By Maddy Vitale
Linda Harris enjoys running. The Bucks County, Pa., married mom of a 3-year-old boy took a bit of time away from a race she fondly remembered doing 28 years ago.
On Saturday, Harris, 49, headed to Sea Isle City for the 48th year of the Captain Bill Gallagher 10 Mile Island Run.
“I love Sea Isle. I do 5Ks and half marathons,” Harris explained as she warmed up with just 20 minutes to go before race time. “This year, I wanted to come back and do this race because it is for a good cause.”
Some of the proceeds from the race go toward the For Pete’s Sake Cancer Respite Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing vacations to cancer patients and their families. The organization was founded by Peter R. Bossow Jr., a former Sea Isle lifeguard who died of cancer in 1999.
“I feel like it is a good cause. That is what motivates me,” Harris, who vacations in Sea Isle, said. “When you support a community, it makes the run more meaningful. Even if what you are doing is small, you are doing it for someone.”
Renny Steele, the race director and chief of the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol, said there is a good reason why the beach patrol donates part of the proceeds to For Pete’s Sake.
“He was a really nice guy. He really cared about people. He would help out a beach patrol member,” Steele said. “He would drive someone home if they needed a ride. He was always there to help.”
Steele, who began his beach patrol career as a rookie in 1968, added that some runners also use the race to raise funds with pledges for the organization For Pete’s Sake.
An estimated 900 runners braved the steamy temperatures and high humidity to race for a good cause. The 10-mile run began at the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol Headquarters at 44th Street, looped around the island, and ended on the beach near the beach patrol headquarters.
Bill Gallagher, who is in his 70s, was captain of the city’s beach patrol when the race began in 1970. It has grown from less than 20 runners made up of beach patrol members to a public run attracting hundreds of athletes.
Gallagher attended the run named in his honor Saturday and made a few opening remarks while on the second floor of the beach patrol headquarters overlooking the race along with Steele, Police Chief Tom McQuillen and other officials.
When it came to times, James Daniels, 22, of Somerdale, N.J., didn’t hit his personal best for a run he called a staple for any true runner.
But he did finish first.
A St. Joseph’s University alum, with a degree in biology, he is getting his master’s degree in kinesiology.
On Saturday, he was just like any of the other runners, except he flew by the competition and made it look easy.
“This is my fourth year doing it,” said Daniels, who was all smiles while surrounded by his parents, Debbie and Steve Daniels, and brother John.
Then he took a big gulp of much-needed water moments after his post-race dip in the ocean.
“That was the first thing I did,” he said of his dash to the ocean. “It is a tradition.”
Being the top runner was a highlight for Daniels. “The highest I finished before today was sixth,” he said.
His winning time was 57 minutes and 50 seconds.
“Last year I had a faster time, but there were harder conditions today,” he said.
Daniels, who had his hair shaved on one side into a lightning bolt, said the Island Run is a true test of a runner’s ability.
Katie Rodden, of Ardmore, Pa., coasted to the finish line amid cheers minutes after Daniels and other male finishers. She was the first female. Her time was 1:04:54.
Rodden, 25, said she enjoys the Island Run. She does it every year. Over the past two years she came in third and second.
For Rodden, 10 miles is somewhat of a breeze, although she was humble about her ability.
She was a runner when she attended Penn State University. She still runs an average of about 60 miles a week.
“I love running,” she said with a smile.
She might have taken some cues from her mom, Marylou Rodden, who said she was a runner “a long time ago.”
“You’re a walker now, mom,” Katie Rodden said as she turned to her mother.
They burst out laughing.
For runners such as Michael Acquaviva, of Montgomery County, Pa., the race is about tradition. He has been doing it since 1992. Now, at age 50, he said he isn’t as concerned with his time, just that he keeps doing it.
“I love running, and being able to do it in a beach setting is great,” the married father of two teenage boys said while getting ready to head to the starting line. “I don’t run nearly as fast as I used to, but now, it is more of a tradition.”
There were definitely some proud parents at the race.
Rick and Meg King of Delaware County, Pa., attended the race to surprise their daughter, Laura King, 32, also of Delaware County, who was in the race.
“She does 5Ks and marathons,” Rick King said of his daughter, who is an operating room nurse.
The couple waited about 20 minutes until somewhere near the middle of the pack of runners called out and waved to them.
“She told us where we could meet up with her and her boyfriend after the race,” Meg King said beaming.
Rick King added with a big grin that his daughter looked like she was so comfortable and relaxed.
“She looks like she is having fun,” he said.
For complete results, go to http://www.compuscore.com/cs2018/aug/sic10mi.htm.