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Charity Race Road Closure Sparks Residents' Ire

Bayport residents say better communication is needed beyond mailed letter from race organizers.

While the third annual Sayville Running Company 10 Mile Run to the Brewery is proving popular with racers it's a bit unpopular with some Bayport residents who found the race road closure frustrating this past weekend.

“No one South of Middle Road was notified… Very inconsiderate of the Sayville Running Company. Many people could not get out to go to work, appointments, pick up children etc... for almost 2 hours!,” wrote a resident on Patch’s Facebook page.

“I had great difficulty getting out of my driveway, let alone, across Middle Road. The route needs to be planned better so we are not boxed in,” wrote another resident.

According to the race organizer, the Greater Long Island Running Club, a letter about the race held Saturday was sent out on January 11 and included a course map as well as a contact number in case residents had questions.

A few Patch readers, including a few expressing frustration with the road closure, acknowledged a letter was received though several others stated they had not been notified.

Some readers stated the letter appeared to be junk mail and was likely dismissed by affected homeowners though the envelope did state in bold letters “Important Road Closure Information Inside.”

“It was in an envelope from the Greater Long Island Running Club. I think that in the future, it might be best if they sent a flat mailer/postcard type that might be more easily noticed. When I saw it, I first assumed it was an advertisement or solicitation. I would imagine it could have easily gone unnoticed,” wrote a Patch reader.

One Facebook posting stated the letter “asked” residents not to use the road and did not specifically state that Middle Road, between Sayville and Patchogue, would be closed for two hours. Another reader admonished those complaining that it was not the organizers’ fault "if people don’t read their own mail."

Race co-sponsor, the Sayville Running Company, said it received three complaint calls Saturday morning and referred the callers to the GLIRC. Mike Polansky, GLIRC president, said he fielded several calls in the week prior to the race regarding questions on the road access, and several this past Sunday from residents upset about the road closure.

“We took great care to personally advise by mail every resident that could be affected by the event. Our mailing went to everyone south of Montauk Highway. It included the time of the event, all the other details and a detailed course map,” Polansky told Patch.

“Most important of all, it included my phone number at the club office with a suggestion that anyone who might have a problem contact us. We received perhaps a dozen phone calls from local residents expressing their concerns and, for the most part, we were successful in helping them,” he added.

“The last thing we want to do is disturb the local community,” said Brendan Barrett, co-owner of the Sayville Running Company.

“We apologize for any disturbances it did cause, and both GLIRC and Sayville Running Company would welcome any constructive feedback regarding the race and things we can do in the future to further minimize inconvenience. We'd genuinely like to work to find positive solutions to any problems that occurred,” Barrett told Patch in an email.

The race drew well over a 1,000 runners, the most ever in its history, with 1,081 finishers, according to Polansky.

“It’s become a very popular race as it’s the only 10-mile run in Suffolk County and it’s very competitive. It also benefits a great local charity,” he told Patch in a phone interview Tuesday.

The race raised nearly $10,000 dollars for BULA (Better Understanding of Life in Africa), a charity run by the Fricke family of Bayport that supports children and educational efforts in Uganda. The event also collected significant donations for Sayville and Patchogue food pantries, said Polansky.

Necessary permits were granted by Islip and Brookhaven towns, as well Patchogue Village and the event had approval from the Suffolk Police Department, said Polansky.

In the first two years the race started at Blue Point Brewery on River Road in Patchogue, went to Sayville and back again. This year the race started at the Brewery and finished at Weeks Street, in Patchogue, to allow River Avenue access to drivers shortly after the race began, said Polansky.

“This allowed River Avenue to be totally cleared and open for traffic within 10 minutes after the start. The police had also asked us to start the race no later than 8:30 and to hold it on a Saturday rather than a Sunday, and of course that was no problem,” said Polansky.

“I recognize that there were lots of people who did experience some inconvenience, and I would be happy to work with anyone on constructive criticisms and suggestions that might help things for them in 2014,” said Polansky, inviting residents to provide feedback by calling him at 516-349-7646.

“I hope that people will be understanding. This is the single biggest event held in the area every year and brings significant business to the local business communities."

Susan T. January 24, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Captain Chris Bergold at the 5th precinct will be happy to address any resident's concerns for the future.
Mike Polansky January 25, 2013 at 01:40 PM
My thanks to everyone who offered a constructive criticism or suggestion. We want to be good neighbors, we want to correct mistakes, at the same time as we want to help support local charities and promote fitness in what is suffolk County's ONLY 10 mile race. We will be exploring the possibility of route changes, we will be considering means of making our pre-race mailings more effective (brightly colored postcards, pwerhaps) and we will be focusing more on signage. I am available at 516 349-7646 to discuss the event with anyone who wants to speak with me about it. Please help us preserve this event in a way that will minimize any inconvenience to the local neighborhood. Mike Polansky, president Greater Long island Running Club
Let's be Real February 10, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Who cares about Suffolk County's "only 10 mile race?" The community is not built for it. Take it elsewhere and stop being so greedy
Mike Polansky February 10, 2013 at 02:47 AM
"greedy"? That's not fair. I don't earn ten cents from this event, and we gave a chck for $15,000 to charity Friday morning from the race!
Not Happy March 23, 2013 at 12:50 AM
The 5th precinct doesn't like the idea of people raising money for charities through races. They have been trying to shut down races ever since Inspector Mojica came in charge. Races around this area have had their race courses changed, dates changed, times changed, all because he wants to have his piece in everyone's pie. What's next, giving the proceeds to the 5th precinct? Races happen in all towns of the island with little interruption as compared to here near the 5th precinct.

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