41st annual USA T&F Long Island 8K Championship held

Jennifer Dagan, 34, winner of the women's division crossing the finish line at the 41st annual USA Track and Field Long Island Division Championship 8k on June 3. (Photo courtesy of Elitefeats)

The 41st annual USA Track and Field Long Island Division Championship run, an 8K race, drew more than 400 competitors on June 3. 

The 8K, which is almost five miles, kicked off at 8:30 a.m. at the Denton Avenue School in New Hyde Park.

The first to cross the finish line was 24-year-old Mike Darnell in a time of 26:16. His average mile pace was 5:17. Jennifer Dagan, 34, was the first to cross the line in the women’s division in a time of 29:41. Her average mile pace was 5:38. Peter Hawkins, age 54, was the first to cross the finish line in the wheelchair division.

New York state Sen. Elaine Phillips attended the race and held one end of the finish line tape for runners.

Over 50 children participated in the fun run.

“This was our 41st annual Championship 8K race.  It is one of the oldest races on Long Island, and we are one of the oldest running clubs on LI,” said Stephen Cipot, a member of the New Hyde Park-Mineola Runners Club. “We are all volunteers and enjoy giving back to the community.  We are always striving to improve the event and have already begun planning for next year’s event.”

The races were preceded by an award ceremony that was led by Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, who thanked the runners club for contributing to the health and well-being of the communities. The local American Legion post provided the color guard at the ceremony.

The award for first place in all divisions was $75, second place was $50 and third place was $25. All winners of their divisions also received free entry for next year’s race.

Registration on race day was $30. The money raised supports not only the race, but also  the Nassau County Firefighters with the Operation Wounded Warrior program, local Boy Scouts of America Troops 298 and 544 and the Garden City Park Fire Department Ambulance Corps.

Over the past seven years, the race has raised more than $35,000 for the Nassau County Firefighters, and thousands of dollars for local youth groups.

“The NCFF OWW provides benefits and services to wounded LI veterans above and beyond what the VA provides, including veterans living in the greater New Hyde Park, Mineola, Williston Park area,” Cipot said about the nonprofit.

The youngest person to finish the 8K this year was 13, and the oldest was 91.

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Gretchen Keller

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