The club for runners in Saratoga Springs, NY


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  • 30 Aug 2021 4:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Buying into the “a picture is worth a thousand words” concept, author Lisa Jhung, a contributing editor for Runner’s World, has created a practical, humorous visual journal of everything trail running, perfect for the beginner who has many urgent questions but has yet to discover a group of mates. For old hands, practical advice on managing scary animal encounters, first aid scenarios, and running successfully with dogs, horses and burros rounds out the picture.

    Jhung roughly sketched out her ideas for Charlie Layton’s quirky pen-and-ink illustrations, lending a seamless harmony to both components, something that is not often seen in these days when authors and illustrators typically live at opposite ends of the globe.  While this book is fun to read straight thru, as I, being a rigid Type-A personality felt compelled to do, it is also designed as a handy reference tool. Gone are the dense paragraphs relentlessly marching from page to page.  Instead, each new bit of information is headlined by green ink and given enough space to stand out on its own, making it easier to locate and remember. A plethora of charts partition facts into manageable bites. Asides, cornered in green-boxed Tips, The Dirt, and Says Who quotes, combine to make the text memorable. The playful approach to all things trail is highlighted by a trip back to childhood, where an Energy Land game (think Candy Land) illustrates nutritional choices and a Chutes and Ladders version of trail running etiquette drives home the polite experience.

    Although I have run Northeastern trails for many years, I still feel rather intimidated when I picture the iconic Western States landscape.  Are those the truly real trails where magnificent views are ever-present and up is a fact of life? But Jhung offers refreshing reassurance for the aspiring trail runner when she defines a trail as “an unpaved path that goes somewhere.” It could be a mountain, but it also could be a dirt road, a grassy field or a chipped wood park path.  The choice is up to you and your particular skill level and goals.  With this one fell swoop she has x-ed out the asphalt paths that our local parks insist on calling trails.  Good for her!

    If you live in a colder climate, at some point dirt paths will transform into snowshoe experiences.  As a snowshoe race director, I often field questions from newbies about what to wear. This information is not always easy to come by, so I was immensely gratified to see that Jhung took a stab at the basics. As well she should in a trail running book, because at some point it makes a lot more sense and a lot more fun to avoid the postholing and trade your sneakers for snowshoes.

    I have experienced my share of animal encounters and have always had difficulty trying to remember if the animal I am facing is one that should be stared down, run away from, or witness to my best imitation of a dead, uninteresting human. Here in the Adirondacks, our Black Bears are more like the fuzzy Teddy Bear variety and I am always tempted to try and make friends. Nothing like the huge Cave Bear descendants out West. Still, Jhung’s Do’s and Do Not’s pose a reminder that we are guests in their territory and need to demonstrate proper respect. I was impressed that Jhung seemed to consider every species, including cows. Now you might think Bossy is harmless, but here we have the Finger Lakes 50s Ultras which require several excursions through cow fields. Cows are big and an entire herd is even more so. Now I know what to do!

    And that is pretty much the spirit of this entire handbook. At first glance it appears simplified, but packs an amazing amount of information of the “everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask” variety, including how to successfully pee in the woods.  Do not be afraid to dog-ear! 

    Reviewed by Laura Clark

  • 23 Jun 2021 9:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Initially, many folks explore running as a means to lose or maintain weight while still being able to eat the foods they enjoy. And while all runners love to eat and discuss favorite recipes with their friends, eventually the running portion becomes paramount and enjoying delicious food is seen more as an adjunct to fueling for sport.

    A similar evolution occurred with Billy White, now head chef at Rosendals Tradgard in Stockholm, Sweden, who discovered running in 2011. As with many of us, running suited his frantic work and family schedule and he embraced the training aspect where the journey is just as important as the ultimate goal.

    While Eat, Run, Enjoy offers over 80 recipes, many vegan and vegetarian, it is so much more than a simple cookbook.

    Billy White visits, runs with and cooks for notable ultra runners from the UK, USA and Sweden, exploring Denver trails with Courtney Dauwalter, Lake District fell running with Ricky Lightfoot, Barr Camp with Zach Miller and enjoying a Swedish archipelago run with Emelie Forsberg, Ida Nilsson and Mimmi Kotka. No slouch to the running scene, White is able to keep up with these world-class runners on their “easy” expeditions, and at the same time ply them with meaningful questions about cooking and training.

    All are foodies and take proper fueling as seriously as they do their training.

    After each adventure, White prepares a sample meal, involving everyone in the preparation.  But more than that, he details how and why he selected the particular ingredients, taking into account individual preferences and local availability.

    I especially enjoyed his stint at the isolated Barr Camp hiking lodge, halfway up Pikes Peak, where perishables need to be backpacked from town on a roughly (in good weather) three hour uphill hike. You had better believe weight, nutrition and caloric value are fully calculated! Basic supplies are hauled a few times a year by COG Railway and Patrick Engstrom’s carefully crafted photos reveal the skill with which these everyday supplies, stored on open wooden shelving, contribute to the atmosphere in the cabin, just as much as the cozy fireplace.

    Similar care is given to the picnic White hosts for the three Scandinavian runners, where breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Not only are these ladies world-class athletes, but knowledgeable sources. Emelie manages a sustainable farm and is the author of another must-read, Sky Runner, replete with stunning photos, advice and delicious food. Ida is a professional chef and Mimmi holds a master’s degree in food science. The breakfast White concocted on this chilly fall morning was grilled on portable equipment, served on a rock outcropping and included mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, tortillas and porridge. I so wanted to be there! But thanks to the included recipes, you are welcome to recreate your own picnic adventure with friends.

    The “enjoy” factor, however, extends well beyond the run.  The book itself is a sensual pleasure to hold with its heavy cover and rough-edged feel, with the pages thick enough to suggest elegance and still silky smooth to facilitate browsing. Each recipe is given its own spread, with the finished product displayed as artfully as it would be on any dinner table, looking good enough to eat. It is one thing to discover an interesting recipe, but quite another to follow through on the directions and present your creation to its best advantage. With this book you can achieve both.

    Happy running, enjoyable eating and remember this book when choosing a gift for your favorite runner. The gift that will keep on giving.


  • 22 Jun 2021 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Even with all the heft, tactile feel and drool-worthy photography requisite of any coffee table book, 500 Races Routes and Adventures is more than just a touristy advertisement.  Written by John Brewer, a leading expert in the UK on sports and exercise science, it takes armchair running a step farther.

    Initially, I failed to see the point, thinking that a simple Google search would reveal races and routes in whatever country or town you were planning to visit. True enough, but it is the indexing system that reaches beyond mere one-stop shopping.

    The book is logically organized by continents and then countries or states so you can survey outstanding events within your chosen destination. But more than that, schedule your vacation in April and are flexible as to location. Then simply turn to the additional monthly index to scan available opportunities.

    If you are fortunate to have lots of money and discretionary time, you could ideally use this listing to plan a yearly timetable. If you are traveling with friends or family members, events with various distances are listed so everyone can choose that which best accommodates their skill set. And this is the feature that I like the best: for many of the areas, Brewer cites trails and routes that are not specifically races, but are open all year round. Perfect for an add-on opportunity, a goal in itself, or simply a way to amble through an unfamiliar area in a less stressful, more thoughtful manner.

    While the U.S. and Europe were generously represented, it also surprised me how many runs were available in the Australia/New Zealand area. Might make you consider heading “Down Under,” a lengthy journey not to be undertaken lightly and worthy of ultra status in its own right. 

    I’m sure you can dig up similarly peculiar facts just by studying the index. There are perhaps five Race the Trains listed, and I can imagine folks trying to rack up points at all of them. I also noticed that in Europe, especially, there are a good number of events that begin at night, showcasing a lit-up, sparkly clean version of their daytime cities.

    Remember those grade school gym challenges where each class tried to rack up the most miles on a trip around the world? Fitness and geography in one handy package.

    While most of us are pretty well done with virtual races, there still is motivational merit.  Try the virtual Appalachian Trail or track your progress running on the iconic Route 66.  Farther afield, try the virtual route across Australia or New Zealand and be sure and stock up on some Aussie brews to celebrate your milestones.

    For additional quirkiness, there is also a section on Tower Ascents, which rivals altitude running for asthma-inducing qualities.

    Finish off your adventures with a lowkey Parkrun. Conceived in the UK, these are now world-wide free Saturday 5K runs, featuring a mix of surfaces. Try the original Bushy Parkrun in London or explore for endless options.

    Before enjoying this book, like most of you, I had in the back of my mind a bucket list of running vacations. But now that has expanded into so much more – a veritable onslaught of expanding opportunities, both near and far and not limited to pure racing.

  • 22 Jun 2021 1:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Good morning. Happy belated Father’s Day to all the dads out there and a warm welcome to the start of summer to all! There’s plenty to dig into this week, and all the details are below.

    Regular club events are on schedule for this week:

    • Monday Trail Run – 6 p.m. at Kalabus Perry. Details below.

    • Wednesday Night Workout – 6 p.m. at the Saratoga Spa State Park. Meet at the “Stryders Bench” in the grass across from the Little Theater parking lot. Optional dynamic warmup at 5:50 p.m., otherwise be ready to roll at 6 p.m. sharp. Coach John Couch is on point this week, details below.

    • Saturday Run/Walk – 8:30 a.m. at the Warming Hut at the Saratoga Spa State Park.

    • Sunday Long Run – 10 a.m. at Warming Hut at the Saratoga Spa State Park. NOTE THE TIME CHANGE FOR THE SUMMER.


    Have a great week!

    Tom Law 


    Stryders Virtual Mile – Grand Prix

    The second race in the 2021 Stryders Grand Prix is underway with the Virtual Mile. Everything started Saturday and continues through this Saturday, June 26. The race can be run anywhere at any time, as long as it’s a mile. Sign up here and don’t forget to send your results to


    Monday Trail Run – Kalabus Perry

    The Kalabus Perry trail system is part of the Saratoga County Trails Initiative that offers some forested single-track running with many switchbacks. We’ll start at the large parking lot at the end of Gailor Lane and take the orange trail with a short jaunt on the yellow trail to get some elevation gain. We’ll need to stay together as there are many intersections, especially at the #6 junction that is described as the Tibetan Prayer Monument (TPM), where there are multiple color trails and flagging ribbons that decorate the forest.

    Please try to arrive 15 minutes early, at 6 p.m. if possible, to allow for warm up.


    Rating: Mostly easy, some moderate with roots. No rocks!

    Elevation Gain: 610+/- feet

    Distance: 5 miles

    Trail Leads: Laura, Jen, Russell, Dan

    Where: Kalabus Perry Hiking Area, 109-199 Gailor Lane, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

    This is an approximate location. We will meet at the very end of Gailor Lane at the large parking area.

    Grand Prix volunteer points

    All who worked the Adirondack Sports & Fitness Expo will be credited with a volunteer point for the Stryders Grand Prix. To be eligible for season-end awards you’ll need at least one volunteer point and there are plenty of opportunities coming up – Summer Picnic (July 10), Trail Series (Mondays in August) and more.


  • 21 Jun 2021 8:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It would seem that the last thing the marathon-crazed would need is yet another book on how to proceed successfully. But trust me, this one is different.

    The author, Matthew Huff is not only an upstanding contributor to Runner’s World, but also host of the podcast, P.S. You’re Wrong and finally an ardent improv comedy performer.  You can see where this is going. Who knew there was something funny about marathons? For all you parents, there is something oddly familiar about the title. Took me a while to figure it out, but how many of us poured over Heidi Murkoff’s What to Expect series – What to Expect When You’re Expecting, as well as What to Expect the First Year, etc.? And if you think about it, giving birth to a marathon is remarkably similar, especially if you are aiming to improve year after year.

    Similar to Kathrine Switzer’s 26.2 Marathon Stories, Huff divides his book into 26 mile-by-mile chapters, culminating with .2 and bookended by Prerace and Postrace. Both are intended to provide photographic and literary inspiration for your own personal journey. But Huff’s version differs in that it is crammed with details, all neatly compartmentalized in their own boxes.

    Occasionally our Saratoga Stryders Wednesday night workouts, coaches will host a fun Trivial Pursuit workout. Everyone runs the same loop and then returns to the start to select a trivia card. A missed question involves a penalty loop, while a correct answer invites another turn around the board. There is an opportunity here to gather all these marathon and running facts together into a fun game, complete with workout instructions. I hope someone takes me up on it!

    Each mile’s chapter focuses on a central theme, many of which are vital to the enjoyment of your experience, but often overlooked in the down-to-business pace charts of more series marathon books. For example, Mile 3 is devoted to aid-station protocol with a two-page diagram of how to avoid getting trampled, Mile 9 to bathrooming and how to avoid excessive stops, and Mile 12 to typical course shape diagrams detailing the advantages and disadvantages of various patterns. Mile 19 features pop culture, with a listing of big-screen marathon films and a rundown of celebrities – there were many more than just Oprah. My favorite is Mile 22 Supporters, featuring marathon signs and marriage proposal do’s and don’ts. Runner-up is Postrace, which details all the must-have photo ops, from Bite the Medal to Heat Shield cape.

    But wait! The marathon is a looooong race and there are a lot of other facts to cram in.  Each chapter includes a marathon vocabulary word with illustrative humorous quote, a body check, a sidebar on marathon history, as well as sidebar surveys of playlist artists, favorite marathon vacations and more. There are focused interviews with our heroes: Amanda McGory explains the tricks of wheelchair racing and Des Linden selects favorites from her running book club. My favorite is the famous mile rundown, where the author details the most striking miles for each particular chapter. Makes you want to do them all!

    As with any marathon, once the joy of completion had worn off, I was sad that I had come to the end of the journey. I couldn’t help but remember the time I ran the Ottawa Marathon and was so impressed by my incredible speed through all the markers. Until I realized they were in kilometers and not miles. Still, if Matthew Huff wanted to expand to 42.195 kilometers I am sure he would have many eager readers.

  • 14 Jun 2021 8:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Good morning. A couple quick notes for this week and – finally – the finished Stryders Grand Prix slate for 2021. Thanks to all who turned out for last week’s June Business Meeting, when we also finalized the Summer Picnic Saturday, July 10 at the MWR Facility in Ballston Spa. We have a pavilion reserved from 1-5 p.m. and we’ll be throwing our traditional summer picnic with food and beverages provided by the club. Other details, including an RSVP to attend, will be on the way soon. But save the date.

    Regular club events are on schedule for this week:

    • Monday Trail Run – 6 p.m. at Spruce Mountain. Details below.

    • Wednesday Night Workout – 6 p.m. at the Saratoga Spa State Park. Meet at the “Stryders Bench” in the grass across from the Little Theater parking lot. Optional dynamic warmup at 5:50 p.m., otherwise be ready to roll at 6 p.m. sharp. Coach Mary Fenton is on point this week, details below.

    • Saturday Run/Walk – 8:30 a.m. at the Warming Hut at the Saratoga Spa State Park.

    • Sunday Long Run – Noon at TBA. Check the Stryders Facebook page later in the week.

    Have a great week!

    Tom Law


    Monday Trail Run – Spruce Mountain

    Here’s the scoop for tonight’s Mix-It-Up Monday Trail Run from Dan Flanagan:

    This is another Saratoga PLAN property: The newly re-routed Spruce Mountain Trail, located roughly 20 minutes north of Saratoga Springs in the Town of Corinth, is a 2.5-mile hike leading to the mountain's summit and historic fire tower. The trail is a moderate to difficult hike, so we will run what you can up and run down!

    52 Spruce Mountain Rd, Porter Corners, NY 12859-1715, United States

    Post run: We are going to the Brookhaven golf course restaurant after the run/hike for anyone that wants to join us! For a $10 burger and beer!

    Workout for Week of June 14

    Join the Stryders to get great customized workouts from the Stryders coaches


    2021 Stryders Grand Prix

    The officers and members finalized the 2021 Stryders Grand Prix during last week’s Business Meeting. We have 11 races scheduled, including two of our Camp Saratoga Trail Series events, the Freihofer’s Run for Women (sorry guys) and the FallBack 5 Trail Run. The first virtual 5k was included and the next – a 1-mile event starting this Saturday and running through June 26 – will also be in the series.

    The volunteer requirement will also return. To be eligible for prizes you’ll need to earn at least 1 volunteer point. They can be earned at various Stryders-related events, from the trail series to parties. Feel free to run all of the Grand Prix races and your best six finishes will count toward your score. Runners who complete at least six races and earn a volunteer point will also be eligible for a Grand Prix participation award.

    Here’s the 2021 Stryders Grand Prix:

    Late April – Stryders Virtual 5K

    June 19-26 – Stryders Virtual 1-Mile, 6/19-26

    July 4 – Firecracker 4, Saratoga Springs

    Aug. 2 – Camp Saratoga Trail Series #1

    Aug. 30 – Camp Saratoga Trail Series #5

    Sept. 11 – Malta 10K

    Sept. 25 – Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K

    Oct. 9 –Pumpkin Challenge 10K

    Nov. 7 – FallBack 5-Mile Trail

    Nov. 14 – Stockade-athon 15K

    Early December – Stryders Holiday Virtual 5K / In-person event TBA

    Stryders Virtual Mile

    In-person races are returning with a flourish but we’ll continue to offer virtual options from time to time, including our Virtual Mile scheduled to begin Saturday and run through Saturday, June 26. Click here for details and to register.

    We will also collect optional donations for the virtual races, with proceeds from the June event earmarked for the club’s general fund and to the Roundabout Runners’ wintertime salt crew for the paths in Malta used by the Sunday Run Group.

    The Virtual Mile works as a perfect prep for the upcoming Firecracker 4!



  • 03 Jun 2021 10:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Over the past year and across four seasons in Upstate New York, I ran outside every day through sun, snow, ice, and rain. 

    I averaged 3.18 miles and 26 minutes per day, while ascending 22,322 feet, descending 23,726 feet, and racing 10 virtual races. I ran a total of 1,208 miles and burned 109,963 calories. 

    On May 25, 2021 I ran 3.65 miles to celebrate Day 365 of my unplanned year-long running streak. 

    So, why did I do it?

    Running has long been an important part of my life. Since I started distance running in 2008, I was running 3 to 6 days per week—on the higher end when training for a longer race like a marathon or Ragnar Relay—but had never considered a running streak of any duration as a goal. 

    Then we were hit by a pandemic.

    Like everyone else, I was stressed out, so running became even more important in my life, and a way for me to manage the stress. Before I knew it, I was running every day, so I started to set goals along the way: 100 days, 200 days, then 365 days.

    Read more on Gabe's running streak. 

  • 01 Jun 2021 3:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Good morning. Hopefully you had an enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend despite the rain and cold. Congrats to all the Stryders who ran in the Miles on the Mohawk races in Schenectady. Looking at the results we had several strong performances led by Ginny Lupo in the marathon! Ginny ran 3:37.53 to win the Female 45-49 age division and finish 17th overall among the women. Big congrats.

    There’s plenty to get to this week, including news about the upcoming Adirondack Sports & Fitness Expo and Global Running Day (tomorrow, make a plan and pledge some miles!).

    Here’s the slate:

    • Wednesday Night Workout – 6 p.m. at the Saratoga Spa State Park. Meet at the “Stryders Bench” in the grass across from the Little Theater parking lot. Optional dynamic warmup at 5:50 p.m., otherwise be ready to roll at 6 p.m. sharp. Coach Mary Fenton is on point this week and the Global Running Day workout is below.

    • Saturday Run/Walk – 8:30 a.m. at the Warming Hut at the Saratoga Spa State Park.

    • Sunday Long Run – Noon at Saratoga City Center, part of Adirondack Sports & Fitness Expo. Wear your Stryders gear!

    • Monday Trail Run (June 7, 6 p.m.) – Fort Hardy Park/Hudson Crossings Park. Saratoga Siege Trail.

    • June Business Meeting – 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 8. In-Person Location TBA.

    Have a great week. See you soon!

    Tom Law

    Adirondack Sports & Fitness Expo

    We’re still in need of volunteers to work the Stryders booth at this weekend’s Adirondack Sports & Fitness Expo at the Saratoga City Center. Laura Clark is coordinating volunteer shifts and if you’re interested in any of the slots below let her know. When it says “Need 1” that doesn’t have to be just one, if you want to come with a spouse, family member or friend. The more the merrier. 


    12-2: Need 1

    2-5: Need 1


    10-12: Need 1

    12-2: Need 1

    2-4: Need 1

    If you’re interested let me and/or Laura Clark know. Email us at and Laura at

    The Stryders will host a group run and walk Sunday at Noon, a combination of the regular Sunday Long Run Group and the Expo.

    The route will be simple – meet at the City Center sign on corner of Broadway and Ellsworth Jones Place and depart the City Center heading south toward the Spa Park. Runners and walkers can turn around where they choose and head back to the City Center. Those looking for added distance can roll right into and around the Park if they wish. We encourage members to wear their Stryders gear.

    Global Running Day

    Wednesday marks the annual celebration of Global Running Day and the Stryders will again be involved! Check out the workout below for information about what we have planned for an in-person event. We’ve also pledged to run 250 miles as a club and you can sign up here.

    Here’s a little more background on Global Running Day:

    Global Running Day is a worldwide celebration of running that encourages everyone to get moving. This day plays an important role, reminding us of the positives that running can offer and the power of unification. Its mission seems more important than ever right now, as people everywhere attempt to stay active and healthy. During these challenging times, many people are turning to running as a solution to help release anxiety, gain perspective, cope with cabin fever and keep up wellbeing.


    Workout for the Week of May 31

    From Stryders coach Mary Fenton:

    Wednesday we will celebrate Global Running Day by participating in the sport we love in the park we are fortunate enough to claim as our own! The coached workout will take us on a short tour of the beautiful Saratoga Spa State Park but there is an alternate for those who are unable to join us on that day.

    Pace: This week’s workout will be run at tempo pace which is approximately a pace you could sustain in a race for an hour or about 25-30 seconds slower than 5k race pace.

    Purpose: To improve endurance and to prepare yourself for holding a more demanding pace.

    Workout: The Wednesday night workout at the park will be a Fartlek-style tempo run with a set course.

    If you are running on your own, after completing a 1–2-mile warm-up, do the recommended number of tempo intervals with a one-minute rest after each.

    25 miles or less/week: 4x5 minutes Tempo

    25-35 miles/week: 5x5 minutes Tempo

    35+ miles/week: 6x5 minutes Tempo

    Option B: Run the number of miles you pledged for Global Running Day.

  • 16 Mar 2021 7:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Perfect Ending at Garnet Hill 5K

                A perfect ending is the one which leaves you wishing for more…and that is what we got at Garnet Hill 5K. Temps were February cold with an 11 degree send-off, ski trails were perfectly groomed, with just the right amount of give, and the abundant single tract was a fun, challenging ride.    Step off the trails at your own peril and risk sinking into 4 feet of snow.  Makes you wish winter could last forever. 

                Many newer members were there as well as old standbys from Eddie Albiozek’s original group – the Northans, Maureen Roberts, the Sheehans, Jeff Clark the Younger. The only weird thing is that there were twice as many female as male finishers.  Is this a new trend?  Or were the guys simply transitioning to the roads in hopes of a fast St. Patrick’s Day time?

                The trails were once more expertly marked by Bob Underwood of Underdog Race Timing.  Intimately familiar with the over 50K trail system, Bob presents us with a slightly different adventure each year.  This time, he added about 1/3 mile to the single track, utilizing the wider ski trails more as transition areas—at the start for early race distancing, midway through the trails to give our legs a bit of a break, and at the end for a fast finish.  It was an skillfully crafted mix, catering to our various strengths and weaknesses.

                The highlight for me were the skinny twisting trails, perfectly made for Dion snowshoes.  This single track could be compared to a narrow gauge railways, often utilized in mountainous terrain where tighter curves are a necessity.  At times, it did appear that the single track was truly single, with a slim foothold, barely containing one snowshoe at a time.  Lose you balance and you were destined to plunge one-footed into the awaiting deep snow bordering the tenuous path.

                And while it is fun to let yourself go on a downhill plunge, this turned out to be risky behavior and the multiple sharp curves were difficult to handle while balancing on one foot and trying desperately not to sink 12 or more inches into someone else’s misstep.  It was here that the phrase “coming and going took on new meaning…

    laura clark


  • 08 Mar 2021 3:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Brookhaven 1 & 2

                With Vermont and Massachusetts virtually shut down this winter and favorite locations such as Mt. Greylock, Readsboro (Hoot, Toot & Whistle), and Vermont’s Prospect Mountain off limits, we have had to confine our Dion Snowshoe Series to New York State, leaving noticeable breaks in our previously crowded weekend schedule.  Enter Bob Underwood of and Rebecca Sewell, Recreation Administrator for the Town of Greenfield, who combined forces to bring us not one, but two snowshoe races to fill in the gaps.

                Reminiscent of Tim Van Orden’s multiple races at Prospect Mountain, Brookhaven is one of those magical Brigadoon areas where snow flies early and lingers well beyond normal expectations.  Schedule a race at Brookhaven and you are pretty much guaranteed that it will be a “go.”  Unlike Prospect, however, Brookhaven is—a golf course.  Yes, I know. While we have all enjoyed skiing or snowshoeing on the wide-open spaces of the typical golf course, it is more a place of convenience and not where you generally head to experience the solitude of the backcountry woods.  The Bookhaven trails, a mix of towering pines and stately hardwoods, reminded me simultaneously of the Black Forest in Germany and the Viking Nordic Center in Londonderry, Vermont.  Granted, there were no big mountains, but there were plenty of typical XC ups and downs.  For beginners, a perfect introduction to the sport and for the more experienced, an opportunity to clock a fast time on trails meticulously groomed by Steve Schreiber, a Town of Greenfield volunteer.

                    Both events offered a 2.5 and 5K option.  The first, coming as it did at the beginning of break week attracted several families as well as our regulars.  It seemed as if the kids and their dogs ran the full mileage just fooling around prior to the start.  Darryl Caron, recovering from ankle surgery, and his puggie (pug/beagle mix) Daisy, hiked Brookhaven #2 and Daisy garnered the award for most steps per minute with a rapid turnover achieved by only highly focused athletes.

    This was one of those races where you are almost at the finish, and can even see it, until the route winds back once more in the opposite direction.  Usually when this happens it is toward the end and fairly easy to deal with, but this time, the turn back occurred perhaps two-thirds into the race, so I spent the final portion of #1 wondering if I had somehow gone wrong.  I was much calmer when this happened during #2 and was even able to deal with that rough final uphill before the finish, which begins before you can even see the finish.  Amazingly enough, my time for #1 was the same as my time for #2, which was run in rougher conditions.  Except that I had run the 15K Frigus in Moreau the day before so that might have had something to do with it.  But perhaps not.

    With few races this year and even fewer handouts, the Town of Greenfield generously provided long-sleeved T-shirts for both events.  It was a caring gesture, appreciative of the athletes who signed up, and are sure to show up again on their own to explore the nine-mile trail system.


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Copyright Saratoga Stryders, 2021
The Saratoga Stryders, a 501(c)(3) affiliate chapter of the Road Runners Club of America. P.O. Box 1467, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

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