Westhampton Beach resident Jay Barry, 35, reclaimed his title in the 23rd annual Joe Koziarz 5K in Westhampton Beach on Saturday morning, beating out second-place finisher Nicholas Berglin, 16, of Hampton Bays by a comfortable margin.
Barry won the race in 2011 but finished third last year to Danny Denis of Bayport, who nearly set the course record with a time of 15:46—the record, 15:43, was set in 2010 by Drew Dillingham—and Ryan Moynihan, who was second, in 16:19.
As of Tuesday morning, the finishing times for the runners in the Koziarz 5K were still listed as “unofficial” on island-timing.com, the company that provides the timing for the race. Island Timing director Bob Beattie explained that there had been an error with the system that added 45 seconds to the times. He was working on resolving the error, and expected it to be amended by Tuesday night.
Jonathan Taro, 27, of Shirley was third overall, followed by Jack Link, 16, of East Hampton, and Erik Engstrom, 15, also of East Hampton. Rounding out the top 10, in order, were: Jason Hancock, 39, of Southampton; Chauncey Hastings, 20, of Westhampton Beach; Graham Brown, 17, of Westhampton Beach; Dylan Fine, 15, of Water Mill; and Parker Schwartz, 28, of New York.
Aileen Barry, 31, of Westhampton Beach finished 11th overall and was the top female finisher, followed by Tara Farrell, 34, of East Quogue, who was 12th overall and was the second female finisher. Laura Brown, 45, of Westhampton Beach was the third female and was 16th overall. Maria Pavkovitch, 29, of Union City was the fourth female and was 22nd overall, while Steffi Vickers, 17, of Remsenburg was 23rd overall and was the fifth female finisher.
According to Berglin, Barry had the race won pretty much at the halfway point. “There were maybe five people together in front in the first mile, and then right after the mile marker, there’s an aid station, and at that point, me and three other people broke away,” he explained. “But [Barry] just broke away after that. I knew, halfway through, he was going to win.”
Berglin said he hadn’t competed against Barry before but knew he was fast based on his time last year. Berglin competed in the race along with his twin brother, Christian Berglin, who finished 20th overall. The brothers will be juniors at Hampton Bays High School next year, and said they hope to continue their running careers in college.
The Koziarz 5K is run in honor of Joe Koziarz, a Westhampton resident who died of a heart attack in 1995 at the age of 52. Koziarz was an avid runner and active in the greater Westhampton community. Proceeds from the race go to the Joe Koziarz Scholarship Fund and help fund various groups and organizations within the greater Westhampton community that need support, such as the Town of Southampton Police Athletic League (PAL) and the Peconic Bay Medical Center Emergency Room in Riverhead.
Conditions were perfect for the race on Saturday morning, with a light cloud cover that gave runners a break from the oppressive heat that had settled over the area in the days leading up to the race. A total of 410 runners and walkers crossed the finish line—a nice turnout, but not near the record 600 who came out for the race in 2011.