WELCOME GUEST  |  LOG IN
Saunders, Real Estate, Hamptons
27east.com

Sports Center

Jul 7, 2014 9:35 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Late Start Doesn't Stop Stony Brook Runner From Winning Firecracker 8K

Jul 8, 2014 10:24 AM

Nick Lemon might not have started the race at the same time as the rest of the 307 runners in the 24th annual Southampton Rotary Firecracker 8K on Sunday morning, but he ended up finishing well ahead of them.

“I was taking a quick bathroom break before the race, and when I came out, they said, ‘The race already started.’ I panicked and bolted off—went a little hard to catch up,” Lemon said.

Lemon, 22, a recent graduate of Stony Brook University’s track team and a resident of Middletown, Connecticut, won the holiday weekend 8K by 20 seconds despite being in the restroom when the race actually began. The Gubbins team racer finished in 27:10.2, a mile pace of 5:29.

“The adrenaline of missing the start, I guess, really helped out with the first two miles or so,” said Lemon. “Once I got closer to the leaders, I said to myself, ‘I have these two guys in front of me.’ So I just focused in on them, kept my eyes up and focused in on running them down.”

Lemon graduated in May from Stony Brook and has since moved to Sag Harbor to work at Gubbins Running Ahead in Southampton and run for the team as well. He admitted that he wasn’t used to getting up at 6 a.m. to get ready for a run, saying he usually runs before work after waking at about 8 a.m. He also noted that he hasn’t done any peak training but has been exploring the different running trails on the East End.

This is the first year that the Firecracker 8K has started at 8 a.m. Start times in the past were either 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m., but race director Kevin Luss said the earlier start time really worked out well and is something organizers will continue to implement going forward.

“Bumping it to 8 a.m. not only makes the conditions a bit cooler, but it also gets the runners home faster. It also helps to get the village back to normal earlier on,” said Luss.

From the start, a three-man pack emerged as the probable winners of the race. Aaron Mendelsohn, 40, of New York led for the first mile and a half, with Luis Ramirez, 23, of Southampton and Gregory Hayward, last year’s winner, trailing him closely. Eventually around the bend near Cryder Beach, Ramirez took the lead, as Mendelsohn dropped back a bit. Hayward dropped back considerably, and Lemon came into the picture.

By the third mile, Ramirez and Lemon were neck and neck, before Lemon started to push the pace. The lead grew and grew for the 22-year-old before it became quite clear that he was going to win the race heading down First Neck Lane.

Ramirez finished second overall, with a time of 27:30.6 (5:33), Mendelsohn finished third at 27:42.9 (5:35), and Hayward, 32, of Glen Cove, finished in fourth place with a time of 28:06.4 and a pace of 5:40.

Tara Farrell, 35, of East Quogue notched the best female finish for the third straight year with a time of 31:17.8.

Full results can be found at www.2014.island-timing.com.

“I tend to go out too fast, so I started a few rows back to stay controlled, and then in the middle I tried to keep the steady pace I was at,” said Farrell. “It wasn’t my best time, but at least I felt good.”

Unlike past years, when the conditions were hot and humid, this year’s race featured a cooler day, and many of the racers said the conditions were much more favorable for running. “It was perfect out today,” Farrell said afterward. “Usually this race is so hot and humid, and we were so lucky that it was so nice, dry and cool.”

This year, the event saw the number of participants drop for the third straight time since 2011, which saw a record of 530 racers compete. Event organizers did add a three-mile walk course to the event, which brought in an additional 48 participants, although it wasn’t timed.

The race benefits the Southampton Rotary Scholarship Fund. Fundraising tallies were not yet made available, but Luss, the race director, acknowledged that the numbers were down this year. “We were thinking maybe it had something to do with the storm, that it might’ve kept people from coming out here,” he said. “Either way, from my standpoint, the race went pretty smoothly.”

Sponsors included The Press News Group and 27east.com; Storms Motors; architect John David Rose; Bridgehampton National Bank; Dermot Dolan, State Farm Agency; Despatch of Southampton; Emil Norsic & Sons Inc.; Gubbins Running Ahead; Hamptons Employment Agency; Roy Wines; Bellringer Security; Herrick Hardware; The Luss Group; Kalbacher’s Auto & Marine Service; Karen A. Langone DPM; Markowitz, Fenelon & Bank LLP; Tim Blenk Tree Service; Maryanne Robinson, Douglas Elliman; PBA Southampton; Riverhead Building Supply; Sabel & Oplinger CPAs, LLP; Southampton Publick House; and Suffolk County National Bank.

This was the most poorly organized race I have ever attended. The website had two starts times, an hour apart, registration was a mess: if you registered two people and paid, it only recorded one, and the clock was stopped before all the runners finished. I imagine attendance will be way down next year: I heard nothing but negative cdomments from participants.
By Callie (30), Sag Harbor on Jul 7, 14 2:14 PM
The Hampton Classic, Horse Show, Bridgehampton