Runners ranging in age from 7 to 84 took to the streets of Huntington Sunday for the 5th annual Marcie Mazzola Memorial 5K Run/Walk. According to Nancy Mazzola, Marcie’s stepmother, the race drew runners from across Long Island and beyond, with 440 of the 529 registrants completing the challenging course.
The event is a tribute to the spirited 21-year-old who lost her life in a car accident in 2002. Since its inception in 2003, the foundation has raised more than $500,000 for children in need, Nancy said.
Bobby Filacchione, 15, of Buena Park, Calif., took first place with his time of 16:51. Bobby, who appears to be on a winning streak, won his first 5K race about a week earlier in Seal Beach, Calif.
The young runner, who raced with family members, said that he found the uphill mile and a half at the beginning of the course most challenging.
“I sprinted the last 100 yards to take first,” the tenth grader said, adding that it was a great race and he was very pleased to have won.
Jessica Petermann, 31, of Amityville was the first woman to cross the finish line. Petermann, who came in second last year with a time of 20:44, bested her previous record by almost a minute with her new time of 19:45.
Familiarity with the course played a role in her win, she said.
“It helped me to know about the big hill. It wasn’t a surprise,” said Petermann, who competed in the New York City Half Marathon at the end of March with a three minute personal record.
Billy Holl, 24, of Bayport, who came in first last year, placed second with his time of 16:56.
Krista Rivera, 17, took second place for females with a time of 20:59.
It was the first road race for the Commack High School junior who normally does cross-country, winter and spring track.
Rivera said that “the hills came as a shock, but it was a challenge well worth it.” By running the race she felt that she was helping achieve the goal that was Marcie’s dream, she explained.
The first time proved to be the charm for Rick Trojanowski, 36, of Calverton, the third place male winner whose time was 17:27.
"It's the fastest that I have ever done a 5K race," said Trojanowski who predominantly races on the North and South Fork. He broke his personal record by 14 seconds, he said.
Trojanowski credits his coach, Brendan Barrett, of the Sayville Running Company and the weather for his win.
"It was perfect, cloudy and in the 40s," said Trojanowski who is training for the Long Island Half Marathon.
Kaitlyn Robinson, 26, of Huntington Station, was the female third place winner with a time of 21:20.
Smithtown’s Susann Cuccia’s time of 20:41 won her the distinction of female master’s winner.
It was a family affair for Cuccia who raced with her nephew and first place winner Bobby Filacchione, and her brothers Bob and Frank Filacchione.
Bob Filacchione placed third in male 45-to-49 age division.
“I do love Huntington and I know it’s for a good cause,” said Cuccia. “The course is beautiful. The awards and refreshments were great.”
Todd Rowley, 41, of Huntington, was the male master’s winner, and finished with a time of 18:03.
Filacchione and Petermann received trophies and one-year memberships to the Huntington YMCA; Holl, Rivera, Trojanowski and Robinson received trophies during the awards ceremony.
“Jessica Petermann set a new record. She broke the 2010 women’s record by 15 seconds,” Nancy said.
Nancy said that the event resonated with touching moments. It warmed her heart to see the youngest runner, 7-year-old Ryan Nickerson, of Greenlawn, and octogenarians Tom and Joan Redden and Bert Jablon cross the finish line. Jablon, 84, of Syosset, the oldest participant, placed first in his age category. The Reddens, of Greenlawn, both placed in their age division, Nancy said.
Commack High School, Marcie’s alma mater, turned out en masse for the race. The top three male winners (Michael Custance, Brendan Callaghan and Matt Dibiase) and the first and third place female winners (Adrianna Corso and Stacey Thomas) in the 15-to-19 age category were from the high school, Nancy indicated.
“It was nice to get such great representation from them, and that they placed,” Nancy said. “I appreciate the fact that they came out.”
Nancy was also gratified to see Shannon Malone, of Moriches, who had been a close friend of Marcie’s, come in first in the female 30- to-34 year old age division with a time of 21:34.
Malone also ran in the New York City Marathon as a representative of the Marcie Mazzola Foundation, Nancy said, adding that it was Vincent Cappadora’s idea for the foundation to apply for the marathon. Cappadora, 31, of Deer Park, placed first in his age category and eighth overall.
The event raised $20,000, which will be used to provide summer camp scholarships to underprivileged children. The New York Organ Donor Network and Splashes of Hope will also benefit, Nancy said.