By Rob Potter
SMALLWOOD A total of 130 runners and walkers descended upon the hamlet of Smallwood on Sunday morning to participate in the seventh annual Fighting Fires 5K Run/Walk.
The weather was warm and sunny but not oppressively humid as the competitors began the race near the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department. They quickly moved along the 3.1-mile course around Smallwood Lake before crossing the finish line about 50 yards from the starting line.
The first runner to cross the finish line was 14-year-old Jeremy Pratt of Middletown. He ran the 5K course in a time of 18 minutes, 58 seconds.
Nicole Rozario, 17, of Middletown was the first woman to finish the race. She crossed the line exactly 30 seconds after Pratt for an official time of 19:28.
In September, Pratt will begin his sophomore year at Pine Bush High School, where he is a member of the cross country and track and field teams.
He enjoyed his first Fighting Fires 5K.
“It was fun,” Pratt said a few minutes after winning the race. “I feel good.”
Pratt said the weather was a big factor in the race.
“The weather was perfect for the race,” he commented. “It wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t too cold.”
Pratt said it was a good course, with a “couple of hills that are not big, they’re nice.”
When asked if he would be returning to Smallwood next July for the eighth annual Fighting Fires 5K, Pratt was quick to answer.
“I’ll be back for next year’s race,” he said with a smile.
Race Director Matt Burns agreed with Pratt regarding the weather conditions.
“We had perfect weather today,” Burns said.
Burns noted that it takes a great deal of work to organize the race, but he has plenty of help. He thanked his fellow members of the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department and the department’s ladies auxiliary.
“The Fire Police, Town of Bethel Constables and members of Bethel First really help us out as well,” Burns said.
He also praised the race sponsors, in particular George Hazota, Wal-Mart, Robert Green Chevrolet Oldsmobile of Monticello for providing the official pace car for the race a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid and Gusar’s Pharmacy of Monticello.
“It was hard work getting sponsors this year because of the economy,” Burns said.
Burns said that proceeds for the race will be used for the new addition planned for the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Firehouse.
Following the race, the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department held its annual open house. The event, which featured free hot dogs and soda, is the fire department’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
Burns said that the fire department will hold another fundraising event, a pancake breakfast, at the firehouse on Labor Day Weekend.
The overall male and female finishers, along with the top three finishers in each age group, were as follows:
1. Jeremy Pratt, Middletown, 18:58; 2. Tom Manza, Monticello, 19:52; 3. James Dzurioca, Monticello, 19:57
1. Nicole Rozario, Middletown, 19:28; 2. Rebecca Concors, Pine Bush, 22:30; 3. Karen Davies, Yorktown Heights, 22:33
Overall Male Walker
1. Bob Barrett, Smallwood, 37:09
Overall Female Walker
1. Erin Schoeberl, Pine Bush, 36:47
12 and Under Female
1. Heaven Porter, Cochecton, 26:00; 2. Camryn Johnson, Rock Hill, 27:17; 3. Sydney Johnson, Rock Hill, 27:19
12 and Under Male
1. Jayden Rosen, Lafayette, 27:54; 2. Joseph Buckshaw, Smallwood, 29:30; 3. James Barden, Smallwood, 31:51
1. Rebecca Concors, Pine Bush, 22:30; 2. Ana Loor, Thompsonville, 23:52; 3. Heather Vontlegel, Smallwood, 27:03
1. James Dzurioca, Monticello, 19:57; 2. Jonathan Katz, Rochester, 20:12; 3. Brendan Ference, Smallwood, 20:30
1. Christine Panos, Smallwood, 37:17; 2. Shannon Dietrich, Smallwood, 41:42; 3. Analey Dietrich, Smallwood, 41:42
1. David Abram, Hankins, 24:16; 2. Bryan Levy, New York City, 24:48; 3. Ryan D. Levy, Suffern, 25:08
1. Neeyan Pynk, Blooming Grove, Pa., 24:03; 2. Romi Donagher, Chester, 25:41; 3. Nicole M. Jones, White Lake, 26:24
1. Michael Williams, Washingtonville, 20:17; 2. Matthew Side, Mongaup Valley, 21:53; 3. Roger Niebuhr, Vernon, N.J., 23:06
1. Karen Davies, Yorktown Heights, 22:33; 2. Nadine Black, Farmingdale, 24:31; 3. Elizabeth Boardman, Sunnyside, 26:34
1. George Ackermann, Kenoza Lake, 22:47; 2. Pete Warner, Poughquaq, 29:45; 3. Mack Barden, Smallwood, 31:52
1. Susan Otto Brown, Jeffersonville, 30:19; 2. Doris Motl, Harris, 46:33; 3. Ellenmarie Vasiento, Indianapolis, Ind., 49:00
1. Tom Manza, Monticello, 19:52; 2. Ken Lohmeyer, Liberty, 21:18; 3. Jeff Wurster, Newburgh, 21:43
1. Judy Pilny, Jeffersonville, 33:56; 2. Victoria Greffrath, Damascus, Pa., 35:54; 3. Sheila Raabe Reed, New Orleans, La., 37:09
1. John Pilny, Jeffersonville, 27:49; 2. Ken Hagelmann, Newburgh, 28:02; 3. Jesse Rosen, New York City, 32:52
70 and Over Female
1. Mary Heinle, White Sulphur Springs, 36:44; 2. Jean Goldman, Chatham, 52:25
70 and Over Male
1. Robert Kwit, New York City, 36:19