Runners' Obsession: Fall Races

by Benita Zahn

Not good Benita. Not good. While not as expensive as idly shopping on Amazon, it can be just as alluring and even lead to buyers’ remorse. I’m talking about perusing upcoming fall races within 100 miles of the Capital Region.

It started innocently enough. I saw a posting on Facebook for the Yonkers 5k and half marathon while spending time with Jim and Sue Kambrich. Jim, my former co-anchor at WNYT, had been sidelined for awhile with a balky knee and I simply ran out of ‘mental gas’ after completing a series of challenges to raise money for various food banks. We’ve both been power walking but nothing like the miles we logged while training for long distance events. So when I saw the Yonkers ad my eyes lit up like a dog seeing a meaty bone on the counter. OH YEAH. THAT’S THE TICKET. Just the kind of race to get me back on a training schedule. “C’mon Jim, what do you say?” How about a half marathon?




I could see him begin to waver. Sitting nearby was his wife Sue, who was now interested. So was my husband, who walks a mile faster than 15 minutes. It wasn’t the half marathon that had them engaged, but rather the 5k.

5k is an easy distance to get your groove back.

A little more prodding and YES! We’ll all do it.

But like a person who’s sworn off chocolate and then passes a candy store, my appetite switched on.

Will I be happy with "just" the 5k?

Should I sign up for the half marathon anyway?

But what would they do while I covered the 13.1 miles?

So 5k it is. HOWEVER, the urge for miles remains and now I’m scrolling websites looking for upcoming races. And what a selection!

I always look forward to the lovely Malta 5k/10K. It’s fun because it’s well run and running through Luther Forest in areas that are usually closed off feels like sneaking in somewhere special. But alas, I’m already booked for a speaking engagement that day, so back to the internet.

There are a host of options over the Labor Day weekend - the HMRRC Labor Day Race, Albany 5k,   What Would Trevor Do Run ‘n Roll for Hope 5k in Saratoga, or really go for it and do the Swanzey Covered Bridges half marathon in Swanzey, NH. That was my very first half marathon AGES ago. But let’s get real, I’m not ready for that distance - yet!

So I keep looking and am struck by the funny names of races like the BEAT THE MANURE 5k on September 4 in Guilford,VT. Dare I say it could be a real … stinker!

The following week is the Bacon and Brew 4 miles in Dummerston, VT. That same weekend is the Cops ‘n’ Joggers 5k in Amsterdam, NY.

You can Run for Research, Run for Recovery or Run to Shine a Light on Problem Gambling.

In short, there are countless causes to run for. But for me, heck, for all of us I suspect, the real reason to run is that WE ENJOY IT … okay, we enjoy it when it’s over. But we enjoy the power we develop during training, the camaraderie gained covering the miles with running pals or simply rediscovering our relationships with ourselves. And who can resist the delight of crossing the finish line?

So, you see. I have a little problem. I can’t stop "shopping" for races. But that’s an investment that will last a lifetime. Every step is an investment in me; my well being both physically and mentally.

And if you run the Yonkers 5k be sure to say hi to me and Jim and our spouses. But trust me, don’t ask him about a half marathon. Then again … 

About Dr. Benita Zahn

NewBenitaLogo.jpegBenita is a certified Health and Wellness Coach working with clients at Capital Cardiology Associates. Benita spent more than 40 years as a health reporter and news anchor at WNYT in Albany, NY. She covered issues such as wellness, treatment breakthroughs, aging, nutrition, and the latest health care trends. Benita’s work has taken her around the world and across the USA.  She continues to produce and host  “Health Beat” a digital health interview program that posts every  Monday and Thursday on and can be heard on the station’s podcast. Benita is a contributor to  the weekly “Live Smart” page in the Times Union, the HMRRC Pacesetter and the new magazine 55+LIVING. Benita also created and co-hosts the podcast EVERYTHING THEATER.  

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