road and trail talk - Albany Running Exchange

road and trail talk - Albany Running Exchange

Page 2

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




October 2012

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


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

Page 4

By Miriam Hardin

Finding ARE

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 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

Page 5

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.

Page 6

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

our best.

Road and Trail Talk Magazine

Nick (L) with Jeff Goupil, Karen Bertasso, and Dennis VanVlack.

Volunteer Opportunities

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

Page 7

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

remember Chrommie

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

remember Newman

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

Event Schedule

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!

Name _____________________________________________

__ __ /__ __ /__ __ __ __


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)

Page 9

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.

Page 10

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.

Page 11

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

oatmeal cookies.

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!

Page 12

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.

Page 13

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 Also,

if anyone would like to volunteer to help at the event,

Road and Trail Talk Magazine

please e-mail me at 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

following ways:

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!

Page 14

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.

Page 15

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

upcoming meeting.

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

Page 16

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

Page 17

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

our kitchen.

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

worried about

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

Page 18

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

Western Avenue.

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

Page 19

Prep for the 2007 Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon &

Squirrelly Six

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.

Page 20

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

Management Systems."

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

Page 21

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

Page 22

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

school year.

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

eyes closed?

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. �

Page 23

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

Weekend 2009

Anne and John Butler let loose at the ARE Banquet '09

2010 Group Frun Day - The First Year!

Page 24



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

top navigation.


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!

Page 25

Book Review

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!

Page 26

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

daily ritual.

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.

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