Communities Come Together For Fifth Annual Katy’s Courage 5K

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Family was once again the focus at the fifth annual Katy’s Courage 5K in Sag Harbor on Saturday morning.

More than 600 runners and walkers of all ages—from babies just a few months old in strollers pushed by their parents, to the 90-year-old grandfather of the race’s namesake—crossed the finish line under warm and sunny skies. Luis Ramirez, 24, broke the tape in 16:36 (5:21 mile pace), followed by Chris Koegel, 31, in 16:42 (5:23). Armanda Oliveira, 47, was third in 16:56 (5:27), followed by Geo Espinoza, 15, in 17:37 (5:40). Jason Hancock, 41, was fifth in 17:53 (5:46), followed by Mike Monahan, 29, in 18:06 (5:50); Kyle Kelly, 34, in 18:30 (5:58); Bill Reed, 45, in 18:43 (6:02); Liam McGovern, 18, in 18:47 (6:03); and Eamon Spencer, 15, who rounded out the top 10 in 18:53 (6:05).

Patricia Fall Salamy, 48, was the first female in 20:41 (6:40), followed by Lindsay Gallagher, 14, (20:44, 6:41), Alyssa Bahel, 17, (20:48, 6:42), Liana Paradiso, 15, (21:26, 6:54) and Emma Gallagher, 12, (21:30, 6:56).

Full results are at katyscourage.itsyourrace.com.

The race honors the memory of Sag Harbor resident Katy Stewart, who died at the age of 12 in 2010 after a battle with cancer. Proceeds from the race will be divided among three causes that are dear to the Stewart family: “Katy’s Kids,” a new program based at the Children’s Museum of the East End, that provides counseling opportunities for grieving children and their families; the pediatric cancer research fund at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York City, where Katy received treatment; and scholarships for high school students at Pierson and East Hampton. Katy’s father, Jim Stewart, said that while donations are still coming in, the race this year has raised around $50,000 for those causes.

Mr. Stewart described the day as “incredibly wonderful,” saying that he and his wife, Brigid Collins-Stewart, have been overwhelmed by the support of family and friends within the three communities that the race brings together each year—Sag Harbor, East Hampton and Montauk. The Stewarts live in Sag Harbor with their sons, Robert, 10, and Christopher, four months. The Stewarts adopted Christopher in January. Mr. Stewart is a teacher in the East Hampton school district, while Ms. Collins-Stewart is the assistant principal at the Montauk School. Plenty of their immediate family make the trip to Sag Harbor from as far as Florida and Boston to take part in the race, and Mr. Stewart’s father, Walter, crossed the finish line again this year, at the age of 90.

And then there is the support of community members who have become like family, like Nina Landi, a teacher at the Sag Harbor Elementary School who has been instrumental in helping to organize many of the important details of the race. For her, being involved with Katy’s Courage is a no-brainer.

“If you ever met Katy, you would do anything for that child,” she said. “She was one of those golden children who was wise beyond her years. Her life, not just her sickness and death, made such an impact on Sag Harbor. Her legacy is enormous.”

Landi said the plans for Katy’s Kids at the Children’s Museum is a particularly worthy cause, and she hopes more people can support that effort, both logistically and financially. Mr. Stewart and Ms. Collins-Stewart recently completed bereavement counseling training at the Dougy Center in Oregon, a national center for grieving families and children, along with several others who will bring what they learned to Katy’s Kids at CMEE. They are planning on getting the program officially started this spring, and are still looking for more volunteers who want to get involved.

“They’ve got incredibly good plans, and both Jim and Brigid are so educated about this,” Landi said. “It would be invaluable to our local community on the East End.”

Mr. Stewart said that he and his wife were floored by the support of the community who helped make the race a success. John Landi, Vinny Mazzeo, Matt Malone, Ross Berti and John Barton helped Mr. Stewart with set-up, while Marine Sergeant Pablo Abad brought a group of 20 fellow Marines from Riverhead to help with set-up and compete in the race. Sponsors include: Cittanuova, Ben Krupinski Builder, Wainscott Sand and Gravel, the 1770 House, GT Power Systems, Tom O’Donoghue, the Kiwanis Club of East Hampton, Peconic Environmental Associates, Mickey’s Carting, Suffolk County National Bank, Sports and Physical Therapy, the Jim McCormack Memorial Golf Outing, the Montauk Teachers Association, Uihlein’s Marina, Peter Cook AIA, Tara Painting, the Amaden Gay Agency, J. McCaffery Limited, Witty and Gazda Builders and Groundworks. The Village of Sag Harbor and the Sag Harbor Police Department have been instrumental with support as well.

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