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Female 3-Miler Winner Is Revealed at Last

Thu, 12/16/2021 - 14:10
Samantha Whitmore of Flagstaff, Ariz., was the female winner of the Thanksgiving Day 3-Miler in Montauk.
Wayne Whitmore

And the winner was . . . Samantha Whitmore!

The female winner, that is, of the East Hampton Town Recreation Department’s Thanksgiving Day 3-mile Turkey Trot in Montauk, whose results, because of a registration glitch traceable to a flock of last-minute sign-ups, were not to be posted. That left this writer, who talked with the overall 3 and 6-mile winners, Erik Engstrom and Ryan Fowkes, at the finish line, and who was quite sure that Erin Gregoire had been the fastest female in the 6, to wonder who had been the female winner of the 3-miler.

Engstrom’s sister, Ava, a top long-distance runner when she was at East Hampton High, came to mind, as did Bella Tarbet and Ryleigh O’Donnell, the number-two runner on East Hampton’s girls cross-country team (its number-one, Dylan Cashin, was racing in Pennsylvania that day). Engstrom, who is at the University of Vermont now, “did not win,” her mother said when telephoned. She did, though, finish in the top three. O’Donnell, when questioned later, said she was the fourth female, and Tarbet, who’s swimming — not running — at Washington and Lee, apparently said, “Don’t ask,” when her mother greeted her at the finish line.

Whitmore, the daughter of Alice and Wayne Whitmore and the first cousin once removed of Charlie Whitmore, grew up in New York City, though, she said from her home in Flagstaff, Ariz., last weekend, that she has spent a lot of time here. It was Charlie Whitmore’s wife, Chini Alarco, who had seen the race story in these pages in the Dec. 2 issue and had sent it to her so that she could cast some light on the matter.

“At first, I thought I was second,” Whitmore said. Gregoire, who was running with Tim Rossie, a multi-winner of the longer event, though he was the runner-up to Fowkes this time, “was the only woman ahead of me, and she was way ahead. Then I realized she was doing the 6.” Whitmore’s winning time in the 3-miler was 19 minutes and 24 seconds, as calculated by her Strava running app, which worked out to about a 6:40-per-mile pace.

“We were visiting my mother in Amagansett,” the 30-year-old software engineer continued. “Four of us were registered, but when we woke up on Thanksgiving Day, I was the only one who wanted to run.”

At Harvard she had run for fun, she said, though her husband, James Leakos, had captained the university’s cross-country team. Flagstaff, she added, was a good place for runners, as it’s about 7,000 feet above sea level. “It’s cool in the winter, like Long Island. It snowed yesterday. We went skiing.”

She and her husband, who works for Tracksmith, a brand of running apparel, had not known each other when at Harvard; they had met afterward, she said, in Boston. On May 1, they “eloped to the Grand Canyon,” figuring that given the Covid pandemic it wasn’t advisable to have a big wedding. “We were married in the Canyon, by a minister. There were two photographers, who doubled as witnesses.”

Recently, Whitmore ran her fourth marathon in Sacramento, finishing in 3:08, which works out to roughly a 7:10-per-mile pace. It was a personal record by a full 25 minutes.

Asked if she were interested in any other sports aside from running and skiing, Whitmore said, “My husband’s taken up mountain-biking, but I’m wary.”

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