LONG BRANCH: After taking 2014 off, PBA 10 and the Jersey Shore Running Club help the 24th running of the Celtic Tribute 5 K on Saturday, April 4 at the Long Branch promenade.
The field of runners was smaller than previous years, some thought due to the strong wind that prevailed all morning.
But the Celtic Tribute 219 women and men leapt off the mark at the north end of the promenade toward the south end, then turned around and headed home to the Great Lawn finish line.
The male winner was Mathew Weissinger from Northampton, MA with an impressive time of 16:06.41, a statement of hard work against the 25 MPH plus winds. First woman winner was Red Bank's Tina Walkowski, 19:03.87 at a 6.09 MPH pace.
Second male was Eric Boucher, Darien, CT, followed by John Jankowski, Pt. Pleasant. Second woman was Brick's Meagan Drapkin. Third went to Melany Weissinger from New York, NY.
The traditional Kids Races had five entries, braving the wind, and excited about winning one of the 8 trophies to be given out. Each received a medal and trophy, fair award for stepping up to the elements.
The race was a last minute scheduling as the state PBA wanted to get the tribute back in the annual program of recognizing the men and women in blue, and continue the work to provide scholarships in memory of fallen officers. This year FACES was also a beneficiary, an organization helping those among us who sustain epilepsy, with Long Branch officer Erik Wettermark speaking for Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures.
Wind was a factor which took down several wire fence panels along the path. Heavy winds have been the bane of walkers all week, and runners on Saturday. Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider competed and said the problem is frequent re-standing the panels even as efforts of the fully challenged public works teams must face snow, winds and ice added to their regular duties.
Awards were presented to the runners by Jersey Shore Running Club's Phil Hinck as race fans continued celebrating at the Celtic Cottage with a pasts feast.
Top police officers participating in the 5K were:
Female officer Heather Valdes. City of Long Branch.
Male officers were: Luis Maldonado, Dallas Erickson, Jose Quiles, Jason Pfleiderer and Ryan Massa, US Navy; Greg Martone, Ocean Township; Vincent Roselli, Joshua Bard, Erik Wettermark, and Dave House, Long Branch; Charles Matthews, Bradley Beach; Rodger Miller, Monmouth County Sherif Office; Jeffery Sprague, Sayreville.