Mwangi wins Half Marathon

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The 33-year-old Ossining resident, ran a five-minute first mile, quickly putting...

By The TimesLedgr

Paul Mwangi captured the 23rd annual Queens Half Marathon Saturday, covering the College Point course in 1:06.32, far ahead of the field of more than 3,100 competitors.

The 33-year-old Ossining resident, ran a five-minute first mile, quickly putting some distance between himself and the rest of the pack. The Kenya native, who won the Eammon Coghlan 5K at the Belmont Race Track last August, was making his debut at the annual event.

Mike Slinski, of Wappingers Falls, finished a distant second in 1:08, just in front of Charles Kelly, of Saratoga Springs, who took third place with a time of 1:08.06.

“[Mwangi] was gone after the first two miles,” Slinski said “I had a bad race for the first half and then got better. Maybe I was tight.”

The first Queens finisher to cross the finish line was Fernando Salvador, who took 11th place overall in a time 1:15.08. Jackson Heights’ Jesus Acevedo was 16th overall in 1:15.29, with Woodside Thomas Vasquez taking the 27th spot in 1:19.53.

Kari Proffitt, of Staten Island, was the women’s winner in 1:24:12. Overall she finished 60th in a field of 3,173 entrants on a perfect morning for the running .

The first athlete to cross the finish line from the College Point Runners Club — which hosted the race in conjunction with the New York Road Runners Club, was, as expected, Julio Aguirre, whose 1:22.57 earned his 52nd place overall. The 54-year-old Corona resident placed second in his age group and took home a trophy in the age group race.

Javier Palma, 20, also a member of the same club, placed 20th in his age bracket in 1:24.38 and 66th overall. Nicholas Ng, 16 of Bayside, ran a 1:26.40 for 98th place overall, but finished third in his age bracket.

“I do it for endurance training,” said Ng, a member if his track team at Cardozo High School. “I’m running half marathons for a year and plan to do all five of the series in the city.”

The first three male and female finishers in the Half Marathon each received cash prizes.

However, for those athletes who couldn’t test the 13.1-mile race, they were able to enter into the Skaggs Walsh 5K, won by Jamaica’s William Pedroza. The long distance runner, who anticipates competing in the New York City Marathon, led all the way and covered the course in 16:18, far ahead of Stu Calderwood of Manhattan, (16:56) and Flushing’s Dan Palma. Palma. also a member of the CPRRTC, was clocked in 17:36.

Lorraine Browne, of Flushing, was the first runner from the Quantum Feet club to finish the 5K. She was clocked in 21:33 for 34th place overall. Christina Juve, with a 22:02 for 41st place, and Linda Russo, with 22:19 for 45th place, also enabled Quantum Feet to win first place as a team.

The races started adjacent to McNeil Park and finished within the Park itself. Many clubs were represented, including St., Fidelis Tornadoes of College Point, CPRRTC, Quantum Feet, Alley Pond Striders, Prospect Park Track Club and Witold’s.

Many dignitaries, including City Councilman Mike Abel (R-Bayside) and Allison Heaney of Skaggs Walsh, the main sponsor, were on hand.

“The weather was gorgeous and we had a great turnout,” noted race director Leo Nicholas. “Everyone had a good time. Everything went very well.”

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