March 12, 2006 — Aniecia Williams wowed the crowed at Sunday's 24th Annual Women's Jogger Jam when she crossed the finish line in 11 minutes and 55 seconds — a full three minutes ahead of closest competitor Boel Merrit.
However, it must be noted there is a considerable age difference. Williams is a student at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, while Merrit competed in the 40 to 49-year-old category.
But the two-mile run is more about caring than competition, as the proceeds go to support the Family Resource Center.
Sponsored for the last 19 years by The Fruit Bowl, the Jogger Jam has come to symbolize unity and camaraderie between women of all ages in the community.
"We've sponsored a lot of different groups over the years," Fruit Bowl owner Marty Goldberg said after the race Sunday. Among them the Youth Multi-Service Center and the Victim Advocates program.
Sandra Hodge Benjamin, executive director of the FRC, said the money raised is used for support operations, aid to victims and shelter for families needing protection.
The run is also about family. Goldberg had three generations participating in Sunday's race. His wife, Carole, who won in the 60 and over category in 17:53; his daughter, Wendy Peck; her daughter, Samantha; and his other granddaughter Elisabeth Goldberg.
Goldberg said he had tried to convince his mother to come down and do the race in a wheelchair. "Wouldn't that have been something?" he said.
The event draws women and children of all ages — often from far afield. Running the race for the first time was Yoshi Korver, here from Amsterdam. She ran alongside her six-month-old sister, Zaya, and Zaya's mother, O'nika Gilliam. "I ran down the hills and walked up them," Korver said.
Zaya had the advantage of a stroller. Not so with 7-year-old Nika Pearl Edwards, who said she mostly ran, but did walk part of the way. Her 12-year-old sister, Simi, also ran the race, which does have a couple of long hills and circles the Schneider Regional Medical Center and Fortress Self-storage — twice.
With the addition of a category for teams — dubbed the team challenge — the race draws groups from all over the community. Winning the category again this year were 36 female students, teachers and parents from Addelita Cancryn Junior High School.
It is possible that the Cancryn girls are especially motivated as their gym teacher and coach, Therese Hodge, is the race director. But Hodge said there are a lot of teachers encouraging the students to participate, not just her.
She said her "girl power" group was there. Along with them were students from the National Honor Society, driven there by the encouragement of the society's faculty advisor, Carolyn Pickering.
"Carolyn Pickering comes out every year," Hodge said, adding that she brings her whole family. "You've got three generations of Pickerings out there." This year that included Pickering's mother, Christina, and daughter, Akira.
Another group that the race would be lost without is the Civil Air Patrol. "I couldn't get through the race without them," Hodge said. Under the guidance of Maj. Clarence Hansby, the CAP members handle the traffic control during the race, which requires participants to pass through a busy intersection to reach the finish line.
Aside from The Fruit Bowl — which donates $5 for every person who crosses the finish line and covers the advertising costs, T-shirts, and refreshments after the race — other sponsors of the event include Coca-Cola, Chico's Distributors, H & M Enterprises, Premier Wines & Spirits, and West Indies Corp.
This year's race saw 337 registrants with 283 finishers.
Here are the top three winners in seven categories:
12 and under
1. Coreena Richards, 16:12
2. Amadi Cooper, 16:41
3. Shasel Alexander, 17:46
13 to 18
1. Kira Gumbs, 15:13
2. Creolar Jn-Baptiste, 15:18
3. Leeanna Hyacinth, 16:14
19 to 29
1. Kelli Judson, 15:41
2. Trinity Shitman, 17:07
3. Diana Ubinas, 20:58
30 to 39
1. Simone Francis, 15:20
2. Melissa King, 15:54
3. Adrianna Baird, 16:28
40 to 49
1. Boel Merrit, 14:55
2. Lisa Uncles, 15;15
3. Sonia Lawrence, 17:29
50 to 59
1. Deborah Davis, 18:49
2. Cassandra Mallory, 19:05
3. Sandra Kelly, 20:56
1. Carole Goldberg, 17:53
2. Patty Varga, 20:40
3. Fern Laborde, 21:54
For the full results click here.
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