By MADDY VITALE
Mike Horgan spent many days running on the Ocean City Boardwalk. The Philadelphia resident said Sunday that the boards have always been an important part of his summer training routine.
It paid off.
Horgan breezed past other runners in a fast time of 1:10:37 in the OCNJ Half Marathon.
“I just got back into distance running. This is my tune-up for the Philadelphia Marathon,” he said in an interview with OCNJDaily.com minutes after he crossed the finish line.
Horgan, 27, said he enjoys running in Ocean City.
“I have been coming here so long. I know the different places and use them as landmarks for how I’m doing,” he noted.
Race Director Lisa Rumer spoke with Horgan shortly after his victory.
“You showed a lot of heart today,” she said, adding that it was one of the fastest race times in the history of the event.
The 13.1-mile half marathon took 481 runners through neighborhoods, the downtown business district, the beaches and the Boardwalk.
The event also included a 10-mile non-competitive walk/run and a 5-kilometer race. There were a total of 1,200 participants for the events.
Elizabeth Swierzbinski, of Delaware, had the fastest time for the women with a 1:23:34.
She smiled as she took her medal after her victory.
Tara Williams, of Ocean View, pushed a stroller carrying her 8-month-old daughter, Gracie, in the half marathon.
It was her first race since she had Gracie.
When Williams finished, she, along with Gracie, each received medals that were handed out by race volunteers, including Ocean City High School students and the city’s Department of Community Services.
“We run on the Ocean City Boardwalk every day,” Williams explained as she sipped some water after the race. “I had a great time today. This is our first race together and Gracie was amazing.”
Runners and walkers enjoyed the sun-splashed sky and cool temps that hovered around 68 degrees during the morning races and walk.
Like the other participants, Horgan had a cheering squad.
Family, friends and loved ones came out to show support.
Some held signs. Others cheered and applauded the arrival of the runners on the last loop to the finish line on the Boardwalk near the Music Pier.
Horgan’s mother, Anne Marie Horgan, of Washington Crossing, Pa., and his girlfriend, Bailey Ford, of Philadelphia, joined him after his win.
“I am very proud of him,” his mother said. “We knew he could do a great job.”
Ford noted that every Sunday she and Horgan spend the day exercising. He runs and she bikes alongside him.
They do a total of 23 miles.
“I feel like he motivates me,” Ford said.
After a hard run and a lot of sweat, Horgan had one thing in mind.
“I will celebrate with a big thing of crab fries, ice cream and pizza,” he said with a smile.
Half Marathon Top Finishers:
Top three female and male finishers are as follows:
Elizabeth Swierzbinski 1:23:34
Megan Venables 1:30:19
Vanessa Andes 1:32:06
Mike Horgan 1:10:37
Brandon Kintish 1:16:22
Joshua Jackson 1:20:16
For a complete breakdown of the race results visit www.delmopro.com.