Ruth Maller was one of the last people to finish the women’s Main Street Mile run on Saturday morning, but that didn’t keep the 83-year-old from celebrating her personal victory as the oldest woman in the race.
“She does these races to meet single men,” said Bill Benson, 93, of Valley Stream, the oldest man in the men’s race, who finished with at 14 minutes, 19 seconds.
Maller nudged Benson and laughed.
“They don’t have to be single,” she said, smiling.
Maller of Massapequa Park ran alongside her 56-year-old daughter, Jayne Felenstein, and finished the mile at 13:32. Maller picked up running for the first time at 48 and hasn’t stopped since.
“People who do things physically are more interesting, healthier and the kind of people you want to be with,” said Maller, who completed two marathons at 65 and 67.
On Saturday, Benson and Maller joined more than 400 other runners in downtown Farmingdale for the eighth annual Runner’s Edge Main Street Mile, a race benefiting the Companions in Courage Foundation. The event raised more than $6,000.
“I’ve always found Long Island to be a very giving area and this event seems to grow every year,” said NHL Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine, founder of Companions in Courage.
Companions in Courage is nonprofit that builds interactive, high-tech game rooms in children’s hospitals across North America. The foundation has created rooms in 80 hospitals so far in its 10 years.
“I always say 'When anybody asks you what you did this morning, you say you helped the kids first then you did a mile run,' ” said LaFontaine, who participated in the race.
Race sponsors included Runner’s Edge, Croxley Ales and Caracara Mexican Grill.
The men’s race winner was Ryan Zillman, 24, of Deer Park with a time of 4:14. The women’s winner was Lauren Henkle, 30, of Rockville Centre with a time of 5:12.
“The Village of Farmingdale is phenomenal the way they supported this. They see the importance of it. I think everybody loves it,” said Mark Leff of Massapequa, co-director of the race. “Anything you can do to bring the community together to do good and promote health and fitness is great.”
This year broke the record for the most participants in the Main Street Mile.
“This is going to go help some very special kids in children’s hospitals,” LaFontaine said.