by Benita Zahn
I remember the first time my mom and I read a Dr. Seuss book. We roared! But as an adult his words took on a new dimension. His words are not just funny but also truisms about life. As I sat to pen this article my first thought was his words: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” from his book Oh, The Places You'll Go!
To me, and perhaps you, that's the essence of running: the places running takes us. As runners we have choices where to run. Oftentimes we board a plane for distant locales. But when the leaves begin to turn colors there's no place like home. I'm referring to two of the races noted in the Albany Times Union poll of 'bests': The Mohawk Hudson River Marathon and Half Marathon and the MVP Stockade-athon. If you've run these events you know! If not, let me fill you in.
Let's start with the marathon/half marathon. As my dear friend Joanne Bagby, AKA the running queen points out - where else can you sleep in your own bed and do your 'morning ablutions' at home and still cover some of the sweetest miles with friends dotting the course. In fact, it's so easy for spectators to find viewing spots that you're bound to cross the finish line with a cheering section and then countless pictures to remember the run, by. Runners World has called this 26.2 mile course 'simple, understated and stunning'. Oh, and it's pretty darn flat so if you're looking to P.R. this one's for you. Elevation goes from a minimum of 8' to a maximum of 454'. This makes it a perfect choice if you're looking to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In fact, figures show that more than a third of those who cross the line will qualify. So don't be surprised if the runner next to you has an 'out of town' accent. This is a race many will travel to. And don't forget the half marathon if your training has been curtained. It starts at Colonie Town park and makes a quick loop over the covered bridge and then you're off and on your way to Albany. If you do this run make note of a change in the course from prior years due to construction. As noted on the HMRRC website ..the course will detour about .7 miles in Cohoes, taking you off the bike path at Lansing Street, It will be well marked and marshals will be on hand to ensure you don't get lost and right back on the bike path. And btw, 18 miles of this course is on a paved bike path.
Now some of us have a shorter distance in mind but still want a challenge. If that's you, then welcome the Stockade-athon in Schenectady. The starting gun sounds at 8:30 am on November 13. Unlike the October race this one will test your hill mettle. It will also test your creepiness factor as it takes runners through the Vale Cemetery. Ok, it's really a beautiful and peaceful setting HOWEVER on a gray day it can be a little creepy - which in my case, prompts me to pick up the pace!! Other than that, it's quite scenic as the route takes you through the stockade neighborhood, then into more suburban streets and wraps up near Proctor's Theater and a lovely post race gathering. Parking is easily found near the race start. Like the marathon/half marathon it's easy for friends and family to find spots to cheer you on. Both races are USATF certified. If you haven't run this in years the 'new' course is a great improvement over the older one which put runners on Central Ave with a nasty hill near the end. For more info on the race check out Course – Stockadeathon and for the marathon/half marathon :Mohawk Hudson River Marathon & Half Marathon (mohawkhudsonmarathon.com).
So consider the trip to Schenectady. It can be a perfect tune up for the Turkey Trot of your choice, a victorious loop after a successful marathon/half marathon or simply a great day on the road along many familiar faces. Oh, The Places You'll Go!
About Dr. Benita Zahn
Benita is a certified Health and Wellness Coach working with clients at Capital Cardiology Associates. She has spent more than 40 years as a health reporter and news anchor at WNYT in Albany, NY, covering issues such as wellness, treatment breakthroughs, aging, nutrition, and the latest health care trends. She continues to produce and host “Health Beat” a digital health interview program on wnyt.com and can be heard on the station’s podcast. She regularly writes for the Times Union, the HMRRC Pacesetter, and the new magazine 55+LIVING. Benita also created and co-hosts the podcast EVERYTHING THEATER.