Written by Christy Hinko Friday, 23 September 2011 00:00
The weather could not have been better for the 7th annual Main Street Mile that was held on Saturday, Sept. 3. This great event produced a record turnout of 388 participants and great performances from the men’s and women’s field and record breaking performance from the wheelchair division. Since its inception in 2005, this Labor Day weekend tradition continues to grow each year.
Runner’s Edge owner Bob Cook, Melville-based law firm of Carter, Deluca, Farrell and Schmidt, and Cisco Systems presented this year’s event to benefit Companions in Courage Foundation. Other major sponsors included Croxley Ale House, B103 Radio, and Dr. Larry Lembo, all of Farmingdale.
The co-race directors were the team of Bob Cook, Mark Leff, Mindy Davidson, Eric Bressler, and Craig Gluf.
Proceeds from the Main Street Mile support the Companions in Courage Foundation, founded by former New York Islander and Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine, who participated in the event. Proceeds from this year’s event exceeded $7,000, which was contributed to CiC, and will be used to fund two Xbox kiosks designed for CiC that will be donated to Cohen Children’s Hospital in New Hyde Park in Team Runners Edge name.
The race finish line was in front of the Farmingdale Firehouse and Village Hall, with the post race awards ceremony held at the Village Green.
Seven of the participants were from Farmingdale and many from surrounding local towns such as Massapequa and Seaford, and as far away as Westchester County and even Virginia and Orlando, Florida.
The event has strong local representation with other sponsors that included the Library Café of Farmingdale; Wikham, Bressler, Gordon and Geasa of Melville; Anheuser Busch; Farmingdale Observer; Dr. Jospeh Ciaccio, DDS of Hewlett; Babylon Bike Shop (who generously donated a bike as the raffle grand prize), Mejias Migrim and Alvarado, Long Island Triathlon Coach; Dave and Busters of Farmingdale; Bill Romas, LMT; the Greater Long Island Running Club, Staples, Shakeawayfat.com, and Jeffery Frey of SBRLI.com (who generously donated his time to be the race photographer). There was also a kids’ fun run where the younger participants run a quarter-mile up and down Main Street and received medals and free ice cream from Bollingers on Main Street.
“Companions in Courage looks forward to this event every year — seeing the community come together like this to help support the work we do. Its great to see a community come together like this to help children in need,” said Pat LaFontaine, former NY Islander and Hockey Hall of Famer, and founder of CiC. “When someone asks you what you did on Saturday, tell them you ran a mile and helped out children. The event organizers did a great job, particularly Runners Edge. We look forward to seeing continued growth of the Main Street Mile in the future.”
The race was followed by a special fundraising event at Croxley Ale House, who generously donated their space with complimentary food and soft drinks for all the participants. The festivities also included a raffle with prizes that included a road bike generously donated by race sponsor Babylon Bike Shop. The emcee for the event was Frank Brinka of B103 Radio, from Wiseman and Frank in the Morning.
The Main Street Mile once again produced great performances for both the men and women. The men’s open division (under 40 years of age) was won by Harry Norton, 26, of NYC in 4:20, followed by Ryan Zillman, 23, of Deer Park in 4:24 and Boyd Carrington, 38, of Amityville in 4:27.
In the men’s master’s division, the winner was Neil Fitzgerald, 43, of the Bronx in 4:32, followed by Alan Wells, who came all the way from Orlando, in 4:33, and Gerald O’Hara, 47, in 4:48.
In the women’s open division, past champion Lesley Higgins, 31, of NYC, regained her title with a time of 4:50, followed by Jeanna Composti, 31, of NYC in 5:11 and Shari Klarfield, 30, of NYC in 5:17.
In the women’s masters division, Susan Cuccia, 43, of St. James, won in a time of 5:35, followed by Jill Skelly, 47, of Baldwin in 5:53 and Carmen Anderson, 46, of Great Neck in 5:54.
The two top Farmingdale runners were Bill Buith in 4:39 for the men, and Clara Sheehan for the women in 7:23.
There was representation for both young and old in the record field of 388. The youngest finishers included nine-year-olds: Thomas Augeri in 6:27, Joseph Scarpa of Old Bethpage in 7:27; 10-year-olds Peter Johnson of Farmingdale in 7:09 and Natalie Pekoff of Bellmore in 8:39 and Ashley Minns of Massapequa Park in 8:55. Scarpa’s sister, Sophia, 8, finished in 10:20.
One of the highlights of the day was the performance of the oldest race finisher, 92-year-old Bill Benson, finishing with a great effort of 13:50.
Pat LaFontaine finished the mile himself as he does every year in a time of 7 minutes and 19 seconds.
Once again, this year’s race was once again run in memory of John McManus, a long time member of the Long Island running community who passed away in 2007. The last race he ever participated in was the 2006 Main Street Mile.
Proceeds from the race go towards LaFontaine’s non-profit organization Companions in Courage. As seen at www.cic16.org, CiC raises funds to build interactive playrooms in children’s hospitals throughout North America. Through innovative communications tools, these playrooms are meant to replace the isolation of a hospital with a connection to family, friends and celebrities during their hospital stay. This effort paves the way for its motto, “No child in the fight for life or health should ever have to go it alone.”
The rooms, dubbed “the Lion’s Den”, have state-of-the-art technology from Cisco Systems, and Microsoft. Patients receive a “smart” card when they check into the hospital, identifying them as members of a special community with unique privileges. The key is an ID device that allows each child to personalize his or her experience within the Lion’s Den room with activities such as web surfing, video game playing and video-conferencing. Lion’s Den playrooms in the NY area include those at Huntington Hospital, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at Columbia Presbyterian in NYC, and Maria Fareri Chidren’s Hospital in Valhalla. Other Lion’s Den playrooms have opened this year at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital and in Boston, with new rooms slated to open in other cities including St. Louis, Detroit and Dallas.
“What a great legacy this will leave. Its not just about the money raised, but leaving something tangible that will have immediate impact on children in this great facility” said co-race director Mark Leff of Cisco Systems. “ I think it is also important to point out that with current economic challenges, we are very appreciative for the support and generosity we received from our sponsors and participants. What a great turnout; we can’t thank everyone enough.”
In addition, the proceeds from this event will go a long way towards helping children and their families in their time of need given the great work done by CiC. This is inclusive of a CiC and Cisco initiative known as “Connected Kids”, a way to bring athletes and, celebrities closer to children in these hospitals via WebEx videoconference.
Past events have featured LaFontaine, former Philadelphia Flyer Brian Propp, and NHL All Stars from the site of the NHL All Star Game in Raleigh, NC that past February.
Leff also noted that in addition to the facilities of the Lion’s Den and the Xbox Kiosks, CiC will partner with Cisco again in December to bring Santa Claus into various CiC supported hospitals throughout the country via WebEx video conference.
“We call it the Santa Connection, it went phenomenally last year, the children could not stop smiling and were happy at a time their parents said they needed it most. Supporting these type of efforts is where the proceeds go, once again we can’t thank everyone enough. We also deeply appreciate the generosity of all our sponsors and supporters including Croxley’s and B103 Radio.”
For more information on Companions in Courage visit their website at http://www.cic16.org.