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Brooke Jackman Run for Literacy Was a Grand Gathering of Friends

The Brooke Jackman Run for Literacy is a magnet for Oyster Bay residents. So many people are touched by Brooke’s story, her life, and her parents’ involvement with the community, that it is rewarding to see how everyone comes out to support the event held on May 16. It was the opening event for the 2009 Health Fair sponsored by NYS Senator Carl Marcellino and the Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce.

The race began with a workout by Jeanine Smolensky of Yoga Rocks. She helped the runners loosen up for their run. The announcer Terry Bisogno is a fixture on Long Island and said this year he will announce about 30 Long Island running events, including the TOBAY Triathlon and the Cow Bay 10K, the biggest race of all, that takes place in September. He asked the speed runners to come to the front of the pack.

The weather was wet, Saturday morning, but Mike Polansky of the Greater Long Island Running Club said, “We run in every kind of weather, rain or snow, it doesn’t matter. Only with lightning – we delay the start until it’s clear. In everything else we run.”

Brooke’s aunt Robin Steinberg was watching the runners take off. “I’m Brooke’s aunt and I wouldn’t miss the run. Two years ago I came in first of the walkers. Five days later I broke my foot,” she said. Which explains why she came up from Florida for the race, but was a spectator this year. She is a great supporter of the Brooke Jackman Foundation and their work with children. She said, “When you go and see the work done with all the children in the libraries it is awesome. The parents come up and hug you. One said, instead of her children ‘taking a bullet, my children are reading now.’”

Erin Jackman didn’t run, she was busy organizing the event. The Brooke Jackman Foundation itself keeps her busy with her job as executive director. “It has grown and continues to grow and I so appreciate the people from our hometown and the school friends of Brooke, Ross and myself. They come and volunteer and run,” said Erin.

It’s a wonderful family affair – with the core members of the Jackman family and the friends they each bring along with them; added to their friends in Oyster Bay. It is evident when seeing all the local people who put the run into their yearly calendar to remember and take part in, that the Jackmans and Brooke are still a vital part of the Oyster Bay community.

While Erin was meeting people and seeing that things were going along well at the end of the race, her brother Ross was busy with the cleanup. She said, “The day includes different activities including setting up, during the race and afterwards. It all ends with the award ceremony that takes place on the Town of Oyster Bay Showmobile on Audrey Avenue.” There, Erin and her dad Bob Jackman gave out the medals to participants.

As the race was in progress, announcer Terry Bisogno said there were about 100 people he expected to see cross the finish line. He kept faithful watch and announced each person as they approached the finish line arch. Supporters were waiting for the runners. As the last few came along the crowd cheered them on, strengthening their determination to finish the run.

Sophie Agostinello ran by as Gail Scaramatso reacted to the applause saying, “I’m going to finish if it kills me.” She clocked in at 46:56 to clapping from her friends.

Another clutch of fans called out “Run Sarah, Run!” Sarah Minicozzi waltzed by the finish line as the announcer said, “Everybody is a winner, who finishes.” All in all it was a good race.

Oyster Bay’s Austin Huminski finished 3rd overall and second in the 20-24 age group with a time of 18 minutes, 13 seconds. Peter Yarema (East Northport) was 2nd overall and 1st in the 20-24 age group in 17:19. The overall winner was Michael Petrina of West Babylon, a member of the Greater Long Island Running Club who runs competitively for the Sayville Running Company team. He finished in a course record 16:42.

The first woman overall was Leonora Petrina, not surprisingly also from West Babylon.

The top three female 14 and under finishers were all local:

Girls 14 and under:

1. Bairre Reilly, Locust Valley 25:32

2. Micailah Donner, Bayville 25.32

3. Taylor Bleistein, Bayville 26:25

The last finisher was Marcia Glick of East Norwich, 56:32, second woman to finish in the 65-69 age group. A friend of the Jackmans, she was very active with the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District at the same time the Jackmans were: she with the PTA and he as a member of the board of education.