SFoR News



July 30, 2015

Family Team Competition Returns with Nine Categories of Two-Person Teams


The two-person family team awards that have been a part of the SFoR's emphasis on full family participation will continue to offer family fun in nine two-person team categories.  Family members running the 5Ks at the Festival can enter husband-wife, husband-wife masters (both spouses over age 40), mother-daughter, mother-son, father-daughter, father-son, brother-brother, sister-sister, and brother-sister teams.


Since the idea of the family teams is to include all members of the family in the teams, individuals ARE permitted to score on multiple teams.  Thus, a couple with three daughters can register three mother-daughter teams and three father-daughter teams (as well as three different sister-sister teams).  The idea is to all the runners in the family to enjoy the family team spirit.  No need for parents with multiple sons or daughters or siblings with multiple brothers or sisters to choose which among them they'll team-up with.


There's no additional charge for registering as a family team.  The only caveat is that we need to have all members of family teams register and declare their team affiliations by Thursday, October 1st.


With a little over two months to race day, now's the time to nudge those potential teammates out the door for a little training mileage!



July 24, 2015

Four States, Five Clubs, and One 5K American Record Holder Among Early Championship Entries


The 2015 USA Masters 5 km Championship field is off to a great start, with runners already entered from four states (NY, NJ, MA, and GA), and five USATF clubs (Atlanta Track Club, Checkers Athletic Club, Liberty Athletic Club, Shore Athletic Club, and the Syracuse Track Club).  Headlining our ultra-early entries is that of Jan Holmquist, of Burlington, MA, who says she is hopeful of improving on the 22:16 (chip time) she ran here last fall.  Should Jan be successful, it would be the fourth time that the SFoR has hosted the fastest 5K ever run by an American woman age 70 or older.


To keep an eye on the men's and women's 2015 USA Masters 5 km Championship fields in all of our five-year age groups, you can visit the "Status of Entries" page anytime.



July 17, 2015

USA Masters 5 km Championship Registration Is Now Open, and It's Open To Any USATF Member!


Good news for those of you who've been watching the 2015 National Championships page at USATF.org and waiting for the USA Masters 5 km Championships page to go live.  This morning was the morning, and everyone can now access the Championship registration site by clicking here.


In case you're not aware, the USA Masters (40+) 5 km Championships for men and women are run in conjunction with the Men's 5K and MVP Health Care Women's 5K at the Festival.  There are no qualifying standards for competing in the Championship; it's open to any current (2015) member of USATF.  Whether you'd like to run on a team representing your local club, or would just like to be eligible for USATF Championship awards in your individual age group, you might enjoy entering the Championship this year.



July 13, 2015

SFoR Regulars Spotted at the Boilermaker


It's always a mid-summer pleasure to touch bases with (or at least catch a glimpse of) SFoR regulars who are in Utica for the Boilermaker.  This year we couldn't miss Lizzie (1st female overall) and Morgan (3rd female overall) Lucason's finishes at their inaugural appearance in the Boilermaker 5K.


The 15K was loaded with familiar names.  Last year's MVP Health Care Women's 5K champion (and former S.U. star), Sarah Pagano, finished ninth overall among the women and third female U.S.  Utica's Rich Cohen placed fourth among the masters men.  Auburn's Karen Simmonds-Brady placed third among masters women.  (Karen now a masters runner?!)  Fernando Cabada placed 11th overall (1st U.S.) in another fine Boilermaker performance.  Charger Brittany Burns, of Watertown, placed second in the women's 25-29 age group (not including overall prize money winners).  Mike Brych, of New York Mills, nabbed a second-place age-group award among men 35-39.  Genesee Valley Harriers Mike Nier, Carl Grimm, Melissa Senall, and Audra Najokas-Knapp also earned age-group awards,  as did Tim Riccardi, of Marietta, and Mary Swan, of the Athena Track Club.  Reno Stirrat held off Mark Rybinski as they went 1-2 in the men's 60-64 age group (where have we seen that scenario before?).  Doug Wood, of Sylvan Beach and the Syracuse Track Club, celebrated his recent birthday by winning the men's 65-69 age group.  And Ted Sullivan, of Williamsville and the Belle Watling Track Club placed third among men 80 and older.


Needless to say, this was another terrific edition of the Boilermaker.  Congratulations to all the finishers!



June 27, 2015

Our 2015 Entry Form Is Available Online and Ready to Print and Mail!


Thanks to Donna Goyette, of M&S Desktop Publishing, those runners and walkers who prefer paper entry forms are now good to go for the 23rd annual SFoR!  Whether you need one for yourself or a few dozen for your non-profit group, school, or workplace team, you can find the most recent version of our printable form on the SFoR registration page.


As usual, using the paper entry form and paying by check will save you a couple dollars per entry, so we're happy to continue to offer the old-school entry alternative--especially if you're looking forward to the fun of multiple two-person family teams.



June 23, 2015

Two Years in a Row at The Genesee Grande


We're pleased to announce that The Genesee Grande will continue to serve as the SFoR race headquarters hotel in 2015.  We're fortunate to have multiple excellent hotels interested in hosting us each year, and our visiting runners have helped us to make the difficult decision.  Apparently distance matters in road racing, and many of our runners have a strong preference for a short drive to the race site on Festival morning.


The Genesee Grande is located at 1060 E. Genesee Street in Syracuse, at the corner of E. Genesee Street and University Avenue.  Reservations for SFoR entrants and their guests are available at the special Syracuse Festival of Races rate of $99 per night (plus tax) for standard "single queen" or "double-double" rooms, and $114 per night (plus tax) for Jr. Suites.


In order to be guaranteed the special rate, guests must make their reservations by Tuesday, September 3—or when our block is filled, should that occur first.  Please make all reservations by calling the hotel at 315-476-4212 (or toll-free at 800-365-4663), and be sure to mention the "Syracuse Festival of Races room block" at the time of registration 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 the special rates!



June 16, 2015

General Online Entry Is Open at RunSignUp.com


Registration is quietly underway for what we expect will be one of the most exciting running events of the year.  General online registration for all four of the Festival's race morning events is underway at RunSignUp, and you can get there anytime via the link on the SFoR registration page.


The 5K early bird entry fee is available through the end of June, so there's always a good reason to enter early.



May 6, 2015p>

Tops Friendly Markets Returning As Community Walk and Post-Race Refreshments Title Sponsor!


It's a great day in May when Tops Friendly Markets confirms its continued support of both the Tops Friendly Markets Community Walk and the Tops Post-Race Refreshments Area at the SFoR!


Both will be back in 2015, with the Community Walk once again the focal event for many of the non-profit organizations who benefit from their pledge-centered participation in the SFoR each year.


And whether they're finishing the Men's 5K, Women's 5K, 3K Fun & Fitness Run, or Community Walk, all participants on Sunday morning, October 4, will find the Tops Post-Race Refreshments Area a welcome (and delicious) sight to behold.



May 1, 2015

May Day!  May Day!  It's Feedback Friday!


It's a month of rebirth, renewal, and hope that springs eternal.  There couldn't be a more timely occasion to present this note from Patrick Wrobel, of Seneca Falls, following his 2013 race at the SFoR:


"Thanks for running a nice event.  I know you put an awful lot of work into it.  I look forward to it every year.  It was a lifetime PR for me this time.  Clocked 19:53 at age 61."


Way to go, Pat!  That's a memory than can last a lifetime!



April 24, 2015

It's Feedback Friday!


And with some spring weather now making an appearance in the northeast, it's time to start thinking seriously about more enjoyable outdoor running and good race times to come.  Mike Melfi, of Clay, is always thinking about both, especially when it comes to the Festival:


"You put together another amazing morning of racing!  Wow!  I absolutely love that course.  You know that!"


Yes, we do know that, and we're counting down two more years until Mike can love the 2016 Festival as a masters runner!



April 17, 2015

It's Feedback Friday!


When it comes to sheer enthusiasm and use of figurative language, nothing surpasses this note from Bob Nugent, of Binghamton:


"Congratulations on an epic event.  The wild intensity and shoulder to shoulder racing of the top male masters runners in the United States was one for the ages.  The first kilometer was like surfing a twenty-foot wave of energy and adrenaline.  This was a celebration of racing on the highest level.  SFoR does it right!"


Well said, Bob!  We've always thought that a little genuine excitement at the starting line is a big help to EVERYONE in the starting pack who's hoping to go a few seconds faster than usual.



April 10, 2015

It's Feedback Friday!


Always having enjoyed hosting the Canadian runners who come to the SFoR looking for a great time, we very much appreciate this compliment from Jeffrey Brison, of Kingston, Ontario:


"I appreciate being included on the database . . . your race is the best I've ever attended (and I've been running road races since 1979)."


Thanks, Jeffrey!  Coming from as experienced a road racer as you are, that's high praise indeed!



April 3, 2015

It's a Particularly Good Feedback Friday!


So we present this metaphorical analysis by Fred Miller, of Liverpool, which is one of our all-time favorite comments from a Festival participant:


"It was quite amazing to be among the starting crowd of top-shelf, national-class runners.  Other than Festival of Races, only the Boilermaker (locally) can really compare to such field depth . . . The Festival of Races gave me a feeling of running a down-home race combined with national class talent.  Sort of like having gourmet food prepared and served in your own kitchen!"


WWell put, Fred; and you nicely capture one of the things that our race committee hopes to achieve at every edition of our 5K races:  Give every runner in the SFoR the opportunity to have his or her name in a truly special set of road race results.



March 27, 2015/p>

It's Feedback Friday!


How about a much-appreciated comment from a parent and coach, Phil Lucason, of Holland Patent:


"I wanted to thank you for such a great race.  My two daughters and their friend had a great time, and all set personal bests."


Thanks, Phil!  It's always our pleasure to have Lizzie and Morgan in the Festival field--making sure that the younger end of the age spectrum is well represented at our event!



March 20, 2015

It's Feedback Friday!


And in the middle of a month that probably doesn't include many "favorite days" for those of us living and training in the northeast, Laurel Chiesa, of Manlius, helps focus our attention on a better day to come:


"The FOR is my favorite day of the year with my son.  The icing on the cake is the prize!  I appreciate the family focus it provides.  I am always inspired by the runners in their 70's and 80's and look forward to many more Festival races."


WWhat a coincidence, Laurel!  SFoR Sunday is one of my favorite days of the year with my son as well!



March 16, 2015

Dick's Sporting Goods Continues Its Outstanding Support of CNY Runners!


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 on Saturday or on Sunday.


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.


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 11:30).


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!/span>



March 13, 2015

It's Feedback Friday!


IIn honor of our long-running winter of 2015, we present Karanya Aksornkoae's long-runner comment regarding the Festival:


"Even though I am more of a long distance runner, this is a MUST race for me every year."


We're tremendously glad to here it, Karanya, because variety is the spice of life--and running 5K races is great speedwork for your longer races!



March 6, 2015/p>

It's Feedback Friday!


Let's kick off the month with a note from The Running Professor, Paul Carlin, of Indianapolis, IN:


"I just wanted to thank you and your team, Linda, Greg, and Terri, for making me feel so welcome and helping me have an excellent and productive time this weekend.  Being there helped me remember why so many folks come back year after year and to be so thankful that Syracuse FoR was my introduction to the world of Elite Masters LDR.  I hope to return regularly."


Paul has journeyed to the SFoR both as an athlete and as an author, and we enjoy having him here in both capacities on race weekend.  To enjoy his coverage of masters LDR (and other running topics as well), you might want to bookmark www.runningprof.com.



February 27, 2015

It's Feedback Friday!


And we're happy to close out the work week and get ready to say goodbye to the coldest month on record for Syracuse with these kind words from Eugene Tung, of Lansdale, PA:


"You and your family run one of the most amazing and well-organized LDR events in the country.  Thank you for your efforts in sustaining a great race and keeping Masters competition alive and healthy in the Northeast."


Thanks, very much, Eugene!  We appreciate both your compliment and all of the Philly-area runners who've made the trip to the SFoR down through the years!



February 20, 2015

It's Feedback Friday!


And a good day to once again keep it local with a gratifying note from Dave Moore, of Syracuse:


"I just wanted to tell you how much fun my family had at the Festival of Races today.  My sons both ran and actually came in first in the brother-brother category.  But the best part was when Sean and his wife Lanti, who is Indonesian and new to this country, did the Fun & Fitness run together.  Lanti had a great time and now wants to do more running.  And I looked at all these families doing the run together and how happy everyone seemed, with the music playing and another nice weather day for the race.  You do a great job with this event and make a lot of people happy."


Thanks for taking the time to write, Dave!  Making a lot of people happy sure works for our race committee, volunteers, and sponsors!  It's great to know that we're succeeding at our goal of being an ideal event for entire families and for everyone from first-time race entrants to Olympians!



February 13, 2015

It's Another Frigid Feedback Friday!


Remembering kind post-race comments such as this one from Lloyd Hansen, of Salt Lake City, UT, can warm event the coldest of February evenings:


"I spent a couple of hours at the Syracuse airport with several runners waiting for our flights.  All they could talk about was what a tremendously wonderful event you and your team put together."


Thanks, Lloyd!  We're mighty admiring of your individual men's 65-69 national championship (18:46 at age 66!), and your Ann Arbor Track Club team's M60+ national title of last fall!



February 10, 2015

MVP Health Care Confirms Another Year as Title Sponsor of Our Women's 5K!


MVP Health Care has confirmed that the company will be partnering with the Syracuse Festival of Races for the eighth consecutive year, once again as Title Sponsor of the MVP Health Care Women's 5K at the 2015 SFoR.


This is great news for the girls and women of all ages, abilities, and levels of experience who look forward to running the world's most popular road race distance on the renowned SFoR course.  From first time road race entrants to world record holders, the MVP Health Care Women's 5K offers everyone a unique race experience.


As last year, the MVP Health Care Women's 5K will start at 9:50 on race morning.  Finisher times in our 2014 event ranged from 15:54 to 52:02--demonstrating that the MVP Health Care Women's 5K really is the race for every pace!


Is there a better way to celebrate health and fitness than joining like-minded women from coast to coast on a safe, beautiful, and inspirational road race course?



February 6, 2015

It's Feedback Friday!


And a good day to hear the kind words of Mark Zamek, of Allentown, PA:


"Having directed some races myself, its easy to see the attention to detail you guys give to the event. I have to say that I've never run a race so well marked . . . Thanks again for putting on such a great race!  It makes it a pleasure as a participant to be a part of it.  Seeing those top masters women coming into the finish gave me chills!  I wish I could run that fast!"


Thanks, Mark!  So do many of us wish we could run that fast--and we sure enjoy the inspiration of seeing others do it in person at the Festival!


Mark, by the way, is a mighty impressive road racer himself.  His 2015 SFoR time of 16:27 at age 51 ranks as a world-class performance.



January 30, 2015

It's Feedback Friday!


And this week we look to Burlington, MA, famous as the home to multiple American holder Jan Holmquist.  Jan clearly enjoyed her experience at the Festival in 2014:


"OMGI feel SO SPECIAL!  Pinch me! . . .  I was at a USATF-NE Board meeting last night and told everyone that I love the SFoR and it is THE BEST race put on by the BEST RDwith family and friends to assistin making a very successful experience for master runners."


Thanks so much for your Liberty Athletic Club energy and enthusiasm!  For those who may have missed it, Jan ran lst fall's MVP Health Care Women's 5K in a women's 70-74 5K American record of 22:16--the third time that record has been broken on the SFoR course.  For a look at the current list of 5K road race American records for masters five-year age groups, click here.




January 23, 2015

It's Feedback Friday!


So let's continue hop-scotching around the country with the kind words of Tom McCormack, of Jonesborough, TN:


"I want to compliment you on putting on the best organized race that I have participated in since my introduction to USATF races last year.  Your commitment to making the experience something to remember for each athlete is unsurpassed.  We just got back from the National 12K in Alexandria where I broke my old US record and had the top age-graded performance.  It has been a great year, but nothing has felt as good as my performance at the Syracuse Festival of Races."


The SFoR performance to which Tom is referring is his men's 60-64 5K American record of 16:58--which makes Tom the first American male age 60 or older to break the 17:00 barrier for 5K on the roads.  Tom has dual U.S. and Irish citizenship, and he recently passed along the good news that his time has also been ratified as the Irish national 5K record for his age group.



January 16, 2015

It's Feedback Friday!


Maybe some sunny and warm feedback from Nancy Stewart of the Atlanta Track Club can take the chill off this CNY winter:


"I am seriously amazed at how well your race is run and how nice/accommodating your volunteers are.  Thank you again for a job well done!"


Speaking of sunny and warm, Nancy burned the Festival 5K course last October in 19:38--at age 58!!



January 9, 2015

It's Feedback Friday!


Let's keep it local this week, with some short and sweet feedback from Kristin Baker, of Syracuse:


"Everyone LOVES SFoR; thank you so much for the hard work you put into it!!"


Right back at you, Kris:  Everyone in the Ed Smith community loves the work you put into keeping the Boys & Girls Cup in the main office at Ed Smith year after year!



January 2, 2015

Welcome to Feedback Friday!


Let's kick off the 23rd year of the Syracuse Festival of Races with something new:  Feedback Fridays.  Each Friday we'll post written feedback that we've received from SFoR participants, spectators, volunteers, sponsor representatives, course residents--pretty much anyone who offers it.


Many of the comments we'll post are from the barrage of kind e-mails we receive in the days and weeks immediately following each year's event.  But we're happy to hear from you anytime of the year, so feel free to send us your feedback whenever the spirit moves you.  No need to wait until October!


These kind words are those of Ruth Thelen, of St. Johns, MI:


"Year after year, I find the Syracuse race to be the best of all races and certainly the most competitive!  The volunteers are always outstanding as well of all of the USATF staff.  Great job!!!"


Thanks so much to you for making the trip from Michigan so frequently, Ruth, and for noticing that our volunteers are outstanding!  We couldn't agree more!



January 1, 2015

Happy New Year To All!


2015 will be 23rd year of the Syracuse Festival of Races, and the ninth year (1994 and then 2008 through 2015) in which the event has hosted both the men's and women's masters 5K road race national championships.  We're looking forward to hosting our best, most enjoyable edition yet on Sunday, October 4, 2015, and we hope that all of our faithful participants and a record number of Festival first-timers will be on hand to enjoy their best race of the year!



December 8, 2014

USATF Records Committee Ratifies Three More 5K American Records at 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 ONeils 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.  Jans 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!



October 18, 2014

Paul Carlin Wows With Masters Information and Insights at RunningProf.com


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!



October 8, 2014

Check Out SFoR Images Galore at Bob Brock's Photo Website


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.



October 5, 2014

Thanks and Congratulations to All On a Terrific Day!


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!