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Islander Jason Green breaks Shelter Island 5K record: Banner day for fundraiser for women with cancer

Predictions of foul weather may have kept some participants away, but for the 192 who finished Saturday’s 24th annual Shelter Island 5K, it was a red letter day. The race, run every October, benefits breast cancer awareness, as well as other cancers affecting women.

Shelter Island brothers Jason and Joshua Green placed first and second overall, with Jason breaking the course record, held by Islander Kal Lewis at 15.40. Jason, 20, came in at 15:25.04 with Joshua, 23, coming right on his brother’s heels him with a time of 15:43.8.

Jason Green about to break his hometown 5K record, out running his brother Joshua, who finished second. (Credit: Adam Bundy)

“A lot of hard work,” is what Jason credited for his win.

In third place was Benjamin Segal, 54, of New York City with a time of 19:41.4. The first woman to break the tape was Gwynne Doherty, 16, of Pleasantville, N.Y., celebrating her birthday weekend by participating. Her time was 24.12.84.

The second woman across the finish line was also the first Island woman, Sarah Fairbairn, 58, with a time of 24:40.51.

In third place among the women was Ana Fernandez, 43, from Southampton, who finished the race with a time of 25:03.20. As for the weather, Dr. Frank Adipietro, the voice of the annual race, correctly predicted the rain would hold off, and it did almost to the end. The predicted winds didn’t arrive until much later in the day. Race Director Mary Ellen Adipietro, who has been at the helm of the organizing committee for all 24 years of the 5K, had appropriately arranged for tents to protect the crowd and for the post race celebration.

“We will continue until we find a cure,” Ms. Adipietro said. “We’re still strong.”

Participants in this race were generally less concerned with their race times than with the effort to raise money for the causes — breast cancer and other women’s cancers.

Funds from registrations and money raised by participants goes to the North Fork Breast Health Coalition and the Coalition for Women’s Cancers. Lucia’s Angels benefits from sale of raffle tickets for prizes contributed by area merchants. The organization was formed in memory of Lucia Terzi Bagan who succumbed to cancer, but, receiving so much love and support through her struggle, wanted to support others in their own cancer battles.

Through the years, the race has brought in more than $900,000 to aid patient care for East End women.

Many runners and walkers were survivors or had relatives who are survivors. Some participated in memory of family members who had lost their fight with cancer. Ms. Doherty, the first woman finisher, said cancer runs in her family and that’s what brought her to the race.

Lenore Berner, 59, and husband Dan Berner, 60, ran the race together after Ms. Berner sang the National Anthem at the start line. Ms. Berner said her mother survived cancer in 2001. Mr. Berner’s time was 36:02.8, closely followed by Lenore who posted a time of 36:09.75.

Mr. Berner was “a summer kid” on the Island. After they met in 1987 and began coming out regularly, the couple decided to make the Island their home a few years ago.

Katherine Grattan, 71, of Cutchogue is a breast cancer survivor since 2007. Her doctors told her to just keep moving to increase her chances of survival. She followed the advice and that brought her to the 5K race, where she posted a time of 33:11.61.

Katy Binder, 28, who joined the Board of race organizers this year, said throughout her participation, she was thinking of Bob DeStefano, who is recovering at San Simeon from hernia surgery and gout. The long-time former golf pro at Gardiner’s Bay Country Club has for years been a volunteer for the 5K and 10K races.

Nick Hamblet was honored as Angel of the Year for caring for his mother during her cancer struggle. He was under the weather Saturday, but his sister Vanessa told the crowd he is truly an angel, with a heart filled with love and kindness.

Linda Zavatto was again the top fundraiser, with Towny Montant placing second.

Joe Marro, 38, of Deer Park was participating in the second 5K of his running career as a sign of support to his mother who had breast cancer. But he had another motivation, having dropped 130 pounds when doctors told him he had to change his life or face serious health consequences. Healthy eating and cardio exercises enabled him to slim down; he completed the course with a time of 31:44.36, placing 59th.

“Winning — it’s not about that,” he said. “I came out to challenge myself and support the cause. You have to challenge yourself or what’s the point?”

If his accomplishment can have an impact on just one person, it’s worth it, he said. It’s too early to tally the amount raised by the race since there are bills to settle. When the data is available, the Reporter will bring it to you.