With more than 750 participating athletes from as far as Seattle, WA, and Victoria, AU, Nassau County hosted the successful Land Down Under 5K on Saturday, Jan. 25 with the goal of benefiting the recovery efforts of Australia’s historic and catastrophic wildfires. The event, held at Nassau County’s Cedar Creek Park in Seaford, raised a total of 42,000 Australian dollars, which went directly to the CFA (Victoria Country Fire Authority) and the RFS (NSW Rural Fire Authority). In addition, proceeds from T-shirt sales were directed to Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors, home of the Irwin’s. Normally competitors, the event was organized by the region’s leading race curators, elitefeats, RaceAwesome, EventPower and PR Timing.
“I was deeply saddened to hear of the unprecedented bushfires devastating Australia, killing an estimated 1.25 billion animals to date,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “I want to thank the leaders of Long Island’s running community for racing to support the ongoing efforts of the brave men and women putting their lives on the line to combat this environmental crisis. I was proud to run alongside hundreds of passionate Nassau County residents and I applaud everyone for coming together for this cause.”
Jonathan Schloth, 23, of Lynbrook, crossed the finish line first at a little more than 17 minutes or about 5 minutes and 11 seconds per mile.
Eric Repp, 18, finished second among males at about 17 minutes and 30 seconds with a pace of 5 minutes and 38 seconds per mile. John Schwab, of North Bellmore, finished third among men at 17 minutes and 35 seconds or a pace of 5 minutes and 50 seconds
Una Broderick, 53, of Wantagh, finished first among women at 20 minutes and 52 seconds or 6 minutes and 43 seconds per mile, while Jayne Paskoff, also 53, of Lynbrook, finished second at 22 minutes and 6 seconds or 7 minutes and 4 seconds per mile. Christina Bordonaro, 51, finished third at 23 minutes and 3 seconds or 7 minutes and 24 seconds per mile.
Australian native and Merrick resident, Bernadette Murray, and her daughter, Julia, also parcipated in the race and in a press conference to urge participation and support.
Jack Hanley, of Babylon, and Howard Kestenbaum, of Plainview, both older than 80 years old, completed the race. Helma Clavin, of Lake Ronkonkoma, and Carol Rivera, of Lindenhurst, both older than 75, also crossed the finish line.
Among the youngest runners, Robert, 13, finished first for males 14 and under while Kaitlyn, 10, of Glen Head, finished first in the under 14 category for females.
“The response of the Long Island racing community was overwhelming,” Brendan Dagan, acting CEO of elitefeats, said. “In less than three weeks, we came together to support this global crisis. We are grateful to have been part of this event.”
For the event, EliteFeats built out the registration platform and is provided the equipment and staff. PR Timing provided the bibs, chips and staff. Both companies did this at zero cost. EventPower and RaceAwesome provided staff, course set up, logistics, equipment, music, post-race soup and more, all at zero cost. There were no T-shirts or medals provided to runners to ensure every dollar went to the charities.
“The event was a raging success, it showed to power of a community united,” Corey Roberts, Australia native and founder of RaceAwesome, said. “We are extremely lucky to be a part of this great community of runners.”
—Submitted by Nassau County