by Kristen Hislop
Finish with a smile and walk around the following day without pain, enjoying the post-race high. That’s my goal for new athletes when we start a coaching relationship for endurance events. Well I can say I finished with a smile and have the post-race high. I’m a little sore from some heavy lifting, but that’s to be expected with an endurance event like the Freihofer’s Run for Women. On 9/25/21 over 1200 women gathered in person to run the 43rd edition. We had another 300 running a virtual 5K between 9/19 and 9/26. We started talking about the event as a comeback. A return to normalcy, but really we aren’t there yet.
To mitigate risk we canceled the Expo along with the kids’ events. But we knew we needed to hold the 43rd run. When it came time to order the medals, ‘comeback’ didn’t feel like the right word. What is it about this event that makes it different? Participants always talk about how they feel at the run. Being on the closed streets of Albany allows them to challenge themselves. It is empowering.
Not many events draw a group of women together with a shared goal. 1224 stood at a start line. They listened to Olivia Frempong sing the national anthem. They cheered, and then when Mayor Sheehan yelled “Gooooo,” they started with a focus on the finish line. How they got to the start is an individual story. Why they have the fortitude to get to the finish line is individual as well. But that celebration is shared. It is the true definition of community.
The photos from before, during and after are full of smiling athletes. That’s not to say that there aren’t some grimaces going up Washington Avenue. A road race isn’t easy. You all know that! But doing them makes us happy. It gives us a sense of accomplishment that fills our souls. Happiness is a big part of running.
Our medal had those three words on it. Empowerment. Community. Happiness. My hope is that those medals are displayed prominently so that it is a constant reminder. A reminder of just how strong those finishers are, not just on 9/25/2021, but every day. A reminder that together we do more and we do better. And a reminder that happiness is where it’s at!
It is a team effort to pull off a major road race, and those who volunteer at the Freihofer’s Run for Women are the best. Some have volunteered since the beginning and others were new this year. Events like the Freihofer’s Run for Women won’t happen without support from both the running community and the community at large. As athletes, it is amazing to give back to the sport we love. Your expertise is so valuable to an event. With so many opportunities there is a place for everyone! Volunteer sign-ups open along with registration, so set aside June 4, 2022 right now!
43 years! That means our 50th birthday is getting close. Our goal is to continue empowering all involved with the event, growing our community in size and strength, and of course spreading happiness. Corny maybe, but if you were downtown Albany on September 25th you get it. It’s amazing being part of one of ‘Albany’s crown jewels’ as noted by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
The post-race soreness disappears, leaving us a bit stronger. The high recedes and we start looking for the next event. It’s a wonderful cycle and it is coming back. Join us for the Comeback Challenge this winter. It is a chance to stay active, be part of a community and of course get some fun swag. Watch the Freihofer’s Run for Women Facebook page and emails for more information on how everyone can get involved. Make sure you get June 4, 2022 on the calendar and be part of the 44th edition of the Freihofer’s Run for Women.
Times Union article on the race:
28-year-old from Cornwall dominates return of in-person race
by Mark Singelais
Kristen Hislop is the Director of the Freihofer's Run for Women and the Clifton Park Freedom Mile. She currently serves as Vice President of USATF Adirondack. In the triathlon world she serves as Secretary on the USAT Triathlon Women's Committee and as a Women for Tri Ambassador. Hislop Coaching offers run, swim, cycling and triathlon coaching to athletes of all abilities and ages. She can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and www.hislopcoaching.com