The fierce summer sun on July 4 did not stop hundreds of Long Island runners from participating in the Bellmore Independence Day marathon — the second largest in the event’s history.
More than 660 racers crossed the finish line on Grand Avenue after launching from Petit Avenue, north of Sunrise Highway. The army of runners could be seen traversing north up Bellmore Avenue and south down Newbridge Road. The event’s numbers were only beat during 2013’s turnout.
All racers broke sweat and braved the pounding heat, but ultimately, Sean Luzzi, of Bethpage, came out on top for the men at 20 minutes and 52 seconds. Elizabeth Caldwell, of Glen Head, pulled ahead of the women with a finishing time of 24 minutes and 15 seconds.
In the female 13 to 18 age group, Bellmore and Merrick had strong representation. Bellmore residents Maya Spottiswood, Rachel Tucci and Marissa Spottiswood took first, second and third places, respectively, while Merrick resident Ileane Barrera and Bellmore resident Jillian Conlon trailed behind in fourth and fifth places.
Brendan Moehringer, of Bellmore, also came in second for the male 13 to 18 age group, finishing at 23 minutes and 46 seconds.
Race organizers made sure racers were comfortable, too, as they were offered water, watermelon slices and food past the finish line.
Organized by the Bellmore Striders annually, the marathon is run in honor of the group’s late friend, Matthew Warkala.