Running: Record turnout catches Sound to Bay organizers by surprise

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08/26/2012 2:01 PM |

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Gerry O’Hara of East Rockaway won the Sound to Bay 10K race on Sunday morning in 36 minutes 29.14 seconds.

SOUND TO BAY 10K AND 5K

Maria Pavkovitch had been through the routine before. While her boyfriend played golf at a nearby golf course, she would do some road running. That was the plan again for Sunday morning until the pair noticed a flyer advertising the 14th annual Sound to Bay 10K and 5K.

So, at her boyfriend’s urging, Pavkovitch decided to enter the 10-kilometer race instead and use that as a workout. Her expectations were modest for a race she had not prepared for.

“I didn’t eat the right food last night,” she said. “I didn’t go to sleep at the right time.”

Talk about spur of the moment. Pavkovitch registered for the race only 45 minutes before its scheduled start.

And then she won it!

Pavkovitch, 28, of Union City, N.J., was the leading woman from the beginning of the race, which started at Iron Pier Beach in Northville. She did, however, face a challenge from the runner-up, Kathleen Callahan, at the three-mile mark.

“I’m not one to look back at all, but when I was getting water, I saw her in the corner of my eye,” said Pavkovitch. Pavkovitch said she then told herself, “I guess you got to work now.”

And she did.

The former Rutgers University cross-country and track and field athlete who now runs for the Central Park Track Club in New York City, said the middle of the race is when pain starts to creep in. She said that was the case two years ago when she took third place in the Sound to Bay 10K.

This time, though, she wasn’t giving in to the pain.

She said: “This time I was like: ‘You know what? I’m just going to go for it. It’s going to be over in three miles. I waited around long enough for [the race] to start.’ So, I just wanted to make it worthwhile.”

And she did, turning in a winning time of 39 minutes 23.2 seconds.

“I know I can run faster than this,” Pavkovitch said, noting that her usual 10K time is around 38 minutes. “Today just wasn’t the day for it.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Maria Pavkovitch of Union City, N.J., who signed up for the 10K race only 45 minutes before the scheduled start, was the first female finisher.

She added: “You just never know how you’ll feel when you get out there. You never know what kind of day that you’re having.”

Callahan followed Pavkovitch to the finish line at South Jamesport Beach in 39:51.2. Nadine Moors was third in 41:10.1, Tara Wilson was fourth in 41:49.4 and Kim Ely was fifth in 46:09.4, according to the unofficial results.

On the men’s side, Gerry O’Hara made his debut in the Sound to Bay 10K a winning one. O’Hara, representing the Super Runners Shop team, wanted to set a six-minute pace per mile, and he did better than that, averaging 5:31.1 per mile over the 6.2-mile distance. It added up to a final time of 36:29.1 for the 48-year-old East Rockaway man.

Anthony Galvan, a Riverhead High School senior cross-country runner who is 30 years younger than O’Hara, claimed second place for the second year in a row. Galvan’s time was 37:51.5. Shaun Mara, another Super Runners Shop runner, was third in 37:56.8, with Tommy Pyon (37:58.2) fourth and David Damarest (38:13.5) fifth.

O’Hara said he took the lead about a mile and a half into the race. He said a refreshing breeze helped him, but then again so did the competition. He was being pushed by younger legs behind him. “You have the fear of them coming up on me,” said O’Hara, whose son Patrick and daughter Emily also ran in the event along with teammates on their Kellenberg Memorial High School track and field teams.

O’Hara said he was happy with his victory. He said he had not won a road race in a while, but he is among the top 10 finishers in most of the races he competes in. As he explained it, there really is no secret to success in a road race, and there are no shortcuts. “You got to do the mileage,” he said.

For Galvan, the race was like déjà vu. He had led the first two miles of last year’s race before shin splints forced him to slow down, and he had to settle for second place behind Shawn Fitzgerald of Cutchogue. This time Galvan, who was as far back as in fifth place, said he experienced cramping in his midsection during the second mile.

The race comes a day before Galvan and his Riverhead High School teammates hold their first preseason practice. “I don’t know what the coaches have in store for us,” he said, looking ahead to tomorrow.

The 14th annual Sound to Bay 10K had a little twist to it — and a late start. With the addition of a five-kilometer race, the event produced a record turnout, with 615 runners completing the races. The 10K had 368 finishers.

The race director, Bob Sikora, said that when he saw all the runners who had assembled for the races, his first reaction was, “Whoa! — and no!”

A couple of hundred registrants the morning of the races caught organizers by surprise, delaying the start of the 10K by about a half-hour. Runners like Pavkovitch were anxious to get started as the final buses scrambled to deliver runners to the starting line. “I was already warmed up and then cooled down and warmed up again and then cooled down again,” she said.

The large turnout kept the 40 or so volunteer workers busy.

“Obviously you learn by your mistakes,” Sikora said. “It got off late because we didn’t have enough buses and so on and so forth. There are a few things that have to be worked out to make it run smoother.”

The five-kilometer race was won by Patrick McCabe in 18:42.7. The next four male runners after him were Jacob Rigios (19:28.5), Zack Nicholson (19:58.0), Ken Poliwoda (20:37.5) and Dan Cletaka (20:41.5).

Patricia Alcivar, a professional boxer from Forest Hills, was the first female finisher in 20:38.2. A determined Alcivar managed to hold off second-place Shannen Fuertes (20:42.5) at the finish. Fuertes was followed by Allison Hofmann (20:54.5), Melanie Pfennig (21:45.9) and Jazmine Carrillo (22:15.7).

An unidentified man who had collapsed while running the 5K race was taken by ambulance to Peconic Bay Medical Center and treated for a possible heart attack, according to Riverhead police. No other details were available.

Jennifer Gustavson contributed to this article.

bliepa@timesreview.com

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