Ron LeeSep 3, 2018, 11:16 amSep 4, 2018, 2:23 pm

Runners hit the Long Beach boardwalk for annual Labor Day race

Veterans and newbies sign up for event now in its 29th year

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LONG BEACH — Whether one is an intense runner or an excited spectator cheering on friends, many did not dare miss the Robert C. McAvoy Labor Day 5-Mile Race on Monday.

The holiday event, now in its 29th year, saw 233 people including some newbies sign up to compete.

"It's wonderful. I love it. I love coming out, and the fact that so many people are up early in the morning after Labor Day barbecues and everything like that, it's great,” said runner Abby Athanasopoulos of Oceanside. "It's such a sense of community and everyone's really supportive of each other. It's wonderful."

At last year's competition, Alex Eletto of Stony Brook was just 20 years old when he won the men's division for the second year in a row. His time of just over 28 minutes and 26 seconds beat his previous year's time by 40 seconds.

And with last year's men's champion, Eletto, and last year's female champion, Kira Garry of Montauk, both not entering in this year's event, there is room for some new champions to emerge.

Not everyone, however, felt the need to win the race. For them, it was all about doing their personal best when it comes to running and healthy living.

"I like running because initially it was to lose some weight and I didn't really like it that much, but I got into it. You know, they say 30 days forms a habit. After 30 days, kept continuous, [I] ran into a great running community, we all stick together. I wound up doing other things. I'm trying to swim now and I’m biking, so it just led to other healthy lifestyle activities," said Shirelle Johnson of Elmont.

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