SEA ISLE CITY - Eric Bofinger of Langhorne, Pa., has a long-range goal to run sub-3-hour marathons in all 50 states.
The 29-year-old Bofinger took care of the New Jersey part of his project quite nicely Sunday, winning the 16th annual Ocean Drive Marathon in 2 hours, 39 minutes, 40.2 seconds.
Bofinger finished at the Promenade at JFK Boulevard nearly 10 minutes ahead of second-place Ryan Shanley, 31, of Brooklyn, N.Y. Shanley finished in 2:49.35.4. Third was Ben Hatt, 28, of Shillington, Pa., in 2:50:10.01.
Nicole Tassello of Hamilton Township in Mercer County, placed sixth overall and won the women's title in her first marathon in 2:58.03.3. Tassello ran track at Rider University, where she set the 10K school record. She graduated in spring 2013.
The 26.2-mile race began at Beach Avenue, south of Perry Street, in Cape May. The conditions were damp, with light rain.
Bofinger ran track at William Tennent High School in Warminster, Pa., and then at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
He has now run seven marathons, each in a different state, and has two victories.
"It feels good to win the race," said Bofinger, a personal trainer and cross country coach at Cairn University in Langhorne. "I set a goal to see if I could win it. I looked at the times from the previous year. I'm pretty familiar with the area. My wife (Katy) is from Pittsgrove Township, and we've stayed in Stone Harbor. I know friends who have houses in Wildwood. My favorite part of the race was the Wildwood Boardwalk. It felt better on my feet, and there were things to look at."
Edith Arruffat, 31, of Rochelle Park, N.Y., was 10th overall and second among women in 3:01.25.0. Jessica DiCicco, 25, a former runner at Highland Regional High School in Gloucester Township and St. Joseph's University, was 11th overall and third among the women in 3:02:59.06.
"Up until the 21-mile mark, I felt great," Tassello said. "The last five miles, the wind was in my face, and it was tougher. I'm still in shock. I never thought I'd win in my first marathon. I can't believe I was under 3 hours. There's a lot to think about all at once."
The Ocean Drive event also had a 10-miler, which ran concurrently with the marathon until the shorter race finished at 18th Avenue and the Boardwalk in North Wildwood.
"It was good having the 10-mile race go with us because I was able to go with the pace of their race," Bofinger said. "I was running about a 6-minute mile, but I slowed down the last few miles. I was running with two guys from the 10-miler, and I got ahead of them. Then their race ended and I was alone the last 16 miles."
Bofinger ran in the tragic Boston Marathon of April 15, 2013, and finished before the two bombings. His other marathons have been in Alaska, Philadelphia, Rehobeth Beach, Del. (his other win, in December 2011), New York City and Chicago.
"My wife is due to have our first child next week, and I wanted to get a marathon in, hopefully before the baby comes," Bofinger said. "I chose this one because it was kind of close to home."
The Ocean Drive event also had a 5K race, which began and ended at JFK Boulevard. Pamela Pacifico, 41, of Palermo in Upper Township, won the women's title in 23:53.4. Marissa Pacifico, Pamela's 12-year-old daughter, was second among the women in 24:12.9. Third was Holly Bofinger - the marathon winner's sister - of Dover, Del.
Terry McCann, 37, of Red Hook, N.Y., was the overall 5K winner in 18:51.0. Colby Hoover, 19, of Lancaster, Pa., was second in 21:56.4, and Norby Vondra, 58, of Pittsgrove Township, third in 21:59.1.
Results of the 10-miler were unavailable in time for this edition.
Contact Guy Gargan:
Ocean Drive Marathon
1. Eric Bofinger, Langhorne, Pa., 2:39:40.2; 2. Ryan Shanley, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2:49:35.4; 3. Ben Hatt, Shillington, Pa., 2:50.10.1; 4. Jeremy Smith, Pittsgrove Township, 2:50.41.4. 5. Tim Mosbacher, Missoula, Mont., 2:57:59.5; 6. Christopher Velas, Phoenixville, Pa., 2:59:54.7; 7. Brian Beary, Washington, D.C., 3:00:44.6; 8. J. Daniel Ferguson, New York, N.Y., 3:00.45.8; 9. Frank Dougherty, Cherry Hill, 3:03:33.2; 10. Wookie Kim, Cambridge, Mass., 3:04:18.0.
1. Nicole Tassello, Hamilton Township (Mercer County), 2:58:03.3; 2. Edith Arruffat, Rochelle Park, N.Y., 3:01:25; 3. Jessica Dicicco, Laurel Springs, 3:02:59.6; 4. Serene Griffin, Northlake, Tex., 3:12:02.9; 5. Paula Healy, Pocasset, Mass., 3:22:04.5; 6. Kelly Burkett, Hillsborough, 3:26:13.7; 7. Alisa Gurney, Clinton, N.Y., 3:26:24.5; 8. Rachel Wander, Lebanon, 3:28:51.5; 9. Hilary Faxon, Washington, D.C., 3:30:07.5; 10. Jennifer Flaherty, Easthampton, Mass., 3:30:25.7.
Ocean Drive 5K Run
1. Terry McCann, 18:51.0; 2. Colby Hoover, 21:56.4; 3. Norby Vondra, 21:59.1; 4. Stephen Land, 23:11.4; 5. Patrick Kasenenko, 23:43.2; 6. Philip Bur, 24:25.3; 7. Jim Monaghan, 24:29.9; 8. Thomas Campo, 24:33.0; 9. Vernon Crusc, 24:35.3; 10. Joseph Bongiovanni, 25:41.3.
1. Pamela Pacifico, 23:53.4; 2. Marissa Pacifico, 24:12.9; 3. Holly Bofinger, 25:04.1; 4. Samantha Hill, 25:21.0; 5. Susan Smith, 25:58.0; 6. Abbie Derr, 27:18.8; 7. Jen Brotman, 29:24.4; 8. A Zin Oo, 29:28.8; 9. Mariely Marquez Lorenzo, 30:27.9; 10. Jessica Temple, 30:51.0.