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2008 Really good start aerial_Paul Brwer?

The community of Shelter Island opens its arms and welcomes over a thousand runners of all ages, shapes, sizes and levels of competition on Saturday, June 15.

There are elite runners from all over the world, former Olympians, competitive runners — spot them setting their watches at the starting line aiming for a personal best— seniors, teams running for good causes and children.

The non-competitive 5K walk is open to everyone who doesn’t want to run and in the Kids Fun Run, every participant wins a medal.

The fun for everyone begins Friday evening with the family-friendly pasta party from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion. The 6th and 7th grade students of the Shelter Island School and their parents serve a variety of pastas, salad and desserts, while earning money for their educational trip to Disney World. This year, newly arrived Schmidt’s Market is catering the event. Come and meet elite runners and former Olympians up close. Tickets are available at the door for $20 per person; $30 per family.

Saturday morning, the excitement builds as runners and walkers register for the race at the school gym, pick up their goody bags and T-shirts and enjoy the festive atmosphere in all the restaurants and stores. A DJ will spin discs starting at 2 p.m. at the starting line in front of the school.

The Kids Fun Run for ages four through 10 begins at 4 p.m. at Fiske Field across from the school. Suzette Smith of Shelter Island Pilates warms up the participants with a pre-race stretching clinic at 4:30 p.m. to help keep sore muscles to a minimum.

2010_through the shoot_Peter Boody

This year’s race is dedicated to those who were injured or died at the Boston Marathon, said Race Director Mary Ellen Adipietro, who was in the grandstand at the finish line of the marathon, waiting for her husband, Dr. Frank to finish the course.

At 5:30 p.m. sharp, the gun goes off at the starting line, and they’re off, following closely behind the wheelchair athletes. The crowds run past the Shelter Island Presbyterian Church and traverse the hills and valleys of the Island. Volunteers staff the water stations along the way, offering grab-and-gulp hydration.

The last mile of the race was dedicated last year as “Joey’s Mile,” in honor of fallen local hero Joey Theinert, who lost his life in Afghanistan in 2010.

After the race, participants enjoy a buffet barbecue at the Island Boatyard — non-participants pay a small fee –— then dance the night away at the Shipwreck Bar.

Free shuttle service, courtesy of Sunrise Coach Lines and Hampton Jitney, starts at 1 p.m. at both the North and South ferries and continues until 11 p.m.

The 10K is also the biggest fundraiser of the year, raising money for the 10K Community Fund, Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch, East End Hospice and Reach Within.

One of the top ten finishers of the race said, he’s “run a lot of different races in different places, but what makes Shelter Island unique is it’s the most beautiful.” Join us on Saturday for this community-wide event.

2012_Water station
Aerial Photo (top) by Paul Brewer.
10k Run Photo (middle) by Peter Boody
Water Station Photo (bottom) by Eleanor P. Labrozzi