National Class Runners Head to Saratoga XC Classic

On Sunday, October 18, 2015 many of the best Masters runners (age 40+) from around the country descended upon the Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs, NY to compete in the 2105 USATF Masters 5km Cross Country Championships. The four Championship races were conducted at the historic and iconic Spa State Park Course, home of numerous high school, college and open championships over the years. On a crisp, autumn day that featured swings of bright sunshine and spits of snow in the air, there were several outstanding performances in all age groups. In addition to over $4500 Masters individual and team prize money donated by Fleet Feet Sports, the top two Age Graded Masters performances on both the men’s and women’s side received USATF logo Telescope Casual Furniture director chairs built locally and donated to the race.

Several of those outstanding performances were turned by local USATF Masters athletes who earned National medals and a trip to the podium. In the women’s division Renee Tolan of Clifton Park was second overall by only three seconds running an impressive 17:47, which also placed her second in the 40-44 age group. Other silver medalists include Emily Bryans, Duansburg (45-49) 18:40, and Beth Stalker, Burnt Hills (55-59) 20:44. In the women’s (75-79) group, Marge Rajczewski, Ballston Lake ran away with the gold in 30:39! On the men’s side, James O’Connor, Troy (40-44) scored the bronze in 16:26 and John Noonan, Ballston Spa (55-59) was a silver medalist in 18:11. Additional silver medalists included Bob Giambalvo, Delhi (65-69) 19:10 and Walt McConnell, Bolton Landing (80-84) 42:46. These and many other local runners demonstrated the extremely high caliber of talent in our running community.

A total of 260 Masters athletes from 20 different states competed in the National Championship races, many of whom remained for the awards luncheon at the beautiful Saratoga Auto Museum, adjacent to the course.

These championship events were all part of the Saratoga XC Classic which also featured a separate Race Walk, an Open 5km XC race, as well as 2km/3km Kids‘ XC competition. One of the highlights of the day in the Open race was a new women’s course record by former Saratoga High Sschool and Providence College athlete Hannah Davidson, who ran a blistering 16:28, knocking 14 seconds off the long-standing record! The overall and men’s division winner was Connor Cashin from Albany in a fine 15:01.

With 200 youngsters in the Kids’ Runs, (many of whom represented a host of local youth running organizations), it was a full day of tremendous cross country competition featuring over 575 athletes from ages 6 to 84! Complete results, photos, and a race recap can be found at .

Please note that anyone who did not receive their complimentary Nike track bag for the Kids’ race, can pick it up at either Fleet Feet Sports store in Albany or Malta. They are also available at the USATF Office in Troy. If none of those locations are convenient, call the USATF office at 273-5552 and we will make sure you get yours!

Also, if you were a Saratoga Double Header Award Winner (meaning you ran the Great Pumpkin Challenge and the Saratoga XC Classic 5k Open or Masters 5k) and did not pick up your award, you can call the USATF Office. We have one for you!

This year’s event was once again presented by USATF Adirondack who would like to thank the many volunteers and sponsors who made it so successful. Special appreciation goes to: Fleet Feet Sports, Nike, FC4 Events, Inc, Green Leaf Racing and the Saratoga Auto Museum for their very generous financial and management assistance.

If you participated this year, we hope you enjoyed your experience! You certainly helped demonstrate that cross country is alive and well in our area! We look forward to seeing everyone again next year for the 2016 edition of the Saratoga XC Classic!

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