Asbury Park: The soup is the attraction, joked Shore Athletic Club scorers Ralph Garfield and Gene Geer at the 48th Annual 10-Mile Racewalk and optional 5-Mile Walk on Saturday at Convention Hall. Preregistration was a little sketchy, they said, with only about 60 signed up before that morning. The number went quickly to 97, a decent contest number as clear-sky forecasts brought out the late entrants.
“We think they were recalling last year’s blizzard on race day,” said Race Coordinator Elliott Denman a half hour before race time. But more made it to the boardwalk track in time.
The race was on and at 10 a.m. Denman gave the final instructions. “The casino is the turn around, and then it is back to the start line. Its 10 laps up and back. The half mile distance makes a nice clear run for us,“ he said.
He had plenty of volunteers to register, run the fluid station and call the athletes numbers as each finished a lap,which kept count of everyone’s distance. The Red Bank Catholic High men’s and women’s track teams were on hand assisting.
Faster paced athletes took the front of the line at the start. By mid-race they were overlapping the slower contestants. It didn’t bother either the fast or slow racewalkers. The race itself is their reason for being there. And the soup.
At the end of the contest cups of soup are given out. It's a tradition. “Now the soup is even better, with a little chicken and veggies,” said one of the soup sippers at the finish area. These years the soup is provided by Tim McLoone’s Restaurant at the boardwalk. Tim used to run, and sip soup after. That soup was mostly tradition and not so soupy. Now he does the soup and it's terrific.
The winner was John Soucheck of Little Silver, a long time SAC runner returning from a 2 year layoff. He is still getting back into the rhythm but his form was great, his time commendable and his sweat just a little more than usual, he said. His timing looked good and he liked the weather, cool, sunny and no wind to speak of.
The women’s winner was Panse Geer from Hazlet. Her 1:48.41 was 2 minutes better than her last event. She felt good about that. Panse has won this event 5 times and a top racewalker in her 64 age group with a win at the Masters recently.
Panse Geer, Hazlet at the Turn
Long Branch’s Maria Paul was second and a respectable 1:52.17. “I did better than I thought I would,” she said. I was not too sure I could do this well.”
Maria Paul, Long Branch takes Women's 2nd Place
Second male want to Bill Vayo from White Plains, New York with a strong race end to end. His after race fun thing was a dip in the ocean. “Just something I like to do,” he said, and dove in for a quick wet down. Brrrrrrrr!!!!
Bill Vayo, White Plains, NY takes Men's 2nd Place
3 RBC Casey's at the Registration Table
Marilyn Ryder of Long Branch holds up her prize for the race