Forth-three-year-old Don DiDonato of Hicksville blasted through one of the strongest fields ever assembled on Long Island to score as the second finisher overall and first finisher age 40 plus in the 14th annual Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor's Oyster Festival 5 Kilometer Run, which served as the kickoff event for the Oyster Festival on Saturday morning, Oct. 13.
Bryan Decker of Hicksville (4th right), top scorer in the 20-24 age group, is flanked by fellow award winners Jack Brolly (4th left) and Sean O'Rouke (3rd left) as they are presented with their awards by (l-r) Oyster Bay Town Clerk Martha Offerman, State Bank of Long Island Vice President Mary Durkin, Town Receiver of Taxes Jim Stefanich, Town Supervisor John Venditto, and Town Councilman Len Symons.
DiDonato was second in a field of 555 finishers, crossing the finish line at Fireman's Field in 16 minutes, 30 seconds, on six seconds in back of overall winner Michael Anderson of Woodbury.
Other Hicksville award winners included Bryan Decker, who scored first in the 20-24 age group in 19:24, and Liz Flahavan, who took second place honors in the women's 35-39 age group in 20:43.
The Oyster Bay Run was conducted under the direction of the Greater Long Island Running Club, with GLIRC President Mike Polansky serving as the race director once again this year. Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto was once again the honorary chairman of the race committee. Technical support was furnished by Finish Line Road Race Technicians, utilizing the new "ChampionChip" race scoring technology. The primary sponsors of the event were once again the State Bank of Long Island and the Town of Oyster Bay. Additional support was provided by Whole Foods Market of Manhasset.
This year's run was part of the KeySpan Energy Grand Prix Series of Long Island road races conducted under the auspices of Long Island Track & Field (LITF). October is National Breast Cancer Month, and Terry Kelly of KeySpan and LITF President Susan Polansky presented a check for $1,000 to the Maurer Foundation for Breast Health Education in honor of the occasion.
"This is a great run and a great challenge for Long Island recreational athletes," observed Race Director Mike Polansky. "The hills around Oyster Bay are a stunning venue for an early morning run in October, and we are thrilled to have had such an outstanding field that included virtually every top athlete on Long Island. We are very much appreciative of the Town of Oyster Bay and its outstanding Department of Recreation and Parks, of the support of Town Supervisor John Venditto, and of Vice President Mark Durkin and all the other wonderful folks from State Bank of Long Island for making this event a reality once again this year. Our congratulations to Don, Brian, Liz and all the other fine athletes who from Hicksville and elsewhere participated. The Oyster Bay Town Supervisor's Oyster Festival Run is what recreational running and racing on Long Island is all about."