By Nathan Mayberg
ROCK HILL March 10, 2006 A record 234 runners willed their way through freezing temperatures to cross the finish line of a 13.1-mile race along the rolling hills of Rock Hill on Sunday in the third annual Celebrate Life Half Marathon.
Approximately $10,000 was raised for Citizens Reunited Overcome Cancer (CROC), a local organization from both Sullivan and Orange counties which aids cancer victims and their families financially and emotionally in dealing with the effects of the deadly disease.
For the second year in a row, it was Andy Latincsics of Newton, NJ who crossed the finish line first. He beat the rest of the field by about three minutes, completing the race in a time of 1 hour, 15 minutes and 10 seconds.
Latincsics, who finished second in the inaugural event in 2004, faced early pressure from 15-year-old Brendon Devine of Bethel. Devine ran with the eventual winner for about 2 and 1/2 miles, but couldnt keep up with the steep hills and the quick feet of Latincsics.
After that, it was smooth sailing for the two-time champion, who raced alone on the lead the rest of the way.
He said he preferred to have company during the race to keep him focused. He credited the stiff competition of Michael Slinskey, who he chased two years ago, with helping him run two minutes faster that time.
Despite the seemingly unbearable cold, Latincsics said it did not phase him. In fact, about three minutes into the race, he felt warm enough to take off his gloves for a short period.
He called the course challenging.
But [its] not super tough
I like the course, Latincsics said.
He credited Sullivan County for having a lot of races despite its relatively low year-round population.
Last year, Latincsics also captured the Monticello Rotary Club Monster 10K and the Roosa Gap Runs.
The top female runner was Jean Norton of Wurtsboro, who ran a quick time of 1:27:38 and placed eighth overall.
CROC officials noted that they were delighted to raise so much money for their organization. Carrie Lindsay, a three-time survivor, credited race organizers and founders Miriam Loor and Kathleen Rifkin for having the vision to put together the event. She said the stress that survivors of cancer and their families can be beyond ones imagination, especially the financial upheaval. The group assisted about two dozen families last year.
CROC is always seeking volunteers to help as well as cancer-stricken people and their families to assist. Interested parties may call the groups hotline at 291-8578.
The top female and male cancer survivors who ran in Sundays race received the largest trophies. They were Lillian Kroner (top overall and female survivor) and Lorne MacDonald, respectively. Kroner, who ran in a swift time of 1:29:38, which was also good enough for her to place 16th overall, was also the top overall survivor.
MacDonald, 60, finished in 1:46:35.
The top 15 overall finishers were as follows: 1. Andy Latincsics, Newton, NJ, 1:15:10; 2. Jordan Varano, Endwell, 1:18:02; 3. Peter Heimgartner, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1:20:42; 4. Scott Dickover, Middletown, 1:21:46; 5. Brendon Devine, Bethel, 1:22:39; 6. Jim Phelan, Montgomery, 1:25:27; 7. Jure Himerarajh, West Point, 1:26:28; 8. Jean Norton, Wurtsboro, 1:27:38; 9. Mike Kresge, Rock Hill, 1:28:32; 10. Steven Keller, Youngsville, 1:28:37; 11. Michael Bassett, Rock Hill, 1:28:55; 12. Frank Colella, Campbell Hall, 1:29:03; 13. Theodore Bertot, Auburn, 1:29:15; 14. Michael Bakker, Garrison, NJ, 1:29:19; 15. Andy McKean, Bethel, 1:29:34.
Note: Please see more race results in a future issue.