Tag Archive | "Hamptons Running"

Thousands Bring Light to Cloudy Day at Katy’s Courage 5K

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Runners charge from the starting line at the fourth annual Katy's Courage 5K in Sag Harbor on Saturday.

Runners charge from the starting line at the fourth annual Katy’s Courage 5K in Sag Harbor on Saturday.

Photography and Story by Gianna Volpe

Nina Landi, the race director for Saturday’s fourth annual Katy’s Courage 5K race, had tears in her eyes as hundreds of Sag Harbor residents, East Enders and others took off running along the waterfront in memory of one beloved little local, Katy Stewart, who in 2010 succumbed to a rare pediatric cancer when she was 12 years old.

More than a thousand participants signed up for the event with far more on hand to volunteer and cheer, despite the morning’s cold, gloomy weather, which Ms. Landis said spoke to Katy’s unique and vibrant nature.

“I learned more from Katy than I’ve learned from anybody in my entire life span of time on this Earth,” she said. “She was incredible; wise beyond her years and every single person that ran down the street just now either knew her or was affected deeply by her.”

Katy’s father, Jim Stewart, said Saturday’s event netted the Katy’s Courage, a non-profit organization, more than $30,000, which will go toward establishing a bereavement center at the Children’s Museum of the East End this fall, in addition to benefitting pediatric cancer research and providing money for multiple scholarships, including a $10,000 annual scholarship for a graduate of Pierson High School.

“Each year we do the race we say that we feel she is here with us, but it’s even more so this year,” said Mr. Stewart. “I think it’s because each year we’re having more and more people join us and help us. The goodwill people bring to us is absolutely incredible and we thank Katy for that because when people say they’re here, they’re here for Kate. It’s a fantastic gesture on their part just to be here today.”

As Mr. Stewart took photographs at the event and gave out high fives to runners dashing to the finish line, his wife, Brigid Collins Stewart, joined the mass of 5K participants, afterward saying she felt “proud, happy and grateful” on what she described as a “tremendous day” for her family.

“Katy had a light around her,” she said of her daughter. “She’s still here with us, bringing a lot of love to the community.”

And the feeling is mutual.

Sag Harbor resident Benito Vila, 52, whose teenage daughter, Kerrie, was Katy’s classmate in April 2009 when Katy was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer called Hepatoblastoma, said making the choice to attend the annual event was an easy one.

“She was a great kid and was able to bring different parts of the community together,” said Vila. “Kerrie’s friends changed when Katy got sick. It brought a whole group of girls together and then, as Jim and Brigid sought out help — both of them being involved in school districts — they brought together others by reaching out to different churches and groups. All of the faiths were represented at [Katy’s funeral] service.”

Members of the East Hampton High School track team, on hand at the race, correctly predicted sophomore Eric Engstrom, 15, who attended pre-school with Katy, would take the race for the second year in a row, which he did with a winning time of 16:44.9.

“I made my move at about a mile to go and then just coasted in,” the track star said of the race. “I kind of sat back and stayed in, like, third for most of the race before I did that.”

Luis Ramirez, 22, of Southampton finished second overall in 17:01.5 while Doug Milano, 30, of Aquebogue finished third in 17:24.1.

Dana Cebulski, 16, another track star at East Hampton, was the first overall female finisher with a time of 19:42.5. Hannah Jungck, a cross country runner from Pierson who is also on the Bonac track team, was the second female finisher with a time of 19:57.9 while Tara Wilson, 27, of Shelter Island Heights finished third in 20:01.1.

For a complete list of results visit island-timing.com/katy.html.

Members of the East Hampton track team came out in large numbers to compete in Saturday's race.

Members of the East Hampton track team came out in large numbers to compete in Saturday’s race.

First “Andy’s Run” Brings Runners, Walkers and Families to Sag Harbor to Celebrate Neidnig

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Fiachra Hallissey, left, accepting his first place trophy from John Conner, an East Hampton resident, life-long runner and a friend of Andy Neidnig. 

By Gavin Menu

The Andy’s Run 5K was held Saturday morning in Sag Harbor, complete with winners, trophies and the usual mix of elite runners, walkers and families out for a leisurely stroll.

The real celebration, however, was for the sport of running itself, being that the event was named for Sag Harbor’s own running man, Andy Neidnig, one of the greatest athletes ever from the East End.

“I wanted to get at least 100 people, and we were way over,” said Robert Arcs, a member of the Sag Harbor Lions Club, which presented the event. “It’s a wonderful success in honor of Andy. Like his wife said to me, Andy is looking down on us today.”

Fiachra Hallissey, 42, of East Hampton was the overall winner in 18:38.4, with James Moore, 29, of Montauk finishing second in 19:22.3. Jorge Bautista, 24, of Sag Harbor was third in 19:24.8.

Sharon McCobb, 50, of East Hampton was the top female finisher, posting a time of 20:57.4. Renee Meier, 58, was the second overall female with a time of 22:22, and Alden Powers, at just 10 years old, finished third in 22:26.5.

A complete list of results is available at island-timing.com.

Neidnig passed away in 2012 at the age of 93, but not before he compiled an impressive running career. He was a celebrated marathoner and World War II veteran who raced in more 30 marathons, including one at the age of 80. His first marathon was in 1938 in Boston, where he placed ninth overall. In 1989, he set an over-70 record in the New York City marathon with a time of 3:32.28.

Neidnig attended Manhattan College in the late 1930s, and broke the national collegiate record for the two-mile at the time. His times in the half-mile and mile were just seconds off the world records and it was widely believed that Neidnig would have been an Olympian if not for the games being cancelled because of World War II.

When the Masters movement began in the 1970s, Neidnig was presented with competitive events for older age groups and his running career took off again.

“Andy was great. Every race he’d say ‘I’m not feeling too well,’ and then he’d go on to win it,” said John Conner, a resident of East Hampton who ran alongside Neidnig for 30 years. “He was very lucky that the Master movement came along in 1972. Running is for fanatics and it was something you had to dedicate your life to. Andy was incredibly dedicated.”

Neidnig’s dedication was on full display on Saturday with a table full of trophies and awards he compiled over his career, including his Manhattan College Hall of Fame trophy and two crystal trophies for being named the Masters Athlete of the Year by the New York Road Runner’s Club, which presents the New York City Marathon.

“In running it’s you against yourself,” Conner said before adding with a sly grin, “the cruelest of competitors.”

McCobb, the top female finisher, is president of the Old Montauk Athletic Club, which every year recognizes one member of the East End community as its Athlete of the Year. The club decided going forward, McCobb said, that the award would be named in honor of Neidnig.

This year’s winner will be David Powers, a triathlete who ran on Saturday alongside his daughter, Alden, the third overall female finisher.

“I had heard about him and learned a lot more these last few weeks,” Powers said when asked about Neidnig.

Most of the post-race conversation on Saturday, in fact, trailed back to Neidnig and his running career, which spanned seven decades. Sarah Adams, whose father, George Sheehan, ran with Neidnig at Manhattan College and went on to write The New York Times bestseller “Running & Being: The Total Experience,” ran in Saturday’s race and finished first overall in her age group (60 to 69).

“Andy and my dad ran together through college and when my dad came out here they would get together,” Adams said. “Andy was just so fabulous and Sag Harbor loved him.”

“I ran with him for 30 years and he was indubitably a world-class runner,” Conner added, pointing out that he and Neidnig ran together in world Masters championships in Italy, Australia, Japan, Finland and South Africa, among other locations. “Frequently he placed, but he always ran against world-class people if he could.”