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Let’s face it – March sucked. It was cold, rainy, snowy, and all around unpleasant. Until March 30th, that is, just in time for the NYCRUNS Spring Fling 5K and 10K on Roosevelt Island.

More than 900 runners participated in the two races, making the Spring Fling one of our largest events of the year so far. Almost exactly the same number ran each race — 459 finished the 5K and 458 finished the 10K, despite some confusion at the start about which race was being held when. (We apologize for any miscommunication on our part — sincerely. We won’t let it happen again.)

But you couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to spend a little extra time waiting for the race to start. With temperatures in the low 50s and a pristine blue sky overhead, springtime was in full effect on Roosevelt Island Saturday morning.

Those ideal conditions enabled some fast times in both races. The 5K was taken by Derek Hanson in 17:03, a 5:30 pace, while 2nd place went to Neal Sussman of Central Park Track Club. Sussman PR’d in 17:41, and then PR’d AGAIN Saturday night at the Red Hook Crit 5K in Brooklyn, where he ran a 17:38. That’s what we runners like to call a beast! Kevin Montalvo of Paragon Sports took 3rd place just seconds after Sussman, in 17:58.

In the women’s race, Lena Pyatkovsky, 20, of Connecticut won with a fleet 19:20. She could have stopped to smell the spring flowers a bit more, if she’d wanted — her nearest pursuer, Agnieszka Malateska, crossed the line 43 seconds later, in 20:03. Angee Riordan finished 3rd in 20:40. Remarkably each of the top women are separated in age by a full decade — Malateska is 31 and Riordan is 41. How many sports allow athletes of different generations to compete with one another on a level playing field?

Speaking of master’s women, the 10K women’s field was led by 46-year-old Julie McElroy, of Sleepy Hollow. McElroy finished the race in 40 minutes and 43 seconds, a solid 6:30 pace. Second place went to Teddi Ginsberg, who ran 42:40, and Kari Richmond took 3rd in 43:09.

The men’s field was led by Yuval Assif, a 31-year-old Israeli in town on vacation who learned of the Spring Fling by randomly meeting NYCRUNS regular and top age-group runner Bobby Sutton (Brooklyn Bobby!) a week before the race. Assif broke the tape in 35:46, nearly a minute and a half ahead of his nearest pursuer. David Stockwell finished 2nd in 37:06 and Kieran Garvey took 3rd just 11 seconds later, in 37:17.

Both races also saw a lot of outstanding age-group performances and, as always, hundreds of others from people who simply love the feel of our small events. Even though we edged close to 1,000 runners at this event, the Spring Fling was every bit as community-oriented as our smaller races. We like to think it’s the bagels and cream cheese.