June 2018 - RUNNING & WALKING
The Summer Place to Be!
By Laura Clark
If there is a staycation in your immediate future or if you are hosting out-of-towners, do consider the wide variety of early summer events offered in the Capital-Saratoga Region and the Adirondacks. Take a lesson from the proverbial New York City dwellers who have never visited the Statue of Liberty, and experience all that our region has to offer. While undertaking a destination race is definitely exciting, you might discover that you can attain that PR simply by sticking to familiar food and your own bed.
Saratoga’s premier early summer event is the 12th annual Firecracker 4 celebrating our country’s birthday at NY’s largest 4th of July race. According to race director Patrick Lynskey, “This year we will have more emphasis on the spirt of the day,” with the Veteran Business Council runners posting colors and reenactors from the NY 2nd Continental Artillery sending us off with musket fire. Both the newly designed bibs and age group medals will be flag-shaped and the 10th Mountain Division New Orleans Jazz Band will be one of the 20 bands on course for your running entertainment, pushing you along to a faster time. No need for headphones here! To encourage early sign-ups, the first 3,700 runners will score newly designed, holiday-themed tech shirts.
The four-mile route is challenging through the city and neighborhood streets with several hills, guaranteed to put you in the fighting spirit. Awards include $7,000 in cash prizes and 400 medals/prizes. Fleet Feet Sports sponsored Tuesday free pub practice runs at 6pm from May 29 to June 19 will be held at The Barrelhouse, with a final rehearsal on June 26, which will launch from Farmer’s Hardware – all with a complimentary post-run beverage. Runners are encouraged to align themselves with a team, whether it’s USATF Adirondack, military, public safety, scholastic, Ainsley’s Angels – or Run Your Colors where teams with the most runners win money for charity. There is no greater incentive to give your all when you know your teammates are depending on you. The Children’s Museum of Saratoga is now presenting the Kids’ One-Mile Sparkler Run, making this a true family event.
Saratoga’s All-American Celebration includes a parade and patriotic pooches at 11am, BBQ and desert fest from 11:30am-3:30pm, The Audiostars from 6:30-9:30pm, and fireworks at 9:30pm (saratogajuly4th.com). The celebration begins immediately after the Sparkler Run, including a free adult beverage for runners from Farmer’s Hardware and Gaffney’s. Plan on remaining for what is truly an all-day celebration! (firecracker4.com)
Saratoga Springs’s other well-established event is the 22nd annual Silks & Satins 5K Jeff Clark Memorial Race on Saturday, July 21 based from the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion with its iconic daybreak views of a classic thoroughbred horse racing workout on the Oklahoma Training Track to inspire your own warmup. Match your pace to the four-footed athletes as you navigate a flat and fast tour of historic neighborhoods.
Even more inspirational, proceeds support our own New York Special Olympics. As I go through my paces, I keep their motto in mind, “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” There are many individual and team award categories. And while there is naturally only one winner, we are all champions when we cross the start line to pursue our individual goals. In keeping with this theme of fellowship, please consider forming a team. Teams can be all male or female or any combination of male and female, up to seven total, with the top five scoring.
Finally, plan on celebrating with the first 1,000 registered runners who receive free admission passes to the Saratoga Race Track, the National Museum of Racing, and that all-important shower at the Saratoga Regional YMCA. (silksandsatins5k.com)
Rapidly becoming a staple is the fifth annual Saratoga Springs Half Marathon, Relay & 5K on Sunday, July 8, a fast and beautiful tour of the Saratoga Spa State Park. Even if the day is warm, 13.1 miles will seem less so as you weave in and out of green spaces on shaded, almost traffic-free roads. Particularly impressive is the majestic, cathedral-like setting of the Avenue of the Pines. The two-person relay teams negotiate 6.7- and 6.4-mile loops, with enough vibe to push forward those individuals running a second loop.
The Saratoga Springs 5K walk/run is ideal for family and friends. All participants receive technical shirts, finisher medals, refreshments and make-your-own goodie bag. The race benefits Strong to Serve, with 20% of your entry fees supporting orphans in third world countries. Almost $19,000 has been raised to cover six months of anti-seizure and epilepsy medicine, plus 1,500 liters of milk and 2,000 pounds of grains for 86 needy disabled orphans in Nicaragua. (saratogaspringshalf.com)
The final event in the Saratoga area is the Saratoga Stryders Camp Saratoga 5K Trail Series at Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park on Mondays at 6:15pm on June 25, July 9, July 23, August 6 and August 20, perfect for those who like to reserve their weekends for hiking, paddling or camping. These events are a throwback to a simpler time, when $5 race fees were pay-at-the-door and numbered popsicle sticks recorded your place. Competition is hot for dollar store raffle prizes and that last slice of watermelon.
Those who manage all five dates are eligible for overall and age-graded awards, as well as the most difficult of all: continual improvement. 9 Miles East Farm will be there as well to insure a hassle-free supper with their meals, pizza and salads, where you can preorder a pizza for your post-race dining. Proceeds from the series benefit the Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park. (saratogastryders.com)
Next, try the 50th annual Colonie Summer Track Series on Tuesdays at 6pm from June 13-July 31 at the Colonie High School Track. Distances include a one-mile race walk, one- and two-mile runs, relays and 100-, 200-, 400- and 800-meter dashes, with the 50-meter dash reserved for kids up to 12 years old. June 26 will feature the storied Colonie Mile and July 24 will be Ribbon Night. Sponsored by Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club, the Summer Track program is meant for fun and recreation to bring friends and family together to enjoy the sport of racing and to participate in some good old fashion competition.
“Depending on weather and when meets are run, we get 100 to 200 people competing,” said meet director Frank Myers. “Recreation means you get a race, races or field events and you will verbally be told your time and place. Recreation also means free entry for 50 years!” The Summer Track Program relies on volunteer high school coaches. “We don’t get involved with coaching in the summer,” Frank said. “People come to the track already coached or not coached as the case may be.” With a common passion for running and a desire to participate, racers come in all ages, sizes and walks of life. (hmrrc.com)
Also presented by HMRRC is the 24th annual Indian Ladder Trail Run with 15K and 5K runs on Sunday, July 22 at Thacher State Park near Voorheesville. Even if you have run this race countless times before, you are guaranteed a PR, as the relocation from Haile’s Cave to the Green House Picnic Area will necessitate an entirely new short route and a “something old, something new” longer version. For you veterans, this means you have to pay attention as familiar trails could be approached backwards, forwards or upside down in the event of an unplanned faceplant. The well-marked courses will have water/aid stations along the way – they’re hilly and can be muddy. Race fees are inexpensive with T-shirts to first 200, but director Mark Vermilyea cautions that Thacher has a new $6 park fee so bring cash or your Empire pass for free entry. The course may be different, one thing, though, remains the same; you can still count on generous scoops of ice cream at the finish! (hmrrc.com)
Finally, venture to Chestertown in the Adirondacks for the 14th annual Hudson Headwaters Health Network’s Care for Kids 5K Run & Fitness Walk on Sunday, July 29. Race director Jessica Rubin anticipates 400-450 participants and boasts it is ‘the Adirondack’s most family-friendly 5K,’ which traces a “mostly flat with some uphill” route alongside the scenic Schroon River. Awards are unusually age-group friendly with two-year divisions starting from age seven, five year divisions from the 20s on, and ten year groupings for 70s and 80s.
The Care for Kids 5K begins at 2431 Schroon River Road in Chestertown and ends at the YMCA Adirondack Outreach Center (148 Tannery Road) in Brant Lake. A free shuttle will transport participants and spectators from the finish line back to the start. Proceeds benefit pediatric program at HHHN. (runsignup.com)
Accent your summer calendar with these events and you will emerge with new running buddies and a greater appreciation of our region.
Laura Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.