Topping a field of about 800 runners and walkers, Nick Ellenoff, the 17-year-old Trinity School senior who the week before had won the Strides For Life 3-miler, glided to the shaded Ellen’s [5K] Run finish line near the old entrance to Southampton Hospital Sunday morning in 17 minutes and 27 seconds.
The personable winner, who is an all-state competitor in cross-country and track with a personal-best 4:20 in the mile, said he had run faster at this race last year, but last year he had John Honerkamp — the winner in 15:45 — and Angel Rojas to contend with.
Honerkamp, a coach at St. John’s who placed fourth in the Olympic 800-meter trials in 1996, did not show this year. “I was kind of hoping he would,” said Ellenoff, who, on realizing he was more or less on his own that hot, humid morning, did not push himself much after the first mile.
East Hampton had a good showing, led by Jessie van Binsbergen, now a veterinary doctor in Hoboken, N.J., who won among the women and was 13th over all, in 19:35.
Among Bonac’s age-group winners that day were Olivia Boccia, 11-and-under girls; Fiona Moore, 40 to 44 women; Mike Bahel, 45 to 49 men; Diane O’Donnell, 60 to 64 women, and Howard Lebwith (the race director), 80-plus men. Moreover, Mike Bottini (55 to 59 men) and Evan Boccia (11-and-under boys) were runners-up, and Blaire Stauffer, a 78-year-old Sag Harborite, won the men’s 75 to 79 group, and was 172nd over all, in 27:46.
Asked if he’d seen Andy Neidnig, who turned 92 on July 3, Stauffer said he had recently, on Sag Harbor’s Long Island Avenue. “Andy said he couldn’t stop to talk, that he had to keep moving. If you want to talk to him, you know, you have to move along with him.”
Stauffer added that Howard Lebwith had started the race that day, “but nobody knows he did because his bullhorn went down.”
“It’s the first time I’ve raced in a year,” said van Binsbergen, who, because of her veterinary duties has “not had much time for running.”
“Last year, I was fourth, but there were some faster women here last year.”
Van Binsbergen spoke for a bit afterward with her former East Hampton High School coach, Diane O’Donnell, who was making her first appearance in a race in two years, having overcome in the interim two broken ankles and an Achilles tendon tear.
Besides being happy that she’d finished, O’Donnell said she’s looking forward to the girls cross-country team she’s to coach this fall at East Hampton High. “We’ll have all of our top five back, including Ashley [West, who’s been training hard and winning races here this summer], and I’m very hopeful we’ll be able to get Dana Cebulski [a top runner the middle school the past two years] to come out.”
When Ellenoff’s bright orange running shoes were remarked upon, his mother, Sabrina, said, with a laugh, “You can only wear those if you run fast — otherwise people would think you were a jerk.”
The young winner, whose favorite race is the mile, said he’ll be running longer distances this year, including the 3,000 and 5K, at his coach’s instance. As for which college he might attend, the Trinity senior said it would depend on where he was recruited.
In the aftermath of the popular race, Charlie van der Horst, a medical professor at the University of North Carolina who trains with about 15 others in the summer with John Conner on East Hampton High’s track, discovered a glitch in the timing that had resulted in some daughters being credited with their fathers’ times.
It was corrected, but not before Craig Brierley told his 9-year-old daughter, Julia, that he had won her age bracket.
Ellen’s Run benefits the Ellen P. Hermanson Foundation’s work in breast cancer research, prevention, and outreach and the new Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Southampton Hospital. Julie Ratner, who founded the race 16 years ago in memory of her late sister, has said that over the years more than $3 million has been raised by the foundation, $1 million of which has been donated to Southampton Hospital.
The race encourages survivors to take part. There were 36 of them this year, topped by Jimmy Perreca, 66, of South Beach. Those from around here included Deborah Donohue, Arlene Makl, Ralph Kotkov, Mary Ellen McGuire, Vicki Durand, Sandra Gamble, Kathryn Heineman-Locov, Marilyn Scherr, Joan Garro, Diane Lewis, Mary Lang, Christine Ambrose, and Barbara Borsack, an East Hampton Village Board member who once again headed up the Strong Connections team, 80 strong this year, whose sponsors were the East Hampton Village and Town Police Benevolent Associations, the Old Montauk Athletic Club, Computer Professionals, the Strong Agency, Strong Brothers Inc., and Shirt Tag LLC.
Among those whom Borsack had encouraged to walk the 3.1-mile course was this paper’s Bridget LeRoy, who later said she’d been “beaten by a Pomeranian,” and wrote about her participation in The Star’s “Relay” column this week.