Why Do They Run?

by Christine Bishop with help from Nikki Moule, Connie Smith, Gretchen Sullivan, Connie Ziter & Shawn Czadzeck

This year the CDPHP had 513 teams participate in the CDPHP WTC Race with 10,000 people coursing through the streets of the capital with hundreds more volunteering and watching the amazing spectacle.  What compels them in so many numbers to come out and celebrate running?  We will tell the tale of five teams and what made them run.

The Vascular Group Corporate Challenge Team

This group of about 30 dynamic and spirited employees come from a wide range of backgrounds inside the office and out.  Some are avid runners who track miles on their sneakers daily.  Some exercise regularly by biking, swimming or doing CrossFit.  While others enjoy showing their team spirit by walking in the yearly CDPHP Corporate Challenge.  We try to make sure others around us know who we are and want to be part of our group.  There will be a lot of laughter among us as well as cheering each other on.  We all have different paces and expected finish times.  No matter what our finish time is you will see and hear our group at the finish line cheering for the rest of the team until everyone has crossed. A constant with The Vascular Group Corporate Challenge Team is that year after year we will always have fun!

– Nikki Moule


South Colonie Team

The Workforce Team Challenge 3.5 mile walk-run is taking place the evening of May 17th. This year’s South Colonie Team, including 25 staff members, will be wearing special edition Shana Strong t-shirts “to honor our Workforce Team Challenge teammate Shana Marra,” who died in January 2018 at the age of 44. Mrs. Shana Marra ran this race for years on the team.  She not only ran this race but also many local races including the Mohawk Hudson marathon and half marathon, inspiring her coworkers and students alike. Her physical strength was impressive beyond belief (though you'd never know it from the understated way she comported herself); as was her incredible strength of character! Shana was a talented special education teacher (Lisha Kill Middle School) and mentor; a superb, loyal friend; a dynamic family member and proud mother of two middle school boys. “Those we love don't go away. They walk beside us every day.” These words ring true for all who knew Shana. Shana is present with us every day. But for some of us, she not only WALKS beside us but RUNS beside us …. on our easy runs after school, training runs, on Ragnar adventures, and in local races.  Shana Strong! Strong Shana!

– Connie Smith


The New York State Office of Victim Services

The New York State Office of Victim Services is very happy to have a team of 17 registered walkers and/or runners. Members of our team come from various running backgrounds-- some of us are light runners that run occasionally for fun and others are serious runners who have completed several marathons.

OVS has a three-tiered mission to provide compensation to innocent victims of crime in a timely, efficient and compassionate manner, fund direct services to crime victims via a network of community based programs and advocate for the rights and benefits of all innocent victims of crime. So, it would follow that OVS employees would take the opportunity to come together and support a charitable cause through Hudson-Mohawk Road Runners Club.

The CDPHP Workforce Challenge is also a great opportunity to reach out to the community to let them know OVS is here for victim assistance. You never know who may be a victim of a crime or know someone who is a victim and could benefit from our services. This year we designed shirts as part of the contest for that very reason – to raise awareness that our agency is out there to help crime victims in New York State.

On a more personal or internal level, the challenge gives us an opportunity to do something together, outside of work. We have incredibly sedentary jobs, so we will take advantage of a group activity that gets us up and moving around outside in this beautiful weather. It’s an enjoyable event and we are glad to participate in the 2018 CDPHP Workforce Challenge!

– Gretchen Sullivan


New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

The mission statement of the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is ”to help vulnerable New Yorkers meet their essential needs and advance economically by providing opportunities for stable employment, housing, and nutrition.”

Our motto is that it does not matter what challenges life gives you, “Climb Every Mountain”, whether physical or mental, one foot at a time, keep moving forward.

We encourage employees to walk or run. I feel we are all winners for participating. A healthy workforce is a strong workforce. Our NYS OTDA Team works hard for fellow New Yorkers every day, let me tell you we play even harder.

– Connie Ziter


Townsend Leather

(Backgrounder: Each year Townsend Leather makes the wildest, most colorful and cheerful designs we receive. When I looked at their website I was amazed to see that their product is basically high-end, sophisticated leather products with bland corporate colors with no bright colors in sight. Shawn’s comments good-naturedly reflect my reaction. CB)

We have a good handful of runners here at Townsend and we have a strong focus on wellness.  We have a Wellness Team and host a Wellness Event with a fair where each year where we invite business and entities from the community to setup booths at our park behind our building and spend the day learning about and how to better our health. We also have a Yoga teacher on staff who offers free yoga sessions to anyone on staff right here in our building. We have a few dedicated runners and a bunch of people focused on fitness and do lot of events and classes together.

I love Townsend, the people, and what we do – I am glad it comes through in my t-shirt designs. And I do agree, we end up making a lot of beige leather and it’s not always the most exciting, but we still craft each hide with passion, care, and fun, and we make a lot of really cool leathers too. Townsend makes leather that goes onto the highest end VIP private jets and hotels and tour buses and stuff. Basically anything that a celebrity or princess or king or president uses to travel around on, if they are sitting on leather – it is probably Townsend Leather. A lot of our leathers are actually super fun, sometimes hand-painted, sometimes embossed with fun sayings, sometimes just really great colors.

Of interest to runners might be, that we actually do all the American made leather for New Balance Shoes. If you are holding a New Balance shoe and it was made in the USA and has some color to it – the leather was carefully, passionately, proudly, and happily crafted by hand by someone right here at Townsend Leather in Johnstown.

So, yes our site shows the more sophisticated and high-end focused side of things, but we take our sense of fun, personality, and company culture very seriously. We love participating in the CDPHP WTC race and hope to try and prove you wrong tomorrow, ha!, and show you that Townsend is very much not bland. I take this “bland” comment as a challenge! HA!

– Shawn Czadzeck


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