5K RACE: Katy Remembered

The race is run in memory of the late Katy Stewart
Students from all the area’s schools were among the participants. Carrie Ann Salvi

    As was the case last year, the turnout at the Katy’s Courage 5K in Sag Harbor Saturday was huge — the finishers’ list totaled 1,005 — with reportedly every school in the area represented.
    The race is run in memory of the late Katy Stewart, who died a little more than a year ago at the age of 12 of a rare form of liver cancer, and its net proceeds are to go toward a four-year college scholarship fund in her name at Pierson High School, pediatric cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and, in the future, a children’s bereavement center on the East End modeled after one Katy’s parents, Jim and Brigid, and her brother, Robert, visited in San Antonio, Tex., soon after Katy’s death.
    The center, said Katy’s mother, “would be for anybody who’s lost anybody, though especially for children who have experienced loss.”
    “Over the years we have known so many children who have lost a parent or grandparent, or friend, and, of course, we had lost Kate,” Brigid Stewart said in a pre-race story in The Sag Harbor Express. “And when we saw the expertise involved in working with children and their families at the South Texas center we became anxious to have something like that here.”
    In addition to the countless kids, afoot or in strollers, there were a large number of athletes owing in part to the fact that Jim Stewart for a long time coached East Hampton High School’s wrestling and boys soccer teams. There were lacrosse players too and members of the Montauk Rugby Club, not to mention some serious runners.
    A 53-year-old part-time Bridgehamptoner, Richard Temerian, won it, in 17 minutes and 32.16 seconds, outkicking a former Mercy High School protégé of Kevin Barry’s, Kiernan Kelly, 33, at the end. Kelly’s time was 17:33.72. Matt Connors, 37, was third, in 17:42.20; Jason Hancock, a 38-year-old Southamptoner who teaches at the Amagansett School, was fourth, in 17:42.99, and Brian Marciniak, 25, was fifth, in 17:53.62.
    Last year’s winner, Mike Semkus, 24, of Sag Harbor, was sixth, in 18:06.23.
    The women’s winner was 41-year-old — soon to be 42-year-old — Sinead FitzGibbon, who (no mean feat) outkicked Barbara Gubbins, 52, going down the stretch.
    “It’s a beautiful course and every school is represented — it’s so great to see the kids,” said FitzGibbon, who recently, with about 20 others from here, ran, crawled, and clawed their way through a mountainous 25K known as the Hyner Challenge in central Pennsylvania.
    “Ed and Caroline Cashin went, Dennis Loebs — my better half — Fiachra O’Hallissey, Noel Kelly, Mike Bahel, Brian Monahan . . . all the Irish,” she said, when asked for a recounting.
    “We ran uphill and down dale, up through rivers, down streams . . . in some sections you were just using your hands and your feet. It easily required a marathon effort. Chris Reich [who coaches East Hampton High’s boys track team] said at one point, ‘This isn’t running!’ It was his worst race ever.”
    FitzGibbon, who placed fourth over all “among 1,000 billy goats,” and who won her age group, added, “We’re going to do the 50K next year.”
    Bahel and Cheryl Keller used the occasion to announce that they are to be married at the next Hamptons Marathon.
    “You’ll have to run to be in the wedding,” said FitzGibbon. “The bridesmaids will do the three-miler.”
    Temerian, a New York City resident who has a house in Bridgehampton, said he hadn’t known about this race last year. When questioned, the fleet 50-something said he’d run Boston, which this year was really hot, “in 2:59,” a statement his wife, Caroline, stepped forward to amend. “Exactly three hours,” she said. “But he didn’t have to stop and walk or get medical attention.”
    Getting back to the top finishers, O’Hallissey, 41, was seventh, in 18:10.06, Doug Milano, who assists Steve Redlus in coaching East Hampton High’s jayvee boys lacrosse team, was eighth, in 18:24.17, Bahel was ninth, in 18:27.17, an eighth grader, Erik Engstrom, was 10th, in 18:29.32, and another eighth grader, Randy Santiago, was 13th.
    Next up for distance runners is Paddlers for Humanity’s off-road half-marathon at Montauk’s Hither Woods Sunday. The start-finish line will be at Ed Ecker County Park off Navy Road.