It looked as if Patricio Castillo was going to win the 42nd annual Shelter Island 10K this past Saturday, leading the final mile or so of the 6.2-mile race, but as he made the turn onto the final stretch of the baseball field, the 29-year-old seemed to be confused about how to get to the finish line.
That’s when Jordan Daniel seized the opportunity.
Surprised he had caught up with Castillo, Daniel said he found an extra burst of energy, surpassed Castillo and went on to win in what was the first live iteration of the Shelter Island 10K since 2019 in 32:09.72, a mile pace of 5:11. The 41st version of the race last year was a virtual-only race.
Daniel, 29, a Westhampton native who graduated from Westhampton Beach High School in 2013, admitted after the race he was dumbfounded when he saw Castillo on the back stretch.
“When I was on that road, he was at least a good football field ahead,” he explained. “Standard race procedure, you just finish as fast as you can, and I kind of just forgot about him a little bit. I thought he was going to take it. And I was also still worried about the guy behind me, even though I don’t look back in my races. I just try and keep it forward.
“He, like, died at the baseball diamond,” Daniel said of Castillo. “I was, like, is this a joke? I kind of got like a burst of energy.”
Castillo, 29, settled for second place, finishing in 32:12.37, while Mitch Ammons, 31, of Colleyville, Texas, finished third in 32:15.49. John Flannery, 25, of New York City placed fourth in 32:29.37 and Guillermo Pineda Morales, 48, of Ridgewood, New York, rounded out the top five, crossing the finish line in 33:47.68.
Allie Kieffer, 33, of West Islip was the female champion, finishing in 34:25.07. Cara Sherman, 24, of Shoreham, was the second female to cross (14th overall) in 37:11.71, followed by Silvia Del Fava, 33, of Brooklyn in 39:18.64 (23rd overall); Jordan Pearson, 26, of Port Jefferson in 42:34.60 (34th overall); and Leah Robbins, 34, of New York City in 42:35.97 (35th overall).
For full results, go to elitefeats.com.
Daniel won the Hamptons Marathon — the first marathon he ever ran — in 2018. At that point, he had just gotten into competitive road races, but since then he’s continued to run competitively. He ran in the New York City Marathon after that and finished 44th overall in 2 hours and 26 minutes, a personal best for him in a marathon.
Daniel said Saturday was the first time he had competed in the Shelter Island race, and it was just his third competitive race in the past two months, as things are slowly beginning to open back up and return from the pandemic. The current graduate school student who is studying to become a psychologist said he plans on running a half marathon in Connecticut this upcoming weekend.
“Just trying to stay fit, healthy, trying to keep a good mindset during the pandemic,” he said.
That was the overall theme for race director Mary Ellen Adipietro, who said this year’s race marked the first large-scale event, not just for Shelter Island but for Long Island, with 980 runners traveling to the East End to compete in what was for many, their first live event in over a year.
Adipietro said when New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo lifted many of the COVID-19 restrictions that were in place on June 15, that helped ease a lot of the preparations. But they were still prepared to have a race had he had not done that.
“It couldn’t have been better,” she said of the race. “Happy to be back to running, happy to be back to seeing our community come together for this event. I feel this gives encouragement to the future, that we can have these events again and we can get back to what we enjoy in life.
“We didn’t have the ‘elite runners,’ there were still some restrictions there, but we all did a lot o work and followed the COVID program for months and months and months,” Adipietro continued. “We have a lot of kids who run in the race and that’s really what it was all about, to see them run and be so happy to be able to do it, so I think in a lot of ways, mentally, socially, it was a good way forward for what we’ve been in.”
Adipietro said that she and race organizers had planned for last year’s race to take place in November, when it was clear that June 2020 wasn’t going to be a viable option. But when numbers spiked last fall, that all but ended that idea.
But with Adipietro being a nurse, and her husband, Dr. Frank Adipietro, a doctor, they closely monitored everything that had to do with the pandemic. She said once the vaccine became available and started to be widely distributed, that’s when they thought they were going to be able to go back to having a live race the third weekend in June, as it has typically been throughout the years.
With baseball and football stadiums going back to full capacity now, Adipietro didn’t see why the 43rd installment of the Shelter Island races wouldn’t be able to do the same. At its height in 2019, the race saw nearly 2,000 people come to Shelter Island to partake in the prestigious race that brings in runners from all over the world.
“We’re all hopeful now. I think everybody is,” Adipietro said. “That’s our plan, to bring it back to full capacity, and it will be okay. This proved you can do it, you can get back to normal.”