The 2024 HMRRC Colonie Mile

by Nick Demos and Frank Myers

The Colonie Mile is a long-running HMRRC Grand Prix event.  It has historically been held at the Colonie High School Track, however this year there is construction in the area of the track so the club had to move the venue. This year’s event will be held at the Shaker High School Track, located at 445 Watervliet Shaker Road, Latham.  The event is part of the Summer Track Series and starts at 6pm on Tuesday July 9th.   There is no pre-registration, only day-of sign-up. All entrants must sign in at the registration tent when they arrive at the track.

Other track and field events will be going on concurrently as well.  At approximately 6pm an  announcement will be made for the start of the Colonie Mile.   The Mile Races will be run in multiple heats with each heat based on the expected “minutes per mile” pace.  The first race will be the fastest expected times and each heat after that will be progressively slower times. Runners should wait for the heat that will be most competitive for themselves so that they do not start in a heat that is too fast. You may run in as many heats as you like during the evening. Competitors should sign up for the heat that they are going to race in at the tent before they run.

It is important to listen for your place number as you cross the finish line as that will be how you find your time.The race results will be posted near the finish line. You will need to find your place number on the results tape where your time will be listed.  Once you have your mile time then you will need to report it to the HMRRC Club members at the HMRRC tent. This will be the recorded time for you for the Colonie Mile results.

History of the Colonie Track Series

Frank Myers, a Colonie track and cross-country coach for 54 years has been conducting recreational track meets during the summer since 1969. The meets have always been a community effort and are open to men and women, boys and girls of all ages. These track meets have always been free of charge and people have been coming to participate from all over this part of the state.  These track meets are a ‘hot’ addition to your summer training schedule.

Frank describes how the start of the Summer Series began. 

The West Albany Striders Track Club initially sponsored the meets and we held anywhere from six to eight meets each summer. We had four meets on the Colonie High School track the first year. Then, we moved the meets for the 1970, 71, and 72 event series to the U-Albany Track because they had an all-weather racing strip track whereas Colonie HS still had a cinder track. We also increased the number of meets from four to seven or eight meets. Attendance was always good each year.

In 1973 Colonie HS put in an all-weather resilite track over the summer, so we moved our base of operations back there. In 1975 the Town of Colonie Recreation Department took over sponsorship of our program. They paid the premium for the liability insurance, and they were responsible for the administration of the meets. This partnership helped support us in the track series and the meets continued forward.

Again, we had from seven to eight meets. At this time the “Running Boom” was at its height, so we saw a big increase in attendance at our program. Another reason we saw great attendance was thanks to the New York State Empire Games. This event was a big draw to the area, and many runners used our meets for training purposes.

But there were troubles on the horizon. Colonie’s all-weather track was decaying so in 1985 the school district approved the resurfacing of the “old” track. They did this in the middle of the summer to avoid the school year, but that meant we needed a new location for our meets. Fortunately,  Shaker High School was kind enough to let us use their track for the last two meets of the season. Then, it was back to the Colonie track in 1986 where we remained until 1990. In 1990, the school district decided to put in a polyurethane track which would be more cost efficient than resurfacing a resilite track. Thus, we moved back to Shaker High School that year for seven meets. 

In 1991, with the new track in place, we moved the track series back to Colonie where we would continue until 2000. In 2000, the Town of Colonie decided to downsize their recreation department. This would mean that they would no longer sponsor for our Summer Tuesday-Night Track Program. This is when the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners’ Club stepped in and agreed to sponsor the program. The club has continued this sponsorship for the duration and finds volunteers every summer to put on a great series of track meets.

Unfortunately, this year 2024,  we are again caught between a rock and a hard place. Colonie HS is going to install a turf football field this summer which is great for the school, but not so great for our summer track series. We are not going to be able to use the track due to the construction taking place. Thus, again we approached Shaker High School to utilize their track. They have agreed to host our track meets this year and we are back again at a track that has always been there when we need them.  We look forward to another great summer series. If you need a fun-filler in your training schedule this summer then consider joining us on Tuesday nights at 6pm at Shaker HS.

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