Shelter Island’s premier sporting event is set for Saturday.
The gun will sound to get runners and walkers on the move for the 38th annual Shelter Island 10K/5K Run/Walk at 5:30 p.m. The 38th annual 10K/5K Run/Walk on Saturday will have two major focuses this year. One is to give serious runners a heightened sense of competition by the 10K partnering with two other historic races in the region as part of a “Grand Prix.” The second goal is to kick up the after-race party several notches, making it the capstone of a day of joy and excitement for all ages.
“We want to make it a family fun day,” said Julie O’Neil-Bliss, marketing director for the race, “as well as enhancing the race for runners.”
Serious runners are always searching for “something different and more competitive,” said Mary Ellen Adipietro, the 10K race director. Joining in a Grand Prix circuit fills the bill. Those who compete in all three races can achieve special awards.
The first leg of the Grand Prix is the 16th annual NYPD Memorial 5K Run this Sunday, May 21, where more than 2,500 athletes are expected to participate in New York City to honor all NYPD officers who have died in the line of duty. The race starts at the NYPD Memorial Wall in Battery Park.
The second leg of the Grand Prix is the Shelter Island 10K, and the final is the 40th Cow Harbor 10K Run, a race that Runner’s World magazine has ranked in the top 100 races in the country. The gun goes off for this prestigious event in Northport on September 16 and 5,000 runners are expected to take part.
In addition to giving runners incentives to keep training and match their fitness, stamina and speed with other runners around the region, it will be a boost for “cross marketing and advertising for each other’s events,” O’Neil-Bliss said. “This canvases our three demographics, and all races have the common thread of charity and history.”
The after-race festivities on the Island have been upgraded, O’Neil-Bliss said. The organizers of the 10K want to make Saturday, June 17 a “runners festival” attracting people from both forks and farther afield. The Island Boatyard’s revamped “boathouse” will be the central hub of a “family-fun night,” O’Neil-Bliss said.
There will be a food truck, a “kids fun area” with four inflatables and a photo booth, plus an arts and crafts display. The organizers have arranged with John Kowalenko of Hamptons Event Management to help with the festivities along with Grandstand Sports and Memorabilia of New York City to run silent and live auctions of sports-related items, New York City theater tickets, including to the hit show “Hamilton,” as well as Yankee Stadium tickets, among other top-shelf items and events.
“We want to showcase Shelter Island, its businesses, our charities and sponsors at a feel-good event about health and wellness,” O’Neil-Bliss said.
Proceeds from the race will go to support several East End charities, including the Shelter Island 10K Community Fund, which assists the community with philanthropic donations to community programs for Shelter Island, educational services including scholarships, project Excel, school trips and family services; East End Hospice, which offers home health care, with short-term hospital stay when needed, for the people of the Hamptons and surrounding Long Island towns; and Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch, which provides a safe haven for boys ages 10-21 who are in need of a therapeutic environment.
To register for the Island’s 10K and more information, go to shelterislandrun.com.