Assisted by this week's lovely August weather, SFoR course director, Tom Burke, and race director, Dave Oja, painted 135 of the orange dash marks on the course yesterday, and they finished the job with another 62 today. Our 2017 tangent line is done, and it has never looked so good! And we really enjoyed seeing so many of our previous 5K finishers out running on the course as we worked.
SFoR records indicate that we first painted the tangent line in 2003 as a way of helping all of our 5K participants legally run the course exactly as it was measured, certified, and verified. With an eye toward preserving a bit of history, Tom took a picture of Dave with the stencil in place and ready for Dave's painting the final tangent mark of his life. Of course, that assumes that Dave will be able to resist his nutty perfectionist urges to re-paint any of the marks that start to look less than perfect between now and next weekend--which is not bloody likely!
It appears that a lot of runners are aware that Sept. 15th is a significant date, as the pace of 5K entries has really picked up this week. We've spent 25 years trying to give runners the best possible road race experience for the lowest possible entry fees, so it's only appropriate that we remind everyone that today's the final day of the discounted entry for this year. Beginning tomorrow, the standard 5K fee takes effect. With the terrific long-sleeved tech shirt, the silver anniversary finisher medal, the Dick's Sporting Goods $5.00 bonus certificate, and the singular array of post-race goodies in the Tops Post-Race Refreshments Area, even the standard entry fee is a bargain. I guess that makes your best road race performance of the year and the Syracuse Festival of Races experience free icing on the cake.
As quite a few of you have already heard from the horse's mouth, 25 editions of the SFoR and 10 consecutive editions of both the men's and women's USATF Masters 5 km Championships are both nice round numbers, and a 65-year-old guy with lots of other great ways of spending the months of July, August, September, and October probably ought to be enjoying some of those other things while he's still able.
So it's my intention to call it a quarter of a century of enormous success, made possible by tremendous race committee members and volunteers, generous sponsors, supportive vendors, the Syracuse Chargers Track Club, Syracuse University, the City of Syracuse, and--most of all--the Oja family.
But first, there's the matter of making the SFoR's silver anniversary edition as special as it can possibly be!
With SFoR 5K entries already running well ahead of last year's pace, we'll be offering in-person registration opportunities on each of the next two weekends. This Saturday, Sept. 9th, we'll have an SFoR tent at the ARC Races in Longbranch Park. It'll be everyone's first opportunity to see samples of our Silver Anniversary 5K finisher medals on display, to chat about our already amazing men's and women's fields, and to take advantage of a pair or great 5K entry bonuses. Anyone registering in-person will save nearly $3 versus the online entry cost, and will receive an additional bonus of one of our 2016 long-sleeve tech shirts (somewhat limited range of sizes, of course) while supplies last. We'll be offering the same opportunities at the SFoR tent at the Westcott Street Cultural Fair on Sunday, Sept. 17th, where you'll be able to find us at the corner of Westcott St. and Dell St. On both occasions, we'll be unable to process credit card payments, but we're happy to accept either personal checks or cash. Hope to see you there!
Sure, the 25th anniversary 5K finisher medals sponsored by MVP Health Care are going to be great keepsakes. And our participant shirts are sure to be another big hit. The Tops Post-Race Refreshments Area is going to offer a great array of goodies, and the Dick's Sporting Goods Bonus Certificates are added value as well. Alan Byer Volvo and our GEICO Local Office will be adding to the morning's fun and excitement--all making the $25 entry fee one of the best values you'll find in road racing.
But it's growing clearer every day that it's our participating runners--and their opportunities to make personal and national road running history--that will once again set the Syracuse Festival of Races apart from the vast majority of road racing opportunities. The course, the race morning temperatures, the atmosphere, the tangent line, the frequent splits, and the opportunity to run with such an array of other runners will likely be what most of our finishers remember long after race weekend. We on the race committee have a month to put the finishing touches on making everything ready for each of our participants to have an excellent performance and special race experience. Our participants have a month to put the finishing touches on their preparations for having an excellent performance and special race experience. And our 5K fields--age 8 to 95; from at least 23 states and Canada; chasing personal bests, national championship medals, and 5K American records and world bests--are going to be what makes Sunday, October 1st, extra special. One more time.
With current reservations now closing in on 100 room nights, it's highly likely that our room block at the Maplewood Suites Extended Stay will completely sell out prior to our announced deadline of Monday, September 11th. If you or a friend or teammate is hoping to reserve at the special SFoR rate of $99 plus taxes per night, please call the Maplewood soon at 315-451-1511 (or toll-free at 866-318-9937), and be sure to mention the �Syracuse Festival of Races room block� (rate code �SFoR17�). Especially if you're competing in the USATF Masters 5 km Championships, you can't beat the convenience, comfort, and camaraderie of our race headquarters hotel!
Jim Clancy, longtime key member of the SFoR race committee and driver of our lead vehicle, called to report that the Syracuse Department of Public Works has just finished improving the surface of both the outbound and returning portions of our 5K course between Broad Street and Nottingham Road. Only the quality of the surface has changed, and the tangent line is unaffected by the improvement. Many thanks to DPW Commissioner Pete O'Connor and his department for their excellent support of our participating runners year after year!
Once again this year, Tops Friendly Markets is a perfect example of how so many of our longtime sponsors support runners and walkers of all ages, paces, and levels of running experience. From the first finishers to the final finishers in all four of our race morning events, everyone crossing the Festival finish line will be treated to one of the finest arrays of post-race refreshments most of them will ever enjoy. In addition, the good folks at Tops demonstrate their strong support of participating non-profits through their continued title sponsorship of the Tops Community Walk. With more walkers than ever before registering to participate in road running and walking events, we're delighted to offer walkers an event of their own--thanks to Tops!
Kudos to SFoR Course Director, Tom Burke, for being the first to notice and call to our committee's attention the magnificent job that has been done by Syracuse University in resurfacing the final 300m of both our 5K and 3K courses! As so many runners from coast to coast have long been aware, our final 300m stretch is fast. And as Tom's image illustrates, you'll not find an asphalt surface anywhere that is more perfect than our finishing stretch. Many thanks to Syracuse University for 25 years of serving as such a wonderful host to the Syracuse Festival of Races!
Many thanks to Fayetteville Elementary School dads Mark Noble and Cort Ruddy for the fabulous design that will grace the front of the SFoR's 3K Fun & Fitness Run T-shirts for our silver anniversary edition! As many of you know, the school with the largest number of 3K participants in the SFoR each year earns the opportunity to create the design for the subsequn year's shirts--so Fayetteville Elementary has enjoyed a long run as the source of our 3K shirt designs. This year Mark and Cort graciously volunteered to create the design, and Fay-El art teacher Julie Gratien accepted their offer. As you can see, our 3K Fun & Fitness Run participants are going to receive another outstanding shirt! Thanks to Laurie Valentine, Matt Murphy, Julie Gratien, Eileen Lux, Mark Noble, and Cort Ruddy for the Fayetteville Elementary community's engagement and support!
And for any of you who would like information about how to get your or your children's school involved in group participation in this year's 3K Fun & Fitness Run, feel invited to e-mail Dave Oja at your convenience.
Anyone who missed Dave Oja's taped conversation with "Big Jim" Dunagan yesterday morning can access a podcast of the interview at https://www.iheart.com/podcast/139-Sunday-Conversation-28319022/episode/dave-oja-organizer-of-the-festival-28369739/. Many thanks to Big Jim for his knowledge of and interest in the Syracuse Festival of Races!
With just over two months to race morning, we've already received 5K entries from runners in 16 states and Canada, putting us on track to match or surpass our average of two dozen states represented. On top of that, a pair of entered athletes have already confirmed that they'll be racing here on October 1st in serious pursuit of 5K American records for their respective 5-year age groups. We'll announce all of our record attempts as we get much closer to race weekend, but here's a hint regarding one of the records being attempted: It's a mark that has stood for 28 years--one of the oldest 5K American age-group records on the books.
We've been hearing from some of our 5K finishers from our inaugural edition in 1993 that they feel like they're a quarter of a century older than they were in that first year of the Festival. Some of them would love to run this year, but aren't sure at this point whether the various aches, pains, and training limitations that come with age will permit them to be ready on Sunday morning, October 1st. Here's our way of taking the risk out of early entry for our 1993 5K finishers: In recognition of our silver anniversary, we're capping our 5K entry fee for our 1993 5K finishers at $25. Even if they enter on race morning, we're offering our 1993 5K finishers a $25 5K entry fee. If you'd like to see who ran what times in the Men's 5K and Women's 5K at the 1993 SFoR, click here and scroll down to the 1993 results buttons. The Women's 5K list is complete. The Men's 5K list is missing the final eleven finishers, about half of whom are still alive and welcome to take advantage of the $25 fee.
Runners keep asking, so we'll keep confirming that one of the ways in which we'll be celebrating the silver anniversary edition of the SFoR is with 25th anniversary 5K finisher medals. The designs of both the medal itself and the deluxe neck ribbon have been finalized, and these commemorative items are now in production.
Thanks to those of you who took advantage of our discounted early-bird 5K entry fee, the SFoR's 5K entries point toward another very special gathering of distance runners on Sunday, Oct. 1st! We've surpassed 100 entries in June for the first time in a decade. SFoR 5K entries are already in hand from runners age 9 through age 81, representing nineteen USATF clubs, fourteen states (CA, CO, FL, GA, LA, MA, MD, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, TN, and TX), and Canada.
With just over twelve weeks to go and the vast majority of participants yet to register, we're off to an exciting start!
Just in case you're unaware that the SFoR's 5K early-bird entry fee is available only through June 30th, we offer this reminder. Two days from the close of this year's lowest possible SFoR 5K entry fee, runners from nine states and Canada have already seized the opportunity and saved.
The SFoR is very pleased to announce that Alan Byer Volvo will be supporting the 25th annual SFoR and all of our 2017 participants in the role of Course Sponsor of the Syracuse Festival of Races. Located at 1230 West Genesee Street in Syracuse, Alan Byer Volvo is a multiple-year winner of Volvo's Dealer of Excellence Award, which is a terrific fit with the SFoR's 25-year history of road running excellence! Welcome, Alan Byer Volvo!
We're thrilled to announce the addition of Theodore Francis Oja to the Syracuse Festival of Races organizing committee! His addition to the committee sometime in mid-June of 2017 has been rumored throughout the past nine months, and it became effective at 10:12 this morning. For the time being, Theodore's responsibilities will be limited to building effective working relationships with his fellow committee members, eating, sleeping, and having his diapers changed. Additional responsibilities will be determined as we draw closer to SFoR weekend and his dad and mom, Matt and Katie, decide which additional responsibilies he's best suited to handle.
Megan Waterman, of Hampstead, MD, and Bill Newsham, of Brookline, NH, were the first to enter our women's and men's 2017 USATF Masters 5 km Championship fields. We're delighted to have both Megan and Bill planning to race at the SFoR again this year, and we're proud to note that our first four 2017 USATF Masters 5 km Championship entrants hail from four different states.
Whether you're coming from Solvay or Seattle, we're working hard to continue our tradition of providing you with a truly exceptional road racing experience!
Thanks to the behind-the-scenes initiative and diligence of Paul Carlin, the link to registration page for the 2017 USATF Masters 5 km Championships for both men and women is now live on the USATF Championships page! Like all USATF Masters LDR Championships, both of these competitions are open to any USATF member who is a U.S. citizen age 40 or older on race day. As in each of the past nine years, the Masters 5 km Championships will be run concurrently with the SFoR's separate men's and women's 5K races.
The SFoR invites anyone with questions about the USATF Masters 5 km Championship to call Dave Oja at 315-446-6285 for additional information. After hosting the largest Masters LDR Championship on record in 2016, we'd love to have even more masters athletes and USATF club teams enjoy "the Festival experience."
Many of our 2016 out-of-town athletes will be delighted to hear that the Maplewood Suites Extended Stay will continue to serve as the SFoR's race headquarters hotel in 2017. The Maplewood Suites Extended Stay is located at 400 7th North Street in Liverpool, NY 13088. It's conveniently located three miles from Syracuse�s Hancock International Airport and a 13-minute drive from the SFoR�s start/finish area outside Syracuse University�s Manley Field House. 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 queen or king rooms. Complimentary hot and cold breakfast is included. In addition, all rooms are equipped with a refrigerator, microwaves, coffee maker, and stovetop burner.
In order to be guaranteed the special rate, guests must make their reservations by Monday, September 11th�or when our block is filled, should that occur first. Please make all reservations by calling the hotel at 315-451-1511 (or toll-free at 866-318-9937), and be sure to mention the �Syracuse Festival of Races room block� (rate code �SFoR17�) at the time of registration in order to receive the discounted rate.
Runners can click on this link for the Maplewood Suites Google Virtual Tour.
Please book early to avoid missing the special rates. Our race headquarters hotel room block has sold out in each of the past four years.
There's great news for 2017 SFoR 5K participants of all paces, 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 each 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 (Sept. 30) or at the registration tent outside Manley Field House on Sunday (Oct. 1).
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 green and yellow Chargers awards tent just past the finish line.
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).
Click on the DICK'S Sporting Goods link above to see the special online offers currently available to runners and all other types of sports enthusiasts!
We're delighted to announce not only that MVP Health Care will be continuing as a major sponsor of the 25th annual Syracuse Festival of Races, but also that MVP will be sponsoring our silver anniversary 5K finisher medals. Thanks so much to MVP Health Care for their long and generous support of the Syracuse Festival of Races and our health-conscious participants!
It's a great pleasure to announce that GEICO has recently joined the SFoR sponsorship team as an Official Sponsor of the 25th annual Syracuse Festival of Races. We really appreciate GEICO's support of area runners and walkers, and we invite you to visit the GEICO website and the GEICO Local Office at 2735 Erie Boulevard East with any insurance questions or needs.
We're delighted to announce that Hospice of Central New York is the first newcomer to the 2017 SFoR's participating non-profit beneficiaries! For a look at their giving page, visit the SFoR's CrowdRise page--where you can read the Hospice of Central New York story and conveniently make a donation in support of their wonderful work in our community.
We look forward to their fundraising success in conjunction with this year's SFoR, as well as to that of all the other participating non-profits who will be joining them this year!
Kudos to Kristen Penfield, of Baldwinsville, who celebrated the first day of 2017 by becoming the first entrant in the 25th annual Syracuse Festival of Races! The race to be the first entrant of the new year was a close one, as Erica Tyler, of Poughkeepsie, NY, joined Kristen as an entrant in this year's MVP Health Care Women's 5K just an hour and five minutes later. Both are entered at the bargain "early-bird" 5K entry fee of $23, and it's very gratifying to know that members of the SFoR race committee aren't the only ones thinking about Sunday, October 1st, as we start the new year!
In a timely present to dedicated masters distance runners from coast to coast, USA Track & Field's Masters LDR Committee and National Office have confirmed that the Syracuse Festival of Races will be hosting the 2017 USATF Masters 5 km Championships for both men and women on Sunday, October 1, 2017. This extends to a full decade the SFoR's current run as host to the men's and women's 5K championships, with the SFoR's also having hosted these two national championships in 1994. While still celebrating the achievements of so many of our 2016 finishers--headlined by our four new 5K American record holders--we're looking forward to making the SFoR's silver anniversary edition another really special road running experience for everyone in our four race morning events.
Happy New Year, and happy training and racing to all as we look forward to 2017!
Congratulations to Kevin Castille (14:46 at age 44), Nat Larson (15:57 at age 54), Charlie Andrews (17:30n at age 59), Brian Pilcher (16:38n at age 60), Tom Bernhard (17:31n at age 65), Gary Patton (20:00n at age 70), and Roger Robinson (22:38n at age 77) for their having achieved new SFoR single-age course records in this year's Men's 5K! Similar kudos to Carl Combs (15:55 at age 51), Peter Mullin (18:14n at age 65), and Willis Moses (39:02n at age 90) for performances that rank among the top five all-time on the SFoR course in their respective age groups! To get a better understanding of how difficult it is to add one's name to either our men's single-age course records list or our men's all-time fastest age-group list, visit our "History" page and scroll down to click on the respective lists. Amazing!
Congratulations to Marisa Sutera Strange (17:54n at age 53), Kathy Martin (19:57 at age 65), Edie Stevenson (21:56 at age 67), Margie Stoll (27:16n at age 75), Libby James (25:11n at age 80), and Anny Stockman (38:11n at age 84) for their having achieved new SFoR single-age course records in this year's MVP Health Care Women's 5K! Similar kudos to Sonja Friend-Uhl (17:46n at age 45), Nancy Stewart (20:02n at age 60), and Tami Graf (35:00n at age 80) for performances that rank among the top five all-time on the SFoR course in their respective age groups! To get a better understanding of how difficult it is to add one's name to either our women's single-age course records list or our women's all-time fastest age-group list, visit our "History" page and scroll down to click on the respective lists. Amazing!
Another of our American record setters has been selected as USA Track and Field's Athlete of the Week. Brian followed his 5K AR performance at the Syracuse Festival of Races with another record-breaking race at the Chicago Marathon a week later, earning him national AoW honors for the week ending Oct. 9. Click here to link to the USATF article. And Click here to link to John Kissane's chat with Brian for Runner's World online.
For the fourth time in the past six years, USA Track and Field's Athlete of the Week has been selected based on his or her performance at the Syracuse Fesival of Races. This year's national AoW honoree is Libby James, 80, of Fort Collins, CO, whose net time of 25:11 in the MVP Health Care Women's 5K at the SFoR was minutes faster than any woman age 80 or older has ever run the world's most popular road race distance. Libby's performance at the Festival was truly historic, as she is the first female octogenarian ever to complete a road 5K under 28:00, under 27:00, or under 26:00. Click here to link to the article.
A careful check of the current list of the all-time U.S. single age bests for the 5K distance reveals that the 2016 Syracuse Festival of Races hosted a pair of single-age bests in addition to the four 5K American records previously recognized. Kevin Castille, 44, of Lafayette, LA, achieved the first of these when he crossed the line second overall in the Men's 5K with a time of 14:46. Kevin's performance is five seconds faster than the mark set by Paul Aufdemberge in June of 2009. Edie Stevenson, 67, of Boulder, CO, also ran a U.S. 5K single-age best last weekend, crossing the line in the MVP Health Care Women's 5K in 21:56. Edie's performance trims 14 seconds from Jan Holmquist's listed mark for U.S. women age 67--which Jan achieved at the Syracuse Festival of Races in 2011. Congratulations to both Kevin and Edie!
Feel free to check our our updated list of 5K road race national records, world bests, and U.S. single-age bests surpassed on the SFoR 5K course.
Thanks to Sunday's magnificent American record performances by Brian Pilcher, Tom Bernhard, Kathy Martin, and Libby James, Runner's World has given Syracuse and Central New York some very positive national exposure. John Kissane's piece is accompanied by Bob Brock's images of all four AR-setters (not surprisingly, all looking like they did more than "tempo" this 5k), and John does a very nice job of reporting on each of the four performances. You can have a look at: http://www.runnersworld.com/masters/one-5k-race-yields-four-american-masters-records
The first of this year's SFoR images are now available online for your viewing pleasure. Quite fittingly, it is Bob Brock's images that were posted first. Bob, in his prime, was a very fine masters distance runner. In recent years, he's done a great job of capturing great images at the Festival's start and finish lines. To see Bob's most recent work, visit: http://www.bobbrockimages.com and click on the Flickr link. The albums you're looking for in Bob Brock images are called "10-2-2016" and "10-2-2016 Syr Festival Womens 5K."
You can also check out Katie Frontino Oja's images from Sunday morning on the Syracuse Festival of Races Facebook page. There'll be more images to come, so check back with SFoR News for the what and where in coming days.
Blessed with a 24-hour window of precipitation-free weather, participants in our Men's 5K, MVP Health Care Women's 5K, 3K Fun & Fitness Run, and Tops Community Walk enjoyed a morning of fabulous performances at the 24th annual Syracuse Festival of Races!
Our headline performances yesterday were four pending 5K American-records: Brian Pilcher's M60-64 AR of 16:38; Tom Bernhard's M65-69 AR of 17:31; Kathy Martin's F65-69 AR of 19:57; and Libby James' F80-84 AR of 25:11.
The morning also featured two-dozen world-class (age-graded 90+%) performances, 169 sub-20:00 performances, scores of 5K personal bests, and many more season bests. For complete 5K results, click on our "History" menu button then and scroll down to the 2016 Results button.
With more than 1,200 runners, joggers, and walkers enjoying the 3K Fun & Fitness Run and the Tops Community Walk, the morning was another joyous celebration of aerobic activity for people of all ages, all paces, and all levels of experience!
Congratulations and thanks to all of the runners, walkers, volunteers, organizations, and sponsors who helped to make the 2016 SFoR such a special event!
We're in the final hours for online registration, but in-person registration will be available on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we'll be offering registration as well as packet pickup between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. at the Dick's Sporting Goods store on Erie Blvd. East in DeWitt. Then on race morning Sunday, Oct. 2, our general registration tent will open outside Manley Field House at 7:30 a.m. Anyone planning to register for the USATF Masters 5 km Championship will need to do so by Saturday (online by midnight tonight; in person only thereafter), as we're unable to process Championship entries on Sunday morning.
This is the fourth consecutive year in which the Syracuse Festival of Races has sold out its room block and its race headquarters hotel for the night before the race. There is, however, no need to despair if you're coming from a distance and haven't yet secured a hotel reservation for Saturday nght, Oct. 1st. We have heard that several SFoR entranst are finding rooms available at the Hampton Inn, located across 7th North Street from the Maplewood Suites Extended Stay. In addition, we may have a few additional Saturday night rooms becoming available at the Maplewood Suites Extended Stay as people release rooms that they've reserved and find they won't need. If you are holding such reservations, please let the SFoR know (call Dave Oja at 315-446-6285) before you cancel any reserved room(s) so that we can "re-capture" them for other SFoR runners who'd like them. Thanks very much in advance to anyone who can help a fellow SFoR entrant in this way!
Last night's heavy rains are gone, Meadowbrook Drive is drying, and the stencil is freshly cleaned and ready to go tomorrow morning. This will be the fourteenth consecutive year in which the SFoR will provide all of its participants with a visible illustration and constant reminder of the line along which the 5K course was measured for USATF certification and verification. Whether you're attempting to break 45:00, 35:00, 25:00, or 15:00 in the Men's 5K or the MVP Health Care Women's 5K on Sunday morning, October 2nd, we hope that you'll find those 180 orange dashes to be of significant help!
Just in case you don't recall this from past years and haven't heard it elsewhere: We will once again be awarding an additional $5.00 Dick's Bonus Certificate to each of the final 20 finishers in both the Men's 5K and the MVP Health Care Women's 5K at the SFoR. Those of you who are the winners of these need only to check the posted official results onsite, and report to the green and yellow Chargers awards tent to claim your "prize money." Each $5.00 Dick's Bonus Certificate is good for $5.00 off any merchandise item purchased in any Dick's Sporting Goods store from Festival Sunday until December 30, 2016.
One would expect that three weeks out from race day we'd have more 5K entries in hand from New York than from any other state. And so it is. Not quite so predictable is that the state with the second most entries as of today is California, with ten runners currently entered. With the vast majority of entries yet to arrive, current 5K entries are in hand from 21 states, the Distict of Columbia, Canada, and--another Festival first--Iceland! Sunday, October 2, is going to be a hoot! A multi-state, multi-national, good-old-fashioned road running hoot!
The 5K price bump is coming! Those who enter either the Men's 5K or MVP Health Care Women's 5K by September 15 will beat the bump to full-priced entry. Don't overlook your opportunity to get the discounted rate while it's still available!
The Syracuse Festival of Races is going to have a booth at the Westcott Street Cultural Fair (Sunday, September 18th) this year! This will be the first year in which we've done so, and--to celebrate the occasion--we'll be offering on-site registration (cash or check only for entry fees) with the same "additional long-sleeved tech shirt free" incentive that we offered at our registration event at Dick's Sporting Goods in August. While supplies last, register for this year's SFoR 5K, and you'll recieve one of our 2015 5K shirts free on the spot, with your 2016 5K shirt awaiting you on race weekend.
If you're already entered, stop by our booth on the corner of Westcott Street and Dell Street to chat. We'll have all the most up-to-date information on who's in the field, where they're coming from, and how peparations are going for this year's SFoR!
Many SFoR regulars know this, but for those of you who are running the SFoR for the first time: Anyone who's registered for either the Men's 5K or the MVP Health Care Women's 5K is welcome to keep his or her bib number on and join the happy throng in our 3K Fun & Fitness Run. Thus, there's no need for a 5K entrant to pay an additional entry fee in order to run the 3K with other family members, or with a school group, or as additional 5K cooldown, or just to log a couple extra miles that morning. Don't forget to smile when you cross the finish line of the happiest 3K on Earth!
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)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) has proven to have been wildly 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!