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.

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.”

CLICK HERE FOR RESULTS

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.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

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.

psquire@timesreview.com

03/27/13 3:00pm
03/27/2013 3:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Dylan Douglas, 12, of Aquebogue raised $783 by running in The Sandy Hook Run For The Families 5K in Hartford, Conn., on Saturday.

RUNNING: Aquebogue boy runs for Sandy Hook Dylan Douglas 12, of Aquebogue ran in the The Sandy Hook Run For The Families 5K in Hartford, Conn., on Saturday. Over 15,000 runners ran through downtown Hartford to raise money for the Sandy Hook Foundation. Douglas raised $783 himself in the fundraiser. His time was 31 minutes 1 second, leaving him as the 2,832nd finisher.

WOMEN’S TENNIS: Bundrick a winner in doubles, singles In the third doubles position, first-year players Erica Bundrick of Mattituck and Alexandra Sulkin combined for an 8-5 victory for Saint Michael’s College (Vt.), which stayed unbeaten in the Northeast-10 Conference, grabbing a 9-0 victory over Merrimack College on Friday. In singles play, Bundrick notched a 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 2. Saint Michael’s (6-2, 5-0) is ranked eighth in the most recent Intercollegiate Tennis Association East Region rankings.

10/20/12 12:29pm
10/20/2012 12:29 PM

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.

SEE MORE TOP FINISHERS

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.”

MORE PHOTOS

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.

08/26/12 2:01pm
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

08/11/12 11:00am
08/11/2012 11:00 AM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Runners took off at the start of the New Suffolk Waterfront 5K on Saturday morning. A record 320 runners registered for the fourth annual race, according to the race director, Gary Osborne.

NEW SUFFOLK WATERFRONT 5K

A record registration signalled that the New Suffolk Waterfront 5K is getting bigger and better, if not faster.

The winning times in Saturday morning’s race were markedly slower than those records set by the top male and female finishers of a year ago, but the uncomfortable humidity might have had something to do with that.

Regardless of Mother Nature, which managed to keep threatening rain at bay until after the proceedings had concluded, the fourth annual race drew 320 registrants, according to the race director, Gary Osborne. Among the 297 finishers were all sorts of runners attracted to the event for a variety of reasons. Among them were a college cross-country and track and field runner, a body art enthusiast, and a professional boxer.

The former, Nick Petsky of Manorville, a junior at the College of the Holy Cross (Mass.), won the New Suffolk Waterfront 5K race for the second time in three years, scoring a six-second win over his nearest competitor, Shawn Fitzgerald of Cutchogue.

Petsky, who would have notched his third straight New Suffolk title had he not been edged out by Sean Norberg in last year’s race in a virtual dead heat, clocked a winning time of 17 minutes 30 seconds. That was 33 seconds slower than the record time that both he and Norberg posted last year. Saturday’s humid weather didn’t help.

“It’s August on Long Island,” Petsky said. “What are you going to expect?”

Petsky, 20, who ran a 5:38 mile pace, said the first couple of miles were run on the slow side. Andrew McAward of Garden City was the first runner to complete the first mile in 5:45.

Regardless, it didn’t seem to hurt Petsky. He still had something left in the tank when he made the final turn onto New Suffolk Avenue, passing Fitzgerald for the lead with about one-fifth of a mile to go.

“We got to the corner and I was feeling it, so I took it,” said Petsky.

Fitgerald, 38, who won the first New Suffolk Waterfront 5K in 2009, sounded as if he was expecting Petsky to make a move about that time. The two led the way for the final two miles of the race.

“I knew he was going to have a strong finish,” said Fitzgerald, who trains on the course, which is less than a mile from his home.

Petsky’s friend and teammate at Holy Cross, McAward, took third place in 17:52. Finishing five seconds behind McAward was Benjamin Johnson of Trumbull, Conn. Then there was a 75-second separation before the next group of runners crossed the finish line, including Jeremy Warner of Riverhead (19:12), Will Noonan of New York City (19:26), Thomas Fogarty of New York City (19:46), Mark Pawlak of Brooklyn (20:13), Rex Spielman of Cutchogue (20:59) and William Berg of New York City (21:03).

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Nick Petsky of Manorville was the first to the finish line for the second time in three years in the New Suffolk Waterfront 5K.

Petsky, who is to report to college in a week, said the race comes at a good time for him as he prepares for his college season. “It’s a staple,” he said. “I’m just thankful this race is around.”

Tara Wilson of Shelter Island Heights enjoyed her New Suffolk debut, admiring the scenery as she won the women’s race.

Wilson, 26, a Shelter Island High School graduate who ran cross-country for the Indians as well as The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., wears a number of tattoos. Among them is one that reads, “HURRICANE T”. It’s appropriate, considering that Wilson hit the course like a hurricane. Even so, her time of 21:13 didn’t threaten the female race record of 20:00 that Robin Lynn of Glen Gardner, N.J., set last year.

Wilson said she saw another female runner early in the race, but wasn’t sure how far that runner had fallen behind her. From her vantage point, she said, “I saw guys mostly.”

Wilson said she is “totally addicted” to running, but she also has a deep interest in body art. Among her tattoos are a couple of butterflies, one of which is her favorite. For now, at least, she has no plans to add to her collection. “I have a lot of tattoos,” she said. “I think that I’ll wait before I get another one.”

Perhaps Wilson can count her blessings that she wasn’t running against a fresh-legged Patricia Alcivar. Alcivar, a professional boxer from Forest Hills, Queens, who had trained and sparred the night before in Manhattan, said she had only four hours of sleep before the race. That didn’t prevent her, however, from taking second place in 21:43. Put an explanatory asterisk next to that time, though. Alcivar, who incorporates road running into her boxing training, said she can run under 21:00 on a good day.

“I think I did well, considering,” she said.

Alcivar, whose boxing name is Patty “Boom Boom” Alcivar, had a successful amateur career as a two-time New York City Golden Gloves and national champion. After six years of amateur boxing, she turned pro two and a half years ago. The super flyweight has a 6-1 record with three knockouts.

Asked if there was a point in the race when her legs felt like lead, Alcivar replied, “From the start.”

As Alcivar sees it, road running gives her a leg up on her boxing competitors.

“I try to race like two to three times a month,” she said. “That’s my secret weapon in boxing because a lot of boxers don’t like to run. They’re a little bit lazy on the running, so the conditioning and the stamina definitely helps me.”

Vicki Edwards of Mattituck was third in 22:27, Tracy Epstein of Smithtown was fourth in 22:41 and Deirdre Apicello of Jamesport was fifth in 23:13. The next five women finished within 34 seconds of each other: Meg Tuthill of Southold (23:23), Tami Loeffler of Bordeaux, France (23:29), Samantha Aller of New York City (23:48), Joanne Johnson of Trumbull, Conn. (23:56), and Kristen Helinski of Southold (23:57).

Osborne noted that the New Suffolk race has been drawing more runners as well as more serious runners. He said, “This has been the best year yet.”

bliepa@timesreview.com

07/05/12 11:00am
07/05/2012 11:00 AM

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | The start of the SWR July 4 5K race.

Runners braved the hot, humid weather Wednesday morning at the Shoreham-Wading River 28th annual July 4 race in the streets around the Miller Avenue School in Shoreham. Collin Zeffer of Sound Beach won the 5K in 17 minutes 19 seconds. Ann Herr of Wading River was the fastest female in 20:10.

The races raised money for 12 scholarships.

[nggallery id=403 template=galleryview]

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTOS

Here are some of the results:

1-mile, 12 and under

1. Julian Reiss, Wading River, 6:14

2. Joseph Krause, Shoreham, 6:17

3. Kevin Xu, Shoreham, 6:27

4. Anthony Guzzone, Shoreham, 6:34

5. Danielle Rose, Miller Place, 6:36

One-mile, Open

1. Ryan Udvadia, Shoreham, 5:35

2. Brandon Turbush, Manorville, 5:47

3. Mike Qually, Shoreham, 5:52

4. Rich Haviland, Laurel

5. Maxwell Maritato, Shoreham, 6:06

5K

Men

1. Collin Zeffer, Sound Beach, 17:19

2. Ryan Udvadia, Shoreham, 17:25

3. Kevin Krause, Shoreham, 17:33

4. Rick Trojanowski, Calverton, 17:42

5. Sean Norberg, Wading River, 17:59

Women

1. Ann Herr, Wading River, 20:10

2. Brianne Ricevuto, Medford, 21:15

3. Kaithlyn Ohrtman, Shoreham, 21:21

4. Francesca Lilly, Shoreham, 21:28

5. Kelly Mullady, Rocky Point, 21:49

06/16/12 9:35pm
06/16/2012 9:35 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Simon Ndirangu of Kenya meeting with reporters after setting a Shelter Island 10K Run record: 28 minutes 37 seconds.

SHELTER ISLAND 10K RUN

The weather conditions were ripe for a record.

A typical day for the Shelter Island 10K Run is hot, humid and sticky. Saturday was not like that at all. It wasn’t too hot, humidity was not a factor, and there was even a refreshing breeze that cooled the runners like a giant fan.

Some 90 minutes before the 33rd annual race, Dr. Frank Adipietro, the race’s medical director and public-address announcer, told a reporter, “We could definitely see a course record today.”

How right he was.

Simon Ndirangu of Kenya clocked a winning time of 28 minutes 37 seconds for a race record. He clipped three seconds off the previous mark that Alena Reta of Ethiopia set in 2010 when he won the race for the second time in four years.

But Saturday was Ndirangu’s day. The 26-year-old was steady throughout. Running a 4:37-per-mile pace, he completed the first five kilometers in 14:12 and then finished the second half of the race in 14:26.

“I’m very happy,” said Ndirangu, who had never run in the Shelter Island 10K before. “My aim was to beat the course record, and I did it.”

Second place went to Tesfaye Girma of Ethiopia in 29:10. The residences of the next six finishers — Samuel Ndereba (29:45), Abiyot Endale (29:50), Mengistu Nebsi (30:01), Ketema Nigusse (31:00), Boniface Biwott (31:18) and Mikael Tesfaye (31:29) — were not listed. Dan Wallace-Periac of Nyack (31:39) was ninth and Thomas Rammelkamp of Miller Place (32:35) took 10th.

Ndirangu, who started running professionally in 2006, did not know what his competition would be like, so he was running into the unknown, in a sense.

“I was not sure I was going to win, but I was sure I was going to do something under 29 minutes,” he said. “… It’s an opportunity God gives you once.”

And he snatched it.

Ndirangu made his move around the three-mile mark, when he took the lead. “By four miles, I was 90-percent [sure] I was going to win,” he said. “I believe I have a strong kick.”

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Malika Mejdoub, a Moroccan who lives in Albuquerque, N.M., won the women's race after taking second place last year.

In the women’s race, last year’s runner-up, Malika Mejdoub, took the top honor, winning in 34:28. Mejdoub, a Moroccan who lives in Albuquerque, N.M., held off a challenge from Hirut Mandefro of Ethiopia, who was second in 34:42.

Speaking of her time, which improved upon the 34:40 she turned in last year, Mejdoub said: “It’s not my best, but it’s alright.”

Third place went to McKenzie Melander of Apple Valley, Minn. Her time was 34:51.

Mejdoub, Morocco’s former cross-country champion, is hoping to compete in this summer’s Olympics in England. Morocco doesn’t hold trials to select its marathon runners, so for Mejdoub, it’s a waiting game as she waits for the Olympic list to come out. She’s hoping her name will be on it.

“Of course, anybody dreams to go to the Olympics,” she said. “I’m waiting. I don’t know what to do, what’s the plan. Anything can happen.”

Six former Olympians ran the course. Among them were two women who finished in the top 10: a Russian, Ludmila Petrova (seventh in 35:57), and Joan Benoit Samuelson of Freeport (10th in 39:29).

The other former Olympians were Keith Brantly, Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter and Shelter Island’s own Amanda Clark, a sailor who will compete in the Olympic Games in England later this summer.

The other top 10 finishers in the women’s race were Dorcus Chesang (fourth in 34:52), Ilona Barvanova (fifth in 35:15), Tinbit Wedgbral (sixth in 35:30), Heather Williams of Centerport (eighth in 38:26) and Tara Farrell of East Quogue (ninth in 38:55).

Ryan Udvadia, 16, of Shoreham was the top local finisher, coming in 14th in 34:28. Ken Rideout was the first Shelter Islander to cross the finish line. He was 15th in the men’s race in 36:26.

The final results showed that 1,067 runners completed the race.

When the race started in front of Shelter Island High School, a scene that looked like something Norman Rockwell would have painted took shape. Heads bobbed up and down as a mass of bodies snaked their way forward with American flags waving in the background. And there were more American flags, hundreds of them, planted in the ground over the last mile of the race, which was designated as “Joey’s Mile.” It is in memory of Shelter Island’s hero, 1st Lt. Joseph Theinert, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in June 2010.

African runners have a hold on this race, and for good reason: Running is their lifestyle.

“We do this for our life,” Ndirangu said. “We always train. In Africa we train hard, and probably most of the runners in Africa, they don’t have a job. Their job is just running, and those who are running, they take it very seriously.”

Count Girma among them. He said he runs 100 training miles a week.

“That’s my job,” said Girma, who won a 10-kilometer race in Orange County, N.Y., three weeks ago. “I’m training every day. I want to win.”

For Ndirangu and others, running is a way of life.

“Running is like my hobby. I like it,” Ndirangu explained. “In my career, I want to make history. I want to make victories, so this is one of them. I’m very, very happy.”

bliepa@timesreview.com