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Wheelchair athlete Peter Hawkins remains Long Island Marathon institution

Peter Hawkins of Malverne crosses the finish line

Peter Hawkins of Malverne crosses the finish line inside Eisenhower Park in East Meadow to complete the Long Island Marathon on Sunday, May 5, 2019. Credit: James Escher

Peter Hawkins, Malverne

There might not be a better authority on the Long Island Marathon than Peter Hawkins. Hawkins, the wheelchair athlete who has become a staple at the annual event, finished in two hours, 29 minutes, 14.1 seconds on Sunday. He said it was either his 26th or 27th Long Island Marathon.

This year’s marathon course experienced a massive redesign, with most of the Wantagh Parkway portion removed from it. The marathon, which had seen a large decline in registration, was considered ‘mind-numbing’ by some, according to Race Director Corey Roberts.

“I liked the course,” said Hawkins, 54, who was paralyzed from just above the waist down in a car accident in 1981. “But, everything was tempered because of the rain. So, it was hard to say. But, the course was good. The first half was faster than the second half, but that’s just because you’re halfway through the race.”

Hawkins said he didn’t mind the old course, either.

“Twenty-six miles is 26 miles,” Hawkins said. “I liked the old course. There were people that hated it. But, we were on the parkway for a lot of time, a lot more than we are now. [The new course] was a nicer course and a nicer situation.”

Hawkins said that the pounding rain didn’t affect his race too much.

“My hands were hooking up pretty well, but mile 22 or 23 they started slipping a little bit,” he said “It slowed me down a little bit, but considering the rain that we had and how wet it was, it wasn’t that bad.”

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