Record Numbers At Thanksgiving Day Run

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Thursday morning started off with 2,975 runners and walkers descending on the Village of Manorhaven for the 41st Annual Port Washington Thanksgiving Day Run. Despite the chill, the streets were packed with thousands of runners, spectators, race personnel and volunteers.

Cool, and without the wind that plagued the area all week, the weather was perfect for a fast run. Runners and walkers of all ages moved across the starting line at the blast of the starter’s gun. Town residents, while inconvenienced for a few hours on Thanksgiving Day morning, put their best foot forward and graciously cheered on their friends and family along the five-mile route. Top male overall finishers were Bobby Asher at 27:07, Aaron Siff-Scherr at 27:24 and Jack Ellwood at 28:09. This year’s second and third place top male finishers are both 17 and hail from Port Washington. Top female overall finishers were all local. Placing first was Joelle Feinberg, 20, of Port Washington at (30:12); second, Theresa McCabe, (30:19), from Manhasset; and third, Maggie Tursi, (31:28), of Manhasset.

Local residents finishing first in their age categories were: Kevin Taylor, 12, (33:20); Kaeleigh Romero, 12, (39:21); Nicholas Scardigno, 15, (30:35); Samantha Derasse, 15, (35:26); Jordan Hurt, 17, (28:18); Maria Kogan, 17, (31:50); Marco Bertolotti, 24, (28:31); Bianca Luparello, 21, (32:10); Daniel Scrafford, 35, (29:35); Karen Melara, 39, (34:44); Jaimee Loewy, 40, (36:10); Stephen Ellwood, 45, (28:34); Kristin Mayer, 49, (38:19); Ann Marie Fitzpatrick, 50, (37:17); Philip Rybecky, 58, (35:34); Ann Schaefer, 63, (48:43); Bob Owens, 66, (38:35); Judy Cutaia, 65, (56:39); Robert Brooks, 72, (45:41); William Palafox, 75, (52:15); Evelyn Monaco, 77, (1:25:52); and Vera Allen, our most senior competitor at 87, (1:24:53). Additionally, many locals finished top three in their age categories. For complete race results, go to www.flrrt.com.

In an inspirational end to the race, with a police escort and residents shouting encouragement, Port Washington native Mary Johnson, 24, who lost her left leg above the knee in an accident in March, completed the race at 2:03:21 with her father, Patrick Johnson, sister Anne and close family friend Walter Hinck right by her side. After the race Mary said, “I won’t let my disability stop me from doing anything I want to do. I grew up in Port and saw the race pass by my house for years.” Mary was a track coach before her accident and hopes to begin running again once she gets a running prosthesis.

The Community Chest and the Town of North Hempstead offer their congratulations and gratitude to Mary and all the participants. This year is the 41st running of the Port Washington Thanksgiving Day Run, which is copresented by The Community Chest of Port Washington and the Town of North Hempstead, with proceeds going to the Community Chest. This event is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Community Chest, a nonprofit charitable organization that changes the lives of nearly 8,000 Port residents through its grants. Help includes a wide range of services to the community, including social and nutritional programs for senior citizens, leadership programs and scholarships for school-age children as well as those who are college-bound, childcare, parenting education, domestic violence and bullying prevention and more.

“We are grateful for the generosity of our sponsors and the participation of the runners. Together they make helping our neighbors possible,” said Julie Meer Harnick, executive director. She also noted that having the assistance of more than 100 volunteers, including Schreiber Key Club members under the direction of Jeanne Rizzo, the Community Chest events coordinator, and the support of the Town of North Hempstead was vital to the logistical success of the event. The Port Washington Police and Fire Medics, the Sands Point and Nassau County Police Departments, Nassau County Department of Public Works, the Parks Department, along with the Villages of Manorhaven, Sands Point, Baxter Estates and Port Washington North were all instrumental to the success of the run.

The Community Chest and the town are grateful to any residents who were inconvenienced on Thanksgiving morning for their patience. For information or questions about the race, contact at 516-767-2121 or info@porchest.org.

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Elizabeth Johnson is editor of Manhasset Press and Port Washington News, special features including the Business Quarterly column, Manhasset Magazine, Pride In Port, Port Washington News, Port Gift Guide and other special sections. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations.
Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted “Best Community newspaper” several years in a row.

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