The inaugural “Battle of the Mascots” kicked off this year’s “Running with the Devils 5k Run and Walk” in Essex County on the morning of Nov. 2.
Taking place at Essex County’s South Mountain Recreation Complex, the race featured almost every mascot throughout New Jersey.
Mascots in the the race were the New Jersey Devil, from the state’s only professional sports team; Buster from the Lakewood BlueClaws minor league baseball team; Rutgers University’s Scarlet Knight; the minor league baseball team Somerset Patriots’ Sparkee; the Princeton University Tiger; minor league baseball team Trenton Thunder’s Boomer; Monmouth University’ Shadow; Seton Hall University’s Pirate; and Myrtle the Turtle from the Turtle Back Zoo.
The New Jersey Devil would go on to win the race turned obstacle course in the inaugural event. Though, the mascot’s win was under some questioning as officials couldn’t tell if the Devil had completed all of the obstacles presented to participants.
The races and festivities were created to help build healthier communities by promoting healthy, active lifestyles and healthcare.
“Today 2,500 people will be participating in this event from the community. Our relationship and partnership with the [New Jersey] Devils is something we treasure,” said Barry Ostrowsky, president and chief executive officer at RWJBarnabas Health. “I want to thank the mascots for an incredible race and no surprise to the winner.”
He said the event portrays what life is all about.
“It gets us out to do physical work and make some money for our communities. This kind of collaboration will improve all of our lives,” Ostrowsky said.
RWJBarnabas Health and the New Jersey Devils partnered together three years ago to provide the annual 5k and run.
According to officials, proceeds from the charitable race and day of family-friendly activities benefit the programs and services of RWJBarnabas Health and its local facilities.
This was Jamie Riascos and Cynthia Nwana, who work for Community Medical Center in Toms River, participated in this event.
“We are here to support our hospital and it is a good day for fitness. It is good to get a little activity,” Riascos said. “This helps to reduce stress, which is a major cause of heart disease.”
They both said it makes them happy to be outside participating in the event when they see so many people joining them for the run and walk event.
“This is very important. So many people are now inside, we are on our phones and iPads; this gets us out in some fresh air and promotes a healthy lifestyle,” Nwana said.
For more information on RWJBarnabas Health, visit www.rwjbh.org.