By Janee Law
Kicking off the annual Cow Harbor Day Weekend, thousands of participants in the 39th annual Great Cow Harbor 10K race took off from Laurel Avenue on Saturday and circled around Northport Village, taking in the scenic views in the process.
It was all “beautiful,” the weather, scenery and especially passing the ocean, said Barbara Capri, of East Northport.
Capri, who has run in the race 20 times, added, “It brings town spirit, kicks off the fall season, and it’s a good family event where I get to run with my daughter.”
A total of 4,124 people completed the race, according to the official results, with 2,007 participants hailing from the Town of Huntington, including Asharoken, Centerport, Cold Spring Harbor, Commack, Dix Hills, East Northport, Eatons Neck, Elwood, Fort Salonga, Greenlawn, Huntington, Huntington Bay, Huntington Station, Lloyd Harbor, Melville and Northport. The host area, Northport, drew the most participants with 881.
Aaron Braun, of Flagstaff, Arizona, completed the race in 29:23.34 to claim first place for the men, and Natosha Rogers, of Littleton, Colorado, finished in 33:16.59 to claim first place for the women.
The first Town of Huntington resident to cross the finish line was Colin Kern, 20, of Northport, who finished 12th overall with a time of 33:02.29. Heather Williams, 41, of Centerport, was the first Town of Huntington woman to cross, coming in at 38:07.29, good for 56th place overall.
Several participants said the most challenging part of the race was the hilly landscape, particularly that found on James Street.
While James Nolechek, of Centerport, a first-time racer, said James Street was “horrible.” Maritza Howard, of Huntington Station, who has run in the race three times, agreed with Nolechek, but said the challenges are well worth it.
She added, “It’s fun and it gets easier every year because you know what to expect.”
Johanna Moustouka, of Dix Hills, said that, although it’s a challenging course, it’s a lot of fun, especially with the support of onlookers.
“The people in this town are very encouraging,” Moustouka said. “It was nice how everybody from their houses came out and set up water stations.”
To those who have yet to run in the race, Randy Howard, of Centerport, a six-time racer, said: You’re “missing out on the event of September.”
The race, which brought more than 4,700 people to Main Street, is a celebration of the Northport community. Along with the 10K, there is also a 2K Fun Run/Walk, which is intended for families.
The 10K race has also been nationally ranked, with Runner’s World naming it as one of the top 100 races in the United States.
“It’s the best race there is,” East Northport resident Paul Giuliani, who has participated 16 times, said. “This has always been a big weekend. I started doing this back in 2000, but this has always been a big event since I’m a kid.
“There’s no better town than Northport on Long Island.”