Early Saturday afternoon, Eliud Ngetich looked up at the Shelter Island sky and knew that a record setting day was probably not in the cards. Ngetich, 21 of Kenya, was in town for the 36th annual running of the Shelter Island 10K Race and had a simple goal, break the course record. But his thought changed when the rain started.
"I was scared when it started raining at about 2 p.m," Ngetich said. "I knew that I don't do well when it's raining. I think that messed with my confidence. I just did whatever I could."
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Whatever he could was a 28 minute, 53.31 victory in a rain that was steady most of the race. It was a fine accomplishment, but short of the course record of 28:37, set by Simon Ndirangu in 2012.
The race, which race organizer Mary Ellen Adipietro estimated saw 2,000 runners line up at the starting line, featured 13 "elite athletes." That is, men who have run under 30:30 and women who have run under 37:00.
This year's main attraction was 2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi, 40, of San Diego. He finished fourth in 29:59.54.
It was Keflezighi's second consecutive trip to the 10K. He also finished fourth last year.
"It's a great course, a challenging course, and it's scenic," Keflezighi said. "The community is behind it. It's a small race but I had fun."
Keflezighi thought he'd finish in about 29:30 but, like Ngetich, the rain had other plans.
"It affected us on the turns," Keflezighi said of the rain. "When you have paint on pavement, like for stop signs, it's slick. You have to be conscious of that."
Keflezighi, who is a member of the New York Athletic Club, said he's heard about the Shelter Island 10K "forever," and finally decided to run it last year.
"It was on my list," he said. "I wanted to do it last year and my wife, Yordanos, came here with me. It's relaxing and low key."
Four Long Islanders finished in the top 10. Nicholas Filippazzo, 22, of Wantagh, was sixth in 30:52.15. Ryan Udvadia, 19, of Shoreham, was eighth in 32:22.24. Christopher Connelly, 23, of Medford finished ninth in 33:20.13 and Cooper Jansson, 17, of Stony Brook, ran tenth in 34:49.50.
Elfnesh Melaku, 29, of Ethiopia, won the women's 10K in 34:05.45. Katie DiCamillo, 27, originally from Garden City South and now living in Providence, Rhode Island, was second in 34:10.83.
"I was trying to be competitive, try to get a good time, and see if I could win," said DiCamillo, a 2005 graduate of Holy Trinity High School.