April 2018 - RUNNING & WALKING
Something Old, Something New - Full Spring Ahead
By Laura Clark
With spring officially here and warm-up races completed, it is time to get down to business and select events to facilitate your racing goals. As a race director myself, I enjoy a yearly tweaking process, delivering a better experience for the runners and walkers. Some of these are obvious, while some, such as my resolution to require emergency contact information, are less so. The same holds true for this month’s highlights, a few with in-your-face alterations and others of the fine-tuning variety.
We kick off from Mechanicville’s Talmadge Park with Sasha’s Superhero 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, April 22. This year, according to Olya Prevo-White who founded Sasha’s Run last year to honor the loss of her baby, the event has now achieved superhero status “…to honor other children gone too soon, as it takes superhero powers to go on without them.” Proceeds are donated to the Albany Ronald McDonald House to also recognize other parents whose world is turned upside down. Olya anticipates that kids who choose the free 100-yard or 1/4-mile events would be especially thrilled to don superhero capes. For any of the races, adults and kids are encouraged to wear their superhero attire. The 5K route is flat and fast with echoes of Mechanicville’s old Firecracker course, but without all those 90 degree turns and their potential for off-course detours. This is a family-friendly event, with strollers permitted on the course, entertainment, face painting and a bounce house. (sashasrun.com)
Launching from Chatham High School, Sean’s Run Weekend on April 28 and 29 promises, three-ring circus style, something for everyone. Saturday is Sean’s Ride with 50, 20 and 10 mile road bike rides and Jaime’s Race (run/walk/roll) for people with special needs. Sunday is Meghan’s Mile youth race and the flagship Sean’s Run 5K, which honors Sean French, a high school student killed in a drunk driving incident. There is intense competition among the Firefighter’s 5K division with companies running in turnout gear. New this year is the warm-up music of the Berkshire Bateria drummers, an expanded food court, and the Artists for Sean’s Run exhibit. A perennial favorite is the lively interscholastic World Championship Battle of the Belts “buckle-up” competition. Proceeds fund youth programs to combat impaired driving. (seansrun.com)
For a different experience on Sunday, April 29, sample the 10th annual Cherry Blossom 5K Race and 1.5 Mile Walk for ALS at Niskayuna’s Congregation Gates of Heaven. Race proceeds benefit the St. Peter’s Regional ALS Center. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a degenerative neuromuscular disease affecting motor nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The 5K runs through “Old Niskayuna” and is relatively flat, while the walk features a loop around Schenectady’s Central Park. New this year is a Happy Hour Party from 2-6pm at Wolff’s Biergarten in Schenectady where you can relive and perhaps elaborate upon your exploits. Discounted drafts for all participants and walk-ins are welcome with $10 ALS donation. (5kraceforals.com)
When is a race more like a party? Or, conversely, when is a party more like a race? The answer, of course, is when it’s the second annual Shmaltz Brewing Chosen Run 5K at the Clifton Park brewery on Saturday, May 5. First, a bit of history. Shmaltz holds the distinction of being one of the few kosher breweries, the He’Brew of the Chosen People, hence Chosen Beer. Plus, they earn the clever marketing ploy of displaying in both the beer and the kosher section of local markets.
Race director Carl Ewald notes that despite having added 500 more entries, they will yet again sell out way before race day. Adding to the immediacy, in only its second year on the circuit, this event has been chosen as both a USATF Adirondack and Saratoga Stryders Grand Prix race and the 2018 USATF Adirondack men’s 5K championship (women’s 5K championship is Freihofer’s Run). Proceeds support Helping Hands which delivers preschool services for special needs children. Afterwards, enjoy the Lawn Game Zone, beer specials and food truck festival. Runners who register at the same time for the ADK 5K on Sept. 15 at Adirondack Brewery in Lake George receive discounted entries. (iraceforbeer.com)
For a run today, tutor tomorrow approach try the Literacy 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, May 6 at the Schodack Island State Park, with proceeds furnishing free tutoring to adults, children, out-of-school teens, and English language learners by Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County. The main 5K Run/Walk features wide, fairly level trails in the beautiful park. The Youth Mile is a spectator-friendly circle around the park’s oval and alongside the Hudson River and Schodack Creek, where you might get lucky and spot an eagle. Beforehand, register for the Guided Nature Walk with a park naturalist, and the Story Walk led by a Castleton Public Library staff member. Make your plans now, as all pre-registered runners get free park entry! Afterwards, you are encouraged to enjoy the kayak launch, volleyball and horseshoe setups and the picnic areas. (lvorc.org)
While Guilderland High School’s third annual Summer Smith 5K Addiction Awareness Memorial Run/Walk on Saturday morning, May 12 is basically the same as last year, the cause, addiction awareness, has taken on a new life with the current push against heroin and opioid abuse. Proceeds benefit Addictions Care Center of Albany, Schenectady YWCA, FOR-NY and Greif Recovery After Substance Passing. This is a family-friendly event, with a free Kids’ 1/4-Mile Fun Run and activities, Zumba warmup, and one of the few area races where friendly, leashed dogs are permitted to run or walk alongside their owners. A chicken BBQ fundraiser, bounce house and pre-race memory ceremony round out the event. (summersmith5k.com)
The 29th annual Prospect Mountain Road Race is on Saturday morning, May 12 in Lake George, directed by Adirondack Runners. There’s just one hill – 5.67 miles, 1,601 feet up Prospect Mountain with 200 other runners! This classic race benefits the Michelle Lafontaine SUNY Adirondack nursing scholarship fund and Under the Woods foundation. (adirondackrunners.org)
The 12th annual CCRC 5K Run/Walk/BBQ, once more under Pat Glover’s dedicated leadership, is slated for Saturday, May 12 at 3pm. An unusual time for an event, but one that allows for the normal Saturday errands and kids’ sports activities. Technically, you could pull a double, Summer Smith 5K or Prospect Mountain Road Race in the morning, and then retreating to a pancake flat environment in the afternoon. The Christ Community Reformed Church in Clifton Park furnishes the venue as well as many volunteers and prizes, but proceeds are earmarked for Bob and Heidi Underwood’s Camp Under the Woods in Queensbury, for ages 3-8 who are on the Autism Spectrum, or have other disabilities that impact social development.
In recognition of Mother’s Day on Sunday, all moms will receive flowers. But really, as a mother of three, I know that with the late start and the included BBQ dinner afterward, this event is already mother-friendly – with no need to pull together a last-minute dinner! Kids have their own 1K run and there are so many raffle prizes that no one goes away empty handed. Similar to the Freihofer’s Run, there is also a family team competition to get everyone involved. (ccrc-cpny.org)
Finally, building up to a longer effort, is the Jog for Jugs Half Marathon and 5K Run/Walk at the Colonie Town Park in Latham on Saturday, May 19. New location?! What about those dreaded Duanesburg hills? In adding something new, this event dared to switch locations to a more centralized area with a more beginner-friendly route. Anticipate a flat, fast route along the Mohawk Hudson Bike Trail, with great music and post-race food options. Strollers are permitted in the 5K. Jog for Jugs is organized by Project HEAL (Healthy Educated Active Lifestyles) to raise money for local breast cancer survivors and their families. This year the race will honor breast cancer survivors, Robin O’Dea and Angelica Pica. (powerhouseathleticsny.com)
If you are anything like me, I tend to fall into a rut when selecting my races, hesitating to banish an old favorite in favor of something new and untried. But with this season’s selection of events, you can have it both ways!
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.