New York Runners Dominate Shelter Island 10K


Peter Hawkins of Malverne racing in the Shelter Island 10K on Saturday. Gianna Volpe photo.

By Gianna Volpe

For the first time in 36 years, rain fell upon runners Saturday at the Shelter Island 10K, though more than 1,000 crossed the finish line and were led by New York-based runner Eliud Ngetich, 21, who left the pack behind in the second mile to easily win in 28:52.31 (4:39 mile pace).

Diriba Degefa Yigezu, 27, of New York finished second in 29:43.42, while Ayele Megersa Feisa, 27, also of New York finished third in 29:50.11. For the second consecutive year, 2014 Boston Marathon winner and Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi, 40, ran and placed fourth with a time of 29:58.54(4:50 pace), setting a new Masters record in the process.

“I try to be consistent,” Keflezighi said with a smile about placing fourth in the race for the second year in a row.


Eliud Ngetich, 21, won Saturday’s Shelter Island 10K race. Gianna Volpe photo.

Ngetich, the 10K winner who hails from Kenya, said the rainy weather had initially put a damper on his confidence.

“I was hoping to win the race, but when it started raining I wasn’t sure I was going to win it,” he said. “After the one mile, I knew I was going to win. I was running my own race.”

The women’s race was much more competitive with Elfnesh Melaku, 29, a native of Ethiopia and resident of Silver Spring, Maryland, winning in 34:04.45 (5:29 pace). Katie DiCamillo, 27, of Providence, Rhode Island, finished second among women roughly five seconds later with a time of 34:09.83.

Amos Sang of Massachusetts, who remained hot on Ngetich’s heels through the first mile, said after his 31:34.59 finish that he was disappointed to take seventh place.?“I felt good in the first two-and-a-half miles, but my body went numb after that,” the Massachusetts runner said.

Complete results are available at

Though racers and spectators initially huddled beneath tents and umbrellas before the event began, most slowly began meandering about the field near the finish as rain fell harder and harder.

Peter Hawkins of Malverne, 51, one of two entrants who competitively raced in wheelchairs, was found at the finish line telling the story of the tight race he’d won against Southold competitor, William Lehr, despite getting a flat tire.

“I saw my friend Billy go by me and I was like, ‘I gotta catch him,’” said Hawkins, who finished in 36:37.42, about a second ahead of Lehr. “I had a mile-and-a-half to catch him—and I did catch him and won—but only by about half a chair length.”

The two weren’t the only participants to use wheelchairs, however. ?Seven-year-old Isaiah Bird—a Long Island wrestler recently featured on ESPN—was one of 18 representing the Long Beach Gladiators summer wrestling camp on Saturday. Bird was found in the Shelter Island High School gymnasium alongside his team in a wheelchair with a lacrosse stick taped to it so that Coach Miguel Rodriguez, who both mentors and, at times, houses the boy, could help him keep pace during the race.

“Isaiah lives with his parents on the West side of Long Beach, but during the wrestling season and certain school times he stays with us. My father works for the school district—he’s Isaiah’s one-on-one TA—so living with us makes it easier to transport him when his mom is working and his dad is busy doing his thing,” said Coach Rodriguez’s 14-year-old son, Elijah. “We’re all here on a team trip to run the 10K and a lot of us here are motivated for two reasons—for Isaiah, of course—and to help one of the people in the wrestling community who was recently diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer.”

Proceeds from Saturday’s race will benefit the Shelter Island 10K Community Fund, which gives scholarships to Shelter Island High School seniors, as well as other beneficiaries that include the Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch, East End Hospice, Reach Within, and the Lt. Joseph Theinert Foundation.

Over a thousand runners competed in Saturday's Shelter Island 10K.

Over a thousand runners competed in Saturday’s Shelter Island 10K. Gianna Volpe photo.

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