41st Annual Five Mile Run draws nearly 3,000 competitors

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Nearly 3,000 runners competed in Saturday's Belmar Five Mile Run. CHRISTIN NICE / THE COAST STAR

BELMAR – The 41st Annual Belmar Five Mile Run saw locals from Monmouth and Ocean counties take home top honors during the Jersey Shore staple, which drew nearly 3,000 runners from up and down the East Coast, and beyond, July 8.

At 26-years-old, Colts Neck resident Mark Leininger, won the 2017 Belmar Five in a record 24:46.

“I am feeling pretty good,” Mr. Leininger said while trying to catch his breath after crossing the finishing line.

“It was hot out there, which didn’t feel great, and there were a lot of good runners so I am excited. I ran with them and luckily I had a little bit more luck at the end so I was able to get the win.”

For Mr. Leininger, who recently returned home to New Jersey after spending time in South Carolina, running marathons and the Belmar Five, has been a part of his life for many years.

“I have been running it through high school and college so I know the course pretty well,” he said, stating that a portion of the race takes place inland, while some of the course is also along the ocean.

“I was running professionally in South Carolina and actually just came off of a little break from the spring season. This was the fastest time I’ve ran so it is exciting how everything came together.”

At 23-years-old, Brick resident Brianna Feerst took home the title of women’s champ, crossing the finish line at 29:06, a record for her.

“I am feeling pretty good,” she said following her win. “I was coming into the race just thinking, ‘We’ll see what happens,’ but I just got out there and … was feeling good so I went further and held on.

“I’ve never won this race before so it is a good day and I also broke 30 minutes for the first time so that is exciting.”

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.