JULY 2015 RUNNING/WALKING
Road, Trail, Distance and Relay Races
By Mona Caron
The race calendar is overflowing with unique races of every distance this summer and early fall! There are classic races and new races that will have you ready at the starting line.
First up is the one-of-a-kind Race the Train 8.4-Miler on Saturday, August 1 where you race the train back from Riparius to the North Creek Depot. Starting at 8am, racers and their families ride the train from North Creek to the drop off point in Riparius and race back. The race starts at 9am at the NY Route 8 bridge right near the Riverside Station in Riparius.
The course is mostly on a dirt road that runs parallel to the Hudson through the woods with rolling hills. Finisher medals are given to all with special finisher medals to the first 75 runners who beat the train back to the station. The train stops at various points so family and friends can cheer on the runners. Spectators may also ride the train down and back for a small fee. It’s a beautiful route for both runners and spectators on the banks of the Hudson River. There are a few tough hills on this shaded course, mostly in the first few miles. The race is in its 13th year and growing in popularity each year.
Post-race includes refreshments, awards and raffle prizes with awards given to the top male and female finishers overall. Immediately following the run there is also a one-mile fun run for all ages. Proceeds benefit the Johnsburg Dollars for Scholars. After, enjoy the town of North Creek with its quaint Adirondack shops and restaurants! Visit adirondackrunners.org.
On the next day, Sunday, August 2, trail runners have their choice of distances at the 21st annual HMRRC Indian Ladder Trail Runs, featuring 15K and 3.5-mile trail races at the Thacher State Park near Voorheesville. The 15K loop is mostly on hiking and XC ski trails with two challenging hills, while the 3.5-mile course is on rolling terrain of grass and dirt. A kids’ one-mile fun run is free. This annual favorite is open to all, but also serves as the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club picnic with post-race BBQ and refreshments. Race entry also includes park entry. Go to: hmrrc.com.
For a family or group that likes a variety of disciplines, consider the ADK 80K Race Weekend at Mt. Van Hoevenburg in Lake Placid on August 29-30. Run, mountain bike or cyclocross 80K as an individual, two- or four-person relay team with male, female, mixed and collegiate teams. The races cover 80K with four 20K loops within the grounds of Mt. Van Hoevenburg. The weekend consists of two separate events taking place on and between the trails used for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Trails will be a mix of singletrack and doubletrack with challenging climbs and fun descents. The figure-eight design will have athletes coming through “Race Village” four times for family and friends to cheer you on!
Saturday is the trail running race and Sunday is for the mountain bike and cyclocross race. Races start and end in the Mt. Van Hoevenberg race village. Run or bike while you enjoy the day at the race barbecue, vendor expo and live music all day, plus free kids’ mountain bike races. Visit adk80k.com for more info.
New to the region is the Tour de Force Charity Run: Half Marathon, 10K, 5K & 1M Run/Walk on Sunday, August 23 in Plattsburgh. The half marathon, 10K and 5K are out and back courses starting from Point Au Roche State Park on Lakeshore Road on a scenic, flat and fast course along beautiful Lake Champlain. The race director Tom Brown says, “You’ll have a PR at this event!” Register by 7/31 for a guaranteed tech shirt and medal, and donate at least $10 to be eligible to win an Apple MacBook Pro. The post-race party will be at the state park.
Ten percent of proceeds are donated to the Sean Collier Self Sponsor Scholarship to send one MIT recruit through the Lowell Police Academy annually. Sean was the MIT officer who was killed during the Boston Marathon bombing. Started in 2002, in the Tour de Force Charity was started by two N.C. detectives to raise money for the victims of the September 2001 terrorists attacks. This is first year of this race. To register, go to adirondackcoastevents.com.
Test yourself at the 38th annual Whiteface Mountain Uphill Foot Race on Saturday, September 19, on New York State’s fifth highest peak. The eight-mile race climbs 3,500 feet on the scenic Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway to the summit. Participants will be rewarded with stunning views of the foliage and peaks. The race begins at NY Route 86 and the memorial highway, where spectators can watch the beginning, and then cautiously travel to the top of the mountain to see the finish.
It’s a well-supported race with water stations and volunteers every 1.5 miles. At the finish line you’ll be treated with refreshments and snacks. The first 150 people to register will receive a special commemorative gift. The awards this year will be given in the center of Wilmington at the Festival of the Colors. This free festival event includes vendors, music, food and kids’ activities so bring the whole family! Go to whitefaceregion.com for more information.
On Sunday, September 20, The Melanie Foundation will be celebrating ten years of crossing the finish line for others at The Saratoga Palio: Melanie Merola O’Donnell Memorial Race Half Marathon & 5K Run/Walk in Saratoga Springs. The race features a scenic course starting on Broadway and through Saratoga Springs, including Saratoga Spa State Park, and many parts of downtown. With its winding route, there are many opportunities to spectate, and runners will like the extra support and cheering. The course is mostly flat with a few gentle rolling hills. This year the finish is at Congress Park where there will be live music, food, drinks and awards.
The event was established to honor the inspiring life of Melanie Merola O’Donnell. Melanie died at the age of 33 while in the midst of pursuing her doctoral studies in psychology. Her family and friends collaborated to bring The Melanie Foundation to life, with the initial goal of providing scholarships to people in the mental health field. Each year a scholarship is given in her name to an outstanding post-graduate student. For more info, go to thesaratogapalio.com.
On September 25-26, Ragnar Adirondacks will be back for a fourth year as the relay takes caravans of teams from Saratoga Springs to Lake Placid. The almost 200-mile relay race features spectacular scenery and foliage starting from Saratoga Spa State Park, skirting along the Hudson River, passing through the Lake George region, running up the western side of Lake Champlain, and finishing in Lake Placid. This race is part of the Double Medal Series; if you ran the Ragnar Cape Cod and do Ragnar Adirondacks, this qualifies you for the Docks & Dacks double medal.
Gather 12 friends for a regular team or six for an ultra team, rent two vans, decorate the vehicles, come up with a clever team name, costumes, and you’re ready to run! If you’re not familiar with Ragnar, it’s a day and night relay race. Only one runner hits the road at a time with each participant running three times (or double that for an ultra), with each leg ranging from three to eight miles and varying in difficulty. It’s a great opportunity for runners of various abilities to be on a team together. Check out: ragnaradk.com.
If an overnight relay is not your thing or if you prefer to do your miles all at once, sign up for the Adirondack Marathon Distance Festival on September 26-27. The marathon, half and two-person or four-person relay will take place on Sunday around beautiful Schroon Lake. Marathoners will complete one clockwise loop around Schroon Lake on paved roadways, except for a half-mile stretch of gravel road in mile three. The race features a combo of rolling or flat terrain. The half starts at the halfway point on the marathon course in the hamlet of Adirondack. The half was recently voted the Northeast’s Best Half-Marathon by Competitor magazine. The marathon relay teams are back again, and each relay race is limited to 50 teams.
The 5K and 10K races are held on Saturday in nearby Chestertown. Both races are run on paved streets through the heart of the town and are organized by the Helper’s Fund. To learn more, go to: adirondackmarathon.org.
These races offer terrain, distances, and types of races that are so diverse that there’s something for every type of runner or walker. There’s plenty of time to train, so sign up and get going!