July 2016 - Running & Walking
Distance Races to Train for Now!
By Mona Caron
Summer has officially begun and you’ve been running well all spring. Maybe you’ve completed several 5K or 10K races? Why not take it to the next level by signing up for a longer distance event this fall? There are many road races to choose from, and a slew trail distances at the area’s only trail festival. Register now, find a training plan or a coach, and get started!
On Sunday, August 21, the Tour de Force Charity Races: Half, 10K, 5K, 1M Walk/Run will start at Point Au Roche State Park in Plattsburgh. The half marathon is an out-and-back course, which starts in the park and uses Lakeshore Road along Lake Champlain for great views. All four running events are out-and-back routes on paved roads for fast and flat courses. Race perks include a local DJ who will be providing runners with music during the race and a meal with Michigan hot dogs (a North Country favorite), salads and beverages.
The Tour de Force’s dual mission is to honor the victims of 9/11 by keeping their memory alive, and to benefit the families of police officers who’ve been killed in the line of duty nationwide. This year’s race is dedicated to Essex County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Loiselle, who was killed on August 17, 2005 while conducting a traffic stop on the Adirondack Northway. Ten percent of the money raised this year is going to the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, who will award the money to local high school students pursuing a degree in a criminal justice field. Ten percent is also going to the Sean Collier Foundation at MIT in Boston. Sean was the officer killed during the Boston Marathon bombing. The remaining money will go to the Tour de Force charity to support the families of law enforcement killed in the line of duty. (adirondackcoastevents.com)
If you’ve only run on asphalt this year, here’s your chance to mix it up in the dirt. On Sunday, August 28, AREEP will be hosting their third annual Thacher Park Trail Running Festival, held in conjunction with ARE Club Day, at Thacher State Park near Voorheesville. The fest includes a 50K, 26.2-mile, 13.1-mile, 10K, 5K and 800-meter kids’ race, and aims to be the most inclusive trail running event around.
Runners new to trail running can try the 5K that is pancake flat with almost no technical sections. The 50K, marathon, half and 10K all share the same first 10K, so whether you’re running the 10K or any of the longer distances, you can run with a friend for as long as you want until your race ends.
The first 10K takes runners out to the Hang Glide cliff, which perhaps is the best overlook and most scenic vista in the park, with just a few rolling hills. It’s an even combination of grass fields and singletrack sections. The final part of the opening half marathon heads to the Paint Mine/Beaver Dam Road section of the park, with a few inclines and rewarding descents.
The 26.2 miles and 50K repeat the opening half course as both races run through 26.2 miles together. 50Kers complete a final loop in the Paint Mine/Beaver Dam section.
Overall, with live music and announcing throughout, you will enjoy a fun and upbeat atmosphere. While the races are going on, spectators can participate in backyard/carnival games such as the water bucket challenge, egg toss and more. (thacherparkrunningfestival.com)
On Sunday, September 4, try this unique distance commemorating the War of 1812 with the 18.12 Challenge & Half Marathon in Watertown. Known as America’s “second war for independence,” the War of 1812 was an American victory over British forces in America and Canada. Both races start together in Watertown and end on the historic 1812 Battlefield in Sackets Harbor.
Race organizers ask you to “accept the challenge” by registering. There will be $1,812 in prize money. The first place male and female in the 18.12 Challenge will each receive $500, while the first-place male and female in the half-marathon will each receive $406.
The timing of this race may be ideal for fall marathon training. In addition to the race, there’s an expo on Saturday, Sept. 3. The finish line is located at 1812 Battlefield park, so you’ll have an opportunity to see the amazing view overlooking Lake Ontario. (1812challenge.com)
On Sunday, September 18 you can experience the atmosphere of Saratoga Springs without the summer crowds at The Saratoga Palio: Melanie Merola O’Donnell Memorial Race. The half marathon is a favorite for its beautiful course through the heart of downtown and Saratoga Spa State Park, and for the great cause it supports. Half marathoners start at the City Center, run down Broadway, around the state park for almost nine miles, then head through the neighborhoods of Saratoga Springs for a finish at Congress Park. In addition, there’s a 5K run/walk and kids’ run – perfect for families and serious runners.
The Palio was established to honor the inspiring life of Melanie Merola O’Donnell. Each year a scholarship is given in her name to an outstanding post-graduate student in the field of mental health. In addition to the scholarship fund, The Melanie Foundation will be making a donation to support Shelters of Saratoga, which assists homeless or at-risk individuals. (themelaniefoundation.com)
Voted “Northeast’s Best Half Marathon” in 2012 by readers of competitor.com, the 20th anniversary Adirondack Marathon Distance Festival is a must-do! All races are on Sunday, September 25. The half marathon starts in the hamlet of Adirondack, where runners cover the second half of the marathon course. The first five to six miles are flat, along the lakeshore of Schroon Lake. Then, there are long, gentle hills on Route 9, leading north to Schroon Lake.
The marathoners run clockwise around Schroon Lake, starting in town and finish overlooking the beach. The first four miles are rolling or flat. The next eight miles feature short, but steep hills along a two-lane country road on the east side of the lake. The remaining miles are the same as the half-marathon course. Register soon because the field is only open to 500 marathoners and 650 half marathoners.
There’s also a two- or four-person relay team option if you’d like that option! Only 50 teams are allowed for each relay. On Saturday, September 24, there are 5K and 10K races in Chestertown, and 1K kids’ fun run in Schroon Lake. (adirondackmarathon.org)
As an incentive for women, Adirondack Marathon “bonus bucks” are available this year! In 1997 Germany’s Simone Stoeppler took the women’s marathon title with an impressive time of 3:04:22. She returned in 2010, again capturing first place and the iconic chainsaw carved bear, but posting a 3:24:02 effort. Thirteen years older, she did not really expect to break her own record, but she was surprised that no one else had. Now, six years later the clock is still ticking.
Will 2016 be the female breakthrough year? Race director Joel Friedman hopes so and to sweeten the honey pot he is adding a $500 new course record time bonus to the traditional bear award. Hopefully, this incentive will guarantee the most competitive female field ever!
While the half marathon sold out within hours, the marathon is still open. Register soon for the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon & Half Marathon on Sunday, October 9. The point-to-point marathon course starts from Schenectady’s Central Park to Albany’s Corning Preserve/Riverfront Landing. The marathon is flat and fast, with a net elevation loss of 370 feet, making it a popular Boston qualifier. Approximately two-thirds of the marathon course is on paved bike path, one-third on city streets. The city streets are not closed to vehicular traffic, however traffic is minimal and only comes into play for a few miles before heading back onto the bike path in Albany.
According to Runner’s World, the “Mohawk Hudson provides all the amenities of a major marathon and none of the hassles. The whole event feels like the community effort it is. Then there’s the course: simple, understated and stunning.” (mohawkhudsonmarathon.com)
It’s only July so you have time to add mileage to your training, and give some of these races a try!