Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nicolini Seeks Fourth Win at Cow Harbor Run

Elite Runner Coordinator William Fodor’s forecasts for who to watch at the 34th annual race this Saturday.

by Elise Pearlman
September 13, 2011
Northport Patch

The streets of Northport will reverberate with the sound of pounding feet on Saturday as Long Islanders and elite runners compete in the nationally-ranked Great Cow Harbor 10k Run, known for its small town charm.

“This is the single largest competitive race on Long Island,” said William Fodor, who has been coordinating the race’s elite runners from across the nation for the past six years. It's a course Fodor knows well, running it 15 times from 1987 through 2005.

“These are the names in American racing. You don’t get any bigger names, and it happens year after year,” Fodor said of the more than 30 star athletes including Olympic medalists and national champions with whom he’s been in constant communication since January.

Headlining the women’s field, which Fodor describes as “one of the deepest” he has ever seen, is Californian Deena Kastor. Kastor, a 2004 Olympic Bronze medalist, is also the reigning American Marathon record holder. Kastor won the Chicago and London Marathons, and was the 2008 Olympic trials marathon winner.

Then there’s Stephanie Rothstein of Arizona who took 2nd place at Great Cow Harbor last year, and placed second in the 2010 USA 20K Championships hosted by Stratton Faxon in New Haven, Connecticut.

Onlookers should also keep their eyes peeled for Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, who won her first US title over Labor Day weekend at the USA 20K Championships. She was the first woman to cross the finish line with a time of 1:08:31.

Both Kastor and Cherobon-Bawcom have a shot at taking down the women’s course record, Fodor said.

Alisha Williams, of Colorado, who placed sixth in the USA 20K Championships, is another top contender.

Fodor’s other women’s favorites include Heidi Westover, Mary Akor, and Minnesotan Kristen Nicolini, the wife of men’s favorite Jason Lemkuhle. A former All-American at Villanova, Nicolini won the Great Cow Harbor Run in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Long Islanders will probably be rooting for Katie DiCamillo, who was born and raised in Garden City, but is now a Rhode Islander.

In terms of the men’s field, two-time Cow Harbor defending champ Californian Mohammed Trafeh, who wants to best his own record, will face his biggest challenge from Jason Lehmkuhle. Lehmkuhle, who took first place at Cow Harbor in 2003 and 2008, just took second place at the USA 20K Championships.

Onlookers should also keep an eye on Fernando Cabada of Colorado, Andrew Carlson of Minnesota, and Nate Jenkins of Massachusetts. Cabada just placed third at the USA Championships; Jenkins placed third at Cow Harbor in 2009, Fodor said.

“You have to know that I have guys here who could dish up some surprises,” Fodor said, adding that the weather will play a major role in determining who comes out on top.

“If it’s a hot, steamy day, it will take its toll on the runners.”

For more on the post-Villanova career of Kristen Nicolini, click the title to this post.

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