The sun had barely crawled above the horizon Sunday morning when runners began to arrive at Jones Beach State Park for the 27th Bethpage Ocean to Sound Relay.
Runners participating in the annual 50-mile race, organized by the Greater Long Island Running Club, crossed 15 Long Island towns, including Seaford, Massapequa, Farmingdale and Old Bethpage. The runners made their way north to the Sound, eventually ending at Oyster Bay’s Long Island Rail Road station.
“This is the only event of this type in the New York metro area,” said Bronx resident Alan End, 69, the race director who founded the relay back in 1985. “With most winning events, it is one person running alone, it’s unique to have an event where you’re a part of a team.”
This year, the race attracted 156 teams, which meant more than 1,000 runners -- a record-breaking number for the annual relay. Most of the teams consisted of eight members, but six teams were actually individual runners. All the money raised from the teams’ entry fees went to the Long Island Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
This is the third year the Bethpage Federal Credit Union has sponsored the race, which consisted of 15 different categories including: men and women under 40, seniors over 50 and the physically challenged.
Runners dressed in matching running gear, some even wearing grass skirts and American Indian outfits in hopes of winning the “Best Costume” award.
As a member of the Northport Running Club’s team, Karen Nora, 52, was among those in Hawaiian gear.
“It’s such a great event because it’s a team event that allows us to pull together,” said Nora, of Northport. “It’s an opportunity to support each other.”
After the race, all participants were invited to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay for a post-party where awards were distributed to the top three teams of every category.
“The Greater Long Island Running Club puts on 32 races a year and this is the best one, this day is always the best one,” said Plainview resident Michael Polansky, 71, who is president of the club. “It’s all about the competition, team camaraderie and having fun.”
Above; William Boylan-Pett, 30, of New York City, is first overall to cross the finish line as anchor for Team Katie A, which placed first in the men's division with a time of 4:29:04 at the 27th annual Bethpage Ocean to Sound Relay. (Sept. 23, 2012)