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Tobay Triathlon and Junior Triathlon Are Oyster Bay Success Stories

Notwithstanding some very precarious weather forecasts for the weekend of Aug. 29 and 30, Hurricane Danny turned out not to have the impact that everyone feared, and more than 1500 athletes, ranging in age from 8 to 80, participated in the 22nd annual Runner’s Edge-Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon, Tri-Relay and Junior Triathlon, and there were no end of smiling faces at the finish line.

There were some questions about the race route as two local churches complained about the inconvenience for their parishioners on Sunday, as they head for services. Mr. Polansky said, “We have been trying to solve this problem with the two churches on East Main Street for months to no avail. The easiest thing in the world would be for them to move their scheduled time for Sunday services on this one day a year to 10:30 instead of 10 a.m. which would eliminate the problem.

“We will keep trying to work with them to resolve things,” said Mr. Polansky.

In a letter to the community he thanked the community for their support and understanding. He said, “I am well aware that an event of this magnitude has the potential for inconveniencing the local community, no matter how hard we try to minimize any inconvenience. In that spirit, I welcome anyone’s suggestions as to how we can continue to work together to keep the Runner’s Edge-Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon as the world class event that it has certainly become, at the same time as we make the event as friendly as possible for local residents. Please call me at 349-7646 with our constructive critiques and thoughts.”

It was another great race. The top finisher in Sunday’s “main event” was 20-year-old Tom Eickelberg of Leonia, New Jersey, who stormed out of the swim leg tied for first with Michael Di Donato of Massapequa, and drew away in the bike and run legs to cross the finish line at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in 1:00:34, fifteen seconds in front of a hard charging Michael Kokoszka, who ran the fastest run leg in 17:12.

Twenty-six-year-old Michele Henschel of Levittown, who was second in the 2008 edition of the Triathlon, rebounded this year with a 1:05:57 to take first place in the Women’s Division, finishing with a 19:41 run that sped her past runner-up Felicia Wagner of Islip Terrace, with Karen Pompay of Garden City, who ran the fastest women’s time in the run, 19:31, scoring third overall.

Top local performers were Scott Kessler of Cold Spring Harbor, who was the first place Masters finisher in 1:06:44 and Natalie Penny of Bayville, who earned 5th place in the women’s division in 1:08:59.

Other local athletes winning awards in this year’s Triathlon were Bernadette Winubst of Locust Valley (1st Athena 140-159 Weight Division), Steven Quigley of Bayville (1st Clydesdale 220 pound plus weight division), who is obviously fully recovered from the devastating bicycle injury he experienced two years ago, Christopher Monge of Oyster Bay Cove (4th male 30-34 age group), Debra Blum of Bayville (5th female 45-49 age group), Andi Emerson of Oyster Bay (2nd female 50-54 age group), Steve Schloss of Muttontown (1st male 70-74 age group), Arnold Juzefovic of Lattingtown (2nd male 70-74 age group), and William Lockwood of Oyster Bay (1st male 75-79 age group).

The main event on Sunday was preceded by 200 plus youngsters participating in the Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Junior Triathlon in the Park on Saturday. “These youngsters are the future of our sport and our nation, and with childhood obesity and childhood diabetes reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, I find it personally gratifying that we are able to attract so many youngsters to participate,” noted Greater Long Island Running Club President Mike Polansky. “Many, many families were on hand on both Saturday and Sunday, with the kids participating on Saturday while their parents volunteered and mom and dad competing on Sunday. That’s the kind of family togetherness that we are proud to be able to foster.”

The main charitable beneficiary of the 2009 Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon is the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the fight against blood cancers. In addition to making a substantial financial donation to the Long Island Chapter of the Society out of the proceeds of the Tri, race organizers gave free entries to this year’s Triathlon to more than 50 Leukemia Society “Team in Training” fund raisers. Another portion of the proceeds goes to the Gerald Kaufman Memorial Fund, dedicated to providing assistance to Long Island runners and multi-sport athletes in times of sudden financial need. This year’s event was once again dedicated to Gerald’s memory.

The Triathlon was once again conducted under the auspices of the Town of Oyster Bay, with TOBAY Recreation Supervisor Diane Ramos serving as the Town’s Coordinator for the event. The Greater Long Island Running Club, under the direction of Triathlon Co-Directors Jose Lopez and Ray Farrell, provided event management. The key business sponsor was the Farmingdale running and multi-sport specialty store The Runner’s Edge, owned by Bob Cook, himself a longtime runner and triathlete. Other business sponsors included Steve Kristel and Babylon Bike Shop.

On hand to lend their support to the athletes were Oyster Bay Town Councilwomen Rose Marie Walker and Beth Faughnan, and “President Theodore Roosevelt” was at the start at the Marina to send each wave of athletes off with a “bully” speech.

Thanks also go to the Atlantic Steamer and Oyster Bay Fire Departments, the Nassau County Police Department, the Town of Oyster Bay’s Public Safety Department.

“We were awfully worried on Thursday and Friday about whether or not the event could proceed as planned,” stated Triathlon Co-Director

Ray Farrell. “But Mother Nature cooperated, and we had what I honestly believe to have been the best Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon in our 22 year history.”