September 2016 - RUNNING & WALKING
Mohawk Hudson River Marathon & Half Marathon
By Christine Bishop
On Sunday, October 9, two premiere running events, the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon and Hannaford Half Marathon, will bring runners to Albany from across the region, the United States and many foreign countries.
Marathon runners begin at Central Park in Schenectady, follow the bike path along the Mohawk and Hudson rivers, and finish at Jennings Landing in the Corning Preserve in Albany, where they are greeted by hundreds of spectators. Half marathoners start at Colonie Town Park and follow the second half of the marathon course. The relatively flat courses makes it a favorite among first timers and those hoping to set personal records, and those marathoners wishing to qualify for the Holy Grail of running – the Boston Marathon. In 2015, 22% of marathon finishers earned that privilege!
The normal temperature range in Albany on October 9th is 40˚ to 60˚, which makes this time of year perfect for racing in the Capital Region.
The competition level is high. The race organizer, Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club, offers elite entries to runners who can meet qualifying standards. All registered runners in each race compete for prize money, which is awarded to the top three men and women overall, and the top three men and women local finishers. Special awards are also presented to the top three men and women in 12 age categories.
Last year’s marathon was won by Bryan Morseman, 30, of Bath, N.Y. in a time of 2:24:01. Bryan made national headlines earlier in 2015 by running three marathons in eight days and winning them all to earn money to help pay for medical treatment for his son. Megan Skeels, 41, of Aledo, Texas, won the women’s side in a time of 2:46:39, almost 15 minutes faster than her closest female competitor.
The cost of the marathon and half marathon is much less than most big city events, and HMRRC is able to keep costs low due, in part, to the organization and management skills of its all-volunteer staff. Maureen Cox, the race director for the past four years, and her 30 race coordinators work year-round on thousands of details needed to make a successful race. Work starts on the next year’s race the minute the current year’s race is complete.
Maureen also oversees more than 500 race-weekend volunteers. Volunteers are needed for jobs of all sizes – many of which are invisible to runners but that make a difference to runner’s comfort, safety, and enjoyment. For example, Tom Adams takes his leaf blower and clears off the entire 26.2 mile course, making sure debris and impediments are removed. The “sag wagon” staff are up before dawn to put out the mile markers to keep runners on course and to double-check for obstructions that could impede runners’ path.
Fifteen community volunteer groups man the aid stations throughout the course and provide thousands of cups of hydration to the runners. The medical directors, Kim Kilby, Michael Dailey and Todd Shatynski, ready their medical staff and equipment and prepare to take care of any illness or injury that may occur during the race. The refreshment committee makes sure an ample supply of healthy food is available for hungry and tired runners. Massage therapists are ready at the finish line to take care of sore muscles. Musicians set up along the course to greet runners as they pass by.
Markers are set up at each mile to inform runners where they are, and to encourage and entertain them. This year, BlueShield of Northeastern New York, is playing a major role by sponsoring mile markers stretching for the first 24 miles on the marathon course. BlueShield will bring its Healthy Zone Cruiser to give out health information and goodies to those viewing the race.
On Saturday, October 8, the Expo and Packet Pick-Up will be held at the Albany Hilton from 10am to 6pm, and is produced by Adirondack Sports & Fitness. The general public is welcome to attend the free event, where dozens of running, health and fitness related exhibitors will be on hand. Runners and visitors alike can buy apparel and accessories, taste samples, win prizes and receive giveaways, while picking up their race bibs.
Experience the thrill of this electrifying race yourself on Sunday, October 9. Registration for both races is now closed, but entries are still available through the charity partners. To learn more about the race weekend, charity partner entry, and best locations to watch, go to mohawkhudsonmarathon.com. We hope to see you at this major Albany contest. In the meantime, happy running!
Hudson-Mohawk Road Runners Club
Race organizer Hudson-Mohawk Road Runners Club is one of the largest running clubs in upstate New York, with more than 2,500 members. HMRRC’s mission is to promote the sport of distance running and it does that in a variety of ways. HMRRC hosts over 30 road, track and trail races each year, with distances ranging from the mile to the marathon. The Stockade-athon 15K, CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge, Mohawk Hudson River Marathon and Half Marathon, Winter Series races, Colonie Mile and Delmar Dash, are a few of the many races HMRRC has to offer.
- 9 Miles East Farm
- Adirondack Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
- Adirondack Sports & Fitness
- Albany Running Exchange/AREEP
- Arbonne International
- Back in Balance Therapeutic Massage
- Bondi Band
- Cabot Creamery Cooperative
- Chafex/Simply Better Labs
- CK Cycles
- Girls on the Run/Capital Region
- GreenLayer Sports (4)
- Hannaford Supermarkets
- Homeless and Travelers Aid Society
- Hudson-Mohawk Road Runners Club
- Illuminite/BackAtcha Apparel (2)
- Janji Running Apparel (2)
- Mohawk Hudson Marathon Pace Team
- Nark Running Strategies
- National Running Center (4)
- Peak to Brew Relay
- Powerhouse Athletics
- Proactive Chiropractic
- RUseeN Reflective Apparel (2)
Race proceeds support HMRRC’s many initiatives, including: Scholarships – Awards six $3,000 scholarships annually to college-bound seniors from local high schools who intend to continue running in college; General Grants – Offers grants of up to $1,000 to qualifying organizations who advance running within the Capital District; Special Grants – Offers special grants up to $10,000 annually to provide financial support and assistance to local organizations, municipalities or other entities, who work to improve running-related resources in our community; and Youth Running Program – HMRRC is a licensee and administer of Just Run Albany, a program designed to assist schools in combating childhood obesity and related illnesses, by promoting running as part of a healthy lifestyle. Currently, 18 elementary schools will participate in the fall 2016 Just Run program, and 26 schools participated in the spring 2016 program. HMRRC is proud to have 10 of the 12 public elementary schools in the Albany City School District participating this spring.
HMRRC membership is still only $12, a real bargain considering that it includes a number of free races per year, discounts at other club races and more. The club is vibrant due to the work of its volunteer members. If you are interested in helping out at races, want to become involved on a committee or just want more information, check out hmrrc.com.
Christine Bishop (email@example.com) of Schenectady is a retired media specialist who loves running, photography and bird watching.