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Local Runners Score At 5th Annual Blazing Trails 4 Autism 4 Mile Run

The 5th Annual Grillo & Associates Blazing Trails 4 Autism 4 Mile Run was almost a brand new race: it was a new community (North Bellmore/North Merrick) with a new school, the Nassau BOCES Children’s Readiness Center, and a new flat course through some very nice local streets.

What didn’t change were the high quality hoodies given out for every entrant and volunteer, an array of past-race refreshments, quick and accurate results courtesy of JMS Racing Services, and a generous raffle highlighted by a Beach Bike courtesy of South Shore Bicycle and Fitness.

Six hundred ninety-five finishers were led to the finish line by a couple of folks who are no strangers to overall wins: Franklin Diaz and Heather Williams. Diaz was 28 seconds in front of runner-up Travis Wooten, and Williams was over a minute in front of runner-up Karen Pompay, who earned top honors among the women’s Masters. Wil Widman Jr. won the top Masters award with a PR of 22:22 and a third-place overall finish.

Local runners won more than their fair share of awards at Blazing Trails.  The big local contingent was led by Steve Weiss of Plainview, who earned the second-place award in the men’s 35-39 age group with a time of 27:12, and Shari Klarfeld of Plainview, who led the women in the 30-34 age group with a time of 27:16. Klarfeld, currently in her seventh month of pregnancy, is still running under-7-minute miles.

Other local runners coming home from the Blazing Trails 4 Autism 4 Mile Run were Colleen Carroll of Plainview (second Athena 160-pound-plus weight division), Kimberly Ridini of Syosset (first woman, 20-24 age group), Kim Solomine of Syosset (first woman, 55-59 age group), Barry Jerson of Plainview (first man, 60-64 age group), and 85-year-old Bert Jablon (first, 85-and-over age group).

The entire net proceeds of the run were once again dedicated to the Eden II and Genesis Foundation, which supports children and adults with autism through specialized programs designed to help them achieve the highest possible quality of living throughout their lives. Joanne D’Esposito of Eden II Genesis served as the new run chairperson, and race management was provided by the Greater Long Island Running Club.

Race organizers were thrilled to welcome the Richard Grillo Agency of Nationwide Insurance back again as the title sponsor of the event once again, and to welcome such other major sponsors as South Shore Bicycle & Fitness, Petro, Anton Media Group, Panera Bread, Tekniverse, Different Roads to Learning, Pamela’s Products, Forest Laboratories, All Round Foods, Waldbaum’s, New York Community Bank Foundation, Ridgewood Bank, Whole Foods, and Knockout Pest Control.