The Smithtown News - October 19, 2023
A long- standing tradition continues.
The Smithtown Chamber of Commerce will host its 17th annual Smithtown Running of the Bull five-kilometer road race at the New York Avenue School on Saturday, October 28th. The race will honor John Damianos while raising funds for Angela’s house in Smithtown.
“We’re very excited for this year’s race,” said Barbara Franco, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. “We thought it would be nicer to race later in the year than in past years so we moved it to October. We’re hoping we can get close to 200 runners to help us benefit Angela’s House while honoring John Damianos, who was a friend and advocate for the run every year. He may no longer be with us, but we will always keep him in our memory. He will be with us in spirit that day for sure.”
Damianos was a longtime member of the Smithtown Chamber of Commerce and a proud member of the Smithtown community. Over the years, he constantly supported the Running of the Bull and even commissioned a statue of town founder Richard Smith. He also served as principal and legal counsel for Damianos Realty Group in Smithtown. After he passed away in February of 2019, the Chamber of Commerce decided to honor Damianos’ memory by dedicating each Running of the Bull to him, as he was also an avid runner.
“It’s a great thing the Chamber continues to honor him, said Cristofer Damianos, John’s brother and Principal of Damianos Realty Group. “John was my older brother and he started running before me. He was very much into local racing circuit. Whether it was out in Oyster Bay or here in Smithtown, he ran it all. When the idea to sponsor this race came about, he thought it was a great idea and he took the lead on it. Although he passed away, this helps keep his memory alive.”
Proceeds of the race will also go to Angela’s House, a Smithtown-based charity that helps families caring for children with disabilities and medical conditions by helping them obtain supportive services.
“Our business is Smithtown-based and we prefer to do business here, “Mr. Damianos said. “The Chamber and Angela’s House has a tough job, and anything we can do to support a great cause like that is a good thing.”
The race was founded in 2005, with only the pandemic canceling 2020’ s race in the yearly tradition. “This is something we’ve been doing very successfully for the last 17 years now, and it’s only because of the many great volunteers we have, “Ms. Franco said. “We’ve built a well-oiled machine that ensures each year is a fun and positive experience for our runners.”
“Time flies when you’re having fun,” Mr. Damianos said. “Mark Mancini came up with the idea for the chamber to do a race for charity, and came to John and me to be sponsors. We did it the first year and realized in the second year the runners wanted nicer tee shirts, so we decided to give even more money. At the point we realized this could be a great event, and we’ve been its major sponsor ever since.”
Mr. Damianos credited the community as a whole with its long-term success. “The sponsors give their time and money to ensure the race is a success, and the runners do their part as well,” he said. “After the race, they stay in the area to shop and eat in our restaurants, who are in turn donating to the Chamber. It’s a group effort by the sponsors and runners that has helped the race make a name for itself over the years.”
The race features a flat, easy, and scenic course through the streets of Smithtown. The 5-kilometer race begins at the New York Avenue School along Edgewater Avenue, followed by a left turn onto Juniper Avenue. After a stretch on Juniper, runners will make a right onto Higbie Drive, followed by a quick left onto Brooksite Drive and a quick right onto Cygnet Drive. Runners will push through Cygnet’s gradual incline until the road ends, then make a right onto New Mill Road for the home stretch before finishing back at the New York Avenue School.
“The course is fast and flat,” Mr. Damianos said. “There aren’t too many hills, which is good for all levels of runners. It’s also scenic, featuring the neighborhoods of our area. I love seeing the people who live in the neighborhoods come out and support the runners.”
Last year, Michael Resvanis, 48 of Stony Brook wont the race in 18:51.4. Maria Marascia, 31, of West Babylon, won the women’s race in 19:13.9 and finished third overall.
Awards will be given to the top overall male and female finishers, as well as the top three in several age groups and a team trophy. Registration is available online at www.RegSRC.com for 30 for 5k runners and 10 for 1k fun runners.
Before the 5k race, a 1k fun run will be held, starting at 8:45a.m. Following the 5k race there will be an awards ceremony, as well as a post-race refreshment party and post-race raffle drawings.
As the Chamber prepares for the race, its members hope it will be a success. “We’ll be there at 5:30a.m. marking the streets and setting up a nice, big tent behind the New York Avenue Schools. We’re going to have the US Army and Marines in attendance, and we’ll be thrilled to have their support at the race and in the community. We’re ready to rock and roll and hope it will be another great race,” Ms. Franco said.
For more information, contact Ms. Franco at 631-979-8069 or at email@example.com
By Anthony Lifrieri