Ashley West, an all-American in the indoor 800-meter race, and a former Landmark Conference runner of the year, has been working all summer at the Gubbins’s New Balance store in East Hampton Village, thus, although she’s been working out, the Miss Amelia’s Cottage 2-miler in Amagansett Sunday was her first road race here this season.
“I always try to do this race,” said the Susquehanna University junior, “because at the beginning of cross-country season we have to do a 2-mile time trial.”
She’ll be going into that with a certain amount of confidence presumably for, without anyone pushing her Sunday, her winning time of 11 minutes and 51 seconds “was [six seconds] better than my time last year.”
Miss Amelia’s has always been a sleeper among local road races, and were it not for a last-minute rally of the troops this year — namely, Sharon McCobb and Diane O’Donnell — it might not have been run. It only drew a field of 18 this year, half as many as in 2013.
An 11-year-old, Bella Tarbet, was the runner-up to West, in 13:58, which McCobb said was “a very good time.” Bella had been one of her I-Tri Youth triathlon trainees last year.
Tarbet, who came to Miss Amelia’s with other family members, had just returned from Virginia Beach, where she was the 9-to-11-year-olds’ national champion in the beach flags event, third in the distance run, eighth in Ironguard, and 12th in the rescue board race.
Finishing behind West and Tarbet were Leonard Boccia (14:23), Rob Bottini (14:34), Holly Li (15:20), Emily Alcroft (18:10), Melissa Wolf (18:11), Lucas DiMarco (19:50), Anthony DiMarco (19:54), Billy O’Donnell (23:00), Luke Tarbet (23:25), Jack Graves (27:58), Nate Tarbet (28:16), John Tarbet (28:16), Charla Bickman (35:00), Howard Lebwith (35:26), Maya Graves (37:42), who fell on the Town Lane pavement but kept going, and Cebra Graves (37:42).
Needless to say, nearly everyone won ribbons.
John Conner, who used to oversee Miss Amelia’s on behalf of the Old Montauk Athletic Club, has passed the baton, and, besides, Sunday marked the eve of hip replacement surgery for him at the Peconic Medical Center in Riverhead.
Thinking of Conner, Lebwith, the race’s eldest participant who’s to turn 84 on Aug. 20, was reminded at the finish line of what Hy Gardner, the late New York Herald-Tribune columnist, once said about old age. “ ‘You know you’re old when just about everything hurts, and when whatever doesn’t hurt doesn’t work.’ ”
He also was reminded of his and Paul Fiondella’s bicycle safety campaign here, which has by and large yet to get off the ground. “We had consultants who’ve made New York and Boston bicycle-friendly ready to come here to do a study, but they weren’t going to do the work for nothing,” Lebwith said.
“ ‘Share the Road’ is a silly platitude. It doesn’t mean anything. Drivers pay a sign like that little heed and the cyclists too.” They have been after the East Hampton Town chief of police, he said, “to put up signs that remind drivers and cyclists of the rules of the road. How bikers should signal for a right turn and for a left turn, for instance. Cyclists should stop at traffic signals, and they should say, ‘On the left’ when passing. . . .”
Lebwith also cited Dr. Bernard Berger’s serious accident when during the recent New York City triathlon he became sandwiched between two other bikers on the West Side Highway — passing on the right is illegal in triathlon bike legs — and crashed to the pavement, losing consciousness.
The 77-year-old East Hamptoner, who has generally won his age group at that event, came to in an ambulance. According to his daughter, Emi, who recently did the Lake Placid Ironman, he suffered a broken clavicle, three broken ribs, and a collapsed lung, in addition to bruises and contusions.