Saturday in the Park 5K benefits women, their children

Another large turnout of women runners and walkers are expected to join together at Holmdel Park on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3) for a good cause. They will be running and walking to raise funds for and promote awareness of charitable organizations that provide essential services to women and their children in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Presented by the Jersey Shore Running Club, the 23rd annual Saturday in the Park 5K “Women Taking Steps to Help Women” will be held rain or shine featuring a Women’s 5K Run and a Scenic 3-Mile Walk starting a 9 a.m. Children’s Races follow at approximately 10 a.m. The event attracts female runners and walkers of all ages and abilities.

Race-day registration begins at 8 a.m. All women in the 2016 5K will receive a women’s style wicking v-neck shirt, goody bag and finishers gift. Entry fees are $25 before Aug. 28, $30 after Aug. 28 and $5 for Children’s Races. Participants who raise $75 or more in pledges receive free entry.

“We are very proud to be celebrating our 23rd year. Extremely proud because since its inception, Saturday in the Park has raised over $220,000 supporting programs dedicated to providing shelter, counseling, advocacy and education for women and their families in both Monmouth and Ocean counties.” Penny Hinck, race director, Jersey Shore Running Club, said in a prepare statement.

Past participants of Saturday in the Park have consistently remarked about how they have been touched by the ceremony at the start of the race when the runners and walkers join hands and realize the need for all of us to come together to support these “safe harbors” for women and their families.

“For 2016, our primary beneficiaries are Providence House of Catholic Charities in Ocean County and Linkages, also of Catholic Charities in Monmouth County” Hinck said.

In addition to the funds raised, the Saturday in the Park event has helped to create a greater public awareness of the options and services available to women.

The Saturday in the Park event was first staged at Bodman Park in Middletown and was then held at Monmouth University and Brookdale Community College before finding its home at Holmdel Park in 1999. For this 23rd year, organizers are extending free entry to any previous-year champion and are reaching out to past participants to see how many years they may have participated, hoping to recognize those who have participated most frequently. Contact penny@saturdayinthepark5k.org.

Held at the site of the NJSIAA state championship course, the Saturday in the Park Women’s 5K has enjoyed enthusiastic support from many girls high school and youth athletic teams; many high school athletes use this opportunity to familiarize themselves with the course and set their goals for the upcoming cross-country season. To show appreciation to these teams and to encourage continued support of Saturday in the Park and the race’s beneficiaries, the race offers two benefits to high school and youth athletic teams. First, all team members will get the special entry fee of $20 prior to Aug. 28. Second, awards will be given to the top three teams based on their number of participants.

The Mary Conry Memorial Award will be presented to the first Jersey Shore Running Club member to finish. Conry was a member of the Jersey Shore Running Club and the Saturday in the Park Race Committee. Event participants are asked to wear ribbons and/or temporary tattoos in her honor. A recognition award is presented in memory of Dr. Chuck Whelan, former Saturday in the Park race director.

For more information on Saturday in the Park 5K, contact Penny Hinck at 732-571-2162 or penny@saturdayinthepark5k.org or visit www.saturdayinthepark5k.org.