10/25/14 1:05pm
10/25/2014 1:05 PM
Nicholas Berglin, a Hampton Bays H.S. senior, and Tara Farrell, a Long Island Marathon winner, were the top finishers in Saturday's Run for the Ridley 5K race in Riverhead. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Nicholas Berglin, a Hampton Bays H.S. senior, and Tara Farrell, a Long Island Marathon winner, were the top finishers in Saturday’s Run for the Ridley 5K race in Riverhead. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

Nicholas Berglin was admittedly confident that he could emerge as the winner in Saturday morning’s Run for the Ridley 5K race in downtown Riverhead.  (more…)

08/24/14 11:20am
08/24/2014 11:20 AM
Kevin Harvey, a miler from Sag Harbor, never ran in the Sound to Bay 10K before, but that didn't prevent him from winning on Sunday morning. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Kevin Harvey, a miler from Sag Harbor, never ran in the Sound to Bay 10K before, but that didn’t prevent him from winning on Sunday morning. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)


The four winners of the 16th annual Sound to Bay 10K and 5K on Sunday morning faced some obstacles. Not only didn’t they know exactly who they would be racing against, but they didn’t even know the course they would be running on.

Something is to be said for familiarity with a race course. It’s helpful for a runner to know the twists and turns of a course, where the hills are, and what side of the road is the best to run on.

Yet, despite being newcomers to the event, they managed, with the aid of a well-marked course, to find themselves first to the finish line. (more…)

06/21/14 2:34pm
06/21/2014 2:34 PM
Finest and Bravest winner Travis Wooten (second from left) accepts his award Sunday (co

Finest and Bravest winner Travis Wooten (second from left) accepts his award Sunday. (Courtesy photo)

Riverhead can now count Long Island’s “Finest and Bravest” runner among their own.

High School senior Travis Wooten was named this year’s winner Sunday afternoon by finishing best overall in a pair of runs honoring cops and firefighters, according to the Greater Long Island Running Club. (more…)

08/25/13 12:11pm
08/25/2013 12:11 PM
DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Michael McShane of Laurel was the winner of the Sound to Bay 5K in 16 minutes 57 seconds.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Michael McShane of Laurel was the winner of the Sound to Bay 5K in 16 minutes 57 seconds.


Along with the other first-place finishers in the 15th annual Sound to Bay 10K and 5K, Gregory Hayward was presented with a large, cup-shaped trophy, bigger than anything he had ever won before. Then again, even well before his race on Sunday morning, Hayward had won something even bigger: his health.

Hayward was a multiple-sport athlete when he attended Sachem High School. When he reached his 20s, though, his sports days seemed behind him and his physical condition deteriorated. That was until Hayward reached his 30s and decided a lifestyle change was in order. He started running and eating a healthier diet.

Now, a hundred pounds later, “This is the result,” he said after receiving his prize for taking first place in the 10-kilometer race.

Hayward is 32 years old, and a road running rookie. The Glen Cove man would be in contention for a rookie of the year award, if such a thing existed. Hayward picked up his second win from only five races, clocking a time of 35 minutes 53 seconds.

Most spectators probably didn’t know that Hayward and Elizabeth Waywell of Dix Hills were the male and female winners of the 10K race until well after the fact. It was virtually impossible to tell. Confusion reigned. The event was not the best organized.

Both races started at the same time at different sites — the 5K at South Jamesport Beach and the 10K at Iron Pier Beach in Northville — and they both finished at South Jamesport Beach. While runners in the 5K race were still pushing themselves across the finish line, the first 10K finishers were mixed in there somewhere. With no announcements or distinctions with the runners’ bibs, one couldn’t tell who was a 5K runner and who was a 10K runner. Further complicating things, some runners switched races without notifying race organizers. Hayward and Waywell were awarded and recognized at the the awards ceremony.

Hayward, who had about four runners ahead of him at one point, said he ran the type of race that he expected to run. He said he told himself after each mile that he was on target and kept a 5:47 mile pace.

“I always keep pace,” he said. “A lot of guys like to start out of the gate going faster probably than they should, and I think that’s where I have an advantage because I time myself almost to the second. I think that helps.”

Hayward said he took the lead after about three kilometers and held it the rest of the way. He finished ahead of second-place Travis Wooten of Riverhead (36:29) and third-place Jesse Thompson of Bay Shore (37:14). Doug Milano of Aquebogue (37:49) was fourth and Tim Steiskal of Naugatuck, Conn., (38:26) was fifth.

Hayward said that back when he wasn’t in tip-top shape, he would not have imagined this. By taking one step after another, he has gone a long way, much further than 10 kilometers.

“Now I sort of hit my stride as I continue to age,” he said. “My only thought was to just get healthier to lose a little bit of weight and just to walk and jog and do as much as I could. Now I win.”

Like Hayward, Waywell made her first appearance in the Sound to Bay race. Like Hayward, the 55-year-old woman appreciates the importance of pacing herself and fighting the adrenaline-pumped urge to start out too fast.

“It’s taken me a long time to learn, but you got to stop going out too fast, and I never understood that,” she said. “It’s not panic. It just feels good and it doesn’t feel like you’re going too fast, and you go out, and then you die, and you don’t have time to recover.”

Keeping in mind the tale of the tortoise and the hare, Waywell understands that the race goes to the sure and steady.

“You do have to know what your pace is and not overdo it in the beginning,” she said, “and if you have something left in the tank at the end, that’s when you spend it.”

With 5K runners still on the course, Waywell said she crossed the finish line not knowing for sure whether she had won or not. It wasn’t until later, in the parking lot, when a friend and fellow runner, Tracey Epstein of Smithtown, told Waywell that she had indeed won that she knew for sure.

Waywell turned in a time of 41:24, well ahead of the runner-up, Shari Klarfeld of Plainview (42:45). The next three finishers were Laura Brown of Westhampton Beach (43:26), Emily Schwartz of Rocky Point (43:43) and Jane Chitkara of Wayland, Mass., (43:55).

Regarding that tortoise and hare thing, Waywell had a confession to make. She prefers the hare.

“It doesn’t matter that I’m getting a little long in the tooth, I always go with the hare,” she said. “I figure he got the best of both worlds. He got to run quickly and to have naps.”

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Tommy Kohler of Hampton Bays, running with a prosthetic left leg, took second place in the 5K race.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Tommy Kohler of Hampton Bays, running with a prosthetic left leg, took second place in the 5K race.

MCSHANE LEAVES BEHIND PACK, PACE CAR After about the first mile of the five-kilometer race, the pace car pulled up, and the leader, Michael McShane, was on his own.

“I guess they just didn’t want to be that close to me,” he said. “It was fine. The arrows on the ground, I knew where to go, but having something to chase always helps. It’s a lot easier.”

As it was, McShane made things looks easy. The 22-year-old Laurel man won the 5K race in 16:57. “I took the lead off the bat and just kept going,” he said.

McShane, a former cross country and track and field athlete for Molloy College, is coming off a stress fracture in his foot. Considering that, he said: “I’m pretty happy. I really haven’t been able to get consistent running into the summer.”

The next finisher after McShane was Tommy Kohler of Hampton Bays, who runs with a prosthetic left leg. Kohler’s time was 18:37. Nicholas Bjelke of Dix Hills took third in 18:43, Christian Berglin of Hampton Bays was fourth in 19:01 and Darren Hindeniter of Mattituck was fifth in 19:10.

Kohler, 45, a retired detective, has a J-shaped carbon-fibre prosthetic left leg, similar to the one South African sprinter Oscar Pistorious has. While Kohler was a New York City detective, he got shot in the thigh during a gunfight in 1994, leaving him with paralysis from the kneecap down. He kept the leg for almost four years, moving with the aid of crutches and growing frustrated after 14 or 15 surgeries. “After a while I just kind of gave up on it and I said, you know, there’s got to be a better way,” he said. In 1998 he had the prosthetic attached and started running almost immediately.

“The technology’s been there for a while,” he said. “It’s basically lightweight and it’s based on energy return. So you can put one on, and it does not necessarily mean that you’ll be fast. You got to learn how to put all your body weight, energy through it. If you put it through it, it comes back at you. It’s like anything else, it’s training. You got to train hard on it. To run fast, you got to train hard.”

Kohler, who runs for the NYPD Running Club, has been doing just that. The race was a tuneup for him. In three weeks he will compete in a world championship triathlon in London that will include a five-kilometer run.

“Today I just wanted to go, give it all I got, get my paces down,” he said. “I couldn’t get first but I tried.”

Ann Herr, 33, a marathoner from Wading River, is accustomed to longer distances, but she didn’t do badly, winning the women’s 5K race in 19:15.

“My goal is to go under 19 [minutes]; it didn’t happen,” said Herr, who has asthma and runs for the North Country Road Warriors. Another Wading River runner, Katherine Skinner, was second in 20:02. She was followed by Kristin Tamburro of Arlington, Va., (20:21), Suzy Heffernan of Cutchogue (20:34) and Melanie Pfennig of Cutchogue (20:42).

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08/17/13 11:15am
08/17/2013 11:15 AM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Shawn Fitzgerald of Cutchogue was the first to reach the finish line in 17 minutes 15.01 seconds.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Shawn Fitzgerald of Cutchogue was the first to reach the finish line in 17 minutes 15.01 seconds.


Now Cutchogue has a road race it can call its own.

And, fittingly enough, two Cutchogue residents can claim ownership of the male and female titles of the first Fleets Neck Property Owners Association 5K Run/Walk.

Cutchogue was the site of the inaugural race on Saturday morning, as well as the most common residence among the runners in the event, according to the race director, John Gardner. (Interestingly enough, Brooklyn was second, he said.)

If race organizers were looking for an event with a decidedly local flavor, mission accomplished. Eight of the top 17 finishers, male and female, were from Cutchogue, including the two winners, Shawn Fitzgerald and Melanie Pfennig.

Fitzgerald, 39, flew to the finish line in 17 minutes 15.01 seconds. His nearest challenger was his training partner and work colleague, Marty Viera of Baiting Hollow, with a time of 18:20.22.

“I put out my best effort, so it was a solid time, I feel, for me,” said Fitzgerald, who won the Mighty North Fork Sprint Triathlon last month in Southold.

Fitzgerald trains for triathlons along with Viera and knows what Viera can do, so he kept watching for him after taking the lead in the first mile.

“I looked back a few times and it didn’t seem like there would be too much, but I knew Marty was going to be coming on strong,” Fitzgerald said. “I knew I had to keep an eye out for him.”

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Melanie Pfennig of Cutchogue, the top female finisher, was on the heels of Ryan Spielman of Cutchogue near the finish line. Spielman was eighth in the men's race.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Melanie Pfennig of Cutchogue, the top female finisher, was on the heels of Ryan Spielman of Cutchogue near the finish line. Spielman was eighth in the men’s race.

At the same, Viera knows what Fitzgerald’s capable of doing on a race course. Afterward, he joked that his goal was to hold the lead for the first 15 seconds of the race before Fitzgerald moved in front.

“He’s just another level,” Viera said. “I knew he was coming today, and I was shooting for second.”

Mother Nature smiled down on the race, providing close to ideal weather conditions for the runners. Heat and humidity weren’t issues.

“It was beautiful,” Fitzgerald said. “This is like a September, October day almost. You can’t ask for better weather than this.”

The course itself is a relatively flat one with rolling hills that rest in the shade of tree-lined streets that roughly form the property owners association’s boundary, offering the occasional scenic view of Peconic Bay. The race started near Pequash Park and concluded in front of the park.

Viera, like everyone else, spent a good deal of the race chasing Fitzgerald.

“At one point I saw him in the distance and I knew he was at least a minute ahead, and he didn’t look like he was slowing down, but I felt good that I was actually in sight of him,” said Viera.

Events prompted Fitzgerald to move in front possibly earlier than he would have done otherwise. “Some of the younger kids were going out pretty fast, and I didn’t want to get too far [behind], so I just started picking it up a little bit,” he said. “And then once I got to them, I said, ‘Well, let’s see if I can keep this going.’ I just kind of maintained it for a while.”

All the way to the finish line.

A number of his neighbors soon joined him. Chris Berglin of Hampton Bays was third in 18:31.34. Brendan Browne of South Orange, N.J., (18:41.91), Matt Sirico of Cutchogue (19:08.56), Matt Heffernan of Cutchogue (19:37.59) and Ken Poliwoda of Southold (19:45.97) broke 20 minutes.

Rex Spielman of Cutchogue (20:01.66), Michael Frederick of New York City (20:13.75) and Graham Rainsby of Brooklyn (20:29.90) also cracked the top 10 male finishers.

“The thing that I love about this — the size of this — is that we knew half of the people who crossed the finish line,” said Gardner.

Familiarity helps. Fitzgerald does many of his training runs in the area.

Pfennig, 14, is familiar with these streets as well. A member of the Mattituck High School girls cross-country and track and field teams who will soon enter her freshman year, Pfennig was the first female to the line in 20:02.00. She used a burst of energy to take the lead over the last half-mile.

Pfennig said she has been training this summer to prepare for the upcoming cross-country season.

“You have to self-motivate yourself to do your best,” she said. “I was hoping to do good and get a start on the cross-country season so I can really bump up my game a little bit.”

Her cross-country teammate, Mia Vasile-Cozzo of Cutchogue, finished sixth in 23:22.30. Between the two Tuckers were Molly Bennett of East Quogue (20:17.49), Suzanne Heffernan of Cutchogue (20:50.50), Zoe Browne of Stevens Point, Wis., (21:01.71) and Indira Schwarting of Southold (22:55.05).

Heather Quinlan of Rocky Point (24:17.83) was seventh, with Tara Doyle of Port Chester, N.Y., (24:24.67) eighth, Sharon Zuhoski of Middle Island (24:59.50) ninth and Maeve McGilkey of Mattituck (25:00.18) 10th.

A week ago, 30 runners had registered for the race, but beautiful weather and ideal running conditions apparently boosted participation. Gardner said over 170 had registered, a turnout that organizers said was good for a first-year race. One hundred and forty-nine finishers were listed in the official results.

“It went great,” Gardner said. “Lessons learned, but we’ll get better and better.”

What Fitzgerald liked best about the event, however, had nothing to do with organization and everything to do with location. He said he appreciated “the fact that I can sleep in, roll out of bed late and be here on time.”

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07/04/13 12:00pm
07/04/2013 12:00 PM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | The start of the 5K Race Thursday morning.

Ryan Udvadia is no stranger to winning races. After a banner season last year as a junior for Shoreham-Wading River’s cross country and track teams, Udvadia kicked off his summer with a pair of victories in the SWR July 4 Foot Races.

Udvadia won the 5K race in 16 minutes 39.32 seconds, well ahead of the second-place finisher. He warmed up for the 5K by running the 13 and over 1-mile race. He crossed the finish line together with Dan Purschke and Keith Steinbrecher.

Udvadia will be going into his senior year at Shoreham.

The 29th annual race, which raises money for scholarships, featured a large turnout despite the humidity and heat early in the morning. The race began near the Miller Avenue School in Shoreham.

A Shoreham graduate was the top female finisher in the 5K. Kathryn Sheehan, who ran track at Marist College, crossed in 18:42. Sheehan said she is planning on running the New York City Marathon.

06/15/13 8:41pm
06/15/2013 8:41 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Runners hit the course at the start of the 34th annual Shelter Island 10K Run.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Runners hit the course at the start of the 34th annual Shelter Island 10K Run.


The Boston Marathon.

At least for the foreseeable future, those words bring to mind the horrific images of the bombings that occurred on April 15, reportedly killing three and injuring 264.

Noting the peaceful nature of his sport, Bill Rodgers, one of running’s beloved elder statesmen, couldn’t help but point out the “sad irony” that such an attack has become associated with a joyous sporting event.

Rodgers, a former United States Olympian and four-time winner of both the Boston and New York City marathons, was home with his girlfriend watching the marathon on television when the explosions went off.

“You don’t believe it’s real,” he said. “It is personal for all of us.”

And by “us,” Rodgers was referring to the running community, which has banded together in support of Boston. So, runners continue to run and compete.

“It’s kind of like a healing process,” Rodgers said. “Boston, I think, shook them up bad.”

The impact of those bombings continues to be felt. Two months to the day of those attacks, the Boston Marathon was undoubtedly on the minds of many at the 34th annual Shelter Island 10K Run on Saturday. One could see it from the stepped up security to the pre-race ceremony to the items worn by the runners. Some runners wore T-shirts with the words “BOSTON STRONG” printed on them. Many wore wristbands. One of Rodgers’ wristbands read, “We Run As One.”


Many people were undoubtedly thinking about Boston, but it would only be understandable if Ethiopia was on Ayele Megersa Feyisa’s mind. Nearing the end a three-month spell in the United States during which he competed in nine road races, Feyisa ran for the first time on Shelter Island and the last time before heading back to his African homeland on Tuesday. He ran a time most human beings could only dream about, and recorded a triumph only a tiny percentage of runners ever get to experience, yet he was disappointed, nonetheless.

Sure, Feyisa captured first place, but he didn’t break the meet record. The 25-year-old Ethiopian, who has been living in New York City, fell 22 seconds short of the course mark that was set last year by Simon Ndirangu of Kenya. Ndirangu had himself clipped three seconds off the previous record that Alena Reta of Ethiopia set in 2010.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | The victims of the bombings at the Boston Marathon were remembered at the Shelter Island 10K Run on Saturday.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | The victims of the bombings at the Boston Marathon were remembered at the Shelter Island 10K Run on Saturday.

Feyisa was looking to put the record back in an Ethiopian’s hands — his hands — but it wasn’t in the cards. His winning time of 28:59 was hardly shabby, though. He finished six seconds ahead of the runner-up, Amos Sang, a Kenyan who lives in Manchester, Conn.

But Feyisa, who does not speak English, did not look pleased afterward. His manager, Alem Kahsay, who acted as a translator for reporters, confirmed as much.

“He feels bad because he tried to break the course record,” Kahsay said. “He’s happy [with his training], but he’s not happy today.”

The baking sun may have had something to do with keeping that course record out of reach. Feyisa also indicated that the hilly course was a challenge. “It’s very difficult, down, up,” he said following his fourth victory from nine road races.

Feyisa, running a 4:40 mile pace, took the lead on the second mile. Sang said he was close by until he slowed down a little on the fourth mile. Feyisa “kept pushing it,” Sang said. “He tried to press it. By mile four he was alone by himself.”

Sang sounded delighted with his performance and seemed to enjoy the experience. “I was not expecting second place,” he said. “Everything was amazing.”

Girma Gebre of New York City was third in 30:26. He was followed by Glarius Rop of Springfield, Mass., (31:09), Abdelhadi El Mouaziz of Queens (31:29), Abdelkebir Lamachi of Queens (31:43), Joseph Ekuon of Kingston (33:41) and Thomas Rammelkamp of Miller Place (33:57).

The next one to cross the finish line was the women’s winner, Katie Di Camillo, 26, of Providence, R.I.. She clocked a time of 34:19.

“I’m excited,” said Di Camillo, who ran cross-country and track for both Holy Trinity High School and Providence College. “I finished strong.”

The next four finishers were women as well: New York City residents Hirut Beyene Guangul (34:33) and Tsehay Gebre Getiso (34:51), Askale Merachi of Jackson Heights (35:16) and Atalelech Asfaw of Albuquerque, N.M. (35:35).

The top local runners were Keith Steinbrecher of Wading River (16th in 37:07), Bryan Knipfing of Shelter Island Heights (24th in 38:49), Rick Buckheit of Southold (33rd in 40:36) and Kyle Lehman of Cutchogue (37th in 41:15). The first local woman to finish was Suzy Heffernan of Cutchogue. She was 23rd in 46:56.

Nine hundred and seventy-two runners finished the race.

The Shelter Island race was further evidence that the spirit of athletics does not die easily. Runners are by nature a determined group.

“Shocking, shocking, shocking,” Sang said when reminded of the Boston bombings. “It’s something that happened, but we love running. We enjoy running. We’re not going to stop. We’re going to keep going.”

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04/15/13 10:36pm
04/15/2013 10:36 PM

AP PHOTO/CHARLES KRUPA | Medical workers aid injured people at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston, Monday.

Five North Fork area residents were listed as participants in today’s Boston Marathon, where Boston police say two explosions near the finish line killed at least three people and injured dozens more Monday afternoon.

According to the Boston Marathon’s online listings, Susan Herlyn of Riverhead, Robert Kujawski of Cutchogue, Jeffrey Votteler and Andrew and Amie Balistreri, all of Manorville, were entered in the race.

Mr. Kujawski, who works in IT for a Riverhead produce company, said he witnessed the explosion from his hotel room and never did get to run in the race. He told his story on Facebook Monday night.

“My daughter and I are fine,” he wrote to friends. “We were watching the finishers from our hotel room, which was about 100 yards away, when the explosion at the finish line occurred. In a state of disbelief at that point, the second bomb went off up the street. It was then we just grabbed our stuff and exited the hotel and got on what ended up being the final train allowed out of the city. Please pray for those affected by this horrible event.”

The two blasts occurred near the finish line nearly simultaneously about 100 yards apart, dismembering spectators, knocking runners to the ground and shattering windows, according to an Associated Press report.

Marathon officials described the cause of the explosions as “two bombs.”

According to public race results, Mr. and Ms. Balistreri both finished the race, with Mr. Balistreri passing the finish line about 10 minutes before the explosions occurred.

“We are good and safe,” Mr. Balistreri said in a message to the paper Monday night. “We finished the race and all is as good as possible under the circumstances.”

Ms. Herlyn had just passed the 40K mark about 2:40 p.m., about five minutes before the explosion occurred, according to the results. She was unable to finish the race, the records show.

Mr. Votteler finished the race at 1:08 p.m., about two hours before the explosions occurred. He and his family are all safe, he said.

About an hour after the explosion, Mr. Votteler said he was moving away from the site of the bombing.

“I never actually was at the scene,” he told the News-Review. “However I did watch the live finish line cam about 30 minutes after and it was a mess… just paper and wreckage everywhere.”

“It’s still an active scene; tons of people displaced from hotels,” he added.

Mr. Votteler was safely on an Amtrak train with his family when he was interviewed.

He’s due back on Long Island tomorrow, he said.

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