Three Long Islanders broke into the women's top 10 at Great Cow Harbor 10-kilometer run on Saturday in Northport, a rarity for a race dominated year after year by elite athletes from the West and Midwest.
Indeed, two Coloradans led the field of 4,300 runners. Aaron Braun, 27, of Alamosa, won the men's race in 29:00.02, and Brianne Nelson, 33, of Golden, was the fastest woman, finishing in 33:05.70.
But Leonora Petrina, 32, a former Stony Brook University runner and now a Bayport resident, finished third among women in 33:44.53. Maegan Krifchin, 26, of Flagstaff, Arizona, formerly a star at Bellmore JFK High School and then Syracuse University, finished seventh (34:44.08). Stefanie Braun, 24, of Dix Hills, who ran at Half Hollow Hills East and Plattsburgh State, was 10th (37:48.06).
Petrina, a New Zealander who became a U.S. citizen last year, works part time at the Smithtown Running Co. shoe store so she can devote time to training. She surged on the downhill Saturday toward Northport Harbor, and finished less than two seconds behind second-place finisher Renee Metivier Baille of Bend, Oregon (33:43.20). "I was close, but ran out of real estate," Petrina said.
Brendan Martin, 25, of Smithtown, was the top Long Islander in the men's race, finishing seventh in 30:14.02. Martin ran at Smithtown High and then Columbia University. He was encouraged by his time because a left-femur stress fracture interrupted his training this year. His goal is to run the marathon in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Overall winner Braun led from start to finish. Braun was motivated by a tough loss in his previous Cow Harbor 10K. In 2010, he was overtaken in the last few steps by winner Mohamed Trafeh of Duarte, California.
Braun joked about that loss as awards were handed out at the Northport Village Park gazebo. "Four years ago was just such a fun experience every minute -- until those last 10 seconds," he said, generating laughter from the crowd.
Jonathan Peterson, 25, of Minneapolis, finished almost a half-minute behind Braun (29:27.75). Bobby Mack of Raleigh, North Carolina, was third (29:33.38).
Women's winner Nelson was the third member of a team from Colorado's Boulder Running Co. shoe-store chain to win Cow Harbor in as many years. Teammate Mattie Suver won in 2013 and was fourth this year. Alisha Williams won in 2012 and was fifth this year.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave the incorrect number of runners who participated in the Great Cow Harbor 10K race.