At 35th Annual Race, Medals For All
by Allan Appel | Sep 4, 2012 8:09 am
Posted to: Sports
Cheshire High School cross country runner Kathleen Kalbian wanted to finish in about 19 minutes. She could have done it in 119 minutes, and still received a medal for it.
Kalbian was one of about 7,000 road warriors who received “finisher” medals to mark the 35th running of the Labor Day Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race.
The 7,000 runners set a record for participants, and on a new re-routed 20 K course, runners were inspired by new cheering sections in Westville and West River. The race that drew somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 people to the Green on Monday to watch runners compete in both 5K and 20K races.
For the first time, runners like Yale endocrinologists Myron Genel, Grace Kim, and Ania Jastreboff who had completed the 5K could now walk or crawl over to Temple and Chapel to cheer on the 20K runners, the fleetest of whom were at that point passing the 7-mile marker in their race.
The 20K course that brought runners past cheering crowds at the Green had first taken them through a new loop along Edgewood, Yale, Willard, and Alden in the Westville and West River neighborhoods. The new loop eliminated some of previous years’ stretches on Ella Grasso Boulevard and Long Wharf.
Race Director John Bysiewicz said the change came about as a result of runners’ feedback over the years. “There weren’t any spectators on Long Wharf and Boulevard. Just by running through West River and Edgewood where people live, we expect thousands more spectators,” he said.
The first elite 20K runners who crossed the finish line confirmed that prophecy. Matt Tegenkamp of Portland, Oregon, was the men’s winner, crossing the finish line in a scorching 58:30. “The crowd all along the way was great. It helps!” he said.
Renee Metivier Baillie was the first woman across the 20K finish line, at 1:07. The Boulder, Colorado-based runner had never tried New Haven’s race before and is just back from an injury. She pronounced the crowd a big help and “awesome all along the way.”
The first person to cross the finish line in the 5K was Ryan Pearl, with a time of 15:37. Kalbian hit her goal with a time of 19:56.
Click here for the full results and details on the new 20 K route.
Neon Nikes, Warrior One, And Two Loops to Warm Up
Before the starter set runners off Monday, they confessed to a number of preparation routines and quasi-superstitions.
Kalbian said her entire cross country team ran two loops of the Green before the race. That’s precisely two, not one or three. She stopped short of calling it a superstitious gesture, but added, “We feel uncomfortable breaking it.”
Hamden High’s hockey center and baseball team captain Andrew Calabrese ran the race to stay in shape. In all races he wears only neon Nikes. He gets a new pair about every year or so.
A Yale resident in radiology, Alison Sheridan, found a cool spot beneath trees and did her Vinyasa yoga stretches, including “Warrior One.” In these techniques, movement is synchronized to the breath. Monday’s race was her first, but a natural next step. “To me running is an extension of yoga,” she said.
To attract new crowds to the new more residential route, race officials distributed flyers along every mile of the 20K course. They also hosted a record number of 14 bands playing music along the race route. There were also a record 160 police officers, including school security staff, working the route. That was due to the need to close off the many cross streets, especially along the new Chapel Street section of the 20K course, said Bysiewicz. The majority of the costs for the police overtime was paid for by the race organizers.
Tags: Stratton Faxon Road Race
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ran the race for the 6th time in the last 7 years. Quite a crowd. Some feedback for the organizers;
1) Next year, you should consider improving the 5 course. The first mile on Church and Whitney is too crowded. Way to many people stepping on each other.
2) Ditch the medals. I saw hundreds of them thrown on the ground and in the trash. When you give a prize for just being there, it has little value. Prizes are for those who do something very well. (also could send this message to DC)
3) Water cups. The race cut back on the cups given to the water stations and at least two ran out of cups mid-race. This is cruel and sometimes dangerous to the runners.
I hope that the NHRR can improve and continue to be a great annual event in the city.