By Gavin Menu
Freezing temperatures failed to chill the festive atmosphere at the 3rd Annual Old Whalers Community House 5K in Sag Harbor Saturday morning, where close to 100 runners finished a course through historic sections of the village.
In the end it was a pair of visitors to the village who won the men’s and women’s divisions, with 30-year old Carlo Finlay of Athens, Georgia winning the race in 17:36.9. Julia Marino, an 18-year old freshman at Dartmouth College whose family vacations on the East End, was the top female finisher with a time of 25:02.4.
Lee Sossen of Quogue finished second overall with a time of 17:45.8 and Russell Littel, the son-in-law of Sag Harbor Village Trustee Ed Deyermond, was third in 19:22.3.
“This is the coldest race I’ve ever run,” said Littel, who lives in San Antonio, Texas with his wife, Kate, and their three-year-old daughter, Bethany. Littel, a Sargent First Class in the Texas National Guard, recently completed a nine-month mission to Afghanistan, where he competed in a series of road races, many of which mirrored races going on at the same time back home in the United States.
“I was the fastest American on base,” he said on Saturday. “We ran 13 races and I placed or won in all of them.”
Finlay, the overall winner, was spending the weekend with family at Gurney’s Inn in Montauk. An avid runner, he flipped through an event calendar and saw there was a race in Sag Harbor on Saturday. He decided to head out for the run, and ended up in victory lane.
“It was a beautiful day and this is a beautiful village” Finlay said about his first-ever visit to Sag Harbor. “I figured I needed something to work off Thanksgiving dinner.”
Following Marino to the finish line in the female division were Patty Cunigliaro, 43, who finished second in 25:12.7 and Elena Lollos, 47, who finished third in 25:42.3.
Race organizers said the event raises money to support the Community House at the Old Whalers Church, which hosts a number of community organizations, but regularly requires funding for upkeep.
“It’s a lot of work keeping that building going,” said Bruce Beyer, who grew up going to the Old Whalers Church and now helps with the maintenance. “My family goes back generations there, so I have a certain love for the building.”
For a complete list of results from Saturday’s race visit island-timing.com.