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Hillsborough man pledges to run a 5K per day to honor health care heroes as part of NJ Devils virtual 5K

Jeff Olanoff of Hillsborough has pledged to run a 5K every day from Oct. 1-25 as part of the New Jersey Devils virtual 5K event honoring health care heroes.

The New Jersey Devils, in collaboration with the team’s official healthcare provider, RWJBarnabas Health, announced that NHL All-Star Kyle Palmieri, Travis Zajac and Damon Sverson will lead a contingent of New Jersey Devils players, alumni and wives/girlfriends in the virtual RWJBarnabas Health “Running with the Devils 5K Run and Walk,” which takes place Oct. 1–25.

One of the runners this year is Jeff Olanoff of Hillsborough, a lifelong Devils fan, born in 1982, the year the team came to New Jersey.

He has been on a journey since January trying to become the healthiest version of himself, according to information provided by the Devils. He started going to the gym regularly before it was shut down due to COVID-19. After it was shut down, he began running for the first time in his life and has since lost more than 80 pounds.

In his words, this will be his first “competitive” run in his life. And Olanoff is running a 5K per day to honor health care heroes. He is also currently the top individual fundraiser for the event, according to the statement.

The event celebrates the heroic efforts of frontline workers that continue the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. One hundred percent of proceeds from the event will benefit RWJBarnabas Health’s Emergency Response Fund, which provides the necessary resources to help treat the most critical patients; ensures the safety of all caregivers, frontline workers and staff, and manages ongoing preparation to protect surrounding communities for any potential resurgence of the virus or other emergencies.

Fans and members of the community can register and join one of the New Jersey Devils-based teams as they compete virtually to capture bragging rights to the fundraising crown. Go to rwjbh.org/runningwiththedevils and click on New Jersey DevilsDevils Alumni or She Devils.

Registrants can designate which RWJBarnabas Health facility to be the beneficiary of their fundraising efforts.

The current player team consists of Travis Zajac (5K Captain), Cory Schneider, Will Butcher, Kyle Palmieri, Connor Carrick, Mirco Mueller and Damon Severson. The Devils Alumni team includes Ken Daneyko (5K Captain) Bruce Driver, Grant Marshall, Bryce Salvador and Colin White. The She Devils team features Nikki Zajac (5K Captain), Jill Schneider, Tayler Butcher, Ashlee Palmieri, Lexi Carrick, Kristin Mueller and Drey Severson.


“Participation from current players, alumni, wives and girlfriends is fantastic and reinforces the spirit of our partnership, as we celebrate Healthcare Heroes on the front lines, while supporting our mission of promoting healthy living in the communities we serve,” Barry H. Ostrowsky, president and chief executive officer of RWJBarnabas Health, said in the statement.


The new virtual format is designed to encourage greater participation as individuals can run or walk within their communities, or even in their own homes, over an extended period of time. Exciting fundraising incentives are being offered for individuals and teams based on benchmarks of $100, $250, $500 and $1,000, and include signed and custom New Jersey Devils merchandise and a virtual video conference with current players and alumni, among others.


All paid entries will have access to a custom training program with videos from RWJBarnabas Health wellness experts including strength, agility and conditioning tips. Additionally, participants will have access to nutrition tips from RWJBH dieticians and wellness experts.


Registration for a 5K virtual runner age 12 and older is $25, and registration for a walker age 12 and older is $20. Children 11 and under are free.

For more information on the event, or to register for the 2020 Virtual RWJBarnabas Health “Running with the Devils 5K Run and Walk,” visit rwjbh.org/runningwiththedevils.

For more information on Olanoff’s story, visit www.classy.org/fundraiser/2922208

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