The first runner to cross the finish line at the Suffolk County Marathon in Patchogue Village had more than winning on his mind.
Boyd Carrington, 46, of Amityville, said that somewhere around mile 20, he crossed a "Parade of Honor" dedicated to fallen military personnel from Long Island.
“It was very emotional for me because I have family in the military," said Carrington, who has brothers and uncles who have served. “To see that others have lost loved ones makes me feel very fortunate.”
Carrington's winning time was 2 hours, 41 minutes and 47.3 seconds. He joined more than 2,000 others who took part in either the 26.2 mile race or a 5K or half-marathon as part of the Catholic Health Services’ Fourth Annual Suffolk County Marathon. All net proceeds from the event will go toward enhancing and expanding veterans’ services in Suffolk County.
The winners of the 5K and half-marathon crossed earlier on a crisp, partly cloudy Sunday morning.
Half-marathon winners were Bay Shore's Laura Cummings, in the women's division, and Mastic's Jonathan Toro in the men's.
Winners of the 5K race were Tara Farrell of East Quogue, who led the women's division, and Joshua Jastemski of Medford, who won the men's division.
"I didn’t know what to expect,” Cummings said of her first half-marathon. Cummings, who said she ran for her boyfriend and father, who both died in the past year, added that she finished four minutes ahead of schedule thanks to the flat course and good weather.
Lauren Gonzalez, 37, a speech pathologist from Coram, said she was running her first full marathon in honor of her mother, a nonsmoker who died of lung cancer seven years ago. With a hydration pack around her waist, and son Ryan, 7, and husband Corey cheering her on, she said she felt ready.
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” she said of running the 26.2-mile race. “I lost my mom to cancer and she’s my inspiration.”
The first wave of half-marathoners crossed the finish line shortly after 9 a.m. and soon after wrapped themselves in foil heat blankets glittering under the sun. They made their way to the FreedomFest for food, shopping, beers and live music by bands donating their time in honor of veterans.
NYPD officer Armando Urbina, 41, of Mineola, crossed the finish line in an hour and 31 minutes and 42 seconds while carrying an American flag and dressed as Batman’s sidekick, Robin. Urbina said he ran for friends and family members in the military. He refueled after the race the best way a Long Islander could — with a sesame seed bagel.
Among the runners were Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and other local officials. Some runners said that competing in the race meant reaching personal milestones.
Jessica Wahlberg, 35, of Selden said the half-marathon was the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work.
“I’ve lost 100 pounds,” she said before the race. “I trained all of 2018.”
Other runners said finishing was the best reward.
“This will be my only marathon of the year and it’s a huge accomplishment,” said Terry Louis, 26, of Bay Shore. “Running is inspiring.”
Derek Novinsky, 45, a middle school teacher from Huntington Station, ran his first half-marathon in honor of his great-uncle Chester Novinsky, who was killed in Germany during World War II. He noted the photos of fallen soldiers posted along the race.
In his seventh try, Manhattan runner Frank Chung, 53, qualified for his first Boston Marathon with an unofficial time of 3 hours and 24 mins, 12 seconds. “There weren’t a lot of hills,” he said.
Sarah Voyack, 37, of Richmond, Virginia, who traveled to Long Island with her husband for the race, thought about her cheering family, including twin daughters Avery and Reese, as she made her way along the course.
“I think my family was more excited about me running this than me,” said Voyack, an eight-time marathoner whose husband, Mike, is from Blue Point.
Jason Dabenigno’s 1-year-old daughter Allison waved a sign reminding her father that this might be his last race for a while. Dabenigno, 32, an air traffic controller from Ronkonkoma, and his wife Marie are expecting their second daughter in December.
“It’ll be hard to train again,” Marie Dabenigno, 29, said.
At five months pregnant, marathoner Karalyn Ciucci, 37, of Tuckahoe in Westchester County, said there is one thing to account for when running while pregnant — frequent rest stops.
“This course had lines at all the port-a-potties,” said Ciucci, who finished with a time of 5 hours and 35 minutes, 30 seconds.
“It was a pregnancy goal,” she said of her decision to run Sunday.
With Jordan Lauterbach and Scott Eidler