REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The start of the 2011 Shelter Island 10K race.
Get out your running shoes and start training. It may only be March, but before you know it, the 33rd annual Shelter Island 10K Run/Walk will be on the horizon.
This year’s date is Saturday, June 16 and organizers have chosen the theme “Celebrate London 2012.”
That’s because Shelter Island’s own Amanda Clark and her sailing partner Sarah Lihan will be competing in the women’s 470 races at the Summer Olympics in London. This is Ms. Clark’s second bid for an Olympic medal and is likely her last, she has said.
This year’s 10K proceeds will again go to the Shelter Island 10K Community Fund, East End Hospice and Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch.
Team GoSail, as Ms. Clark and Ms. Lihan call themselves, won’t benefit from the 10K but Ms. Clark’s supporters will be selling T-shirts and other paraphernalia to raise money to support their Olympic challenge, according to 10K Race Director Mary Ellen Adipietro.
About 2,000 runners and 5K walkers are expected to converge on the Island for the race, according to Ms. Adipietro.
Among the stars who will be on hand for this year’s 10K are past Olympic headliners Frank Shorter and Joan Benoit Samuelson.
Mr. Shorter won the gold medal in the 1972 Munich Olympics marathon and has been credited by USA Track and Field as the driving force in distance running in the United States. He was elected to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1984.
Ms. Benoit Samuelson won gold in the first women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and won the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983, the second time breaking a world record.
Perennial favorite Bill Rodgers, four-time winner of both the Boston and New York Marathons between 1975 and 1980, and winner of 22 marathons in his overall career, will return for the Shelter Island race.
Keith Brantly, another accomplished runner whose career has spanned three decades and includes participation in the 1996 Olympics, will also be here.
The Shelter Island Community Fund, a key race beneficiary, has supported numerous programs through the years, Ms. Adipietro said. It annually awards one or more scholarships to Shelter Island High School graduating seniors who have proven to be strong, positive role models for other students. The fund has contributed thousands of dollars to youth programs, including construction of the FIT Center at Shelter Island School, building and maintaining basketball courts, purchasing school sports uniforms, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America activities, exchange programs and drug education workshops.
Funding has also gone to community groups, including the Red Cross, the Mashomack Preserve chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the American Legion, the Historical Society, the Public Library and local senior citizens programming.
A second beneficiary of 10K money is East End Hospice, which provides end of life care and family support for people on Eastern Long Island.
The third beneficiary is Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch in Riverhead, which provides safe haven for boys 10 to 21 who are in need of a therapeutic environment. Ms. Adipietro said she gets numerous requests for funding and can’t honor them all. Individual teams of runners find their own ways, she added, to raise funds at the race for their own good causes.
That’s the case with supporters of a new track at the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District. They couldn’t entice nearby school districts to participate in a fundraising effort to replace the outdated cinder track in Mattituck. Supporters will field a team of runners, each of whom are seeking pledges to support the track project.
To register for the Shelter Island 10K Run/Walk, visit the website at shelterislandrun.com.