OCT 2015 - MARATHON
Mohawk Hudson River Marathon Madness
By Christine Bishop
On Sunday, October 11, the Albany area will come alive with thousands of runners participating in the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon and Hannaford Half Marathon. Volunteers will be on roads and trails in the wee hours of the morning preparing for the big event. Once again Maureen Cox has done a flawless job directing the race with a big assist from Cathy Sliwinski and the many volunteers. For the first time, there will be special prize money for members of Hudson-Mohawk Road Runners Club and local runners who place in the top three of either race.
In addition, if a runner should break Dale Keenan’s course record of 2:20:59 set in 1984 when he was 34 years old, they will get extra prize money. Dale’s six MHR Marathon wins have also set a record that will be hard to beat as the numbers running marathons and half marathons have grown in the past 30 years.
Speaking with Dale Keenan, he responded that his win was just luck. We all know however that the luck he mentioned was backed by years of hard training. On the day he set the record, he noticed that no one was behind him, and that he was literally racing against himself and the clock. At mile 20 he was on target to hit 2:19, but then all went wrong and he had to fight to finish in 2:20:59 – a record that stands to this day. At age 65, Dale feels his almost daily four-mile jogs are now slow with a pace of only 7:50 per mile, but they keep him healthy. He does not discount running competitively again, but if he does, he will be on the path to set age records.
Bryan Morseman, 30, of Bath, won the MHR Marathon in 2013 and will be running again this year. He has run sub-2:20 marathons, so he is one to watch to possibly break the course record. In April of this year, Bryan received international coverage for winning three marathons in an eight-day period to raise money to help pay for treatment for his infant son, Leeim, who was born with the worst form of spina bifida, which can cause paralysis.
Many talented local runners will be competing for the overall medals and age group awards. Meghan Mortensen, 30, from Rotterdam, is the president of HMRRC and a top contender, which is all the more amazing since she gave birth nine months ago. In training her running partners are usually her son (in a BOB stroller) or her husband. Her PRs are 5K: 18:19; half marathon: 1:25:41; marathon: 3:06.
Tom O’Grady, 30, of Slingerlands is a strong runner and usually can be seen with a big lead at local races. His marathon PR came in 2014 at Boston in 2:28, first in upstate New York. This year he earned a PhD; has a new assistant professor of epidemiology at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; and is moving into a new house. His PRs are 5K: 15:21; 6M: 31:11; 10K: 32:12; 15K: 50:38; 10M: 53:38; half marathon: 1:10:56.
Karen Dolge, 45, from Valatie, who will be running her 24th marathon is one of the best runners in her age group. She is a devoted runner who ran through her pregnancies right up to the day she gave birth to her children, who are now 8 and 10, and will be watching their mom. She is psyched for the race. Her PRs are 5K: 18:59; 15K: 61:00; half marathon: 1:10:56; marathon: 3:04.
Ben Heller, 26, from Albany, has only been racing since 2011 and this will be his marathon debut. Before running, he was an overweight weightlifter who decided to turn his life around. He has quickly accomplished much and anticipates testing himself on one of the fastest courses in the country. His PRs are 5K: 27:34; 10K: 37:45; 15K: 58:07; half marathon: 1:23:30.
Joan Celentano, 62, from Schenectady, enjoys long distance, group training so it keeps her in shape for marathons. She has passed her love of running onto her children. Her daughter runs and her son is an Ironman triathlete who does triathlons with his wife. Doing her 14th marathon, Joan is outstanding in her age group.
Two others to note are the youngest entrants in the marathon at age 17, Johanna Hentnik of Fonda, and Summer Kasallis of Delmar. If you go to one of the five viewing sites for the marathon, be sure to cheer them on along with the other contestants who will bravely tackle the 26.2 miles.
Hannaford Half Marathon Hullabaloo
By Christine Bishop
Half marathons are the rage. Their numbers have increased more than for any other distance, with last year witnessing more than two-million runners who finished races, the majority being women. The Hannaford Half Marathon echoes this enthusiasm and in the past two years has sold out online in less than a day, with 68 percent of the registrants being female.
The half marathon began in 2002 with 176 finishers. It is a youngster compared to the marathon, which was first run in 1983. The course record to beat for the males is 1:07:08 set in 2012 by Kyle Stanton, 21, of Maryland, and for the females is 1:18:11 clocked by Diane Matthews, 24, of New York City in 2006.
On October 11, be prepared to see fiery performances with local runners in hot pursuit of overall and age group medals. If the weather is anything like last year’s incredibly lovely autumn day, the race will be memorable. The following local runners are ones to watch.
Janne Rand, age 30, came in seventh overall last year and first in her age group in 1:28:36. She is in New Hampshire for a year doing a hematopathology fellowship at Dartmouth University, so she has had to train alone. She looks forward to returning for the half and hopes to better last year’s record. She tries not to be nervous before a race, “As soon as the gun goes off your feet will start moving no matter what, so there is not much to worry about if all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other until the finish line.”
Aaron Lozier, 27, of Albany, won records in high school and in college ran a 4:05 mile. After graduating he stopped running, but his dad noticed that he was gaining weight and signed him up for the Philadelphia Marathon. Out came the running shoes, and Aaron is now working on adding endurance to his lightning speed. He has a strenuous training regimen and logs at least 65 miles a week. His training has paid off, bringing his half-marathon time down to 1:11:07 at New Bedford.
Deanne Webster, 39, of Albany, has set two PRs this year – one at the Boston Marathon in 3:17:21 (7:31/mi.), and the other at the Syracuse Half-Marathon in 1:34:49 (7:15/mi.). She hopes to better her PR at this year and place in her age group.
Russell Lauer, 53, of Troy, enjoys supporting local races and being part of a community of runners many of whom have become terrific friends and training partners. He ran the MHR Half Marathon in 2005, winning the masters division at age 43 with a time of 1:18. Next year, he is planning to reach his comeback marathon goal of 2:58 at age 54. He couldn’t think of a better way to ease back into it than starting light with a half marathon!
Sally Drake, 42, of Albany, has PRs that have proliferated. She is one of HMRRC’s leading master runners who surprisingly did not take up the sport until her late 20s. She has run seven marathons but her favorite distance is the half marathon, where last year she finished second in her age group with 1:30:27.
The youngest participants in the half marathon are four 15 year olds: Liam McMahan of Clifton Park, Sydney Smith of Niskayuna, Marissa Thorburn of Averill Park, and Jocelyn Yip of Troy. There are two identical twins entered who hail from Cohoes, Rayne and Rhea Rapazzo, along with their mother, Debbie, who inspired them to pursue running. Pete Newkirk, 68, of Albany, is a strong entrant in his age category. Jim Moore of Niskayuna, 75, has placed first in his age category in races throughout 2015. The oldest entrant is Robert Thien, 82, of Glenmont.
We wish them all good luck. Race results will be at mohawkhudsonmarathon.com and hmrrc.com. You can spectate in person or read about it online. Happy running!
Expo & Packet Pickup
Hilton Albany, 20 Lodge St, 10am-6pm
Exhibitors – 3C Race Productions (3craceproductions.com); 9 Miles East Farm (9mileseast.com); Adirondack Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (adirondackoralsurgery.com); Adirondack Sports & Fitness (adksports.com); Adidas (adidas.com); Advocare (advocare.com/150155424); Albany Running Exchange (albanyrunningexchange.org); American Diabetes Association (diabetes.org); Arbonne International (sheila.myarbonne.com); Athleta (athleta.com); Back in Balance Therapeutic Massage (bibtherapeuticmassage.com); Bondi Band (bondiband.com); Bountiful Bread (bountifulbreadalbany.com); CK Cycles (ckcycles.com); Fleet Feet Sports (fleetfeetalbany.com); Girls on the Run (gotrcr.org); Hannaford Supermarkets (hannaford.com); Homeless and Travelers Aid Society (hatas.org); Hudson-Mohawk Road Runners Club (hmrrc.org); Janji (runjanji.com); Leukemia & Lymphoma Society/Team In Training (lls.org); Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway (mohawktowpath.org); Nark Running Strategies (narkmovementstrategies.com); Powerhouse Athletics (powerhouseathleticsny.com); Proactive Chiropractic (proactivechiropracticpllc.com); RUseeN Reflective Apparel (ruseen.com); Simply Better Laboratories/Chafex (chafex.com); Tomhannock Bicycles (tomhannockbicycles.com);
University at Albany (albany.edu); USA Track & Field-Adirondack (usatfadir.org). The expo, managed by Adirondack Sports & Fitness, is free and open to the public.
Christine Bishop (email@example.com) of Schenectady is a retired media specialist who loves running, photography and bird watching.