Being a mild-mannered library director doesn’t scream “100-mile race champion”—but that’s exactly what Dennis Fabiszak is.
Back on December 17, running in his fifth 100-mile race, Fabiszak, the director of the East Hampton Library for the past 10 years, not only completed 100 miles for the first time but won the Ancient Oaks 100 at the Enchanted Forest Nature Sanctuary in Titusville, Florida.
The 46-year-old North Sea resident said his first goal was simply to finish the race, and his second goal was to finish in under 24 hours. “About halfway through,” he said, “I realized I had a good chance at finishing in the top three—but I was still just trying to focus on finishing in under 24 hours.”
He finished 29 loops of the 3.5-mile course—the race began at 7 a.m.—in a grueling 22 hours and 46 minutes. That was nearly 20 minutes ahead of the second-place finisher, Michael Peragine of Port St. Lucie, Florida.
“It was wonderful,” he said of the race. “It’s a lot more of a mental race than a physical race. I think my training got me through mile 50. Through 80 miles, it really became mental. Less than 20 miles to go, I didn’t know I was winning the race—you kind of lose track of where people are in a loop race.”
Fabiszak is no stranger to running long courses: He started running ultramarathons—races of over 26 miles—about 10 years ago, then made the jump to 50K races, which top 31 miles.
He credited his win in the Ancient Oaks 100 to being in better shape by changing his diet and training with his girlfriend, Heather Caputo of East Hampton, who also runs distance races and triathlons. Fabiszak and Caputo put in 20-to-30-mile runs on the Paumonok Path, which runs behind Fabiszak’s home in North Sea, all the way to the Montauk Lighthouse. Fabiszak also used the Hamptons Marathon in October as a training run for the Ancient Oaks 100.
Staying well fed and well hydrated was key to Fabiszak’s success: He took in a total of 12,000 calories and seven gallons of liquid throughout the race to keep his energy up, getting help from his brother, Marc Drautz. Fabiszak said he ate lot of Kellogg’s breakfast bars and, interestingly enough, dill pickles. His favorite pre-race meal? Peanut butter Pop-Tarts.
To keep in shape throughout the year, Fabiszak runs with a pair of friends, RoseMary Lange and Rich Sandstrom, both of Hampton Bays. The trio usually run together on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, bright and early at 6 a.m.
Lange said she was not surprised that Fabiszak finished the race and was happy that her friend was able to win it. “He’s such a mild-mannered guy,” she said. “He’s fun to run with. He was ready, though—he was prepared.”
Fabiszak said he is unsure what’s next for him. He wants to continue running long distances but possibly add mountain running to the mix—possibly the “Rim To Rim” Grand Canyon Race, where runners can go up to 50K from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the South Rim.
But after being home for just a few days following the race, Fabiszak is taking it easy for now. He’s certainly earned it.