By Rob Potter
ROCK HILL March 9, 2007 Despite very cold air, a biting wind and even a few snow flurries, almost 300 athletes made their way to Rock Hill on Sunday morning to participate in the fourth annual Celebrate Life Half Marathon.
A total of 294 people registered for the event. The majority of them ran the 13.1-mile course which wound in and around the hamlet of Rock Hill, while about 15 people walked the course.
Whether they walked or ran or served as one of the volunteers for the race, everyone involved was doing so to support a very good cause. In early 2004, good friends and avid runners Myriam Loor and Kathleen Rifkin decided to start a race to raise money for cancer patients. The event was very personal for Loor, who had recently finished chemotherapy treatments for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
After deciding to call the event the “Celebrate Life Half Marathon,” Loor and Rifkin contacted local businesses for sponsorships. They also contacted Citizens Reunited to Overcome Cancer (CROC), an organization which raises money to treat and eliminate cancer.
The inaugural event in 2004 raised about $5,600 and last March’s half marathon brought in between $10,000 and $11,000.
On Monday, Rifkin, who shares the title of co-organizer with Loor, said that preliminary figures indicated that the 2007 Celebrate Life Half Marathon had raised approximately $12,000.
That money will be used to help local cancer patients pay for treatments and/or their everyday living expenses. Last year, 17 patients benefited from the money raised by the event.
Money can still be donated to the cause. Anyone who wants to make a donation should make their check payable to “Celebrate Life” and mail it to Celebrate Life, 27 Brewster Drive, Middletown, NY 10940.
At the postrace awards ceremony, Dr. Thomas Eanelli, an oncologist who practices in Orange and Sullivan counties, praised the participants, volunteers and organizers of the event.
He spoke of two people close to his heart who have battled cancer, Ishiuan Hargrove and Stephen “Stevie” Taylor. Eanelli wore printed photos of Hargrove and Taylor on the back of his T-shirt while he competed in the half marathon.
Hargrove, who worked as a physicist in Eanelli’s office many years ago, is a cancer survivor, while Taylor passed away due to cancer and other ailments just last month.
“Ishiuan has such an enduring spirit and Stevie kept going even when it was so tough,” Eanelli said. “They both have displayed such a great spirit.”
In her postrace remarks, Loor thanked all of the runners, volunteers and sponsors for making the race such a success. She noted that runners came from all over the tri-state area to participate. In addition, a couple from England who were visiting the United States heard about the race and decided to compete. And one woman traveled from her home in Georgia specifically to run in the race.
Loor also noted that many of the runners raise money for the cause each year. She praised 14-year-old Sarah Phelon of Montgomery, who raised $465.01 in the months leading up to Saturday’s race.
“We also say thank you to everyone at the Rock Hill Country Grill,” Loor said. “They closed their doors today so we could have the race here.
“And we thank our volunteers for all of their help,” Loor continued. “We couldn’t do this without you.”
As far as the race itself, Andy Latincsics of Newton, NJ was the winner. He completed the 13.1-mile course, which features rolling hills, in a time of 1 hour, 18 minutes, 15 seconds.
The first woman to cross the finish line was Jean Norton of Wurtsboro. Her winning time was 1:28.51.
Both winners said that the weather was definitely a factor in the race.
“With the wind blowing, it was really quite cold out there,” Latincsics said.
“It was cold and windy,” Norton said. “I ran with my good friend Jim Clancy. For a while he would run ahead of me and block the wind, then I would take the lead and block the wind for him.”
Latincsics said he “felt OK” considering the harsh weather and the fact that he is just getting over a cold.
“I’ll take it,” he said of the victory. “I’m not too pleased with my time, but I’m happy to get the win.”
Norton, who is competing in several endurance events like the Celebrate Life Half Marathon as part of her training to attempt to qualify for the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii, thought her time could have been better. However, like Latincsics, she is pleased with a first-place finish.
“I like tough runs like this,” Norton said. “This a great race. I always try to run in this event, because it is for such a great cause.”
Runners from Sullivan County and Wayne County, Pa. who finished the race included: 18. Tom Manza, Monticello, 1:28.58; 21. Andy McKean, Bethel, 1:29.38; 33. Michael Bassett, Rock Hill, 1:33.02; 66. Scott Coddington, Wurtsboro, 1:40.54; 71. Jeff Boyd, Liberty, 1:42.23; 97. Jerry Murphy, Damascus, Pa., 1:47.52; 105. Zachary Weinman, Jeffersonville, 1:48.46; 109. Bill Schneider, Barryville, 1:49.07; 121. Peter Weinman, Jeffersonville, 1:51.44; 138. Mary Harjes, Bloomingburg, 1:57.50; 144. Peter Briggs, Rock Hill, 1:58.22; 180. Brian McCormick, Jeffersonville, 2:07.38; 181. Christina Sanchez, Monticello, 2:07.49; 191. Dennis Toscano, Liberty, 2:12.29; 198. Craig Boyd, Jeffersonville, 2:15.03; 200. Glady Nieves, Rock Hill, 2:15.38; 202. Nina Snyder, Bloomingburg, 2:16.21; 204. Kimberly Guern, Monticello, 2:16.34; 208. John Ferrara, Barryville, 2:18.47; 209. Nancy Figueroa, Grahamsville, 2:19.53; 219. Suzanne Meier, Bloomingburg, 2:27.38; 229. Lisa Stutz, Glen Spey, 2:39.00; 239. Abby Billias, Kauneonga Lake, 2:55.27.
The age group winners in the race were as follows:
Overall Female: 1. Jean Norton, Wurtsboro, 1:28.51; 2. Anne Gullickson, Kingston, 1:31.02; 3. Rachael Elliott, 1:31.08.
Overall Female Survivor: 1. Lily Kroner, Monroe, 1:32.54; 2. Lee Ann Deberry, Middletown, 3:18.40.
Overall Male: 1. Andy Latincsics, Newton, NJ, 1:18.15; 2. Shaun Horan, Clifton Park, 1:19.24; 3. Jim Phelan, Montgomery, 1:21.34.
Overall Male Survivor: 1. Lorne McDonald, Sussex, NJ, 1:49.02; 2. John Whitney, New Paltz, 1:59.52; 3. Ken Weiner, Circleville, 3:45.41.
Walker: 1. Andrew Toolan, Garnerville, 2:42.08; 2. Greg Toolan, Garrison, 3:01.44; 3. Lucia Rein, Pine Bush, 3:18.39.
16 and Under Female: 1. Sarah Phelon, Montgomery, 2:40.58.
17 to 19 Female: 1.T.T. Sitterley, Lakeville, 1:44.00; 2. Morgan Fasolak, West Point, 2:03.53
17-19 Male: 1. Matthew Gawors, Middletown, 1:25.49; 2. Nathan Lee, West Point, 1:27.59; 3. Jacob Sass, West Point, 1:36.04.
20-29 Female: 1. Heather Di Silvio, West Point, 1:37.10; 2. Mary Beth Sweeney, New York City, 1:40.02; 3. Kristy Mandour, New York City, 1:51.08.
20-29 Male: 1. Andrew Gaab, West Point, 1:24.34; 2. Erik Edstrom, West Point, 1:25.06; 3. Trevor Huckie, Endicott, 1:25.30.
30-39 Female: 1. Edna Harrison, New Paltz, 1:48.11; 2. Kimberly Hettwer, Washington, DC, 1:48.23; 3. Penny Sorbello, New Windsor, 1:51.14.
30-39 Male: 1. Gary McCraw, New York City, 1:22.32; 2. Mark Shepherd, Oxfordshire, England, 1:23.44; 3. Andy Vogel, East Hanover, NJ, 1:28.59.
40-49 Female: 1. Lily Kroner, Monroe, 1:32.54; 2. Tamar Senyak, Chester, 1:42.46; 3. Valerie Kilcoin, Middletown, 1:43.41.
40-49 Male: 1. Chris Peone, Tillson, 1:26.25; 2. Edward Fitzmaurice, Hyde Park, 1:29.09; 3. Franz Scholten, Greenville, 1:32.15.
50-59 Female: 1. Terri Keating, Chester, 1:59.39; 2. Star Walters, Salisbury Mills, 2:02.42; 3. Benita Auge, New Windsor, 2:08.00.
50-59 Male: 1. Jim Clancy, Walden, 1:28.52; 2. Tom Manza, Monticello, 1:28.58; 3. George Shurter, Middletown, 1:34.50.
60-69 Female: 1. Erika Abraham, Cornwall, 2:15.00; 2. Susan Nach, Kearney, NJ, 2:44.59; 3. Ann Singer, Suffern, 2:55.39.
60-69 Male: 1. Richard Edwards, Saugerties, 1:30.13; 2. Bob Venezia, Harriman, 1:47.01; 3. Lorne McDonald, Sussex, NJ, 1:49.02.
70 and Over Male: 1. Herb Waterman, Middletown, 2:25.42.