The sun was nowhere to be seen, hiding somewhere behind a thick cover of clouds. The temperature was in the 70s, the humidity wasn’t bad, and a refreshing breeze acted like a natural fan.
What more could a runner ask for?
The weather conditions for the Jamesport First Department’s 17th annual Sound to Bay 10K and 5K on Sunday morning were about as good as the runners could have hoped for.
“Perfect,” said Angel Confesor of Brooklyn, who took first place in the men’s 10-kilometer race, clocking a time of 35 minutes 33.9 seconds. “No sun. Nice and cool.”
Ellen Dougherty certainly didn’t seem to mind the weather. Dougherty, a former Riverhead High School and Villanova University cross-country and track and field standout who lives in Manhattan, was the winner of the 10-kilometer women’s race in 39:54.6.
“I wanted to go under 40 minutes so I was just a smidge under,” she said. “It was good.”
The 10-kilometer course started off Long Island Sound at Iron Pier Beach in Northville and finished at South Jamesport Beach.
Graham Rainsby of Brooklyn and Melanie Pfennig of Cutchogue won the men’s and women’s races in the five-kilometer run, which started and ended at South Jamesport Beach. Rainsby’s time was 17:18.3. Pfennig, who competes in cross country and track for Mattituck High School, crossed the finish line in 20:08.0.
The 10K run had 318 participants and 261 athletes ran in the 5K race, according to Innovative Timing Systems, the event’s official timekeeper.
Dougherty, 28, a member of the New York Athletic Club, was a middle-distance runner for Villanova, mostly running the 1,500 meters, which she has done in 4:17. Now, though, she is embarking on longer distances. She said she would like to try to qualify for the United States Olympic trials in the marathon.
Running is still a big part of Dougherty’s life. She lives near Central Park, where she goes on training runs, and the Big Apple provides more than enough road races to keep her busy.
“I’ve always loved it,” she said of running. “I think that running at Riverhead [High School] was a big reason why I want to keep running.”
The second-fastest time among the women was put up by Heather Wright of Cutchogue: 42:01.4. Melissa Tozar of New York City was third in 44:28.2. The sixth through ninth places went to local runners: Dianne Sykes of Greenport (46:47.3), Melissa Schwartz of Orient (47:26.0), Fatima Arrieta of Greenport (47:49.0) and Melanie Charnews of Greenport (47:59.6).
Like Dougherty, running and an interest in marathons seems to be in Confesor’s blood, too. He said he usually runs twice a day, often training at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Confesor is used to running alone, which is a good thing because he didn’t get much help in the form of anyone coming up from behind to challenge him.
Asked how many years he has been running, Confesor, 31, said: “Too many. Almost 15 years.”
Ten kilometers is Confesor’s preferred running distance, but he is training for the New York City Marathon. Road races are the allure that keep him going. “I love racing,” he said.
The next two finishers after Confesor were Joseph Rizzo of Aquebogue (37:58.6) and Trent Hampton of West Babylon (39:41.0). James Kilbridge of Mattituck was eighth in 41:55.7.
In the women’s five-kilometer race, Pfennig and her running partner, Suzy Heffernan of Cutchogue (20:19.4), took the top two places. Also finishing among the top 10 were Payton Maddaloni of Mattituck (fourth in 22:54.2) and Lisa Lovas of Cutchogue (10th in 26:19.1).
Pfennig, 16, who will start preseason practice with her school team on Monday, said the result was encouraging. She said Heffernan helped her to the victory.
“I train with Susie Heffernan and she pushed me,” said Pfennig, who was third in last year’s race. “I give all the credit to her because she really knows how to push a partner.”
At one point during the race, Rainsby said he almost went the wrong way. But he found the finish line.
Rainsby, 16, who runs cross country for Packer Collegiate Institute, a private school in Brooklyn, fell two seconds shy of the fastest he had ever run five kilometers. He raced to the finish line in his red, white and blue shorts to beat out the runner-up, Mike McShane of Riverhead, by 6.6 seconds. Gilberto Cardillo of Riverhead came in 10th in 22:16.4.
Rainsby said he wasn’t pushed after taking the lead with a mile and a half to go.
He said, “I think I lucked out a little with the field, but it’s always nice to win a race.”
And when the sun isn’t beating down on you, that’s not a bad thing, either.
HEAVY RUNNING GEAR Mathew Arturs’ firefighting jacket looked heavy, and it felt even heavier than it looked.
Just walking around with it on a late August day couldn’t be comfortable, but Arturs, a member of the Islip Terrace Fire Department, wore a full complement of firefighting gear while running in the five-kilometer race.
Most runners ran the race in a T-shirt, shorts and sneakers. Arturs, 28, donned steel-toed boots, bunker pants with a harness and 40 feet of rope, a bunker jacket with tools attached and a helmet. Altogether, Arturs estimated that it all amounted to an extra 40 pounds or so that he carried on the run.
“Boots are the worst part,” commented Arturs, who said after the race that he could feel the blisters coming.
As for the outfit as a whole, he said, “It’s very loose, so the weight shifts every time you step.”
Arturs ran alongside his brother, David, 29, who also lives in Islip Terrace, but opted for the more traditional T-shirt and shorts.
The two brothers crossed the finish line at virtually the same time. Mathew finished in 74th place in 40:19.6. David was 2/10ths of a second ahead of him.
Mathew said he is training to run in the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk in New York City on Sept. 27. He also ran Sunday in memory of his late grandfather, Norman Arturs, a Korean War veteran who died on July 27, and Larry Guarnieri, an Islip Terrace firefighter who died last year.
Caption: Two hundred and sixty-one athletes ran in the five-kilometer race that started and finished at South Jamesport Beach, according to Innovative Timing Systems, the event’s official timekeeper. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)