BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer For the first time in recent memory, a Kenyan or an Ethiopian runner did not cross the finish line first at the George Sheehan Classic in Red Bank. ERIC SUCAR staff Craig Segal, of Holmdel, crosses the finish line in first place at the George Sheehan Classic road race held in Red Bank on June 14. Craig Segal of Long Branch won the men’s race with a time of 25:34, while Noel Brock, an assistant track coach at Toms River North High School, won the women’s race with a time of 27:38, marking her second successive Sheehan triumph. “You never really know who’s going to run until race day,” said race director Phil Hinck. “We do reach out to elite runners, but we look at this as more of a family-oriented event. If the Kenyans come, they come.” The five-miler began at 8:30 a.m. with the temperature at 72 degrees as Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” blared over speakers placed at the starting line. The racecourse began on Broad Street and wound its way through the residential sections of neighboring Little Silver and Fair Haven. It included an out-and-back trek along Harding Road that culminates just past the four-mile mark when runners face Tower Hill, afterwhich it’s downhill and then flat to the finish on Broad Street. Segal dueled Whiting’s Tim Mulligan over the first four miles before jumping out ahead as he climbed Tower Hill, the steepest part of the course. Segal went on to win by nine seconds. The women’s race came down to a duel between two runners as well, Brock and Alemtshay Mistanw, of New York City. Mistanw held a slight lead over the first four and a half miles, but Brock made her move on the final straightaway on Broad Street. She passed Mistanw and sprinted to the finish 10 seconds ahead of her competitor. Megan Guiney of Red Bank was the fifth woman to cross the finish line. Both Segal and Brock also won the Spring Lake Five Mile Run on Memorial Day weekend. Coupled with their Sheehan victories, both have won the first two legs of the Jersey Shore Golden Grand Prix. The other two races in the series are the Belmar FiveMile Run, theAsbury Park 5K and the Pier Village 5K. Brock won all four of the races a year ago. This marks the race’s 15th year as the George Sheehan Classic. Previously it was known as the Asbury Park 10K Classic before it moved to Red Bank and became the Sheehan. At one time, the race included many elite runners, but over the years, prize money has been reduced and it’s become more of a community event. “We really wanted to create a family atmosphere, that’s why we have a barbecue and a band afterwards; we also see a lot of parents running with their kids,” Hinck said. “At one time, our sponsors wanted to see more elite runners, but they understand that the local people are the ones they need to reach.” In all, nearly 900 competed in the Sheehan five-miler, and more than 2,000 people participated in the other Sheehan events, including the Kids’ Classic on Friday night, as well as Saturday’s Health and Fitness walk and wheelchair race. While many people came from New York and Pennsylvania, the vast majority were from the Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex county areas, Hinck said. Hinck noted that the event could not be held without cooperation from the communities of Red Bank, Little Silver and Fair Haven. “We prettymuch tie up three towns for a couple of hours, andwe couldn’t do thiswithout their support and the support of the police and publicworks departments,” the race director said. “Plus we had more than 300 volunteers manning the water stops, patrolling the courses and taking care of the start and finish lines.” The last runner crossed the finish at 9:50 a.m. and within five minutes many of the local streets were open again. By 10:25 a.m. all the streets were open, Hinck added.