By Robert Elkin
A bicycle ‘race,’ better known as a fun ride, for anyone wishing to do so and the usual crowded field of close to 400 runners highlighted action in the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza event last Sunday morning, Oct. 13. The weather was just tremendous for the festivities. One could not ask for a better day.
For the second time, chips and automatic computer timing and scoring made the event another extreme success.
Making his debut in this event, Keith Bennett of Brooklyn excelled along the course. He is very accustomed to riding a bicycle and is a former basketball and football player at Bryant High School in Queens.
“I used to ride a lot when I was younger and (even took part) in a five-Borough Bike Tour,” said Bennett, who was never on a track team either in high school or college, but was a small college all-American basketball player while at Elmira. “For me it felt good to get back on the bicycle even though the distance wasn’t far. This is the first time I got into a race like I did.”
In a close to six mile event, Bennett, who still plays basketball in a 50 and over league, went out with three other competitors and emerged victorious in a rather small field. The race was not officially timed and scored.
All three races-10K for runners, walkers and cyclists – started on Fulton Street near Verona Place, and ended one block south of Fulton on Herkimer Street and stayed along the streets of Bed-Stuy. Race director Tracey Capers started the 10K race once again like she did last year.
“The race has been going on for 32 years,” said Capers. “I’ve been involved with the race for 10 years, but this is first year I’ve had the pleasure of officially to start the race. Starting the race was fun.
“We’re getting better and better with the race. Having bicycles is great. It (the bike race) is still small, and we hope it will grow every year. And we really want to encourage fitness of all levels.
“We’re working in partnership with the Health Department to encourage active living and fitness. That’s how the idea came about. We had 10 cyclists.”
“It was just a great race,” Bennett added. “All four of us pushed each other and I’m happy to get through this one. Riding in Bed-Stuy is beautiful. You get to see parts of the neighborhood that you wouldn’t normally see.”
The youngest one in the field of bike riders was 12-year-old Jakari Onyango.
“It was actually not that hard,” Jakari said. “We had (some) hills in spots. It was pretty easy.”
Turning to the 6.2 mile race, Endule Abiyot of the Bronx took the lead at the start of the race, successfully defended his title and covered the course in 29:43, faster than last year’s clocking of 30:25.
A member of the Westchester Track Club, Amiyot ran most of the way by himself and was the class of the field.
“Coming into the race I didn’t feel any pressure,” he said. “I’m training for the Philadelphia Marathon in November. I’m not running in New York. I’m thinking of breaking the course record of 2:16.47 in Philadelphia.
He has been running for 12 years and is 27 years of age. He easily defeated runnerup Demesse Teefera, who was clocked in 30.15 one position ahead of Fikadu Lemma, who turned in a 31.31. Alex Ariza ran a 33:09 for fourth spot, and Angela Confisor turned in a 33:40 for fifth place.
The initial female to cross the finish line was Muliiye Gummu, whose 39:01 placed her overall eleventh. Most of the entrants came from Brookln.
Trophies were given out to the first three finishers as well as the top three in each age/sex group.