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Runners brave down and dirty places in Babylon Village race

Runners take off at the start of the

Runners take off at the start of the 2015 Dirty Sock 10K in Babylon Village on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. Photo Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz/ Newsday

Almost 750 runners sweated through the Dirty Sock Run in Babylon Village Sunday, taking on the 10k race through wooded trails along the Carlls River.

It was the 10th race, named by the founders because of their socks' condition after running through the dirt paths along the Carlls River, said Hapi Auer, the race director and owner of Glen's Dinette in Babylon Village.

"It's a beautiful race. It's all in the woods," said top female finisher Betsy Eickelberg, 23, of Leonia, New Jersey. The overall winner in the USA Track and Field Certified race was Jonathan Lauer, 16, of Centereach. Lauer finished the race in 34:12. Eickelberg finished in 39:11.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who lives in Babylon Village, ran the race for the first time this year as part of his training to run in the county-sponsored first Suffolk County Marathon on Sept. 13.

He called it a "great event" on some great local trails. "This is my home course," he said.

The race began when Auer was approached about helping with a Babylon church's food bank. He and fellow racers with the Massapequa Road Runners decided to throw a race, based on the trails they ran in Babylon Village.

The race has raised more than $150,000 for food banks and soup kitchens since its start, including $20,000 through this year's race, Auer said.

All runners get clean socks at the end of the race, along with T-shirts.

Nearly 100 volunteers, led by Auer's wife, Chrissy, have helped sustain the race year after year.

Helma Clavin, 72, of Lake Ronkonkoma, said running on trails is different. "You have to watch your step," she said.

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