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After flooding, Babylon rebounds to host Dirty Sock Run

Runners competing in the Classic 10k Dirty Sock

Runners competing in the Classic 10k Dirty Sock Run on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, in Babylon Village navigate around one of the few puddles on the course, which had been flooded with up to 4 feet of water just days earlier. Credit: Tara Conry

Just days after a record-setting rainstorm left parts of Babylon Village flooded with up to four feet of water, a record number of runners turned out Sunday for ninth annual Classic 10k Dirty Sock Run.

“It’s a miracle that we even had the race today,” said Raymond “Hapi” Auer, the director of the run, which is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Babylon.

Mayor Ralph Scordino said the village’s highway department spent nearly 100 staff hours getting the course ready for the race after Wednesday’s historic storm.

That included clearing debris, filling holes and even tracking down and replacing a bridge that floodwaters had swept away.

The 6.2-mile scenic course took runners past Southard’s Pond and around Belmont Lake.

It was Stephanie Altman’s second Dirty Sock Run, and she shaved a few minutes off the time she clocked when she first ran the race in 2007. The 39-year-old Babylon resident said she was pleasantly surprised by the condition of the trails given what the community went through Wednesday.

The storm also flooded the basement in her Washington Avenue home.

“We had water up to our knees in our house,” she said. “We’ve been pumping it out and throwing out stuff, and it’s still coming up.”

Altman said that although she’s concerned about possible mold and mildew, it was important for her to put that aside and race Sunday.

“Running helps me clear my head and be in a better mental state,” she said. “Right now, I can’t do anything about the house, but I can do something about myself.”

Altman was among the 813 runners who signed up for Sunday’s race, the most in the run’s nine-year history, Auer said.

At the finish line, 90 awards were handed out to top finishers in age group and the overall winners. Dan Gargano, 24, of Bay Shore, won with a finish time of 33 minutes and 42 seconds. The top female finisher was West Islip’s Tara Wilson, 37, who completed the course in 38:16.

About 50 runners also went home with raffle prizes donated by local businesses, including two bicycles and a flat-screen TV.

Auer said the proceeds from the race will go to 11 local food pantries and soup kitchens.

Three runners from the Northport Running Club also chose to help out another charity after finishing the race. Babylon’s Wil Widman, 50; Jenipher Quintanilla, 39, of North Babylon, and Erica Fraiberg, 40, of Greenlawn, knelt down together near the finish line and let friends dump a large container of ice water over their heads. It was their contribution to the popular Ice Bucket Challenge that’s been raising awareness – and funds -- to combat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“I feel cold,” Fraiberg said after completing the challenge, “but it’s bringing awareness to a good cause.”

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