MAY 2018 - RUNNING & WALKING
Races to Remember
By Laura Clark
These days we tend to get so caught up in our to-do lists that even our recreational pursuits become one more checkpoint on our Fitbit, Facebook page or Strava entry. Before summer activities peak, step back a bit and thoughtfully participate in some of the late spring events outlined below, where the focus reaches beyond our personal world to recognize veterans and enforcement officers or reflect on our New York State heritage. Who knows, by concentrating on something beyond yourself, you might just relax enough to achieve a new personal record!
Highlighting the Memorial Day weekend is the 14th annual Saratoga Lions 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, May 27. According to race director Tony Catalano, the 5K was added to the 14th annual Saratoga Lions Duathlon, “To make it possible for more individuals to do something fun and meaningful,” with net proceeds donated to various patriotic organizations such as Saratoga WarHorse Foundation. Additionally, you may purchase American flags to be displayed throughout the city to honor a particular veteran. Launching from the grounds of the Saratoga Casino Hotel in Saratoga Springs, the individual 5K race will start twenty minutes after the duathlon to prevent congestion. Active duty and wounded warriors receive a half-price discount for all events. Wear your red, white and blue to honor these heroes and bring purpose to this three day weekend! saratogalionsduathlon.com
This year’s 40th anniversary Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K in Albany on Saturday, June 2 underscores a major milestone in the history of women’s running. In 1979 there were few female runners and those that were running often felt intimidated in male-dominated events. Enter the Freihofer’s “Run for Life” where women were celebrated and encouraged to display their athleticism. Forty years later, we can now form mother/daughter/granddaughter teams to celebrate our achievements, as well as enjoy age group awards through 90+!
Six years ago organizers created the Freihofer’s Training Challenge for women of all abilities who want to run the race. Led by coaches and experienced mentors, women can enjoy the camaraderie of training together at 12 different Capital Region locations throughout the week. Three years ago, the course was moved to accommodate nearby construction. Though there have been changes throughout the race’s history, one thing remains – it’s a race for women! To commemorate the 40th, there will be a new T-shirt design, expanded expo with runner’s panel, and a special finisher’s charm. freihofersrun.com
If you are a guy or simply aren’t up for Freihofer’s, consider the 21st annual Charlton Heritage 5K Run/Walk on the same date. Race director Bill Herkenham describes it as “a place for the guys to run while the gals run Freihofers.” Nowadays, though, in keeping with the general trend, women are the majority in the 500-runner field. While you can expect a rolling hills along the town of Charlton’s scenic back roads, you will find yourself handily tackling the inclines when you spy the Ainsley’s Angels pushers and riders, facing the challenge with steady determination! After you savor a slice of finishers’ apple pie, stick around for Charlton Founder’s weekend. Tour the one-room Old Red School House at the start and 200-year-old St. Paul’s Church at the finish area, knowing that your race fees help to preserve these and other historic sites. charlton5k.org
Now that you are on a history/mystery roll, plan on Saturday, June 9 for the 20th anniversary of the Kinderhook Bank OK-5K in Kinderhook. Before you sign up visit the website for a must-see interactive course tour featuring local heroes Rip Van Winkle, Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, General Burgoyne and Benedict Arnold. And of course native son, Martin Van Buren, founder of the Democratic Party, whose “Old Kinderhook” nickname election logo was inevitably shortened to the ubiquitous “OK” – now echoed round the world. You can see from the video that the streets are pancake flat, perfect for beginners or pros seeking a record pace. In addition to the “OK 1” Kids’ one-mile run, under-fives can choose the Reading Ramble, a 50-yard and 100-yard dash to the library to receive a well-earned book to kick off the Summer Reading Program. ok5krace.org
In the Mid-Hudson Valley, the second annual Run For Heroes 5K & 10K Run or Ruck is June 9 on the Dutchess Rail Trail in LaGrange. The run will honor all first responders, military service members and their families. All finishers receive military dog tags. It’s also an opportunity to meet co-race director and World Marathon Challenge winner and World Record holder (7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days), Captain Daniel Cartica. mhrrc.org.
Another opportunity to focus completely on others presents itself with the American Diabetes Association’s new Tour de Cure 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, June 10 in Ballston Spa. Just as in the Saratoga Lions event, tour director Laura Greenaway comments, “Not everyone owns or rides a bike, but hopefully anyone can run or walk a 5K and experience the celebration that is the Tour de Cure.” Runners and walkers have their own scenic route in the village of Ballston Spa. The Tour de Cure is ADA’s only fundraiser so runners and walkers are required to raise $200, which earns you lots of fun and a great postrace party with Mazzone Catering gourmet lunch, New Belgium Beer Garden and live music. Or volunteer and join the party as well! diabetes.org/capitalregion
Soak up some international flair at the fourth annual Good Karma 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, June 16 at Crossings Park in Colonie. Participants and friends can do a prerace yoga warmup and afterwards can savor Indian street food and get inked with a temporary henna tattoo. The course is flat, fast and located entirely within park grounds, so the run/walk is an excellent option for families or kids excited to try their first independent 5K. Younger children can test themselves on a free half-mile fun run. Proceeds benefit the Albany Chapter of AIM for Seva, which raises funds for education, food and lodging for rural K-12 children in India. Noteworthy is the fact that the students’ passing rate holds steady at 95%. goodkarma5k.itsyourrace.com
With a nod to the resurging interest in craft spirits, the second annual Wilmington-Whiteface Whiskey Run 10K, also on June 16, is the real deal – you will be running the town roads and hills covered by prohibition rum runners and moonshiners! Traveling further back through time, during the War of 1812’s Battle of Plattsburgh, residents made sure American troops enjoyed a steady flow of courage-inducing rye whiskey. Today, the tradition continues as Wilmington is home to US Barrel, the oldest whiskey barrel cooperage in the Northeast.
Runners are treated lavishly with gender-specific T-shirts, a swag bag filled with local goodies, and a unique 2.2-ounce flask finisher’s medal. This alone is worth the price of admission as it is a working model, perfect for stashing in your emergency hiking pack. Afterwards, sample whiskey, view barrel-making demos, visit with the Battle of Plattsburgh reenactors and join a speakeasy. The run is a benefit for the Wilmington Historical Society. adkwhiskeyrun.com
Also on June 16, Greenfield Elementary School will hold its 10th annual “Dragon the Dads” Father’s Day 5K, Kid’s Mile, and “Dragon Dash” at Saratoga Spa State Park. A fun-filled family event to celebrate Father’s Day weekend, the 5K run will feature wicking T-shirts for runners registered by May 24. Run with your dad, run because you’re a dad, run to honor a dad, or in memory of your dad. In addition to top finisher and age group gift card awards, local business gift cards will be awarded to randomly drawn bib numbers who register by May 24. Dragon the Dads benefits the HSA, a nonprofit group of parent volunteers that provide cultural and educational enrichment for students of Greenfield Elementary School. finishright.com
The first ever Finest 5K Memorial Run on Sunday, June 17, is part of Law Enforcement Officers Weekend in Lake George. As such, you will be matching your running skills with police officers and their families from across the nation who have come to the conference. After a level beginning, the course climbs up Fort George Road, descends down NY Route 9L, and then finishes flat and fast in Wood Park. This is a great way to get in your exercise before a traditional Father’s Day picnic! Sign up by June 1 to be guaranteed a T-shirt. A portion of proceeds benefit this not for profit LEOW event. adkracemgmt.com
There are many unique events in this selection to fill your month with a mixture of history, patriotism, caring for others, and a renewed respect for our forefathers. Enjoy!
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.