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.”