Women of Note in Races Here


By Jack Graves
The East Hampton Star
August 23, 2018


Paige Duca didn’t veer off the course this time. She won among the women at Ellen’s Run and placed fourth over all in 17 minutes and 18 seconds. Photo credit: Craig Macnaughton

Paige Duca didn’t veer off the course this time. She won among the women at Ellen’s Run and placed fourth over all in 17 minutes and 18 seconds. Photo credit: Craig Macnaughton


Paige Duca didn’t veer off the course this time. She won among the women at Ellen’s Run and placed fourth over all in 17 minutes and 18 seconds.Craig Macnaughton

Women were prominent in competitions here this past week. Caroline Cashin, for the second year in a row, outdid everyone in the Pump ’N’ Run, her 133 bench press reps sending her off on the 1.7-mile beach run three minutes and nine seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. Paige Duca, a Boston College all-American and all-A.C.C. miler, her best being a 4:37, topped some 500 female registrants in placing fourth in Sunday’s Ellen’s Run, in 17 minutes and 18 seconds. And Maggie Purcell, heading for the University of Richmond, where she will swim, won among the milers in Saturday morning’s Fighting Chance distance swims in Sag Harbor.

Not to say that males didn’t fare well too, Erik Engstrom in particular, who set a record as Ellen’s overall winner, in 15:39.97. That’s no mean feat considering that Troy Taylor, a former Gubbins Running Ahead employee, and a 4:02 miler, crossed the line in 15:40.96 last year, paring 14 seconds from the previous record, set by another former Gubbins employee, Nick Lemon, in 2015.

The last time out, at Jordan’s Run in Sag Harbor, Duca, a Montauk summer resident who will captain B.C.’s women’s cross-country team this fall, and who, like Engstrom, competes in the steeplechase, failed to make a U-turn at the end of the Jordan C. Haerter Memorial Bridge, resulting in an 18th-place finish. This time, she stayed on course, cracking the top five, behind Engstrom, Dylan Fine, and Carter Weaver.

The women’s top 10 at Ellen’s, whose proceeds help fund cancer prevention, treatment, and post-operative services on the South Fork, included Tara Farrell, Barbara Gubbins, Megan Gubbins, and Erik’s younger sister, Ava Engstrom. Barbara Gubbins’s time of 20:07.55, which works out to a 6:33-per-mile pace, was of particular note given that she is 58.

Used to running a half-marathon at a 7-minute-per-mile pace, it showed the track work she’s been doing lately with Farrell at Southampton High has been productive, said the elder Gubbins, who is in the 89th percentile when she’s “age-graded,” i.e., when her times are compared to the best possible ones for women her age.

Farrell, Barbara Gubbins, and Megan Gubbins, who lives in Brooklyn and comes out on weekends, have formed a formidable trio in recent road races, always finishing in the money, as it were. Geary Gubbins, Megan’s brother, and Geronimo, her Portuguese water dog, have been their chief cheerleaders. Geronimo was the first dog over the line in the 2015 Turkey Trot in Montauk, after which he went into a self-imposed retirement. “The pressure’s been too much,” Geary said. Megan Gubbins said, though not ruefully, that her mother “still beats me.”

There were 812 registrants — pretty much the same number as last year — and 665 finishers. The cool, overcast day was perfect for running, Dr. Julie Ratner, the race’s founder, said. 

Debbie Merrick, 47, of New Providence, N.J., repeated as the top breast cancer survivor to finish, for which she received a Tiffany sterling silver heart necklace with sapphires. She was 34th over all. Another breast cancer survivor, Debbie Donohue, an East Hampton librarian, was the first female in the 65-69 division.

Other female division winners were Ava Engstrom, 12-15; Farrell, 35-39; Laura Brown, 50-54; Gubbins, 55-59, and Susie Roden, also a breast cancer survivor, 60-64.

Male division winners included Eng-strom, 20-24; Jason Hancock, 40-44; Arthur Nealon, 70-74, and Robert Goldfarb, who’s 88, 80-plus. Tony Venesina, 76, who was one of the South Fork’s top distance runners some time ago, placed fourth in the 75-79 division, and Perry Gershon, 56, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the First District, was second in the 55-59 division.

The Stony Brook Southampton Hospital team, numbering around 25, was the day’s largest, meriting a prize. Two tickets on the floor to Billy Joel’s Madison Square Garden concert tonight and four tickets to Meredith O’Connor’s Arts Against Bullying Gala concert in Philadelphia next month were awarded to silent auction bidders. 

O’Connor, who Ratner said “has a huge following among teens,” came to the race. “She’s a terrific, caring, wonderful young woman,” she added.

Ratner began this race, and the Ellen P. Hermanson Foundation, 23 years ago in memory of her sister, an advocate for those with breast cancer who died as a result of the disease. Ellen’s daughter, Leora Moreno, an assistant public defender in Charlotte, N.C., said after the race that she’s been a participant “since the age of 6, the same year my Mom died. . . . It’s been amazing to have watched this run become such a celebratory event, and to have watched it grow into what it is today. Seeing my Mom’s name over Southampton Hospital’s Breast Center makes me feel incredibly proud of what the foundation has accomplished.”

Original, complete article: https://easthamptonstar.com/Sports/2018823/Women-Note-Races-Here

Julie Ratner