By Bill Landon
Thanks to Mount Sinai community members displaced children are once again getting what’s on their Christmas lists this year.
The school district’s Students Against Destructive Decisions club members teamed up with Strong Island Running Club and more than 36 local businesses and families for the 7th annual Mount Sinai Turkey Trot 5K and Fun Run to benefit Hauppauge-based nonprofit Christmas Magic.
According to running club founder John McHugh, the organization receives letters from children who write to Santa from area homeless shelters.
“Many were originally displaced back in 2008 as a result of the housing market crash,” McHugh said. “We get those letters, and with the proceeds of today’s race, we’ll go shopping next week and buy presents for the kids and host a dinner for them and their families.”
The races brought out more than 350 entrants, and Mount Sinai student-athletes swept the top five 5K spots. First across the finish line was Mount Sinai junior Sean Higgins, who is a member of the school’s varsity track and field and cross country teams. He clocked in at a personal best 17 minutes, 26:31.
“I practice at 7 a.m. every day,” the 17-year-old said. “I run for a living.”
Second across the finish line was teammate Ryan Wilson, who tripped the timer at 17:55.88. Mount Sinai runner Jackson Law finished in third with a time of 18:23.38, and was followed by his twin brother Christian who covered the distance in 18:24.97.
The first female finisher was Mount Sinai senior Noreen Guilfoyle, who finished in 18:35. It was her third consecutive first-place finish among females in the event.
“It’s a beautiful morning,” she said.
The event had the best turnout of any year so far, with event proceeds totaling just over $7,500, according to McHugh. After dinner, which will be held at Mount Sinai High School Dec. 6 at 5 p.m., there will be a visit from Santa where the kids will receive their gifts and sing Christmas carols.
“These people all have hearts of gold,” McHugh said. “It is our privilege to help make the holidays special for those children and families in need across Long Island.”
For more information about the collaboration, visit www.strongislandrunningclub.com or call 631-806-4649.