Fernando Cabada of Boulder, Colo., took the lead near the top of the infamous James Street hill, the steepest part of the Cow Harbor 10K, and never trailed again, winning the annual Northport race on Saturday in 29 minutes, 32.11 seconds.
In the women's race, Mattie Suver, 26, of Colorado Springs, passed three rivals in the Main Street homestretch to win in 33:31.74.
Cabada, a veteran U.S. runner in his second appearance at Cow Harbor, said he hoped to place in the top three, but decided to take the lead when he realized the pace wasn't terribly fast. He held a lead of five to seven seconds the rest of the way. "I'm learning to run from the front," he said. "I'm still learning my body even though I'm 31."
Brendan Gregg, 24, of Rochester Hills, Minn., was second in 29:39.52, and Matthew Llano, 25, of Flagstaff, Ariz., third in 29:44.43. Zachary Spector, 23, was the top Long Island male, finishing 11th (32:09.4).
Mohamed Trafeh, 28, of Duarte, Calif., had won Cow Harbor four years in a row and set the course record of 28:17 in 2011. This summer he recuperated from a hamstring strain and was not in top form on Saturday. He fell off the pace halfway through and placed eighth (31:00.76).
Meanwhile, Suver said she fell behind three leaders around the three-mile mark and spent the rest of the race catching up, finally taking the lead in the last 15 meters. She said she wanted to spend all her energy. "You never want to have regrets after a race," Suver said. "You always want to give it your all."
Amy Van Alstine, 25 (33:33.23), and Kellyn Johnson, 27 (33:42.65), were second and third among the women. Both are from Flagstaff. Defending champion Alisha Williams, 31, of Colorado Springs, was sixth (34:09.84). Lianne Farber, 21, of Northport, was the fastest Long Island woman , finishing eighth (35:06.07).
The winners were awarded $3,500 each. The Cow Harbor race, in its 36th year, is among the largest running races on Long Island. Results showed 4,562 finishers on Saturday.