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Schaarf wins first 5K summer series race

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The 3.1-mile road race drew 60 runners from New York City as well as Long Island to Flushing...

The first of the 5K summer series conducted by the College Point Road Runners Track Club got underway Saturday morning in an attempt to attract more runners.

The 3.1-mile road race drew 60 runners from New York City as well as Long Island to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. One runner, Bill Schaarf of Manhattan, used the race as a workout for the Police Officer Gabe Vitale 5K Memorial Run set for Sat., July 10 in College Point.

Schaarf took the lead from pace setter Phil Jackette of Ozone Park with about 200 yards left and covered the course in 17:08, six seconds faster than the runner-up.

Jackette went out fast, had a good start and just lost the lead near the end.

Schaarf, 33, puts in about 60 to 70 miles a week just for the fun of it while Jackette, 15, is staying in shape for the cross country season at Luther High School.

Some families came out for a run or a workout, including Austin Isherwood, a member of the College Point Road Runners’ Track Club who brought his grand children Nicholas Howe, 6, and Christopher Howe, 11.

John Heintz started the race in place of Leo Nicholas, who was vacationing in the Hamptons with his family. The next race in the summer series is Sat., July 24 at 9 a.m.

Vitale race on the horizon

The Police Officer Gabe Vitale 5K Memorial Run will be Sat., July 10 at 9:30 a.m. The start of the 3.1-mile road race will be outside of MacNeil Park, near 119th street and Poppenhusen Ave.

The course takes the runners through scenic College Point with split times at the mile marks and ends within the park itself.

The race is the fifth and last of five races that make up the Queens Grand Prix. Races conducted by the Alley Pond Striders, Forest Park Runners, Quantum Feet and Hellgate Runners make up the other four races.

Even though the entries are coming in slowly, race director Leo Nicholas of the College Point Road Runners Track Club, expects a large turnout of about 200 racing enthusiasts.

The race is named for Police Officer Gabe Vitale, who was killed in the line of duty while arresting a burglar in Dec. 1980. He was assigned to the 109th Precinct in Flushing.

A Perpetual Memorial Cup, donated by the Vitale family, will be presented to the first place police team from the winning precinct.

The Police Officer Gabe Vitale 5K Memorial Run is an age group event with plenty of awards. Proceeds of the race will benefit the College Point Road Runners Club’s age group program.

For more information, please call 718-762-15-19 or 718-424-2478.

Vanegas wins Hellgate 5K

Esteban Vanegas of Manhattan took the lead from Jackson Heights resident William Roldan midway through and captured the 15th annual Hellgate 5K race in Astoria last Saturday.

The runners covered the 3.1-mile course that started west of Astoria Park on Shore Blvd. by the East River and went through the streets of Astoria.

Vanegas’ time of 15:45 earned him first place in a field of 288 finishers under ideal weather conditions for the sport. Roldan, who was slightly hampered by a right heel injury, took second place in 16:06.

For Vanegas, 33, it was his second appearance in the Hellgate run; he finished third in 1997 in 16:01.

Diego Vanegas finished third overall in 16:18 and first in his age bracket (20-29). Alemtsehay Misganaw was the first woman to cross the finish line, her time of 18:41 was good for 23rd overall.

Rounding out the top five finishers were Tomas Vasquez (16:26) and Amador Ibanez (16:32).

The College Point Road Runners scored and timed the race and some of its members also competed, including Yorki Munoz, who placed eighth in 16:47. He finished behind Francisco Martinez (16:36) and Alfredo Eugenio (16:44), who crossed the finish line sixth and seventh, respectively.

Rounding out the top ten finishers were ninth-place Pantilo Gomez (17:05) and 10th-place Antonio Martinez (17:12).

“With almost 300 runners, it was a good sign and a nice turnout,” said John Burek, who helped organize the race.

Added co-race director Luann Mestre: “The race went very well and we enjoyed the turnout. The weather held out. The runners enjoyed the event, prizes and raffles.”

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