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Bayside visitor takes first in Eamonn Coghlan Classic

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Jorge Real’s debut in the Eamonn Coghlan 5K Classic at the Belmont Park Race Track this past weekend was a complete success.

Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Real, who is staying in Bayside until after the New York City Marathon in November, pulled away from Michael Tully-Nehr of Lindenhurst after the two-mile mark and captured the 3.1 mile race.

The race was conducted as part of the three-day Pepsi New York Irish Festival and was held with the cooperation of the New York racing Association and College Point Road Runners Track Club, which timed and scored the event.

“There was no problem here in my debut and I took it as a tune-up for the New York City Marathon,” said the 32-year-old Real, who was timed in 15:23. “We ran on a nice flat course. I’m putting in about an average of 130 miles a week of training.”

Nehr improved on his placing from last year, when he finished third.

“It feels hot out there,” said Nehr, who was timed in 15:31. “I like coming here and my family comes. I like the Irish Festival.”

Three Queens runners rounded out the top five finishers, with Elmhurst’s William Roldan some 30 seconds behind Nehr for third place in 16:02. Jacob Perez of Woodhaven was fourth in 16:23 and Yorki Munoz, a member of the CPRRTC and a resident of Jackson Heights, took fifth with a time of 16:36.

The first female competitor to cross the finish line was Leteyesus Berke, who was timed in 18:44 for 24th place overall in a field of 321 finishers. Some 400 runners entered the race.

The top five finishers in both male and female categories took home cash prizes while the top three finishers in various age classification took home Waterford crystals.

“We had an excellent field, good competition and the biggest turnout we ever had,” said Race Director Steve Duggan.

Coghlan, a former world record holder in the indoor mile, himself tried to compete in the race and was among the leaders for the first mile.

“After that I eased up and kept on going and on the second lap my legs went,” he said. “It’s the first time I ever dropped out of a race. It was very hot and humid out there. But we had a good crowd and a fantastic field.”

Coghlan, who still holds the indoor record for the mile and 1,500-meters for runners 40 and older, said he is also getting ready to compete in the New York City Marathon.

Competitors in the Eamonn Coghlan 5K Classic came from the tri-state area as well as from eastern long Island and upstate New York. Outside the top two finishers, the field, consisting of some high school and college athletes, was very competitive.

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