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Perfect Conditions Abound At 23rd Annual Runner’s Edge-TOBAY Triathlon

With picture perfect weather in beautiful Oyster Bay, the 23rd annual Runner’s Edge - TOBAY Triathlon on Sunday, Aug. 26 was perhaps the most successful ever. The sharp contrast between the beautiful weather this year and the need to cancel the 2011 event because of Hurricane Irene makes one think that Mother Nature “owed us one” and repaid the debt to the Long Island running community in 2012.

Tom Eickelberg of Babylon scored his third consecutive winning performance, crossing the finish line at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in a race record of 54 minutes, 58 seconds; an excellent time for this half mile swim, 15 kilometer bike ride and five kilometer run.

In a very dramatic finish, Michele Henschel of Long Beach held off Karen Pompay of Garden City by twelve seconds to take top honors. Henschel was well ahead after the swim, but Pompay gave her a great battle on the bike and on foot.

Top finishers from the local area included 15-year-old Aaron Lewis of Jericho, who scored in 15th place overall and first in the 19-and-under age group, with a time of 1 hour, 1 minute, 50 seconds.

Other local award winners were Glen Mailings of Syosset (1:04:25, first-place man, 50-54 age group), Alex Bertrand of Syosset (1:09:52, fourth-place man, 19-and-under age group), Maria Smit of Syosset (1:15:32, second-place woman, 35-39 age group), Thomas Durnin of Plainview (1:19:49, first-place man, Clydesdale Open 220 pounds plus), Nancy Breitbarth of Jericho (1:24:28, third- place woman, 55-59 age group), and Amanda Hedgecock of Old Bethpage (1:27:48, fourth-place woman, 19-and-under age group).

Congratulations and thanks go out to event co-directors Jose Lopez and Ray Farrell for another job very well done; to event co-coordinators Mindy Davidson and Linda Ottaviano for making sure that every detail was attended to; to logistics coordinator Fred von der Heydt and his set-up crew, and to medical director Dr. Kenneth Ong. An incredible number of volunteers were on hand to assure the success of the event.

The triathlon was once again conducted by the Greater Long Island Running Club (GLIRC) 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 key business sponsor was the Farmingdale running and multisport specialty store The Runner’s Edge, owned by Bob Cook, himself a longtime runner and triathlete. Other business sponsors included Steve Kristel and his South Edison Restaurant, an exciting new addition to the Montauk dining scene, Babylon Bike (including Mike Montastero and Doug Williamson), answering the cycling and multisport needs of Long Island for over 30 years, and All Round Foods and its generous CEO Glen Wolther for the donation of all the baked goods.

Thanks go out as well to Cascadian Farms, Power Bar and Dole for their generous donations of food products. Race organizers hope everyone enjoyed the post-race beer from Blue Point Brewery and its proprietor friend Peter Cotter.

On hand to lend their support to the athletes were Oyster Bay Town Councilwoman Beth Faughnan, Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker, and New York State Assemblyman Michael Montesano. “President Theodore Roosevelt” (Jim Foote) was also present at the start at the Marina to send each wave of athletes off with a “bully” speech.

More thanks go out to the Atlantic Steamer and Oyster Bay Fire Departments, the Nassau County Police Department, the Oyster Bay Cove Police Department, the Town of Oyster Bay’s Public Safety Department, and event announcer Terry Bisogno.

The main charitable beneficiary of the 2012 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 triathlon, GLIRC was pleased to provide free entries to this year’s triathlon to the LLS “Team in Training” fundraisers, and all the “tips” collected at the beer truck ($600) went to LLS as well. In addition, GLIRC will be making a substantial contribution to an important Oyster Bay community-based charity: the Life Enrichment Center of Oyster Bay. Another portion of the proceeds will go to the Gerald Kaufman Memorial Fund, dedicated to providing assistance to Long Island runners and multisport athletes in times of sudden financial need. This year’s event was once again dedicated to Gerald’s memory. In addition, this year for the first time, GLIRC will be making a substantial contribution Island Harvest and its efforts to feed Long Island’s needy.