The 16th edition of Ellen’s Run—an annual event that mixes good competition, good will and good times—had plenty of each on Sunday, as more than 700 runners and walkers crossed the finish line on a smoldering morning in Southampton and celebrated another collective effort in fighting breast cancer.
New York City’s Nick Ellenoff won the race, proceeds of which benefit the Ellen Hermanson Foundation, which provides breast cancer education, support and research. Preregistration alone had raised $28,000, but through sponsorships, donations, the annual cocktail party and auction, and other fundraising activities, race organizer Julie Ratner expects it will hover near, if not surpass, the average annual total of $200,000.
“It’s extraordinarily exciting to be here today, to see all the people come and to feel the great energy,” said Ratner. “Everyone’s fabulous, but there’s something special about the breast cancer survivors—their incredible energy, the joy, the strength and the courage.”
After 13 successful years in East Hampton, Ellen’s Run was moved to Southampton in 2009 to coincide with the opening of the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Southampton Hospital. Both the race and center are named after Ratner’s sister, who
was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 1989. A journalist, Hermanson sought to educate the public about the disease, the challenges its victims face, and resources that they and survivors could use. She lost her battle with cancer in April 1995 at the age of 42.
Ellenoff shot out from the starting line and never trailed. He had a 100-yard lead at the 1-mile marker and coasted from there. The rising senior at the Trinity School in Manhattan posted a slower time than his winning time in the Strides For Life 5K the previous weekend, but the conditions were much steamier on Sunday.
In the Strides For Life 5K, he said, “the tactics were to go out strong and hold on as much as I can. Today, since I had a higher-mileage week, I wanted to go out strong and then decide from there if I wanted to take it back a bit.”
Ellenoff indicated he averaged 10 miles of training a day in preparation for Ellen’s Run. In winning, the 17-year-old was able to avenge a second-place finish at the event last summer, although John Honerkamp, the 2010 victor, did not participate this year.
Two more New Yorkers, Brendan Hannon (17:46) and Chris Nolan (17:48), finished second and third, respectively. After Ben Wallace of Waterbury, Connecticut, crossed at the 18:12 mark, Southampton grad Nick Collazos, who will attend New York University in a few weeks, was the first East End resident to complete the 3.1-mile race, doing so in 18:20.
Jessica Van Binsbergen, an East Hampton native, was the top female finisher, despite not having raced in more than a year. Van Binsbergen finished in 19:35 to take 13th overall. A star at East Hampton High School and a regular on the East End running circuit for years, Van Binsbergen now resides in Hoboken, New Jersey, where she’s in her first year as a veterinarian.
“I wasn’t able to train as much as I used to,” Van Binsbergen said. “I ran with how I felt, but I think I came out too fast.”
The next two female finishers were Mariela Quintana of Brooklyn (20:09) and Boston’s Emily Sieger (21:01).
Complete race results can be viewed at www.coolrunning.com. Ratner believes that the official head count is closer to 1,000, rather than the 778 finishers the results show.
In conjunction with Tiffany and Company, a longtime sponsor of the event, Ellen’s Run honors the first breast cancer survivor to finish the race. This year, Amagansett’s Karen McGlade was the first across, and she was awarded a Tiffany’s necklace. In addressing the crowd, McGlade, who was diagnosed in 2003, fought back tears in stressing the importance of early detection.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” McGlade said of competing in Ellen’s Run. “I tear up because I’m so excited to be alive, but I’m also sad to see other people still suffering.”
An important addition to the 16th annual race was awarding a prize to the top male survivor. According to Ratner, approximately 140,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, but 2,000 men are diagnosed as well. In talking to Ratner, Kristina Klug, the manager of Tiffany’s East Hampton branch, insisted that a necklace be given to the top male survivor as well. It went to Jimmy Perrecca of Staten Island, who promptly told the crowd he was going to give it to his wife, who discovered the lump on his chest. He finished the race in 23:25.