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Aug 18, 2009 4:42 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Impressive turnout for Ellen's Run in Southampton

Aug 18, 2009 4:42 PM

The Ellen’s Run 5K—one of the most popular races on the East End road running circuit—certainly did not suffer from a change of venue this year.

The event, which moved from its usual home of East Hampton to Southampton Village for the first time this year, drew more than 600 runners who traversed the 3.1-mile course on the roads around Southampton Hospital to help raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. The race was created in 1997 to honor the memory of East Hampton resident Ellen Hermanson, who died in 1995 after a battle with breast cancer. Her sister, Julie Ratner, established the Ellen Hermanson Foundation soon after and to date, the foundation has donated $2 million to various organizations that promote breast health on the South Fork of Long Island.

The change in venue this year coincided with the opening of the new Ellen Hermanson Breast Health Center at Southampton Hospital. A $500,000 donation from the Ellen Hermanson Foundation made the construction of the new center possible.

Todd Raymond, 25, of New York City was the first competitor to cross the finish line on Sunday morning under the shade on Herrick Road near the Parrish Hall wing of Southampton Hospital, where the new breast health center is located. He finished in 17:19 (5:35 pace) ahead of Angel Rojas, 23, of Hampton Bays who was second in 17:28 (5:38).

Brendan Hannon, 20, of New York City was third in 17:32 (5:39) followed by Southampton High School student Nick Collazos, 16, who finished in 17:55 (5:46). Levi Wallace, 18, of Danbury, Connecticut, was fifth in 17:58; Jason Hancock, 35, of Southampton was sixth in 18:12 (5:52); Jim MacWhin

nie, 37, of Southampton was seventh in 18:50 (6:04); Mike Bahel, 43, of East Hampton was eighth in 18:55 (6:06) and Doroteo Soledad, 33, of Water Mill rounded out the top 10 in 19:17 (6:13.)

Laura Brown, 41, of Westhampton Beach was the first female finisher and was 11th overall in 19:18 (6:13). Heather Millson, 23, of Bronxville, New York was the second female and was 12th overall in 19:39 (6:20). Jessica Van Binsbergen, 24, of East Hampton was the third female finisher and was 16th overall in 20:19 (6:33).

The Lucia’s Angels team won a trophy for being the largest team in the race while Jean Marie McCarthy was the first breast cancer survivor to cross the finish line. Her time was not available.

A glitch with online registrations resulted in some runners’ names and times not being included in the overall results, but according to Ratner, the problem is being addressed and will be corrected for future races.

After the race, runners commented that they liked the course, which thankfully included shady areas on what was a hot and sunny day. Raymond said he liked that the course was “flat and fast.” He had a good enough lead as he came across the finish line, but said the frontrunners were tightly packed during the first mile of the race.

“I started to push it on mile two,” he said.

U.S. Representative Tim Bishop and news anchor Chuck Scarborough were on hand to get the race started and they spoke to the crowd before the start of the race. Both men have been touched by breast cancer in their families.

While plenty of talented runners participated in the race, the true stars of the day, according to Ratner, were the breast cancer survivors who competed. Some of them ran, some of them walked, but all of them received recognition as they crossed the finish line and were handed pink roses. The spirit of the race is certainly not lost within the competitive aspect, as many of the participants wear signs attached to the back of their shirts that recognize a specific friend or family member whom they are honoring by doing the race. Most of the signs say a person’s name, but plenty of them said, “Mom” or “me.”

“Every year there is a challenge,” Ratner said. “This year it was our database. Some years it’s the weather. But it still really is about the event and what we do. The whole event is really a celebration of life. Whether a person has succumbed to breast cancer, is in the middle of treatment or is in remission, there is a spirit of triumph that is evident everywhere.”

Jodi Wasserman, a year-round Southampton resident, was the second breast cancer survivor to cross the finish line and she smiled when she spoke about her first experience competing in Ellen’s Run.

“I’m a one-year survivor,” she said. “So this year, I decided to give back and help others.”

Wasserman spoke highly of the race and the organizers.

“I felt fabulous,” she said after finishing. “I felt like I had all my friends with me. There is definitely a camaraderie. Julie is one of the most special people I have ever met and I’ve only known her for a short time.”

Southampton residents Andi Gulija, her daughter, Erika Gulija, and her daughter’s friends, Larissa Pauli and Sami Wellen, competed in the race for the first year as a team, along with Collazos. Pauli and Wellen, who graduated from Southampton High School in May, were members of the track and field team along with Gulija, who is entering eighth grade in the fall. Collazos is also a member of the track team and will be a senior this year.

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Yes, as a first time participant I was very proud to walk with my 38 year old daughter, a breast cancer survivor as of June 2009. It was a wonderful opportunity to show support to those who are still stuggling with this disease. I am looking forward to participating again next year. Thank you to all the volunteers that made this event such a success.
By bkayjones (2), Hampton Bays on Aug 19, 09 10:04 PM