The Greater Long Island Running Club's President Mike Polansky will be blogging once a week here. Mike has over 50 years experience in the Long Island Running Community and he has lots of thoughts to share.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2018
March 22, 1998 was a very important day in the history of Long Island running and racing.
It was the date of the inaugural Kings Park 15 Kilometer Run which, at the time was the only 15 K run held on Long Island. We had deliberately tried to come up with as tough a 9.3 miles as we could find, and I think that we succeeded. Back then the race started and finished at the W.T. Rogers Middle School, which is at the 4 mile mark of the current course. The runners went down Kohr Road, which is a major uphill on the current course. Most of the fifth mile back then was an excruciating steep climb up Walnut Road in the San Remo development, and the final mile was what seemed to be an endless climb up Old Dock Road to the finish line.
In what pretty much set the standard for the next nineteen Kings Park races, the only significant snowstorm of the 1997-1998 Winter hit the New York Metropolitan area only a few hours before the starting time. Nevertheless, 493 intrepid runners crossed the finish line. (We had over 600 preregistered , and 97 folks actually signed up that morning, but a couple of hundred “no shows” mostly from the five boroughs of NYC where the weather was much worse than in Suffolk County, kept the turnout down. Overall winners of the first Kings Park 15K were Carlos Castro (52:42) for the men and Helen Visgauss (1:03:19) for the women.
That inaugural Kings Park 15 K was a milestone in Long Island running and racing history for another reason. It was the first “chip timed” race on Long Island. David Katz used Kings Park to introduced us to the Champion Chip Timing System, billed as the same technology as that of E-Z Pass. Each runner wore a small plastic chip tied through his or her shoe lace. The “chip” had been previously used at the Boston, Los Angeles and Berlin Marathon, but this was its first use on Long Island. The chips had to be returned after the finish and reprogrammed before they could be used at another race.
So on March 22, 1998, not only did the “Challenge Begin” in Kings Park, but a new era in Long Island running and racing began as well.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 4, 2018
Thursday, December 28, 2017
“Back in the day” the racing season on Long Island ended with the Ho Ho Ho 5K Run in mid-December and, with the exception of the Joe Latino Relays at Sunken Meadow on a date in February that often ran afoul of Winter weather, didn’t come alive again until the Little Cow Harbor 4 Miler and Kings Park 15K in March.
Things have definitely changed! The new Maggie’s Mile at Sunken Meadow on New Year’s Day adds a new dimension to what were always lots of untimed New Year’s Day fun runs. The January 13th Sayville Running Company 10 Mile Run to the Blue Point Brewery has become one of the biggest races on the Long Island calendar, and may become even bigger in 2019 when the new, bigger Brewery location is available. The January 28th Icebreaker Marathon and Half Marathon offers runners an opportunity to get a long run in, and perhaps qualify for Boston, for the low, low price of only $25. The new Mardi Gras Run to the Great South Bay Brewery on February 11th promises to be another great run , followed by what is becoming the traditional “all you can eat, all the beer you can (safely!!!) drink” with a live band post-race party! Then it's time to get more serious with the Caumsett 50K/25 K plus the usual Little Cow Harbor and Kings Park races in early March.
The Long Island running and racing scene is alive and well all Winter Long. Be a part of it!