SOUND TO BAY 10K AND 5K
Along with the other first-place finishers in the 15th annual Sound to Bay 10K and 5K, Gregory Hayward was presented with a large, cup-shaped trophy, bigger than anything he had ever won before. Then again, even well before his race on Sunday morning, Hayward had won something even bigger: his health.
Hayward was a multiple-sport athlete when he attended Sachem High School. When he reached his 20s, though, his sports days seemed behind him and his physical condition deteriorated. That was until Hayward reached his 30s and decided a lifestyle change was in order. He started running and eating a healthier diet.
Now, a hundred pounds later, “This is the result,” he said after receiving his prize for taking first place in the 10-kilometer race.
Hayward is 32 years old, and a road running rookie. The Glen Cove man would be in contention for a rookie of the year award, if such a thing existed. Hayward picked up his second win from only five races, clocking a time of 35 minutes 53 seconds.
Most spectators probably didn’t know that Hayward and Elizabeth Waywell of Dix Hills were the male and female winners of the 10K race until well after the fact. It was virtually impossible to tell. Confusion reigned. The event was not the best organized.
Both races started at the same time at different sites — the 5K at South Jamesport Beach and the 10K at Iron Pier Beach in Northville — and they both finished at South Jamesport Beach. While runners in the 5K race were still pushing themselves across the finish line, the first 10K finishers were mixed in there somewhere. With no announcements or distinctions with the runners’ bibs, one couldn’t tell who was a 5K runner and who was a 10K runner. Further complicating things, some runners switched races without notifying race organizers. Hayward and Waywell were not publicly recognized until the awards ceremony.
Hayward, who had about four runners ahead of him at one point, said he ran the type of race that he expected to run. He said he told himself after each mile that he was on target and kept a 5:47 mile pace.
“I always keep pace,” he said. “A lot of guys like to start out of the gate going faster probably than they should, and I think that’s where I have an advantage because I time myself almost to the second. I think that helps.”
Hayward said he took the lead after about three kilometers and held it the rest of the way. He finished ahead of second-place Travis Wooten of Riverhead (36:29) and third-place Jesse Thompson of Bay Shore (37:14). Doug Milano of Aquebogue (37:49) was fourth and Tim Steiskal of Naugatuck, Conn., (38:26) was fifth.
Hayward said that back when he wasn’t in tip-top shape, he would not have imagined this. By taking one step after another, he has gone a long way, much further than 10 kilometers.
“Now I sort of hit my stride as I continue to age,” he said. “My only thought was to just get healthier to lose a little bit of weight and just to walk and jog and do as much as I could. Now I win.”
Like Hayward, Waywell made her first appearance in the Sound to Bay race. Like Hayward, the 55-year-old woman appreciates the importance of pacing herself and fighting the adrenaline-pumped urge to start out too fast.
“It’s taken me a long time to learn, but you got to stop going out too fast, and I never understood that,” she said. “It’s not panic. It just feels good and it doesn’t feel like you’re going too fast, and you go out, and then you die, and you don’t have time to recover.”
Keeping in mind the tale of the tortoise and the hare, Waywell understands that the race goes to the sure and steady.
“You do have to know what your pace is and not overdo it in the beginning,” she said, “and if you have something left in the tank at the end, that’s when you spend it.”
With 5K runners still on the course, Waywell said she crossed the finish line not knowing for sure whether she had won or not. It wasn’t until later, in the parking lot, when a friend and fellow runner, Tracey Epstein of Smithtown, told Waywell that she had indeed won that she knew for sure.
Waywell turned in a time of 41:24, well ahead of the runner-up, Shari Klarfeld of Plainview (42:45). The next three finishers were Laura Brown of Westhampton Beach (43:26), Emily Schwartz of Rocky Point (43:43) and Jane Chitkara of Wayland, Mass., (43:55).
Regarding that tortoise and hare thing, Waywell had a confession to make. She prefers the hare.
“It doesn’t matter that I’m getting a little long in the tooth, I always go with the hare,” she said. “I figure he got the best of both worlds. He got to run quickly and to have naps.”
MCSHANE LEAVES BEHIND PACK, PACE CAR After about the first mile of the five-kilometer race, the pace car pulled up, and the leader, Michael McShane, was on his own.
“I guess they just didn’t want to be that close to me,” he said. “It was fine. The arrows on the ground, I knew where to go, but having something to chase always helps. It’s a lot easier.”
As it was, McShane made things looks easy. The 22-year-old Laurel man won the 5K race in 16:57. “I took the lead off the bat and just kept going,” he said.
McShane, a former cross country and track and field athlete for Molloy College, is coming off a stress fracture in his foot. Considering that, he said: “I’m pretty happy. I really haven’t been able to get consistent running into the summer.”
The next finisher after McShane was Tommy Kohler of Hampton Bays, who runs with a prosthetic left leg. Kohler’s time was 18:37. Nicholas Bjelke of Dix Hills took third in 18:43, Christian Berglin of Hampton Bays was fourth in 19:01 and Darren Hindeniter of Mattituck was fifth in 19:10.
Kohler, 45, a retired detective, has a J-shaped carbon-fibre prosthetic left leg, similar to the one South African sprinter Oscar Pistorious has. While Kohler was a New York City detective, he got shot in the thigh during a gunfight in 1994, leaving him with paralysis from the kneecap down. He kept the leg for almost four years, moving with the aid of crutches and growing frustrated after 14 or 15 surgeries. “After a while I just kind of gave up on it and I said, you know, there’s got to be a better way,” he said. In 1998 he had the prosthetic attached and started running almost immediately.
“The technology’s been there for a while,” he said. “It’s basically lightweight and it’s based on energy return. So you can put one on, and it does not necessarily mean that you’ll be fast. You got to learn how to put all your body weight, energy through it. If you put it through it, it comes back at you. It’s like anything else, it’s training. You got to train hard on it. To run fast, you got to train hard.”
Kohler, who runs for the NYPD Running Club, has been doing just that. The race was a tuneup for him. In three weeks he will compete in a world championship triathlon in London that will include a five-kilometer run.
“Today I just wanted to go, give it all I got, get my paces down,” he said. “I couldn’t get first but I tried.”
Ann Herr, 33, a marathoner from Wading River, is accustomed to longer distances, but she didn’t do badly, winning the women’s 5K race in 19:15.
“My goal is to go under 19 [minutes]; it didn’t happen,” said Herr, who has asthma and runs for the North Country Road Warriors. Another Wading River runner, Katherine Skinner, was second in 20:02. She was followed by Kristin Tamburro of Arlington, Va., (20:21), Suzy Heffernan of Cutchogue (20:34) and Melanie Pfennig of Cutchogue (20:42).