Falkenhan wins 2012 LI Marathon 5K

Drew Falkenhan, 24, of Lynbrook, comes in first Drew Falkenhan, 24, of Lynbrook, comes in first place during the 5k race with a time of 17:28. The 40th annual Long Island Marathon takes place Sunday and leading up to the big event are the 1-mile run and 5k race. (May 5, 2012) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

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No amount of rain could dampen Drew Falkenhan's race -- or the races of more than 560 of his fellow runners.

Falkenhan won a rain-soaked Long Island Marathon 5K run yesterday at Mitchel Athletic Complex with a time of 17:28. Michael Robles, 53, of Smithtown, took second in 18:35 and 31-year-old Shari Klarfeld of Plainview finished third in 19:12 to win the overall female crown.

There were 563 people taking part in the 5K, which was a precursor to Sunday's full- and half- marathons and 10K race. More than 7,900 people combined will compete in those three races, which start at 8 a.m.

The 24-year-old Falkenhan, of Lynbrook, was in front from the starting gun and opened more than a minute lead on the field at the two-and-a-half mile mark as he cruised to the win.

"I just wanted to maintain my lead at that point," he said. "I was pretty tired."

Falkenhan said his time was a personal best, beating the 18:01 he ran in last year's 5K.

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"I was shooting for around a 17:30 race, and that's right what it was," said Falkenhan, who grew up in East Hampton. "I'm satisfied."

But while Falkenhan was proud of how he finished, he said he was even more proud of the cause that he supported during the run. He ran as a part of the Friends of Karen group, an organization that provides aid to critically ill children and their families. He said he had raised $150 through his place of work.

" was the least I could do," he said. "It's a great cause, and I'm just happy to donate and do my part."

The one-mile run preceded the 5K and was just as good a race as its longer counterpart. Ivette Mejia, 21, of Manhattan, won the overall title in 5:11. Adenir Fuentes, 26, of Rocky Point took the male title, finishing second overall with a time of 5:53.

"I normally run 5Ks, but this was perfect because I wanted to work on my speed," said Mejia, a recent college graduate who ran for Saint Vincent College's cross-country team. "I had a bad race two weeks ago, and I wanted to get my confidence back."

Fuentes, by contrast, was running in his first career competitive race at any level -- and was caught a bit off guard by how well he did.

"I didn't think I was going to win ," he said. "I do your average running at the gym, but that's really it. I was expecting more like a 6:20."

The same held true for 11-year-old Connor Towers of Huntington. Running in his first career 5K, Towers finished eighth overall with a time of 20:49 -- the fastest time for any runner aged 11-19.

"I've been doing the mile for the past few years, and I wanted to try the 5K," Towers said. "Now I think I like the 5K a lot."

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