There have been countless organizations that over the last four decades have benefited from the Shelter Island 10K, which will be held on Saturday, June 16, for the 39thconsecutive year.
The Special Olympics, Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch and East End Hospice have been some of the bigger names, but many others have benefited under the umbrella of the Shelter Island 10K Community Fund, including the Shelter Island High School cross country team, which has grown to be one of the best small school teams in New York State.
“The day of the Shelter Island 10K is one of my favorite days on the island,” said Lindsey Gallagher, a senior and soon-to-be graduate who led the girls cross country team for the last several years. “I started out as a spectator of the race and then as I became a runner myself, I began to run the race. I attended running camp for three consecutive summers and each time the 10K community fund helped to cover the cost.”
What has always made the race such a unique event is its commitment to the tiny community of Shelter Island combined with its reputation as a top notch course favored by elite runners from across the region. It has also attracted world-class talent over the years, including past Olympic champions. All that combined has helped the school’s cross country runners reach elite status themselves.
“This is always a great experience because we are able to connect with people who appreciate the sport in the same way that we do,” Gallagher said. “We are also exposed to a plethora of information about the sport including training methods, race strategies, sport history, stretching and strength plans, and team building exercises. All of these things we are able to bring back to Shelter Island and share with our teammates to help improve our team as we work toward our goals.”
Mary Ellen Adipietro, the Shelter Island 10K race director, said the event since the beginning has always been about a larger community of runners.
“We’re all about the history and the love of running,” she said. “The more we were evolving the more we started to add what other races do. Charities helping charities and offering discounts to groups to help them raise money for their charity.”
Early organizers also noticed that the sport of running had begun to wane in the local youth community, so when coaches Toby Green and Brian Gallagher decided to start a running program, the group behind the Shelter Island 10K jumped in to help.
“We started thinking we needed to do something for these kids,” Adipietro said. “ The Shelter Island run has been sending kids to Nike and New Balance camps in New England. They meet other runners who are just as excited and determined as they are. We help a lot of the kids on the island and it really helps add some things to their lives.”
Francesca Frasco, another girls cross country runner who will graduate this month, said the 10K has meant a tremendous amount to her career and overall upbringing on Shelter Island.
“The Shelter Island 10K committee has been there for our island and our runners time after time,” she said. “The work that they put in to their annual race never goes unnoticed. I know for my running friends and me, that day is always like a holiday to us. A million thanks go out to each and every member on the Shelter Island 10K committee for making Shelter Island running better with every step.”
Adipietro said there had already been more than 1,300 pre-registrations for Saturday’s event, and with near perfect conditions in the forecast, that number is sure to balloon much higher. The one constant, of course, will be the support the race provides not just to its primary beneficiaries, but to Shelter Island itself.
The 39thannual Shelter Island 10K/5K Run/Walk will be held on Saturday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m. Visit shelterislandrun.com for information on how to register.