Come to the Dick's Sporting Goods location in Destiny USA tomorrow, August 27, between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., where anyone registering for either the Men's 5K or the MVP Health Care Women's 5K will receive an additional complimentary long-sleeved running shirt (while supplies last). The 5K entry fee is currently $25, and we will accept cash or personal checks. 3K Fun & Fitness Run and Tops Community Walk entry will also be available, with T-shirts available in limited sizes while supplies last. We hope to see you there!
With Labor Day on the near horizon, we're inviting both our veteran school group coordinators and any parents, teachers, or school staff who might like to become school group coordinators to an informational exchange and social hour at Gordon Biersch Syracuse. We'll gather at 4:40 p.m. on Wednesday, August 31st, to socialize, answer questions, share successful strategies, and distribute entry forms and sample 3K Fun & Fitness Run T-shirts. If you're interested in organizing a group from your (or your children's) school, please send us an RSVP (email@example.com)by e-mail by Monday, August 29 so that we know how many attendees we should be planning for.
So today's the day we launch the new and much improved Syracuse Festival of Races web site. There are still pages under construction, much archival information to be added over the coming months, and very likely some broken or missing links that we'll need to fix. We hope that our users will let us know of anything that needs urgent attention, but please be gentle with us as we tweak the site toward full function.
Sincere thanks to volunteer interns David Seok Kyun Kang, who made very valuable contributions to the re-design in its early stages, and Semir Salkic, who teamed with David in the early stages of the project and (following S.U. commencement and the start of his new career) has steered the project through its later stages and today's launch!
The appearance and utility of the site beautifully illustrate the talent and the quality of the work that both Semir and David have contributed.
We're very pleased to announce that ABC Television's Syracuse affiliate, NewsChannel 9, has joined us as the official television station of the 2016 Syracuse Festival of Races! We think it's a great fit with Syracuse's most newsworthy annual road running event, and we appreciate very much NewsChannel 9's interest in helping us to promote the event and the wonderful performances of all of our participants--once again expected to range from age 3 to age 90.
In a presidential election year it's especially easy to be suspicious of statistics and extrapolations based on early or small statistical samples. But it looks like something special is going on with the 2016 SFoR 5K field's geographic representation.
With the vast majority of our entries yet to be received, we already have entries from sixteen states, among them CO, AZ, NV, and CA. Not counting the college and university students who participate in the SFoR, we've been averaging about 24.4 states represented in our 5K field each year since 2009. To have runners from sixteen states already entered with no more than a tenth of our entries in hand is remarkable.
For those of us who are counting, the SFoR's "PR" is 29 states plus the District of Columbia, which we achieved in 2011. We may come close!
It's not as if a bunch of these haven't been on our radar for a year or two. The incomparable Libby James, of Ft. Collins, CO, entered the F80-84 age group on July 12. ; Tom Bernhard, of Castro Valley, CA, had advanced to the M65-69 age group three days earlier. Pete Magill, of S. Pasadena, CA, joined the M55-59 ranks back in mid-June. Nancy Stewart, of Atlanta, GA, became a newly minted F60-64 back in April, and Gary Patton, of Rock Rapids, IA, entered the M70-74 age group in December of last year. Kathy Martin, of Northport, NY, celebrates her new single ages and age groups on September 30, in many years on or within two or three days of Festival weekend. This year she'll be turning 65 on the Friday of race weekend.
On the other hand, Mike Melfi, of Clay, NY, hasn't been anywhere near our radar screen of masters LDR athletes entering new age groups for SFoR 2016." That's partly because it seems like Mike (whose fastest SFoR performance of 14:40 is one of the top 100 men's times on the SFoR course) can't be more than a few years beyond his collegiate running career at Marist College. So how weird is it that Mike will become a masters runner on September 4, and race this year's SFoR in the Masters Championship field?!
But--even at age 40 years and 28 days--Mike Melfi won't be close to the youngest masters athlete lining up on E. Colvin St. on Sunday morning, Oct. 2. That distinction will belong to David Angell, of Blue Ridge, VA, who will go to bed on the eve of this year's SFoR a 39-year-old, and wake up on Festival morning a masters runner.
Spectators, wherever they may be along the course, are encouraged to sing to any or all of the above.
Runners, please just focus on your pace and your performance. There'll be time and reason for singing AFTER you cross the finish line.
We're delighted to announce that Gordon Biersch Syracuse, located in Destiny USA (304 Hiawatha Blvd., Syracuse), has joined our 2016 sponsorship team as an SFoR Official Sponsor and host to a variety of SFoR events. First up on that list of events is our non-profit beneficiary information and social hour, on Monday, August 1. We've invited representatives of all of our current non-profit beneficiaries to gather for an information exchange that will run from about 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. If your favorite non-profit organization is not currently on our list for 2016 and you'd like to join the conversations on Monday, August 1 to learn more about the opportunity, give Dave Oja (446-6285) a call at any time on any day to RSVP. Our philosophy is the same regarding both SFoR sponsors and SFoR non-profit beneficiaries: The more, the merrier!
The weather gods smiled on Boilermaker participants on Sunday morning, making the famous mid-summer 15K somewhat less arduous for all of the 11,000+ participants. While perusing this year's 15K overall and age group award winners, we were delighted to see a lot of familiar names that have also appeared in SFoR results.
Congratulations to: Kevin Castille, Mark Andrews, Derrick Jones, Jen Rhines, Karen Blodgett, Laurel Leone, Sam Morse, Missy Senall, Kent Lemme, Rich Cohen, Mike Nier, Karyl Sargent, Charlie Andrews, Tim Riccardi, Anna Fox, Mark Rybinski, Reno Stirrat, Brian Cummins, Susan Stirrat, Fred Miller, Doug Wood, Karen Crisafulli, Christa Maier, Ted Sullivan, and Edna Hyer.
Great running by all on a lovely day in Utica!
It's hard to believe that this will be the 20th consecutive year in which the Freihofer's Baking Company and its parent company, Bimbo Bakeries, have supported all of our finishers with a generous supply of Freihofer's and Entenmann's product. But it is, and I'm sure we speak for tens of thousands of SFoR past participants from age 3 through age 93 in thanking Freihofer's and Bimbo for their
SFoR race weekend may still be three months away, but runners in nine states aren't wasting any time registering for the event. New York is narrowly leading Pennsylvania as the home of those registered thus far, but the other side of the country is also well represented by runners registered from Arizona, California, Colorado, and Nevada. Also already represented in this year's SFoR field are Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.
Lots more to come, of course, as the SFoR typically hosts runners from two dozen or more states and Canada.
We're delighted to announce that Cumulus Broadcasting Company and its Syracuse Stations, 93Q, 95X, The Rebel 105.9, and The SCORE 1260, will be continuing in 2016 as a longtime member of the SFoR sponsorship team. As always, we look forward to working with Cumulus in getting out the word about the big event on Sunday, Oct. 2, and we know that our participants always enjoy Cumulus's presence outside Manley on Festival morning.
SFoR preparations always get put on hold in the weeks closest to the Syracuse edition of the J.P.Morgan Corporate Challnenge. Now that the most urgent post-Corporate Challenge tasks have been completed, life in the Oja household returns to a focus on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. Within a few weeks, we'll be able to be back in "all-Festival, all the time" mode as we count down to the 24th annual edition of the best running around.
Congratulations to all of the happy participants at this year's Corporate Challenge on June 7, and on with the preparations for the Festival!
Alright, the optimistic forecast (see the February 29, 2016 SFoR News blurb) was somewhat optimistic. The lilacs have bloomed, and our beautiful new site isn't yet up and running. But don't despair; our great volunteer web designers are making terrific progress toward what we expect will be a July launch.
And whenever it is fully ready to launch, we think you'll find it a great improvement!
Thanks to the great work of Donna Goyette of M&S Desktop Publishing, our 2016 entry form is now available in hard copy as well as accessible for download on the SFoR registration page. While the majority of road race participants in the U.S. enter online these days, we're happy to support those of you who prefer to enter via a paper form and pay by check. What's not to like about saving the online convenience fee?
The other neat thing about having a PDF of the entry form here is that you can easily download it and forward it as an attachment (or print as many copies as you'd like) for family members or friends who'd like to join you at the SFoR.
The Syracuse Festival of Races page at CrowdRise has been updated for 2016, and is now ready to go. That means that all of our participating non-profit beneficiaries now have a green light to visit https://www.crowdrise.com/SFOR2016 and set up their own giving pages on the site.
In case you're not familiar with the SFoR's all-inclusive approach to embracing non-profit organizations: Since 2000 we've invited ANY interested non-profits to use the Syracuse Festival of Races to support their programs and services. The Festival's CrowdRise page has been one valuable tool that we've been happy to provide for non-profits in recent years. For more information on the SFoR's open invitation to interested non-profits, visit our Beneficiaries page.
The SFoR is delighted to announce that we have decided to partner with the Barry Park Association and UNPA as a sponsor of the 3rd annual Barry Park Fun Runs, scheduled for Sunday morning, May 22nd.
As in the past editions of this spring event, the runs are open to all and are--like the Syracuse Festival of Races--full family events. There's a significant "kid" involvement, and parents and other family members are invited to run and/or walk with the kids.
Come out and join us on the Barry Park portion of the Syracuse Festival of Races course for the 10:30 start!
We're delighted to announce that the good folks at Tops Friendly Markets have confirmed their continued outstanding support of the Syracuse Festival of Races for our 24th annual edition! In addition to continuing as sponsor of the Tops Post-Race Refreshments Area, Tops will enter its sixth year as title sponsor of the Tops Community Walk, offering any interested non-profit organizations the opportunity to raise visibility and funds via their participation in the SFoR. To learn more about opportunities for your favorite non-profit group, call Dave Oja at 446-6285.
The starting gun has fired for entry into the 2016 USATF Masters 5 km Championships for men and women! This will be the ninth consecutive year in which Central New York and the Syracuse Festival of Races have had the honor of hosting masters LDR athletes from throughout the U.S. as they compete for individual and team age-group national titles as well as $10,000 in prize money.
Based on the outstanding participation of the past eight years, the 2016 USATF Masters 5 km Championship is expected to attract more than 200 runners from twenty-five or more states and more than 40 running clubs. Masters runners competing in the Championship will range in age from 40 to 90, and they'll range in running experience from some who first began running in their 50s or 60s to past Olympians.
The Championships are open to any U.S. citizen age 40 or older (on race day, October 2) who is a current member of USA Track & Field. Becoming a member of USATF is very convenient and takes about five minutes online at www.usatf.org. We strongly encourage any runners who aren't members of USATF to consider joining and representing their hometown and/or running club in CNY's only road race national championship!
As always, the USATF Masters 5 km Championships for men and women will run concurrently with our Men's 5K and MVP Health Care Women's 5K, giving everyone in our 5K fields the opportunity to race alongside many of the most accomplished masters distance runners in the country.
There's great news for Central New York (and beyond) runners today, as Dick's Sporting Goods has confirmed that they once again will be providing over $7,500 in Dick's Bonus Certificates to Syracuse Festival of Races 5K participants. First to receive these will be the first 1,000 Men's 5K or MVP Health Care Women's 5K entrants to pick up their bib numbers. They'll receive a $5.00 Bonus Certificate at the point of bib pickup--whether they pick up at the Dick's Sporting Goods DeWitt store between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 1) or at the registration tent outside Manley Field House on Sunday (Oct. 2).
Next will be the top three finishers in each of at least fifteen age groups for both males and females. First-place age-group finishers will receive a $50 Dick's Bonus Certificate. Runners-up in the age groups receive a $20 Dick's Bonus Certificate. And the third-place finishers in the age groups receive a $10 Dick's Bonus Certificate. As in past years, these will be available for pickup as soon as the respective sets of official results are posted in the Tops Post-Race Refreshments Area.
And a bit later on SFoR morning, the first will be the last (at least when it comes to receiving the Dick's Bonus Certificates at the Festival) as the first overall Men's 5K finisher and first overall MVP Health Care Women's 5K finisher, will receive a $100.00 Bonus Certificate at our on-site awards presentation (beginning at approximately 11:20).
Feel free to click on the Dick's Sporting Goods logo above, and see the special online offers currently available to runners and all other types of sports enthusiasts!
The next person to register for either of our 2016 5K races will be mailed a coupon for complimentary 5K entry for a friend or family member. Imagine the possibilities: You can make it really easy for your spouse, child, or parent to join you on one of our nine categories of two-person family teams! You and your favorite training partner both get to run the Festival for the early-bird price of one! Or you can give your boss a complimentary 2016 SFoR 5K entry.
No fooling! (That was last Friday.)
Somebody's got to be the first, right? This year it's Karen Brunetti, of Syracuse, who's first to register for the MVP Health Care Women's 5K at the SFoR. Not only is Karen in, but she got in at the discounted early-bird entry fee of $22--which will be in effect through the end of June.
We're delighted to report that MVP Health Care will be continuing as Title Sponsor of the MVP Health Care Women's 5K at the 2016 SFoR! Obviously, the support of our sponsors is critical to the SFoR's existence. Thus, we'll take this opportunity to thank MVP Health Care not only for their continued support of the health conscious girls and women who so enjoy the SFoR and the SFoR 5K course, but also for MVP's support of those girls and women in the previous three editions of the MVP Health Care Women's 5K!
It's literally true that we couldn't have done it without them!
Because February 29th only comes along once in four years, today is a fitting day to announce an occurrence that's even rarer than Leap Day.
The SFoR website is in the process of being radically redesigned, with the launch of our new site expected by the time the lilacs bloom here in Central New York.
The last time the SFoR site was redesigned? Hmmm. Well, let's just say it's been awhile--and the answer might be "never."
More details to come, and you'll see them here on the SFoR News page first.
We're delighted to announce that the Maplewood Suites Extended Stay will be our 2016 race headquarters hotel.
The Maplewood Suites Extended Stay is located at 400 7th North Street in Liverpool, easily accessible via the NYS Thruway and Interstate 81, and convenient to both Syracuse's Hancock International Airport and the race site.
Reservations for SFoR entrants and their guests are available at the special Syracuse Festival of Races rate of $99 per night (plus tax) for queen and king rooms, with all of the newly renovated rooms now containing a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and stovetop burner. In addition, the Maplewood Suites Extended Stay now offers all of its guests complimentary hot and cold breakfast.
In order to be guaranteed the special rate, guests must make their reservations by Monday, September 12 (or when our block is filled, should that occur first). Please make all reservations by calling the hotel at 315-451-1511, and be sure to mention the "Syracuse Festival of Races room block" (rate code "SFoR16") in order to receive the discounted rate.
Our block of specially priced rooms has sold out in recent years, so please book early to avoid missing these special rates!
Check out page eleven of the February issue of National Masters News for Cathy Utzschneider's profile of Jan Holmquist. Jan, as many of you know, has become a perennial finisher (and record-setter) at the SFoR, eclipsing the listed 5K American record and world best for the women's 70-74 age group in each of the past two years. (Imagine running a 5K age-group world best of 22:16 at age 70, and then coming back at age 71 and running two seconds faster!)
Included with the article is Stacie Fanelli's excellent photo (mistakenly credited to ace Festival photographer Bob Brock) of Jan immediately following her 2014 SFoR finish.
Also to be found on page seventeen of the current issue of NMN is Ben Addonizio's photo of Doug Goodhue (a.k.a., "The Silver Bullet") and Paul Cianfrocca on Meadowbrook Drive in the 2008 edition of the SFoR.
The Masters LDR Committee of USATF recently released the list of the 2015 masters long distance runners of the year, and we're very pleased to see so many Syracuse Festival of Races alumni/ae being recognized again this year as our nation's top performers in their respective age groups.
Among SFoR past participants receiving the national honor this year are Brian Pilcher (M55-59), of Ross, CA; Tom Bernhard (M60-64), of Castro Valley, CA; Bill Dixon (M65-69), of Brattleboro, VT; Jan Frisby (M70-74), of Grand Junction, CO; Marisa Sutera Strange (W50-54), of Pleasant Valley, NY; Kathy Martin (W60-64), of Northport, NY; Sabra Harvey (W65-69), of Houston, TX; Jan Holmquist (W70-74), of Burlington, MA; and Libby James (W75-79), of Fort Collins, CO.
We're always hopeful that we'll have all of our past participants in our fields for our next edition (Sunday, October 2, 2016), and that we'll also have the pleasure of hosting as many as possible of the masters LDR runners of the year who have not previously raced here at the Syracuse Festival of Races. One of those, Lisa Lucas (W45-49 runner of the year in 2015--and graduating to the W50-54 age group ion 2016), has already e-mailed to report that she intends to be here next fall. We're delighted, and we look forward to everyone's staying healthy and fit throughout the coming year!
We've just received official notification from Ken Young, of the Association of Road Racing Statisticians (ARRS), that 37 finishers in this year's Men's 5K and 11 finishers in this year's MVP Health Care Women's 5K at the Syracuse Festival of Races surpassed the standards for the all-time fastest 5K road performance lists in their respective five-year age groups.
Ken processes between 70,000 and 80,000 performances (at all distances) a year, and will likely not have the lists fully updated with autumn 2015 results until mid-winter. But you can peruse the ARRS listings anytime to admire the hundreds of SFoR performances that already populate Ken's lists.
Congratulations to all whose names and times appear on these lists--many of you with multiple all-time world-ranked performances, and thanks very much to Ken Young and the ARRS for their time and expertise in maintaining these lists!
Many of the 2015 performances that surpassed previous SFoR single-age course records are--as one might expect--also amazing enough to make them additions to our Male Age-Group Top-Five List and our Female Age-Group Top Five List.
2015 performances that were outstanding enough to earn a spot among the top-five all-time SFoR performances in our male age groups included: Tom Bernhard's (Castro Valley, CA) 17:36 at age 64; Bill Dixon's (Brattleboro, VT) 18:33 at age 68; Doug Goodhue's (Milford, MI) 20:06 (net) at age 73; and Roger Robinson's (Wellington, NZ) 22:29 (net) at age 76.
2015 performances that were outstanding enough to earn a spot among the top-five all-time SFoR performances in our female age groups included: Lizzie Lucason's (Camden, NY) 18:53 at age 11; Marisa Sutera Strange's (Pleasant Valley, NY) 17:38 at age 52; Carmen Ayala-Troncoso's (Austin, TX) 19:15 at age 56; Kathryn Martin's (Northport, NY) 19:24 at age 64; Edie Stevenson's (Boulder, CO) 21:34 at age 66; Jan Holmquist's (Burlington, MA) 22:14 (net) at age 71; and Anny Stockman's (Rensselaer, NY) 37:31 (net) at age 83.
Have a look; these lists will take your breath away!
The Running Professor, Paul Carlin, has a very detailed and comprehensive recap of both the men's and women's USATF Masters 5 km Championships now posted on his website, RunningProf.com. As always, Paul has provided a wealth of detailed information relating to each of the nineteen masters age groups in which we had competitors, and for the team competitions as well.
Even better, Paul's coverage includes many images of our 2015 USATF Masters 5 km Championship medalists.
Thanks so much to Paul for another excellent coverage article, and congratulations to Paul on his own 2015 SFoR performance of 21:45 at age 69. That's mighty impressive at the upper end of the 65-69 age group, and we're looking forward to Paul's being a "spring chicken" in the M70-74 age group in next year's edition of the SFoR!
The list of national records achieved on the Syracuse Festival of Races (SFoR) 5K course grew by three last week, as USA Track & Field (USATF) ratified three pending 5K American records run at the October 5, 2014 edition of the SFoR. The new records were formally ratified at the USATF Annual Meeting in Anaheim, CA, Dec. 5.
With the ratification of these three performances, Tom McCormack, 61, of Jonesborough, TN, is now the American 5K record-holder for men age 60-64. Tom covered the Bankers Healthcare Group Mens 5K at this falls SFoR in 16:58. That performance trimmed two seconds from Jim ONeil's elusive M60-64 5K record that stood for 28 years, and it makes Tom the only U.S. male age 60 or older ever to break 17 minutes in the nations most frequently run road race distance. Tom has dual U.S. and Irish citizenship, and he tells us that his performance has also been ratified as the men's 60-64 5K Irish national record.
Also now elevated to American record status is the performance of Sabra Harvey, 65, of Houston, TX, who ran the MVP Health Care Womens 5K at the 2014 SFoR in 20:27. That dramatically improved upon the previous W65-69 5K American record of 21:16, which was set by Margret Betz at the Syracuse Festival of Races in 2001 and had stood for thirteen years.
The third of the 2014 SFoR performances ratified last week was that of Jan Holmquist, 70, of Burlington, MA, who covered the MVP Health Care Womens 5K at the 2014 SFoR in 22:16. Jans performance lopped 61 seconds from the previous W70-74 5K American record, set by Marie-Louise Michelsohn at the Syracuse Festival of Races two years ago. Jan's mark is a "third-generation" W70-74 5K American record for the SFoR, as Marie-Louises record had been preceded by the W70-74 5K American record of 24:02, run by the amazing Margret Betz at the 2007 SFoR. For a look at all of the masters age group 5K American road records, click here.
Also added to the list of American 5K single-age bests is Libby James' SFoR performance of 24:00. At age 78, Libby's Festival time age-grades at a whopping 106.76%!
Congratulations to Tom, Sabra, Jan, Libby, and everyone else at the 2014 SFoR who enjoyed special performances!
For those of you who may not be aware of the relatively new website, take a few minutes sometime soon and browse Paul Carlin's writings at www.RunningProf.com. Of particular interest to present and past SFoR participants are Paul's detailed and insightful pre- and post-race treatments of the 2014 USA Masters 5 km Championships--both the women's and the men's--at this year's SFoR. Paul includes quite a few images as well. Enjoy!
When you're looking for online images of the 2014 SFoR online, be sure to browse Bob Brock's large collection of images on his Flickr page. From the Bankers Healthcare Group Men's 5K to the MVP Health Care Women's 5K to the 3K Fun & Fitness Run and the Tops Friendly Markets Community Walk, Bob has captured a lot of the morning's action and enjoyment in the start and finish area at Manley.
Phew! What a great day! Our first dry-weather race day since 2010 was a pleasure for everyone on hand: those celebrating their fastest race of the year; those enjoying the Festival course and atmosphere; those running their first road race ever; those in the throng of 3K Fun & Fitness Run and Tops Community Walk participants; those volunteers and sponsor representatives who made the event happen; and those spectators who witnessed another three pending American 5K records.
Congratulations to all, and thanks for helping to make today's 22nd annual SFoR special in so many ways!