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Family, the 10K, and a house on Shelter Island: Island race dedicated to former Race Director James Richardson

“They came, they ran, I’m done.”

That was James Richardson’s phrase at the end of every 10K he directed for 20 years between 1979 and 1999, according to current Director Mary Ellen Adipietro.

Prior to the beginning of the 44th annual race on Saturday, the event will be dedicated to Mr. Richardson, who died in February at the age of 69.

If his summary of the job sounded simple, it doesn’t begin to capture the work involved to stage the massive event, his wife Jeanne said.

When Mr. Richardson took over as director, nothing was computerized and it was a much larger event — about 2,000 participants. In those days, there weren’t the many road races around today due to the running and fitness boom, so more participants came to the Island, Ms. Richardson said.

With the diligence and attention to detail of Jackie Tuthill, who handled the registrations on pieces of paper, religiously keeping accurate track of everything, it all came together, Ms. Richardson remembered.

When one year’s race ended, it was time to start work to organize the next year’s race, she said.

Mr. Richardson started working with the 10K years before becoming race director, assisting the crew with setup and post-race cleanup.

He also coached Little League baseball, was a volunteer firefighter and a civilian employee of the Shelter Island Police Department.

As a nurse at Eastern Long Island Hospital for 37 years before her retirement in 2016, Ms. Richardson sometimes worked the medical tent at the 10K, treating participants who just needed to cool down and get re-hydrated on a hot day or have an ankle attended to or tight leg muscles massaged.

The couple were married in 1975 but had known one another since they were children because their fathers worked for the Nassau County Police Department. The couple started their life together in Nassau County, moving to Shelter Island in 1980.

Ms. Richardson’s parents owned Beachwood Realty and found the couple a house they liked here. But it wasn’t long before Mr. Richardson began building their dream house on North Midway Road.

Her husband, a former general contractor, had three basic loves in his life — his family, the 10K and the house he built himself “with his own two hands,” Ms. Richardson said.

In declining health in his last couple of years, he told his wife to sell the house since, with their three children grown and with families of their own, the house would be too large for her.

Ms. Richardson said she could never sell, but would pass it on to her children — James, 43, who moved back to Shelter Island to assist her; Sean, 40, of Brooklyn; and Sarah Mackley of Barrington, R.I.

“It’s his masterpiece — a work of art,” Ms. Richardson said about the house.

He loved the 10K and worked very hard, Ms. Richardson said. Only at his funeral did she hear from so many people about efforts he had made to assist them when they needed help.

He was simply not one to brag about his good deeds.