Thousands race in Spring Lake Five

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SPRING LAKE -

The Jersey Shore marked the unofficial start to summer Saturday with the Spring Lake Five run.

More than 11,000 runners participated in the 5-mile run, now in its 41st year.

What started as a small town fun run has grown into the largest run in the state of New Jersey.

People of all skill levels and ages were encouraged to participate to have a good time and run for a cause.

In the past 16 years, Friends of the Spring Lake Five have donated $1.8 million to local causes and charities.

Medals were awarded to participants as they crossed the finish line, but one runner from Freehold also got an engagement ring.

Grace Madeigan and Sean Bell live in Florida but come back home to New Jersey for the race.

"I've been coming here to support her every year so to do it here was definitely a special moment for both of us," Bell said.

The race director also thanked law enforcement as security was increased with undercover police and K-9 units.

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