.

PHOTO BY KEITH QUARLES PHOTO BY KEITH QUARLES The toughest part of the mostly flat course came just past the four-mile mark when runners climb Tower Hill on Harding Road, but it’s pretty much downhill from there. In addition, hundreds of spectators watched start and finish from the sidewalks along Broad Street, with others scattered throughout the course.

“It was a great day for a race,” said Race Director Phil Hinck of the 70-degree weather. “We’ve been pretty fortunate weatherwise the last few years.”

He noted that in recent years the race weekend has become more of a familyoriented event and is not dependent on the presence of elite runners for success. The weekend also included a health and fitness walk, which drew 250 participants, and a series of kids races, which attracted 300 participants, Hinck said.

This marks the race’s 16th year as the George Sheehan Classic. Previously it was known as the Asbury Park 10K Classic before it moved to Red Bank and became the Sheehan. At one time, the race included many elite runners, but over the years, prize money has been reduced and it’s become more of a community event.

The Spring Lake 5 and the Sheehan Classic are the first two events of the Jersey Shore Golden Grand Prix, which also includes the Belmar 5 (July 11), the Asbury Park 5K (Aug. 8) and the Pier Village 5K (Long Branch, Sept. 7).

A year ago, Brock won the women’s division of the Golden Grand Prix thanks to her victories in the Spring Lake Five, the Sheehan Classic and the Asbury Park 5k. Brock also finished second in Belmar.


uciano Deoliveira of Long Branch

won the men’s division last summer. Thus far, Deoliveira finished seventh in the Sheehan Classic and also took fifteenth place in Spring Lake.