A Ukrainian runner, now residing in Flatbush, is among the elite athletes in New York City and could be headed toward faster times in his specialty and compete in the New York City Marathon.
Ed Gapak certainly enjoys competing in the borough of Brooklyn and showed it during the 19th annual Kenneth Dolan Memorial race over a 5K course in Propect Park last Sunday.
Gapak out-kicked Jorge Pardo during the last mile and covered the 3.1 mile course in 15:26. Pardo finished second in 15:43. Rounding out the top five finishers were Robirxo Puente, whose 15:52 earned him third place, one place ahead of Jacek Boral (16:01 and two ahead of Pedro Esponosa (16:02)
Maria Lucia Veira became the initial female to cross the finish line when she was clocked in 17:31, which was overall good for 12th place. Una Broaderick was recorded in 19:24, ahead of third place female finisher Jessica Lovett (20:09)
Gapak’s time of 15:23 in this age group race with plenty of awards placed him third overall last year. Now he won the whole thing.
All the running clubs from the borough sent representatives into the race. In addition to the men’s race, there was a kid’s event that followed the main event.
“We competed in a very good race,” Gapak said. “I broke away from [Pardo] at the uphill. Now I’m training for the Manhattan Half-Marathon to be held in July.”
Only 24, Gapak, a member of the Warren Street Social and Athletic Club, has a bright future ahead of him.
“He’s been here for almost three years and goes back and forth to Ukraine to see his family and friends,” manager/coach Rick Pascarella said. “Since nobody pushed him [in the Dolan race], he ran slow. Last week (two weeks ago) in New Jersey he ran a 14:45 for a 5K.”
This is a good fund raising event for the Dolan family. All the runners support this event.
“[Gapak] and I were fighting for the early lead to the big hill and for a good part of the way,” said Clinton Hills resident Pardo, in assessing the race. “Then he made a push on the big hill and with about two miles into the race he took the lead. He coasted home.”
Pardo and Gapak would at times go against each other in races, but they don’t train together.
Pardo, who also is training for the Manhattan Half-Marathon to be held in July, enjoys competing in Prospect Park.
“It’s a great community here,” he said.
The Dolan race is presented by Iona College and named after the Park Slope resident who died as a result of an automobile accident in March of 1990. It offers cash prizes to the first five male and female finishers. The Kenny Dolan Memorial Fund assists students in need of financial support for his or her education.
The Shore Road Striders Running Club is one of the sponsors of the Kenny Dolan race.
“We had a lot of race day entries and a big turnout,” said one of its members Ron Rice, who is very active in the organization. “It’s always a good event.”
The race attracted runners of all abilities, levels and ages.
One youngster in particular was Ryan Kilgallen, who clocked in T 22:39 for 110th place overall. “This was my fifth time in the race,” Ryan said. “The course is hilly but I like it.”
A first timer in the field was eight-year-old Matt Baker, who clocked in at 24:57, for 189th place overall
“The course was really uphill and the race was awesome,” said Baker, of Bay Ridge. “I didn’t even train for the race.”
His brother, 10-year-old Liam Baker, ran a 35:54 for 449th place, and their dad, 49-year-old Michael Baker, timed in at 28:18 for 297th place.
“I got beaten by my kid,” said Michael Baker. “I ran this race because it went for a good cause.
The first student athlete from Bishop Ford High School to cross the finish line was junior Justin Suarez, 17, who ran in 18:33 for 26th place.
“It’s great that we had a memorial for someone who passed away,” said Suarez. “We try to do our best and represent ourselves the best way. For next year, we look to make it successful again and do the same in more years to come.”