Neidnig Recalled at Sag Harbor 5K
A 15-year-old was first, a 61-year-old was second
By Jack Graves | October 8, 2014 – 10:17am
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The Pierson High School boys cross-country team turned out in force. Above are, from left, Angelo Toscano (the eventual winner), Lucas Yennie, Aidan Crowley, and Rojuan Patterson. Jack Graves
At Saturday’s second Andy’s Run in Sag Harbor, Robert Arcs, who two years ago became the steward of hundreds of trophies, medals, and plaques won by the late Andy Neidnig over the course of a lifelong long-distance running career, said that he hoped the turnout could be increased in the coming years.
“There were 120 last year, and only 88 this year — we need to juice it up,” said Arcs, who, along with other family members, is on the mend from having his vehicle recently “rear-ended by a pickup truck on North Sea Road.”
Those who did show up were enthusiastic, however. Among them was Tony Venesina, who said he’s still working 10 to 12 hours a day at his Conca d’Oro restaurant, and who was a longtime friend and running mate of Neidnig’s. (“Andy retired at 62, I’m still working at 72.”) Because of foot trouble, he didn’t run.
Sarah Adams of Quogue, a daughter of the late Dr. George Sheehan, one of the seminal figures in the long-distance running boom of the 1970s and ’80s, was there too. Her father and Neidnig were track and cross-country teammates at Manhattan College, and later were inducted into the college’s Hall of Fame.
“He was quite a guy,” Arcs said of Neidnig. “I went to meet his wife — she’s 90 and living in Riverhead. She said all he ever wanted to do was run, that he had seriously thought of quitting his job as a steamfitter so that he could run more.”
“This is just a sample of what I have,” Arcs said, pointing to a table of memorabilia nearby. “He won the New York marathon three years running in his 70s, setting a record. The trophies and medals and plaques I have span a career that began in the 1930s — he ran in the Fillmore Games before they became the Millrose Games — and continued into the 2000s.”
Arcs said he’s still hoping that repositories — he has the Old Montauk Athletic Club, Manhattan College, and the New York Road Runners Club in mind — may be found to house the collection or parts of it.
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[JR: What a legacy! ]
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