Greater Capital Region Area Marathon Top 20 Lists

by Mark Mindel

                                                   Samantha (Sam) Roecker

Peter Sheridan, President of the Greater Capital Region Track, Field, and Cross Country Hall of Fame (GCRTFCCHOF – a mouthful of a name and quite the acronym!), desired to include road racing in his highly popular HOF. We decided the first order of business was to come up with a Top 20 Marathon list for area men and women. The list ended up including 21 individuals for the men. How can you keep Tom Dalton off an area's best list?

The criteria for consideration were two-fold: 1) The individuals had to have attended an area high school in their youth OR 2) The individuals had to have lived locally for an extensive period as an area post-high school or collegiate athlete.

The men’s list is topped by the three-time US Olympic Marathon Qualifier, Louis Serafini. Serafini is a local native who graduated from Niskayuna High School. The women’s list is led by Samantha (Sam) Roecker {pronounced “wrecker”}, another local native and a Burnt Hills graduate.

Interestingly, both Louis and Sam have modeled for the athletic brand Track Smith. Serafini also manages the Boston store.

                                                                    Louis Serafini

Five athletes on the men’s and women’s marathon list have already been inducted into the GCRTFCCHOF: Serafini, Barry Brown (Colonie), Tom Dalton (Siena College), Jennifer Fazioli (Averill Park), and Dana Ostrander Bush (Shenendehowa).

I have personal connections to five of the runners. Scott Mindel is my son; I have coached both Fazioli and Mollie DeFrancesco during my time as a teacher and coach at Averill Park; I also coached Susan Hay during indoor and outdoor track at Niskayuna; and I coached Ellen Predmore when she set her marathon mark.

The top marathon producer in the region seems to be the Albany Diocese, from which eight of the runners have come (nine if you count Dalton who went to CBA, Syracuse). Jonathan Aziz and Kieran O’Connor both are from Notre Dame/Bishop Gibbons; Carlo Cherubino and Nancy Egerton are from Cardinal McCloskey; Mark Skinkle and Jim Bowles are from Vincentian Institute; Predmore attended Catholic Central; and Megan Hogan went to Spa Catholic.

In addition to Bishop Gibbons, Vincentian Institute, and Cardinal McCloskey, there are four other schools that have multiple athletes listed on the Top 20 Marathon List. Arthur Coolidge III and Karen Bertasso Hughes each graduated from Scotia Glenville; Dennis Northrup and Dale Keenan are both from Ravena; and Serafini and Hay competed for Niskayuna; and finally, both Mindel and Ostrander ran at Shenendehowa.

Regarding the venues where these runners achieved their top times, Boston leads the way with eight runners having set their lifetime best marks in Beantown. Skinkle, Northrup, Bowles, Dan Predmore (Ellen’s husband), Mindel, Art Coolidge (Scotia), Howie Herrington, and Hogan have all turned "Right On Hereford, Left On Boylston" before setting their marks at the Boston Marathon.

Our own Mohawk Hudson River Marathon that runs its way from Schenectady to Albany has been a fast course responsible for producing five of the top times on the list. Keenan, Jodie Robertson (Voorheeseville), Fazioli, Emily Bryans (Cazenovia), and Ostrander Bush all set their best times as they crossed the finish line at the Corning Preserve in downtown Albany.

The California International Marathon (CIM) is known to be a fast course that attracts top competition, and four of the athletes that made the list ran their fastest times in Sacramento. Serafini, Jacob Andrews (RPI, Fabius-Pompey), O’Connor, and Karen Bertasso Hughes (Union grad as well as Scotia) all ran personal bests at CIM.

Two of the athletes on the list set their personal records abroad on foreign soil. Local runner Jaime Julia, who was both a standout runner at Amsterdam High School and a top regional athlete after graduating, ran his best marathon time in Hamburg, Germany. Laura Lamena Coll, a Shaker High School graduate, ran her personal best in the marathon in Nagoya, Japan.

Finally, both Predmore and Hay ran in the inaugural US Women’s Olympic Trials in Olympia, Washington, in 1984. In this race, Ellen set her personal record, while Sue ran her fastest time at the time in her qualifying race for the trials in Philadelphia.

Loading Conversation

Partner Clubs

Partner clubs offer group runs and local races to the Capital Region running community

Create Account

Log In Your Account