“This series really encourages people to get running and go to all the different neighborhoods for the races,” says Sue Straub, the race director of the final event in the series, the five-mile Eastwood Park-to-Park Autumn Run. “If you do them all, you’ve done a marathon, just about. That was a surprise to find out it’s just over 26 miles.”
But it’s really no surprise that a race series like this came together. Syracuse has a strong running community, as evidenced by the already-full racing calendar, a premier event like the Mountain Goat Run, and not one, but two, running clubs, the Syracuse Chargers and the Syracuse Track Club. “With the number of different races that do occur in our park system, we wanted to find a way to promote each of the races,” explains Pat Driscoll, Parks commissioner, himself a runner. “The range is March to October, so the better weather months are covered. We thought it was important to promote these races to showcase the number of parks that the races go through.”
Pat Driscoll and Chris Abbott plan the race series. MICHAEL DAVIS
The idea actually started with Chris Abbott, recreation program director for the Parks Department, and Ed Griffin of Fleet Feet Sports, 3453 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt. “We’d been talking about this for almost two years,” says Griffin, who is also race director for the Mountain Goat. “Chris and Commissioner Driscoll and the folks at Parks have really wanted to connect the series, and I think that with the success of the Mountain Goat as the anchor with the other races around it, and with Paige’s Butterfly Run moving to Clinton Square, the time was right to put this together. It’s a real opportunity to create a nice event.”
Each of the five races in the series either runs through or next to one or several city parks. Proceeds from all of them benefit a respective nonprofit entity, whether it’s a neighborhood association or a health care organization. And all but two are of different lengths; if you choose to run the Mountain Goat 3K, you won’t come close to the close-to-the-marathon distance, but so what? “It’s important to stay in shape, no matter what age you are,” says Driscoll. “And what better way than to take a nice run through our parks. And with the funds going back to the neighborhood associations or other worthy causes, there is absolutely no drawback to it.”
The Syrathon race series begins March 7 with the Tipp Hill Shamrock Run and ends Oct. 18 with the Jim Dwyer Memorial Parks Run through Strathmore. Those two races are four miles each. In between are the 10-mile (or 3K) Mountain Goat Run, Paige’s Butterfly Run, a 5K, and the five-mile Eastwood run. “Our hope is that this series will promote each, individual race,” says Abbott. “As a new race comes up in the series, we’ll shine the spotlight on that race.”
Prizes will be awarded by random drawing after each race, with a grand prize of a large-screen television and premium-level gift certificates given at the end of the series. Runners have to participate in three of the five races to be eligible for the grand prize, and the first 100 to participate in three of the races will receive a technical training shirt that will feature the Syrathon 2009 logo.
Fleet Feet Sports and Brooks Sports will be giving away Fleet Feet gift cards and running shoes. The New Times is pitching in restaurant gift certificates and tickets to major Syracuse sports events.
So register for the race or races of your choice, put on your kickers, strap on your watch and head to the respective city park on race day. Furthermore, all the races feature a kid-friendly option, so there is no reason to leave the family at home.
Follow these links for more details on each race.
Tipp Hill Shamrock Run
Mountain Goat Run
Paige’s Butterfly Run
Jim Dwyer Memorial Parks Run
Eastwood Park-to-Park Autumn Run
Molly English can be reached at email@example.com.