With a record breaking total of 1309 runners and walkers crossing the finish line at the John F. Kennedy Middle School in Bethpage, the 11th annual edition of the Ho Ho Ho Holiday 5 Kilometer Run was a major success. An additional field of about 75 youngsters participated in the 1/4 mile fun run that preceded the main event.
The view from the start of the 11th annual Ho Ho Ho Holiday run.
Scott Brown of upstate Pelham was the first to cross the finish line, with a time of 15:32 that earned him a six second victory over Carlos Castro of Levittown. Raphael Veras of New York City was third in 15:40. The top female finisher was Barbara Gubbins of Southampton (17:46), followed by Jean Chodnicki of Jersey City (18:02) and Donna McMahon of Farmingdale in 18:07. Fourteen-year-old Jesse Walsh of Huntington was the top wheelchair finisher in 16:02.
The Run was staged by the Plainview-Old Bethpage Road Runners Club (which will formally become the Greater Long Island Running Club effective Jan. 1, 1999), with the Club's Ed Kovesdy serving as the race director. Financial support was provided by Mobile Eight Apparel Corporation and its On the Brink line of sportswear, and Grubb & Ellis Island Realty. Additional assistance was provided by the Town of Oyster Bay and its Department of Recreation and Parks, Chester Mountain 100 percent Natural Spring Water and Dunkin' Donuts. David Katz of Finish Line Road Race Technicians served as the technical director.
Top local finishers included Robis DeGirmenci of Bethpage (16:54), who was 16th overall and 3rd in the 25-29 age group, Kieran Kelly of Massapequa (2nd in the Men's 50-54 age group), Ray Bernardini of Massapequa Park (19:10), who took top honors in the "Clydesdale" 185-199 pound weight division, Sommer Thorne of Bethpage (20:22), second in the Women's 20-24 age group, Mary Anne Goldman of Farmingdale (21:23), 1st in the Women's 50-54 age group, Geza Feld of Farmingdale (20:57), who took top honors in the Men's 60-64 age group, Laura Gluf of Massapequa (19:12), 3rd in the Women's 30-34 age group, and Rita Tarry of Bethpage, who scored second among the women in the 70-74 group.
"This was the biggest Ho Ho Ho Run and, judging by all the smiling faces, it certainly has to be ranked among the best as well," observed Race Director Ed Kovesdy. "We were really pleased with the enthusiastic welcome that we got once again from the Bethpage community, and are even more pleased to have raised some significant funds through the Run for the Bretton Bowl Fund for the Needy Families of Bethpage and the ASPIRE Program for the rehabilitation of young amputees."