By Jamie Kempton
There are few things in life as certain as a clear day and an Art Gunther victory at the South Nyack 10-Mile Run. Things ran true to form on Sunday, Sept. 8, as Gunther swept to his 17th victory in 19 attempts and sunny skies shone on the participants of the Silver Anniversary 25th edition of this kickoff event to the fall racing season in Rockland.
More than 450 runners registered for this Rockland Road Runners-sponsored race and 404 crossed the finish line on the Mayor Raymond Esposito Rail-Trail at Franklin Street Park in South Nyack. First across the line, as usual, was Gunther. The 42-year-old former Tappan Zee High star from Nyack took the lead immediately and never looked back in securing an easy victory in 55:04, a pace of 5:30 per mile. He came striding home more than a mile ahead of his nearest pursuer. Luke Driscoll, 37, of Pearl River, was the runner-up in 1:01:48.
Gunther has been in a league of his own since debuting at the race in 1994. His only South Nyack losses in the past 20 years were in ‘94, to Abidi Bouazza of Kingston, N.Y., and in 1998 to Matt Byrne of Scranton, Pa.. Gunther missed the 2009 race due to injury, but otherwise has been as consistent as a grandfather clock in clicking off one victory after another in what he considers his hometown race.
While Gunther was adding another title to his collection, Caitrin Demchko was notching her first. The 24-year-old ex-Pearl River High standout from Nanuet ran a smart race, holding back a little on the net-downhill first few miles of the course and gradually increasing her tempo as the race progressed. She finished ninth overall and tops in the women’s division in 1:05:21, a pace of 6:32 per mile. Sheila Casey, 44, of Park Ridge, N.J., the 2011 champion, placed second in 1:09:50. Casey was one of four former women’s winners to compete this year, along with Kim Chalfin, last year’s titleholder who clocked 1:10:12 this time, Laura DiMarino (2006) and Carol Guzinski (2004).
Race proceeds benefited the Orangetown Fire Company No. 1 (South Nyack) and Piermont volunteer fire departments, the Nyack Ambulance Corps and a pair of Nyack soup kitchens, Soup Angels and Sunday Supper.
“Thanks to all the volunteers, runners, sponsors and supporters at today’s 25th running of the South Nyack 10-Mile Road Race,” said Mike Angarola, who’s been directing the race since its inception in 1989. “Because of all your efforts the race went off without a hitch. Of course the day was beautiful!”