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By Jeff Benjamin

A Column appearing every two months informing people about the POSITIVE things which are going on in the Staten Island running community.

June 11, 2002 - These days the question abounds on the Staten Island road running scene as to who is the best distance runner on Staten Island? Well, if you have followed the performances of the past year, a name has come up which I believe will show it.

In the spring and fall of 2001, Tottenville alumni Dean Grusky really came on the scene, most notably winning the Muche Struck Veterans Day Race at Goodhue park. For Grusky, nowadays an assistant track coach over at Curtis high school, this was just the beginning.

Throughout the winter of 2001-02, Dean had competed quite often at the real long distance event races like 15k and 20 miles throughout the metropolitan area and beyond. His goal, he confided to me in March, was to run a respectable Boston Marathon.

Did he ever!!! The 28 year old was easily Staten Island's first finisher, crossing the line in 2 hours, 43 minutes, and 45 seconds, good enough for 252nd place.

His splits were amazingly even as he ran an average of 6:15 per mile. His splits were a consistent 18:55 for 5k, 37:52 for 10k, and 1:20:31 for the 1/2 marathon. Even during the last part of the race, which consists of the notorious Heartbreak Hill at 20 miles, Dean still was able to keep his pace and finish well.

A modest guy (unless you know him), Dean's performance in the marathon, along with his other performances, definitely rank him as the best distance runner on Staten Island, and rightly deserves Credit Where Credit is Due.