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.”
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.