10/20/12 3:02pm
10/20/2012 3:02 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Rick Trojanowski of Calverton won the 15th annual Run for the Ridley 5K Saturday.

Rick Trojanowski wasn’t always a runner.

It wasn’t until the Calverton resident had his two children and decided that cycling races were taking up too much of his time that he started to run. He could get up in the morning and put a few miles in before work and it wouldn’t take time away from his family.

Turns out he’s pretty good at it, too.

For the second consecutive year Trojanowski, a graduate of Mattituck High School, has won the Run for the Ridley 5K race to benefit the Riverhead Foundation’s sea turtle rescue and research program.

Even with Saturday’s unseasonably hot temperature, Trojanowski, 38, shaved a few seconds off last year’s time with a 16:38 finish.

“It was a lot hotter,” he said in comparison with his first Run for the Ridley in 2011. “The heat and humidity definitely made it tougher, but you just have to keep running.”

Trojanowski said he typically runs about five or six 5k races a year, since taking up the sport in 2008. He also runs some 10Ks and has run marathons.

He credits coach Brendan Barrett of the Sayville Running Company with helping to coach him into great running shape.

“I just love it,” Trojanowski said of running. “The key is to be real consistent with it and to have quality workouts.

Like female winner Tara Farrell of East Quogue, Trojanowski is a member at the Long Island Aquarium, which the Riverhead Foundation calls home.

“It’s a great organization,” he said. “We just love it there.”

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10/20/12 2:12pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Jerry Dicceco of Jerry and the Mermaid restaurant makes 10 gallons of clam chowder that he hands out for free each year at the Run for the Ridley.

Riverhead Foundation executive director Robert DiGiovanni explains how the Run for the Ridley 5K, which celebrated its 15th anniversary Saturday, benefits his organization.

More than 400 runners participated in the race this year.

10/20/12 12:50pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Even kids in strollers took part in Saturday’s Run for the Ridley to benefit the Riverhead Foundation’s sea turtle program.

Below is a list of the top 10 Finishers in Saturday’s Run for the Ridley 5K in downtown Riverhead.

1. Rick Trojanowski, 38, M, Calverton, 16:38

2. Michael Wenke, 18, M, Woodbridge, 17:14

3. Travis Wooten, 16, M, Riverhead, 17:28

4. Patrick McCabe, 23, M, Garden City, 18:22

5. Tara Farrell, 33, F, East Quogue, 18:41

6. Jonathan Bratisax, 30, M, Brooklyn, 19:32

7. Anthony Ceberek, 34, M, East Quogue, 19:44

8. Greg Messina, 34, M, Mattituck 19:54

9. Brian Manghan, 59, M, Wading River, 20:10

10. Shannen Fuertes, 21, F, Levittown, 20:13

Click here for complete race results when they become available


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10/20/12 12:29pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Tara Farrell of East Quogue was the top female finisher Saturday.

Tara Farrell is no stranger to the Long Island Aquarium.

The mother of two young sons ages 2 and 3, the East Quogue resident goes to see the sharks, seals, dolphins and sea turtles quite often.

So it held a more special place in her heart to finish top among female runners in the Riverhead Foundation’s 15th annual Run for the Ridley 5k than it might for some of the other races she’s run.

“We’re big supporters of the aquarium,” Ms. Farrell, 33, said. “We were here yesterday.”

The race benefits the Riverhead Foundation’s sea turtle rescue and research program, based at the aquarium.

Ms. Farrell was a blur to many of the other runners in Saturday’s race. She finished in 18:41, just over two minutes behind the top male finisher, Rick Trojanowski of Calverton.


A past runner of 10ks and marathons, the young mom said she’s finally been able to get back into peak running condition this year. While she kept up with her training the past couple years, she says it’s been tough to run as many races as she’d like to.

“But the kids have been sleeping a little better and I’ve gotten into a better routine this year,” she said.

So how will she celebrate victory in her first Run for the Ridley?

“We’ll probably come back [to the aquarium] later today,” she said. “It’s a great place for kids, families or anyone, really. I recommend the membership.”


BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Ms. Farrell was far from the only young parent to run Saturday.

Ms. Farrell was far from the only young parent to run Saturday.

Kelly and Jason Rudish of Medford ran the 5K with daughter Lyla, 2, in a runners’ stroller.

“We try to do this every year,” she said. “It is a beautiful course and beautifully run by the RFMP staff and volunteers.”

They finished in 27:33.

Barbaraellen Koch contributed reporting for this story.

10/15/12 12:30pm
10/15/2012 12:30 PM
Riverhead Foundation, Run for th Ridley, Long Island Aquarium

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Ron Beattie of Island Timing in Hampton Bays gives last minute instructions to the runners at last year’s race.

Town police have announced scheduled road closures for Saturday’s annual 5K Run for the Ridley, which benefits the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.

Road closures start when the race does, about 10 a.m.

The closures are as follows:

East Main Street will be closed to vehicle traffic between Fishel Avenue and Roanoke Avenue, from the beginning of the race at 10 until  about 10:15.

Riverside Drive will be closed between County Road 105 and East Main Street for the duration of the race, which will go to about 10:45 a.m.

Motorists are urged to avoid these roads during these times or use alternate routes, Riverhead Town police said.

See our event listing to find out more about the Run for the Riley.

Click here for photos from last year’s race.

04/13/11 12:09pm
04/13/2011 12:09 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Gary Magnus, wife Mimi Myers and their terrier Molly spotted a harp seal on a Greenport sandbar.

Walking their dog along the beach by their Greenport home Saturday morning, Gary Mangus and his wife Mimi Meyers came across a seal on a sandbar.

That’s far from a rare occurrence, but this one was different. The size, coloring and behavior were a dead giveaway that this was not just another common harbor seal.

Their silky terrier, Molly, was equally amazed.

“She started wading right out there, which is unusual since she’s afraid of animals, including other dogs,” said Mr Mangus. “The seal didn’t move, but it did make a barky kind of sound, but it didn’t bark and the dog didn’t either. I pulled her back because she could have been his lunch.”

The Southold Town police officer who responded to their call told them it was a harp seal weighing about 200 pounds. That’s four times as much as a harbor seal, which unless gravely ill would likely have immediately scampered back into the water.

The day before, on Friday, an adult harp seal was spotted in downtown Riverhead as well, in the Peconic River not far from the Peconic Avenue bridge, the western end of the river’s saltwater section. Julika Wocial, rescue program supervisor for Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, checked it out the and said the seal displayed normal swimming and diving behavior. It didn’t appear to be sick or otherwise in distress.

As an arctic species, the two harp seals strayed far from the icy waters of Canada or Greenland where most are usually found this time of year.

They’re far from home, but not alone.

Harp seals are showing up in record numbers all along the East Coast as far south as North Carolina, and marine biologists can only guess why, said Kim Durham, biologist and rescue program director for the Riverhead Foundation.

The group started hearing of juvenile harp seal sightings about 15 years ago. “Occasionally we’d see an adult, but in bad condition,” said Ms. Durham. “This year we’ve got a lot of adult sightings. We’ve never seen numbers like this before.”

Harp seals can be recognized by their black faces. They’re name comes from the marking on the backs of adults, which resembles a harp or a saddle.

The foundation has logged reports of about 50 harp seal sightings this year, five times as many as 2010. Seals, including the more common harbor and gray species, usually begin to appear in East End waters in January. This year harp seals have been spotted as far west as Long Beach and the Rockaways.

A loss of habitat and an overabundant population seem to be the two most likely explanations, said Ms. Durham.

Harp seals spend little time on land, preferring to haul out instead on pack ice. Some marine biologists believe shrinking levels of sea ice are forcing the seals southward, said Ms. Durham.

“At this time of year harp seals get a new coat by molting,” she said. “They’d haul out on the ice and basically soak up the sun. That helps out in the process. One theory is they now don’t have as much ice to haul out on.”

Harp seals are also found in large numbers in the Arctic and according to one school of thought non-dominant males are striking out for new territories, Ms. Durham added.

“We’re seeing a lot of males,” she said. “The youngest animals tend to migrate away if they’re not the fittest.”

She doesn’t believe the animals are suffering from a lack of food.

“There’s not a heck of a lot of proof that the animals are coming down here and eating all our fish,” she said. “The animals we’re taking in are skinny.”

Some of the seals seem to be less than healthy, “but not at death’s door,” according to Ms. Durham.

Some animals, such as the one Mr. Mangus described, may seem ill but that could be misleading.

“Harp seals are more tolerant of people than harbor or gray seals,” Ms. Durham added. “That gives people the idea that they’re in far worse condition than they really are.”

The foundation has not rescued any sick harp seals on the North Fork, nor has it found any deceased animals. The group isn’t equipped to help adult harp seals, which when fully grown can stretch from five to six feet in length and weigh up to 400 pounds.

The organization’s rehabilitation area at the Atlantis Marine World Aquarium in Riverhead serve as an animal hospital for small, young animals. The foundation currently has 13 seals in its charge, most of them pups up to 18 months old weighting no more than 60 pounds. The harbor seal the foundation will release in Hampton Bays on Saturday weighs 50 pounds.

An adult harp seal wouldn’t fit in one of 17 six-foot tanks, Mr. Durham said. The foundation has a nine-foot tank, but since that’s in an area open to the public it’s not suitable rehab space, she added. All that’s left is the foundation’s 30-foot dolphin tank.

“But if we use that, we’re pretty much out of the dolphin business,” she said. “This has been a challenge all along the East Coast.”

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