By Jamie Kempton
Art Gunther of Nyack captured his second straight 5K title and former Clarkstown North runner Matt McKenna won the 10K at the third annual Bill Fortune Memorial Run on May 11 at Rockland Lake. The races were coordinated by the Rockland Road Runners and all proceeds benefited Meals on Wheels Programs and Services of Rockland.
Gunther, 41, took the lead at the start and never looked back en route to an emphatic victory. The 1989 Tappan Zee graduate covered the flat 3.1-mile course around the lake in 15 minutes 26 seconds, a pace of 4:58 per mile. Ryan Ripley, 31, of Farmingdale finished second in 18:44, more than a half-mile behind Gunther, who has dominated the Rockland road-racing scene for several years.
Robyn Contente, 32, of Suffern won the women’s division and placed seventh overall in 20:57. Akiko Villegas, 27, of New City was runner-up in 22:02.
McKenna, 27, a 2003 Clarkstown North alumnus, toured the double-loop 10K course in 39:00, for a 75-yard margin of victory over second-place Caitrin Demchko of Nanuet. Demchko, a 23-year-old ex-Pearl River standout, finished in 39:18 and just held off Jonathan Farrell of Nanuet (39:22) for second. Julie McElroy, 46, of Sleepy Hollow was the female runner-up in 41:30.
The races attracted more than 250 registered entrants.
The event is named in honor of Bill Fortune, a former Pearl River resident who was the Rockland Road Runners’ most accomplished masters (40 and older) runner. He set five national age-group records and won numerous age-group championships during his 25-year racing career, in events ranging from 800 meters to the marathon. He also won international acclaim for his performances in the 1,500 meters, 5K and 10K. Fortune died in June 2010 at age 81.
For full race results: 2013 5K Results / 2013 10K Results
Race day pictures are available: Ken Shelton Photography – 2013 Bill Fortune 5K & 10K