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Taking top honors for their hometown:Tara Wilson and Jason Green are the first Islander 10K finishers

She calls herself an “emotional runner,” meaning, “I sometimes start out with too much, and too quickly.”

But Saturday, Tara Wilson, 34, was the first Island woman across the finish line at her hometown Shelter Island 10K. She was conscious of the conditions — heat and humidity — and that the Island race “is challenging,” Ms. Wilson said, so she ran with her head along with her heart.

“I love the 10K,” she said. “It’s so invigorating, seeing people coming back year after year.” Her time of 47:30 was exceptional, but she noted that “it wasn’t my fastest time, but at this time in my life, I’m running for the love of it, not the competition.”

Going for her master’s in forensic mental health counseling, the Islander is a believer in fitness, and works out with cross training and hot yoga, along with putting in multiple miles every week.

Growing up on the Island, Ms. Wilson ran cross country for Shelter Island High School when Cliff Clark was head coach. Reflecting on the Island’s culture of running, she had a shout-out for her coach and mentor. “I think Shelter Island is such a unique place for running, and Cliff Clark has a lot to do with it,” Ms. Wilson said.

Saturday she ran alongside two other women who she didn’t know, trading leads and then falling back, but kept to a steady pace and finally went on ahead of them.

She was happy with her time, but happier with Shelter Island’s coming together to host another 10K, and as she said, just after finishing the race, being able to “shake off the pandemic dust.”

Jason Green, the first Island man to finish the 10K, just minutes after crossing the line at Fiske Field. (Credit: Eleanor P. Labrozzi)

Jason Green, 18, who graduates from Shelter Island High School this week, was the first Island man across the finish line at Fiske Field — and 12th overall — with a time of 36:04. He was pleased with his time, a personal best at the 10K distance. He admitted to having a case of nerves before the start, since he hadn’t faced a race this long for more than two years, which was the last time he ran the 10K.

A star with the high school track team, Jason holds the school record set last month in the 4-by-100 relay at Southold High School, along with his teammates Jalill Carter and Theo Olinkiewicz.

Being a sprinter, he “went out too fast” at the start of Saturday’s race and hit a wall at about the 2-mile mark, near the Firehouse on Cobbetts Lane. “I was in a pack running at a 5:25 pace,” he said. “It was really hot and humid.”

But he reached within and found a second wind to keep pushing to be the best Island man that day.

This fall, Mr. Green will be heading west — far west — to attend the University of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. That school’s cross country team is the best in the nation, he said, and he’s going to give it a try and also go out for the track team as a walk-on.

As for his hometown’s race, “It was great. The organizers did a great job with everything. It was really nice to have the Shelter Island 10K back.”