SPRING LAKE — Thousands of runners gathered Sussex and Mercer Avenues early Saturday morning for the 45th annual running of the Spring Lake 5.
The sun shone bright and the sounds of cowbells and cheers filled the air as throngs of eager bystanders lined up to see a huge field of competitors run New Jersey’s biggest five-mile race.
This Saturday’s overall female winner was Shannon McCarthy of Hoboken, who finished with a time of 28 minutes, 18 seconds. The overall male winner was Chris Desousa of Oceanport, with a time of 24 minutes and 23 seconds.
At one point, a horde of thousands rounded the corner of Warren Avenue and Fifth Avenue in front of the municipal building. They then broke for the finish line to the east for the final mile, but not before passing under a “rain shower” provided by an engine from Spring Lake Heights’ Independent Fire Company #1.
Plenty of onlookers of all ages packed the curbside as well, providing moral support for the over 12,000 runners. One large set of fans included seven kids—a group ranging in age from four weeks to nine years—who were there to cheer on their three families.
“The race is so awesome,” said Michael, 7, who was there to cheer on his parents, Mike and Stephanie, “especially those guys.” He then pointed over to the band that had served as the soundtrack for the final mile, Jet Watson & The Atomic Ranch Hands.
“We’re having a really good time,” said Mackenzie, 9, who was there in support of her mother, Kelly. According to Mackenzie, she also takes after her mom in the way of athletics. “I run as a sport in school, too,” she said.
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