There isn’t a 5k race that Shari Klarfeld won’t run – even while she is eight months pregnant.
The 31-year-old Plainview woman who is due to have her second child on Jan. 20 averages running about one race every weekend.
“It’s fun. I am drawn to running,” Klarfeld said. “It’s a stress releaser for me.”
So it was no surprise that Klarfeld was up and running Saturday morning at the ninth annual Hot Chocolate 5KRun/Walk hosted by the Seaford Wellness Council, a nonprofit that encourages positive change in the community.
“This is my third year running this race,” said Klarfeld, who finished with a time of 23:06. “Once I get into the rhythm of my running, I feel good.”
The race route, which is flat with only four turns, began at Seaford High School, continued along Seamans Neck Road, down Washington and Brooklyn avenues.
The 900 runners and walkers participating in the event raised $8,000, of which 50 percent will go to superstorm Sandy victims and the rest will go to the Seaford Wellness Council.
“The council wants to have a meaningful impact on the Seaford community. We did the environmental cleanup of Tackapausha Preserve, the Washington Avenue Park Restoration and we have Friday Night Lives, an event where the council hosts a chaperoned recreation night at the Seaford High School and Seaford Middle School,” said Michael DiSilvio, president of the council, who finished the race with a time of 26:59.
Ken Nersesian, the council's vice president, said the event is a lot of fun for the participants who come from all over – Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan.
“This is one of the most popular events because it is so much fun and everybody loves the hot chocolate,” Nersesian said.
Paralyzed from the waist down after a car accident, Peter Hawkins was named the wheelchair champion, completing the race with a time of 14:57.
“The hardest part for me is the wind and going downhill is the easiest,” said Hawkins, 48, of Malverne.
The male and female winners were Alan Wells, 39, of Orlando, Fla., with a time of 16:27 and Tara Farrell, 34, of East Quogue, with a time of 18:18.
“Running is easy for me. I run all the time,” Wells said. ”I usually place first place or runner-up. Every time I come to New York, I find a race. My hometown is Orlando, but I have friends and family in Massapequa so everytime I come to Long Island, I find a race. I love to run.”