One of the most highly anticipated events of the East End road-racing season returns to Shelter Island on Saturday, June 16. The 39th annual Shelter Island 10K/5K Run/Walk will kick off at 5:30 p.m.
The event is open to both walkers and runners, with prizes in each category. The course, which was rated one of the most scenic by Runner’s World, begins at the Shelter Island School at 33 North Ferry Road. Racers then head toward the central business district, with the 10K runners continuing on through Shelter Island Heights and looping through Dering Harbor, as the 5K racers turn back on Manwaring Road, past Sylvester Manor and back toward the school.
The race has traditionally hosted world-famous athletes and Olympians, including Jeff Galloway, Christine McMiken, Greta Waitz, Joan Benoit-Samuelson, Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Kim Jones, Jon Sinclair, Keith Brantly, Amby Burfoot and Meb Keflezighi. Rodgers, also known as Boston Bill for his four Boston Marathon wins, will return this year.
Race festivities include a Family Fun festival at the American Legion, adjacent to the race finish. Entry is free for all, although only runners can indulge in a complimentary barbecue with hot dogs, hamburgers and veggie burgers. DJ Twilo will keep everyone dancing and food will be provided by local purveyors including Noah’s on the Road, Scotto’s Pizza Truck, Opa on the Go, Mister Softee and Stars Café.
The event will also have a kid’s fun area with carnival games and face painting, as well as a local merchant shopping area and photo booth. The festival kicks off at 2:30 p.m., to accommodate people who heed the warnings and arrive at the ferries early—the lines can extend for up to an hour closer to race time.
“Over the years the Run has always been promoted as a family event, but in the last five years we’ve encouraged and promoted family fun,” says race director MaryEllen Adipietro. “[The reason] for this is [that we want to mentor] future generations to be part of the health and fitness experience.” The number of younger kids running the race has increased over the past few years, with many going on to join community track and cross country teams.
As in years past, proceeds from the race will benefit a number of local charities, including the Shelter Island Community Fund, which supports educational services and family needs on the Rock; East End Hospice, which offers care to residents of the Hamptons and surrounding Long Island towns; and Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch, which supports boys ages 10-21 who are in need of a therapeutic environment. Over its 38-year history, the event has raised $650,000 for local charities.
“The impact of the race [on the Shelter Island community] has been amazing,” says Adipietro. “This being the 39th year, generations have run on the Island. The race has supported the students, library, Historical Society, Mashomack Preserve, the police department, the fire department, preschool program, the recreation department, little league program, senior programs, Goat Hill Junior Golf Tournament, the Shelter Island Red Cross and more.”
Registration is available at shelterislandrun.com and costs $40 for the 10K and $30 for the 5K in advance; or $50 and $40, respectively, day-of. Kids 14 and under are $15, and veterans race free. Participants with jogging strollers are welcomed at the back of the race.