Shelter Island 10K coming this Saturday; Olympians in the field

With little less than a week to go before the 33rd annual Shelter Island 10K Run on Saturday, organizers are hoping the turnout will equal or exceed the 1,700 runners who competed last year. The starting gun will be at 5:30 p.m. sharp on Route 114 between the Presbyterian Church and the roundabout.

And they may have a surprise up their sleeves when it comes to “big-time” runners, according to Race Director Mary Ellen Adipietro. She said she’d know soon whether another elite runner will join former Olympians Frank Shorter, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Bill Rodgers and Keith Brantly and this year’s Olympic sailing competitor, Shelter Island’s own Amanda Clark, in running the Island race.

Ms. Clark and her husband Greg Nissen have said they will run to help raise funds to support Ms. Clark’s Team Go Sail and her Olympic bid in England this summer, according to Ms. Adipietro.

Ms. Adipietro gave no hint who the fifth “big-time” runner night be, saying only that the person “wants to come to run.”

Another last-minute addition to the activities is the possibility that the race might be filmed by one company for a showing at the post-race party Saturday night at the Island Boatyard and by another company for a television broadcast. Again, those arrangements aren’t yet complete, Ms. Adipietro said.

WLNG 92.1 FM will again broadcast the race live on Saturday with pre-race coverage due to start at 3 p.m. The race begins promptly at 5:30 p.m. The day before the race, Friday, June 15, WLNG’s bus will be at the Fiske Field finish line; and race emcee Dr. Frank Adipietro will talk on the air with Frank Shorter, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Bill Rodgers and Keith Brantly from 1 to 3 p.m.

Those elite runners will also be on hand soon after for a meet-and-greet with the public, at 5 p.m. on Friday — just before the traditional pre-race pasta dinner in the American Legion Hall — in a tent that will be set up outside the Legion Hall. “Maybe there will be questions and answers, maybe there will be a book signing,” said Dr. Adipietro. The event is new this year so details were still being worked out this week.

For the non-competitive on June 16, there will be, as usual, a 5K Fun Walk that starts at 5:45 p.m. (15 minutes after the 10K start) at the Center roundabout. Walkers depart from the race course and go left onto Manwaring Road and then onto Route 114. From there, they’ll go north to West Neck Road where they’ll merge with the 10K route.

Those running the 10K will depart the St. Mary’s round-about onto Ram Island Road, head up Cobbetts Lane and then onto Manhanset Road to Shore Road. They’ll follow Shore Road until it becomes Winthrop and take it across the bridge to Route 114, turning left onto Route 114 to West Neck Road.

The finish line is at Shelter Island School’s Fiske Field behind the American Legion Hall.

Breaking from tradition, organizers will announce only the top awards at the finish line. Others will be given out at the traditional post-race mixed grill dinner and party at the Island Boatyard.

Once again the last mile of the race will be marked by American flags but this year its designation as “Joey’s Mile” becomes official and permanent, according to Ms. Adipietro, in memory of Islander 1st Lt. Joseph Theinert, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in June 2010.

“It will forever be ‘Joey’s Mile,’” Ms. Adipietro said, “and everyone who sees it will be reminded of him.”

Three weeks after his untimely death, the 2010 10K was formally dedicated to Lt. Theinert. In 2011, the Race Committee hung a banner dedicating the last mile to him.

This year Lt. Theinert’s mother, Chrystyna Kestler, suggested it be declared a “Veteran’s Mile,” honoring all the Island’s Gold Star families, those who have lost a family member on active duty, and all Blue Star families, who have someone currently serving on active duty.

“But the board decided that they wanted to name the mile after Joey; they said that the Island kids really wanted to do it,” Ms. Kestler said.

This week’s Shelter Island Reporter will include the Shelter Island 10K Journal as an insert with complete race information.