By Rob Potter
SMALLWOOD The Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department (SMVFD) held its 10th annual Fighting Fires 5K Run/Walk on Sunday morning amid rain showers.
Despite the weather that delayed the start of the race for about 30 minutes, dozens of runners and walkers competed in the event, which was held in memory of SMVFD Chief Gerard E. Donohue Sr.
“He passed away on Christmas Eve 2010,” said Matt Burns, the Fighting Fires 5K Race Director and a SMVFD member. “We had many good times together, including going to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City.
“Gerard was a great man,” Burns added. “He was always there to help with whatever the fire department was doing.”
The SMVFD members and members of the SMVFD Ladies Auxiliary honored Chief Gerard E. Donohue Sr. as his name was enclosed in a shamrock on the right sleeve of the official event T-shirt which all of the participants received.
Gerard’s wife, Stephanie Donohue, assisted Burns at the finish line. Gerard and Stephanie, who were together for 33 years and married for 29 years, have three children: Kim, Gerard Jr. and Frank.
Gerard Jr., known to family and friends as Jerry, participated in the 5K, running the course in 28 minutes, 47.1 seconds.
One of the other participants was former Sullivan County resident Eric Lubniewski, who now lives in New York City and is a FDNY member. He got to the starting line a few minutes later than the other runners, but paused for a minute to greet Stephanie Donohue and tell her that he was running the race for Gerard Donohue.
Burns thanked all of the volunteers and sponsors for helping the SMVFD hold the race for the 10th year.
“We had 84 people pre-registered for the race,” he said. “We are down about 50 [participants] from last year. But I think that’s because of the weather today.”
The first runner to cross the finish line was Andrew Capizzi of Paramus, N.J. His winning time was 16:45.2.
Capizzi noted that this was the second time he has competed in the event.
“Six years ago I ran here for the first time,” he said. “It is a fun race.”
The 22-year-old Capizzi said he ran cross country and track for eight years in high school and college and is training for two races later this summer.
“I had a solid time today,” he said.
The first woman to cross the finish line was Claire Gomba of Hopewell Junction. The 14-year-old posted a time of 22:57.9.
Gomba, who will be a freshman at John Jay High School in September, competed for the school’s varsity cross country and indoor track teams during the recently completed 2010-2011 school year.
This was the first time she ran in the Fighting Fires 5K.
“It was fun,” Gomba said.
Her parents, George Gomba and Karen Gomba, also ran in the race.
For Karen Gomba, competing in the race fulfilled a goal she set last year.
“My goal was to run five 5Ks at the age of 50 and I turned 50 in July 2010,” she commented. “I ran two 5Ks last fall, two this spring and today was the fifth one. We drove an hour and a half to run this race because it was my last chance to run a 5K before my 51st birthday on July 11.
“I set that goal for myself and I did it,” Karen Gomba said with a big smile.
Town of Bethel Supervisor Daniel Sturm helped present the medals to the overall and age group winners at the awards ceremony immediately following the event.
“I thank everyone for coming out to compete in the 10th annual Fighting Fires 5K,” said Sturm, who also ran in the race.
He then asked everyone to observe a moment of silence for Chief Gerard E. Donohue Sr.
The overall winners and top three finishers in each age group were as follows:
1. Claire Gomba, Hopewell Junction, 22:57.9
1. Andrew Capizzi, Paramus, N.J., 16:45.2
1. Gabriella Mott, Ronkonkoma, 28:50.8; 2. Hanna Oestrich, Smallwood, 33:14.2; 3. Ida Oestrich, Smallwood, 33:14.6
1. Jayco Krebs, Swan Lake, 28:15.4; 2. Katarina Manzi, Liberty, 28:35.7
1. Nickolas Boroda, Massapequa, 21:03.9; 2. Jackson Krebs, Swan Lake, 23:27.6; 3. Joseph Boroda, Massapequa, 25:39.7
1. Shannon Dietrich, Smallwood, 30:39.5; 2. Hedi Barbalich, Rock Hill, 37:07.6; 3. Jenessa Donovan, Holbrook, 41:57.6
1. Justin Donovan, Holbrook, 20:33.7; 2. Konstantin Boroda, Massapequa, 21:11.8; 3. Garrett Levy, Pomona, 21:29.3
1. Lara Rothschild, New York City, 24:23.5; 2. Nicole Jones, White Lake, 26:06.4; 3. Kristen Ketchum, Corning, 27:10.7
1. Thomas Ketchum, Corning, 19:42.2
1. Elizabeth Boardman, Sunnyside, 28:07.0; 2. Julie Dreher, Roscoe, 29:28.4; 3. Donna Donovan, Holbrook, 29:29.9
1. Tom Stratton, Parksville, 19:05.7; 2. Erik Sellstrom, Liberty, 19:29.3; 3. Boris Boroda, Massapequa, 23:42.6
1. Deanna Zawistowski, Otisville, 29:09.4; 2. Judy Lohmeyer, Albany, 29:27.0; 3. Susan Kross, Ellenville, 30:58.2
1. Tom Manza, Monticello, 20:04.9; 2. Jaime Insignares, Goshen, 23:10.6; 3. George Ackermann, Kenoza Lake, 23:27.4
1. Marjorie Stein, Rockville Centre, 35:11.2; 2. Nancy Warth, Wurtsboro, 45:10.4
1. Craig Schumacher, Callicoon, 24:10.6; 2. John Monchak, Tafton, Pa., 24;17.9; 3. Peter Stein, Rockville Centre, 34:02.1
Female 70 and Over
1. Mary Heinle, White Sulphur Springs, 43:37.0
Male 70 and Over
1. Burton Ledina, Monticello, 34:24.8
1. Janet O’Hara, Briarwood, 39:13.3; 2. Linda DiPaola, 40:08.3; 3. Marie Dietrich, Smallwood, 41:11.5
1. Richard Manzi, Liberty, 44:46.1; 2. Wayne Donovan, Holbrook, 52:53.5; 3. Joseph Newhauser, Port Jervis, 52:59.1.