OCEAN CITY — The several hundred people who lined up on the Boardwalk shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday had all sorts of reasons to be there.
Some were runners, and the New Year’s Day 5K was their first race of the year. Others were reluctantly dragged there by friends and spouses.
And then there were people such as Herman Doering, 55, of Egg Harbor Township. He said he was attending the run the day after his mother-in-law, Virginia Gaskill, died at the age of 78. In her memory, he said he set his new year’s resolution to run a half-marathon with the goal of eventually running the New York Marathon.
New Year’s Day is ground zero for resolutions, plans to change one’s habits and life through the changing of the year. The fresh start offered by a new calendar is irresistible to some, who see the change to break with their own history and start a new path.
About 45 percent of Americans regularly make new year’s resolutions, according to the University of Scranton and the Journal of Clinical Psychology, in a study published in December. While 8 percent have success, another 24 percent say they regularly fail. Education and self help-related resolutions are the most popular, the survey found, but only 46 percent of those resolution makers stuck with it past six months.
Many of those at the Ocean City event had running-related resolutions. Gerry Arleth, 65, of Somers Point, had a simple resolution: “keep running,” while Brian Scheufele, 36, of the Oceanview section of Dennis Township, resolved to take part in his first triathlon.
Jessie Searight drove from Philadelphia on Tuesday to run the race. She had never run before, she said, so her goal was only to make it to the finish line, a little more than 3.1 miles away.
Searight, 24, is getting married in July, and while she said she wore a size two dress, she said she was “running to keep myself healthy … and make sure I still fit in that dress.”
But beyond that, she said, she was running “to be fit and strong, healthy and to just get back in shape.”
Erin Cahill, 18, drove from Mount Laurel with school friends for other reasons: start running in order to lose 10 pounds before the class trip in March to Disney World.
By New Year’s Day, Alex Yankowsky, 45, had shed almost 50 pounds in the past six months, scared fit by a doctor who told him he was “a heart attack waiting to happen.”
“I said, ‘Oh, geez, I gotta do something,’” Yankowsky said.
On Tuesday, he was trim and energetic, the result of going from 217 pounds down to about 170. The Hershey, Pa., resident drove for three hours to take part in the run. His resolution this year is to run in November’s Philadelphia Marathon.
Also among the crowd running was Jade Tricomy, 10, Jared Tricomy, 11, and Lindsay Robbins, 10, of Cape May Court House, and Dan Moses, 13, and Josh Moses, 13 of North Cape May. They were part of the Green Heads swimming club, said Jake Tricomy, 37, and he and Robbins said their resolution was to get into better shape for swimming.
One of the few people who seemingly had no immediate goals with running was Sea Isle City resident Janet Halasek, 67, who said she has run the Boston Marathon and other races.
“The one thing I would like to do is go to Albuquerque and do the hot air balloons,” Halasek said, referring to the massive international ballooning festival held every October. “I’ve done all the rest of it.”
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