Hundreds take part in April version of ‘Mid-Winter’ Walk/Run

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MANASQUAN — The 18th Annual Manasquan Mid-Winter Beach Run/Walk brought together hundreds of participants from across the state to raise funds to support the all-volunteer Manasquan First Aid Squad.

While each year the event draws more than a thousand walkers and runners to the local beachfront, this year’s event, held Saturday, April 17, was capped at 500 participants in an effort to prevent overcrowding and maintain COVID-19 protocols.

The event, which was originally set for the second weekend in February, was moved to mid-April following discussion at a January council meeting, in the hope that coronavirus restrictions would ease up.

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“We were actually scheduled for February but the town asked me to postpone it until now which was good because [guidelines] went up to 200 people [for outdoor events]. In February it was 50 which would’ve been tough to do so 200 was a lot easier to handle,” organizer Gio Giaquinto said. 

“Usually we have about 1,200 runners but we just couldn’t do that this year, so what we are doing is having multiple groups and staggered starts and everybody has been very cooperative.”

The Manasquan First Aid Squad is an all-volunteer emergency management services organization serving the Manasquan and Sea Girt communities since 1929. The Mid-Winter Beach Run is one of the largest fundraisers for the first aid squad.

Proceeds from the event help supplement the needs of the squad, such as improvements to department vehicles and building or for the purchase of new equipment. The race, organized by Mr. Giaquinto and his wife Mary O’Brien, has raised more than $300,000 since its inception. 

Those who wished to participate in the event, but were unable to in-person, had the option to register for the virtual run/walk.

“People are very appreciative that it goes to a good cause,” Mr. Giaquinto said. “We have raised upwards of $300,000 which is great. Every little bit helps. 

“What’s nice too and what has always been good about this is you know if the kids are runners they get the parents to come out or if the parents are runners they try to get the kids into it so it is a nice little short race, about two miles, they can do together.”

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