Hundreds run for fun on Independence Day

John Skidmore was hard to miss.
John Skidmore was hard to miss.
Donovan Berthoud/Herald Life

More than 600 runners turned out to celebrate the holiday and join in the 35th annual Bellmore Striders Independence Day 4-Mile Run on July 4.

The event was held, as always, in honor of Matthew Warkala, a former Striders member and Mepham High School alumnus who died of brain cancer. Hundreds of runners race the course through Bellmore to commemorate Warkala and the Fourth of July each year.

Festivities began at 8 a.m. in downtown Bellmore with the one-mile run for children, ages 12 and under. The four-mile run was open to all athletes, ages 13 and older, and began at 8:30 a.m.

According to Just Finish Systems, Inc., 668 runners finished the four-mile race.

Dietrich Mosel, 20, of Manhasset, finished first, with a time of 20:32. Lauren Dorsky, 22, of Northport, was the first woman to finish, with a time of 24:19, and the first Bellmorite to finish was Matt Gemma, 18, with a time of 24:30.

Forty-two kids took part in the one-mile race, with Bellmorite Isayah Contreras, 11, taking first place, with a time of 6:21.

Many children and adults dressed in patriotic garb for the run. From participants donning Captain America shirts and Uncle Sam hats to veterans wearing military gear, patriotism was on display in Bellmore.