Kootman back to defend

first_img Born to Run race title Event now in 19th year After finishing second to South River’s Dave DeMonico twice, Lincroft’s Matt Kootman turned the tables on the five-time Born to Run champion last year. Kootman, a Middletown South High School graduate who was running for Boston College, followed the M.O. that made DeMonico the biggest winner in the event’s history — by taking the lead from the outset and controlling the pace from the front. Kootman had done it before only to have DeMonico out-last him. Last year was the charm for the ex-Eagle, as he won the 5-mile Born to Run race through the streets of Freehold Borough in 25:26. This time, he was able hold off DeMonico for the entire five miles. Kootman will return to the streets of Freehold Borough on Friday to pick up where he left off with the 19th running of the Born to Run, which is run in cooperation with the Freehold Area Running Club. Kootman will face a different challenge in the defense of his title. Injury will keep DeMonico on the sidelines this year, but Rob DeFillippis of Tinton Falls, who finished third last year just behind DeMonico, will be back to chase Kootman. Former Freehold Borough track star Cynthia Savino was the 2002 women’s champion in her debut, running 32:03. She recently ran a marathon personal best at New York City, and will not be running the race this year because of a hamstring injury. Veteran roadrunner Maggie Freeman, third last year, will be looking to move up. Freeman is a police officer in Manalapan. The Born to Run race starts and finishes on Court Street. The course takes runners through the backstreets of the borough, including an excursion through Lake Topanemus. When the runners exit Topanemus onto Pond Road, they hit the rolling hills that race director Hank Bailey refers to as “Heartbreak Hill.” Coming in the final mile of the race, the hills have often been decisive in determining the winner. There is a separate racewalking division for the race. Last year, Jack Leach of Marlboro won in 46:39, and the women’s winner was Joan Venslavsky of Robbinsville (54:57). This race has earned a reputation over the years as one of the most racer-friendly on the road-racing calendar, and is one of the reasons that, every year, several hundred runners line up to run off their Thanksgiving Day dinners. This event is also a fund-raiser that supports the Monmouth County Child Abuse Task Force. The borough streets will be the safest in nation with a detachment of Marine Corps League controlling traffic and guarding the streets. Race day registration is $20 (with shirt not guaranteed). Post-registration without a shirt is $10. Race day registration will be held at the Freehold Fire House starting at 9 a.m. For more information on the race, call (732) 780-5959 or (800) 300-8184. Born to Run race titleEvent nowin 19th year last_img read more