Koegel, Rorke Win the Bridgehampton Half-Marathon

The 13.1-mile race benefited the Bridgehampton Museum and Southampton Hospital
Michelle Rorke won among the women and was ninth over all. Chris Koegel ran, as he has since 2010, in memory of his late cousin, 1st Lt. Joseph Theinert, a Shelter Islander who was killed in Afghanistan in June of that year. Jack Graves Photos

    The inaugural Bridgehampton half-marathon, begun by Diane Weinberger and Amanda Moszkowski to accommodate the overflow from the marathon and half-marathon they oversee in Springs in the fall, brought out the majority of the 1,200 who had registered.

    “We got lucky with the weather,” said Moszkowski. “It looks like everybody who signed up is here.”

    The 13.1-mile race, which was won by Chris Koegel, 30, of Malverne, a frequent visitor here, and Michelle Rorke, 30, a New York Athletic Club runner from New York City, benefited the Bridgehampton Museum and Southampton Hospital. The major sponsors were Bridgehampton National Bank, JetBlue, and the Hampton Jitney.

    During the wait, John Eilertsen, the museum’s director, said that probably some of the money the museum received would go toward the restoration of the handsome Nathaniel Rogers House at Bridgehampton’s main intersection, a project largely funded by Southampton Town.

    “We hope to have it done by the end of 2015,” said Eilertsen, who remembers when there were proposals in the early 1970s that would have ringed it with gas stations.

    Weinberger, who had run the MORE half-marathon for women in New York’s Central Park several weeks before, said she would have been happy to run Saturday if she were not one of the race directors. The MORE half, she added, had been her first race since recovering from foot surgery. “Too many marathons, too many years,” she said by way of explanation.

    The Bridgehampton High School’s junior class had a booth on the Beebe Windmill grounds to raise money for its trip next year to St. Thomas. The Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter also had a booth there, touting among other things the I-Tri program’s triathlons for adults and youngsters at Maidstone Park this summer.

    Koegel, the cousin of the late 1st Lt. Joe Theinert, a Shelter Islander who was killed in Afghanistan on June 4, 2010, at the age of 24, and who has run in Theinert’s memory ever since, won handily in 1 hour, 16 minutes, and 57 seconds, besting the runner-up, Abel Rosales, 33, of New York City, by about four minutes.

    Koegel’s is a familiar face at races here. He won Weinberger and Moszkowski’s Hamptons Marathon in 2010, in 2:43:46, and was the third-place finisher in 2007. He said that later that day he’d visit his late cousin’s brothers, “Jimbo and Billy,” on Shelter Island.

    “No wrong turns,” Koegel said in reply to a question. “The lead biker was good.”

    Rorke, who is a policy adviser to New York State’s Department of Financial Services, has been away from competitive running for a while, as was the case also with the women’s runner-up, Lindsay Crouse, 29, who works with The New York Times.

    Rorke, a Williams College graduate, who was ninth over all, is a former Olympic Marathon trial qualifier. She broke the tape in 1:28:28. Crouse, who ran at Harvard (but not against Rorke) and who is a member of the Central Park Track Club, was not far behind, in 1:29:09.

    Crouse confessed that she had gone out too fast. “She caught up,” she said, looking over at her friend. “We ran together for a wonderful minute, at mile 11,” she said with a smile.

    Among those cheering Rorke and Crouse on were Dawn Schneider, at whose house in North Sea the runners spent the weekend, and Joe Nocera, the New York Times columnist.

    Barbara Gubbins, 54, of Southampton, was the third-place female, in 1:30:21. Sinead FitzGibbon, 44, of Sag Harbor, who had won among the women (and who was third over all) at the Paddlers for Humanity off-road half-marathon in Montauk the week before, was the fourth-place woman, in 1:31:05. She also topped the female 40-to-49-year-old category.

    Tiger Britt, 17, of Sag Harbor, who was 44th in 1:36:41, led the 19-and-under division; Erin Tintle, 42, of East Hampton, who was 40th in 1:36:34, placed third in the women’s 40-49 group; Paul Maidment, 62, of East Hampton, was the top finisher among the 60-to-69 men, in 1:45:56, and Diane O’Donnell, 63, won among the females in that division, in 2:11:01.

    There were 884 finishers in all.