Danella Rose was motivated to win the Fourth of July race long before she laced up her sneakers Wednesday morning and headed for the starting point near Miller Avenue Elementary School in Shoreham.
The 10-year-old from Sound Beach ran for her grandfather, Charles Fee, who died a few months ago and had been a runner all his life, even making it to the Olympic trials in 1952.
“My grandpa was a big runner,” Rose said after finding out she was the female winner for the kids’ 1-mile run. “He really inspires me. I wanted to do it for him.”
Rose was one of more than 200 people who turned up for the annual Shoreham-Wading River Community Programs Fourth of July 5k despite drizzle and high humidity. The races included a one-mile run for adults and children, and the five-kilometer course.
Money raised from registration fees benefit the Community Programs scholarship fund, said president Paul Koretzki, who has been organizing this and other community races for 32 years.
“It’s great because it’s really the community that runs the race,” said Koretzki, who is also the girls varsity track coach at Shoreham-Wading River High School. “People come home from wherever they are for the holiday and run. I just saw one of my runners from 1984 running the race with her kids.”
Winners of the races included both locals and out-of-towners. Male and females winners included Collin Zeffer, 20, of Sound Beach, who ran the 5k in 17:19; Ann Herr, of Wading River, who ran the 5k in 20:10; Ryan Udvadia, of Shoreham, who ran the adult 1-mile in 5:35; Katherine Lee, of Wading River, who ran the adult 1-mile in 6:57; Julian Reiss, 11, of Wading River, who ran the kids 1-mile in 6:14; and Rose who won the kids 1-mile run in 6:36.
Bob Szymanski, the high school boys varsity track coach who also helped organize the race on Wednesday, said they expected to make about $5,000 for the scholarship fund that day, and even more during the popular Thanksgiving Day race.
“It’s the community participating for the community,” he said. “This is a tradition here -- July Fourth and Thanksgiving, you run the race.”