The number 13 may be unlucky for the Sound to Bay 10K. After all, the 13th annual running of the 10-kilometer race from Iron Pier Beach in Northville to South Jamesport Beach did not go off as scheduled on Aug. 28. Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene saw to that.
Three days before the originally scheduled race date, organizers bowed to the warnings about Hurricane Irene and removed the race from the calendar — temporarily.
“It was crazy,” said Bob Sikora, who is in his first year as the race director. “It was a little stressful because people were wondering, is [the race] going to happen?”
The answer was yes.
Irene postponed the Sound to Bay 10K, but didn’t stop it. The race was rescheduled and run on Saturday. Runners undoubtedly enjoyed the crisp, breezy weather conditions, a stark contrast to the heat and humidity that is more typical when the event is held in late August.
Two first-time winners were produced. Shawn Fitzgerald of Cutchogue, who was a runner-up two years ago, was the first finisher this time, clocking a time of 35 minutes 42 seconds. Una Broderick of Wantagh won the women’s race in 40:12 and was fifth overall. She clipped 31 seconds off the time she posted last year when she was second in the race.
“I lucked out,” Broderick joked. “The speedsters didn’t come out today.”
Fitzgerald, 37, won by an impressive margin. The second-place runner, Anthony Galvan of Riverhead, reached the finish line 2:16 after him. Galvan, 17, is a member of the Riverhead High School boys cross country team. He was joined in the race by the team’s coach, Pat Burke, who was 17th in 45:26.
Fitzgerald was relieved that the race was rescheduled. Because of his job at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton, he would not have been able to run on Aug. 28.
“We were on alert for the hurricane to help out if they needed any help,” he said, “and we ultimately ended up going upstate for the flood, so I was actually pleased that they delayed it so I could be a part of it.”
Galvan led the first two miles, with him and Fitzgerald having pulled away from the pack. Then Galvan heard something disconcerting.
“I heard [Fitzgerald’s] footsteps after the second mile,” he said. “I said, ‘Oh my gosh, I got to pick it up.’ ”
It was around that point when Fitzgerald passed Galvan, who was feeling the sharp pain of shin splints. “Once we hit the three-mile spot I had to slow down a lot because they really started hurting,” said Galvan.
Having traded places, it was then Fitzgerald’s turn to wonder what was happening behind him. As it turned out, he didn’t have to worry. He never relinquished the lead after that.
“I was just going to come out and run and see what I can do,” said Fitzgerald.
The runners were striding against a cool breeze. “It slowed you down, but it felt good,” said Galvan.
Jay Duggan, whose residence was not listed, came in third in 39:07, which was 14 seconds ahead of fourth-place Richard Buckheit of Southold. Greg Zanieski of Pleasant Valley was fifth in 40:26. He was followed, in order, by Ryan Brod of Portland, Me. (40:50), Bill Morrison of New York City (40:57), Sean McCarthy of Wading River (41:00), Roman De Jesus of East Setauket (42:17) and Bruce Hotchkiss of Riverhead (43:42).
Similarly, the women’s race wasn’t close. Broderick, 44, was the clear winner, finishing 3:37 ahead of the second-place woman, Rosalina Castllo of Riverhead. Moira Tuohy and Kathleen Kilbride, whose residences were not known, were third and fourth in 45:19 and 45:24, respectively. Christine Mahoney of East Quogue took fifth in 47:34.
Rounding out the top 10 in the women’s race were Charles Lamitie of Ridge (47:41), Julianne Milliman of Laurel (47:51), Christianne Gentry of East Moriches (48:34), Michelle Rempe of Peconic (49:05) and Kelli Dougherty of East Patchogue (49:27).
Broderick led by such a margin that she even had an opportunity to enjoy the passing scenery a little. Then again, as with many runners, there was always the question of what was happening behind her. Could somebody be making a move? It can be an uneasy feeling.
“I’ve learned my lesson through racing,” Broderick said. “I never try to turn around and look behind me. I just try to run really fast because I’ve gotten burned when I’ve turned around, somebody passes you. If somebody’s faster than you and they beat you, then you just tip your hat to them. Keep going. Just run as hard as you can, until you drop.”
Although 386 runners had registered for the race, there were plenty of no-shows. The final tally recorded 238 finishers.
“I don’t think you could ask for a better day,” Sikora said. “It’s a real good turnout. I did the race twice this year for all intents and purposes. I’m kind of glad that it’s done and it was a success, and it looks like everybody had a good time.”
Not even Irene could spoil that.