Boston, and the fatal terror attack there in April, was very much on everyone’s minds leading up to the 34th Shelter Island Overcoming Obstacles 10K Saturday, and consequently certain precautions, such as prohibiting backpacks and providing clear plastic bags for the collection of refuse at the start and finish lines rather than metal bins, were taken, but all, the race’s director, Mary Ellen Adipietro, said, went smoothly.
“The weather was beautiful — hot, but not humid,” said Cliff Clark, the very popular road race’s founder. “At least I didn’t hear any of the runners complain of humidity.”
The race committee was not complaining either, Adipietro said, that no records were broken this year, meaning that more money, rather than being paid out in bonuses, would go to the beneficiaries — the 10K Community Fund, the Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch, a farm home in Riverhead for troubled boys, East End Hospice, and Reach Within, the latter an organization that helps children in Grenada.
Once again, the chief participants were Bill Rodgers, who sold and signed numerous copies of his autobiography, “Marathon Man,” and Joan Benoit Samuelson, who ran a 2:50 at Boston this year, thus achieving her goal of finishing within 30 minutes of her record 2:22, which she did there 30 years ago.
The race director’s husband, Dr. Frank Adipietro, interviewed Samuelson and Rodgers over radio station WLNG the day before. “Definitely we touched on Boston, no question,” he said. “We spent about a half-hour on that. . . . Thankfully, everything really came together for us on race day. It’s a big day for Shelter Island, you know. Everything worked out beautifully, it was all good.”
Ayele Megersa Feyisa, 25, a native of Ethiopia who lives now in New York City, was the winner, in 28 minutes and 59 seconds, 22 seconds shy of Simon Ndirangu’s record, which was set last year.
It’s not often — certainly not in recent years — that an American tops the female division at Shelter Island, but this time Katie Di Camillo, 26, of Providence, R.I., did, in 34:19. She was ninth over all.
Samuelson and Rodgers served as pacers — Samuelson for those wanting to run the rolling 6.2-mile course in about 40 minutes, and Rodgers for those wanting to do it in around 50.
Presumably, Chris Reich, East Hampton High’s cross-country and boys track coach, was in that group, for he crossed the line in 39:58, in 38th place among the 972 finishers. Samuelson crossed the line in 40:39 with 11-year-old Liam Adipietro, who was doing the 5K. “It was awfully nice of her to do that,” Mary Ellen Adipietro said later. “Liam was trying to beat a classmate of his.”
Reich was bested by one of his standout long-distance runners, the 15-year-old Erik Engstrom, who was 28th in 38:23. Clark, who in 1972 competed in the Olympic (3,000-meter) steeplechase trials, is pleased to know that Engstrom began competing in that event this year as a freshman, placing 12th in the county. “Kevin [Barry] calls him ‘Little Pre,’ for Steve Prefontaine,” said Clark.
Chris Koegel, 29, a cousin of the late Lt. Joseph Theinert, for whom Shelter Island’s last mile is named, placed 15th, in 36:10.
Local place-winners included Jacqueline McGarvey, 32, of East Hampton, the female 30-34 division’s runner-up; Jennifer Cave, 37, of Sag Harbor, who topped the female 35-39 division; Jason Kaplan, 44, of Montauk, who won among the 40-44 men; Fiona Moore, 42, of East Hampton, who won among the 40-44 women; Sarah Stenn, 46, of Sagaponack, the first woman in the 45-49 division; John Nelson, 55, of Bridgehampton, second in the men’s 55-59 group; Jeff Yennie, 64, of Sag Harbor, who was the second 60-to-64-year-old man, and Blaire Stauffer, 80, of Sag Harbor, who topped the 75-to-99-year-old men, in 1:01.29.
In writing in The Shelter Island Reporter’s pre-race supplement, Adipietro, who was in the grandstands at Boston’s finish line when the bomb planted there went off, said near the end of her article, “One thing I know about our running community is that it takes its heart from the organizers, the runners, volunteers, police, firemen, medical personnel, and mostly from our spectators. We will never be stopped. Our spirit will never be broken. I say a prayer for all our Boston friends and wish that all future runs be safe and fulfilling and always filled with great stories. . . .”