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Winning for the Island: First Island man and woman breaking the tape

JUDY CARD PHOTO Gary Baddeley, left, finishing strong as the first Islander across the finish line in Saturday’s 10K.

JUDY CARD PHOTO Gary Baddeley, left, finishing strong as the first Islander across the finish line in Saturday’s 10K.

Gary Baddeley had a good start at Saturday’s 10K, running freely, set to seriously compete in a race he’d run, as he said, “only casually” the last several years.

The 52-year-old second homeowner, a native of London who’s lived in America for three decades and the Island for more than 20 years, had been training rigorously for triathlons the past several months.

Then, at the first mile mark of the race, a 60-year-old woman “overtook me,” the entertainment lawyer/entrepreneur said, just a bit shocked. “Who is this lady?” he remembered thinking, and then, as the runner moved ahead, he recognized a distinctive running style — Olympian Joan Benoit-Samuelson, 60.

“I thought, ‘I’ll pass her later,’ but I never did,” Mr. Baddeley said.

But his time of 40:33:73, about a second behind Ms. Benoit-Samuelson, was good enough to make him the first male registered from Shelter Island to cross finish line. Elizabeth Morgan, 25, was the first woman registered from the Island to break the tape, in a time of 49:39:88.

Ms. Morgan couldn’t be reached for comment.

Two other champions took on the 6.2-mile course, with Peter Hawkins of Malverne competing against Islander Bill Lehr in wheelchair division, with Mr. Hawkins breaking the tape first.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Islander Bill Lehr on the 10K course Saturday.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Islander Bill Lehr on the 10K course Saturday.

Sports have always been a part of Mr. Baddeley’s life, he said, with soccer his first love since he was four-years-old. He still plays competitively in a “Sunday league,” he said. Running as a sport came from a desire to join the British Royal Marines when he was a teenager. “I trained hard” for the physical, “running in army boots,” he remembered. His endurance and fitness were fine for the entry physical, he said, but his weak eyes betrayed him and he was turned down.

“But when I retuned to school I found I was much faster than the other boys and ran cross country,” he said.

Of late he’s been training for triathlons, that grueling competition of running, swimming and bicycling, and is looking forward to an event in New York City early next month.

The conditions of overcast skies and humid air for Saturday’s 10K didn’t bother Mr. Baddeley, he said. He’d been running on the Island in the same conditions the last few weeks, and “I felt good,” he said. “Strong at the end.”

But not as strong as he would have liked. After the race he went home, ate and then drove to Port Washington, where he stayed with a friend and on Sunday competed in a triathlon. At the finish he realized the Island 10K had taken a lot out of him.

But it was more than worth it, he added, praising the race organizers and the community that had turned out for the athletes and the charities the race supports.

And he has the memory of a victory on his home course.

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