By Michaela Kilgallen and Taylor Ha
Nearly 70 people, ranging from ages 13 to 77, raced in the Heroes Run 5K Road Race in Patchogue on Nov. 5.
The first annual race was certified by United States Track and Field and served as a fundraiser for the North Patchogue Fire Department.
“For the people who do these things it’s a mix,” Dan Doscher, Race Committee chairman, said. “You get your hardcore people. In our case we’re giving away cash prizes, so there are elite runners who are here for money and other people just here for something to do on the weekend.”
The 5K or five kilometre is the most participated race distance in the country, according to Running USA. There were 16,500 5K races in 2015.
“I think it’s very popular considering it’s pretty much the shortest distance race,” Jason Fitzgerald, USATF certified running coach at Strength Running and author, said. “It’s very accessible. It’s accessible for people who just want to walk with a baby stroller and for post-collegiate runners.”
The top finisher at the Heroes Run, 26-year-old Dan Gargaro, crossed the finish line in 15 minutes and 55 seconds. The top female runner, Kristy Longman, finished in 19 minutes and 41 seconds.
The 5K run didn’t intimidate the oldest runner in the race: 77-year-old Rolf Sternglanz, a retired Stony Brook University chemistry professor who typically runs about ten miles per week. This race was his 28th of the year.
“I have nothing else to do,” Sternglanz, who came in 54th place at 35:06.9 minutes, joked.
Sternglanz wanted a shorter finishing time, but Joe Lazzaro, his junior by six years who came in 20th place at 23:38.9 minutes, was satisfied with his timing.
“When you get to be our age, you’re hurting so much, at this rate you can only run like two miles,” Lazzaro said.
The course went through the North Patchogue Fire Department’s district. Participants agreed that the mild weather that morning and flat terrain boded well for the race.
At a moderate distance of 3.1 miles, 5K races draw competitors and recreational runners alike. Self-described “semi-retired runner” Andrew Janosick only finds time to run two days a week —Tuesday and Saturday — but still managed to clinch the third place title.
“I still come out a run a couple miles for fun,” he said. “…I would love to be in the 17’s by the end of year, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen today.”
With a time of 18 minutes and 42 seconds, Janosick wasn’t far behind his target. Other runners had less lofty goals.
“I’m trying to beat my time from last race,” Tracy Trudden, Greenlawn resident and race participant, said, referring to the 50 minute 5K she completed earlier this year.
“This one you have to finish in 45, so that should be interesting,” Elizabeth Harowitz, Trudden’s friend and fellow 5K runner, added.
Harowitz finished the race in 34 minutes and 48 seconds. Trudden came in at 44 minutes and 45 seconds, beating the time she put up at her first race.
Runner’s World, a running and fitness magazine, suggests eight weeks of 9-13 miles per week training for 5K beginners. More advanced runners can take on 16-33 miles per week. Training regimens usually include a mix of short and long distance runs paired with cross training or rest days.
In 2015, 7,643,600 finishers in the United States ran a 5K race, according to Running USA, and the Heroes Run this past weekend contributed a few dozen more to that growing number.