Brunswick Cup Kickoff Race, Memorial Day 5K, Takes Place for 35th Year at North Brunswick Community Park
Fosters a connection between the four Brunswick towns in Central New Jersey
The 9th annual Brunswick Cup, a series of four 5k (3.1 mile) races that take place in North Brunswick, New Brunswick, East Brunswick, and South Brunswick, New Jersey and are open to runners and walkers of all levels, kicked off Monday with the 35th annual Memorial Day 5k, at North Brunswick Community Park.
The event took place under sunny blue skies which served to match its joyful spirit. Everyone was asked to “Please join us in honoring our veterans during a Memorial Day ceremony, immediately following [the race and its awards presentation],” states the race registration form.
While the North Brunswick Memorial Day 5K honors our veterans of war and those serving right now, New Brunswick’s upcoming Jimmy D Memorial 5K Run/Walk (now in its 10th and final year), will be held on Sunday, August 31, 2014. It’s dedicated to New Brunswick Fire Department Deputy Chief James D’heron, who gave his life in the line of duty on September 3, 2004 while responding to a fire at a New Brunswick residence where he saved the lives of 15 sleeping residents who were able to make it out alive thanks to his efforts.
Lu Ann Benson, Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services with North Brunswick Township is passionate about the race as well as promoting fitness at all levels.
She told DoubleGSports.com that she feels the Brunswick Cup has fostered a connection between the towns as they work cooperatively together.
“It’s a history and flavoring of home town traditions for us and I have to say I’ve been able to be a part of it since its inception,” said Benson, who actually started with the township when she was only 16.
“The race went well this year… We are very lucky that we have the support of our mayor and council. I have to say the highlight for our community as a whole is the volunteer spirit that is out on the course. We have our boy scouts, our cub scouts, our girl scouts, our senior citizens, and our youth council members and they are all along the course handing out water and helping set up during the day. My staff gets in the park about 5:45 am, and we prepare the race route which we are very lucky is in the North Brunswick Community park.”
The Brunswick Cup is the brainchild of Bob Tona, who started his own 5K, South Brunswick’s, “Run With the Vikings” (held in November) about a year before creating the Brunswick Cup.
“I’m the kick off and he’s the end,” said Benson, referring to the race in South Brunswick; the Run With the Vikings 5k is the final race of the series where anyone who completes at least 3 of the 4 races receives a commemorative glass.
Tona’s idea for a race series in Middlesex County was inspired by the Jersey Shore Grand Pre, a series of five 5k’s all in different towns. With that model in mind, he told DoubleGSports.com how he made the Brunswick Cup happen.
“I went to the Jimmy D 5k in year one and there were over a thousand runners and I was like wow this is a race – my race was coming up in November, that year, so I went there to hand out my flyers; I was trying to piggy back off of [the success of New Brunswick’s Jimmy D 5k]”, he said.
“I sent Erin D’heron Varga an email. I contacted the race director at the time and I contacted Lu Ann Benson. We met for coffee and sort of cross promoted a little bit. I’ve had more and more people come up to me and say hey I want to run all four of them — it’s a great idea. There is a lot of good running in central New Jersey. We just don’t promote it.”
But now Tona needs to find another 5k to partner with and has begun searching for one. A recent announcement on the Jimmy D 5K wesite, by Erin D’heron Varga, daughter of James D’heron and the Director of the race, stated that 2014 would be the events final year.
“Many of you knew my dad, New Brunswick FD Deputy Chief James D’heron, and that being said, you know that the most important aspect of his life was his family. Nothing brought him greater joy than a day enjoying time with his wife, his children, his grandchildren, cousins, nephews, nieces, aunts and uncles. It was his way. Jimmy devoted his time to his children and grandchildren and never missed a moment. He showed me how to change to for the good, and most of all he showed me how to be a better parent. As I have been reaching out to him to steer me in the right direction with the race and the foundation, I know that now is the time to focus on my own family, especially my children as they grow and enter new chapters of their own lives,” Varga wrote.
“Thanks to everyone who has been there for me, my family, this race and foundation,” she added. “It’s been a journey… Let’s make this the best Jimmy D Memorial 5K yet. Like the Phoenix we’ve added to the race logo – it’s time for us to rise up from the fire that took dad and focus on new life.”
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