5K brings over 200 runners

Fire department raises money for department ventures

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The Sayville Fire Department held their annual 5K fundraiser on Saturday, June 18, with over 250 runners taking part.

First place in the men’s division went to 19-year-old George Wenrner from Sayville, with a time of 16 minutes and 29.54 seconds.

First place in the women’s division went to 23-year-old Caelyn Reilly from Bay Shore, with a time of 18 minutes 40.65 seconds.

The fire department has been running the 5K since 2019 when they took over the Shwachman Diamond 5K in honor of Dylan Kolar that had started in 2010.

The race was to raise awareness and funds for Dylan Kolar, a Sayville student who suffered from Shwachman-Diamond syndrome. 

Those afflicted with the ailment have decreased ability to digest food containing fats and protein because the cells of the pancreas in which digestive enzymes are produced do not work properly.

Additionally, patients’ bone marrow does not function properly to make blood cells. This can leave the patients vulnerable to severe infections. They may also be anemic or have difficulty with blood clotting.

In its original iteration, the race began at Sunrise Drive, but when the fire department took over in 2019, the route remained largely the same, but ended at the firehouse on Broadway Avenue.

Fundraisers like the 5K are to raise money for the department members’ activities, as the district funds only cover the direct equipment and building.

A “fun run” was also part of the event, where over half a dozen future runners were treated to a junior version of the race in the firehouse’s parking lot.

All participants in the fun run were given shirts and medals to commemorate the day’s event.

Planning for the fundraiser starts in January, with permits needed through the Town of Islip for police, crossing guards, barriers, and announcements.

“The town is very well prepared in what they provide to us,” said ex-chief and race director, Tom Pantano.

At the firehouse, there is a display known as the “Walk of Recognition,” where current and previous sponsors are acknowledged and thanked by the fire department and larger community.

“With how much the pandemic and everything else has affected businesses, we didn’t want to burden them with sponsorship of the event this year, but our local companies really showed support,” said Pantano.

One of the main sponsors, the Sayville Running Company, included the fire department’s 5K in their Sayville Summer Series.

“We’re very grateful to have these runs back after a two-year hiatus.  They’ve been run only virtually since 2020.  It has felt really good to return the sense of community that the live races provide,” said storeowner Brendan Barrett.

About 150 people have signed up to run the entirety of the Sayville Summer Series, five races in total.  While the total number of participants for each of the first two races in the series haven’t exceeded pre-pandemic levels, it was not expected and there were still impressive turnouts.

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