Hundreds gathered along Front Street in Rockville Centre early Saturday morning for the start of the 44th annual 5K run and 1-mile family fun run.
David Putterman, 41, a Rockville Centre resident who has been competing in the race for years, finished the race in first-place for the second consecutive year, with a final time of 17 minutes and 27 seconds — 30 seconds faster than his time last year.
“I ran a half-marathon in September, so I have a lot of running in my legs,” Putterman said. “I saw my daughter at mile one … I can’t believe she got out of bed to see me!”
More than 400 people were registered to participate, with more than 90 percent of registrants from Rockville Centre, according to Mayor Francis Murray.
“The 5K race is a wonderful event for the village of Rockville Centre,” Murray said. “The day starts at 8:30 with a family fun run, where kids three and up are running with their parents for a mile. Followed by a 5k race. We continue the tradition.”
Friends, family and neighbors cheered as the runners approached the finish line, to complete the five-kilometer course around the village. The track began at Front Street and continued onto Maple Avenue, turning up Brower Avenue towards Princeton Road, loops around Derby Road, and continues back towards the finish line down Hempstead Avenue, turning onto N. Village Avenue and back onto Front Street.
Mike Luvin, 23, finished close behind Putterman this year with a final time of 17 minutes and 37 seconds, which was surprising for him, having only heard of the event days before entering.
“I started training again recently,” Luvin said. “(I ran) about 30 miles a week for the past 6 weeks. I live in Seattle but I came back home to Rockville Centre for Thanksgiving and realized the race was this weekend.”
James Albarella, 21, finished in third place four seconds after.
The annual event is organized by the Rockville Centre Recreation Department every year, in collaboration with the RVC Chamber of Commerce, the Rockville Centre Police Department, the Department of Public Works and the Rockville Centre Fire Department.
Race Director David Katz of Finish Line Road Race Technicians was among those in charge with calculating the final run times of each participant.
Katz has years of experience with timekeeping, having previously served as an official race course measurer for the Olympic Games in Tokyo and London.
Coming in at first place for the women was News 12 Long Island meteorologist, Samantha Augeri, who completed the track in 19 minutes and 28 seconds.
Augeri, 40, says she has been running for more than 20 years. “I recently ran the Suffolk County full marathon, so now I wanted to do some shorter, speedy races,” she remarked.
There were many young runners who made the top 20 as well including in 11th place Brendan Fitzpatick, 16 (19:51), and in 12th place Claire Bohan, 17 (19:57), of the Nassau County champion South Side High School cross-country track team.
Also competing this year was Daijoneé Vanderveer, a Rockville Centre resident who lost both her legs in November 2022 to a drunk driver along the Sagtikos State Parkway.
Vanderveer crossed the finish line this year, along with Mike O’Hare, scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 40 in RVC, who also ran for Vanderveer along with other parents and members of the troop.
The race ended with an award ceremony on the town’s new mobile bandstand where winners in each age and gender category received medals for their hard work.