Story by Bozz

We can all complete this sentence with our favorite thing to do on Memorial Day weekend: it could be a favorite seasonal bar/restaurant opening up for business or a particular beach you go to or an annual barbecue. But thousands of road runners will most likely say that their summer at the Jersey Shore unofficially starts with the Spring Lake Five Mile Run. From a couple of hundred runners in its inaugural race in 1976 to over 10,000 runners today, this race is one of the most popular five milers in the country.

You never know what kind of weather you will get for the Spring Lake Five. It could be raining, 50-55 degrees and cloudy, 80 degrees and sunny or it could be foggy. Regardless of the weather, this race always creates a social atmosphere like no other. The experience begins when you’re at the starting line on Ocean Avenue (or several blocks deep). “Born To Run” by Bruce will be blasting to get everyone pumped up, followed by the singing of the national anthem. And then the horn goes off and off you go. Once you get between the 2 and 3-mile markers, you start seeing crowds of people lining the streets. Some people will be spraying the garden hose at the runners and you’ll definitely hear the “Rocky Theme” and/or “Eye Of The Tiger” at least once during the race.

David B via YouTube

Personally, I’ve run this race 18 times, my first back in 1984 at the age of 10. Of all the fun of the Spring Lake Five, I have to say that my favorite memory is always when I’m approaching the 3-mile marker on Third Avenue. Along the route is where the house I grew up in once stood (sadly, the house was torn down 7 years ago). My mother, grandmother and my parents’ friends would all be watching the race looking out for my father, my sisters, myself and family friends who were all running. That would be my motivation to kick it up a little during my run.

If you are running in the Spring Lake Five this year, good luck, enjoy it and be safe. And whatever else your summer at the Jersey Shore unofficially begins with, please make it a safe and happy event.

And please do not forget on Memorial Day to take a moment to reflect on all the men and women who had fought and died for our country to defend the great freedom we have. Without their heroic sacrifices, we wouldn’t be able to run road races, go to the beach, host barbecues or have any fun at the Jersey Shore.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend, everybody!!