Shawn Pollard, a graduate student in physics at the State University at Stony Brook, won Sunday’s Firecracker 8K (4.97-mile) road race in Southampton in 27 minutes and 51.1 seconds, a time that probably would have been quicker, the winner said later, had he not attended a bachelor party the night before.
Pollard’s pace that pretty — though hot — morning was 5:37 per mile. On a flat track, he said, in reply to a question, he could run “a 4:30-something.”
The 27-year-old winner, a native of Oregon who lives in Port Jefferson Station, and who had stayed up until 4 a.m., dueled with Richard Temerian, 53, the eventual runner-up, through the first half of the race, but began to pull away thereafter. He’s looking to do a marathon, and his prospects are good inasmuch as he’s run a half-marathon in 1:10.47.
The discovery of the Higgs boson, he said, in parting, had been very exciting. “I have friends who have been working on that . . . . Hopefully, it’s just the beginning.”
Tara Farrell, 33, of East Quogue, who works at a Gubbins Running Ahead store in Southampton, and who looked very fit, was the women’s winner — and sixth over all — in 30:49.4. The mother of a 3-year-old son and a 19-month-old daughter, Farrell said she’d been hoping to beat 30 minutes, “but it was hot.” The absence of Caroline Birnbaum, a frequent winner of Southampton races — “sometimes outright,” she said — opened the way for her.
Asked how she would have fared had Barbara Gubbins — who was working — been at the starting line that morning, Farrell demurred. “She’s my boss,” she said with a laugh.
Not far behind Farrell — in 13th place in 33:07.8, a 6:41 pace — was 14-year-old Erik Engstrom of Springs, from whom Kevin Barry, East Hampton High School’s boys cross-country coach, expects great things come the fall, even though he’ll only be a freshman.
It was Engstrom’s first time at the Firecracker 8K, and while he liked it that the course was fast and flat, the heat bothered him a bit.
He’s been training with about a dozen others every Monday and Wednesday evenings at the high school track with John Conner, a former top national age-group competitor in the half-mile and mile.
His son, who easily topped the boys 10-to-14 division that day, had begun running as a way of training for motocross races, Erik’s father, Gerard, who also races motocross bikes, said. “He was always really fast, and he never got tired!”
“He still races at Yaphank,” the elder Engstrom said. “In fact his bike’s on the back of the car. We’re going to Yaphank after this.”
Paul Maidment, of East Hampton, who placed 46th in 37:50.0 and was third in the men’s 60-to-64 group, said the heat had gotten to him too. “I’m a typical European — I don’t like it,” he said. “There’s not much shade on the course and the sun can be damning.”
His time, he said, in answer to a question, was “okay . . . heat-adjusted, I’m satisfied.”
There were 315 finishers. Among the top age-group placewinners were Jason Hancock, a 38-year-old Southamptoner who teaches at the Amagansett School, who topped the men’s 35-39 division with his 30:28.3, good for fifth over all;
Arthur Nealon (42:13.5), who won the 65-69 division; Blaire Stauffer, 79, who led the 70-79s with his 46:16.2, and Julie Ratner, 65, of East Hampton, the founder of Ellen’s Run, who placed second in the women’s 65-69 group in 1:11:31.28.