Walkway in the Sky

Dramatic black and white
Dramatic black and white

It is always nice to get back to my home town of Poughkeepsie, and it is especially nice when one of those trips coincides with a race.  Aside from getting to see lots familiar faces I am always treated to interesting courses around the Mid-Hudson Valley.  On my most recent trip I got to run the Treetops to Rooftops 5k which is an out and back across the Walkway Over the Hudson.

Getting a fast start.
Getting a fast start.

I arrived on the Highland side of the bridge about an hour before the race and meet up with Jeff Conston and Mike Chow, two regulars in the areas running scene.  I’ve raced again Mike a number of times and it is generally a tough battle.  He hadn’t been racing great this spring so he didn’t know what to expect out of this race, but like me he was chasing sub 16 for 5K and planned to get out at around 5:10 pace.  There were two Marist College runners on the start line along with a number of high school kids.  I figured I had no shot against a couple of DI runners but I was hoping to beat Mike (he’s in my age group) and I definitely wanted to beat the kid wearing Fila finger socks.

The pack
The pack

A pack of 9 of us stuck together for much of the first mile.  No one was really making any moves so after a solid first mile of 5:07 I started putting in some surges hoping to break up the pack.  All this seemed to accomplish, was to tire me out and to fire up the Marist guys who took the first 2 spots soon after the turn around (1.6 miles into the race).  I fell to 5th just before the final mile, and couldn’t summon any more speed out of my legs.  After starting in 5:07 I had just run a 5:25 and things didn’t seem likely to improve… that is until I heard the slap slap slap of Fila finger sock boy coming up behind me and I reached down as far as I could and found the tiniest of energy reserves.

Trying to break away
Trying to break away

My final push was not enough to catch Mike, who runs like a metronome, and who I’m pretty sure ran each mile with only a second or two variation in pace, but it was enough to stay ahead of Fila boy and a few others who were chasing me.


I ran a 5:17 final mile and finished in 5th pace with a time of 16:19.  That was 3 places worse than I did in 2011 but 18 seconds faster, so I can’t complain.  Mike had a break through race, finishing just under that elusive 16 minute mark with a time of 15:58 which was good for 3rd overall behind the 2 Marist runners.  Jeff Conston also ran a great race finishing in the top 10 with a time of 17:15.  This is easily the fastest and deepest field I’ve seen in a Mid-Hudson Valley race in a long time.  It is rare for a MHRRC race to get more than 1 or 2 runners below 16:30 let alone 3 under 16 minutes.  I hope this becomes a trend in area racing.  My next MHRRC will probably be during the July 19th Twilight Track Meet, I just need to figure out what I want to run.

2013 Treetops Results

A special thanks to Bob Kopac and Nin Lei for taking such great photos of the race.

RKR Hosts first race and a Member takes 1st place.

#83 Mike Insler takes first place and would have PR’d if he paid attention to the map.
Wally Waddle was a Wonderful Success

The 1st Annual Wa Wa Wally Waddle 5K was a wonderful success. Runners were greeted by a beautiful sunny spring day, and 28 of them got to go home with pie! Before getting into details about the race, and the pies, I have to thank all the members of the MHRRC who came out and volunteered on race day.

The Waddle was my first attempt at directing a race, and without the guidance and support of the club it would have been a disaster. In particular I want to thank MHRRC members Deborah Schwartz and Tom Storey for scoring the race, Pete Sanfilippo and Steve Perks for managing the finish line and club president Keith Axelrod for all his help and advice. I would like to extend a general thanks to the club for helping buy the t-shirts for the race and for the generous use of supplies and race equipment. Thank you James McCowan, the Vassar College Track/XC coach, and Vassar College for allowing us to use the property, and for donating your time to support our race.

Of course I can’t forget all the people who came out to run. It is you after all who really make these events possible. We had 74 finishers in the 5K and 8 finishers in the kid’s mile. Mike Insler, who I dragged down from Rochester with me, was the overall winner of the 5K. He finished the gently rolling course along the dirt roads of Vassar Farms in 16:34. Marisa Hanson was the first female finisher with a time of 18:42. Both times are course records which will never be broken as we are changing the course next year to both start and finish on the rugby field (this year the race started by Hooker Ave. and finished on the rugby field.)

Evan West followed up his win last week at the Miles of Hope half mile, with a win in the kid’s mile. He led the field of 8 finishers with a time of 7:29. 7 year old Raven Stanet took top honors for female finishers with a mile time of 10:05. For complete results and pictures of both the 5K and the 1 mile kids run you can visit www.mhrrc.org or the Wally Waddle site, www.friendsofsegowea.org.

Now onto the pies! Because this race was a fund raiser for YMCA Camp Wa Wa Segowea, I thought it would be fun to involve as many camp alumni as possible. Many alumni were nervous about running a 5K so we decided to put together a 10 person relay team. Each member of the alumni relay team ran a 500M leg, any runner completing the race before the relay team won a freshly baked pie. The alumni surprised themselves by completing the race in 20:30 resulting in 10 runners winning pies. We awarded pies to the next 8 female runners, in the name of gender equity and raffled off the remaining 10 pies.

We hope to see you back at Vassar Farms again next year for the 2nd annual Wa Wa Wally Waddle. Next years race will feature a new and improved route (no pot holes) and of course more PIES!

I would like to thank our current Wally Waddle Sponsors.

Gold Sponsor:

Silver Partners

Nick Stoner Inn
Soul Dog
Tubby’s Bath Refinishing
Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club
Vassar College

Sign Partners

Hooker Avenue Travel
Mike Arteaga’s Health + Fitness Centers
Mid-Hudson Oral Surgeons
BMW of Hudson Valley


Other Contributors

Hudson Valley Renegades
Stop & Shop
Marianne’s Floral Garden
Hopewell Bagels
Panera Bread