Mohamed Trafeh wasn’t sure he’d ever return to Northport.
The veteran distance runner put his stamp on the , winning one of the premier road races in the U.S. in record time. There was little left to prove.
But Will Fodor, the event’s elite runners coordinator, called up Trafeh about three weeks ago and convinced him to take another crack at the course.
“He felt like he owed something to Northport to come back and try for it,” Fodor said.
While admittedly not in peak condition and physically spent by the hilly terrain, Trafeh held off a challenge by Sean Quigley Saturday morning to take the 35th Cow Harbor 10K in 29 minutes, 19.94 seconds. It was Trafeh’s fourth straight victory in the elite road race, a Cow Harbor record.
“Northport is another home for me,” a gracious Trafeh said after collecting a Bulova watch and first-place check for $3,500 from Capital One Bank. He set the pace for a field of about 5,400 male and female runners of all ages.
“It’s a big advantage knowing the course, the people here,” the runner said. “I know where it hurts and feels good. That helps.”
After a fast start along and a quick right down Scudder Avenue, , jumped past Trafeh into the front of the pack. It was a tenuous lead. Trafeh was never more than one stride behind Quigley.
They turned north on Bayview Avenue and caught a glimpse of the Long Island Sound from James St. By the time the runners reached Ocean Avenue, Trafeh, 27, of Duarte, Calif., had taken back the lead.
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“At the top of James Street I got really tired and my heart rate was up,” Trafeh admitted. "I was breathing hard. I’m not in the best shape, but I toughed it out and pushed.”
He kicked into another gear from there. The gap between “Mo,” as he’s affectionately known, and Quigley became wide enough to drive though. In fact, a Northport resident did just that in a black Jeep, pulling out of a driveway along the race route and tailing Trafeh up Waterside Road – much to the consternation of race officials.
Trafeh didn’t care, saying afterward that he hardly noticed the misplaced motorist. He was driving toward his own destination and it was historic.
“He’s truly one of the best runners in America,” Fodor said.
Quigley finished second in 29:25.33 while James Strang, 27, of Colorado Springs. Colo., placed third (29:38). Patchogue-Medford graduate Anthony Famiglietti was fourth (29:39.95). See all results.
And with a crowd gathered at the gazebo in , Fodor pushed Trafeh to commit to 2013. Big Mo beamed a smile. He’ll be back.
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