A Shelter Islander, Kal Lewis, Wins Katy’s Courage 5K

A winning time of 16 minutes and 25.57 seconds
A large variety of athletes, swimmers and lacrosse and tennis players among them, were drawn to Saturday’s Katy’s Courage 5K in Sag Harbor. Jack Graves

Hordes of runners, almost 700 of them, turned out in Sag Harbor for Saturday’s Katy’s Courage 5K, and a Shelter Island High School freshman, Kal Lewis, won it, in 16 minutes and 25.57 seconds.

His coach, Toby Green, who was among the spectators that day, said his promising runner, who led Shelter Island to a fifth-place finish statewide in cross-country last fall and to a county Class D championship, had a lot of upside.

The week before, Lewis, whose Katy’s Courage time was a minute better than he’d done last year, won his 3,200-meter heat at the New York Relays on Randalls Island, in 9:55, finishing 20th among 100 competitors from throughout the region.

“We’re going to be strong again,” said Green, excusing himself to cheer on his 13-year-old son, Jason, a Shelter Island eighth grader who will run varsity cross-country next fall. 

The second and third-place finishers were East Hamptoners, Geo Espinoza, in 16:55.32, and Ryan Fowkes, in 17:12.22. The three led the field until the final quarter-mile, at which point Lewis pulled away.

Katy’s Courage, the first road race of the season, is very popular, drawing high school and middle school students of all sorts of athletic persuasions from Southampton to Montauk. East Hampton High’s boys and girls track teams were represented, as were players on its varsity and middle school girls lacrosse teams. Swimmers and tennis players were there as well.

One of the latter, James Consiglio, who’s 56, placed sixth over all (and thus easily won his age group), in 18:07.58. Ethan McCormac, 15, a Bonacker who swam at the state meet recently, placed fourth, in 17:53.09

Robert Weiss, a teammate of Espinoza and Fowkes — a sprinter, though — rounded out the top 10, in 18:22.56.

Finishing just out of that group were Jason Hancock, 43, a Southamptoner who teaches at the Amagansett School, and Jim Stewart, 62, the father of the late Katy Stewart, for whom the race is named. Jim’s father, Walt, who’s 92, was the race’s eldest entrant, and the 361st to cross the line at West Water Street. 

Dr. Bernard Berger of East Hampton, topped the 80-89 division, in 44:02.73. His daughter, Emi, 40, a triathlete who once cycled across the United States, was right behind, in 44:04.21.

Mike Buquicchio, who assists Ben Turnbull with East Hampton’s boys track team, said he and Turnbull were happy that Espinoza and Fowkes had each broken 17 minutes. “I wish we had him,” he said of Lewis. 

Jeanette Fischer, 41, a Sag Harborite, repeated as the women’s winner, in 18:59.26 — more than a minute faster than her time last year. Bella Tarbet, a 14-year-old East Hamptoner, a promising long-distance runner herself, was the third female (and 29th over all), in 20:17.33. A couple of seconds behind Tarbet was another 14-year-old, Alden Powers, who, in 20:19.61, topped 92 others in the female 14-and-under division.

Alden’s father, David, a 49-year-old who often can be found among the top finishers in triathlons here — along with competitors half his age — was 19th, in 19:32.09.

Next on the running calendar is Diane Weinberger and Amanda Moszkowski’s Bridgehampton half-marathon this Saturday. The start-finish line is on Ocean Road, near the Beebe Windmill. The 13.1-miler is to start at 9 a.m.

Geo Espinoza and Ryan Fowkes, East Hampton High School track teammates, at the left above, finished second and third, behind Shelter Island’s Kal Lewis, breaking the tape below. Craig Macnaughton and Jack Graves Photos