The Official Magazine of the Albany Running Exchange
Happy Birthday ARE
This month marks ten years since the birth of ARE.
Current members of the organization span the
spectrum of length of membership; we still have a
handful who became part of the group in its infancy, all
the way up to those who have just joined today.
Whether you joined the club before the member's page
existed or well after it was possible to sign-up for an
ARE van trip, we are joined by the central theme of the
organization's mission. And that driving force to provide
opportunity for us all to find a healthy lifestyle through
running propels us forward into our second decade.
The ARE currently has over 1200 members, and in its
first decade, more than 2,000 individuals have at some
time been members of the organization. Some have
attended over 1,000 club runs and events, and for
others, the October 2, 2012 "ARE Anniversary Run" will
be their first.
We hope that you enjoy this edition of Road and Trail
Talk Magazine featuring many submissions from club
members about their experiences as part of the
organization. There are also pictures that span the
years to remind us of where the club has been and to
see the direction that we continue to move in.
Have a great October and keep on running!
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
ROAD AND TRAIL TALK
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Finding ARE - Miriam Hardin 4
Finding Synergy with the ARE - Nick Webster 6
Good Things Happen in September - Jessica Northan 7
Why I Belong - Elaine Morris 10
The Day I Felt Lucky to DNF - Jessica Kratzert 11
Running for a Cause - Brenda King 13
Ten Years of ARE - Josh Merlis 15
Book Review: Eat and Run - Review by Miriam Hardin 25
Meet a Member: Steve Gibbs 26
Wednesdays at 5:50pm at the UAlbany Track
ARE’s Wednesday Workout Series
Weekly workouts with options for members of all
abilities to help them improve.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012: 10 Years of Group Runs!
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon & Squirrelly Six
Sunday, November 4, 2012
The Fall Frun 10K Presented by IMN
to benefit the Children's Hospital at AMC
Friday, December 21, 2012
ARE's Annual Club Banquet
ABOUT THE RATT
The RATT is published monthly as a PDF by the Albany Running
Exchange and made publicly available on their website. It costs $50 to
run an advertisement, which must be a single page PDF sent here.
Please note that ARE reserves the right to not include an ad for any
reason whatsoever. Articles are submitted by club members through a
console within the ARE’s members page. The Albany Running
Exchange does not necessarily agree or encourage any of the
viewpoints expressed by the authors of the articles contained within.
Like to race? The ARE Event Productions’ event schedule has you covered. We’ll see you at the races!
10/6 Burnt Hills 5k Apple Run Burnt Hills, NY 10/14 Mount Desert Island Marathon Bar Harbor, ME
10/6 Race for the Cure 5k Albany, NY 10/20 Great Pumpkin Challenge 5k Saratoga, NY
10/7 MHRM & Half Albany, NY 10/20 Georgetown Prep XC Meet Bethesda, MD
10/13 Race Away Stigma 5k Troy, NY 10/21 Hometown Heroes 5k Colonie, NY
10/13 Octoberfest Half Marathon Peru, NY 10/27 Anne’s Quest 5k Latham, NY
10/13 UA Homecoming 5k Albany, NY 10/27 Maddie’s Mark 5k Schenectady, NY
10/13 Falling Leaves 5k Ballston Spa, NY 10/27 Great Pumpkin Prediction Race Plattsburgh, NY
10/14 Rensselaer County ARC 5k Rensselaer, NY 10/27 Tina Gambino 5k Pleasantville, NY
10/14 Fall Foliage 13.1m & 5k Rhinebeck, NY 10/28 Hairy Gorilla Half & Squirrelly Six Voorheesville, NY
By Miriam Hardin
Two milestones for me in 2007 were turning 40 and
returning to running, after having been away from it, for
the most part, for more than 20 years. Several years
before, I’d managed to lose more than a hundred pounds,
and regular physical activity was helping me maintain the
loss. However, I wasn’t running--somehow in my mind
this was something I used to be able to do.
I’m not sure what clicked for me in 2007, but I realized
that I really missed running. At the time, though, my
mindset was that I needed somebody to run with. My
first idea for finding these somebodies was to send out a
message to a parenting listserv I belonged to. I got a
couple of responses and went on some runs. However,
scheduling issues made these runs pretty infrequent. If I
managed to get out and run more than once in a month, I
was bucking the trend. Despite the irregular schedule,
though, I signed up for Race for the Cure, my first race
since high school. Although I was much slower than I’d
been in high school, racing felt great, and I knew I
wanted to race more. I decided that I wanted to work
my way up to a marathon... in a few years. I would
spend 2008 building my distances, do a half in 2009, and
a full marathon in 2010.
Realizing that I’d need to run much more regularly to
meet these goals, I took a deep breath and began to go
on runs by myself. From Runner’s World magazine, I
picked up the concept of doing an easy run and a “speed”
run during the week, and a long run on weekends.
Initially, my weekday runs were only two miles, and my
starting distance on the weekend long runs was only
three. I added on to those runs steadily, so that before
long, I was in the fives and sixes.
Early in 2008, I joined HMRRC, hoping to meet other
runners that way. I posted in their message board’s
“Where to run, who to run with” forum, hoping to find
other runners in my neighborhood, but got the sound of
crickets in response. Although I saw a reference to the
Albany Running Exchange in the “running groups” section
of their website, I got the distinct impression that it was
a group for runners who were affiliated with UAlbany, or
at least that all of their group runs were held there.
What really got me curious about ARE was seeing so
many ARE singlets at races. I remember seeing runners
wearing them at Freihofer’s, Race for the Cure, and
Stockade-athon (the three races that I ran in 2008). I
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
wanted to learn more about this group, but I didn’t get
around to finding the website until early 2009, and I
didn’t join until March of that year. Almost
immediately, I found people to run with.
My very first group run with ARE was the first “Houseto-House
Half” in September of 2009. As many of you
might recall, the event listing for this run billed it as
“mostly flat.” I wasn’t yet attuned to the sense of
humor of Randy Goldberg and Chuck Batcher! Despite
the unadvertised bumpiness of the course, I had a great
time, met lots of ARE members, and proved to myself
that I could cover the needed distance for a half
Another benefit of ARE membership became apparent
when I started wearing an ARE singlet during races.
People who didn’t know me would cheer, “Go ARE!”
From the first time this happened, I knew I’d become
part of a great “running” family. As I got to know more
ARE members by attending group runs, I had more and
more people cheering me on by name at races.
Sometimes that kind of encouragement is all it takes to
turn around a race that isn’t going so well.
After finishing my first half marathon (the Mohawk
Hudson Half) in October of 2009, the thought of running
double that distance made me feel panicky. My
husband had parked on Broadway, and each step
descending from the pedestrian bridge from the
Corning Preserve was an agony. But I reminded myself
that I’d worked my way up from running 5Ks; working
my way up to a marathon would be the same kind of
In June of 2010, I started my first 16-week marathontraining
plan, which I’d generated using the
SmartCoach tool at runnersworld.com. This was the
summer that I started attending Anne Butler’s “Nisky
Bike Path” runs on Sunday mornings. This was the
perfect way to ramp up my long runs, as our group
conversations helped make those miles fly by. One of
my favorite memories from that summer was laughing
so hard I had trouble catching my breath. I also
noticed that there is no better way to get to know
people than to go on a long run. Something about it is
like truth serum--folks will open up about pretty much
anything during a good group run.
October 10, 2010 was marathon day. Lining up at the
start in Schenectady’s Central Park before the race, I
was excited and nervous, and surrounded by ARE
running buddies. I remember Stacey Kelley commenting
that we’d banked our miles, and now was the time to
cash them out. One of my mantras during the race that
day ended up being “You’ve banked it, now you cash
it!” I ended up doing the marathon in 4:14:53. I was
thrilled, especially since this beat my SmartCoachpredicted
time by almost four minutes. Plus I felt
invincible, capable of anything. After all, I’d completed
a marathon, something that had seemed impossible to
Since then, I’ve run a second marathon (Philadelphia in
November of 2011) and as I’m writing this, I’m training
for my third marathon and my second Mohawk Hudson
River Marathon. I’ve gone through phases where I don’t
join many group runs, but I feel good knowing the option
is available. This past winter, I never missed a single
“Joe Benny” pancake run, whereas in previous years
winter kept me indoors on the treadmill. By no
coincidence, I also participated in every HMRRC Winter
Series race, as well as taking a leg in the February 2012
HMRRC Marathon Relay.
Finding ARE has been exactly what I’ve needed to reboot
my “running” life. Belonging to ARE means knowing I can
find people to run with, but it also means having
countless people who understand what I’m talking about
when I talk about running 1 . These are people who don’t
stare bug-eyed if I say I ran “only ten miles” the other
day or that I have a 20-mile run coming up the following
weekend. When I have one of my moments where I
realize I’m being a bit obsessive about tracking my runs, I
know I can find others who are equally obsessive about
tracking theirs. That can be so comforting at times!
Finally, I just want to say: Thank you ARE and happy
10th birthday (you don’t look a day over nine!)
1 Speaking of which, I highly recommend What I Talk
About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami.
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
Chris Chromczak (R) stretching before a group run on Nov. 7, 2002.
Matt Wright, Pete Rossi, and Paul Herbig at WS #5 on Feb. 9, 2003.
Jess Waltz and Keely O'Connell at a group run in March '03.
Finding Synergy with the ARE
By Nick Webster
October 2012 marks the 10 year anniversary of the
Albany Running Exchange. It also marks my own 1 year
anniversary with the club. Being a member of the ARE
has been vital to my running success post-collegiately.
Alone, I am able to log the long miles necessary to
compete with the best, but speed workouts are always
more effective with training partners and good
coaching. It has become essential to have others who
can trade the pacing duties and a coach that is able to
give honest feedback. The team atmosphere has also
been beneficial to my continued development.
Personally, I have always been better off as part of a
team because I know I am running for something bigger
than myself. I push myself much harder knowing that
my teammates standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the
starting line with the same singlet are also relying on
me at the finish.
The ARE has not only provided me with talented
training partners and an expert coach. I have also met
many great people who have become my friends.
Having graduated college just over a year ago, I am in
an awkward phase in my life. I am learning that the
social scene in the real world is much different than my
college experience. I am no longer constantly
surrounded by friends and teammates. Fortunately I
have gained a new group of teammates and friends.
I continue to be inspired at races by fellow ARE
members. Whether they are winning the race or just
happy to set a personal best, I am proud to be a part of
this group. I have had fellow members approach me
and tell me how proud they are to be in the same club
as me because they are amazed by my performance.
I’m not sure if they understand how much it means to
be associated with them at the same time. It is
impossible not to be proud to know you are an
inspiration to others.
Just as the ARE emphasizes the power of team, I have
witnessed first-hand the shared inspiration it can give.
Whether elite or not, we all wear a singlet with
“Albany Running Exchange” on the front and together
we can all find motivation in the common goal of being
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
Nick (L) with Jeff Goupil, Karen Bertasso, and Dennis VanVlack.
Want to feel like you are making a difference and giving back?
The ARE Event Calendar lists all types of events, including upcoming
volunteer opportunities. Whether you are directing a race or simply
looking for help with something, feel free to put it out there.
Chris Chromczak, Marcus Catlin, Josh Merlis, Ryan Cowper, Dan
Kitchie, and Matt Haller at the '03 Nipmuck Trail Marathon
Good Things Happen in September
By Jessica Northan
My first ARE run was at Rensselaer Lake Park (now Six
Mile Waterworks) and it was in the summer of 2003.
My sister and I saw it advertised in the Adirondack
Sports & Fitness Magazine. We had to sign a paper and
give our e-mail. We thought it odd that the run director
wrote us e-mails the following day. That had never
happened before. But we weren’t that into running at
the time so there was no more contact with the ARE til
the fall of 2004.
In June of 2004, I was lucky enough to be drawn into
the NYC Marathon—my first! I started training. I went
to the ARE website (not exactly what it is now) but
there was an ad for a group run on Sept 19, 2004. I
know this date because by then I was keeping a running
log. The run was for 20 miles. I had never run that far
before, but I was training for a marathon and I figured
this would be good. I remember a few people from that
run: Josh Merlis, Chris Chromczak, Neil Snedeker, and
David Newman. There may have been others there, but
I remember these folk s. I remember Josh cause he
talked a lot. I
cause he was planning
to run a 50 miler that
fall (who does
that?!?!). I remember
Neil cause he waited
for me at the Gazebo
in Altamont so I would
know where to turn. I
cause he waited for me
at the PE Building. I
didn’t actually know
that I should return to
the PE building and
went straight to my car
in the Dutch lot, but
he saw me and came
running over to make sure I was okay. That was my first
group run. My first ever 20 miler. Then a funny thing
happened, well only funny in hindsight. I went to the Y
to go in the hot tub. I thought it would be good for my
muscles. I went in the hot tub a bit and then the
steam room. Then I came out and slumped to the
ground nearly passing out. Someone brought me water
and a cold rag. I started to feel better. Big lesson
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
learned. You are supposed to go in icy cold water after
a long run, not hot water! Anyway, I ran the marathon
and then went back to playing volleyball and had no
more contact with the ARE til the fall/winter of 2005.
Yes, it was one of those years where we actually had a
winter. I noticed the ARE was arranging carpools to the
Woodford snowshoe race. I had been doing some of the
WMAC events in preceding years on weekends when I
had no volleyball tournament. I loved the races, but I
hated the long winter drives by myself. I joined the
ARE and the rest is history, archived history. Josh keeps
so many records that I could tell you the exact dates I
met my good running friends and even my husband, but
I don’t have time to review those records and you don’t
have time to read any more of this story cause we have
to go run!
But wait, I couldn’t resist, I looked it up anyway and
found an astonishing fact. Brian & I met on Sept 14,
2007 in a PB run hosted by my good friend Juergen.
And ironically enough, we were engaged on Sept 14,
2011. I don’t think Brian planned that, but he should
pretend like he did. �
Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon & Squirrelly Six Mile
Custom-made awards await the top 3 overall male and female finishers. Delicious gorilla
and squirrel cookies await the top 3 males and females in:
14-under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+.
Additional categories (if you dare!)
Best: Gorilla Impersonation - Costume - Pumpkin Carving;
Finisher carrying the most bananas.
We will also award the fastest male and female teams.
For team applications, please visit the event website.
The eighth year of mayhem ominously brought to you by ARE Event Productions
SUNDAY, October 28, 2012 Thacher State Park, NY
*CHOSEN AS BEST COSTUME TRAIL RACE IN AMERICA— Runner’s world “The trail” summer 2012*
What you need to know
This highly popular event typically draws runners from over ten states. It
is one of the largest trail races in the northeast and participants range
from national-class to those brand-new to trail running. The course is a
roller-coaster ride with mud, muck, roots, steep drops, big puddles—and
the occasional grave that may have your name on it.
Many runners compete in costume—be it simply wearing a ridiculous
outfit to an all-out, performance-inhibiting full body uniform of sorts. This
event is about having fun and we guarantee that you will. Be sure to
consider entering one of the special categories.
bring bananas to appease the hungry gorillas
gorilla “medal” to all finishers in the half
post-race cook-out with burgers, dogs, and more!
__ __ /__ __ /__ __ __ __
Age (on race day) ___ □ M □ F
Address ___________________________________________ Email ____________________________________________________
City _____________________________________________________________ State ______ Zip ____________________
Phone ( ) __ __ __ - __ __ __ __ RACE: □ 6m □ Half Marathon
□ I want to join the ARE (additional $10)
8:00am: Day-of registration and packet pickup opens
9:00am: Gorilla Chase Kids Race (600 meters)
9:15am: Day-of registration and packet pickup closes
9:30am: Squirrelly 6m and Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon
11:00am: Squirrelly 6m Awards Ceremony
12:00pm: Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon Awards Ceremony
Entry Fee 6m/Relay 1/2 Marathon
Early Reg. $20 $25
Late. Reg. $25 $30
Entry fees are non-refundable.
Early Registration: Postmarked by October 20.
Do not mail after 10/20. Checks out to AREEP
*We highly encourage you to register online.*
There are no additional fees and ARE members receive a
discount when registering through the ARE members page.
Chip timing. The first 500 entrants are guaranteed a commemorative
item. The course is decorated in the spirit of
Halloween with ample relics of despair and frustration, as
well as numerous cemeteries indicating the demise of
many participants by name. There is a huge cook-out.
Half Marathon Cut-off Time
All participants not past the 5.75 mile mark in 1:17:30
(13:30 pace) will be redirected to finish the six mile.
Please complete, cut, and return the bottom portion to: HGH-AREEP, PO Box 38195, Albany, NY 12203
� - � - � - � - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We really prefer that you register online. That way your information is assured to be as accurate as you type it. :)
RANDOM FACT ABOUT YOU: _______________________________________
In consideration of accepting this entry, I, the undersigned, intending to be legally bound hereby, for myself, my heirs, executors and administrators, waive and release
any and all rights and claims for damages I have may have against ARE Event Productions (AREEP), Thacher State Park, and any sponsors, as well as any person
involved with this event. I fully understand that I, or the person I am responsible for, will be subjected to trails that may have uneven terrain, rocks, roots, or other
obstacles and that injury or death may result from my participation. My physical condition has been verified by a licensed medical doctor and I am physically fit and
prepared for this event. I hereby grant full permission for AREEP to use any photos, videos, or any other record of this event for any purpose whatsoever and without
compensation. I further understand and agree that my entry-fee is non-refundable, including if the event is canceled for any reason whatsoever.
Signature ____________________ Date ________ Parent’s Signature _____________________
(if under 18)
The first group run of the 2003 school year. 2003-2004
was the first "full-year" of the ARE.
Ian French and Chris Chromczak
The 2003 Baltimore Race Festival
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
The 2004 HMRRC Winter Marathon Relay
Jess Spatz-Shelgren leading Bob Knouse and Greg Rickes at
the inaugural Summer Trail Run Series run on May 27, 2004.
Dave Martin and Patrick Sorsby at the final STRS of 2004.
By Elaine Morris
Why I Belong
I began running in December 1978. While in New Paltz,
I discovered a friend from college, Bob Bright, owned a
running store (Catch Me If You Can) where I could work
off shoes by covering the store while he went out for a
run or take care of business. At that time to join
Shawangunk Runners, or at least I was told, one had to
run from town to the top of the tower and back.
Life changes, I moved from the Mid-Hudson back to
Albany and where I did most of my running alone or
pushing my daughter in her running stroller, or with coworkers
for several years. Situations changed and I
moved to Saratoga County where I joined the Saratoga
Stryders. A number of years later I moved back to the
Albany area. I kept my membership with the Stryders,
but didn’t make many group runs or other events.
One day in August 2006 I got an email asking if I’d like
to replace a runner on a team doing a 200-mile relay
race called Reach the Beach. I accepted. While riding
around the roads of New Hampshire one teammate
kept talking about the Albany Running Exchange and
the upcoming Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon.
I came home from my first RTB and checked out the
ARE site. I believe I joined that day. I helped out at a
water stop for the HM marathon before I went on any
group runs. I had been looking for a club where I could
go to social events as a single person and not feel
uncomfortable. More importantly, I am a trail runner.
ARE runs trails. Seemed like a perfect match. There are
so many things going on every day it is sometimes hard
to choose which one to do.
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
The 2004 HMRRC Anniversary Race
Emily Gravelle (now Chromczak) is awarded the "Nicest Member"
award by Neil Snedeker (L) and Matt Wright at the first ARE Banquet
held in 2004. She would turn 18 a few days later and is now married
to Chris Chromczak and mother to Sophie.
The Day I Felt Lucky to DNF
By Jessica Kratzert
On September 23 rd , at mile 18 of the Adirondack
Marathon, I made a choice that will be forever etched
in my memory- the decision to stop running. It was a
decision for which I was unprepared, and one that has
taken almost a week to think of without tears.
However, like most things in life, there was a silver
lining in the cloud that enveloped me on September
23 rd . Unbeknownst to me at the time, my decision to
DNF allowed me to witness one of the most amazing
sights that I have seen from the most wonderful woman
that I know- my mother.
For those who know me, it is no secret that I consider
my mother to be my best friend. Yes, she is wonderful
because she does many typical motherly activities very
well, like baking cookies and hemming my prom
dresses, but there are other reasons that I admire her.
Whether it was walking to school as a child “uphill both
ways,” or jumping off of covered bridges, or raising 5
children by herself, my mother is pretty dang cool. She
has braved blizzards to watch me play basketball, and
has driven hundreds of miles to watch me complete
marathons. To say that I feel fortunate to be her
daughter is an understatement. She is, and always has
been, my epitome of strength. On a day when I
believed that I quit, I watched her endure.
On that day, I woke up much the same way that I have
on most race mornings- thrilled and terrified, all at
once. Although I typically revert to my “coulda,
shoulda, woulda” phase of training on the morning of
the marathon, I felt confident, and I felt ready. Along
with my banana and toast, I took an extra Advil to ward
off any pain from a seemingly minor knee injury the
week before. During several recent runs, I tried to
quiet my left knee when it screamed, in hopes that the
taper would allow for it to heal in time. Thankfully, the
pain subsided in the days just before the race, and I
felt prepared to face the challenge of another
marathon. I toed the starting line with my sister-
thrilled to be sharing the experience of her first
marathon and my fourth.
At mile 4, amidst the first set of rolling hills on the
course, I started to feel and to dread the familiar
feeling in my knee. By mile 10, I was alternating
between running and walking. Perhaps a blessing and a
curse, my boyfriend, David, and his family waited for
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
me at mile 17. When I stopped for advice, my knee
would no longer bend. I walked off of the course 10
minutes later. Several spectators who were around me
at the time said, “18 miles is still great- good job!” I
tried to smile, but immediately started to cry.
Thankfully, my Aunt Mary was nearby, and helped me
into her car for the ride back to the finish.
Excruciating knee pain or not, a DNF hurts- physically
and emotionally. My knee pain was piercing, but I could
silence that pain with Advil and an ice pack. What I
could not silence were the voices in my head, saying
that my effort was not enough. The voices echoed, if
only I had stretched more, and strength trained more
often. I didn’t run enough hills, or enough tempo
runs. My weekly mileage wasn’t high enough. Worse
even, I didn’t try hard enough. I quit.
Naturally, as it has been a hundred times before, my
first priority was to see my mother. Surely, she would
know the right thing to say, and she would make me
realize that I made the right decision, the smart
decision. Even if she thought I was an idiot for crying
and carrying on, I knew that I could count on a hug
and, at the very least, one of her famous peanut butter
As I limped towards the finish line, wrapped in my
aluminum blanket, I saw her. All I could do was hold
back tears as she moved in and out of my line of sight-
a flash of pink. Knee pain was the least of my concerns
as I ran towards her, yelling words of encouragement.
She gave a slight smile, and then, kept running. Under
the red “FINISH” banner, and timing clock proudly
proclaiming her time, my mother finished the
Adirondack Marathon- her first 26.2 at 55 years old. It
was then that I realized what a gift that I had been
given. For the rest of my life, I will be thankful for the
excruciating knee pain that I had at mile 18, for it
allowed me to witness my mother crossing the finish
line of her very first marathon. The story was not that I
had my first DNF. The story was that my mom had the
courage to start, and the strength to finish.
My mother, Beverly, with my stepfather, Randy,
who kept her company throughout her 26 miles!
Ray Lee and Bob Knouse at the inaugural Brave the
Blizzard, February 2005
David Newman's car was the support vehicle for an ARE Barn
Loop on March 6, 2005 - back when we used to get snow.
Over 300 participated at Dodge the Deer 2005, more
than doubling our numbers from 2004.
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
Gabe Holmes, Neil Snedeker, and Dan Kitchie share a
laugh at the GHI Corporate Challenge on May 19, 2005
Before the ARE tents, there was the ARE pole, AKA a 14' tall sewn
fabric that said ARE on a pole. Here it is at the 2005 Boilermaker.
Members would find the ARE by us walking around holding the giant
pole among the ten thousand plus attendees.
Gary Robinson wipes away the tears of laughter as Josh Merlis
and Christophe Lanaud, with recently shaved heads, playfully
spar with Mary Bovenzi. Dawn Toronto, Christophe's wife,
looks on from the right at this Labor Day 2005 ARE party.
By Brenda King
Running for a Cause
“I Love to Run!” This is not a phrase you will hear me
say! Then why, you ask do I do it? There are many
reasons. First, I actually do love the running community
and the ARE. I have made many friends and have had a
ton of frun and memorable experiences with members
of the ARE. You are such a welcoming and wonderful
group of people and all of you really do make running
FRUN! I also really like to brag about how many races I
have done (Hee hee) and I really REALLY like to finish!
That’s why you’ll see me running the last 100 yards of a
race with a “finishing kick!” I see that finish line and I
think to myself, “The faster I get there, the faster I can
stop running, and the faster I can get to the snacks!”
It’s not that I hate running. I just sometimes need a
little extra motivation to get going and to keep going.
This is why I like to do things that give me a reason and
a purpose to run. I have decided to dedicate my Marine
Corp Marathon on October 28 th to Madeline Musto and
Ila Jean Rathbone who are two beautiful girls who
earned their angel wings this year.
My training has had its ups and downs but I always keep
in mind the girls and their families and the many things
that they have had to endure. If they can persevere
through their tragedy and bring positive experiences to
others, I can strive to do the same. As many other
runners know, sometimes injury occurs as a result of
training. I’m currently hoping that injury doesn’t keep
me from running my planned event. If it does,
however, I will just plan another event to honor these
beautiful girls when I am healed!
Besides training (and resting due to injury), I have been
organizing various fundraisers to raise money for
Maddie’s Mark Foundation. The first fundraiser was a
Pampered Chef fundraiser which raised $250 for the
organization. We were also able to raise over $550
through a fundraiser at Ruby Tuesday’s, which occurred
from September 18-20 th (final totals not in yet).
The last fundraiser I will be organizing before my
scheduled event is a Pumpkin Carving Contest and Fall
Festival. Please join me on October 14 th from 2-5PM at
Eunice Esposito Park in Rotterdam for a chance to help
me honor these two beautiful girls. For more
information, please visit www.maddiesmark.org. Also,
if anyone would like to volunteer to help at the event,
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
please e-mail me at BKing57@yahoo.com. This is a
family friendly event which will include pumpkin
decorating, baked goods, a silent auction, games and
more! It will be a “best day ever!”
Maddie Musto – Age 5 Ila Jean Rathbone - Age 7
Maddie’s Mark Foundation was started by the parents of
Madeline Musto. Maddie was diagnosed with a rare
inoperable brain tumor and became an angel just five
days after her diagnosis this past February. Maddie’s
parents started this foundation to help people enjoy
all the good the world has to offer and to enjoy their
'best days' ever just as they did with Maddie and their
The organization helps children and families in the
1. Provides ‘best days ever’ for children suffering from major
illness, and provides support for their families.
2. Actively encourages child enrichment, through financial
grants to improve public and private entertainment,
educational and athletic facilities for children - including
schools, parks, playgrounds, and theatres.
3. Offers a scholarship program, to provide meaningful and
significant financial assistance to remarkable young women.
Also, please check out the Maddie’s Mark 5K that is
being held on October 27 th at Central Park (The same
weekend as my marathon. �) This is an awesome
organization and they have done many wonderful things
and have spread joy to others through many “best days
ever” events. I look forward to seeing you at one or
many of these events! Have a Best Day Ever!
Henrik Metzlaff handing out water at the ARE water stop at
the 2005 Mohawk Hudson River Marathon
ARE at the 2005 Woodford Snowshoe Race
Ginny Mosher finishing the 2006 Runnin' of the Green.
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
The start of the 2007 Brave the Blizzard "Snowshoe
Race". It was 70 degrees out the day before and in the
low 50s on race day.
Getting in the miles winter 2007.
Pete Cure, Amanda (Long) Tarrier, John Kinnicutt, Dave
Vona, Chris Chromczak, Emily (Gravelle) Chromczak, and Paul
Mueller at the 2007 Escarpment Trail Run.
By Josh Merlis
Ten Years of ARE
Empire Commons Community Room, October 1, 2002.
My suitemate Jason sits on the floor while another
suitemate Dave helps me on the white board. My
girlfriend Ryan is holding a camera, taking pictures,
including this one. There are 50 others in the room,
and I've never met nearly any of them. I draft up an
outline of what I want to discuss, of how I am going to
attempt to convince them that they should join an
organization that doesn't even yet exist. What is the
offering? What are we, for in all reality, barely anyone
sitting there knew anyone else. Nearly all of them were
college freshman, a few weeks removed from their
parents homes. I was a college junior, newly no longer
part of an organized running team for the first time
since I was 6, eager to find others who wanted to share
fun experiences through running. I had no idea of how
it would unfold over the subsequent week, let alone
semester, and certainly never could have imagined
where it would go from there. There was no
anticipated destination, for I wasn't even sure how to
start it. And as the meeting came to its conclusion, I
encouraged everyone to join us the next day at 4:30pm
on the UAlbany track. The first ARE Group Run.
Running for the University at Albany for my first two
years of college was a wonderful experience. My
freshman year, we went on a training trip during winter
break to Puerto Rico, and in general, we raced all over
the region and there were many associated perks. But
most important was the strong friendships forged by
members of the team. In many cases, we ran together
daily (sometimes twice/day together), ate nearly all
meals together, signed up for the same classes when
we could, and shared an appreciation and respect for
what each of us was doing. It was hard but rewarding.
The time commitment was considerable though.
Practices were typically upwards of 3 hours, and travel
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
to meets turned most Fridays/Saturdays into long busrides
with a race in between. As my sophomore year
came to a close, and I knew that I would not be
rejoining the team, Ryan and I happily delighted in
realizing that I wouldn't be spending my weekends at
I spent most of that summer staying with her and her
family in Galway. They had 6 acres logged that they
wanted cleared, and I offered to do it, surely aware
that coincidentally it could help justify why I'd always
be there. Each day, while everyone (including Ryan)
was at work, I'd get in a run and then spend about 6 to
8 hours, or more, cutting and burning wood. My mind
was clear, life was good, and I had nothing to do but
spend all day outside amongst the animals and leveled
forest. To be twenty again!
A few of my former teammates who also were no
longer running for the school had asked me in the
spring to start a team for the fall. I had been the
captain of the cross country team and they therefore
decided that it was my job to start the team once we
were no longer on it. I wasn't as excited about the
idea, but eventually the rumor that a running club was
starting spread to people I didn't know, who then began
emailing me asking when the club was going to start.
Truthfully, I wasn't overly keen on the idea, and would
often discuss with Ryan what I should do.
Two weeks into the school year, after a second email
from a 17 year old I had never met named Chris
Chromczak asking me about when the first meeting
would be held for a club I had never told him about, I
told Ryan and my suitemates that I was going to start a
running club. While eating cereal for dinner, we came
up with the club name and my suitemates were
appointed members of the executive board.
My suitemate Dave helped me put up flyers all over
campus for the first meeting. I also spent several nights
walking around the campus dorms and going up to
people, asking them if they ran or wanted to start. I
received varying degrees of congeniality; thankfully I
was never pepper-sprayed, although there were plenty
of individuals who clearly did not seem too excited
about running. And as September came to a close,
Albany Running Exchange's executive board regularly
met (at the kitchen table) to brainstorm for the
Ironically, many of the members of the team who had
been initially urging the creation of a club had since
lost interest or it otherwise was no longer applicable.
Some transferred schools, others rejoined the college
team, and some simply stopped running. It was a bit
disheartening to be losing several of those who initially
seemed to be the ones that were going to help, but all
the same, that Chris Chromczak sure seemed motivated
to get involved. Maybe he would take care of
everything - but then again, what had to be done
anyway besides run?
On October 2, about 20 individuals showed up at the
track. They had signed in the previous night, and I
made a chart so that I could keep attendance of who
was coming to the group runs. We went around, all
saying our name, where we were from, and what year
we were. We then did a 2 lap warm-up on the track at
a very relaxed pace, before doing a group stretch.
After that, we relatively slowly did some small loops by
the track, returning so that individuals could stop when
they wanted to. I did not want anyone to feel that this
was the Albany Racing Exchange. Attendees were
informed to check our website for group run
information, which, for the time being, would be every
Tuesday and Thursday at 4:30pm.
Chris and I began to spend a lot of time together, as he
soon signed up to run in the Philadelphia Marathon that
November as well. Chris and I did our long runs
together, hitting 15 miles for the first time, 18 miles,
and ultimately 20. A few weeks before the marathon, I
ran about 25 miles in Pine Bush by myself. I was scared
to death of the marathon so I wanted to run as close to
it as I could in practice - but didn't want to go "all the
way" without the bib number on; that would have been
unfair to the true magic of finishing one's first.
During one of our long runs in Pine
Bush, the idea of the Dodge the
Deer 5k was born. Check out the
May 2012 RATT for an article on
the history of the Dodge the Deer
Two weeks into the spring
semester, our second general
interest meeting was held. The fall
had been a great experience and when I put my
schedule together, I made sure to keep every day open
at 4:30pm. At that meeting, it was announced that
group runs would be held daily at 4:30pm from the
track. The next day, on a cold late January afternoon,
some twenty individuals showed up. Several who had
joined the previous semester, including the likes of
Chris, Ian French, Amy Kurtelawicz, Ryan Clark, Nick
Ng, Pete Rossi, Matt Steeves, Jess Waltzer, and Neil
Snedeker, along with a whole new cast of characters
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
including Brandon Meyers, Matt Haller, Paul Herbig,
Dan Kitchie, Tini Sevak, Matt Wright, and Paul Mueller.
Every day we met, and every day we had upwards of 15
to two dozen attending. No matter the weather, we
met, warmed up in the RACC (now SEFCU Arena), and
then split into an inside group and an outside group. I
didn't want to scare away anyone who didn't want to
run outside, but every day we always had an outside
group. It was fun to see how well we could brave the
cold or otherwise awful conditions, and for some of the
guys, it was the very reason they attended.
At the end of that first spring, we had a party at Tini's
mom's house in Niskayuna. Paul Mueller and Pete Rossi
had tied for most group runs attended, coming nearly
every day for the entire 4 month semester. They were
each awarded engraved "Most Group Runs Attended"
trophies, which to this date are the only formal
trophies ARE has given out.
As the ARE's first full year began, at the start of the
school year in 2003, it began to run itself. We picked
the Baltimore Marathon as our fall trip, and it also
featured a relay and some other shorter races so that
everyone could participate. Bagel sales were held in
the lecture centers twice each week for the whole
school year, and we used the profits to buy singlets and
cover race entry fees. It was amazingly successful and
also became a hang-out spot for club members during
the day. The website was enhanced to feature a "bagel
sale sign-up section" where club members could choose
the class period they would work the table, and it took
off from there. Group runs were held daily,
and some members of the club were
meeting outside of the "normal" time when
their schedules conflicted. We continued to
order more apparel so that we'd be covered
in all kinds of temperatures and we also
started attending more and more local
races along with destination events a few
times each year. The previous spring, as we
wrapped up our first school year, we
attended the Mudders and Grunters trail
race. This past spring, March 2012, marked our 10th
year attending. (Photo: Paul Mueller at the '03 M&G.)
The club was always open to anyone, but essentially it
was just UAlbany students in those first couple of
years. Two weeks before the ARE started in '02, I
attended the HMRRC Anniversary Race and began going
to their meetings. Running for the school my first two
years, we never had the opportunity to run in any road
races, and I had never heard of them. It was awesome
to realize that not only was there an existing
organization that put on a ton of events, but many of
them were literally on our campus. HMRRC races
became a staple of our calendar, and it was important
to me to bridge the gap for the student members of the
organization to be aware of the greater running
community outside of the perimeter road.
In mid 2003, I volunteered to direct HMRRC's 4th race in
the Winter Series, eager to use it as an opportunity to
get the students in front of the community, and all the
same, as an opportunity for everyone over 22 years old
to meet our organization. I emphasized when stepping
forward to direct the race that it would be directed as
a collective effort by the entire ARE membership, and
the students were excited about it.
Doffed with new ARE knit hats on the negative seven
degree day, several dozen ARErs showed up to give
back. The races went well, albeit some of the
volunteers weren't overly excited about spending 3
hours outside in sub-0 conditions. A few months later
we held our second Dodge the Deer, and shortly after
that, the inaugural Summer Trail Run Series was
underway with our Brave the Blizzard Snowshoe Race
on the planning board, otherwise known as meetings in
The summer of 2004 laid the foundation for the club
branching beyond the campus. As it was, there were
few students in town, so the STRS predominantly was
an event focused on getting community members to
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
become part of the organization. David Newman joined
that summer and became very active in the club.
Brave the Blizzard debuted on February 20, 2005 and
our kitchen brainstorming sessions led to ideas of
bigger events. While the actual name Hairy Gorilla Half
Marathon & Squirrelly Six Mile was still to be
concocted, we drew up a map to hold a 6 mile and half
marathon race in Pine Bush later that summer.
Ironically, it was never our idea for it to be a
Halloween themed event. We did nearly have
"Brandon's Race of Doom" at Tawasentha Park the
previous fall, but ultimately the race was doomed from
the start. The original purpose of what became HGH &
SS was to hold an end of summer race as the capstone
event of the Summer Trail Run Series. In applying for
the permit, the Pine Bush Preserve Commission shot
down the idea of holding it in the summer due to it still
being a busy time in the preserve, but did say that we
could continue with the permit process if we held it
later in the fall. Go figure, the permit would be pulled
anyway four weeks before race day, but ending up at
Thacher Park was the best thing that possibly could
have happened for the event.
In early 2005, I was in grad school but also coming face
to face with another reality that was closing in: the
real world. I couldn't live on campus forever and I also
had to get a job. Neil and I decided we were going to
live together once the school year ended, and so we
looked at some apartments. But there was another
reality that precluded such an immediate move: ARE
was accumulating quite a bit of stuff. My dorm room
had turned into an
with a bed
somewhere inside of
it. While it sounded
crazy to do anything
but get an
apartment, I was
where I would keep
everything. As it
was, a bunch of us would be looking for a place to live
off-campus soon enough, and so one day I asked Scott
Ginsburg, a real estate agent who also was the director
of HMRRC WS #5, if he knew of any houses for sale very
close to campus and for very little. A few weeks before
that first Brave the Blizzard, Scott took me to see a
few houses. The first one we checked out was on
Arcadia Avenue, just across the street from the
college. It had a large garage, a relatively decent size
backyard for the area, and plenty of rooms and
bathrooms. It had also been vacant for five years and
had very motivated sellers. Perfect! They accepted our
initial offer without countering, and even were fine
with the additional request for structural repairs.
Little did I know what owning a house would mean…
but soon enough, four of us were living there basically
relocating our Empire Commons apartment across
John Kinnicutt's first ARE event was Dodge the Deer
2005, and after graduating I worked for him that
summer in his I.T. department. In September, I began
teaching math and computer science at Burnt Hills-
Ballston Lake High School, and it was quite a change
from college life. The inaugural Hairy Gorilla event was
less than 2 months away, and plenty remained to be
done. Neil, David, Matt Wright and I would discuss the
race every day at our new (to us) kitchen table, along
with attending group runs at the college for which Matt
was now the president.
September 2005: Neil, Josh, Matt, and David discuss course logistics
for holding a half marathon in Pine Bush. They are joined by a
ceramic pig and squirrel, a stuffed monkey, and Dodge the Deer.
Earlier in 2005, we came up with the idea of Road and
Trail Talk Magazine as a bit of spoof. We wanted to
create something entertaining that faked being overly
serious but clearly wasn't committed to always being
fully accurate. Brandon Meyers pound puppy Gee had
his own column where you could write in to him (a
stuffed baby puppy) for advice. There was a section
about races we ultimately ended up not holding, such
as the "Tease the Ticks" race along with a race that
would be everyone running up the Northway - the
winner is the last person standing, so to speak. Yes, we
always had "real" articles too, but our audience at the
time was a bunch of 19 year olds - telling them how
many grams of protein they needed probably wasn't
going to hook them. (Neil's section on the downtown
bar scene was the college equivalent.)
By early 2006, the student group was thriving and the
off-campus chapter was growing as well. I was half way
through my first year as a high school teacher when I
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
received an email from Nicole Robilotto asking if we
could time the St. Ann's/St. John's Spring Run-Off. We
did time our own races but was neither offering the
service nor even ever desiring to. The main group of
members who helped organize our events unfortunately
found themselves therefore unable to run in them, so
pretty much every other weekend we were either
holding a group run on the barn loop or at Thacher
Park, or running in races ourselves. I spoke with John
Kinnicutt, Neil, and David about it - and then I spoke
with Nicole basically trying to convince her to rescind
her request. She previously used a company that had
chips - all we had was a laptop and a print-timer. We
didn't even own a display clock - I did dream that one
day we would be able to get a clock, but it didn't seem
She insisted that she had faith that we could provide
the services she desired, so with a considerable degree
of apprehension, it was made official: on Saturday,
April 29, 2006, The Albany Running Exchange Timing
Services would be at the Corning Preserve at her event.
Benny Salo starts the first race that the eventual ARE Event
Productions ever timed. Mike Langevin (who also happens to be a 10
time Dodge the Deer finisher) is visible in the front-center.
It took a team of eight to perform our duties, but
everything went well and she was happy. I was more
relieved than anything - it's one thing to make a
mistake at your own event, but at someone else's!?
That fall, Andrew Rickert, an ARE member and also the
cross country coach at St. Rose, called me to ask if we
could time his cross country meet. This was more
involved than the single 5k road race - not to mention
it was a college race. It would require team scoring and
some other aspects that require a bit more oversight
than a "basic 5k." He had previously used the same
Prep for the 2007 Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon &
The 2008 Savoy Mountain Snowshoe Race
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
Mudders and Grunters 2008
Start of the first ever Froggy Five in 2008.
Jessica (Hageman) Northan, Steve Sweeney, Drew Anderson,
Jim Sweeney, and Brian Stitt run the entire 135 mile
Northville-Placid Trail (for fun) in August 2008.
timer that Nicole had, and again, I "warned" Andy that
we didn't have any real technology and was nervous
about it. He didn't seem to mind and said, "I'd like you
to do it." And so we did.
Jim Gilmer, who I have previously written about with
regard to the creation of Dodge the Deer, had
mentored me early on in how to direct races. At this
point, he was the USATF regional course certifier, and I
had told him that we timed a couple of races. I did not
say this to him looking for more events, but simply in
passing when catching up. With that said, some of the
events he was measuring would ask him if he knew of
any race timers, and he began to give them my email
address. At first, I wasn't even sure where the emails
were coming from, but finally Jim told me that he'd
told a few race directors about TARETS. Realizing that
phonetically the acronym for the ARE Timing Services
wasn't the most desirable, the name ARE Event
Productions was born, and the rest is history.
December of 2006 marked the debut of the Adventure
Race, which was initially held solely as a very low-key
event exclusively for those actually at Dippikill for the
weekend trip. There was no application or anything
official about it. We're now 2 months away from the
seventh edition, and while we still really don't do
anything to advertise it, we get a pretty solid showing
of 100+ crazy people from the ARE and surrounding
states looking to do something highly dangerous for no
real reason at all.
2007 marked the 5th Dodge the Deer, and back then I
couldn't even believe it had already been 5 years. Our
timing schedule was picking up slightly - we assisted
about a dozen events that year - but again, we weren't
soliciting any of it and were happy when we didn't get
calls for events on dates that we already had other
events we wanted to run in.
Club membership continued to grow and more and
more features were being added to the website. The
running log was built in November 2004 and the general
group run calendar came two months later. In May of
2006, the ability to actually sign-up for the group runs
was built. Over 7,000 group runs have been posted
since January of 2005, and total attendance at all
events posted on the calendar since May 2006 is over
In early 2008, there was an influx of timing inquiries,
including a growing number of events asking if we could
provide chip timing. John and I had looked at the
financial realities of doing that and it was daunting.
There was absolutely no way we could afford it, and it
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
also begged an important question: did we want to? It
wasn't my intention to get into the timing business and
we all had "real jobs" that, understandably so, took up
our time. It was hard enough to get in our own running.
Aware of the growing request from events asking about
it, including an email from Vince Juliano that spring
saying that he would hire us for the Stockade-athon,
but only if we could provide chip timing, John and I
became ever more focused on researching our options.
I began to quote events with a considerable price
difference between "manual" and chip timing, figuring
that if any of them were crazy enough to pay that
amount, at least it would be a start towards actually
affording the equipment. Well, unfortunately, what we
thought was a crazy price was still below everyone else
offering chip timing, and so soon enough, we found
ourselves with contracts to provide chip timing - but
without a chip timing system.
In truly serendipitous fashion, I received a phone call
from Ryan's (at this point my ex-girlfriend of several
years) father around this time, telling me about a
website project that had sent out an RFP and that I
might be interested in. While teaching, I was also doing
freelance web development which helped me as a
teacher to show the students "real world application" of
exactly what we were doing in the classroom.
The RFP was intimidating. It wasn't that the project
wasn't doable - it's just that it seemed like they were
looking for a well-known company with a large staff,
not a 26 year old who programmed in his PJs at 2am
and gave his 15 year olds extra credit when they came
after school to work on their teacher's side-projects.
But, that intimidation was met by another reality, the
scope of the project would make a chip system
Most ironic of all to how this played out was this: I used
the ARE website to show them what could be done.
They wanted an online internal communication system
to use for their organization, along with the ability to
post documents and some other features that are
common to what are popularly known as "Content
A week after submitting my proposal a few hours
before it was due, I received a call that I was a finalist.
The interview would be before their board, in
Plattsburgh, and they gave me the date. It was a
Thursday. I was going to have to miss an STRS. Oh no!
I showed up wearing the only suit I owned, which
previously resided at the Goodwill Store at Fuller and
Central, and waited in a room filled with older men in
expensive suits and well-shined shoes. One of the
companies had flown in from out of state, and the
other was relatively local. Each company had several
men present (strangely, there were no women), and
the other two companies seemed to know each other.
My apprehension was palpable - and clearly noticeable
- as I entered the room. I was in front of the committee
for 30 minutes, first going through my proposal, and
then fielding questions. I downloaded the entire ARE
website to my laptop for fear of the wireless network
not working (or simply being slow), and the most
enjoyable part of their questions was being able to say,
"Yes, the site will be able to do that, here is an
example." And I would show them basically the same
functionality as it existed on the ARE Website.
I would later find out that just about all the other
individuals present from the other companies were the
marketing team members - none of them were the
actual designers and couldn't answer the technical
questions. In absolute disbelief, a few weeks later, I
received a phone call: You got the job. And while it
took 4 months to complete, mainly coming to fruition
from 7pm to 2am every day, we immediately went
ahead and in July 2008 got our first chip system, a
single Ipico Elite Reader with 4 small mats and 1000
unlabeled chips. John and Joe Hayter (Joe joined the
club in March of that year) came over one afternoon,
and we spent hours in my living room trying to figure
out how to work it. Strangely, there was no instruction
manual, and even once we got it to "beep" when a chip
was over it, it would be another 2 hours before we
figured out how to get to that data, let alone what to
do with it. What a day.
We would end up timing almost 40 events that year,
including the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon,
Stockade-athon, and the Christopher Dailey Turkey
Trot, with nearly 2000 finishers - at times it was 5 to 7
per second. Going into that fall, we'd only timed one
race with over 500 participants, and most of the events
had under 300. In April of 2009, we found ourselves in
charge of a 7,000 person event providing live results,
tracking, text messaging, and the like. Needless to say,
my students were busy getting extra credit helping me
finish the software in time. �
Trail Running Camp debuted in the summer of '08, and
was an absolute blast. With it came the Froggy Five,
which doubled both us a fun way to end the weekend
at camp along with an opportunity to create another
event for the inaugural year of the ARE Grand Prix Trail
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
From the very start of the club in 2002, it was my hope
that members would "make the club their own" by
holding their own runs and events. The very nature of
the name exchange was to promote a shared
connection to a central entity, or in simple terms, for
the website to function (as written back then) as a
"match-making service" so that runners could find
others to run with. Humorously enough, it did more
than that as nearly everyone I lived with those first few
years at Arcadia ended up meeting someone else in the
club who they now live with (and call their spouse.)
Eamon Dempsey won the 2nd Squirrelly Six held on
October 29, 2006. Nine places behind him was a 28
year old finisher named Joe Benny. Six weeks later,
this Scotia resident showed up for what then was
simply called the "UA to Thacher Park 15 Mile Run". He
was not ready for that run, and as he painfully made it
the final few miles, a couple of us ran back to this
stranger to help him in. Little did we know that this
late 20 something would soon proclaim the run "the Joe
Benny Memorial Run" (well, he almost died on it), start
a pancake-long-run revolution, and become in many
ways the social director among many other hats he
wears in the ARE.
With Joe Benny leading long runs, I felt less-guilty
about not holding them myself (for years, we ran
weekly from my house on weekend mornings) but while
I was happy it was still being offered, I missed actually
attending them. Getting in a 20 miler on a Sunday
afternoon after everyone has already posted all over
Facebook how great their morning run was didn't make
it any easier. It was a very conflicting time for me - the
actual event timing/management business was never a
goal and was in some ways taking away from my own
running - but all the same, there was something fun
and exciting that accompanied each event we assisted.
It had also always been my dream for ARE to be "my
job." Even back in college, I would often inundate Ryan
with my dreams of somehow operating the running club
as what I did. It didn't make any sense, but it was what
I felt like doing.
I went part-time at BHBL HS in the fall of 2008,
teaching every other day, and that February I found
myself at the conclusion of a Running USA Industry
Conference in San Diego on a Tuesday night with some
very prominent players in the American running
industry. One of them had a picture of himself and
Haile Gebrselassie as the background on his phone. In
the picture, next to the two of them was a display
clock that read 2:03:59. The picture was taken on the
finish line of the Berlin Marathon when Haile set the
world record. And before my meal was served, in the
middle of a great conversation and among people I had
only previously dreamed I'd ever come to meet, I had
to excuse myself: I had a plane to catch. A few days
earlier I had changed my flight so stay a few hours
longer - but still the reality was this: I had a classroom
to be in at 7:30am the next morning, and I'd used up
my personal day allocation to miss Monday's class.
Catching a 9pm flight, I landed in Albany at 6:30am,
got in my car, and drove to school. I was tired and torn
- I loved my job as a high school teacher but I also was
equally attracted to the growing opportunity of putting
on events and being part of the sport. Beyond simply
working events that required travel, race directors like
to email, call, and meet - and they generally desire to
do this during the work day. With little rational belief
in what I was doing, but a strong gut feeling that it was
what I had to do, I met with my department head and
told her that I would not be returning the following
In September of 2009, I did not return to a school
building. I wasn't sure the specifics of what I would be
doing, but I knew that much in the same way ARE and
AREEP had gotten to this point, I never wanted to have
to say no to anything. If someone asked if something
could be done, the answer had to be yes. From
meetings to further the ARE to accepting opportunities
to time races far from the intersection of I87 and I90,
there was an internal driving force that said you have
to do what you believe in, and that hard work will yield
results. It is also a theme that has been present for all
club members who look to others in the organization
for motivation to achieve that first 5k, half marathon,
marathon, or even ultra-distance event.
It has been immensely rewarding to see the club grow
with more and more members taking ownership of it
and providing regular events for all of us. Randy and
Kathy Goldberg are coming up on their 5th year of the
Monday Night Tawasentha Trail Run Spring Series and
we've been blessed with Jingle Bell Runs every
December for years and even with the unfortunate
moving of Ed and Rox Gillen to Florida, Marey Bailey
and Joe Yavonditte have picked up the series. Tom
Ryan has held runs every Tuesday since the club had
300 members, and Will Dixon's Chilly Willie Wednesdays
are a perennial winter favorite. Joe Benny's Winter
Supported Long Run Series has seen over 100 members
in his house, and he also coordinates numerous other
social events. John Kinnicutt has operated the Grand
Prix Trail Series since its inception in 2008 and handles
many other behind-the-scenes tasks related to keeping
ARE events and trips smooth and successful.
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
Those are just a few names of dozens and dozens who
play such an active role in making us who we are. We
are a family. A family of individuals who have grown
together and shared countless experiences. And most
are great, but yes, very much like any family, there has
been sorrow. We have seen very unfortunate things and
cried together. But we have also always known that
there is tomorrow. Another chance to come together,
and to do what it is we do best, put one leg in front of
the other. To keep going. And to dream of reaching
finish lines that one day are moments away from being
Every summer, it seems like for those who have the
time in their schedule, there is something going on
every day. And much like the very first year of the
club, there was an excitement that came with that: of
looking forward to something. That 4:30pm group run,
or now that trip to the Vermont City Marathon, JFK 50
Mile, or some overnight 200 mile relay. You won't
sleep, but since when are memories made with your
I am often asked what was your vision or goal, and it is
somewhat embarrassing to admit, but there wasn't any
elaborate plan of what putting the wheels in motion
would ultimately achieve. Nearly everything that has
happened since that first meeting some ten years ago
has been a result of members of the organization,
themselves, making the choice to create opportunity.
From group runs to parties, hiking trips in the
Adirondacks to training for the Ironman, the
organization functions as a portal for us all to find
others for whom we share the most basic passion, that
of being healthy. It has been an incredibly rewarding
ten years, one that has come to lay the path for an
immeasurable number of friendships, relationships, and
personal achievements. Much like I couldn't imagine ten
years ago what the ARE would be like today, I'll be the
first to admit, I haven't any idea or specific vision for
where it will be ten years from now. But, perhaps that
honest reality is the basis for why we continue to have
so much frun - it's a popular saying that one should
enjoy the journey and not just the destination. Well, if
you don't know where you're going, you sure better
enjoy wherever the path is taking you. �
2008 ARE Adventure Race
Randy Goldberg kicking off the 2009 Monday
Night Spring Trail Run Series
ARE'rs at the 2009 Green Mountain Relay
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
The House to House Half Marathon - Labor Day
Anne and John Butler let loose at the ARE Banquet '09
2010 Group Frun Day - The First Year!
FROM THE HMRRC RECYCLING
HMRRC is having Shirt/Sneaker Drives
Upcoming drives will be held at:
- Race For The Cure (10/6)
� Empire State Plaza Concourse
- The Hudson Mohawk Marathon/Half Marathon Expo
� Hotel Albany (formerly the Crown Plaza)
� Only at the expo on Sat, 10/6
- Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon and Squirrelly 6m (10/28)
� Thacher State Park
- The Stockadethon Expo (11/10)
� Gazette Newspapers Building
Many, many thanks! �
Jeff Andritz, Rox Gillen, and Brian Dillenbeck
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
ARE Website: A Quick Guide
*Has appeared in previous issues of the RATT*
The ARE Website provides a tremendous resource for club members to
get involved and truly be part of the organization. Here’s some
information on how the site works.
The site is composed essentially of two zones: one for the public and
one just for members. The public zone includes the homepage and the
links found there, including pictures, race results, race schedule,
running routes, and more. Some of these areas have special features
only members can utilize. For example, only members can use the
results search and find pictures of specific club members.
The members’ area, however, contains all the excitement and gives life
and credence to our name – the Albany Running Exchange.
Accessing the Members Area
If you joined the club online, you created your own username and
password. If you joined via mail, you should have been emailed your
access information. If you need your access information, contact us by
Okay, so I’m logged in… now what?
Above all else – feel free to click around and explore! There’s plenty to
do and information to find – the most popular and functional things
you can do once connected include:
See what runs/ events are being offered
Click on “ARE Event Calendar” and click on the name of an event that
interests you. You will see who posted it (the event “Leader”), basic
event information, a roster of who is attending, and also a chat for the
event. Want to go? Click the “Sign Me Up” button and you’re now
listed. Event leaders can email that group specifically – so if you plan
on attending, it’s a good idea to sign-up.
Track your race results and PRs
Once logged in, go to the results for a race you ran and click the green
arrow on the right side. This adds it to your race history, which is
viewable by clicking “Race Information” – “My Racing History” from the
Have a question or a comment? Put it on the ARE Chat located on the
members page. Looking for a running partner? Put it out there!
Eat and Run:
My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
by Scott Jurek
Review By Miriam Hardin
My brain was on fire. My body was burning up.
Death Valley had laid me out flat, and now it was
cooking me. My crew was telling me to get up, that
they knew I could go on, but I could barely hear
them. I was too busy puking, then watching the
stream of liquid evaporate in the circle of light
from my headlamp almost as fast as it splashed
down on the steaming pavement. It was an hour
before midnight, 105 incinerating, soul-sucking
degrees. This was supposed to be my time. This
was the point in a race where I had made a career
of locating hidden reservoirs of sheer will that
others didn’t possess, discovering powers that
propelled me to distances and speeds that others
couldn’t match. But tonight, roasting on the
pavement, all I could summon was the memory of a
television commercial I had seen as a child. First
there’s an egg in someone’s fingers and a voice
that says, “This is your brain.” Then the owner of
the hand cracks the egg, and as it sizzles and
crackles onto a hot skillet, the voice says, “And
this is your brain on drugs.” I saw that image in
the scorching nighttime sky. I heard the
disembodied voice. But what I thought was:
“This is my brain on Badwater.”
Scott Jurek begins the first chapter of his memoir Eat
and Run at mile 70 of the 2005 135-mile Badwater
UltraMarathon. Two weeks before, he had won the
Western State 100 Mile. Maybe it was just too soon.
Maybe he would have to drop from the race. It’s a
great story, but you won’t find out how it ends until
chapter 14. Don’t let that deter you, though. It’s
worth the wait, and you won’t be bored while getting
Jurek began his “unlikely journey” as a self-described
Minnesota redneck. No one would have guessed that a
scrawny kid raised on hunting and fishing would
someday be known not only for being an ultramarathon
champion but also for fueling his running and recovery
with a plant-based diet. Jurek takes his readers
through that journey in short, accessible chapters that
end with tempting recipes. Also included throughout
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
are his tips on training and running form. His stories are
compelling and will resonate with runners of all levels.
Jurek was something of an accidental ultra runner, as
he initially got into running as a way to stay in shape
for Nordic skiing during the off-season months. His
plant-based diet came out of his quest for improved
performance and recovery. Having reached a point
where he could not train any harder, he had begun to
look to his diet. Through research, trial and error, and
making gradual changes, he discovered that a
minimally processed, plant-based diet allowed him to
train harder, perform better, and recover more quickly
than on his more traditional standard American diet.
There is more to running than the actual running, and
that “more” is something that Jurek explores
throughout his narrative. That “more” ranges from the
spiritual, mind/body realm to the more concrete
forging of relationships that make personal losses more
bearable. Being part of the running community is
clearly something he treasures and he is eager to give
something back to that community when the
opportunities arise. If you ever happen to run an ultra
that Scott Jurek is running in, chances are he will greet
you at the finish line. This is a tradition he began early
on, when he neglected to book himself a place to stay
following a race. He set up camp at the finish line and
greeted each runner who came across. Ever since, he
has done this as a sign of respect for his fellow runners.
Also, he has a blast doing so. If you run in an ultra that
Scott Jurek is not running in, there is also the
possibility that you will meet him volunteering at one
of the aid stations. If so, you will be in very good
hands, as he also happens to be a physical therapist.
Verdict: Highly recommended!
Meet Steven Gibbs
** From the ARE Member Profile System **
Years Running: 20
What is your favorite place to run?
Through the run/bike trails of Clifton Park.
What is your favorite race?
What are your favorite conditions to run in?
Spring and Fall.
Why did you start running?
I started running to stay in shape but it has become a
Who do normally run with?
My dog or my kids… or sometimes just my IPOD.
Anything humorous happen throughout your running
I've had a deer run right out in front of me and nearly
had to hurdle two turkeys. Obstacles are fun!
Road and Trail Talk Magazine
Donna Charlebois and Chuck Batcher
Women of the ARE take on NYC
The ARE sure is a bunch of characters.