About 700 athletes stormed the flat course of the four-mile annual road race conducted by the Bellmore Striders Running Club, a highlight of the summer road-racing season in New York. Some of the runners used this event as a training run toward the New York City Marathon.
While Javier Barajas of the Coney Island section of Brooklyn took the lead midway through the race, and easily won it in a time of 20:29, Dave Delacruz became the first resident from Queens to cross the finish line. Delacruz’s 24:27 placed him 25th overall and second in his category in the age group race that offered many awards.
Delacruz practices at Manhattan’s Central Park, Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and the Bronx’s Van Cortland.
Originally from Haiti, where he began his soccer career at the age of three, he and his family eventually moved to Queens Village and he ended up at John Bowne High School in Flushing, which fielded a soccer team. Soccer at that time was his primary sport. He continued to play the booter sport in Queens and eventually turned to running.
“I traveled for about an hour every morning from Queens Village to Flushing to attend school,” he said.
After high school days were over, Delacruz, who runs unattached, and for exercise, ended up at Clayton State College in Georgia, where he just concentrated on academics.
The 27-year-old Delacruz is pointing for the Queens 10K in late July to be held at Flushing Meadow Corona Park.
“This race should be fun,” he said. “My goal is to run in under 40 minutes around 37 to 39 minutes. I just want to stay in shape with soccer and play with my friends and family.” Delacruz does not belong to any running club. Instead he belongs to the Mineola Bicycle Club since he also cycles.
Another runner Ronald Joseph tries to enter into a race a week in preparation for future short races like the 5K one in Astoria next weekend. “That maybe the race that I’ll go into,” he added.
A resident of Rockaway Park, the 30-year-old Joseph was clocked in 25:19 for 34th place.
“After the humidity became a factor at the two mile mark, I … started to slow down Joseph said. “Then during the last three quarters of the race, I picked it up just a little bit toward the end and I finished strong.”
Then there was Amityville’s Boyd Carrington, who has been training for some upcoming marathons.
In doing so, he entered into the Bellmore Striders four-miler on Independence Day. Coming into it, Carrington did not expect to do as well as he did. He was satisfied with his performance.