The 2nd Annual Seatuck Owl Prowl is in the books. Despite the weekendâ€™s weather, we had an amazing turnout (433 finishers!) and a great morning. If you havenâ€™t seen them, the full results can be found at Island Timingâ€™s website (http://www.2011.island-timing.com/seatuck.html).
Also, photographer (and Seatuck volunteer!) Craig Low took a ton of amazing photos of the event, including all finishers, costumed participants and many of the Monster-Mashers. Youâ€™d can see (6and purchase) his photos at this site (http://eventpictures.com/app/event/viewPictures;jsessionid=24303c27ad2521d76233?&categoryId=0&eventInstanceId=23230&pageSize=200&curPage=1)
With the race fresh in my memory, hereâ€™s a few other random thoughts on the day:
â€¢ My first impression in the morning, like most everyone elseâ€™s, was that it didnâ€™t feel much like Halloween. With temps in the low-30s and the wind whistling, it felt like we should have been getting ready for a Turkey Trot or New Yearâ€™s Day run! But â€“and this is somewhat hard to believe â€“ after Saturdayâ€™s mess, I was very much pleased with the wake-up weather. It certainly could have been much worse!
â€¢ I shared the start of my day (in the dark, really) with a small cadre of warriors â€“ Mark Boyd (our story returns to him later), Peter Walsh, John Thomas and Tom Moldovan â€“ that fearlessly went into battle against the mess left to us by Saturdayâ€™s weather. There was standing water everywhere. But these guys shoveled gravel, raked mud, moved platforms and did every cold, messy and back-breaking thing they could to ensure the course was ready for our runners and the property was safe and passable for our guests. In the end, there may have been a few muddy shoes, but there were no major problems or complaints. It was a (difficult) job well done.
â€¢ I was very impressed by our parking team, which included Frank Giaquinto, Glen Klimpel, Justine Walsh and â€œTeam Velapoldiâ€ (Mark, Sandy, Zack and Sydney). These guys also did an amazing job with a difficult task: finding parking for 800+ people and getting them safely down to the property â€“ all while keeping the race course clear. I didnâ€™t hear a single complaint from the participants this year. Again, our volunteers made a difficult task look easy.
â€¢ It was great fun to be at the front of the race for the start â€“ thereâ€™s nothing like the pre-race buzz that builds in anticipation of the starterâ€™s horn. It was heightened by a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem by Elizabeth Edwards and Rebecca Goess, by Terry Bisognoâ€™s stirring sentiments about our troops serving overseas, and by The Selects horns piercing the crisp morning air. And it was electrifying to watch over 500 runners surge forward at the sound of the starterâ€™s horn. Our fastest runners took off with such a burst that they briefly overtook our lead car! The whole thing gave me chills.
â€¢ It was an honor to see Bea Huste Peterson at our race today. Bea is the force behind the awesome EJ Autism Foundation and their annual East Islip race (which attracted 1200 runners this year!). She has also been a valuable mentor and coach â€“ giving generously of her experience and expertise in helping to get our race off the ground. And sheâ€™s not just a run organizer, but a runner, too. She was the 3rd female finisher in the Owl Prowl. She seemed pleased; she told me she had been running, but not really training. The difference is somewhat lost on a plodder like me, but I translated it to mean one thing: she can go faster. I donâ€™t doubt it. Maybe for next yearâ€™s Owl Prowl!
â€¢ It was fun to watch our great friend Kay Erwood (one of Seatuckâ€™s longest standing members) hand out the costume awards after the race. Her full enthusiasm, charm and grace was on display as she presided over the ceremony â€“ itâ€™s no wonder sheâ€™s one of Islipâ€™s most beloved residents! And I have to say that she and her co-judge Martha Pinnola did a fine job whittling down an impressive field of contestants. It was no easy task! Thanks to everyone who came out in costume and congratulations to our winners.
â€¢ I mentioned Mark Boyd earlier (he was one of those guys out in the cold, wet and muddy pre-dawn darkness helping to ready the property for the race). Later in the morning â€“ at about 16 minutes after the race start, in fact â€“ I watched him out in front of our gate as his son, Michael (a sophomore at Islip High School), lead all runners down South Bay Avenue towards the finish line. Markâ€™s usually pretty reserved, but he couldnâ€™t help but beam as it became clear that Michael was in the lead. But he quickly shifted gears from proud parent to coach, urging Micheal to stay ahead of Chris Richards, who was right on his heals in second place. Michael didnâ€™t disappoint - he held on to win in 17:59. Chris, from Connetquot High School, finished just a few seconds behind in 18:03. Third place went to John Theissen, who finished in 18:39.
â€¢ A couple of other impressive finishes I noticed:
- Islip Councilman John Edwards â€“ sporting his favorite Giants jersey â€“ won his division (again!) in 21:17.
- Carlie Leogrande, another Islip student, won her age group in the 16-19 division.
- Kate Hanley â€“ one of Seatuckâ€™s star volunteers â€“ not only worked the registration table all morning, but rushed off to join the race and WON HER DIVISION!
- Our race results show Cole Cantin of Oak Beach, who finished 12th overall in 20:08 at being 10 YEARS OLD! Is that right? If so,
- Did everyone see that Forrest Gump was in attendance? He took 3rd place in his division in an impressive 21:44!
- Congratulations to John, Carlie, Kate, Cole, Forrest and everyone who completed the race!
â€¢ The Monster Mash Dash was totally cute, wasnâ€™t it? It may have been a bit chaotic, but you just canâ€™t beat the sight of dozens of costumed kids running theiIMG_5220r hearts out! I was especially proud of my daughter, Jasmine, who was the first finisher in the 6-8 year old division â€“ if you ask me, I thought she looked awesome motoring towards the finish in her pirate costume! Thanks is owed to Regina Jacoby for not only organizing the (not so) mini-event â€¦ but also adding to the fun by dressing up like an owl!!
â€¢ Terry Bisogno was fantastic as always. What can I even say about this guy? He does so much to elevate the quality of our race. We're lucky to have him. Perhaps my mom summed up his impact best: she said it "was so cute" the way he said something about every runner; he got her "interested in just about every finisher." That's Terry!
â€¢ How cool was it to have live music at the finish? I thought it was a nice touch - I hope people liked it. Thanks to The Selects for coming out on a cold morning to play!
â€¢ For any of you who may not know, it takes a HUGE effort to pull off a race like the Owl. I canâ€™t begin to name and thank everyone who was involved. Suffice it to say that we at Seatuck are deeply grateful and indebted to everyone who pitched in to make it possible (you know who you are!). It may sound clichÃ©, but we simply could not manage an event of this size without our incredible team of talented and dedicated volunteers. Thank you to everyone! And just one special note of thanks to Stephanie DerGarabedian and Andrea Wexler â€“ as everyone involved with the race already knows, they did an amazing job!