By Danny Schrafel
With the Great Cow Harbor Weekend just two days away, the 37th anniversary running of the “cows” is set to bring some of the world’s top runners – as well as scores of weekend warriors from this area – to pound the pavement of Northport Village.
At 8:30 a.m. sharp Sept. 20, the first of 15 waves of 10K runners will begin their race through Northport, a new wave starting the race every minute. The last group – a wave of 2K Fun Run/Walk participants, will compete to raise money for the Special Olympics New York, the Northport VA Hospital and the local food pantry.
Three men, including South Huntington’s W. Gerard Asher, a State Supreme Court Justice, have run every single Cow Harbor 10K. The others, Asher said, are Dix Hills’ Mark Krieg, and East Northport’s Billy Oehrlein.
Asher, now 73, attributed his repeat appearances to sound training and a bit of good luck – he was never sick, never hurt and never away on business on race day.
“It gets better every year. It’s extremely well organized, well run with lots of sponsors and lots of support,” Asher said. “It’s really a great Town of Huntington happening and a great Village of Northport happening.”
Asher’s goal – as it is every year – is to run his age.
“Now that I’m into my 70s, I have to admit I haven’t broken 70 minutes… I’ve been in the 72, 73, 75-minute range, which is where I’ll probably be on Saturday,” Asher said.
About 100 runners have taken advantage of the Northport Running Club’s six weekly Wednesday night runs to help members prepare. Past Northport Running Club President Michael Roux said Sunday that about 120 members will typically run, while another 50 to 60 are set to volunteer.
“It’s a unique combination of small-town race and a big-race feel,” he said. “With big events, a certain level of excitement goes along with it, and to have it in a nice small town on Long Island with all the charm that goes with it is a lot of fun.”
And the following day, Northport residents will celebrate Cow Harbor Day with a parade and street fair, and Leadership Huntington’s current class is using the opportunity to raise money for children’s causes.
The #CowsForKids campaign – and corresponding float – is this year’s class project, which aims to raise funds for the Tri CYA, Reach CYA and Youth Directions and Alternatives (YDA). Donations are being accepted online at leadershiphuntington.org. Want the cow float all for yourself? He’s for sale for an “udderly” affordable $1,000.
For race day, shuttle bus service will be available continuously on race day from 6:45-7:45 a.m., which will take participants from Northport High School to registration and the starting line.
The final day to sign up for the race is Thursday, Sept. 18. For more information or to register for the race ahead of tonight’s deadline, visit www.cowharborrace.com. Visit Northport Village’s website for more information about Cow Harbor Day.