Wearing patriotic 2013 glasses and a running medal, Mike Ogazon passed dozens of runners, shaking a rattle and shouting “Happy New Year!”
Ogazon was among the hundreds Tuesday to run in the 36th annual New Year’s Day Hangover Fun Run in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.
“My New Year’s resolution is to keep running to stay healthy and lose weight,” said Ogazon, 71, of Garden City. “I also ran in the New Year's Eve Dash 5K [at Eisenhower Park] at midnight last night.”
Fred Haslett, president of the Long Island Road Runners Club, which was formed 34 years ago and has 500 members, said the New Year’s Day 5-mile run began in 1977.
“It started as a loose bunch of friends showing up New Year’s morning to shake the bugs out after New Year’s Eve and go for a run to start off the year right,” said Haslett, 59, of Cedarhurst. “Last year, we had 300 runners. It’s a free fun run and it’s a great way to start the year off.”
About 250 runners took off at the start of the banana loop at Field 2 and chose to either run, jog or walk between 1 to 5 miles.
“People have resolutions,” Haslett said. “They want to lose weight. Well, this is the time. It’s New Year’s Day. We set up a 1-mile loop so people can run a mile, walk a mile or run all five miles.”
During a morning run 18 months ago, Ray Costanzo, felt a sharp pain in his chest. He later found that he had two arteries nearly clogged and it was time to radically change his lifestyle.
“I had a problem with my heart. I almost died,” said Costanzo, 57, of Sound Beach. “After that, it gave me a new perspective on life, so every chance I get I’m gonna be out here doing something healthy and embracing life.”
Costanzo, of the North Country Road Warriors in Wading River, said it was his first time running on New Year’s Day, but it felt exhilarating to get some exercise and kick off the year with a bang.
“I figure it’s a good way to start the year, especially after a little bit of partying last night,” Costanzo said. “It’s a good healthy way to start out the new year.”
Rose James and 15 others represented the Long Island chapter of Black Girls RUN!, a national running club to fight obesity and promote a healthy lifestyle in black women.
“I wanted to feel good about myself, so I started running a year ago,” said James. 64, of Uniondale. “It’s just a good feeling to run and I wanted to start the new year off right.”