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Local Athletes Score in Run

Notwithstanding some very precarious weather forecasts for the weekend of August 29th and 30th, Hurricane Danny turned out not to have the impact that everyone feared, and more than 1500 athletes, ranging in age from 8 to 80, participated in the 22nd annual Runner’s Edge-Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon, Tri-Relay and Junior Triathlon, and there were no end of smiling faces at the finish line.

The top finisher in Sunday’s “main event” was 20-year-old Tom Eickelberg of Leonia, New Jersey, who stormed out of the swim leg tied for first with Michael DiDonato of Massapequa, and drew away in the bike and run legs to cross the finish line at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in 1:00:34, fifteen seconds in front of a hard charging Michael Kokoszka, who ran the fastest run leg in 17:12.

26-year-old Michele Henschel of Levittown, who was second in the 2008 edition of the Triathlon, rebounded this year with a 1:05:57 to take first place in the Women’s Division, finishing with a 19:41 run that sped her past runner-up Felicia Wagner of Islip Terrace, with Karen Pompay of Garden City, who ran the fastest women’s time in the run, 19:31, scoring third overall.

Top local performers were Jonathan Sobel of Woodbury, 3rd place finisher in the 35-39 age group in 1:07:05, 22 year old Matthew Descovich of Plainview, who earned second place honors in the 20-24 Age Group in 1:08:46, Nicole Skidmore of Syosset, who scored first in the women’s 30-34 age group in 1:17:40, and 80-year-old Odd Sangesland of Plainview, who was the oldest finisher in the race and first in the 80 and over age group in 2:01:43.

The main event on Sunday was preceded by 200 plus youngsters participating in the Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Junior Triathlon in the Park on Saturday. “These youngsters are the future of our sport and our nation, and with childhood obesity and childhood diabetes reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, I find it personally gratifying that we are able to attract so many youngsters to participate,” noted Greater Long Island Island Running Club President Mike Polansky. “Many, many families were on hand on both Saturday and Sunday, with the kids participating on Saturday while their parents volunteered and mom and dad competing on Sunday. That’s the kind of family togetherness that we are proud to be able to foster.”

The main charitable beneficiary of the 2009 Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon is the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the fight against blood cancers. In addition to making a substantial financial donation to the Long island Chapter of the Society out of the proceeds of the Tri, race organizers gave free entries to this year’s Triathlon to more than fifty Leukemia Society “Team in Training” fund raisers. Another portion of the proceeds goes to the Gerald Kaufman Memorial Fund, dedicated to providing assistance to Long Island runners and multisport athletes in times of sudden financial need. This year’s event was once again dedicated to Gerald’s memory.

The Triathlon was once again conducted under the auspices of the Town of Oyster Bay, with TOBAY Recreation Supervisor Diane Ramos serving as the Town’s Coordinator for the event. The Greater Long Island Running Club, under the direction of Triathlon Co-Directors Jose Lopez and Ray Farrell, provided event management. The key business sponsor was the Farmingdale running and multisport specialty store The Runner’s Edge, owned by Bob Cook, himself a long time runner and triathlete. Other business sponsors included Steve Kristel and Babylon Bike Shop.

On hand to lend their support to the athletes were Oyster Bay Town Councilwomen Rose Marie Walker and Beth Faughnan, and “President Theodore Roosevelt” was at the start at the Marina to send each wave of athletes off with a “bully” speech.

Thanks also go to the Atlantic Steamer and Oyster Bay Fire Departments, the Nassau County Police Department, the Town of Oyster Bay’s Public Safety Department.

“We were awfully worried on Thursday and Friday about whether or not the event could proceed as planned,” stated Triathlon Co-Director

Ray Farrell. “But Mother Nature cooperated, and we had what I honestly believe to have been the best Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon in our 22 year history.”