by Jon Rocco
2016 is upon us and with that, Happy New Year to all. May you reach all your personal and running goals and have an injury free year to go along with it. The years seem to go by too quickly so let’s take a final look back at 2015 and how the race world went for HMRRC from July to year end.
The Summer Series begins its Thursday night kickoff with the 2-person Relay. A total of 7 teams (14 runners) partake in the run where teams are formed based on predicted mile times. The team of Ben Heller and Shea Foley jointly cover the six miles on the track in 37:02. Mike Roda leads the way with an average of 4:51 per mile for his three legs around the track. A week later at the 43rd Hour Run participants will run as many laps as they can on the track. Mike Roda logs in 11.01 miles and wins for the third time in as many years. Mike now sits on number seven on the all-time list of most distance covered. Tom Dalton has the record at 11.33 miles which he achieved in 1998 at age forty. Martha DeGrazia leads the female competitors at 6.63 miles and the victory gives her number five which is the most of any competitor in this event. A total of 28 compete and the top five break the ten mile mark. The third installment of the Summer Series at the Colonie High School track concludes with the grueling Pentathlon and it could not get any closer as Mike Roda repeats and edges out Eric Young by a razor thin five point margin, 4,561-4,556. Emily Acker, age 18, leads the females and when all is said and done, her 3,345 points puts her in the 4th spot of all time for females. A total of 23 compete in a night where individuals run nearly seven miles in total on the track. The month ends by seeing youths capture 306 colored place ribbons on Ribbon Night in week seven of eight of Colonie Summer Track Meet. Needless to say, HMRRC certainly made good use of the South Colonie High School track for seven evenings in the month of July.
In the first weekend in August, the club puts on back to back races. The first part of the weekend sees the Dynamic Duo ‘Couples’ Pursuit Race. A total of 71 teams compete (40% are in the combined age group of under 36) and the team of Garrett Davis and Julia Flower lead the pack with a combined six mile time of 32:58. Garrett and Julia also run the fastest individual times for male and female in 15:31 and 17:27, respectively. James O’Connor and Renee Tolan, both Masters runners, finish up as the 2nd overall team as they compete in the 73-81 combined age group. The weekend wraps up with the 21st Indian Ladder Trail Run and its distances of 15K and 3.5M. On the men’s side we see repeat winners as Ben Fishbein captures the 15K in 57:43 and Josh Merlis wins the 3.5M distance in a time of 20:54. For the women, Kailyn Bentley of Erie, PA wins the 15K in 71:52 while Karen Bertasso captures the 3.5M in 23:26. A total of 163 run the two races at Thacher Park. Colonie Summer Track wraps up its season after eight Tuesdays. HMRRC heads back to the trails of Tawasentha for the middle three Mondays in August. The Tawasentha Cross Country races represent the unofficial end of HMRRC summer events. The three week series sees an increase in finishers each week and a total of 403 compete. Karen Bertasso takes two of three with steady times of 20:30 and 20:26 with the latter being a course record for the women (NOTE: Ada Lauterbach ran 20:25 in 2011, but course was modified and creek crossing was omitted due to its depth). Michelle Pratt wins in week one. Noah Tindale, age 14, wins the opener and runs the fastest time in the series clocking at 18:21. Steve Booker takes the win in week two and Shaun Donegan takes the finale’ with the season’s second fastest time of 18:29.
September always seems to arrive too quickly and the unofficial start of the fall season begins with the 27th SEFCU Labor Day 5K and its new start and new finish. Chuck Terry and Meghan Mortensen are victorious with times of 16:00 and 18:47 respectively as 326 compete on a warm late summer day. Chuck wins the race for an event leading fifth time while Meghan wins the event for her second time. The 44th Anniversary Run (first held in 1971) takes runners around the campus perimeter in one and two lap fashion to comprise the distances of 2.95M and 5.9M. On hand were three runners from the very first race held on September 26, 1971 and they included Ed Thomas, Don Wilken, and Burke Adams, who once again served as the official race starter. Thomas O’Grady secures the win and Karen Bertasso repeats on the women’s side in the 5.9M event. Chris Nowak and Amber Goodspeed take the top two spots in the 2.95M race. A combined total of 117 compete.
The Town of New Scotland 7.1M race held in Voorheesville takes place on the opening Sunday in October as a total of 49 compete. The overall winner is Eric Young in 42:01 and Dana Peterson leads the women in the Grand Prix event for those under age forty. Runners enjoy a scenic run with many bringing home a fresh baked apple pie for their award winning efforts. The Hannaford Half Marathon and Mohawk Hudson River Marathon once again see favorable weather conditions on the second Sunday in October as both races show a record number of finishers. The Hannaford Half not only had a record number of finishers with 935, but it had a course record set by Louis Serafini (former Niskayuna standout) who broke the tape in 1:05:48 in the 13th edition of the 13.1M event. Joshua Lerch was runner-up and Aaron Lozier locks up the third slot. For the women, Grace Kahura is victorious in 1:20:42 for the third fastest time on the course followed by Jessica Bashaw and Lindsay Choppy. In the marathon, the 33rd year sees a record 1,145 finishers besting the prior record of 938 set in 2013. Bryan Morseman leads the way for his third marathon week in as many weeks with a time of 2:24:01. Bryan, who has the fifth fastest time at the MHRM, won in 2013 with a time of 2:24:24 (6th fastest). Andrew Dionne and Charles Remillard round out the top three. In just her sixth marathon, Megan Skeels, age 41 of Texas, runs the 2nd fastest women’s time at MHRM, to capture the crown with a time of 2:46:40. She was followed by Dara Dalmata and Caroline Poitras. The top three in the half share in a prize purse of $3,000 while the prize purse in the full totals $6,500. It was a great day for many as 254 runners (just over twenty-two percent of the field) earn a Boston Qualifying (BQ) time.
November sees the 40th Stockade-athon and days before the race, a 40th Anniversary Recognition Dinner was held at Proctors Key Hall. On hand were eight past winners including the two with the most titles- Tom Dalton (6 wins) and Kevin Collins (4 wins). Appearing at the dinner, at packet pickup, and on race day was 1972 Olympic gold and 1976 silver medalist in the marathon, Frank Shorter. Yonas Mebrahtu (Arizona) breaks away from the field at the 5K mark and goes on to win with a time of 46:10 as 1,568 finish the 15K event. 2013 winner and 2014 runner-up, former Saratoga standout Hannah Davidson leads the women with a very impressive 51:19. The time would be just ten seconds off the record (set in 2014 by Megan Hogan) and the 2nd fastest of all time. Eric MacKnight and Sam Morse round out the top three on the men’s side. A very strong women’s field is present as fourteen break the one hour mark. Salome Kosgei and Jodie Robertson finish second and third for the women. The top five share in a purse of $3,500. Hector Rivera and Renee Tolan lead the masters as the top three master runners share in a purse of $1,000. William Dixon, 68, runs a 59:38 net time and leads all runners in the age-graded category with a 90.83%. Mark Mindel has now run in all forty Stockade-athons. The month ends with the fun and low key Turkey RaffAL Run in Tawasentha Park where 181 compete for a chance to win raffled frozen turkeys and many baked good items. Al Maikels ends a run directing the event for 27 years from 1989-2015.
December provides the beginning of the Winter Series for the next season, but at the same time, the last race of the year. Renamed in 2010, the Doug Bowden Winter Series #1 offers 3M and 15K distances where the morning sees unseasonably mild weather with temperatures in the mid 40’s. Richard Messineo runs a personal best 52:30 for the 15K and 17 year old Ruby Pan wins for the females with a time of 64:10. Jeff Hayes and Julia Flower (last year’s 15K winner) win the 3M which draws 187 finishers while the 15K sees a total of 235.
Thomas O’Grady, Mark Stephenson, and Wade Stockman repeat as Grand Prix winners on the men’s side. Chris Varley repeats on the women’s side while moving into a new age group, Martha DeGrazia makes it three in a row, and Anny Stockman continues her string from the year 2000. David Roy joins Tom and Anny as the only ones to score a perfect 72 points. Derrick Staley repeats as the age and gender graded category champion. When all is said and done, HMRRC brings home 17,228 finishers at its 2015 race events (Tuesday Colonie Summer Track meets not included with the exception of The Colonie Mile) compared to 17,089 in 2013 and 16,971 in 2014. 2015 was certainly was another busy, successful, and fun year with HMRRC. Thank you for your participation throughout the year and to those who volunteered their time and energy to make it all happen. Best of luck in 2016 and we hope to see you out there running and volunteering.