ALBANY — Chuck Terry said he felt a
lot of pressure leading up to the start of
the 2008 GHI Workforce Challenge.
Pressure he put on himself and pressure from his friends.
The 25 year old Albany resident did'nt show any effects of it, though.
Terry used a series of mid-race surges
to pull ahead and then sped down
Madison Avenue to win his second consecutive Workforce Challenge title.
He completed the 3.5 mile course in
17:31, and becomes the first runner to
win back-to back races since Tom
Dalton did it in 2004-2005.
Terry won the 2007 race in 17:15. “It’s not easy at all,” Terry, a member of the New Visions of Albany team, said of winning back-to-back years. “I put a lot of pressure on myself.”
A record of more than 7,100 runners and walkers and 390 four-person teams took part in this year’s edition, easily the largest race the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club organizes.
“I really wanted to win it again,” Terry said. “I trained all year for it.” Most of that training was done with the Willow Street Athletic Club and on Thursday night that came in handy for Terry. That’s because as the lead pack made their way into Washington Park, Terry found himself surrounded by his team mates. Only this time he was running against them rather than with them.
Terry considers himself more of a long distance, marathon-type runner and he knew he’d have to separate himself from the pack early to escape the fierce kicks of second- and third-place finishers Nick Conway and Andy Allstadt. Both specialize in shorter distance races, giving them the edge if the race came down to a final sprint.
Terry said he made his move in the park, building a slight lead on Conway and Allstadt by the time they came back out onto Madison Avenue.
The strategy worked.
As the lead car appeared on the hill before the Empire State Plaza, Terry was all alone. The only race he had left as he sped down the hill to the finish line by the State Museum was one against the clock. “I was neck-and-neck with Andy when I started to throw little surges in and I didn’t know where about Nick was,” Terry said of the move that would make him the winner. “I knew if I could get ahead and break Andy, chances are I was good length ahead of Nick. They have much more speed than I have. I’m more of a marathoner.” He finished 10 seconds ahead of his good friend Conway, who crossed the line in 17:41 as a member of the UAlbany team.
“To beat him today I had to get way out ahead of him and just hang on,” Terry said. He said knowing the running styles of the guys he calls teammates the rest of the year has its benefits, but also leads to some interesting in race jockeying. “They’re my best friends,” Terry said. “We know each other’s strength’s and weaknesses so we kind of play head games with each other and we try and psyche each other out. We work out together too so we always know whose fit and who’s sandbagging it.”
“Chuck went out hard and was just strong the whole way,” Conway said. “We have different strategies. Chuck was trying to run away I was just trying to sit and hang on. I was able to pick up Andy and I thought maybe I could pick up Chuck but by 2.5 miles he was just too strong.”
There was also a repeat winner on the women’s side, as 2006 champ Dana Peterson pulled ahead late to pick up the victory, The Albany resident and UAlbany team member won the race in 2006 but missed last year’s edition due to work obligations.
“It’s nice to be back,” she said after the race laughing at the idea of implying any strategy in her win. “I just wanted to do my best,” she said after crossing the line in 21:47. “I was hoping to do well and my second goal was to beat my time of 2006. I was seven seconds off of that, but that’s OK.”
Diane Matthews, an assistant track coach at Saint Rose College, had the lead most of the way before Peterson made her move at the top of Madison Avenue.
“Diane was leading the race until we came out of the park here,” Peterson said. “I only passed her at the top of the hill, so there was no strategy except for just hold on and do the best as I could.” Matthews, returning back to form after injury, finished second with a time of 21:56.