By Rob Potter
SMALLWOOD The top male and female finishers at Sunday’s eighth annual Fighting Fires 5K Run/Walk in Smallwood had a couple of things in common.
First, both are residents of Cochecton. Second, both are graduates of Sullivan West Central School in Lake Huntington.
Colin Seidl, who graduated from SW on June 27, was the first male to finish the 3.1-mile event. He was also the first overall finisher with a time of 17 minutes, 44 seconds.
April Ackermann, who graduated from SW in 2006, was the first female to cross the finish line. She placed seventh overall in a time of 19:40.
Seidl, who has finished second and fourth in previous Fighting Fires 5K races, said he started off at a slower pace for the first mile because this was his first run after taking a two-week break following the conclusion of the high school track and field season. He then picked up his pace during the second and third miles.
“This is a good course,” Seidl said. “It’s a very scenic course. When you are running around the lake, it’s beautiful.”
Ackermann, who finished second among the female runners at the 2004 Fighting Fires 5K, also enjoys running the course.
“I love this course,” she said. “It has some nice, rolling hills.
“It was a good race,” added Ackermann, who wasn’t completely sure she was going to run in the race until she arrived in Smallwood.
The 21-year-old opted to run and was joined by two family members, her mother Donna Ackermann and her uncle George Ackermann.
A total of 152 runners and walkers competed in the race, which wound its way through the hamlet of Smallwood and around Smallwood Lake. The race started and finished near the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department (SMVFD).
The SMVFD has held the event every Fourth of July weekend since 2002 in conjunction with its annual Open House event.
This year’s Fighting Fires 5K honored the memory of 19-year-old Domenico Coluccio, 18-year-old Anthony J. DuPont and 20-year-old Carlo Milito. Last October, all three Brooklyn men drowned in Smallwood Lake when their fishing boat capsized.
Several members of each man’s family made the trip from Brooklyn to Smallwood on Sunday morning. They walked from the firehouse to the lake to remember their loved ones.
Before the postrace awards ceremony began, a moment of silence was held to honor Coluccio, DuPont and Milito.
“A close relationship has formed between the fire department and the three families,” Race Director and SMVFD member Matt Burns said.
Because of that bond, Burns noted that a portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the families to help create a permanent memorial to Coluccio, DuPont and Milito at the lake. The rest of the race proceeds will be used to construct a new SMVFD firehouse, a project which is already underway.
“We had a good race,” Burns said. “The weather was perfect today.”
He noted that many people helped make the race a success, especially Tammy Ierardi, who has helped Burns coordinate the race every year since its inception in 2002 and Lisa Wood, who helped with the fundraising and encouraging local businesses to sign up as race sponsors.
As he helped Burns hand out the awards to the top finishers, Town of Bethel Supervisor Dan Sturm thanked everyone for participating in the event.
“This race gets better and better every year,” Sturm said.
In all probability, Olivia Lincoln was the runner who traveled the farthest to compete in the race. Lincoln lives in New Orleans, La. and was in Sullivan County to visit her cousin, Brendan Ference of Smallwood.
Lincoln liked running in the race except for the rolling hills.
“I am used to flat courses,” she said.
Evelyn Levy of Suffern finished first in the female walker category with a time of 41:27. Bob Barrett of Smallwood won the male walker category with a time of 38:21.
Complete race results can be found online at fastfinishes.net.
The age group winners were as follows:
12 and Under Female
1. Camryn Johnson, Rock Hill, 25:25; 2. Sydney Johnson, Rock Hill, 25:28; 3. Heaven Porter, Cochecton, 25:37
12 and Under Male
1. James Barden, Smallwood, 25:21; 2. Joseph Boroda, Massapequa, 27:25; 3. Joseph Buckshaw, Briarwood, 27:30
1. Emily Martin, Mongaup Valley, 21:57; 2. Elizabeth Schlichting, Valparaiso, 24:42; 3. Tessa Bertamini, Ridgefield, N.J., 25:57
1. Michael Schmidt, Wallkill, 18:14; 2. Jeremy Kinney, Hurleyville, 19:27; 3. Brendan Ferance, Smallwood, 20:54
1. Amanda Ward, Youngsville, 24:26; 2. Jennifer Albion, Lakeville, Pa.; 3. Olivia Lincoln, New Orleans, La., 31:20
1. Omar Fattaz, South Hampton, 19:18; 2. Konstantin Boroda, Massapequa, 19:35; 3. Garrett Levy, Pomona, 21:42
1. Patricia Fassetta, Hurleyville, 21:32; 2. Tricia Brown, Brooklyn, 28:39; 3. Tammy Pilny, Jeffersonville, 28:43
1. Tom Stratton, Liberty, 18:18; 2. John Devoe, Glen Spey, 22:20; 3. Stephen Milone, Staten Island, 26:40
1. Myriam Loor, Thompsonville, 25:08; 2. Kim Klemen, Monticello, 25:35; 3. Donna Ackermann, Cochecton, 25:45
1. Marco Pabon, Thompsonville, 20:26; 2. Edwin Diaz, New Hampton, 22:01; 3. Kevin Rumsey, Stem, 22;10
1. Mary Carol Rossignol, Mahwah, N.J., 26:18; 2. Judy Lohmeyer, Albany, 27:47; 3. Susan Brown Otto, Jeffersonville, 29:56
1. Tom Manza, Monticello, 19:51; 2. George Ackermann, Kenoza Lake, 21:45; 3. Bill Carmack, Cochecton, 22:40
1. Judy Pilny, Jeffersonville, 34:51; 2. Victoria Greffrath, Damascus, Pa., 38:17; 3. Alice Sigel, New York City, 42:43
1. George Glantzis, Fresh Meadows, 27:13; 2. Kenneth Hagelmann, Newburgh, 27:32; 3. John Pilny, Jeffersonville, 27:53
1. Mary Heinle, White Sulphur Springs, 35:51; 2. Jean Goldman, Chatham, 50:50.