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Meo, Vivar capture annual Gabe Vitale 5K road race

Anthony Meo and Carmen Vivar captured individual titles in the 22nd Annual Police Officer Gabe Vitale 5K Memorial Run Sunday in College Point.

Meo, a resident of Dix Hills, went out at a 5:24 pace for the first mile, was timed in 11:17 at the two-mile mark and covered the 3.2-mile course in 17:43, just off his personal best time of 17:08 for the distance, capturing the annual race in the process.

Vivar, a resident of Elmhurst, became the women’s winner in 21:38. Overall, she finished in 13th place..

Meo is very accustomed to the course, which started on the streets of College Point and wound up within McNeil Park.

“I tried to run at an even pace,” Meo said. “I’ve been running this Gabriel Vitale race since ’96. My best time was 18:14 for this course in 1998. Today marks my personal best. I like this course.”

Meo finished far ahead of Zack Miller of Manhattan, who was clocked at 18:07 for second place, and the first Queens finisher, James McFarlane of Ridgewood, who came in at 18:39. The first athlete from the host College Point Road Runners Track Club, which conducted the race, was 29-year-old Odamis Fernandez, who was timed in 19:12 for the sixth place in a field of 92 finishers. Fernandez, a resident of Corona, was making his debut in the race.

McFarlane said that the sunny, humid weather with temperature in the 70s was just fantastic for running.

“And we ran on a beautiful scenic course,” he said. “It is very challenging and demanding.”

“There was allot of hills and the course was very challenging,” added Fernandez. “And we ran for a great cause.”

Behind McFarlane was Marcelo Caramarca (18:43 for fourth place), Caser Estevez, (18:50), Fernandez (19:12), Eric Friedman (19:23), Jack Cheritan (19:29) Donnelli Simon (19:40) and Diego Valencia (20:48)

President of the College Point Board of Trade Fred Mazzarello started the race. It was directed by Leo Nicholas of the CPRRTC and his staff.

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