A Very Brave Marine Was Celebrated in Jordan’s 5K Run

There were 398 finishers
Paige Duca (196) would have won had she not run onto North Haven once over the Jordan C. Haerter Memorial Bridge. Craig Macnaughton

Jordan’s Run, a 5K run and walk in memory of the late Marine Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter, whose 30th birthday would have been the next day, again drew a large crowd of runners, veterans (some of whom served with the Navy Cross winner in the 1st Battalion of the 9th Marines), firefighters, and political figures to Pierson High School’s green Sunday morning.

In ceremonies M.C.’d by Tom Gillin that preceded the race, which helps underwrite $1,000 awards each year to Pierson seniors either aiming to enter the country’s armed services or to embark on a career in law enforcement, and helps, as well, to support the Jordan Haerter Veterans Transition Home in Greenville, S.C., Representative Lee Zeldin, County Executive Steve Bellone, and Jordan’s mother, JoAnn Lyles, were among those who spoke. Glenn Rozzi sang the national anthem, Stephen Peters of Sag Harbor’s V.F.W. Post 9082 led the crowd in prayer, and Ben Zwirn, a former deputy county executive, led a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance.

In addition, Ernie Trevizo of California, who served with Jordan Haerter, read from Lt. Gen. John Kelly’s 2010 speech eulogizing the young man from Sag Harbor and his fellow Ramadi barracks guard, Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale, who on April 22, 2008, in the final six seconds of their lives, continued to fire upon an onrushing truck “driven by a crazed suicide bomber” that was packed with 2,000 pounds of explosives.

“Because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger,” General Kelly said, “they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.”

Though from different backgrounds, General Kelly said, “these two very brave men were Marines forged in the same crucible of Marine training. They were closer than if they were born of the same woman.”

The $1,000 Jordan Haerter awards this year went, his mother said, to Dylan Kaminski and Andrew Tilton. She hopes, she added, to extend these awards some day to East Hampton, Shelter Island, and Southampton High Schools.

Lyles said she was very pleased with the turnout — 486 had registered, she said. There were, according to Long Island Timing, 398 finishers, the last being Bob Beattie, Long Island Timing’s owner.

Paige Duca, a 20-year-old Boston College runner who competes in cross-country, the mile, and in the steeplechase — she’s also an East Hampton Town lifeguard — should have won, though rather than make a U-turn on crossing the Jordan C. Haerter Memorial Bridge, she ran on into North Haven. 

“It was my fault,” she acknowledged after having crossed the line in 18th place, in 21 minutes and 39 seconds, just behind Haerter’s former commander, Daniel Runzheimer, 34, of Arlington, Tex.

As it turned out, a woman (which is a rarity in road races here) did win — Zoe Quinn, 42, of Dublin, Ireland, a mother of four who was visiting in East Hampton, in 19:16.0. Duca “was far out in front, I called out to her, but she kept on going,” the Dubliner said after crossing the American flag-draped finish line at the foot of the high school’s hill.

“It’s a beautiful course and the atmosphere was electric,” said Quinn, who is a member of Dublin’s Raheny Running Club. 

Ben Mac, a 15-year-old member of Pierson’s cross-country team, was the runner-up, in 19:41.6, and Tara Farrell, 39, of East Quogue, the women’s winner in last year’s inaugural, was third, in 19:52.9.

When Barbara Gubbins, who placed 10th, in 20:42.5, was asked why Gustavo Morastitla (last year’s runner-up in Jordan’s Run), a Southampton High School senior who is being trained by her husband, Justin, and by her son, Geary, didn’t speak to sportswriters after winning a recent race in Southampton, she said, with a smile, “He thought he was too slow.”

“He’s taking a gap year,” she continued when questioned further. “He wants to go to a D-1 college . . . he can run at that level. Justin and Geary are working with him to get his mile time down from 4:28 to 4:20.”

Besides Gubbins, who is 58, others rounding out the top 10 were Gary Baddeley, 53, of Shelter Island, in 19:55.0, Martin Garcia, 50, of Southampton, in 19:58.8, Dennis Fabiszak, 48, the East Hampton Library’s director, in 20:20.3, Shane Campbell, 44, in 20:28.7, Ava Engstrom, 15, an East Hampton High School cross-country and track runner, in 20:29.5, and Joris Esch, 41, in 20:30.0.

Asked if she’d beaten her father, Baylis, Penelope Greene, a 15-year-old Pierson cross-country runner and East Hampton trackster, answered in the affirmative, adding “and I even had to stop to tie my shoe.”

Others in the large field — all of them frequent competitors in local races — were Angelika Cruz, David Whelan, Tim Treadwell, Owen McCormack, Eric Bramoff, Arthur Nealon, Mike Davis, Yani Cuesta, Dawn Stavola, Jessie Stavola, Joi Jackson Perle, Brian Monahan, and Robert Almeraz.

Davis, a former East Hamptoner who is a member of Team Jordan, lives in Aquebogue now. From Sept. 1 to Halloween the North Fork was “a parking lot,” he said, just as the South Fork is now, the attractions on the North Fork being “the wineries and apples.”

Cheyenne Banville, 19, and Anthony LaFountain, 23, both of East Hampton, were among the 398 finishers. Craig Macnaughton