October 2017 - RUNNING & WALKING
Mohawk Hudson Marathon & Half
Déjà vu Nail Biter!
By Christine Bishop
Other than the delightful smell of autumn in the air, intense excitement can be felt in anticipation of this year’s Mohawk Hudson River Marathon and Hannaford Half Marathon on Sunday, October 8. It would seem that last year’s thrilling day would be hard to top, but this year’s may surpass it. In 2016, the marathon record of 2:20:59 set in 1984 by Dale Keenan of Selkirk was broken by the top three finishers. This year the half marathon promises to be the eye of the hurricane with old records potentially being broken and new ones emerging. The excitement continues!
Last year, Tyler Andrews, 26, of Arlington, Va., had a sizzling marathon finish of 2:15.52 followed by former Niskayuna High School star, Louis Serafini, who also smashed Dale’s record by over three minutes. Again, these two racing phenoms will face each other in a duel in the Hannaford Half Marathon. In addition, there are other talented local entrants adding octane to the contest.
Tyler Andrews is coming to this race with incredible credentials. He is in the Guinness World Records for his half marathon time on a treadmill of 1:03:38. On the treadmill, he displayed an uncanny skill that characterizes his style of being able to run significantly faster miles at the end of a long distance than at the beginning. His body instinctively ramps it up. This year he finished second at the 50K World Championships in Doha, Qatar, in 2:56:04; he was the top American in the very competitive 2017 Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan; and he won the 2017 Vermont City Marathon in 2:19:41, beating his 2014 winning time of 2:20:27. He is running this half in preparation for the US Marathon Championships, which are being held at the California International Marathon in Sacramento in December.
Tyler intends to run in a patient manner, trust in his training, and know that it’s not going to feel great all the time, even if he’s having a good race. “You never know what’s going to happen, but I am hoping we get another fast day.” Tyler is aware that in order to have a top performance, diet is crucial. He tries to fuel his body with “real” food, while avoiding processed goodies with “polysyllabic” ingredients, although he admits he occasionally indulges in ice cream or cookies. When not running, Tyler works at the company he cofounded, Strive Trips, which offers service-oriented summer programs in Peru and Kenya for high school athletes who want to train while learning about a new culture.
Louis Serafini, 25, now lives in Boston where he has the dream job of working as a product manager at the Heartbreak Hill Running Company, which is literally on the 20-mile mark of the Boston Marathon course. His running credentials are awesome, demonstrating amazing abilities at all distances. While at Niskayuna High School, he ran a 4:13:61 in 1,600 meters, and his 3K time never went above 8:57. At Boston College, he did 14:39 in 5,000 meters on a track as well as an 8K time of 24:30. After running events at Boston College, the team was treated with omelets starting Lou on a lifetime love of eggs as a diet staple. At college they would joke that they would have eggs after a long run and beer after a long day.
Lou’s other records are also impressive. He recently won the Friday Night Lights 10K in 29:25, Harpoon 5-Miler in 23:30, and New Bedford Half Marathon in 1:06:20. He set PRs on the track this year of 3K in 8:02, 5K in 13:54, and 10K in 28:59. In 2015, he ran the Mohawk Hudson River Half Marathon beating the previous course record with a lightning time of 1:05:48. His love of the area brings him back again this year: “I try to do as many races in the Capital Region as I can.”
Another phenomenal runner from Niskayuna is Anthony Giuliano, 37, who has been on a roll this year. Among other races, he won the SEFCU 5K in 15:50, HMRRC Hour Run, and Valley Cats 5K. His personal bests are 2016 Mohawk Hudson River Half in 1:12:11, 2016 Stockade-athon 15K in 50:59, 2013 Silks & Satins 5K in 15:42, and 2008 Memorial Mile in 4:30. When not working as a NYS Dept. of Health medical specialist, he coaches other runners, and follows a tight exercise regime.
Don’t ignore Aaron Lozier, 29, of Albany, who won the 2017 Silks & Satins 5K in 15:41:03. In September, he ran the Saratoga Palio Half Marathon, finishing third in 1:13:20, and Malta 5K in 15:20. Aaron was a much honored runner at Columbia High School in East Greenbush with personal best of 48 seconds in the 400, 1:52 in the 800, and 4:17 in the 1,600. At University of Albany, he was 2009 IC4A qualified and holds the indoor mile college record of 4:05:16. In addition to being a manager at Key Bank, he is the father of a baby girl whose initiation to running has been in her stroller.
Last year at the half marathon, former Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School standout, Samantha Roecker, 24, shattered the course record by over nine minutes, completing the event in 1:18:09. Sam won’t be back this year, but Diana Tobon-Knobloch of Niskayuna is ready to challenge her record. She has been on the comeback trail in 2017 after giving birth to twins in October 2016. Diana is a prior top finisher with a fourth place in the 2014 Mohawk Hudson River Half in a personal best time of 1:27:28. Diana’s times have been steadily progressing this year and she recently ran 19:45 at the Malta 5K, close to her to PR of 19:34.
This year’s half marathon is where the adrenaline is flowing. Will Tyler Andrews be able to set the course record, thus being in the rare position of having set both the marathon and half records? Will Lou Serafini surpass his own record in the half and be tied for winning the half the most times? Tyler Andrews has this to say about the race, “The record that stands in the half marathon was set by Louis Serafini who is a fantastically talented runner – he’s run much faster than I have at shorter distances – so it won’t be an easy record to break. Whatever happens, it’ll be a great race.” To find out, watch it in person or track runners at mohawkhudsonmarathon.com.
Interestingly, in the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon, there is a chance that the long standing record of 34 years that was demolished in 2016 could be erased again by Kiplanget Tisia, 27, who was last year’s third place finisher to break the original record. Tisia was born in Kenya’s Rift Valley and now resides in Rochester. He has won two consecutive Buffalo Marathons, three straight Flower City Half Marathons, and top honors at numerous Rochester area road races. Other local men to watch: Andrew Dionne, 28, of Syracuse finished second at the 2015 Mohawk Hudson Marathon in 2:29:19; and Richard Messineo, 28, of Albany is a Mohawk Hudson Marathon speedster with a PR of 2:37:00.
On the local women’s side: Dana Ostrander Bush, 39, a Shenendehowa High School star and past Stockade-athon 15K champion came in third last year in 3:00:36; and Karen Dolge, 47, of Valatie did the 2016 Wineglass Marathon in a strong 3:07:33.
The Course – The marathon starts at Central Park in Schenectady, and wends its way to Jennings Landing at the Corning Preserve in Albany. The Half Marathon starts midway at Colonie Town Park, with the same finish. Both races begin at 8am. Runners’ World has listed the course as one of the “Top Ten Fastest Marathons” and says, “An impressive 30% of Mohawk Hudson’s field typically qualifies for Boston. Runners enjoy its consistent weather, 370-foot net elevation loss (which could save you 1:53, according to ARRS), and unique “trail” cred. Much of the course follows a paved bike path that parallels the Mohawk and Hudson rivers’ gradual descent, meaning minimal tangents to navigate, and fewer banked roads to curse.”
Mile Markers – BlueShield of Northeastern New York, has mile marker signs spreading 24 miles to promote healthy activities, with the last two miles covered by the Albany Running Exchange and Team Utopia running clubs. When the Team Utopia sign looms at mile 26, runners breathe a sigh of relief, “Utopia in 385 yards!”
Christine Bishop (email@example.com) of Schenectady is a retired media specialist who loves running, photography and bird watching.