HP celebrates community with 5k race, kids’ races, entertainment

On Sunday May 3, 2015, runners will be once again taking it to the streets of Highland Park for the seventh annual “Run in the Park” 5k race and Superhero Kids Races.

The race begins at 9:00 am on North Fifth Avenue next to the Highland Park High School, continues downhill on Raritan Avenue and winds its way through the historic streets of Highland Park before finishing on the Middle School/High School track.

The run, organized by Main Street Highland Park’s staff and volunteers, has a slightly different course this year, allowing runners to start and finish in the same spot. “Our race volunteers, runners, and the Highland Park police department all encouraged us to have the start and finish line in the same area,” said Rebecca Hersh, Executive Director of Main Street Highland Park. “It makes logistics – as well as community cheering and participation – easier for everyone, and we’re really excited for the new route.”

The 5k Committee Co-Chairs Neil Hume and Angela Hynek, both Highland Park residents and avid runners, started volunteering on the committee last year, after participating in the event as runners.

“I wouldn’t be a runner at all if not for the Highland Park 5k,” Mr. Hume noted.  “I first took part in the event five years ago with almost no running experience, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I got hooked after that, joined the Raritan Valley Road Runners (RVRR) a couple of years later, and somehow found myself running a marathon almost four years after that first Highland Park 5k. When I heard that the race needed volunteers to help organize the run, I was lucky enough to be able to call on RVRR for support. It’s the inclusive atmosphere of races like this that keeps me coming back, and Highland Park does it so well, thanks to the people in this town.”

For Ms. Hynek, who also runs with the Raritan Valley Road Runners, part of the appeal of this race is how it showcases the downtown. “At no other time during the year do runners get the chance to run down a car-free Main Street,” she said. “The course allows runners to see our great town in a new way.”

The race proceeds go to a number of Highland Park institutions: the Borough of Highland Park’s Police Department, Fire Department, First Aid Squad, Recreation Department, Public Library, and Main Street.

Following the 5k, there will be refreshments for the runners at the finish line area, and at 10 a.m., there will be the “Superhero Kids Races” on the high school track. Kids are encouraged to dress up as their favorite superheroes for the run; all kids’ race entrants will receive a t-shirt and a comic book courtesy of The Fallout Shelter. Sandi Cacace, owner of Yellow Brick Road Preschool, is one of the volunteers on the 5k Committee, and it was her idea to make the kids’ races superhero-themed. “Kids love to dress up, and I wanted to encourage them to have fun in their race,” Ms. Cacace said. “My son works at The Fallout Shelter, which is how I got the idea to hand out comic books to all the kids. We had so much fun with the kids’ races last year, and we’re excited to do it again this year!”

Following the kids races, awards will be presented to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place overall Male and Female; Age Groups 1st, 2nd and 3rd place Male and Female (0 – 9, 10 – 14, 15 – 19, 20 -24, 25 – 29, 30 – 34, 35 – 39, 40 – 44, 45 – 49, 50 -54, 55 – 59, 60 – 64, 65 – 69, 70 – 74, 75 – 79, 80+).

“This event would not be possible without the hard work of our volunteers and without the support of the event’s sponsors,” noted Ms. Hersh. “The more sponsorships we receive, the more we get to give back to our community institutions, so I want to give a special thank-you to all of our sponsors: St. Peters University Hospital; Kinetics Fitness; SpeakMusic Conservatory; Pilates & Company; Raritan Valley Road Runners; Redwood Florist; Rebarber Family Chiropractic; the Highland Park Planet; James Nichols Architect; Hambro & Mitchell Attorneys at Law; Running It Softly; All Colors LLC; Window & Door Outlet; StrubLaw.com; FBN Auto; Yellow Brick Road; the Fallout Shelter; Mordy’s Kosher Bakery & Café; Door to Door Organics; and Stop & Shop of Highland Park.”

There’s still time to register online for the 5k and Kids Races, at www.runinthepark.org. Prices go up on April 28, so register today!

After the Highland Park 5k, stick around town for the annual Spring Street Fair, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.. For more information, visit www.mainstreethp.org.

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