Spirit Run benefits Mount Olivet Cemetery

Shirtless and eventual winner, Glen Fryer, of Montclair

The ninth annual Spirit Run, a 5K run/walk benefiting the Mount Olivet Cemetery of Sacred Heart Church parish was held Saturday morning, Oct. 28.

The race has a nice Bloomfield hometown feel because of the course and location and the relatively short distance which attracts a modest number of entries.

Runners start on Park Place, alongside the Green, then go up JFK Parkway to James and Spring streets, enter and loop around the cemetery and then back to the parkway and finish on Park Place.

The course is USATF-NJ sanctioned and certified and 204 participants finished the race which attracted a number of out-of-staters. The winner was Glen Fryer, of Montclair, with a clock time of 18:51.82, a 6:04 mile pace.

The first female finisher and ninth overall was Dakota Sikes-Keilp, of Montclair, with a clock time of 22:12.98, a 7:09 mile pace. The first Bloomfield finisher was Julio Mercado, seventh overall with a clock time of 22:01.68. The first female Bloomfield finisher was 11-year-old Regina Deputato, overall in sixty-fourth place, clocked at 27:35.48.

First female to finish Dakota Sikes-Keilp, of Montclair.

The race was originated and is still organized by Sacred Heart parishioners Nancy Plate and Dermot O’Neill. Plate said the reason she began the event was for money to trim the cemetery trees. Last year, the race made about $6,000.

“We’re trying to attract runners’ clubs, but we haven’t gotten there yet,” she said.

With many veterans buried at Mt. Olivet, Plate says the church celebrates Mass there on Memorial Day.

O’Neill, a runner himself, said the race was a fun way to raise money to maintain the cemetery.

“We designed the course to run through the cemetery, which makes it a unique race,” he said. “We have a lot of runners returning. It’s a very fall event, always the Saturday before Halloween. People come dressed in costumes.”