More than 1,200 run in 24th annual Avon 5K

Runners were ready for the start of the Avon 5K on Saturday. PHOTO BY HOPE PATTI

AVON-BY-THE-SEA — The starting line for the 24th annual Avon 5K had 1,235 runners, ready to help raise funds for the Avon Volunteer First Aid Squad on Saturday, June 1.

“We have 200 more runners this year than last year. It’s better than expected,” said John Kennedy, a member of the First Aid Squad and co-director of the event.

The race brought together participants and supporters from all over the state. Marlena Duke, of Hoboken, cheered on her husband, George, and children Ryan and Sophia, ages 12 and 14, respectively.

This is the first race that Ryan Duke has completed. He was the first in his family to cross the finish line, as the 7th in his age group and 54th overall with a chip time of 21:51. As he caught his breath and drank his water he said, “I didn’t even know I could run that fast.”

“I am so proud for this to be his first race and to run so fast and do so well. He left his sister and his father in the dust,” said Mrs. Duke.

The top male finisher was Stephen Rathbun, 26, of Springfield, with a chip time of 15:43.8. The top female finisher was Brittany Piercy, 26, of Freehold, with a chip time of 19:17.4.

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