Fog doesn’t slow Marco Bridge Run competitors

 It's a family affair. Joey Rohletter holds his grandon Parks, 5 1/2 months, with daughter-in-law Meaghan, son Grant and wife Martha after the finish of the 10-Mile Bridge Run on Sunday. Grant's family, from Atlanta, Ga., came for a visit and he got to run in the inaugural race to benefit the YMCA.

Diane Fowler/Special to the Eagle.

It's a family affair. Joey Rohletter holds his grandon Parks, 5 1/2 months, with daughter-in-law Meaghan, son Grant and wife Martha after the finish of the 10-Mile Bridge Run on Sunday. Grant's family, from Atlanta, Ga., came for a visit and he got to run in the inaugural race to benefit the YMCA.

 Lisa, left and Mike Sbertoli, right, present Mike Hensley, the  top overall runner in the inaugural 10-Mile Bridge Run, with his trophy.

Diane Fowler/Special to the Eagle.

Lisa, left and Mike Sbertoli, right, present Mike Hensley, the top overall runner in the inaugural 10-Mile Bridge Run, with his trophy.

More than 130 runners got off to a foggy start in the inaugural 10-Mile Bridge Run to benefit the YMCA on Sunday.

Diane Fowler/Special to the Eagle.

More than 130 runners got off to a foggy start in the inaugural 10-Mile Bridge Run to benefit the YMCA on Sunday.

Marco Island's Mick Thorstenson crosses the finish line to take third place in his age division at the 10-Mile Bridge Run to benefit the YMCA.

Diane Fowler'Special to the Eagle

Marco Island's Mick Thorstenson crosses the finish line to take third place in his age division at the 10-Mile Bridge Run to benefit the YMCA.

Runners got off to a foggy start for the inaugural 10-Mile Marco Bridge Run on Saturday, but the participants were more than eager.

The race took them from the quiet streets of Marco Island, through the hilly Estates, over the foggy Goodland Bridge, through the gated community of Key Marco and back to the YMCA, host and beneficiary of the event.

A familiar name in local running circles popped up again as Mike Hensley, 23, took first place with a time of 55:53:07. That time put him about four minutes ahead of second place finisher, Kyle Cashin, 39, of New York City, who finished with a time of 1:00:25.98, while John Mitoraj, 45, of Mokena, Ill., took third with a time of 1:04:22.61. He had the best Master Male time.

Hensley, who also was the top overall local finisher in the Naples Daily News Half Marathon last month, was pleased with the event.

“This is really well run for a first annual race,” Hensley said. “The volunteers were great. Usually, you don’t know where you’re going. Here, there were volunteers at every road telling us where to go. That was helpful.”

Hensley is a graduate student at Florida Gulf Coast University, where he studies physical therapy. He also volunteers at the school as an assistant coach for the track and cross country teams.

Top female overall was Kathryn Martin, 57, of Northport, N.Y., who finished eighth overall in a time of 1:07:51.20.

The Master Female was Amy Rappaport, 48, of Califon, N.J., who placed 23rd overall in a time of 1:14:31.01. Grandmaster Male was Garrett D’Alessandro, 51, of Califon, N.J., with a time of 1:05:27.78. Grandmaster Female was Marco’s Nancy Embree, 56, in a time of 1:27:37.66.

Senior Grandmaster Male was Andy Nesheim, 60, of Marco in a time of 1:13:50.00. Senior Grandmaster Female was Kathleen Curtis, 60, of Naples, in a time of 1:32:54.74.

Event Chairman Dave Rice, said the event was in honor of Carole Sbertoli, who passed away suddenly in 2008. She and her husband, Mike, have been avid supporters of the Y.

“It’s wonderful that so many came out for this event that encourages good, friendly competition,” Sbertoli said. “There’s a high level of sportsmanship.”

Sbertoli and his daughter Lisa presented the awards to the winners at the end of the race.

Besides the runners, there were about 100 volunteers on hand, assisting in the success of the event.

“We have around 150 people running in the race,” Rice said, “but we couldn’t do it without the help of the volunteers. When you’re asked to show up for a 6:45 a.m. meeting the day after Valentine’s Day, that’s dedication. And the volunteers are having fun.”

Rice said that although he was extremely pleased with the results of the event, he would like to see some world class runners compete next year. He said that if more sponsors get involved, there will be more prize money to give away, which will attract more runners.

Cash prizes totaling $3,200 were awarded and there were trophies for the first three places in each age division.

Although most of the runners hailed from Florida, Atlanta restaurant owner Grant Rohletter combined the race with a visit to see his parents, Marco residents Joey and Martha Rohletter. Rohletter, who had a respectable 17th-place finish overall, won first place in the 25-29 male age group. Visiting with him were his wife, Meaghan, and their five-month old son, Parks.

Entrant Beth Schad, from Boise, Idaho, who won the 35-30 female class, came the farthest.

Golden Gate High School was well represented by five of their long distance track stars. Coach Kimberly Culpepper was thrilled to see them take the top five spots in their age division.

“I try to take these guys to all the local events,” Culpepper said.

“I put them in every race I can find.”

Greguy Bolivar, 17, Mackenson Timothee, 17, and Sherlin Herard, 16, placed 5th, 7th, and 9th respectively overall. Rounding out the team were Ismael Hernandez, 17, finishing 18th and Jose Amador, 17, 32nd.

“My wife would have been so proud to see this,” Sbertoli said. “Lisa and I have been reminiscing. She grew up around the Y and its wonderful activities. I’d really like to thank the sponsors, and the Y for holding the event.”

Sponsors included The race is being sponsored by the Marco Eagle, ARA Insurance, DaVinci Ristorante Italiano, The Kramer Law Firm, Island Mortgage, Marco Community Bank, Morningstar Music, Raymond James, Premier Properties of SW FL Inc., Suzzanne Fil, Integrity Network, Kinetico Water Systems and Empire Bagel Factory.

For the winners by age divisions, and a complete list of all runners go to marconews.com

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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