It was the ultimate contrast. One runner, a relative rookie, needed a tour of the scenic Northport course before Saturday morning's Great Cow Harbor 10K Run. Another, the defending champion, only needed her memories to chart another path toward victory. But, despite the opposite circumstances, both runners ended the 38th running of the famous Long Island road race winners.
Parker Stinson of Eugene, Oregon, the Cow Harbor rookie, won the men's race in 29 minutes, 11.83 seconds. Brianne Nelson of Golden, Colorado, the defending women's champion, came up golden again in 32:53.16.
Stinson, who was a late entry into the race, was driven around the course by a volunteer after landing in New York Friday night. The tour allowed Stinson some semblance of course knowledge before the starting gun fired shortly after 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
"There's no way I could have done that without [the tour]," Stinson, 23, said.
Stinson led for most of the race, finishing 15.6 seconds before Jacob Riley of Rochester, Michigan. But, with no one calling out distances, Stinson said he had no idea how far ahead he was.
"After the first mile, I ran all out the whole time," Stinson, who ran a 4:42 per mile pace, said. " . . . It was an incredibly hard race . . . You just surge the whole time and the hills are really hard."
Smithtown's Brendan Martin was the highest Long Island finisher, placing fifth in 30:39.76, a 4:57 per mile pace. It was Martin's third Cow Harbor run.
"It was very humid," Martin, 26, who ran at Smithtown West High School and attends Stony Brook University said. "I just tried to be patient so I could move up in the second half."
Nelson, the women's winner, knows how hard the Northport hills are. She had already mastered them, winning last year in 33:05.70.
"It's a hilly course, but you can run fast here," Nelson, 35, who ran a 5:18 per mile pace, said. "Knowing that was pretty encouraging."