April 2017 - RUNNING & WALKING
Capture Your Perfect Spring Distance
Eeny, Meenie, Miney, Mo, Catch a Race by the Toe…
By Laura Clark
The spring racing season is underway and there are multiple options available for your running pleasure. With the comfortably warm weather, this is the perfect time to test your legs at a favorite distance or perhaps venture into the unknown. Ranging from one-mile up to the marathon, the following possibilities guarantee something for everybody.
The shortest distance is the Glens Falls Memorial Mile on Monday, May 29. Shorter does not necessarily mean easier. Training requires military precision, with extended warmups, and lengthy cooldowns to calm twitchy muscles. And then there is the middle section, the no-holds-barred dash to the finish. But as race director Randy Rath brags, this “flattest and fastest mile just north of the Hudson” functions as the opening act for the Glens Falls Memorial Day Parade, and as such features a ready-made spectator base. You will feel like a hero powering to the applause of those awaiting the parade. New this year, the race has been voted part of the 2017 USATF Adirondack Grand Prix series, so you can expect a competitive crowd. (adkracemgmt.com)
While Sean’s Run Weekend on April 29-30 is a festival of bike rides, Zumbathons, gourmet after-event eating sprees, musical performances and a prevention expo, the Sunday flagship event is the 5K where an anticipated 1,400 will wend their way through the historic town of Chatham – just 30 miles southeast of Albany. Embedded within is the Firefighter 5K Challenge featuring friendly competition among regional departments. Preceding is Meghan’s Mile for children 12-and-under and walkers, who aren’t ready to tackle three miles. Noteworthy is Saturday’s Jaime’s Race for People with Special Needs, which provides a shortened route with full 5K amenities for challenged individuals. Proceeds provide grants to youth groups and schools to combat underage drinking. (seansrun.com)
Everyone is a winner at the CCRC 5K on Saturday, May 6 at the Christ Community Reformed Church in Clifton Park. Because the race begins at 3pm, kids still get to attend their soccer games, and with a free BBQ for all registrants, parents don’t have to rush home to fix supper. Everyone scores a raffle prize, with items placed on tables so the winners can select whatever strikes their fancy – from gift certificates to restaurants and athletic stores to stuffed animals. Even the littlest 1K participants receive their own medal and ice cream certificate. Race director, Pat Glover, stresses that “The 5K emphasis is on participation more than performance,” with friendly two-person family teams adding to the fun. Proceeds this year support local Girl and Boy Scouts with their community-based projects. (ccrc-cpny.org)
Continuing the prevention theme is the Summer Smith Addiction Awareness 5K on Saturday, May 13 at Guilderland High School, with proceeds benefitting the Addiction Care Center of Albany and Schenectady YWCA to help with housing needs of women in recovery. When the organizers state that this is a family event, they really mean it, as leashed dogs are welcome to participate along with their people. Children ages 6-and-under and 7-12 will also enjoy their own fun run. (runsignup.com)
Spice up your 5K with some adventure at the Glens Falls Urban Assault 3.5-Mile Obstacle Run around the city of Glens Falls on Saturday, May 20. As with the CCRC 5K, the 5pm afternoon start allows much-appreciated time for Saturday obligations. This year, the event partners with the Law Enforcement Officers’ Weekend, with the officers leading the first few waves. Important to note is that runners select their waves at signup, so if you wish to participate as a team, be sure to register early. The venue features more than 20 obstacles like ropes, stairs, slip-n-slides, and some trail challenges in Crandall Park. Expect a few new surprises to keep things fresh. Those who wish to bypass a particular obstacle will have alternatives like pushups, but as race director Randy Rath emphasizes, “The fun is doing all of the obstacles and not trying to skip them to win the race.” Expect a colorful crowd as there are prizes for best-dressed individuals and teams. (adkracemgmt.com)
The premier event is the Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K on Saturday, June 3. Launching from the NYS State Capitol Park, this venue provides a more spacious start and an amazing downhill finish. With the longtime race director George Regan taking a step back, there are some changes to this year’s race made by co-race directors Kristen Hislop and Patrick Lynskey. Most importantly, the 5K begins 30 minutes earlier at 9am, a welcome bonus on a potentially warm summer morning. To facilitate early packet pick up, the expanded Expo will now be held at the Sage College Armory on Thursday, 4-8pm and Friday, 12-7pm. This location offers a central location and great parking.
Kristen states, “There will also be a renewed focus on the Kids’ Run for girls/boys age 4-11, and Junior 3K for girls/boys age 8-14, with a competition among schools for the greatest percentage of 3K registrations.” There are also some day of race perks on tap. Patrick adds “We will be continuing to build on our traditions of the last 38 years, while adding some features we think our participants will love. There are also some great volunteer opportunities to raise funds for your group through the Charitable Partners Program.” Finally, in the 5K women and girls will have the opportunity to participate in a national class event with all the excitement of running with professional athletes. (freihofersrun.com)
Carpooling with friends? Then mark your calendar for the Spring Has Sprung Distance Festival on Sunday, May 7 at the Southern Saratoga YMCA in Clifton Park. With a 5K, 10-Mile and Half Marathon (13.1-mile) races, kids’ run, and the popular Anyone Can Tri Triathlon, there is something for everyone. The triathlon, with its 350-yard swim, 11-mile bike and 5K run, has long been the launching pad for beginning triathletes or more experienced athletes easing into the season. Particularly friendly is the warmer water and wave-free environment of the pool swim. Kids up to 13 years enjoy their own shortened versions. Running routes are flat, fast and safe on town bike trails and neighborhood streets – a perfect spot for your first 5K or your first attempt to move up in distance. The 10-mile distance is fairly unique and is an excellent tune-up for the considerably hillier Adirondack Distance Run in Lake George this June. (cdymca.org)
Awed by the photos of runners crossing NYC Marathon’s Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, but unlucky with the lottery to get in? The highlight of the Walkway Marathon, Half Marathon, and College to College 5K in Poughkeepsie on Saturday-Sunday, June 10-11 is the crossing of the Walkway Over the Hudson, a 19th century former railroad bridge transformed into the world’s longest linear park. (Note that the 5K does not cross the bridge). Rising 212 feet over the Hudson, the views are spectacular, so make sure to tote your iPhone to post a selfie! This year the course has been changed to position the Walkway crossing in the cooler hours while runners are still fresh. And in all three races the steep road hill leading to the riverfront has been replaced by a scenic loop through Marist College. As before, several shaded rail trails will also be utilized.
On Saturday, the “ThinkDIFFERENTLY Dash” is a one-mile run/walk celebrating individuals in the community with special abilities. The Walkway Over the Hudson, in partnership with Dutchess County Government and City of Poughkeepsie, are proud to host this event, and encourage all to get involved either as a participant or as a supportive race buddy. Proceeds from all races benefit the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park. (walkwaymarathon.org)
Also on Sunday, June 11 is the Lake Placid Marathon & Half-Marathon. The good news is that the marathon is now a sanctioned Boston qualifier, and rest assured that if you can conquer the Adirondacks, Heartbreak Hill will lose a lot of its notoriety. Both events begin simultaneously in the shadow of the Olympic Speedskating Oval, with the marathoners tackling two loops of an occasionally flat, mostly rolling course punctuated by a few hills and scenic views. Be advised that the two steepest are approximately 3/10 of a mile long, with the final hill positioned near the finish. Still, you can take inspiration from the fact that you are privileged to run in the area where Olympic history has been made and where many future Olympians train. (lakeplacidmarathon.com)
It is truly amazing all the varied outdoor options we have right here in our own backyard – be sure to take advantage!
Laura Clark (email@example.com) of Saratoga Springs is an avid trail runner, ultramarathoner, snowshoer and cross-country skier. She is a children’s librarian at the Saratoga Springs Public Library.