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A Great Race All Around on Shelter Island

Thu, 06/20/2024 - 18:07
The leaders of the Shelter Island 10K included James Quattlebaum (6), who was first, Christopher Alfond (7) in second, and Ryan Fowkes (1220), who came in third but is behind the fourth-place finisher, Coen Roberts (9), in this photo.
Jack Graves

Ryan Fowkes, who is racing royalty when it comes to the East End running community, capped his 2024 competitive season with a third-place overall finish in the Shelter Island 10K on Saturday. For the 2019 East Hampton High School graduate, his 30 minute, 39.28-second finish was also a personal best.

Fowkes, 23, had just come off Olympic trials in Boston the weekend prior, where he had been gunning for a spot on Team U.S.A.’s 1,500-meter roster — a challenge he’ll try for again in the future, he said by phone this week.

Back at home and prepping for a coaching change as he heads to Virginia Tech for graduate school, he decided sort of last minute to try the Shelter Island 10K again. He’d done it once before, in 2016, when he was still a high school student.

“I wasn’t going into the race trying to run a personal best — I was trying to win,” Fowkes said. “The conditions were good. It was a beautiful day, a beautiful evening. I knew it would be a day to run fast. Some really good runners turned up and it ended up being a great event.”

MaryEllen Adipietro, the race director, watched him come around the last corner and across the finish line. “He looked great. . . . If he keeps his competitive running up, next year I could see him doing a 29-minute 10K — competitive with first place anywhere,” she said. “He did great and it was a pretty big deal. I was impressed.”

James Quattlebaum of Greenville, S.C., 28, was the top finisher in a field of 467 competitive runners, posting a time of 29:42.43. Christopher Alfond of Arundel, Me., 26, finished second in 30:17.50. Jason Green and Joshua Green, brothers from Shelter Island, landed in seventh and eighth place, respectively. Another member of East Hampton racing’s royalty, Erik Engstrom, 24, finished in 13th over all.

In the women’s division, with 367 entrants, Angie Rafter of Vernon, Conn., 24, earned first place with what Adipietro called “a really exciting photo-finish.” Running the 10K in 32:23.66, she crossed the finish line less than a second ahead of the second-place finisher, Amelework Bosho of Washington, D.C., 37.

Rafter is a professional runner who was most recently affiliated with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, which supports “post-collegiate distance runners in their pursuit of excellence on a national and international level.” She now trains middle distances on her own with her fiancé, Alex Norstrom, as her coach. Saturday’s race also was her first trip to Shelter Island; she was the 11th-place finisher over all.

“It was a cool course, with beautiful views, a lot of shade — I wasn’t expecting that, it kept us cool — and it was so well organized,” Rafter said. “I had so much fun.”

Of the photo finish ahead of Bosho, she thought “we both did a great job of taking turns leading throughout the race. There were a few other women who went pretty hard on the first mile, but I hung back a little bit and quickly caught up on the hills.”

Bosho had about a five-second lead toward the end, and Rafter said she had rolled her ankle a touch, but when they came around to the grass finish line, she thought, “If I’m here, I can win. I pride myself on being able to kick really hard.” Medal in hand, she had to leave quickly to catch an 8 p.m. ferry back to Connecticut and missed the awards ceremony.

Erin Gregoire of New York City, 27, ran it in 35:34.60, good for third place in the women’s competition.

The Shelter Island 10K has been traversing the Rock since 1980. This year’s race was officially dedicated to Christian Napolitano, a 31-year-old Shelter Island man who died May 10 after a car accident in Southold on April 25. He had been a past runner in the 10K and 5K races there, as well as a volunteer.

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