Tradition Returns In Graybeards Run
Friday, July 25 marked the return of a great tradition as the Graybeards conducted their first annual Rockaway Family Run. It was a beautiful night with over 400 runners, while more than 700 enjoyed the post race festivities at the St. Francis de Sales Schoolyard.
The Rockaway Gliders Family Run had been a highlight of the summer calendar and was sorely missed the last few years. The connection to the past was evident as former race director, Joe Featherston not only advised, but conducted the race itself. The original t-shirt design was revived as was the race date, which has always been the last Friday in July. What was different was a first ever start and finish at the boardwalk’s west end at Beach 126th Street, as well as the post race gathering at St. Francis.
The evening began with the Kids’ Races which ranged in distance from 2-3 blocks depending on age. There were a lot of enthusiastic runners and all participants received commemorative ribbons.
The 1 Mile race followed, and on a slightly shortened course, 13-year-old Andrew Cruz emerged as the winner in 4:58. Right on his heels was Female Champion Shinann Featherston in 5:04.
It was truly special when many of Rockaway’s Special Olympians followed with an inspiring competition that began an exciting weekend for them. All were still recapping the race the next night and wearing their medals at the Fundraiser at Flip and Rita Mullen’s house.
Finally, the 5K kicked off and it appears there is a new generation to take up the torch from Jim McVeigh. Matthew Redden, 18, captured the Champion’s Silver Plate in a time of 16:33, while up and coming Jimmy Hayden, 15, finished third. Rockaway running icon, McVeigh was second between these two fine young runners. Another contemporary, Cristin Mullen, 18, was Female Champion, and 9th overall in 20:16. It looks like a changing of the guard!!
After the race, everyone flocked to the schoolyard at St. Francis where the Graybeards showed what an effective group they are, especially when it comes to organizing an evening of fun. Ed Cashen and his crew served hot dogs and hamburgers until Ronald McDonald cried ‘uncle.’ Dan Leary and company kept the liquid refreshments coming, and Bugsy went back to his Magnet roots to DJ some Graybeard music.
In addition to the 50/50 raffle, there was an abundance of door prizes due to the generosity of the local business community, and our sponsor Footlocker, courtesy of Jeanine Zocks. NYC Message Bears, a division of Roxbury Mills USA donated the age group awards of Teddy Bears, which were unique and well received. Our other sponsors were B&G Medical Staffing Network, Its All Good Tees, Annabelle’s Boys, and The Wave. Please see our upcoming ad to thank them and make sure to patronize them.
Aside from our sponsors and donors, and my fellow Graybeards and their wives, I would like to thank the following: Joe Featherston, Mary Ellen Olsen, Paul and Joanne Richter, Siobhan Keenan, Pat Savage, John Edwards, Marybeth Kearney, Ricky O’ Neill, Mary Tufts, Danielle Kelly, Allison Bagley, Kim Goldberg, Helen Killgallen, Joe Courtney, Flip Mullen, Karen Mullen, Sheila Ray, Colleen Mercer, Erik McManus, John McCann, Billy Egan, Terry and Mary Flynn, Msgr. Geraghty, Jim McKeon, NYC Parks Dept, P.O. Peter Rahniotis, P.O. Ken Beecher, anyone I may have inadvertently left out, and of course my wife Marybeth Goldberg.