Sheehan Classic Goes Metric
Organizers are hoping a new race distance makes the annual Red Bank race more appealing to the average runner.
The 2012 George Sheehan Classic is dumping miles for kilometers.
In an effort to appeal to a broader group of runners who may have struggled with the distance in the past, organizers are making the switch from a 5-mile race to a 5-kilometer one, it was announced Wednesday night. The Sheehan Classic has been an annual Red Bank summertime tradition since the race moved to the borough from Asbury Park and changed names in 1994. The new 5k will serve as the Classic's main event.
According to a release from the organizers, the race committee made the change after significant feedback from the running community said the five-mile course was just too tough, especially with its summer scheduling.
"In response," the release states. "It was decided that the 5K distance is the right match for the entire family to participate, either by racing or walking the scenic course."
After concerns that the August weather was too much, the event was moved to June last year where it remains this year. For 2012, the event is set for June 16. The popular road race, which typically takes runners from the starting point on Broad Street through a scenic tour of surrounding communities - though it's unclear what the route will be this year with nearly 40 percent of the distance trimmed - is accepting registrations as early as March 15 this year.
Organizers expect the race to fill up this year. Last year, though the Classic expected as many as 2,500 racers, the end total was closer to 1,500. This year, with the distance change, organizers are hopeful that their goal of 2,500, again, will this time be met. The race, should it exceed that total of entrants, is being limit to 3,000 people.
The Sheehan Classic is named in memory of Dr. George Sheehan, an author, philosopher and physician.
In addition to the Classic race, Kids' Classic is returning to Red Bank, too. The event, which provides children from toddler ages to 13 the chance to participate in a variety of races, was canceled last year due to heavy rain, though children were still given t-shirts, medals of participation, and cupcakes for their efforts. The Runner's Expo Village is also making a return, along with a post-race block party.
Concerning the difficulty of the race, maybe organizers have a point. Check out our post-race grimace gallery from last year's Sheehan.
The race is part of the Jersey Shore Golden Grand Prix, a series of races that offers prize money to overall and age category winners. The five 2012 events are: Spring Lake 5, George Sheehan Classic, Belmar 5, Asbury Park 5K & Pier House 5K. Visit www.jsgrandprix.com for series information.