FRANKFORD - Nearly 200 runners and joggers helped raise funds Saturday for the crime tip nonprofit program, the Sussex County Crimestoppers in the eighth annual “Race Against Crime” held at the Sussex County Fairgrounds.

Though fees and sponsorships are still being totaled, a total of 125 runners, joggers and even casual walkers pre-registered for the event in addition to 74 who registered on Saturday. Funds from the event are used to provide rewards to anonymous tipsters whose information leads to the arrest of suspects.

Under mostly cloudy skies, runners - an eclectic mix of novices to the advanced - stretched out their legs, shook out their arms and preset their music on their cell phones prior to the 9:30 a.m. race start.

Athletes with the Lenape Valley field hockey team were among the several groups signed up for the event, including the Pope John lacrosse team and the Sussex County Community College softball team. The event offered runners an option to compete in a 5K - or 3.1 miles - or, for the slightly more adventurous, a 12K - or 7.4 miles.

While she had run a 5K when she was younger, Tara Charette, a junior on the Lenape field hockey team, said she was slightly nervous to run Saturday, although felt a bit better being with her teammates.

“Our coach wanted us to do this as a team, and although I'm not the best runner, I think it's important for us to work together,” Charette said.

Saige Berkowicz, a senior goalkeepr on the Lenape field hockey team, was “excited” for her first 5K, stating that she felt the event will “help bring (my teammates) closer together.” And for her first 5K, Berkowicz was impressive: She finished in 15th place and was the fifth-fastest female among roughly 82 women that competed in the 5K.

As she crossed the finish line, she smiled and yelled, “I didn't stop once, I ran the whole way through. It was great!”

The first woman to cross the finish line in the 5K and the third place finisher, Catherine Stone, of Vernon, said she has been a runner “forever and ever,” stating that while she has done marathons, she is happier running shorter distances.

Jack Stafford, of Sparta, was the second place finisher and had just finished his first of several 5Ks he will take part in this fall.

“I have always had spurts of being active, but after we had our child, I kind of slowed down a bit,” Stafford said. “But I began training for this 5K on Aug. 1 - this is the first of my 'cross-country' runs!”

Stafford said to prepare, he runs about three times a week and typically three miles a day, but has a target of clocking about 15 miles of running per week.

Although he admits he's “not quite there yet,” he hopes to one day transition to triathlons.

“Just taking it day by day,” he laughed.

Finishing in first place in the 5K race was Neill Clark, of Sparta. In the 12K race, Kevin Fitzgerald, of Wharton, snagged the first place spot with Rufino Mendez, of Roselle Park, and Gary Leaman, of Hardwick, rounding out the second- and third-place spots, respectively. Hortencia Aliaga, of Garfield, landed in fourth place and was the first female to cross the finish line.

Full results from the race can be viewed at: https://runsignup.com/Race/NJ/Augusta/Crimestoppers5K12K

Lori Comstock can also be reached on Twitter: @LoriComstockNJH, on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/LoriComstockNJH or by phone: 973-383-1194.