Seaside Park run's popularity delayed race, likely saved lives with bomb exploding in path

Walter Perez Image
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
VIDEO: The race the bomb disrupted
Frank Costello admits he was overwhelmed by the number of people who showed up to take part in his race. As a result, he delayed the start of the race.

SEASIDE PARK, New Jersey -- Frank Costello of Seaside Park, New Jersey, admits he was overwhelmed by the number of people who showed up to take part in his second annual Semper Five 5K benefiting Marines and sailors wounded in action.

"We knew we were going to have a big turnout, but not as big as we had. The line was so long, we could not get them all registered," Costello said.

As a result, Frank delayed the start of the race. It was a twist of fate that likely save lives.

That's because the bomb that detonated inside a garbage can last Saturday morning was just a few feet away from the path of the race.

"So had the race gone off on time, the 5K would've been right there where the bomb went off," Costello said.

PICTURES: Explosive device discharges before Marines charity 5K at Jersey Shore; no injuries

In fact, one of the few people nearby was a race official who was stationed a short distance from where the explosion occurred.

"He turned around to walk back and the bomb went off. So he saw it go off with the smoke," Costello said.

Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the wake of that blast, but local officials moved quickly to ensure the runners' safety.

"We need to shut down this run. Shut down this run," a voice said on police radio.

Neighbors say they never heard anything quite like it.

Gene Manfra lives half a block away from where it happened.

"It sounded like if you dropped a section of building onto the street. It was just one loud boom and vibration," Manfra said.

Meanwhile, Frank Costelli says that while this incident frightened him at first, he now feels inspired to continue his mission to support the men and women who serve in the US military.

"Next year, we want to come back bigger and stronger," Costello said.

The Semper Five 5K will be held next year. Costello is hoping another run will happened before then to make up for what occurred this past weekend.