Sinead Fitzgibbon may not have won the third annual Katy’s Courage 5K in Sag Harbor on Saturday—but she nailed the true meaning of the race.
“Everybody, of course, has been inspired and influenced by [Katy’s] story,” she said, referring to Katy Stewart, who died at the age of 12 in December 2010 following a battle with hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer.
Fitzgibbon finished 19th overall, first among females, in 19:15 (6:13 mile pace).
“What’s equally amazing is what her family has done to the community to bring them all together through their suffering and their troubles,” she said. “This event brings kids from every school, adults from every walk of life. It’s one of the only things the community as a whole partakes in. It’s really beautiful. It’s true that out of suffering comes beauty sometimes.”
Fitzgibbon, who was also the first female finisher in last year’s race, was one of over 1,000 people who came out to support the Stewart family in this year’s 3.1-mile race honoring Katy’s memory. Katy was a Sag Harbor resident and attended Sag Harbor Elementary School. Her father, Jim Stewart, is a teacher at East Hampton High School, and her mother, Brigid Collins, is the assistant principal at the Montauk School.
Erik Engstrom, a freshman who is on the varsity track team at East Hampton High School, won the race in 16:32 (5:20). He has run in all three years of the race’s existence, so the third time was the charm. Engstrom attended preschool with Katy.
“It’s for a good cause,” he said after the race. “It’s the first time I won it. It feels good.”
Adam Cebulski, Engstrom’s teammate on the track team, finished just behind him in 16:34 (5:21). Rick Trojanowski, 38, of Calverton finished third overall in 16:44 (5:24). Tara Wilson, 26, of Sag Harbor, was second among females behind Fitzgibbon, another Sag Harbor resident. Wilson finished in 19:27 (6:16). Dana Cebulski, who runs on the East Hampton girls varsity track team, finished third overall in 19:47 (6:23). Full race
results can be found at 2013.island-timing.com.
Funds from the race, a total of which was not immediately available, will be split among a number of different venues. The Stewart family awards a $10,000 scholarship to a Pierson High School senior who they think best describes the type of person Katy was, which was good and kind to everyone. “So it doesn’t have to be a student with the best grades,” Brigid Collins explained. “It has to be a good individual overall, has a lot of examples over their time in school of just being respectful and showing empathy towards other people.”
Stewart and Collins then match whatever the East Hampton High School Student Council raises for its Katy Stewart Scholarship Fund and then the rest of the race funds go to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Katy’s Courage Research Fund for pediatric cancer research. The couple’s long- term goal is to build a children’s bereavement center on the East End for families struggling with cancer. Collins is hopeful she can fulfill all of those deeds.
“I think our goal is to increase our scholarships on the East End, but we just got our not-for-profit status, so we’re just going slowly and seeing how things go,” she said. “I think it’ll take quite a bit to open the bereavement center. We’re just getting started and we’re excited to grow and evolve. We’re learning a lot and have high hopes for great things.”