The weather was pretty frightful on the morning of December 20, 2008. There was snow, ice and slush on the roads and more snow was coming down as the runners and walkers made their way on the streets of Bethpage. Nevertheless, 642 dauntless athletes made their way to the finish line at the John F. Kennedy Middle School that morning, and filled the community with the kind of Holiday Spirit that only runners and walkers have!
Franklin Diaz of Farmingdale certainly had the Holiday Spirit, as he coasted to his 22nd overall win of the 2008 racing year, with a time of 17:12 that got him to the finish line 54 seconds in front of runner-up Matthew Berger of Bellmore. Bethpage hometown hero Daniel Kant was third, and 49-year-old Chris Daily of South Farmingdale was 4th and scored as the first Masters finisher.
Katie Radzik of Mount Sinai (19:08) pulled gradually away from runner-up Christine Williams of Bay Shore (19:48) to take top honors in the Women's Division. The incredible 57-year-old Kathy Martin of Northport scored as the third woman in 20:25.
Local runners won their fair share of awards and more. Marisa Struhl of Syosset took home the 2nd place award among the women in the 14 and under age group, Alex Bertrand of Syosset scored 2nd in the men's 14 and under age group, Adrian Bullaro of Syosset earned the second place award in the 30-34 age group, Clifford Struhl of Syosset scored 3rd in the 50-54 age group, Constance Sehlmeyer of Woodbury was the first woman in the 60-64 age group to cross the finish line, Odd Sangesland of Plainview took first place honors in the 75-79 age group, and Bert Jablon of Syosset was the number one finisher in the 80-84 age group.
Lots of running Santas, reindeer, elves and a gaggle of Happy Feet Penguins were mixed in among the more serious runners, with the Penguins winning top honors for the best team costume, and a running Batman taking top individual costume honors.
Race Director Ric DiVeglio of the host Greater Long Island Running Club did another outstanding job putting all the pieces together, with the help of Coordinator of Volunteers Mindy Davidson, Logistics Director Bob Sherman, Finish Line Coordinator Fred von der Heydt, Announcer Extraordinaire Terry Bisogno, and several dozen volunteers who braved some pretty nasty conditions to help out.
Thanks go to the title sponsor, the Intellectual Property law firm of Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt, LLP, to Presenting Sponsor Local 338 RWDSU/UFCU, to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Richard Marsh and all the other good people at the Bethpage School District, and to Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto and Oyster Bay Town Councilwoman Rose Walker for their continued support.